L176A - Wed 2 Apr 1997 / Mer 2 Avr 1997
The House met at 1333.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): A point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I can appreciate the fact that there may be points of order. If I can just ask the indulgence of the House, would it be okay if we went through members' statements and then I'll go back to Beaches-Woodbine for your point of order?
Ms Lankin: I would appreciate being able to table it now.
The Speaker: That's fine. Member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I appreciate your suggestion, but I rise on a point of order under standing order 77(c). Let me start by explaining to you why I have decided to raise this matter at this time and why I have suggested to you that I do it immediately at the beginning of this afternoon's proceedings.
The government has announced its intention to bring forward Bills 103 and 104 for committee of the whole consideration this afternoon. In my view, the committee of the whole consideration of either of these two bills will not be in order. I am raising this matter at this time because you will be required to make a ruling about the propriety of this action this afternoon. It would potentially affect this afternoon's proceedings, which is why I'm raising it now, to give you an opportunity to consider it and so that all members of the Legislative Assembly might be informed about what proceedings will be in order this afternoon.
Standing order 77(c) reads as follows, and I quote: "When a bill that is reported from a standing or select committee is referred to the committee of the whole House, it shall not be taken up earlier than the second calendar day after the referral."
Both Bills 103 and 104 were reported from the standing committees yesterday and ordered for committee of the whole House consideration under the terms of time allocation motions which govern the progress of each bill. This is the first day after the referral. Therefore, unless the standing order has been voided or suspended by the House, these bills cannot be considered until tomorrow.
Motions for time allocation have some history in this assembly, and I realize that time allocation motions routinely suspend particular standing orders. Clearly the government is not in contravention of the rules of the assembly in using the time allocation motion or in suspending particular standing orders as part of the time allocation process.
But in reviewing the time allocation motions, it is clear that the time allocation motions can only suspend the rules of the House under one of the following conditions: when the contravention of the standing order is directly cited, such as the phrase "notwithstanding standing order 9(a)," which appears in the time allocation motion for Bill 103, or when the suspension of the standing order is necessary to facilitate the implementation of the decision of the assembly expressed in the time allocation motion, as I would argue in the time allocation motion for Bill 104 in the paragraph dealing with committee of the whole House, where it does not specifically reference "notwithstanding standing order 9(a)."
The point I'm making is that the time allocation motion in some instances specifically suspends standing orders, as in the time allocation for Bill 103 where it references "notwithstanding standing order 9(a)," the committeee, in committee of the whole, may sit beyond the normal adjournment time of the House to finish its business, or when the suspension of a standing order is necessary in order to fulfil the wishes of the assembly as expressed in the time allocation motion.
I would argue that the general "notwithstanding" clause that appears at the beginning of time allocation motions allows for you to consider certain standing orders necessarily to be suspended in order to facilitate the wishes. The example I would give you is in the time allocation motion for Bill 104, where it speaks to the process of committee of the whole and it says that all amendments proposed must be filed by 2 pm on the sessional day on which it is to be considered -- and this is the relevant point -- "and that the House be authorized to meet beyond its normal adjournment time upon completion of the committee of the whole stage of Bill 104." There it would be necessary if that occasion arose to suspend standing order 9(a) even though the time allocation motion does not specifically say "notwithstanding 9(a)."
I go on to make the relevant point here, which is that in these time allocation motions, in these cases, the motions are silent on the question of whether standing order 77(c) remains in effect. There is no closure clause in the motion to indicate that it is the intent of the House to have the committee of the whole consideration take place the day after either of the bills were reported out of the House.
Again, the motion is silent on the question. Nowhere in the time allocation motion does it say that committee of the whole House consideration must take place on Wednesday, April 2, or on the day after reporting. If the committee of the whole consideration takes place tomorrow instead of today, the will of the assembly expressed in the time allocation motion is equally implemented but is carried out inside the rules.
I would point out that it is clear that not all standing orders are suspended by a time allocation motion. For example, in third reading debate, under a time-allocated motion --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Can I ask the House to come to order? I'm having difficulty -- member for Grey-Owen Sound, I'd appreciate it if the House could just come to order. I'm having difficulty hearing the member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms Lankin: The point I was making is that the specific standing orders that are to be overruled by the time allocation motion either must be explicitly referred to or must be necessary to facilitate the wish of the House as expressed in a time allocation motion. As I have indicated, nowhere in the time allocation motion does it give an indication that it is necessary for committee of the whole to proceed on the day following reporting out of the bill from standing committee nor that that is necessary to accomplish the goals of the time allocation motion.
I was further pointing out that not all standing orders are suspended by virtue of a time allocation motion. For example -- and this is just one example; it happens to be a procedural example, but we could look through and find substantive examples -- if during third reading of a time-allocated motion there is a motion to adjourn debate or adjourn the House, that motion remains in order; that standing order remains effective.
I recognize that the example I give you is a procedural one, but I would argue that standing order 77(c) to which I refer, which in fact says that consideration of committee of the whole may not take place until two calendar days after being referred out of committee, is in fact a procedural standing order as well, dealing with procedure here in the House.
As a result, it is my position that standing order 77(c) must remain in effect, since there is no evidence that its suspension was considered by the members of this assembly when they voted to approve the motion. There is nothing in either time allocation motion to indicate that suspending this rule and proceeding to committee of the whole consideration the day after reporting would be required. The government's House agenda may well be affected, but their House agenda was not part of the time allocation motion.
Finally, I would pose three questions that I think are germane to answering this point of order.
First, should it not be common practice that when the assembly decides that the suspension of House rules is required for an order of the assembly to be implemented, the absolute minimum number of rules be suspended in order for the will of the House to be carried out?
Second, are all standing orders of the House suspended, including those rules which are not necessary for the time allocation motion to be implemented? I believe I've given examples that would suggest they are not.
Third, who decides which rules are suspended other than the House itself? How can the government House leader or the executive council determine which rules must be suspended when the time allocation motion is the decision of and the property of the entire assembly?
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege.
The Speaker: The same point of order? A different point of order? A different point of privilege?
Mr Bradley: A different point of privilege on the point of order.
The Speaker: Just give me one second with respect to the point of order.
I am going to take a 10-minute recess. I'll review the point of order offered up by the member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): Obviously, Mr Speaker, it's my view and the government's view that there is no valid point of order contained in what the member opposite has indicated. The time allocation motion clearly states notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House, and that would include standing order 77(c) as cited by the member for Beaches-Woodbine. Certainly this is a motion that has been phrased in conjunction with the members of the Clerk's department to ensure that it is in order, to ensure that all the standing orders are taken into account. It's my view that the time allocation motion, as it was phrased, as it was voted on by members of this House, is in fact in order.
Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Can I speak to that point of order since the government side --
The Speaker: I haven't recognized the member for Oakwood. With the greatest respect, if you're offering more information on that point of order, I'll be interested in listening. This is not going to be a debate.
Mr Colle: Mr Speaker, just to make you aware of the fact, in committee some of the same points of order raised in terms of the treatment of this bill before the committee of the whole were brought forth to the committee. The committee had proposed a way --
Mr Colle: Anyway, we tried to basically deal with this and we had an amendment at committee that would have possibly dealt with this and what happened is that the government refused to accept the suggested amendment.
The Speaker: Are you talking about 77(c)?
Mr Colle: Yes.
The Speaker: Continue.
Mr Colle: In essence what happened is that because of the time constraints we knew we were going to be under, we thought there would be a way of essentially dealing with this in a proper way. We were told that the House leaders would be dealing with this proposed amendment to get around this problem we're going to have today. I think we're here today because the House leader and the parliamentary assistant on general government refused to deal with this matter at that time. I think it's incumbent upon you to look at this seriously because I think the opposition tried to put this before the assembly properly and wasn't allowed to.
The Speaker: I'll take consideration and I'll be recessing very briefly. Listen, you know what I'm going to tell you today as well is that normally when I say 10 minutes we go to the button of 10 minutes or so. I may take recesses today and be back within that time period. We may be in for a bit of a long, protracted debate and I would just ask for the indulgence of the members, that it's 10 minutes; if I'm back sooner, I'm back sooner.
ACCESS TO PUBLIC GALLERY
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: The reason I want to raise the point of privilege at this point in time as opposed to after you leave or when you come back is that there is a situation in the building where disabled people, for instance, or simply people who have a difficult time with stairs are unable to move around this building because all the elevators have been shut down.
Apparently there's been an anticipation that there's going to be a riotous scene at Queen's Park today with thousands of people. The only place I ever saw that was some speculation out there, as you will know, and you spoke to a group last night that I don't think you found to be a problem. What we're seeing now are security measures which are -- that's up to you, I understand that; I don't want to do your job. But for instance, the elevators have been shut down so people can't move up and down. I believe the member for Fort William has another situation similar to that.
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): On the same point, Mr Speaker --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): You know If the question you're putting is with respect to the elevators being shut down --
Mr Silipo: No, Mr Speaker, given that you are going to recess for a few minutes, I would ask that you, if you can, take a look at this: I know there were arrangements made to facilitate the attendance of members of the public for this session today and I was there at the meeting last night when you spoke and outlined those. I gather there have been some problems and there may still be, as we are standing here, are sitting here, in terms of people being processed through because I gather initially it was only one person at the desk doing that and that was causing long lineups. I just wonder if you could look into that and see how that can be facilitated.
The Speaker: Member for Dovercourt, I give you my undertaking I will.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): Along similar lines, Mr Speaker, it was of concern that a number of people were standing and waiting, not able to be accommodated. I understand that the tour group which security was waiting for may now have arrived. There still seems to be space in the gallery, and I would trust that anybody who has been kept waiting will now be accommodated in the available space.
The Speaker: Members for Fort William and Dovercourt, I say to you I will give you my undertaking to look after it. I'm doing my absolute best to accommodate as many people as we can. With respect to the security and the accommodation of the folks who would like to come out and see this, it's a difficult job and a difficult task and I think the staff are doing their best.
With respect to the elevators, I'll check that. If they're all shut off, to the member for St Catharines, I'll be certain to ensure that some are started up so that it doesn't inconvenience you for that length of time.
Now, a 10-minute recess.
The House recessed from 1351 to 1401.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I want to thank the member for Beaches-Woodbine, Ms Lankin, for providing me with advance notice of her point of order, as it has afforded me an opportunity to review our precedents on time allocation motions, plus I think it was obviously a well-researched and a very good point of order.
Let me begin by stating that it's important to the House to clearly understand the nature of time allocation. Erskine May has this to say about time allocation orders:
"In many sessions in order to secure the passage of particularly important and controversial legislation, governments have been confronted with the choice, unless special powers are taken, of cutting down their normal program to an undesirable extent, or of prolonging the sittings of Parliament, or else of acknowledging the impotence of the majority of the House in the face of the resistance of the minority. In such circumstances resort is had sooner or later to the most drastic method of curtailing debate known to procedure, namely, the setting of a date by which a committee must report, or the allocation of a specified number of days to the various stages of a bill and of limited amounts of time to particular portions of a bill. Orders made under this procedure are known as `allocation of time' orders, and...as `guillotine' motions. They may be regarded as the extreme limit to which procedure goes in affirming the rights of the majority at the expense of the minorities of the House, and it cannot be denied that they are capable of being used in such a way as to upset the balance, generally so carefully preserved, between the claims of business and the rights of debate."
That quote comes from pages 408 and 409 of the 21st edition of Erskine May.
I now want to bring two of our own precedents to the attention of the House. First, in 1992 the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario responded to concerns about the propriety of a meeting beyond 6 of the clock to complete the voting process on clause-by-clause on Bill 40. When the time allocation order, which contained a "notwithstanding" clause, specified the voting process would begin before 6 of the clock but did not specify that it should continue beyond 6 of the clock, the normal adjournment hour specified in standing order 9, Speaker Warner ruled:
"Members must be aware that whenever the House passes a motion of time allocation, that motion in effect is the one that dictates the way in which a bill will be considered at the various stages of the legislative process. The time allocation motion is in effect a standing order on its own merits as regards the piece of legislation to which it is attached. In the matter at hand, therefore, I have no choice but to abide by the terms of that special order."
That ruling can be found on page 2996 of Hansard for October 28, 1992.
Second, in 1993 the Speaker ruled on the orderliness of a time allocation motion that had just been moved on Bill 47. Various members expressed concern that the proposed motion was at odds with standing order 74. Speaker Warner responded to these concerns by stating the following:
"Indeed, as the member for Parry Sound has stated, standing order 74...would normally be in place. However, I draw his attention to the first line of the resolution, which states, `That pursuant to standing order 46 and notwithstanding any other standing order of the House...' So if this resolution which has now been placed before the House is indeed carried, then in fact the resolution states that whatever is contained in the resolution supersedes any other standing order of the House."
The ruling can be found on page 4047 of the Hansard for November 16, 1993.
Turning to the matter at hand, I've carefully reviewed the submissions with respect to standing order 77(c). However, the precedents I have just referred to are definitive and they address exactly the kinds of concerns that the member for Beaches-Woodbine raises. Therefore, I find there is nothing out of order with respect to the concerns that have been raised. Nevertheless, I appreciate hearing from the member for Beaches-Woodbine as well as the other members who spoke to this matter.
With respect to the rules, all those rules necessary to passing the legislation are suspended, all those orders dealing with the legislative process are suspended and it's up to the decision of the Speaker to ensure that it carries on and in fact interprets the motion that came before this House. I thank the member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): On another point of order, Mr Speaker, which is related to this House's consideration of Bill 104, the Fewer School Boards Act: I want to table with you a copy of a memo which was made available to me and which I tabled in the standing committee on social development at our meeting in Windsor on March 24. This is a facsimile copy of a memo from Mr Bill Jack, who is a senior official of the Ministry of Education and Training's regional office in London. It is addressed to the directors of education of the four boards in the Windsor-Essex area. This, I remind you, was made available to me on March 24.
If you look at the memo, Speaker, you will see that it is informing the directors of education of a schedule of meetings with Dave Cooke and Ann Vanstone, the co-chairs of the proposed Education Improvement Commission, which is set up under Bill 104 -- it doesn't use the word "proposed," however -- meetings that were to take place on April 9 to discuss the implementation process for Bill 104. But then in handwriting, signed by Mr Jack, it says, "Please forward the names of the representatives who will attend the meetings described on the attached page" -- the attached page sets out the order of meetings. "The deadline for this information is March 26. Please fax this information," and then it gives the fax number of the office and so on.
The deadline that is referred to by Mr Jack was the very day that the standing committee on social development of this Legislature was to consider Bill 104 clause by clause, yet if you look at the wording of this memo, the ministry officials are in fact assuming that Bill 104 is already in place and that it is to be implemented, and it is making arrangements to implement the bill.
I remind you, Speaker, and all members of the House that Bill 104 has not yet been passed by this Legislature; it is not yet in place. The Education Improvement Commission, of which Mr Cooke and Ms Vanstone are to be co-chairs apparently, is not yet in place. Yet senior officials of the Ministry of Education and Training are operating, I suppose on the instructions of the Minister of Education and Training, as if this legislation is already in place and is being implemented.
In my view, it's a contempt of the committee's work, it's a contempt of the Legislative Assembly and it's a contempt of the legislative process. I ask the Speaker if he would rule on whether this indeed constitutes a prima facie case of contempt of the House.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you for the submission, to the member for Algoma. If you'd allow me to take the opportunity of reviewing this and reporting back at a later date, I'd appreciate it.
You're up on a point of order, member for Oakwood.
Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Mr Speaker, as a result of what has transpired in an unusual way, where the amendments have been brought forward for Bill 103 to the committee of the whole today, I think it's appropriate for me to ask you to look at standing order 38(d), which says, "No bill may be introduced in blank or imperfect form."
I wish to raise a point of order in that it says, "No bill may be introduced in blank or imperfect form." According to Black's Law Dictionary, fifth edition, "imperfect" is defined as follows: "As used in various legal compound terms, this word means defective or incomplete, wanting in legal sanction or effectiveness." According to the Oxford Dictionary, "imperfect" means "not fully formed or done," denoting action going on.
Actually, what I am saying here, Mr Speaker, is to bring to your attention that in relation to section 38(d) of the standing orders and the definition in Black's Law Dictionary, it is evident that Bill 103 was introduced in blank and imperfect form. In essence, what we have is a shell, a skeleton of a bill that wasn't really a bill.
I will clarify this for you. First of all, this morning even the Premier himself said: "I don't think this is perfect. I think this is less than perfect." As the architect of this plan and the driving force of this legislation, this admission by the Premier speaks volumes about the fatal flaws of this shell of a bill that was introduced. It wasn't really a bill.
In essence, in introducing Bill 103, what they did is they introduced a white paper. It wasn't really a bill. The proof of that is that what the government is doing is bringing forth almost more amendments than there were sections in the bill.
The Speaker: Can I just take a moment for the member for Oakwood. When they say "in perfect form," it doesn't mean the contents of the bill. What it means is that it's before the House properly. I think what you're deriving is because the content of the bill -- you're looking for perfection. This is first reading. What "perfect" means is that it has come to this House properly. Legislatively, it's before us in a proper, perfect form. That's why you have debate, that's why you send it to committee, that's why you have amendments.
Although you say "in perfect form," it means it can't get here in any form other than the prescribed form that allows us to debate bills. That's where I think you're off the rails with respect to the point of order.
Mr Colle: Can I add something?
The Speaker: You can add something, but it's going to have to be really compelling, because I'm going to tell you that's difficult.
Mr Colle: I think my colleague from Etobicoke-Lakeshore on the government bench even mentioned that this Bill 103 circumvented the normal processes, where bills come from ministries and they're usually brought in through white papers that go out to the public and have discussions. What this bill did is short-circuit that process; it came out of some back room. Therefore, it was really brought to this Legislature without going through the proper processes. The proof of that is all the amendments and the court rulings against this bill that said parts of it were even illegal. I think the --
The Speaker: Member for Oakwood, with the greatest of respect, we're arguing apples and oranges. Where the bill came from, who drafted it, whatever dark room you think it was written in, doesn't have any control over me.
What I have to understand is, is it here properly? It is here properly. Furthermore, if you had concerns about it, this is in respect of first reading. We're now approaching committee of the whole. There's a timeliness to points of order. You should have brought that up at first reading.
Member for Oakwood, I appreciate the point you're trying to make. It's just that I'm not buying that particular point today.
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): On a point of order, Mr Speaker:
I raise this point in a way seeking some guidance from you, because if we get at some point during the day to committee of the whole on either Bill 103 or 104, there is an issue raised in my mind about potential conflict between the one-hour limitation that the time allocation sets out. You've just reiterated for us how that time limitation motion governs now all proceedings on those two bills. Obviously, we accept that as being part of your ruling.
I see a potential conflict between that time of one hour and the potential argument we might want to make, or that in fact even the government might want to make, with respect to amendments that either the government has lodged or we have lodged, about whether those amendments are in order in terms of compliance with the standing orders. I don't have to cite for you what the range of those might be. One example would be where you know very well that under the processes it's not possible to have an amendment that's deemed to be in order if that amendment amends a different section of the original legislation from one that is amended by the legislation in front of the House.
I'm wondering and I'm seeking from you some guidance as to how and when particularly we are to deal with those issues. The concern I have is this: Is it only limited within that one hour? If the answer to that is yes, if the points of order are only limited to that hour, then does that mean that outside of that, because they're deemed to be put under that time allocation motion, they're deemed to have been moved, there can be no challenge against any of the other amendments we may not reach in any procedural arguments we might want to make within that hour? I seek your guidance.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Dovercourt, that is a superb question, and I expect nothing less, to be honest. The fact of the matter is, the Chair of the committee of the whole will have to rule on that exact point of order that you stood on. I'm sure you will be waiting, as I will and many people, to find out what that ruling will be.
Mr Silipo: Just to be clear, are you saying I should raise that same point at some point during that hour?
The Speaker: Statements.
Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: You're on a --
Ms Castrilli: I'm on a different matter, Mr Speaker. I seek unanimous consent of the House to recognize the contribution of Mrs Elinor Caplan, the MPP for Oriole, an outstanding member of our party, who has recently resigned.
The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? Okay. Members' statements. I need a member's statement.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: May I ask for clarification --
The Speaker: That's not a point of order, member for Fort William.
Mrs McLeod: I'd like some clarification.
The Speaker: I appreciate the fact that you'd like clarification. You must seek that from the government House leader. It's not up to me to do that.
I need a Liberal statement. I just want to be clear, if you could please take your seats: I want to now move forward into routine proceedings. I appreciate that you have some points of privilege and points of order.
Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Mr Speaker --
The Speaker: Member for Lake Nipigon. I understand that the member for Windsor-Sandwich has a point of order or privilege, I'm sure, one or the other. I will say to the Liberal caucus, I will hear the member for Windsor-Sandwich's point of privilege and then I would ask for a statement to be read. If you're not standing for a statement, I will skip the rotation. Member for Windsor-Sandwich.
RESPONSE TO PETITION
Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Mr Speaker, in terms of order, I guess it's appropriate today, and you'll understand in terms of content why it's necessary to do it as quickly as possible: It is in regard to standing order 36(h), which is found on page 30:
"Within eight sessional days of its presentation, the government shall file a response to a petition with the Clerk of the House and shall provide a copy of the response to the member who presented the petition."
If I might refresh your memory, it's actually quite brief: The petition content on that date, February 19, 1997, which is well in excess of eight sessional days, was:
"Whereas Ontarians are gravely concerned with the historic $1.3-billion cuts to base funding of hospitals; and
"Whereas Ontarians feel that health services are suffering; and
"Whereas the government is reducing hospital funding and not reinvesting millions of dollars into the communities that they are being taken away from;
"We, the undersigned" --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I will ask them to respond as soon as they can.
Mrs Pupatello: Would I be able to move the matter of lack of response from the Ministry of Health?
The Speaker: No. With the greatest of respect, the member for Windsor-Sandwich, it's been placed. As Speaker I am only allowed to ask the minister to respond. I will alert the minister to the concerns that you've outlined and ask them to respond as quickly as possible.
Members' statements. Member for Fort William.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): I appreciate, Mr Speaker, that you've come into the House -- I am asking you for an adjudication on an interpretation of your statement on rules of order. It is my intention to seek unanimous consent, which I want to have taken seriously. I heard the ruling you made that you were going to move immediately to members' statements, but I'm not aware of anything -- I can't find it in the standing orders -- which suggests that a member cannot rise and ask for unanimous consent. I certainly realize it may not be given, but I think I can ask for it.
The Speaker: They rose for unanimous consent. It wasn't there.
Mrs McLeod: I didn't ask for unanimous consent.
The Speaker: No. I appreciate that. Now you want unanimous consent to --
Mrs McLeod: I would like unanimous consent in order to ask to have reviewed a referendum which has been carried out by the students' council in Etobicoke. I ask for this unanimous consent, and I ask government members, who will realize that they are bringing forward presumably this afternoon --
The Speaker: I need unanimous consent --
Mrs McLeod: I'm sorry. I'll be very quick. The government itself has recognized that in Bill 104 they forgot about students. They forgot to consult students --
The Speaker: Member for Fort William, if you're seeking unanimous consent, you must stand, put your unanimous consent; I will put it. If then we have it, we may have the debate that you may be looking for.
Mrs McLeod: Then, Mr Speaker, as I've indicated, I'm asking for unanimous consent that the student viewpoints on Bill 104, which are represented today with a student present in the gallery who is a representative of the Etobicoke students' council, who have gone to the trouble to express to government their views on their bill --
The Speaker: I get it. I get it.
Mrs McLeod: This is one sentence. I haven't come to a period, Mr Speaker. It's a continuous sentence. If you'll check Hansard, I'm still --
The Speaker: The member for Fort William is seeking unanimous consent for -- no? Okay. Statements, member for Mississauga South.
Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): On April 1, Peel --
The Speaker: Point of order, member for Yorkview.
Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I'm seeking your assistance here. In your response to the members for Oakwood and Dovercourt you did say that the bill was introduced in order here into the House. However, in the last few days, after five weeks of public hearings -- I'm referring to Bill 103 -- we have received --
Mr Sergio: I'm coming to the point of order. We received a number of amendments at the conclusion of the public hearings. Even we, as members of the committee, have had very little time ourselves to see and debate in the proper fashion the amendments which were introduced by the government. Do you have a copy of Bill 103 there, which I want to bring to your attention, Mr Speaker? I want to read from the explanatory note, and I won't read the whole thing, for the convenience of the House:
"The new city, which comes into existence on January 1, 1998, will be divided into 44 wards. The first city council, consisting of one member elected by each ward and a head of council elected by general vote, will be chosen in the 1997 regular election and will take office at the start of 1998."
During the five weeks of hearings the committee members dealt with the bill as it was introduced by the minister into this House, which was the formation of one city composed of 44 members of council.
The Speaker: Mr Sergio, I don't mean to cut you off or speed you up, but I really would like you to get to your point of order.
Mr Sergio: I'm coming to it.
The Speaker: Yes, and Christmas is coming and a whole bunch of other things. I want you to get to your point of order.
Mr Sergio: Thank you for being so patient.
The Speaker: With all due respect to the opposition caucus, I allowed him to get up on a point of order. I am hearing the point of order. I have not heard it. I am allowing him another opportunity to put it. If you could put it, I'd appreciate it.
Mr Sergio: This is Bill 103, and what I have read to you is from the explanatory note of the same bill here. What we have today, what we are faced with today, is a bunch of amendments brought in at the last moment by the minister and the government which are totally different from what was in this particular bill here.
The Speaker: The amendments aren't even before the House yet. With the greatest respect to the member for Yorkview, I'm trying to say to the members opposite -- if you could take your seat just briefly, member for Yorkview -- the amendments aren't even before this House at this time. You can't ask me to start ruling on amendments that I have not seen. You're bringing forward maybe a very compelling argument, and I'm not suggesting it's not, but the amendments aren't before this House. I haven't seen them, so any argument that you make about any of the amendments is out of order.
Mr Sergio: Mr Speaker, if I may be allowed, the reason I'm bringing this to your attention now is so you can deliver later on at your convenience -- that's all I am asking. The amendments have been introduced at the committee level where we had some input, or no input at all; it depends which way you want to see it. Therefore, we are not dealing any more with a council of 44 members; we are dealing with a possible city council of 57 members. I would like to have your opinion on that, so please take your time. Can I have an answer?
The Speaker: Member for Yorkview, I guess my answer stands.
Mr Sergio: Which was?
The Speaker: Which was that I haven't seized the amendments yet. We've got to get to committee of the whole. The committee of the whole House will then seize the amendments and report back to me, the Speaker. At that time it may be very appropriate for you to make your point of order.
Mr Sergio: At what point would the amendments be introduced?
The Speaker: If you want to come down and talk to the table clerks about it, I think they'd be more than happy to outline to you just when that process is.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to request unanimous consent so that the members from all sides of the House may discuss and have a debate about the tremendous contribution made by Citizens for Local Democracy in promoting citizen involvement and public awareness in the democratic process with respect to Bills 103 and 104, timely matters that will be before the House at this point in time.
The Speaker: I would ask for unanimous consent. I heard a no.
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to request unanimous consent of the House to permit the government House leader to rise and withdraw Bills 103 and 104 from consideration.
The Speaker: Unanimous consent to withdraw? No.
Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: My point of order is that I have started my statement and I ask you to allow me to continue.
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would ask unanimous consent for the House to consider the concerns raised before the standing committee on social development in consideration of Bill 104 by the boards of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and Prescott and Russell about the proposal to have only one board in that area despite the fact that the Sweeney commission had recommended that there should be two boards. I would ask unanimous consent that the House consider and debate that issue today, right now.
The Speaker: The member for Algoma has asked for unanimous consent. No.
Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's a matter of urgency that the students at York University are losing their year. I'd like unanimous consent of the House to debate and talk and put their views in regard to those students and the professors who are on strike today. I'm seeking unanimous consent in that respect.
The Speaker: Unanimous consent? No.
Let me just say that I appreciate what's going on. If I could make just a quick comment here, I want to say to the members of the Legislature that it's my job to see that this House moves in an orderly fashion. I have, I think with some diligence, tried to respond in the past and today to points of order. After a while, with respect to some points of order, it's kind of obvious what is transpiring.
I think it's important to say to the members opposite that I am prepared to hear a number of points of order and I've heard a number of points of order, but I have a responsibility to ensure that we go through routine proceedings and the House carries forward. I'm going to have to tell you that after a certain number of unanimous consents it seems to me that we now are simply trying to usurp the process. I would ask the members to cooperate and allow the process to continue. There are many avenues that are open to opposition parties for you to accomplish certain proceedings. I would only say to the members opposite that if you could confine yourselves to those, I would greatly appreciate it.
GOVERNMENT MAIL SERVICE
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I have heard a rumour, and it's on fairly good authority I must say --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I've never heard a point of privilege start out with "I've heard a rumour." I'm helping you on this one. Keep going.
Mr Bradley: Glad to see you're helping me.
The rumour is in regard to the mailbox downstairs just outside the mailroom, where you can now have picked up at 5 o'clock any mail that may be going out late in the day, that indeed that 5 o'clock pickup is going to be ended and the earliest we will have it is 9 o'clock the next morning. Since members have some important mail that cannot make it out sometimes in the last load of mail that goes out of our own mailroom, which I think is somewhere around 3 o'clock, it seems to me that our privileges are very much affected by this. I'd like you to investigate --
The Speaker: I will investigate it. Now I'd like to move --
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Okay, this is a point of order, and then I'm going to move to routine proceedings.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I raise a point of order with respect to section 42(f), which deals with time allotment on debates, and I raise this because, given your earlier ruling, we will be proceeding into committee of the whole this afternoon and we will be limited to one hour. Given that you have ruled that all standing orders have been dismissed or overruled by virtue of the time allocation motion, I would like to know whether standing order 42(f) is still in play. It reads as follows:
"The Speaker or the Chair of the committee of the whole House, as the case may be, shall apportion the time available for any matter to be debated or considered under this standing order equally among the recognized parties in the House. The time for a reply by the mover of a motion under this standing order shall be included in the time apportioned to the party of which the mover is a member."
There will be a number of motions, amendments, moved throughout committee of the whole. There is only one hour. I would like to know whether we can expect that that time will be allotted equally or whether this standing order in fact has been overruled by virtue of the committee of the whole House process being referred to in the time allocation motion, and there are a number of other similar standing orders.
I do need to understand because, for example, if I were to move adjournment of the debate during committee of the whole, during that one-hour debate -- this is a second point of order, Mr Speaker -- would that be in order and would that time then take away from the hour, given that the time allocation motion specifically says "one hour of debate," and a motion to adjourn the debate, therefore the 30-minute bell would be outside of that? If we could have a ruling, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): You know the thing is that that is in reference to opposition days.
Ms Lankin: I raised two points of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: With respect to the first point of order, that has to do with opposition days.
Ms Lankin: There are a number of relevant standing orders and I referred to the standing order that allows for an adjournment of the debate, for example. During the one-hour, time-allocated debate on committee of the whole, is that standing order now suspended by virtue of the time allocation motion? If it is not, I would argue that the very specific nature of the one hour of debate sets it apart from other circumstances.
For example, in the one sessional day being allowed for debate on a bill, if a motion to adjourn the debate is moved, you know that there is a 30-minute bell and that takes away from the time you have available to debate. Given that the time allocation motion very specifically says "There shall be one hour of debate," and it doesn't say that the debate will be concluded in one hour, if this standing order remains in effect, that you are allowed to move a motion to adjourn the debate, does that 30 minutes come away from the hour of debate? I ask you to think about the ruling you made earlier today with respect to standing orders and their remaining in effect and the specificity of the order of the time allocation motion.
The Speaker: A motion to adjourn would be a motion to rise and report at committee of the whole. You would then rise on a 30-minute bell to report to the House. Whatever the vote is, the vote is. The 30 minutes the bell rang for would come off the hour of the committee of the whole.
Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): Could I just indicate that there could be any number of rulings of possible scenarios that the opposition parties could concoct here this afternoon. I would submit that (a) it should be appropriate to address the questions to the table to get the advice from the Clerk's department; (b) the rulings clearly --
The Speaker: Order, the member for Cochrane South.
The Speaker: I appreciate your help, members for Kingston and The Islands and Lake Nipigon. Thank you for rising to my defence.
Hon David Johnson: The government is more than willing to take advice and guidance. Then, if a particular situation comes up, when it comes up, that's when one addresses the Speaker or the Chair of the committee. However, if we are to entertain every possible scenario here this afternoon, yes, we can spend the next 12 hours concocting any number. Mr Speaker, I would request that you advise that it's appropriate that those matters be raised when in fact they occur.
The Speaker: No, with the greatest of respect and although I know it raised the hackles to some degree, and I can understand that the comments are controversial, I will ask the member for Beaches-Woodbine --
Ms Lankin: I'm sorry. I didn't hear you.
The Speaker: You had another point of order. I will hear that point of order, and then I would ask if we could move into routine proceedings. With the greatest of respect, I want to hear your point of order, the follow-up, but there is some merit to the member's comments with respect to the timeliness of points of order. We will get into committee of the whole at some point. Those points of order are probably very applicable at that time and you can make them then, because those are the times when you can get rulings on a lot of this stuff.
The Speaker: Member for Oakwood, I'm not debating this. I said to the member, "At that point in time you may get a ruling on a lot of these issues from the committee of the whole Chair."
Ms Lankin: Mr Speaker, the point of order I want to raise now is with respect to section 47, but I seek your guidance. I understand the plea you essentially just made to the House that these points of order perhaps would be more timely to be raised with the Chair of the committee of the whole House once we move into committee of the whole.
I point out to you, however, that once we move into committee of the whole, we are time-allocated to one-hour debate of many, many amendments. There are some questions that have now been brought to my attention with respect to the rules as a result of your ruling this afternoon on my original point of order. I seek the ruling from you now so that I know how I may proceed at that point in time and not take time away from the very precious hour that we have for debate, which is unsatisfactory, but I am loath at that point to take any more time away from it.
The point of order with respect to standing order 47, which comes under the standing orders section on motions, reads as follows:
"A motion for closure, which may be moved without notice, until it is decided shall preclude all amendment of the main question, and shall be in the following words: `That this question be now put.' Unless it appears to the Speaker that such motion is an abuse of the standing orders of the House or an infringement of the rights of the minority, the question shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate. If a motion for closure is resolved in the affirmative, the original question shall be put forthwith and decided without amendment or debate."
Mr Speaker, I am seeking a ruling from you as to whether this standing order is overruled by the time allocation motion. Would it be in order during the course of that one-hour debate for myself or another member of this Legislative Assembly to move a motion of closure under section 47, and if successful, would that preclude the further moving of amendments and the consideration of those amendments, and by the motion being put forthwith, will there be any calling of the members into the Legislative Assembly to participate in that vote?
The Speaker: First, that's in order, 47; second, it's hypothetical; third, I can't be prepared to start entering into discussions to outline to you at this time what's in order and what isn't in order. I'm certain that if you'd like to discuss this --
Ms Lankin: That would be in order?
The Speaker: Yes, I say it would be in order. If you'd like to enter into discussions with the table clerks on some of the other concerns you have, I give you that option, and even if you wanted to submit them to me now or as the period winds up, I'd be happy to take them then. But I can't even begin to start addressing all the standing orders we have in this place and whether they're in order or not in order. They're all hypothetical. It's very difficult as a Speaker to start answering hypothetical points of order. They have to be concrete and before the Legislature and that's why it's very difficult when I say to you it appears to me to be in order, but there's a whole whack of times where --
Ms Lankin: But you understand the hour time limitation.
The Speaker: I understand exactly what you're driving at and I appreciate the point of order you brought up with respect to 77(c), and I think you can understand my response at the time. I can't deal with every hypothetical situation. I'll do my best, and if you have any further questions I'll entertain them at the table or entertain them at a later point. I appreciate your indulgence, to the members of the opposition. I'm going to deal with the member for Parkdale.
Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): Mr Speaker, I seek unanimous consent on a very pressing issue.
The Speaker: I appreciate the member for Parkdale's concern. I think I was fairly clear with respect to unanimous consent. I know you're going to cite the standing order. I am asking for the indulgence of the opposition. It seems to me that I gave the opportunity, that I gave two more chances for unanimous consent. I'll give the member for Parkdale this opportunity but I want to move on after this unanimous consent.
Mr Ruprecht: Mr Speaker, I appreciate that very much. As you realize, the government is planning to cut 253 beds for psychiatric patients.
The Speaker: I need unanimous consent, member for Parkdale. I need you to put it.
Mr Ruprecht: This, as you know, will cause real havoc in the west end of Toronto and in other places. In fact, as you also know, there are four psychiatric hospitals that will be affected.
The Speaker: I need unanimous consent, member for Parkdale.
Mr Ruprecht: Therefore, Mr Speaker, I'm asking unanimous consent to debate this issue of why this government wishes to cut 253 beds in Toronto and four psychiatric --
The Speaker: The member for Parkdale seeks -- no? I caution the members of the opposition. I don't want to deal with unanimous consents.
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, I'm going to ask you to listen to this one and you may say you don't want to deal with it and I'll accept whatever decision, of course, that you make, but this is a matter of great timeliness. You'll remember there was a discussion about the possibility of proceeding with a piece of legislation dealing with flying wheels -- that is, truck safety. What I would like to do, because I think it's very timely today, is request unanimous consent of the House that if we get to orders of the day we deal with the flying wheel legislation or the truck safety legislation.
The Speaker: Unanimous consent on flying wheels? No. Member for Mississauga South.
Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): This is a member's statement, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: With the indulgence of the members of the opposition, the member for Mississauga South -- if the member for Fort William would come to order -- I appreciate the fact that the order was usurped there. I'll be prepared to go back to the beginning. Let's start here. Members' statements. I'm only prepared to go back to the beginning now, though, to the member for Fort William.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): Mr Speaker, on a point of order, before you make the ruling on -- I appreciate the fact that you've come loaded for bear today and you've read the rules book as closely as we have. I also appreciate the fact, and I hope you will, that this is not a day for indulgences, with due respect.
The Speaker: I'm going to tell you the rule I'm standing on, Erskine May in Parliamentary Practice, 21st edition: "Speakers have exercised discretion over the taking of points of order and have indicated at what point in the proceedings they are prepared to hear them." That's the one I'm standing on, and I don't want to invoke that. What I really like to do is hear points of order. I don't ever want to cut a member off from a point of order because I think it's very, very important that they have the right to stand on those points of order, but it's also very important that we are allowed to continue the business of the day.
With the greatest of respect to the members opposite, I think I've shown great discretion in allowing the points of order. It's time now to move to members' statements. Member for Fort William, I will hear your point of order if that's going to satisfy the member for Fort William, but I'd really like to move on at this point to members' statements.
Mrs McLeod: It will not satisfy the member for Fort William, but I'd like to complete it nevertheless. As I indicated when I rose on unanimous consent earlier, I do have a number of issues for which I would like to seek unanimous consent to be considered today, all of which, in my view, are relevant and necessary to be considered by this assembly prior to the final placing of amendments on Bill 104. All of them arise out of the discussion and public presentations we had during the committee hearings on Bill 104. I'm not suggesting that we do anything here which is irrelevant to the debate at hand. I think it's fair for members of the assembly to be able to seek unanimous consent of all members of the assembly to consider an issue that's relevant to the business before us today, and that's simply what I've sought.
In terms of the rules, Mr Speaker -- and this is where I'm asking on what basis you're judging. I understand what you've read from Erskine May on rules of order, but I don't know that there's anything there that says that any member of the Legislative Assembly may not stand and seek unanimous consent. It can be denied; it likely will be, given this government's orientation to ram things through. But I don't know that there's anything in the standing orders that allows you, with great respect, to refuse that privilege to me.
The Speaker: I guess because it simply states that with respect to the points of order and the business at hand, it allows the Speaker to move forward within the guidelines of the natural procedures of business.
With the greatest of respect, Fort William, I don't think you're going to agree with me on this one and I can appreciate the fact that you're not, but I've heard your points of order, I've heard the unanimous consents, and I just feel it has been indulged to the point that I think it's time to go to routine proceedings. I understand you don't agree, but that's my ruling.
Mrs McLeod: It's not that I'm not agreeing --
Mrs McLeod: -- the rule on my question, and my question is, under what circumstances, under what criteria can the Speaker refuse the right to a member of the assembly to raise a question of unanimous consent?
The Speaker: It's simply a case that it's discretionary of the Speaker. That's the bottom line.
Mrs McLeod: Unanimous consent --
The Speaker: No, it's discretionary of the Speaker to hear a point of order. It's discretionary of the Speaker to move forward from a point of order. Member for Fort William, if you are rising for unanimous consent, you are rising under a point of order. You can't get the floor for unanimous consent unless you stand on a point of order.
Mrs McLeod: Which order in our standing orders? It doesn't refer to --
The Speaker: You see, I don't think we're going to agree on this one; I understand why we're not going to agree. But I'm telling you I have the right to move on when I consider the points of order are now getting in the way of the regular proceedings of the House. I've decided that now. If you want to make unanimous consent, you have to rise on a point of order, and I've made my ruling on the point of order.
Let us, please, go to statements.
Mrs Marland: I have a statement.
The Speaker: No. I'm going back to the rotation. Statements; member for Port Arthur.
Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a very important point of privilege, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: No. I'm sorry, sir. I'm in statements and I am now coming back to the Liberal Party and --
The Speaker: All right. On a point of privilege, the member for Port Arthur.
Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is an important point under standing order 21(a), which reads, "Privileges are the rights enjoyed by the House collectively and by the members of the House individually conferred by the Legislative Assembly Act and other statutes, or by practice, precedent, usage and custom."
Obviously, one of the most important rights of the members of the assembly is the right to vote and certainly the right to be notified that a vote is or will be occurring. This is a fundamental right and I have a point of privilege related to that, in that last night when the bells were ringing for the opposition motion, I was in the legislative precinct, I was in my office and quite frankly I could not hear the bells. The bells were not ringing in my office and I recognize that therefore --
Mr Gravelle: I recognize that my colleagues frequently have bells in their offices, and it seems to me that it is my right to be notified of the vote and one of the privileges of access of service is that the bells will ring within the legislative precinct and the office.
Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): That's a good point.
Mr Gravelle: It's a very good point, because what it puts at risk obviously is that I cannot fulfil my duties if I'm not notified or able to know that a vote --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I agree with you and I will undertake to investigate that and get the bells fixed. Statements.
UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE NORTH
Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): Despite an unemployment rate of 11.4% and an even higher youth unemployment rate of 22% in northern Ontario, the Minister of Northern Development continues to kill jobs and cancel work training programs geared to the special needs of the north.
Take the minister's recent decision to restructure the activities of resident geologists and his ministry's mining recorder offices. While prospecting activity in northern Ontario continues to boom, this minister has eliminated key professional staff in those areas and has forced the consolidation of activities in one community. While prospectors are working hard to ensure continued growth for Ontario's mining sector, the minister has threatened their ability to access service and information quickly, thereby forcing a drag on prospecting activity in the north.
Clearly, this minister's action speaks more to the need to satisfy Mike Harris's downsizing plans than the long-term economic health of northern Ontario and its people. Even more distressing, the minister continues to waffle on the fate of two northern youth job training opportunities. He has refused to renew funding for the Junior Rangers program, a program that gives high school students direct involvement in environmental conservation. He has also refused to confirm funding to the Nortop program, which last year created 3,000 jobs for youth in northern Ontario.
Minister, after a year and a half, northerners expect some action by this government on the unemployment crisis in northern Ontario. Do the right thing. Give your people a hand up by maintaining support for these important northern programs.
Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): It's a sad day when citizens feel they have to take legal action to protect themselves against their government. That's what a group of citizens did the other day at a press conference here at Queen's Park.
George Stephenson and Chris Wilson, the co-chairs of the Citizens Legal Challenge, and Bob Barnett, Beth Moore Milroy, Graham Mudge, Andrew Vice, the other members of the steering committee, announced their formation of the Citizens Legal Challenge just yesterday. Raj Anand is the former head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He was retained as the legal counsel.
This group has been incorporated to take legal action on behalf of citizens and citizens' organizations to have Bill 103 struck down if this government is foolish enough to try to pass it into law over the objections of the vast majority of Toronto's citizens.
Action will be brought under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the basis of reduced access to representation which will result in reduced freedom of expression for Toronto's citizens. The details of this challenge will be made public at the time if the government makes it necessary to launch this action. George Stephenson said this about this bill: "The megacity proposal is not just flawed, it is terrible -- and it is anti-democratic."
Four reasons for the challenge are loss of community and loss of accessibility and accountability from elected representatives; related legislation such as downloading and Bill 104; lack of any clear or substantive reasons for the megacity; and the lack of process. George Stephenson says: "The government may try to close down our cities. But they won't close us down."
If you want to support the group, contact George Stephenson at 922-2951.
COMMUNITY CARE ACCESS CENTRES
Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): On April 1, Peel's Community Care Access Centre, or CCAC, opened its doors after much time and effort by the volunteer members of its board. The CCAC provides one-stop shopping for seniors, persons with disabilities and others who need long-term care.
Before the CCAC opened, residents of Peel had to call several agencies and government offices to arrange long-term care such as residential placements, visiting nurses, housekeeping and Meals on Wheels. Now just one phone call is needed and the CCAC will coordinate a wide range of long-term services.
This is a great step forward in the history of Peel, and on behalf of the beneficiaries of the CCAC I would like to express gratitude to everyone who has been a part of making this happen. Other communities in Ontario are also benefiting from the hard work of Peel's CCAC board, whose excellent business plan is serving as a model for CCACs that are still in the planning phase.
For 10 years Ontarians have talked about the need for meaningful long-term care reform. With the CCACs and our other changes, the Mike Harris government is delivering long-term care reform that puts patients and their families first in Peel and across Ontario.
SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS AUX HÔPITAUX
M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott et Russell) : Les gens de Prescott et Russell de la région d'Ottawa-Carleton et tout le comité SOS Montfort ont démontré qu'ils n'allaient pas accepter la recommandation de la fermeture de l'hôpital Montfort sans se défendre. Le 22 mars dernier, plus de 10 000 personnes se sont rassemblées au Centre municipal d'Ottawa pour manifester leur appartenance à l'hôpital Montfort. Des jeunes, des personnes âgées, des francophones et des anglophones de partout en Ontario ont pris part à ce ralliement monstre.
Ce fut un grand ralliement pour illustrer que la commission n'a pas pris en considération la formation professionnelle qui se fait à Montfort ; que la commission a fait erreur concernant les données de la clientèle francophone de Montfort ; et qu'elle n'a pas considéré l'apport de Montfort au sein de toutes les communautés francophones de la province.
Nous voulons conserver Montfort pour éviter un autre Rapport Dubois, qui a mis à jour au début des années 70 une situation troublante qui existait dans les murs de l'institution psychiatrique de Brockville. Des francophones avec un retard intellectuel en résidence au sein de cette institution étaient évalués comme étant moins intelligents parce que le personnel anglophone n'arrivait pas à les comprendre et à communiquer efficacement avec eux.
La fermeture de Montfort, c'est un retour en arrière. C'est ouvrir la porte à d'autres rapports comme celui du docteur Dubois.
Monsieur Harris, les Ontariens sont fiers de leur passé, mais ils ne veulent pas retourner en arrière. Ils veulent foncer vers l'avenir. Montfort est un outil indispensable pour poursuivre --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Beaches-Woodbine.
AMENDMENTS TO GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): I was pleased today to join with my leader, Howard Hampton, and the members from Dovercourt, Fort York, Riverdale and Algoma as we tabled our amendments to Bill 103 and Bill 104 with the Clerk of the House.
We tabled approximately 11,500 amendments to Bill 103. Every one of those amendments deals with a very serious issue that we heard during the public hearings on Bill 103. They deal with iron-clad protection of existing municipal reserve funds; enhanced community control over such issues as planning, licensing and arts; continued statutory establishment of the Toronto Transit Commission; guarantees of full consultation with the public in the implementation of any changes in provincial regulation or new bylaws; a reasonable $200,000 spending limit for mayoral election campaigns -- I could go on to describe that.
With respect to Bill 104, the amendments include a clear delineation of new district school boundaries based on what was presented to the standing committee; the children's bill of rights that was developed by Toronto parents and presented to the committee by the Toronto Board of Education. It's an effort to limit the damage of the Tory cuts in this bill and outlines the necessary components of quality education.
There will be thousands and thousands of amendments that we will be dealing with in committee of the whole, serious amendments. I urge the government to take the time to work through those with us in a reasonable fashion and improve those amendments.
Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): I rise on behalf of the Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services to join with police services across Ontario to proclaim April as Stay Alert, Stay Safe Month. Children's safety is everyone's responsibility. Specifically, streetproofing continues to be essential to children's daily education. Adults should teach children to listen to their instincts and help them to gain the confidence to handle potentially dangerous situations.
In light of recent revelations, it's particularly timely that this year's theme is called "Keeping Team Sports Healthy and Fun." We are proud to join with crime prevention committees of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the federal Solicitor General, the Canadian Tire child protection foundation and our colleagues in the other provinces for their endorsement of this effort of the Stay Alert, Stay Safe organization. I'm sure that I join with all members in congratulating them, and we wish them much success in their work.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I hope you will find this is indeed a legitimate point of order and that it is a very timely point of order. I see that you've had a discussion with the table clerk and that you may understand what is coming forth. I would point out that the member of the government caucus who just rose and delivered a member's statement is a parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services. In the opening of his member's statement he made reference to the fact that he was making the statement on behalf of the minister.
Mr Speaker, I would point out to you that the rules are very clear around members' statements and what they can be used for and who can deliver them, and it is completely out of order for a parliamentary assistant to rise and deliver a member's statement with respect to his portfolio and on behalf of the minister with whom he works. I believe there has been another example of the government being flagrant in regard to the rules of this House, proceeding in such a way as to ignore the rules of this House. This is not the first occasion on which we have seen the government behave in this manner.
I believe it is important that you make a ruling but also that you offer for members of the opposition some suggestion of redress, because as this continues, as we continue to see flagrant abuse of the rules of the House by an arrogant majority government, we on this side are left always to come to you after the fact to seek a ruling, always to wonder what possible redress there is. There appears to be consistent behaviour on the part of government members, and I would ask that you both rule and please offer for us a manner of redress, and a stern redress, with respect to the behaviour of the members of the government caucus.
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: This is an extremely important matter. You will know that members of the assembly, on this side at least, have risen many times to say, "Is a minister going to make a statement?" At 12 noon, the government, as a courtesy, informs the opposition of ministerial statements so that we are able to at least have our critics here and perhaps prepare for potential statements.
If the government is going to try to avoid that process of having its ministers make statements in this House publicly, informing the House and members of the press gallery of new government policy, then it seems to me this is indeed an attempt to circumvent the rules of the House. I believe you may want to take some time to consider this matter and make a ruling, or perhaps you can make a ruling at this time.
Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): There is no intent to circumvent any rulings of this House. It was simply a matter that one of the members of the Legislature was to make a statement. In the absence of that particular member, I think the parliamentary assistant did make the statement in his stead. I'm not sure if the rules have been violated or not. I can assure you there was no intention to circumvent or violate any particular rule. I would certainly leave, as always, the ruling in your good hands, Mr Speaker, but indicate to you that it was simply an intent of a member, not pertaining to the Solicitor General or the Attorney General, to make a statement in this Legislature.
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): In light of the government House leader's comments, I think it is incumbent upon the Speaker to rule that each of the opposition parties should have their normal five minutes' rebuttal in response to the minister's statement. The parliamentary assistant made a statement on behalf of his minister, a ministerial statement in essence. Therefore, the opposition parties should have the opportunity, under the rules, to give their responses.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Could I just say quickly to the member for Algoma that can only be done through consent.
The Speaker: I'll hear that one. I'm fairly sure of that.
The other thing is, you know what? That probably is more my fault than anyone else's. I should have been listening more carefully to the member for Oakville South. It is my responsibility.
Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I can explain the situation. The statement was supposed to be done by my colleague the member for Wellington. He had to step out because of the delay. As you know, we usually do this at 1:30. He had to leave, so in his absence I did the statement. If it offends anyone, I will certainly apologize, and I did on behalf of the member for Wellington, so that you understand what that was all about.
Ms Lankin: Point of order, please.
The Speaker: With respect to the member for Beaches-Woodbine, what the member for Oakville South said doesn't change anything. Although I appreciate the point he has made -- he is an honourable member, as is the member for Wellington, and I take them at their word -- it is my responsibility. I missed it. I have to be more vigilant in the future in listening to statements. This is a government statement. I ask the opposition to accept that. I cannot seek to allow more time to one side or the other. That must come through unanimous consent. I will give you my undertaking in the future that when the statements are made, I will be more vigilant in listening to them.
Ms Lankin: In light of the error, in light of the apology from the member, in light of the concern raised by the government House leader that there was no intent and in light of the fact that it was clearly stated that this was being made on behalf of the Solicitor General, I would ask for unanimous consent for five-minute responses from the two opposition parties to this ministerial statement.
The Speaker: Unanimous consent to five-minute responses? I heard a no.
I have a point of privilege for the member for Fort William.
ACCESS TO PUBLIC GALLERY
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): I've been trying to follow as closely as I can what is happening in terms of the accommodation of members of the public who are here to observe today's proceedings. I was given to understand that nobody could be seated in this gallery until 3 o'clock because it was being held for tour groups. It is now well past 3 o'clock. There are at least 200 people who want to be accommodated in the assembly chambers. I'm glad to see that a few members of the public have been accommodated, but I fail to understand why the galleries are not full.
I also understand that you need some sort of a numbered pass today in order to get into the public galleries. I don't know whether members' offices were advised that we would have to provide numbered passes. A number of us have signed members' gallery passes and obviously the members' gallery is full, so we have people who are simply not --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I appreciate the point you are making. Why there are numbers is because there were so many people. As you arrived, you got a number; if the gallery freed up, you were the next person allowed to go up. That's the only reason for the number.
The Speaker: Please, just give me a moment.
Also, I don't know how long they are running the tours through the public gallery. I met with the people with respect to the tours. I believe the tours were to be done today. They're done, so now they're processing them and they will be in, I think, as soon as they're processed through the metal detectors upstairs and allowed to come in.
The numbers have nothing to do with any particular new efficiencies we put in place. It's simply a case that if you were the second hundred people here, you get the first opportunity to move into the public galleries.
Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Point of privilege, Mr Speaker.
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): On a point of order.
Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): Point of privilege.
The Speaker: Point of privilege, member for Windsor-Sandwich.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is particularly important, given the time and the day, today being Wednesday, and, as an official member of the Legislative Assembly committee, I've been informed as I arrived in the House again today, just this afternoon, that the Legislative Assembly committee has been cancelled once again.
The relevance for your address in terms of my own privileges as a member, Speaker, is that you are quite aware of all of the shenanigans put forward of late by the government members at that committee. In fact, we had to come to your aid in terms of how we could ask some of these --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I've got to tell you something. I have to tell the member for Windsor-Sandwich committees have nothing to do with me. The cancellation of committees, whether they go off or whether they don't go off, they're not a point of privilege. I will hear very, very briefly your point of privilege, summing up.
Mrs Pupatello: The issue, of course, is around referendum, which is around legislation which is due supposedly to be brought into the House. Because that has been the only item on an agenda for that committee of the Legislative Assembly, the concern I have is that -- and this is the history: February 26, the legislative committee was cancelled --
The Speaker: I need to hear your point of privilege. I need to hear it right now.
Mrs Pupatello: As a member of the House and certainly as an official member of the Legislative Assembly committee dealing with the issue of referenda at committee, my privileges then are to participate fully in the process of getting through the supposed time frame of having legislation brought forward into the House dealing with the issue of referenda.
Apparently the cancellation of the Legislative Assembly committee meetings has been timed with the vacations of certain members of that committee, as opposed to when I, as a member, have the privilege to work on behalf --
The Speaker: I appreciate that, but it's not a point of privilege for the Legislature. It must be taken up with the committee.
The Speaker: Order, member for Renfrew North.
The Speaker: Member for Scarborough East. Thank you.
We have about three points of privilege and one point of order. What I'm looking at is, do they have anything to do with the ones that I just dealt with or are they new? They're new?
Member for Lawrence.
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): I would like to refer back to the original time allocation motion where the House leader put the motion "That upon receiving the report of the standing committee on general government, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith."
This refers, of course, to section 47, the clause that deals with closure motions: "`That this question be now put.' Unless it appears to the Speaker that such motion is an abuse of the standing orders of the House or an infringement of the rights of the minority...."
I'm going to argue, with respect to the extent that one hour is all that is being granted for consideration of amendments, that there is an infringement of the rights of the minority.
The Speaker: It has been passed by the House, member for Lawrence. It has been adopted by the House. You can't appeal to me a motion that has been adopted by the House.
Mr Cordiano: But there is clearly in section 47 --
The Speaker: Member for Lawrence, I ask you to take your seat.
Mr Cordiano: I'm asking for clarification.
The Speaker: Clarification isn't a point of order. A point of order is a point of order, and the point of order is out of order. It has been adopted by the House on a motion for time allocation. That was adopted by this House. If you had a point of order, you should have taken it up at that time. It's not timely.
Mr Cordiano: But the point I'm trying to raise is with respect to the amount of time --
The Speaker: Member for Lawrence, it doesn't matter. That debate has taken place long ago.
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I want to raise a point of order with respect to the statement that was made on behalf of the Solicitor General. I appreciate the point you made earlier, that you could not of your own volition ask for unanimous consent; that in fact that was something to be decided by the House. But I believe it was deemed to be a ministerial statement. I believe the government House leader admitted on the record that it was a statement made on behalf of the minister. I'm assuming that at the very least, when we get to ministerial statements we will either have the statement repeated by the minister or at the very least you will allow at that point in time, as the rules provide, responses by the two opposition parties.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I appreciate the point of order. I did not hear the minister say they deemed this to be a ministerial statement.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Silipo: You might want to clarify that with him, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Member for Dovercourt, the government House leader can stand at any time and clarify anything he likes to. I didn't hear that, with the greatest of respect. That's all I can tell you.
Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): He spoke on behalf of the minister.
The Speaker: I didn't hear him say that was a ministerial statement. Government House leader?
Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): It clearly wasn't a ministerial statement. I indicated that the member was speaking on behalf of the member for Wellington.
Hon David Johnson: Absolutely. I said it; I should know. I should know what I meant. You've made your ruling on this particular matter, Mr Speaker, so I would submit these are out of order.
Mr Silipo: Speaker, with all due respect, the ruling you made dealt with whether we should be --
The Speaker: Member for Dovercourt, I did hear your point of order. Your point of order is that the government House leader said it was a ministerial statement. I didn't hear him say that, with the greatest of respect for the member for Dovercourt. I suppose you heard it one way and I may have heard it another. I didn't hear those words come out of his mouth. I appreciate your point of order, but since I didn't hear it that way, I don't see it as a point of order. Now, we've got a statement.
Mr Silipo: May I just then ask, Speaker --
The Speaker: Sure, go ahead, but very quickly.
Mr Silipo: May I just ask very quickly what happens if upon reviewing Hansard you do in fact find that the member, when he made the statement, said, "On behalf of the Ministry of the Solicitor General," the member himself? He's still sitting here, so you're able to verify that now. I suggest it would be appropriate for you to do that.
The Speaker: I did hear the member for Oakville say that. I did not hear the government House leader say it was a ministerial statement. I did hear that, member for Dovercourt.
Mr Silipo: Surely, Speaker, nobody stands up and says, "This is a ministerial statement"; they stand up and say, "On behalf of the ministry." It's the same thing.
Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): You said you missed it.
The Speaker: No, I heard the opening remark, to the member for Lake Nipigon; I did not hear the whole process.
I understand the points of order you're putting. I thought you said the government House leader said it was a ministerial statement. I did not hear the government House leader say that.
Mr Silipo: The member himself is still there.
The Speaker: The member for Oakville South can stand and say what he said. I have not got Instant Hansard. I can't recall exactly what he said.
Mr Silipo: But you can ask him. He's right there.
The Speaker: It's not my job to go around seeking out this information.
Mr Silipo: Sure it is. It's part of your job for keeping order.
The Speaker: No, it's not. It's up to them to decide whether they want to put it forward.
Mr Wildman: So your position is that when the member for Oakwood says something, it doesn't really count.
The Speaker: No. Can I have a statement from --
The Speaker: I say to the opposition members, I'm at the point of points of order; this is the last point of order. I'm at the Liberal -- I'm sorry, I should hear yours. There are two more points of order and then I'm going to look for a statement from the Liberal Party. If it's not there, I'm moving on. The member for York South.
ACCESS TO PUBLIC GALLERY
Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): I rise on a point of privilege. You have shown some sensitivity to the fact that we are being careful about our privileges today in the face of a government that wants to stifle debate, that's trying to hide from all the public by stuffing the debate into one hour.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I know, but you know what? Points of privilege aren't speeches. I need a point of privilege.
Mr Kennedy: The point of privilege I'm asking you to rule on is with regard to statements you made in the media surrounding the circumstances today, specifically statements made on CBC about the preparation of plans in anticipation. I think you can appreciate that for the members of the opposition, the minority members of this House, we want to make sure there aren't any arrangements arising -- and we think inadvertently because I think we appreciate the sensitivity you've shown. But we would like to know whether or not you would agree that any plans made in anticipation of today's proceedings on behalf of yourself and the table officers should be tabled in this House so we know what arrangements will be made concerning this debate, concerning perhaps some of the rulings and so on --
The Speaker: It's not a problem. I'll be happy to table the plans we've done and the meetings that have taken place and what we've agreed to to accommodate the people who come down here. I'd be very happy to do that, and as soon as we get it, I'll be happy to put it on the table. I will do my best to get it to you as soon as possible, but it's a very simple and straightforward operation.
I'm looking for, member for St Catharines, a statement.
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, I do have a point of order and it is --
Mr Bradley: -- being rudely interrupted by members of the government. You might even believe it's a point of privilege, but I believe it's a point of order because it relates to legislation coming before the House, and that is, despite your words -- I'll put it that way; I won't put them any other way -- of caution -- I'll put it that way -- despite the personal opinion you expressed about government advertising, the two bills we have on the docket this government is bringing forward -- Bill 103, the megacity bill, and Bill 104, the education bill -- both of those are still being subjected to government advertising. We still have the Premier on television on almost a daily basis, perhaps more, extolling the virtues of what the government is doing. This is a point of order.
The Speaker: Let's hear it.
Mr Bradley: The point of order is, how can we possibly proceed with this legislation when, unfairly, the government is using all of its resources, the taxpayers' dollars, millions upon millions of dollars, to have the Premier extol the virtues of this legislation when the opposition does not have the same opportunity?
The Speaker: I don't see that as a point of order. Statements. The member for Fort William.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): In the gallery today is Scott McDonald, who is here representing the Etobicoke students' councils. The Etobicoke students' councils have just organized a referendum among all the secondary school students in Etobicoke on their views of both Bill 103 and Bill 104. I am not surprised, but I'm pleased to report to the House that 80% of the almost 4,000 students who participated in this referendum were opposed to Bill 104 and specifically to the amalgamation of Toronto's seven school boards into one mega-board, and 78% of those students were opposed to the creation of a new megacity.
I'm sure that every member of this assembly would have to agree that students are the ones who are most directly affected by the changes to education this government is ramming through, but this government does not care about the students any more than it cares about the views of teachers or trustees or school board employees or the hundreds and hundreds of parent groups that have made representation of their concerns to the committee hearings on Bill 104.
I have, just as an example of one of the few students who got a chance to make a direct presentation to our committee hearings, the views of Kazia Picard, a Thunder Bay student. Here's what Kazia Picard says:
"I may not have the legal right to make my vote according to these issues, but I do have a right to a fair and equal education.... I am here desperately trying to keep my education from dissolving into a system where the gap between the...government's and the students' reality is so wide that the government does not understand what is going on."
These are the views of --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you. Statements. I'm going to go to statements, finish, and then I'll come back around.
Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Last Thursday I was down in Pelham when the hospital restructuring steering committee of the Niagara District Health Council released its final report. They have the nerve to call it Made in Niagara. Made in Niagara, my foot. This plan to shut down hospitals like the Hotel Dieu, and to gut hospitals like those in Grimsby and Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie and Port Colborne -- gut them -- wasn't made in Niagara. It was made in the Premier's boardroom. It was made in the back rooms of the private, for-profit, corporate health care providers that are lined up at the Peace Bridge.
I'm telling you, they're lined up at the Peace Bridge, ready to provide American-style, for-profit corporate health care and this government with its agenda of shutting down and gutting hospitals in Niagara and across this province is writing them a blank cheque. It is gutting our public health care system and the people of Niagara know it.
The Niagara hospital restructuring steering committee quite frankly didn't listen. There wasn't a single voice of support. I've got a box, a rather big box, of thousands and thousands of messages that same steering committee refused to accept that I'm going to be presenting to you right here and now today: People like Ada Werner who says: "Are they trying to tell seniors to just lay down and die? We paid our way for many years"; people like Bonnie Trudell who says: "We need Hotel Dieu for chemical radiation and fallout. Thanks to them, I'm a survivor."
Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): Every year, two months are selected to heighten public recognition and understanding of epilepsy. March was Epilepsy Awareness Month and many workshops, public forums, displays and social events were held by local chapters throughout the province to bring public awareness to epilepsy in their area. Epilepsy Ontario has been dedicated to helping people with epilepsy break down the barriers associated with this condition and to assist researchers in the search to find a permanent cure.
More than 280,000 Canadians have epilepsy. There are over 14,000 new cases reported each year, 18% of them in children and adolescents. It appears without warning in all races and at all social levels. It can cost thousands of dollars every year for medical care, medication and lost earnings, not to mention the costs extracted by the fear, misunderstanding and lack of information that brings isolation and anxiety.
In August, volunteers from epilepsy associations throughout Ontario sell gladioli, the floral symbol representing epilepsy. I would encourage everyone to purchase some, so that we can renew hope to all children and adults living with epilepsy.
ACCESS TO PUBLIC GALLERY
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: It is now some 15 minutes plus since you assured me that people were being seated in the galleries. There are some 16 people who have been seated in the last 15 minutes. I don't know if you're strip-searching them up there or what you're doing, but it's just unconscionable. These people have been kept waiting now for two hours. They're still being kept waiting and the gallery is empty.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): From what I understand, the metal detector broke upstairs. Member for Fort William, with the greatest of respect, I understand that you would like to see the galleries up there full because they've come down to see this place operate. There are other issues involved with respect to security and processes that I'm doing my best to maintain, and it's a difficult job. We've had a breakdown in the metal detector. We're trying to process them as quickly as we can.
The Speaker: I ask the gallery to come to order, please. Thank you. There is no benefit for me that the galleries wouldn't be full. It does not make any sense for me to keep them out. I'm doing my best to make sure it gets handled. It's also very difficult while I'm sitting here to ensure that the process is working.
Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: No, I'm not going to entertain any points of order or adjourn the House, so --
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Could I suggest that in light of the security reasons, perhaps there should be a recess until you could probably secure the --
The Speaker: I think it's better that we maintain and move along rather than recess the House. I appreciate it. It's now ministry statements.
Mr Kormos: Point of order.
The Speaker: Members on the opposition, I appreciate you want points of order and points of privilege. With respect to the people coming into the galleries, I can tell you we're doing absolutely everything within our power to ensure it happens as quickly as possible. I understand that you may be trying to help, but if there is anything you can do, I will come to you and ask for your assistance as soon as that happens.
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: One of the hallmarks of this Parliament as compared to so-called governments in other parts of the world is that it has to be, it's imperative that it be, public and open and accessible to the public. How dare we sit when people are barred from entering the half-vacant gallery? It's repugnant to the --
The Speaker: Member for Welland-Thorold --
The Speaker: Member for Lawrence, I appreciate your assistance. I am not, nor is anyone being barred from the gallery. Member for Welland-Thorold, I appreciate the fact they're not there. I have inquired at great length to try to speed the process up. Nobody is barring anybody. I don't want to see anybody not be in here who wants to be in here, and I'm doing my best from the chair to ensure that is happening. It may take a little bit more time. I beg for your indulgence. Recessing the House won't assist the matter at all. I appreciate your help.
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: My point of order relates to a report and I think you were in the chair when it was asked for and not provided to members of this House. I don't know whether you or the table could assist us, but you'll remember that the Solicitor General was refusing to present to the House a report on the involvement of organized crime in the gambling sector in this province, and before the government was to proceed with its VLT legislation, where it was going to put VLTs in every bar and every restaurant on every street in every neighbourhood in every town and village and city in Ontario, we were to get a report from the government, the CSIS report, I believe it is, or something similar at the provincial level, an OPP report on organized crime involved in gambling.
I have yet to see this House have access to that particular report and I'm wondering if you could help us out in the opposition --
The Speaker: I think that sounds like a better question than a point of privilege, to the member for St Catharines.
Interjections: Point of privilege.
The Speaker: I have a whole series of points or privilege, and I see six. Let me take those -- seven. Let me take those and we'll move directly into question period after that. Member for York South.
Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): Mr Speaker, it's just related to the earlier point of privilege I raised, and pursuant to some of the points raised since around concerns around today's arrangements.
I'm wondering, given your concurrence that that's relevant information for us to sustain our privileges as members, the provision of information about the preparations, the plans you made around today's conduct of the Legislature and related things, if we could recess until that information became available so that we would know we would have that information --
The Speaker: That's not a point of privilege. I never ruled that it was a point of privilege that has in fact usurped your ability as a member to perform your duties in this House. I never made that ruling. All I'm suggesting to you is that I will table that information, and that was it.
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): Mr Speaker, this is a point of privilege, and just to refresh your memory:
"Privileges are the rights enjoyed by the House collectively and by the members of the House individually conferred by the Legislative Assembly Act and other statutes, or by practice, precedent, usage and custom.
"Whenever a matter of privilege arises, it shall be taken into consideration immediately."
My privilege is that the government has denied publicly to me the existence of a report that subsequently was found to exist. The Premier, on February 5, when we were discussing Ipperwash, said: "You make up imaginary files. You make up imaginary involvement. There were no files, there were no records...." He goes on to say, "You have a wild imagination with no facts...."
Subsequently, and the reason I raise this today, it was found the government did indeed have the files the Premier is denying existed. The reason I raise it with you, Mr Speaker, is that the Premier denied these files existed, denied privilege to the members, denied information to the members that we require in order to assess the government. Clearly my privileges then have been abused by the Premier. I would have raised it with the Premier in the House, and I understood he would be here today. I gather his plans have changed. I rely now on you, Mr Speaker.
In my opinion, my privileges have been abused. We asked for information. The government denied that information existed. We now find, through a freedom of information request, that the information that the Premier said did not exist does exist. It is an important memo dated September 5. It indicates how the government planned to deal with the first nations at Ipperwash and indicates how the OPP were going to deal with the first nations at Ipperwash.
My point is this, Mr Speaker: If you can't guarantee to the members of the House that the government will be forthcoming with information, if you can't guarantee that the government will not try and say information does not exist when it does exist, who can we rely on?
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Is this related? Okay. The member for Algoma.
Mr Wildman: On the point that was raised by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, I think it's important for us to recognize that repeatedly in this House members requested the information and repeatedly the Premier alleged that the documentation did not exist. On May 29 the Premier stated not only that he would give all the documentation that was available and that the documentation we were asking for didn't exist; he also stated that there was no direction given by this government.
Now we have the documentation, the notes of the meeting on September 5, and in those notes it is clear -- under the heading "next steps" it states that the OPP will remove the occupiers from the Ipperwash Provincial Park ASAP. Not only does it state that, it states that the OPP will have discretion on how to remove them -- not whether or not to remove them, but how to remove them.
It is clear, it appears from the documentation that is now available through a freedom of information request, that indeed the documentation certainly existed and in that documentation there was direction given by this government to the OPP to remove demonstrators from the park as soon as possible; not a question of whether they should be removed, but to do it as soon as possible and to use whatever force, it appears, necessary.
The Speaker: To the members for Algoma and Scarborough-Agincourt, I have not got any ability to test the veracity of any statement made in this place. I appreciate your points of order. With that knowledge, it's impossible for me to in fact investigate or test the veracity. I can only ask that you, as a member for Scarborough-Agincourt or a member for Algoma, bring this up during question period. I understand your frustration at that point, but again it's not within my power to compel members to be here at any prescribed hour or time. I appreciate your concerns and I appreciate your problems, but I have limited scope in dealing with the concerns you bring to this House.
The member for Cochrane South.
M. Gilles Bisson (Cochrane-Sud) : Comme vous le savez, il y a eu des décisions très récemment faisant affaire avec l'hôpital Montfort, le seul hôpital francophone en Ontario, qui va fermer ses portes si le gouvernement a sa manière faisant affaire avec cette institution. Je demanderais au Président de la Chambre de demander le consentement unanime pour qu'on ait un débat spécial aujourd'hui selon les questions de l'hôpital Montfort.
The Speaker: I've dealt with the unanimous consent issues already. Now is points of order, and I wanted to move on from those particular ones.
The Speaker: I appreciate the member for Cochrane South's indulgence.
I've got three more. Member for Essex-Kent.
Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): Thank you, Speaker. I have a point of order. Yesterday in this House the member for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings, in a member's statement, sought to declare this week, April 1 to 4, Agriculture and Food Week. He exceeded his 90 seconds and you rightfully cut him off. I would seek unanimous consent to pay tribute to the vital role of agriculture and food during this week and the --
The Speaker: As I said to the member for Cochrane South, it was no. The member for Timiskaming. I only have two more here.
Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): Thank you, Mr Speaker. You have been in your place now for over two hours, and many of us in the opposition are very concerned that the opposition tactics this afternoon have taken their toll on the Speaker. I would suggest the Speaker might require a visit to the library or another facility to have a little break until you're well rested to carry on.
The Speaker: I really appreciate that. Thanks so much for your concern. The member for Port Arthur.
Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): Mr Speaker, a point of privilege: On January 10 I sent a letter to the Minister of Education and Training in relation to a matter that was of great significance for those of us in northern Ontario. It had to do with the fact that the Independent Learning Centre, which --
The Speaker: What is your point of privilege?
Mr Gravelle: The point is that this indeed is something where northern Ontario teachers basically receive employment through the Independent Learning Centre. The minister made a decision to cut it out so they couldn't do that. I sent a letter to the minister on January 10, and on February 10 I received a letter back from the head of the Independent Learning Centre, Mr Russ Garrett, rather than the minister himself. My point of privilege is that indeed, in that I had written a letter to the minister on a matter that I wanted a response from him directly, it seems to me that it's one of my privileges as a member that the minister should reply --
The Speaker: That's not a point of privilege. I appreciate that you may have some great concerns, but that's not a point of privilege, who the minister writes or doesn't write back to. Maybe it should be; get together and you'll decide one day it is, but right now it's not.
Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I have two points of order. Do you wish me to deal with them concurrently?
The Speaker: I guess.
Mr Sergio: Thank you. I believe that last night you had met with a group of concerned citizens, which was very nice of you.
The Speaker: I'd like to hear your point of order.
Mr Sergio: It's coming.
The Speaker: Let me be clear on this point of order, member for Yorkview. Let's hear the points of order.
Mr Sergio: My points, both of them, are this: A few minutes ago I was on my way to your office where we have some statements with respect to our pension plan and I was met in the hallway by three young ladies from the city of North York. They are school trustees. One of them I recognized as Ms Elsa Chandler.
The Speaker: I'd really like to hear your point of order, member. I want to hear your point of order. I can't be any more direct than that. What is your point of order?
Mr Sergio: My point of order is that they were refused entry to the upper balconies. The reason --
The Speaker: Member for Yorkview, there are a significant number of people here today. We're not refusing people entry on whether there's a like or a dislike. I'd ask the member for Yorkview to take his seat. There are a number of people in many committee rooms around this building today who would like to get in. We've instituted a system that allows access as quickly as we can. We did not disallow people to come in based on any other factor than first come, first served.
It's time for oral questions.
The Speaker: No, I dealt with yours, member for St Catharines.
The Speaker: Member for Yorkview, I appreciate they're slowly filling. I'm doing my best.
Member for St Catharines, I've dealt with them all. I dealt with seven. I want to get to question period. If your point of privilege is that important, in question period you can pop up at that time and we'll take it.
It's time for oral questions.
Mr Bradley: I just want to clarify something. You said immediately at the conclusion of question period you will hear it?
The Speaker: No, I said if it's important, during question period is as good a time as any to hear points of privilege, if you want to bring it up then. I'd really like to get to question period. I specifically itemized the seven I would hear. You were not part of that seven. If you were, you were in the very beginning.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): I'll give him my spot.
The Speaker: I appreciate that, but there's no transference of points of order. It's time for oral questions. I'm looking for --
The Speaker: Member for Algoma, I have heard a number of points of privilege. I have never suggested to the member for Lake Nipigon --
Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): But these are points of order.
The Speaker: I can veto points of order.
Mr Chiarelli: No, you can't.
The Speaker: Member from Ottawa, I just read very recently in the ruling why I can. I would like to move to oral questions.
Mr Wildman: On a point of personal privilege.
The Speaker: No. Time for oral questions.
The Speaker: There's only a point of privilege and a point of order. I will hear the member for Algoma's point of privilege.
Mr Wildman: You have stated that the staff is trying to process the people to come in as quickly as possible. You've also stated that the metal detector is broken. I have checked and the metal detector is not broken.
The Speaker: I just got a correction. They came in and they said it wasn't broken. I'm sorry; I got misinformation. I apologize.
Mr Wildman: They why aren't you processing them?
The Speaker: I don't know, to the member for Algoma; I just don't know.
Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Why don't you recess and find out?
The Speaker: I'm not going to recess and find out, to the member for Kingston and The Islands.
Time for oral questions. I am looking for a question. I'll go to the third party.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Lawrence, is it an oral question?
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Before we do that --
The Speaker: No, it's not "before we do that," member for Lawrence. I want an oral question. I will go to the third party.
The Speaker: No. Time for oral questions. Is there no one getting up? I will look to the third party, then. It's time for oral questions. Member for Lawrence.
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Before we do that, I'd like to recognize in attendance today in the members' gallery a former MPP for Halton-Burlington, Don Knight.
Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: There was a very unusual thing that happened yesterday in regard to this assembly. The Premier of this province made some very significant statements in the press today and we will not be able to question him; these relate to significant amendments in Bill 103. I would hope that sometime today we get a chance to question the Premier on his positions that he's changed.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): What's your point of privilege?
Mr Colle: As a member of this Legislature, I think when a significant statement is made by the Premier, he should make it in the Legislature so we can question him and respond, not just in the press.
The Speaker: Let's move to questions.
POINTS OF PRIVILEGE
Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I'm looking at standing order 21(b), which states very clearly, "Whenever a matter of privilege arises, it shall be taken into consideration immediately." I wonder, sir, if you might explain your ruling to deal with points of privilege at times other than when immediately raised. I think that breaches our privileges.
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: Would you explain to the official opposition that the clock is now ticking on question period.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): You see, the clock is now ticking on question period.
The second thing is that Erskine May allows the Speaker, as backup information to this, if the Speaker considers points of order to become obtrusive and obstructive, that he may in fact not see points of order and move on. I'm not sure if the member was here at that time, but I read very directly into the record about when that is allowed and how the Speaker can determine those things, and I did that at that time. A point of privilege is in fact seen as the same kind of thing as a point of order.
Member for Lawrence.
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Premier this morning himself finally admitted what everyone's saying about your megacity bill. He admitted that your megacity bill is flawed. It is flawed because it will lead to higher property taxes. It's flawed because it will weaken our communities. Most importantly, it is flawed because it goes directly against the will of the people, the will of the majority, I might remind you, Minister, 75% of whom voted no in the referenda.
Now that your Premier has admitted that your legislation is flawed, why won't you scrap Bill 103 and start all over again?
Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): To the member from the official opposition, obviously there's very little in this world that is perfect and I would be the first to admit that this bill may not be perfect. It's not perfect, but it's darned good.
I know the member made reference that the Premier said the bill was flawed because it would raise taxes. I would indicate that's not what the Premier said at all. That statement is entirely inaccurate. What this bill does is address the concerns of Metropolitan Toronto. It provides a unified single city while ensuring that neighbourhoods throughout the city are protected.
Outbreak of coughing.
Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): There's something in the air, Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I appreciate that. To the public gallery, I consider that a demonstration. I want to be very clear. That's a demonstration. It won't happen again. If it does, then I have to remove the people I see participating in that demonstration. To the members on the floor, I would ask that you not do that. Thank you. Minister?
Hon Mr Leach: Just to repeat, when the Premier said the bill is less than perfect, obviously nothing is absolutely perfect, but this bill is going to go a long way to ensuring that the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto have a great city to live in and a good government to represent them. With 56 members and one elected mayor, it will go a long to ensuring that there is representation that everyone will be able to relate to and be proud of.
Mr Cordiano: The minister seems to forget that 75% voted against you in the referenda. They said no to your megacity. They told you to scrap Bill 103. You aren't listening, Minister. You're ignoring everything everybody said to you.
The will of the people, the will of the majority of the residents of Metropolitan Toronto -- you are ignoring them. I'd like to understand. Tell us today, what part of the word "no" don't you understand? Why won't you accept that no means no?
Hon Mr Leach: We obviously listened to everybody who voiced their opinion and view on going to the unified city. We listened to the 600 delegates who came in to the hearing process. We listened to all the comments that were made in the various town hall meetings that were held. We know that their concerns related to neighbourhoods and communities and protecting municipalities. We heard that and we've amended the bill.
They also said they were concerned about representation, so we increased the number of representatives to be elected from 44 to 56, plus an elected mayor. We made sure we had neighbourhood committees. We made sure there will be community councils so that the residents of the various wards in the areas and the municipalities that exist today will have someone they can go to and deal with directly.
We heard all of that. We made the appropriate amendments and I believe those amendments satisfy the concerns of the people.
Mr Cordiano: Minister, you've chosen to ignore the warnings from the Metro board of trade, you've chosen to ignore the warnings of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and you've chosen to ignore the people of Metro Toronto. They've all said no to your megacity and your mega-dumping.
There's only one word to describe you, your government and your Premier: arrogant. You've become so arrogant that you're prepared to do whatever it takes to get your way.
Minister, will you finally accept what everyone's been telling you? Will you finally accept that your idea of a megacity is flawed and no one wants it? Will you finally accept that you are wrong in your approach to this megacity and withdraw your legislation today? That's what we're asking you to do. You should do so today and let's get on with it.
Hon Mr Leach: If the member was going to make insulting remarks, he could at least get his facts right. The board of trade supports amalgamation. They've said that repeatedly. They came out on a number of occasions and indicated that the board of trade, their 10,000 members, all support going to one unified, single city because they recognize the advantages of going to a single city to get rid of the waste and duplication we have now, having multiple layers of government that just add confusion to the citizens of this metropolis.
Now we have an opportunity to go to one single city and provide the efficiencies that are created by that while continuing to provide local input through community councils for all the citizens of this great city.
IPPERWASH PROVINCIAL PARK
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question, in the absence of the Premier, is to the Solicitor General. It has to do with Ipperwash and the circumstances surrounding the tragic death there of the first nations person.
In the past, the minister will know the Premier has said, "We had no involvement in this." We now find, through information that has been made public very recently, that in fact the government did make the key decision. The key decision there was, and I'm quoting from the document -- here's what the province decided: "The province will take steps to remove the occupiers as soon as possible." It then went on to say the OPP does not have the discretion to determine how they're going to handle this. The OPP has to carry out that order. The OPP will simply have the discretion as to "how to proceed with removing the Stony Pointers from the park."
My question to you, Minister, is this: Who made the decision to remove the first nations as soon as possible from the park?
Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I'll refer that question to the Attorney General.
Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): Let's be very clear. There are two separate issues here. The government had a choice to take action to end the illegal occupation through a civil injunction. The September 5 minutes make it obvious that this was the recommendation. We wanted to see the occupation end peacefully and we were prepared to take appropriate steps through the civil injunction to deal with it on that basis.
The OPP had the discretion as to how to proceed with removing the occupiers. This is completely separate from anything the government did. Quite simply, no instructions were given to the OPP, there was no political interference, and this has been confirmed by the OPP commissioner.
Mr Phillips: The government made this decision: "We are going to get the first nations out of that park as soon as possible." Sitting in that meeting was a senior OPP officer. The Premier called him the liaison officer for this affair. He reports back to the field officers in the OPP. It is clear the government made this decision: "Get them out of the park as soon as possible." Then the OPP had only once choice.
I might add the the OPP had, in advance of this, prepared a plan called Project Maple. The objective: to contain and negotiate a peaceful solution. That's what the OPP wanted to do. They didn't want to force this thing. They didn't want to get them out as soon as possible. They wanted to contain and negotiate a peaceful solution.
The question is this: Why did the government reject the OPP's plan to negotiate and contain --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.
Hon Mr Harnick: As I said, the government had no input whatsoever into the actions of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): That is poppycock. Can't you even read your own document?
The Speaker: Member for Algoma, I would ask you to come to order.
Hon Mr Harnick: The fact is that the Ontario Provincial Police dealt with this on their own. They had no input from the government. The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that this was in fact the situation. He indicated that the decisions that were made were decisions made by the OPP. Quite simply, the government's position was to deal with this on the basis of obtaining a civil injunction.
Mr Phillips: The Premier told us in the House that there were no files. We now find we have the files. There were files. It was clear the government made a fundamental decision: "Get them out of the park as soon as possible."
You did not give the OPP any options. The OPP had one option, according to your document: The OPP had the discretion only as to "how to proceed with removing the Stony Pointers from the park." It's clear you told the police, "Get them out." The only option they've got is how they do it, not whether they negotiate peacefully.
I would say to you, how could the OPP take any interpretation other than the one that is in your document; that is, that the government wants them out of the park as soon as possible and the government has instructed the OPP, "Remove them as soon as possible"? How can we take any other interpretation than that from your own finally public documents?
Hon Mr Harnick: The government gave no instructions to the OPP. The government took the steps immediately to obtain a civil injunction.
Hon Mr Harnick: Again, I confirm what OPP Commissioner O'Grady has already said. He made it very clear that there were no instructions given to the Ontario Provincial Police by the government. The only step the government took was to immediately begin the preparation of the materials and attend in court to obtain a civil injunction.
Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I wanted to ask this question of the Premier about his comments, but once again he is not here, so I will ask the minister responsible for municipal affairs.
Today in the Toronto Star, the Premier called your megacity legislation "less than perfect." He also said he hoped the bill could be made better by the year 2000. Then he said he thinks you've got the number of councillors all wrong. Minister, if your own Premier thinks your bill still needs work, can you tell us why you're going to try to pass it today?
Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): As the Premier said this morning, obviously nothing is perfect, but the bill is very, very good. The bill addresses all the concerns of the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto. Could it be improved? Certainly it can be improved. That's why we've introduced a number of amendments to further improve the bill. When the new council is elected, will they be able to take actions that could improve the bill? I'm quite confident they will.
That's why in the legislation and in the amendments we've given great powers to the municipality and the newly elected council to address concerns they may see in the manner in which the bill directs that the city operate. We recognize that and that was the Premier's whole point, that we see the new council for the city of Toronto having the ability to deal with amendments or changes that should be made, I think a very fair and reasonable thing to do.
Mr Hampton: You don't get it, do you? Even the Premier says your bill is flawed and you still don't get it. Seventy-six per cent of the people in this city vote against you in a referendum and you don't get it. More people voted against your bill than voted for the Conservative Party in the last election and you still don't get it, do you?
Look, there are more and more people -- the opposition is continuing to grow. I'm going to send over these cards for you to show you the opposition is continuing to grow. I'm going to say to you very clearly that we are going to go to the wall to stop this bill. You are not going to get this bill easily.
Minister, maybe you can tell us. When the Premier says your bill is not perfect, when the public says they're opposed to it, where you do get off only allowing one hour today to debate these amendments? Where do you get off in showing this contempt for people?
Hon Mr Leach: To the member of the third party, I assume your party agreed to the time allocation motion. That's something where agreement is reached by the House leaders, I assume. It's certainly something I didn't play a personal part in.
But, as the member mentioned, do I think the bill could be improved? Certainly I think the bill could be improved and that's why we've introduced all the amendments to do so. Any piece of legislation that has gone through this House could be improved. I'm sure when the new council is elected, they will continue to deal with the issues that face any new government in any transition period and make adjustments that will continue to improve it.
Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 34(a), I wish to advise you of my dissatisfaction with the response of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and wish to debate the matter further. I apologize for interrupting question period, but it's 4 o'clock and 4 o'clock is the deadline.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Four o'clock is the deadline for a written submission.
Member for Dovercourt, is this a new question?
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): No, it's the final supplementary.
The Speaker: Oh, final supplementary, member for Dovercourt.
Hon Mr Leach: Mr Speaker, I'd like to correct the record, if I might. I was mistaken when I said that the parties agreed to the time allocation motion. It was a government-sponsored motion.
Mr Silipo: Speaker, I'm glad the minister has corrected the record on that, because he should know, of all people, very clearly that we have been so clear from the outset in our opposition to Bill 103 and Bill 104. We will continue in every way we can within the rules of this place to show our opposition, because that opposition reflects the mounting opposition from across Metropolitan Toronto on Bill 103.
People are going to continue that fight, Minister. You should have no hesitation in understanding that. We know at least two serious court challenges will go ahead if you pass this bill. I want to say to you today, as my leader said yesterday in this House, that if we form the next government, we will revoke Bill 103. The people of Toronto didn't vote for your mini-councils, they didn't vote for your 57 politicians, they didn't vote for your megacity; they said no. They said no, and it's up to you now to show that you've listened to some extent at least. Will you withdraw the bill?
Hon Mr Leach: Again, I will repeat that we did listen. We listened to the deputants who came in to the committee hearings, all 600 of them. We listened to everybody who spoke at the town hall meetings. We took into consideration the votes that were held in the various municipalities. That's why we made the substantive changes and the number of amendments we made to this bill. People were telling us that they wanted to protect local identity. The amendments we're making do protect local identity, while giving us the advantage of moving to a single city.
I think we have addressed the concerns of the vast majority of the people of Metropolitan Toronto. Are you going to satisfy everyone? I doubt that, because very few actions are taken by anyone in this world that satisfy everyone. But we have taken actions to satisfy the vast majority of people of Metropolitan Toronto who support going to a single city to get rid of the waste and duplication and the various levels of government that now cause a lot of confusion to everyone.
Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): To the Minister of Education, I, along with other MPPs, participated in the committee hearings on Bill 104. In particular, in Thunder Bay we heard, as well as in other communities, that the boundaries you have proposed for many of the new school districts are unrealistic and undemocratic.
In northwestern Ontario, for example, we heard from people in Red Lake who will have to drive, one way, more than three hours to attend the closest board meeting. We also heard in the north that your proposed boundaries ignore the realities of school board affiliations with first nations. Yet your amendments to Bill 104 do nothing to address these concerns, nothing to address the concerns that were raised there and in other places. Are you prepared to change the district school board boundaries you introduced in January, and if so, how are you going to change those unrealistic and undemocratic boundaries?
Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): May I say that I am surprised that the leader of the third party, who obviously has been watching with some care Bill 104 and its movement through second reading and some of the public conversations and debates that have been had about Bill 104, would at this stage in the process, as this bill is ready to come with amendments to the committee of the whole and further on into third reading, I am shocked, as a matter of fact, that the leader of the third party would be so ill informed about the contents of the bill or about how school board sizes and district sizes will be regulated in the future.
We have said on many occasions that we'll be getting recommendations in, post the passage of this bill if it passes in what we believe to be its final form; we would be getting recommendations back on the fine-tuning of the size of district boards from the EIC, and we anticipate doing some of that. We're very happy to address that. We've made that very clear publicly in the past. Again, I'm shocked that the leader of the third party would not have had this information before now.
Mr Hampton: The minister says he's surprised. Let me tell you how surprised the people across Ontario are. People faithfully went to committee hearings and faithfully put forward their positions hoping this government would listen, but what is clear from the government amendments that have been presented is that you listened to absolutely no one. It is John Snobelen who thinks he knows all, John Snobelen who thinks he doesn't have to listen to anyone.
You're going to have people driving three hours one way over winter highways that your colleague can't maintain now and three hours back the other way under some of the most unsafe conditions. People are pleading with you that you recognize there is no way boards can function, and the best you can say is, "Oh, we might fine-tune this."
Minister, show that you have listened to people. Show that you have listened to people by introducing amendments here today that deal with these very critical problems. Will you do that, show that you've at least listened to some people?
Hon Mr Snobelen: I know the leader of the third party has a research staff and has people who can advise him. Perhaps he should go back and talk to some of his researchers and talk to some of the people who are familiar with the process of putting this bill through the Legislature. Perhaps he can become aware of what can be done in regulations to this bill and some of the public statements by this minister and other members of this government --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The Minister of Education.
Hon Mr Snobelen: Again I would advise the leader of the third party to perhaps get some advice on this because we do intend to address the issues that have come forward. We do intend to make sure the people in the north are adequately represented. We want to make sure we have a system of education that provides a quality education to all of the young people in the north. By the way, many of the people in the north are excited about the possibilities that will come from a fairer funding system that the previous government refused to address, so we are addressing that as well.
We will address those concerns. We will address them in the regulations and we'll get some further advice on just how to do that.
The Speaker: Final supplementary.
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): The minister says he's surprised. We are surprised that he obviously hasn't been talking to his own parliamentary assistants, the members for Wentworth North and Halton Centre. If he had, he would know that on the standing committee on social development, twice the committee voted unanimously to have the boundaries reconsidered -- unanimously.
The minister will know that we probably are going to be voting at some point today on Bill 103 in committee. He will know that his government has proposed changes in that bill that would change the number of Metro wards to 28 from 22. Bill 104 bases the maximum number of trustees in Metro on the old proposal of 22 wards. Have you consulted with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing about this and are you prepared to move amendments to Bill 104 --
The Speaker: Thank you very much. Minister of Education.
Hon Mr Snobelen: Now I'm disappointed that the member for Algoma appears to be no better informed than the leader of the third party. First of all, the committee did vote. They voted for the EIC to give us some recommendations on boundaries, and if the members of the third party would allow us to get Bill 104 through the House, we'll have an EIC and they can give us some advice on boundaries. If you're concerned about the northern areas, please help us get this bill through the House so we can have some advice from the EIC on how to make sure those people are fairly represented.
As far as the situation with the 22 trustees in the Metropolitan area, again I'm surprised that the member for Algoma would not know that currently the ward boundaries have nothing to do with the distribution of trustees; that has to do with the student population from the different school areas, and I have certainly consulted with my colleagues on that subject and we certainly do have a plan --
The Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon.
Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): I will withdraw, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: New question.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): My question is also to the Minister of Education. I would suggest to the Minister of Education that as a northerner and as somebody who was at all the hearings across northern Ontario, I didn't find a single northerner who was excited about the kinds of changes that he's planning to bring to education in this province, let alone in northern Ontario. I would suggest that if this minister had paid one bit of attention to the hearings that we had across this province, he would be better informed coming into this House today and responding to the concerns that we heard.
We heard from about 400 groups and individuals concerned about the proposals that this minister is planning to ram through this House this week. We would have heard from about 1,000 more who didn't get a chance to make their views known to the committee. We heard today from students who conducted a referendum and 80% of them were expressing their opposition to this minister's plans.
The vast majority of people who did get a chance to make their views known to the committee had one question over and above all the others, because they didn't understand this government's rush. They didn't understand why the bill had to be rammed through before anybody, including anybody in the government, knows how it's going to work. They couldn't believe a responsible government would make a law and then leave it up to a commission to figure out how to make it work.
I ask the minister, tell those people --
The Speaker: Thank you, member for Fort William. Minister of Education.
Hon Mr Snobelen: To the member for Fort William, obviously we heard from a lot of people during the hearings. We heard from a lot of people who were looking forward to an improved education system to assist them with higher standards of achievement for students, to assist them where our attentions, our energies and our resources were focused on the classroom and on making a difference with students. I've heard that time and again from people right across this province.
I believe, at the end of the day, there are a number of people who are eager to see Bill 104 passed and to get on with the business of creating a new school system in Ontario. I would encourage the member to talk to her colleagues and encourage them to get passage of this bill this week so that the people who have to work on that new school system can get to work and make it happen.
As far as being too quick, after four or five years of delays, after 24 studies in my lifetime, after all of that time in committees and discussion, it is time now to get a system of education that can take our students to the next millennium. This government is in a hurry to do that.
Mrs McLeod: Those words uttered by this minister have no meaning whatsoever. The people who presented to the committee and expressed their concerns knew that they had no meaning whatsoever, and that's why they're worried.
Minister, I say to you, we heard from those people. You did not, and clearly you're not prepared to hear what they had to say. I asked you a question: What's your rush? Your parliamentary assistant was at least prepared to volunteer an answer on your behalf. He said the reason you were in a rush to pass this bill through was that it would save some money and you were in a hurry to get making those savings as fast as possible. He didn't talk about students.
Minister, your own study shows that the savings from school board amalgamation would be less than 1% of your budget, and that's not enough to give the finance minister what he needs in order to fund his tax cut. You've made it clear in the past that you're ready to help the finance minister and the Premier out, you're ready to contribute at least $1 billion to fund the tax cut, and the Premier says he needs your $1 billion.
If this whole so-called, to use your words, "education reform" isn't simply a way to get control of education so you can find your $1 billion-plus, if your money is really going into the classroom as your backbenchers have been told and they believe, will you guarantee today that the total funding for education --
The Speaker: Minister of Education.
Hon Mr Snobelen: I have assured the member opposite on several occasions that we will have a fair allocation system for our students in Ontario, that we will end the funding system that you left in place, that your government left in place, which funds some students as much as twice as much as other students, not predicated on their need but predicated on the property value of houses in their area. We think that's an unfair way to fund education. Everyone who has studied it has said that's an unfair way to fund education, and we've promised to end that. We've promised as a government to take on the obligation of having a fair funding system and making sure -- we're on record several times -- there's a sufficient amount of money to provide a first-class education for every student in this province, and we will do that.
PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS REVIEW
Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): My question is for the Minister of Health. Last month I asked you about your plans to revise the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the legislative authority which stipulates what programs and services must be provided by public health units.
You refused to answer, and that gave everybody fears that what your government is doing is abandoning the prevention of disease and health promotion measures designed to ensure a healthier population, as you download public health units on to the municipalities. Those fears have been confirmed because we've received a copy of your revised guidelines to public health units. You know municipalities are not going to be able to afford the full range of preventive programs they now offer, so you've chosen priorities for them.
Minister, will you explain to us today why this document has no specific programs aimed at the prevention of substance abuse outside of the context of drinking and driving? Can you tell us why you have taken that away as a mandatory program to be offered by public health units?
Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): The honourable member obviously wasn't pleased with the answer I gave her, which was the truth, the last time, and that is: This whole mandatory program, or basket of programs that are to be delivered by public health units, was last looked at by the Liberal government in 1989, I believe -- I held the document up -- and I don't have anything to do with this process. Dr Richard Schabas, the chief medical officer of health, has been meeting with public health officials and they're reviewing and setting priorities for public health across the province. I've had no report from those working groups come to my office for my review at this time and it is totally driven by the people and the health care providers in public health.
Second, the honourable member should know that municipalities run 100% of our public health units now, today, so we're not downloading anything to the municipalities. Every employee of public health today is an employee of a municipality in this province.
Mrs Boyd: Minister, that's absolutely ridiculous. You know very well that your proposed download cuts the cost-sharing of many programs that affect health promotion and disease prevention in this province. That's nonsense. Are you trying to tell us that the public officer of health does not report to you?
We've talked to public health officials from across the province and we know that your government is directing them to pare down their programs and their services. We know they've been told, at their consultation meeting last week for example, that they should identify only core programs, and we know what that means from your business plans.
According to your draft guidelines for public health units, they're to get out of the business of targeted programs for special populations that have special health needs. The only mention, for example, of seniors in this document relates to the prevention of falls, nothing else. No longer are there programs targeted at adolescents or newborns. The focus on specific diseases, rather than the health of the general population, is there.
Minister, will you confirm that the new guidelines are really aimed at reassuring --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you. Minister of Health.
Hon Mr Wilson: While the honourable member was a member of the NDP government, they did nothing for public health over five years except tobacco legislation. This government has got the public health nurses, in cooperation with the local municipalities, out into the classrooms, doing the first comprehensive hepatitis-B immunization program for the children. We're looking at hepatitis-C; we're looking at all the immunization programs; they're delivering programs to seniors for the pneumococcal flu vaccine: all programs that you failed to fund during your five years in office. We can say today with confidence that in the province of Ontario we have public health units and vaccination and immunization programs second to none in North America, provided by public taxpayers at no cost to the people and the children and seniors who need those programs.
I am proud of our record in public health, and I fail to see what is wrong with public health officials having meetings, reviewing their mandatory programs and setting their own standards, so that their standards and priorities meet the priorities and standards of the people of Ontario. That's the exercise that's going on now, and there's a lot of work to be done.
Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): My question is to the minister responsible for seniors. In my riding of Norfolk, seniors have asked me about health care and how their health care dollars are being reinvested. Over the past few weeks, you and Health Minister Wilson have toured the province, making re-investment announcements concerning hospitals, cardiac care, cancer treatment, mental health programs and long-term care. What impact will these kinds of investments have for people in Ontario?
Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Seniors Issues]): It's clear this government recognizes the importance of building a health care system that recognizes the health needs of a growing and aging population in this province. As members know, this government is currently spending $1.1 billion a year -- that's $3 million a day -- on home care services in this province.
Last week and the week before, my colleague the Minister of Health and I visited several communities which identified that they were underserviced from years of lack of funding and support from the previous government with respect to investing new additional dollars that we're adding to our $17.7-billion health care budget.
We were in Hamilton and provided several million additional dollars, 25 million additional home care dollars in Toronto and another $7 million in the Niagara Peninsula. In fact, at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill we provided $4.5 million in capital to enable us to build a facility for a 100-bed nursing home. Those 100 beds were approved a decade ago. They were never built under successive Liberal and NDP --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you very much.
Mr Barrett: In my riding, I held open forum meetings and information sessions in eight community nursing homes and retirement homes. Some seniors who attended voiced concerns for the ability of the care system to accommodate them. As the hospital system is redesigned and as our population ages, as you mentioned, we all recognize the need for more community based services. But we hear stories about support agencies that are already stretched to the limit. Will the reinvestments put an end to waiting lists for home care services?
Hon Mr Jackson: As the member indicated in his question, there are problem areas in this province. There are areas where there are no waiting lists at all for these kinds of supports, and there are other areas where there are waiting lists. This government is moving decisively with a plan in order to resolve these historical inequities that have been left by previous governments that failed to equitably manage this. That's why we have different levels of care in this province depending on whether you're a disabled person in Windsor or whether you're in Kingston. We've moved to correct that.
We've also moved decisively to downsize the amount of money wasted in administration by having one window with community care access centres instead of two payroll systems, two administrators, two assessment levels. This is a more efficient system. I'm pleased to report that the savings generated by this government of Ontario initiative in Peel alone represented half a million dollars of administrative savings, which is being put right back into client services in this province. In Peel alone, that will buy 26,576 more hours of homemaking services --
The Speaker: Thank you. New question.
Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I have a question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Minister, we've come down to the final hours here. You went to the hearings where people told you they didn't want the megacity. Your caucus went to the hearings right across Metro. They all said it was a joke, they didn't want your megacity. At the hearings, hundreds of people all said, "No megacity." The referenda all said, "No megacity"; 80% said no.
The basic question is: What gives you the right to say no to the referenda, to the hearings, to all the people at the public meetings? What God-given right do you have to ignore these people and all this democratic expression? Where do you get the right to do that?
Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): To the member for Oakwood, that's strange coming from somebody who supported amalgamation all the time he was in municipal office. I find that very strange. However, to respond to his question, we did listen. We listened to all the deputants who came to this building and made their positions clear about the role of the trustees, about the role of the transition team, about the number of elected representatives who should be there. We listened very intently to people at town hall meetings as well. That's why we've made the number of amendments to this bill that we have. We've introduced changes to the number of representatives. We've introduced changes to the transition team. We've introduced changes to the trustees. I think that clearly indicates that we listened very carefully and made appropriate changes to ensure that we do have a single unified city that serves the people of Metropolitan Toronto well.
Mr Colle: This is the same minister who before the election went door to door in his riding saying he was going to eliminate Metro and make local government stronger and it's the same Premier who said the same thing in Elora, so don't tell us about inconsistency. You're the person who's saying: "I don't care what people say. Only Al Leach knows what's right. I know what's good for Toronto."
Again I ask you, Minister, what gives you the right to ignore and belittle and patronize the citizens of Metro Toronto and force the amalgamation on them whether they like it or not? What gives you the right to do that?
Hon Mr Leach: To repeat, we did listen to what the citizens of this area said. I guess ultimately what gave us the right --
Mr Colle: They said no.
Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): They said no to a unified city.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Members for Oakwood and Kingston and The Islands, as we have this conversation, the time will tick off.
Hon Mr Leach: To repeat, it's obvious that we did listen to the people who appeared before us. All the written submissions that were made were read and all the committee hearings I couldn't attend personally I watched on tape, so I am well aware of the concerns expressed by the citizens who had concerns and also of all the people who showed up to support our position at the public meetings, and there were many of those as well.
Did we listen? Certainly we listened. We listened to the concerns about having a single city, we listened to the concerns about the trustees, we listened to the concerns about the transition team, and we've made amendments to correct those.
INVESTIGATION INTO POLICE SHOOTING
Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): A question to the Solicitor General. Last weekend there was yet another fatal shooting by police. The list is growing longer: Edmond Yu, Faraz Suleman, and now Hugh Dawson, among the most recent. An eyewitness and layperson at the scene said, "I thought it was a gang fight.... They hit the guy and they're leaving." It has also been reported that one of the police officers who discharged his firearm had his wife accompany him to this scenario.
There are many questions that need answering. We're told that the witness officers and the subject officers still have not cooperated with the SIU. What are you, as Solicitor General, doing to ensure that all police officers involved in fatal shootings cooperate promptly and fully with the SIU, as is required under subsection 113(9) of the Police Services Act?
Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): The member cited the section of the act where there is a requirement for police officers to cooperate with the investigations of the SIU. The director of the SIU has recourse available to him if indeed he is not receiving the statutorily required cooperation from any individual police officer or group of police officers. I would suggest that the tools are there. If the director feels it's necessary to take action in that respect, he has the ability to do so.
Mr Kormos: Minister, you're the Solicitor General. You're in charge, and public confidence is eroding, is caving in, because in the meantime, it has been reported, the witness officers and subject officers have met twice as a group. One can only wonder at the purpose of these meetings and at the appropriateness of them. Indeed, Mr Marin, the director of the SIU, has already stated that such meetings would affect how the evidence is regarded.
In order to ensure that justice prevails, all the subject officers and all the witness officers must promptly and fully cooperate with the SIU. Marin also said, "Your best evidence is your freshest evidence."
You're the Solicitor General. When are you going to enforce and direct the enforcement of subsection 113(9) of the Police Services Act, which states, as you well know: "Members of police forces shall cooperate fully with the members of the unit," the SIU, "in the conduct of investigation"? The ball is in your park now, Minister.
Hon Mr Runciman: The member opposite, as is frequently the case with opposition members who are trying to play both sides of the fence here -- if I was seen to be interfering in any kind of police investigation, he'd be on his feet immediately asking for my resignation.
One of the reasons the SIU was moved a number of years ago under the aegis of the Attorney General was to get away from --
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.
Hon Mr Runciman: As I was saying, a number of years ago the responsibility for the special investigations unit was transferred to the Ministry of the Attorney General simply to address the public concerns about any possible conflict of interest or interference in police investigations or investigations of police officers.
Mr Marin, as I indicated, has a number of options available to him as the director, and if he feels those options are inadequate he has the opportunity also to approach me, but I think it's quite appropriate for the Solicitor General, whoever occupies this office, not to be involved in those kinds of investigations.
Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): I rise in the House today to question the Minister of Transportation on a matter of grave importance.
Recently, my riding of Perth was devastated by a tragic accident resulting in three fatalities. The tragedy has drawn together a community. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the Herteis and Kuepfer families for the losses which they suffered.
While attempting to cross a regional road intersection at night, a horse-drawn buggy was struck by a car. There were no skid marks and it appears the occupants of the car never saw the buggy approaching the highway.
My riding of Perth is home to a large number of old order Mennonites. Could the minister please explain to the House what rules exist to protect both motorists and slow-moving vehicles on our provincial highways?
Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I'd like to thank the member for Perth for the question. Like the honourable member, I was saddened to hear of this accident. I would like to reassure the House that safety on our highways is my number one priority.
The Highway Traffic Act requires that vehicles which cannot reach a speed of up to 40 kilometres an hour must display a bright orange "slow moving vehicle" sign. Some Amish and Mennonite families have not used these signs for religious reasons.
MTO has said it will grant an exemption on religious grounds as long as the "slow moving vehicle" sign is replaced by a reflective material outlining the rear of the vehicle. That's what we're working on.
Mr Bert Johnson: Following the accident, there was a meeting held in my riding to discuss the issues surrounding highway safety. The meeting was organized by the Mennonite Central Committee and was attended by over 70 representatives from such different groups as the Amish community, the Ministry of Transportation, buggy manufacturers, the OPP and Floradale volunteer fire department.
Could the minister please explain to this House and the viewing public the local solution these groups agreed upon, with your ministry's assistance, which could prevent such a tragedy from occurring in the future?
Hon Mr Palladini: I would like to tell the member for Perth that I was very pleased to see ministry staff working with these different groups to promote road safety. At the meeting, MTO staff clarified the rules which apply to slow-moving vehicles. We also put forward the suggestion that Amish and Mennonite families voluntarily put reflective material on the sides of their buggies and also on the shafts connecting it to the horse. I was very pleased to hear that the idea was accepted in a very receptive way.
In addition, various buggy manufacturers have said they will research the reflectivity and the colour of various materials on the market and will make recommendations to the Amish and Mennonite communities. I'm happy to report they have completed this research and will be making recommendations to the ministry and to the community very shortly.
SERVICES EN FRANÇAIS AUX HÔPITAUX /
FRENCH-LANGUAGE HOSPITAL SERVICES
M. Gilles E. Morin (Carleton-Est) : Ma question s'adresse au ministre de la Santé. Lorsque le gouvernement précédent a décidé de rapatrier l'enseignement de la médecine en français qui s'effectuait au Québec, l'hôpital Montfort a été désigné hôpital d'enseignement affilié à l'Université d'Ottawa. Comment se fait-il qu'il ne soit pas fait mention dans le rapport de la commission que l'hôpital Montfort a été désigné hôpital d'enseignement affilié à l'Université d'Ottawa ? Comment expliquez-vous cette lacune ? Comment expliquez-vous cette omission ?
Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I cannot speak for the commission, as it functions at arm's length, but I appreciate, and the member should know, that I think everybody in Ontario, and certainly every francophone in Ontario, knows that Montfort Hospital has a number of positions designated as teaching positions and residency positions for training in the first language, in many cases, of those physicians, in the French language.
Again, the commission was very careful with respect to that hospital and all hospitals and with respect to restructuring of the hospital system to say that no programs can be cut. The programs must be enhanced and maintained. In fact, more money is being spent on health care today, in spite of the $2-billion cut from the federal government, than was spent when we came to office.
Restructuring is not about saving money or reducing services; it's about getting rid of things we don't need, like redundant bricks and mortar and administration, putting every penny and more back into front-line services because we've got an aging population, a growing population, and we have to prepare our health care system for that huge number of people about to come into the system requiring health care.
Mr Morin: Minister, you didn't answer my question at all, not at all. My question was so simple and so direct: How come you didn't give them instructions? It was your mandate, it was your obligation to tell them exactly what they should do.
Ma prochaine question : Si vous fermez Montfort, qui est essentiel pour la continuation du programme d'enseignement de la médecine en français en Ontario, est-ce que ça signifie qu'il faudra à nouveau s'exiler au Québec pour faire ses études en médecine en français ? Est-ce que c'est là la nouvelle direction que votre gouvernement veut prendre ?
Hon Mr Wilson: The building doesn't provide instructions in French. The people, the health care providers at Montfort Hospital provide residency training to young doctors who wish to practise in what is often their first language, the French language, and to serve francophones not only in Ottawa-Carleton but do us a tremendous service in serving francophones throughout Ontario. The programs will be preserved. The residency positions will be preserved.
Restructuring is about having more money for services, more money for residency programs. Maybe the honourable member should be saying to the government: "We only have eight designated positions now. Could we have 10 for French doctors in this province?" This government would answer yes, because we want to put more money into serving the francophones of this province in health care services and we want to put more money into serving the people -- not the bricks and mortar, not the administration, but people who need services.
Mr Morin: Mr Speaker, I need your help. I've asked him the question in French, I've asked him the question in English, both languages, and he still doesn't understand what I'm getting at. What language should I use?
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): That's not a point of order.
Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): -- take no lessons from you guys. No way, no bloody way.
The Speaker: I'm going to have to ask the member for Lake Nipigon to withdraw that last comment.
Mr Pouliot: But he sold us out or he bought in, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: You can't withdraw subject to selling out and selling in. You've got to withdraw. Now withdraw.
Mr Pouliot: I will withdraw, Mr Speaker.
Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I've got a question to the Attorney General. Some two years ago the government and the Ministry of the Attorney General approved in principle the proposal for the renovation of the Welland courthouse. Since then the Ontario Realty Corp has negotiated with the city of Welland, and those negotiations appear to be complete. You should know that a work order was imposed against that building by the Ministry of Labour, which received a last-minute extension to April 22, which would preclude that building from being used, shutting down any number of trials. This has caused great concern for the judiciary, for the bar, for the city of Welland.
Please, Attorney General, when is the matter of the approval of those renovations -- not a capital project for the government but a win-win proposition for the government and important to the function of the courts in Niagara South -- going to go to Management Board?
Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I certainly recognize the urgency in finalizing these plans, and we are working towards that end. Security and space problems have existed in the Welland courthouse for at least six years. The member is quite correct when he talks about an interim safety plan that's now in effect and seems to be working well, and between now and April 22 we hope we can resolve this particular problem. I can tell the member that I've been in touch with the judiciary, I've been in touch with the mayor and we are working towards that end.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Motions? Point of order, the member for Cochrane South.
Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Comme vous le savez, ici en Ontario on a la Loi 8, faisant affaire avec les services en français. Dans cette loi il y a des sections qui sont très spécifiques quant aux services en français pour les francophones dans les communautés de l'Ontario.
Spécifiquement, dans cette loi on dit qu'il doit y avoir certaines positions désignées dans chacun des ministères : dans le ministère de l'Agriculture, dans le ministère de la Santé, dans le ministère des Services sociaux et dans le ministère du Logement, par exemple. C'est très spécifique que ces ministères ont besoin d'avoir certaines positions désignées sous la Loi 8 et que le gouvernement à ce point-là a besoin de s'engager pour s'assurer que ces positions soient remplies.
Je viens de me rendre compte juste dernièrement, et c'est ma première chance pour soulever cette question, que le gouvernement n'a pas rempli ces positions. Il y a présentement dans la province au-dessus de 500 positions, désignées sous la Loi 8, qui ne sont pas remplies, et le gouvernement doit suivre la loi --
The Speaker: Member for Cochrane South, I appreciate that's a concern but it really isn't a point of order for the Speaker to be taking up.
Now, I want to just deal with it very directly. I can see the members. I ask you to take your seats. I can see the members now coming up with points of order and points of privilege. I'm not suggesting for a moment they're not of great concern --
Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): They are.
The Speaker: -- and I'm certain they are, to the member for St Catharines, but I want to tell them that I went to the member for motions. We will proceed properly, and I will take the few motions or points of order that I see, but it's incumbent on the Speaker to ensure the proceedings of the House proceed.
Member for -- I'm sorry, it's not going to be that simple. I'm going to move forward. I'll take the points of order but I tell you we're going to get to motions. The member for Lake Nipigon.
M. Gilles Pouliot (Lac-Nipigon) : Sur le même point qui a été mentionné : Je me souviens -- vous aussi -- que c'était ici dans cette Chambre à l'Assemblée législative, à l'unanimité, que nous avions sanctionné, que nous avions passé la Loi 8. Maintenant nous nous trouvons dans un état de siège. C'est que le gouvernement --
The Speaker: To the member for Lake Nipigon, I need to hear your point of order up front. There's no debate around it. You've got to give me your point of order.
Mr Pouliot: My point of order is in accordance with standing order 24(b), second paragraph, and I'll get right to it. It states emphatically that the government has failed in its commitment to fill 500 unfilled positions within respective ministries to abide by law number --
The Speaker: With the greatest of respect, 24(b) isn't even close; it's 90 minutes, somebody can talk for 90 minutes. Member for Oakwood.
Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Mr Speaker, I don't know if it's appropriate right now, but I'd like to register my dissatisfaction with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and his answer.
The Speaker: That's fine, but it's too late for today. It has to be in by 4 o'clock. Member for Fort William.
Mr Colle: Mr Speaker, then how could I have done it?
The Speaker: You could have done it before 4 o'clock.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): Mr Speaker, I'll raise my point of order and it's relevant to the issue raised by the member for Oakwood, specifically 34(a). In respect to the people who have finally been allowed to sit in the members' gallery, I will read the clause. It's a serious point of order.
The Speaker: I want to hear your point of order.
Mrs McLeod: Right. The clause says --
Mrs McLeod: I actually do in order to make my point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: With respect to the member for Fort William, I've read the clause. I'd like to hear your point of order.
Mrs McLeod: The clause says that, "A member...may -- I'm abbreviating it; I'm getting to the point -- "give notice orally at the end of the oral question period that he or she intends to raise the subject matter of the question" -- this is in relationship to when you're dissatisfied -- "on the adjournment of the House." That's one thing a member is required to do. The second thing a member is required to do is "give written notice to the Speaker not later than 4 pm the same day."
Mr Speaker, I submit to you that, first of all, I am rising to give notice of dissatisfaction at the end of oral question period as I am required to do. I've met condition number 1. Condition number 2 is that I must give written notice to the Speaker not later than 4 pm, a condition that I cannot meet, because question period has just ended. I've risen as soon as I could --
The Speaker: I can't do anything about that.
Mrs McLeod: Okay. I have also, Mr Speaker, met condition number 3, which was that I would file reasons for dissatisfaction with the Clerk at the table before 5 pm. I have met two of the three conditions in order to serve notice of dissatisfaction. The second point I couldn't meet because question period didn't end until after 4 pm.
The Speaker: I appreciate that, but I can't help you. They're very clear and it's 4 o'clock. If question period didn't end, I am very sorry for that. I don't know who is to blame. All I can tell you is it didn't end. I say to the member for Fort William, it's not a point of order. I don't want to debate it any more; it's not a point of order. It's after 4 o'clock; it wasn't submitted; it's not on the table.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I move we go to orders of the day.
The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I recognize the government House leader that we move to orders of the day.
The Speaker: Order. No, I heard your points of order and privilege. I've heard a lot today. I'm not going to hear them till 6 pm. I'm not being unreasonable. I'm not. I'm going to put the motion.
The government House leader has moved that we proceed to orders of the day. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour say "aye."
All opposed say "nay."
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Call in the members. It will be a 30-minute bell.
The division bells rang from 1648 to 1718.
The Speaker: Mr Johnson has moved that we proceed to orders of the day.
All those in favour, please rise and remain standing to be counted by the Clerk.
All those opposed?
Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 64; the nays are 37.
The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
Report continues in volume B.