36th Parliament, 1st Session

L194 - Tue 27 May 1997 / Mar 27 Mai 1997
















































The House met at 1332.




Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I want to address my statement directly to the Minister of Labour concerning the appalling state of the Workers' Compensation Board, especially in dealing with appeals when it comes to injured workers.

The system is now in total disarray. I have a letter from the appeals tribunal in answer to one of my constituents, which states that very recently they are experiencing a significant increase in the volume of appeals, resulting in a delay in the process of appeals itself. Minister, this is a direct result of the cuts you have imposed, have already made, to the workers' compensation staff.

The letter says, "Based on current projections, we will be able to process your appeal in February-March 1998." This is almost one year. To tell the injured workers they have to wait for so long is totally unjust. How is an injured worker to provide for his family and his family needs, especially when he's the sole wage-earner faced with such a long waiting period? This is not what injured workers are expecting from their provincial government.

I call upon you, Minister, to respond properly to the appeal of the injured workers and give them the attention --

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


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Today the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario released a report called Systems Failure. It's a report on the experiences of sexual minorities in Ontario's health care and social services system.

I have to tell you it's damning in its findings. It's the result of a four-year study called Project Affirmation. It was done through surveys, over 1,200 people involved from the gay and lesbian and bisexual community, focus groups. Through it all, the results show systemic failure. There are stories ranging from unbelievable ignorance, insensitivity and hostility down to institutional stonewalling and incompetence.

The system has failed this population by failing to provide appropriate service. The result is that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgenders must make the decision whether to disclose the circumstances of their lives. If they do, they risk meeting with prejudice; if they do not, the health care and social service assistance they obtain may not correspond to their needs. Many simply avoid even needed health care and social services. Their access to health care and social services is compromised.

This report is important. It speaks to the failure of our systems for this community. I can't help but note that this is at a time when here in Toronto the Health Services Restructuring Commission has recommended the closing of Wellesley Hospital, the only hospital that has gone through a process of building a relationship with the community. I hope the minister will take these recommendations into mind when considering that.


Mr Jim Brown (Scarborough West): I rise today in the Legislature to recognize the fifth annual Sunshine Games at Variety Village, which is located in my riding. I attended the games on May 4, as I have in previous years, to support this wonderful organization and the excellent work they do.

Variety Village is a facility catering to children and adults with special needs. It boasts world-class athletic facilities for physically challenged athletes. The Sunshine Games are competitions for teams comprised of athletes who use the facilities and business sponsors for each team.

This year's event saw 42 teams with over 400 volunteers. Each team paid a $5,000 sponsorship fee and also raised money through their employees' efforts. The event raised $329,000 for the Variety Village complex in Scarborough. All Scarborough branches of the Royal Bank of Canada supported the games and raised the most money. Their enthusiasm and vigour were contagious. Congratulations, Royal Bank employees.

Honorary chair was George Cohon, CEO of McDonald's. I commend his tireless efforts on behalf of Variety Village. Every year George and Susan Cohon are there for the participants. The disabled athletes appreciated the presence of Elvis Stojko, Barbara Turnbull and media people from BBS Television, Global and CITY-TV.

Variety Village is an amazing facility that gives children and adults with disabilities a chance to participate in athletics and to meet other young people who face similar challenges. I am honoured to be involved. I congratulate all the sponsors, athletes and volunteers.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): This government has shown no commitment to deal with racism or equity issues that are around us every day. One of the first acts of this government was to eliminate employment equity. It since has cut the budget of the Ministry of Citizenship and all anti-racism initiatives, not to mention the massive cuts at the Human Rights Commission.

In Ontario there still exist individuals who feel that racism is the order of the day. Unfortunately, we have seen this recently in the vandalism that took place at the Munchy King restaurant in Scarborough. The culprits were motivated by racism. Tony McPherson opened a small West Indian restaurant only four months ago. He arrived to open it one morning to find the back door pried open, dishes smashed, furniture broken, tablecloths ripped and racist hate messages spray-painted across the walls. This hate crime was a deliberate and malicious attack on a business owned by a person of colour.

Lawyer Bill McMurtry and artist Salome Bey responded by establishing a trust fund called PART: People Against Racism Trust. This action goes far beyond these two individuals, as hundreds have responded and called in their support, positive comments and funds. This should not exist in 1997, but unfortunately it does.

This incident shows that more must be done. Citizens and the media have said, "We do not tolerate these actions." This government's lack of action and leadership says otherwise. To combat racism, the government must rethink its function and do more.



Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Today I want to congratulate the town of Hearst in the riding of Cochrane North on its 75th anniversary.

Hearst, which is effectively known as the moose capital of Canada, is a thriving community with a population of about 6,000. At the turn of the century, it was called the village of Grant, but was renamed Hearst in November 1911 in honour of William Howard Hearst, the Minister for Lands, Forests and Mines at the time. Hearst was officially incorporated as a town on August 3, 1922.

Exciting events commemorating Hearst's 75th anniversary have been taking place since January and will continue until the end of the year. I would like to congratulate the mayor, Jean-Marie Blier, town councillors André Rhéaume and Donald Gratton and all the other councillors and numerous organizations for their efforts and sense of community spirit in organizing and bringing together this celebration.

Hearst is one of Ontario's largest producers of lumber, which has allowed it to become a modern centre with excellent medical, education and recreation facilities.

It is important to note that Hearst is a predominantly francophone community. The French language and culture thrive in Hearst, one of the first communities in Ontario to proclaim itself officially bilingual in 1978.

To everyone in Hearst, happy 75th anniversary.


Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): My statement today is to the people of Ontario. Your health care system is strong and viable. This government is reinvesting health care dollars into key areas to save lives, and it is working.

For example, a recent Orillia Today newspaper story reads, "Firefighters from Rama first nations are on the cutting edge of a move to enhance the lifesaving skills of firefighters across the province."

I and fellow MPP Joe Tascona, the member for Simcoe Centre, recently attended an awards presentation at Rama first nations to honour front-line emergency workers. My colleague the Honourable Jim Wilson, Minister of Health, was proud to recognize the achievements of four first nation firefighters and six Orillia ambulance attendants for saving 14 patients in Simcoe-Muskoka last year.

With this government's commitment to invest in health care, $15.5 million has been slotted for paramedic training, which was only available in the Toronto area and is now being taken right across rural Ontario. It's working.

The first fire department trained by Royal Victoria Hospital Base was Rama first nations, which responds to the Rama casino. Grand Bend visitor Edyth Hanson suffered a cardiac arrest last fall, and Rama firefighter Brad Savage is credited for saving her life, thanks to his new training in the use of a defibrillator.

The paramedic program in this province is giving us all an opportunity to survive, and it's working. The introduction of defibrillation has allowed patients to cheat death, return home and live productive lives.

This government is targeting health care investment into high-needs areas for better health care in the province despite the cuts from the Liberal government.


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): The following obituary, written by Sheila McBrayne, appeared in the Ridgetown Independent on May 7:

"Kent county passed away peacefully on April 28, 1997, after a brief illness contracted from Queen's Park, Ontario, from a carrier named Dr Peter Meyboom.

"Born in 1851, daughter of the pioneers who forged this countryside. She was a kind person who belonged to no one church, but incorporated many denominations. She was a hardworking, loyal and active community member. She was a charter member of democracy. Ironically, her diplomacy may have been a factor in contracting the Queen's Park virus.

"Kent county is survived by 22 children: Ridgetown, Howard, Highgate, Orford, Zone, Thamesville, Camden, Bothwell, Dresden, Wallaceburg, Dover, Tilbury, Tilbury East, Merlin, Romney, Wheatley, Chatham township, Raleigh, Erie Beach, Erieau, Harwich and Blenheim. Also survived by one foster child, Chatham, and 109,350 grandchildren.

"Other survivors (currently being inoculated to prevent the spread of this virus) include neighbours Elgin, Middlesex, Lambton and Essex counties.

"Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the transition boards. Visitation is being held until January 1, 1998, when Kent county will be officially put to rest."


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I rise to bring to the attention of the assembly this government's complete lack of commitment to tourism in this province, particularly to northern Ontario tourism.

The government, as many members will know, is talking about privatizing the 18 Ontario travel information centres, which serve as a vital communication link between the operator and consumer and the tourist industry, and is putting these up for sale.

This is after the government has taken the same approach with the 1-800-ONTARIO service, which was privatized in June 1996, and with the selling off of the Ontario accommodations publications to Bell Global Solutions.

But to make matters worse, in central Algoma, the St Joseph Island Chamber of Commerce points out that on the latest Ontario roadmap St Joseph Island is not identified, while the neighbouring Sugar Island is identified. What is mystifying is why the government of Ontario on its roadmap would identify Sugar Island, which is part of the state of Michigan, but not St Joseph Island, which is part of the province of Ontario. Surely if this government wants to promote tourism and they are determined to privatize everything, they should at least get the road map right.


Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to announce that May has been proclaimed Cystic Fibrosis Month.

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a genetic disease affecting primarily the respiratory and digestive systems. The most devastating damage takes place in the lungs, and virtually everyone with CF eventually dies of lung cancer. CF takes the lives of more young Canadians than any other inherited disease, and as yet there is no cure for the disease.

About one in every 25 Canadians carries the gene which causes cystic fibrosis and approximately one in every 2,500 children born in Canada has CF. There are 3,000 children, adolescents and adults with CF in Canada, 1,000 of whom live here in Ontario.

Since 1960 the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a national voluntary health organization, has worked to improve the lives of young Canadians who are affected by this fatal disorder. With developments in research and treatment, the median age of survival has increased from four years in 1960 to over 30 years today. This is tremendous, but obviously not enough.

This year in Ontario the foundation provides incentive funding for 11 specialized CF clinics, representing a financial commitment of $630,000 for clinical and transplant services. A further $3.5 million is committed to research grants in Ontario.

I would ask each of the members in the House today to join me in showing their support for the fight against cystic fibrosis and in recognizing the extraordinary work of all members of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Premier. Premier, you may be aware that yesterday in this House I raised some questions regarding the accessibility of gambling to Ontario's young people.

This morning's paper, coincidentally, ran a story about how in the near future it could be possible to access horse racing by way of the Internet and to place a bet. Officials in the horse racing industry have made it clear that they cannot possibly police the user. You can't tell whether you've got an eight-year-old on the Internet or a 38-year-old.

Given that it's simply not possible to provide that kind of policing, will you take the necessary steps to prohibit that kind of service from being offered in Ontario?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the minister can respond.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): A couple of things: First of all, the Ontario Jockey Club made the announcement in terms of the wagering that can be done through the telephone. Certainly this is not a new wagering initiative.

This is under the auspices of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, a federal agency which regulates this type of betting. However, within Ontario, because we think it's very important, it's my understanding that the Ontario Racing Commission this week is considering a mandatory rule of racing that will limit parimutuel wagering to anyone who is 18 or over. Certainly this is very important to us and there will be severe penalties for doing this.


Secondly, as I understand from the conference the Ontario Jockey Club had yesterday, they will make sure -- if you've looked at the applications they have had, you have to have an account in order to do any type of wagering. Those accounts will require a piece of identification and things like credit cards as well to establish an account to bet. I understand they will be using that to ensure --

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

Mr McGuinty: The point is, you can't tell who's on the Internet that you happen to be communicating with. You can't tell whether there's an eight-year-old on the keyboard or a 38-year-old. What we're getting at here is a fundamental question of values.

Let's set aside the general issue of gambling for a moment. It is my sense, and I believe the Premier would agree with this, that the great majority of Ontarians do not favour giving access to gambling to our young people, children of the age of 12, 13, 14, 15. We've got a problem in the province right now. You've got to be 19 years old to operate a VLT, 18 years old to buy a lottery ticket, 16 years old to bet at the racetrack. We also know that there are 13-year-olds who are betting today at racetracks and we have unsupervised lottery ticket vending machines.

The question is very simple: Do you not feel we should have a law in Ontario today saying there is a minimum age for gambling of any kind whatsoever, and furthermore, if you can't restrict access to that age, you can't have the machine?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Clearly under Bill 75 there are severe penalties for any under-age gamblers. We went through this whole process. Members of the opposition are screaming about something, but we dealt with this. There are severe penalties, up to $250,000 for corporations that allow that type of violation.

There are other issues as well. There is no wagering that's legal on the Net right now. What they're talking about is a form of telephone wagering which has been approved by the federal agency since 1982. Clearly we believe it's important not to have minors betting. That's why we brought in Bill 75, to make sure we created the penalties to enforce these things. You can't even sell lottery products to under-age people.

Under the rules, there are severe penalties. The VL act says the same thing. Certainly the Ontario Racing Commission is going to bring in some very severe penalties to make sure that doesn't happen to the parimutuel betting.

Mr McGuinty: I'm not sure what's in Bill 75, but I can tell you right now, whatever it is, it's not preventing children in Ontario today from going to unsupervised lottery vending machines and buying tickets. The vending machine doesn't distinguish between an eight-year-old and a 38-year-old. Yesterday we sent one of our staff into a laundromat. There was nobody else in the place. He put in the money and he bought a Battleship lottery ticket. Battleship is a popular game targeting children. That's what's going on in Ontario today.

My question is very simple: Do you think that's a good thing? Do you think we ought to be encouraging children in Ontario to gamble? It's not much more complicated than that. If you don't think that's a good thing, then you've got to do something. Responsibility lies with you to ensure that can't happen, and Bill 75 isn't doing it. I believe we should have in Ontario a law that says there's a minimum age for gambling, no matter what kind of gambling, and furthermore, if you can't restrict access, you can't have the machine. Do you agree, Minister?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Bill 75 strengthens the prohibitions against the sale of lottery products to minors which make it illegal to sell lottery products to anyone under 18 years of age.

Clearly one of the initiatives resulting from Bill 75 as well is that when we have the amalgamation to make the new Alcohol and Gaming Commission, we'll now have more resources to put towards enforcement. That's important, to bring in more inspectors. Yes, we believe we should be doing something about it. We have, through Bill 75. The Ontario Racing Commission is doing something right now to make sure this does not happen through parimutuel betting. We're taking steps to make sure this does not happen and we believe it's very important.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Premier. I cannot believe you're comfortable with the minister's response and I hope to return to this in the near future with you.

Truck safety in the province today: Yesterday we introduced a bill. You've now had the opportunity to review that bill. It contains no surprises. It contains, in part, Bill 125, a bill which you and your government introduced and later withdrew. It contains recommendations specified by Target '97. There are no surprises in there. You've had the opportunity to study it. Are you prepared to support that bill? If there is any characterization for which there is consensus when it comes to this issue, that can be summed up in one word, and that one word is simply this: urgent. We have to do something and we have got to do it quickly. The bill has been introduced. Will you support it?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the minister will want to comment, and I'll give him opportunities in supplementaries, but let me say on his behalf that no Minister of Transportation has done more and introduced more measures. He has passed two road safety bills already in 1996. Your government, in five years, did nothing. The NDP government had five years and did nothing. No minister has taken a more aggressive stand, far more aggressive than any other province and any other state, and been more out in front of this issue, and nobody have I been prouder of than the current Minister of Transportation, Mr Palladini.

Now I might add that here we have a Liberal Party saying, "We're opposed to your bill because it's unconstitutional, but vote for our bill," which is also unconstitutional. I want to tell you --

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

Mr McGuinty: That kind of bluster hearkens back to a political era which I thought was long past. This is a serious issue. We have an opposition day motion --


The Speaker: Order. Member for Hamilton East, come to order. Member for Brampton North.

Mr McGuinty: Premier, you will know that we have scheduled for this House this afternoon an opposition day motion sponsored by my party. We're going to be talking about this very issue. We're going to consume the entire afternoon with that. We're going to talk about our bill, we're going to talk about the urgency of the situation, and of course we're going to criticize your government for its failure to act.

We don't have to do that. Do you know what we might do instead? We could debate this bill right here this afternoon, and we're prepared to do that. We're prepared to address the substance of this issue and to give this bill second reading this afternoon so we can move forward on this issue. We're not claiming that our bill is perfect, but we believe it can go out to committee on a quick basis and be improved. Do you not think that's a good idea? We'll deal with this bill this afternoon, second reading.

Hon Mr Harris: I think the debate this afternoon could be productive. I'm sure, given your stand -- and I know your bill is not perfect, because I've read it. When the minister comes in with his comprehensive bill next week, the debate today will be quite useful. We appreciate your support. But let me tell you this: The minister's bill is far more comprehensive, far tougher than anything we've seen from you. It will be introduced next week, and you will have the opportunity to have your hearings, as you have always wanted. We will hold you to how we can have this bill expedited and passed through the Legislature.

Mr McGuinty: The minister said a number of things, but one of the things he said was, "Wheels separating from trucks is a very serious problem, one that shows no signs of improving and one that can't wait any longer."

Premier, we agree. What we've heard from your government to date is that this matter is of the utmost urgency. A bill was tabled and then subsequently withdrawn. We tabled a bill; you won't support it. You tell us you've got another bill in the works. Here's another offer for you. Table your bill today. We will waive our opposition day motion. We agree to have second reading debate today and to vote today. Will you agree to that, Premier?


Hon Mr Harris: I guess the difference between our government and you when you were in government is (a) we act and (b) we take the time to do it properly.

The bill will be ready next week. It will be comprehensive, it will be legal, it will meet constitutional challenges that you say even your bill will not, and we will have the hearings if you want the hearings.

But listen. Here is a party that -- in 1989 the Liberal government stopped enforcing weight limits on dump trucks. It wasn't until we got elected that we enforced that. The NDP wouldn't enforce it; we had to enforce it. Here is a party that when we brought in the small bill, and now it will be incorporated into the comprehensive one, what did you say? You said: "No, we want hearings on this, because we hear that this bill will be ineffective. We want hearings on the bill." We said: "Fine. We will bring in the comprehensive bill. You can have the hearings that you wanted." Now you want hearings on your bill.

Now you can have the hearings you've all asked for, but you will have it on a legal, comprehensive, well-thought-out bill, far in excess of anything the flip-flopping Liberals have ever proposed for this province.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. When I asked you a question a couple of weeks ago about your coup d'état in Chatham-Kent, you said your local member tells you that everything's fine, that your scheme has brought support throughout the community.

Minister, I visited Ridgetown last week, and they tell me a different story, that you and your local member are very wrong. I sat in a room with about 20 community leaders, most of whom voted for the Conservative Party in the last election, and they are angry about Dr Doom's megacity that has been imposed on them. To quote Jim Brown, who owns a newspaper in Ridgetown, he says, "I will refrain from using the term `Tory jackboot' even if it is closer to what is taking place here" --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.

Mr Marchese: It's a quotation.

The Speaker: It doesn't matter if it's a quotation; you can't use it as a third party or a first party. The fact is that it's out of order and unparliamentary. I ask you to withdraw.

Mr Marchese: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

Minister, I have a question for you. Will you halt the restructuring process and go down to Chatham-Kent so you can inform yourself of what's going on?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): It was the communities and municipalities in Kent county that requested that the province appoint a commissioner to come in and resolve the deadlock they had reached as a result of trying to negotiate a restructuring. It was as a result of their request, a local request to have somebody come in and assist them to do that.

The commissioner, Dr Meyboom, came in, held public hearings, met with all the councils, developed a proposal and presented it to the councils. The majority of the councils agreed with it. My colleague from Chatham tells me that the vast majority of people in Chatham-Kent are extremely happy with the restructuring, very happy with it, and that's the way that it should be.

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Leach: The restructuring commission made a recommendation. That recommendation is binding on the municipalities and on the province.

Mr Marchese: Most of the 20 people I met with are municipal councillors. They told me very clearly that you are wrong in what you're saying and that the member is wrong as well. You're disregarding that. What you are doing is leaving a stench of autocratic behaviour all over Ontario. You've done so in Toronto, you've done so in Chatham-Kent, and you're doing it in Ottawa. That's the other question I'm moving myself to right now.

On May 13 you wrote a letter to Merle Nicholds, mayor of Kanata, about Ottawa-Carleton restructuring and you said the following:

"Any restructuring order would have to set out an interim council and other arrangements. This could include either the calling of a special election or appointing a new council or councils from among those elected in November."

What this clearly means is that you're prepared to make the voters' choices into a mere shortlist for your hired commissars, who will pick the actual council.

Will you today announce that you didn't know what you were signing and that you won't appoint a council either in Ottawa-Carleton or anywhere else in the province?

Hon Mr Leach: I am really surprised and disappointed at the lack of knowledge the member has of Bill 26. What I was saying in that letter just points out exactly what's in the existing legislation, what's presently in Bill 26 that allows the municipalities, if there is a restructuring done between election periods, the options they have. One of those options is to hold another election. The other option is that they can appoint members to an interim council, and that's very clearly laid out in the existing legislation.

Mr Marchese: Minister, I just quoted you, the letter you have written. The letter says:

"Any restructuring order would have to set out an interim council and other arrangements. This could include either the calling of a special election or appointing the new council or councils from among those elected in November."

Are you saying that this is the kind of process you are leading to, that that is what is acceptable to you?

That's why I say you are leaving a stench of autocratic behaviour across all of Ontario. You nod your head. He nods his head.


Mr Marchese: He talks about this member being a bonehead, if I heard him correctly. But that member is being followed by entire communities all over Ontario where restructuring is happening, and if there is a bonehead in this House, the communities are seeing one right across from me.

The Speaker: Member for Fort York, I did not --

Mr Marchese: I heard the member very clearly.

The Speaker: I'm sure you did. I'm not questioning whether the member for Fort York is being forthright about it. I just didn't hear it. If the minister did in fact call him a bonehead, it's out of order. I would ask the minister to withdraw.

Hon Mr Leach: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Thank you. Member for Fort York.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): That is terrible. We all know who the bonehead is.

The Speaker: Member for Kingston and The Islands, please come to order. Thank you.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): That's the kind of comment you would expect from an old fossil.

The Speaker: You know, this is degenerating. I would ask the members of the House to please stop the name-calling.

Member for Fort York, put your question, please.

Mr Marchese: How much time do I have, Speaker?

The Speaker: You've got about 10 seconds.

Mr Marchese: Minister, I'll try again. Will you confirm that when the people of Ottawa-Carleton elect a council this fall, those people, all of them, will serve their full terms unless they themselves resign?

Hon Mr Leach: To repeat the options available to the municipality after the election this fall, if they decide to restructure between elections, it's their option to call another election. It's their option. The council that's elected has the authority to call another election. They also have the wherewithal if they so choose to select an interim council from their members. All of that is very clearly laid out. What we were doing in my memorandum to the mayors was to point out the options available to them if they don't restructure in time for the 1998 elections. Surely, if the member had even glanced through Bill 26, that would have been very obvious to him.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): My question is for the Premier. This morning the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario issued a report called Systems Failure, funded by Health Canada. It's a thorough study of the sexual minorities in Ontario's experiences with the health care system and the social services system in this province. Copies of the report have been delivered to the ministers of health, community and social services, education and training, and citizenship and culture.

Almost one quarter of the people surveyed had not told their doctor about their sexual orientation. Two thirds of those said they had not voiced concerns or asked questions about health issues because they feared that knowledge of their sexual orientation would negatively affect the way they were treated. Fifteen percent of the people surveyed said they had not gone for regular physical checkups because they believed homophobia would negatively affect the way they were treated, and 18% had not gone back for follow-up visits.

Premier, does it concern you that so many Ontarians are not receiving adequate health care or feel they do not have access to health care because of the discrimination they have experienced in the system?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Yes, it does, and it concerns the Minister of Health and it concerns the ministry and it concerns this government. I can tell you that we are doing everything we can in awareness, in support for gays and lesbians, in support for HIV and AIDS patients; another $10.9 million provided by the ministry for 11 outpatient HIV/AIDS clinics throughout the province.

The issue, though, is one that need concern us all. Certainly there are proactive and positive approaches we can all, as 130 ambassadors, take with all agencies within our ridings.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Answer, please.

Hon Mr Harris: There are also, of course, anti-discrimination measures. If there are allegations or abuses or violations that should be brought to the Human Rights Commission --

The Speaker: Supplementary.

Mrs Boyd: I'm glad you're concerned, because you can take leadership. In fact one of the recommendations in the report, a very clear recommendation, calls on the provincial government to provide proactive, top-down leadership on this issue. The problem is that you have a Health Services Restructuring Commission out there that's recommending the closure of hospitals where some of the greatest advances in providing health care to sexual minorities have been made, primarily the Wellesley and Women's College hospitals.

Tom Warner, one of the people presenting the report this morning, said this about the Wellesley:

"There is no other hospital in Ontario that we are aware of that has been proactive in this area. To lose the Wellesley does not provide an incentive to other hospitals to provide the same thing."

Premier, you've instructed the Health Services Restructuring Commission to take into consideration the needs of specific communities like rural areas of the province or chronic care patients. Will you make sure the commission is instructed to consider the needs of taxpayers who belong to sexual minorities when it is making its decisions?

Hon Mr Harris: As you know, all of us are free to give advice and recommendations and thoughts to the Health Services Restructuring Commission. Indeed it is set up that way. I would encourage everyone who has any thoughts or any advice to do so directly to the Health Services Restructuring Commission.

Mrs Boyd: You know very well you've given direct instructions around rural hospitals, so that doesn't really answer the question. You know that to do nothing costs us all a great deal, because there's a human cost to the individuals who are highly stressed and damaged in their self-esteem, who can't get the services they need. There's the cost to OHIP and government ministries and private insurance companies when people need to shop around for unbiased services, to undergo repeated or unnecessary medical procedures, or when they are discouraged from receiving follow-up care or undergo protracted mental health counselling because service is inappropriate.

Hospitals have developed specialized services because the communities they serve have demanded those services. We see Wellesley Hospital with a proactive approach to serving sexual minorities, Montfort serving the francophone population, Women's College providing unparalleled care for women and Doctors' Hospital working with immigrant communities -- they're all on the chopping block, Premier. When will you show leadership and tell the commission, as you did with rural hospitals --

The Speaker: Thank you, member for London Centre. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: We have put forward government policies to the Health Services Restructuring Commission. We have indicated, as has the Health Services Restructuring Commission and I think a lot of the hospitals themselves, that the services -- the men and women who provide the services: the doctors, the nurses, the professionals, the paraprofessionals -- in the view of the Health Services Restructuring Commission, do not come from bricks and mortar but they come from policies and they come from people. We have asked the Health Services Restructuring Commission to bear that in mind.

The policies and directions of the government are consistent with providing service to all kinds of people throughout the province: French-speaking, as you say, in the case of Montfort; in the case of the gay and lesbian community those areas that specialize in AIDS and HIV; and seniors' and women's health and other areas. We've asked the commission --

The Speaker: Thank you, Premier. New question, official opposition.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is to the Premier. Yesterday, the Premier will know, the last of 23 first nations persons who were charged at Ipperwash was acquitted. Every single first nations person charged has either been acquitted or the charges have been dropped before going to court. Today the OPP officer who was convicted is before the courts for sentencing.

The trials are over. We now are demanding a commitment by you, Premier, to hold a public inquiry. We are prepared to present evidence that shows that the government and the Premier's office played a key role in the Ipperwash affair. The government made the major decisions and is responsible for the handling of this situation. The question is this: Will you now commit, Premier, to holding a public inquiry so we and others can lay the evidence before an independent inquiry that can fairly determine the role you and your government played in this affair?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think we've been quite clear on this. Certainly from the legal advice, we are obligated, we feel, to wait until the legal issues and cases are resolved. I've indicated that to the Legislature. If you have information you think should be made public, go ahead.

Mr Phillips: We already have made it and we're anxious for a forum in which to present it and have some adjudication of it.

I'll be very blunt, Premier. You are going to do whatever you can to avoid a public inquiry. We've examined the terms of reference of other inquiries. For example, in the Westray mine inquiry the criminal trial proceedings occurred alongside the public inquiry. The terms of reference said, for example, "No evidence can be heard by the Westray public inquiry until all evidence at the related criminal trial is heard." It provided the forum and the vehicle for that.

Premier, will you today table the legal opinion that you've referred to so we can examine that legal opinion, and will you examine the terms of reference of the Westray mine inquiry to determine if we can use the same model here? Frankly, we are not going to quit on this. We are going to continue to demand a public inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this very, very sorry affair.

Hon Mr Harris: I think we've been clear, the Attorney General has been very clear, and we've been quite consistent and quite open with all the information that we can. If you have tabled and made public all the information you have, I'm happy to defend any allegations you have on the basis of that information. There's not a single shred of evidence there that there was anything untoward or inappropriate in the actions of this government. If you have anything else, go ahead and table it. In the meantime, there are court cases and we have a legal obligation to ensure that those cases go forward.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question, third party.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question to the Premier on the same matter. Everything we learn about what happened at Ipperwash on September 6 adds to the need for an immediate commitment by the government to a public inquiry. It's time the government stopped stonewalling on this.

According to the testimony that lead to the acquittal of the young Chippewa youth, the police grabbed Bernard George, a band councillor, called him a savage, kicked and beat him and dragged him by the hair until he lost consciousness. This happened during the same period that led to the fatal shooting of Dudley George.

The issue goes beyond the guilt or innocence of one individual or group of individuals. We have to know what decisions were made by whom that led to this sorry, sorry affair and these events. When will the Premier commit to a public inquiry so that all of the facts can be known and we don't leave one police officer out to dry?

The Speaker: Thank you, member for Algoma. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: When the court cases are over.

Mr Wildman: The cases have been dealt with. There is one case that is going to be heard in the fall. There is absolutely nothing to prevent the Premier and the government from committing now to a public inquiry that will not involve evidence that will deal with that particular case. It's time the Premier stood up and said he is prepared to have all the facts come out so that we know what led to the killing of Dudley George and to the force that was used by the police in this case, instead of the approach the police had used in the past.

The government wants this issue to fade away. It's not going to fade away; it's not going to disappear. There are demands that all the evidence be brought forward so we can know the truth of what led to this unfortunate set of circumstances. The only way to do that and to silence the demands for the truth is to have a public inquiry. Will you now commit to a public inquiry and make it clear that your government wants all the facts to come out?

Hon Mr Harris: Both myself and the Attorney General made it clear that we want to ensure that all the facts come out. At the appropriate time we'll do that.



Mr Harry Danford (Hastings-Peterborough): My question is for the Minister of Environment. In my riding of Hastings-Peterborough protection of the environment is very important, particularly regarding the water quality. Recently it was announced our government has successfully re-established an environmental cleanup fund which will assist in the cleanup of contaminated sites across the province. Would you please explain to the members of the House further details of this initiative?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): I'd like to thank the member for raising this issue. It's an important issue when we're talking about a fund that the ministry has had for some period of time, called the environmental cleanup fund. I want to inform members of the House that this fund was decreased by the previous government from some $23 million down to $1.9 million. That's how they saved money: They decreased the potential funding for emergencies that would occur across this province.

In two short years we have increased that funding from $1.9 million to $10.5 million. We recognize the importance of cleaning up abandoned contaminated sites, not only for the environment but for the economy. The increase to the fund will enable this ministry to better respond to environmental emergencies and to expedite ongoing contaminated site remediation in our province.

Mr Danford: I'm pleased to hear that funding has been increased to address the needs of cleaning up many areas in our province. The Deloro site that is located in my riding of Hastings-Peterborough used arsenic for refining the minerals during its operations. The Deloro site is one of the most contaminated sites in the province, and over the past 10 years there hasn't been one thing done to help actually clean up this site.

Would you please tell the House whether funds from the environmental cleanup fund have been earmarked for any particular projects, and if so, would you outline who will be benefiting in the province of Ontario?

Hon Mr Sterling: The Deloro mine site is perhaps one of the most unknown environmental disasters which occurred in this province over the past 50 years. There is arsenic which is released into the Moira River, which eventually comes out of the river and into Lake Ontario around Belleville.

Over the next year funds that have been used annually for ongoing rehabilitation of this site will be allocated to the next stage of the work. The action plan for the site will be to protect the public's health and safety and fulfil our environmental commitment to that region.

Other areas of concern that the fund is looking at are areas for a PCB-contaminated site in Smithville and the Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour. Our government recognizes the importance of re-establishing the environmental cleanup fund. We are not going to decimate it as the previous government did. We are going to have money on hand to address emergencies that occur in this province and we will address them.


Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I have a question for the Premier. Now that Bill 106 has been passed, the massive job of reassessing all Ontario properties by April 1998 will begin. This short time frame and the partial contracting out of interior inspections will guarantee that Ontario property taxpayers will have the poorest-quality assessment roll that has ever been returned after reassessment.

Two private companies have been awarded contracts to do some of this work. Private contractors receive one day's training from the ministry, after which they may hire and train inspectors to do the work. We have a situation where contractors with one day's training will be hiring and training inexperienced people to collect data that will be the basis of the reassessment. Premier, do you think it's prudent or fair to Ontario taxpayers to have to have their tax assessments based on such an unprofessional procedure?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the Minister of Finance has answered this question before. He's not here today. I think his commitment is that the assessments will be done professionally; they'll be done correctly.

I would suggest to you, I suppose, that they're never done perfectly, which is why there seem to be appeals all the time regardless of how experienced the assessors are. But there is no question that we are in fact, because of the inaction of two former governments, having to play catch-up with reassessments. We are contacting professionals in the private sector to assist us with that.

Mr Kwinter: It's interesting; I have an ad that has been placed by one of the successful contractors. It says: "We require a highly organized, self-motivated individual...must have excellent communication skills, neat appearance, and a reliable car. General knowledge of residential home construction required."

There is not one single mention of any kind of expertise or knowledge in assessment matters. Not only that, but studies have shown that the contractors are going to get three times as much money for doing the job with non-professionals as the ministry pays their own professionals.

Do you think this is reasonable, that citizens of Ontario, property taxpayers, are going to be subjected to unprofessional assessments and are going to have to pay three times as much for the privilege? Does this make any common sense?

Hon Mr Harris: I can tell you what does not make common sense: that for the last 10 years -- and you may argue longer than 10; you may even have gone back to a former government -- certainly the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party refused to move on reassessing, so there is a backlog to have a fair assessment system, and we are playing catch-up.

Here are the criteria: Only private sector suppliers who have experience in property appraisal, such as real estate appraisers and adjusters, are eligible to respond to the request for tender to provide onsite property inspection services. They're inspecting residential properties, not valuing them. They are assisting the professionals in the valuation. The ministry is providing training in both the classroom and the field on ministry procedures and forms. The suppliers will have to follow processes that are established by the ministry, and we have every confidence they will do so in a competent and professional fashion.

Yes, it's regrettable that we have to now bring in outside help because you guys wouldn't do anything for 10 years.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is for the Premier. Ed Sharpe, a 26-year-old married father of two children, was in my office on Friday. Last year he left his job at the hospital due to the cuts to health care. He accepted an exit package that included a significant contribution from the Health Sector Training and Adjustment Panel. He chose out of alternatives offered to take a course at Sault College in mechanical engineering.

Over the last month that plan has begun to unravel. You announced in your budget an end to HSTAP, and last week he discovered that the college, because of funding cuts, will no longer offer mechanical engineering or any other related options Ed might be interested in.

He is now out of a job, must go out of town to take this program and pay for it himself.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question.

Mr Martin: What have you to say to Ed and the hundreds of other families you've left twisting in the wind by dropping HSTAP and by cutting funding to colleges?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the Minister of Education and Training will have a dandy answer for you.

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I'm sure, as the honourable member knows, we can't discuss individual cases, although I'd be more than happy to discuss this individual case with him at some point if he'd send to my office the details.

I can tell you this: I'm very pleased to inform the member that we have increased our support for students, both mature students and regular students, in our colleges and universities. We've increased the amount of funding available to them through OSAP and other programs by double over the last two years. There are programs available to help students in all circumstances in this province because we understand the importance of education and training. We understand the importance of that for people who are re-entering the job market. I'd be more than happy to discuss with the member opposite this case at any point.

Mr Martin: I'm disappointed that the Premier chose to dish this off. There was a letter written on May 14 by the Health Sector Training and Adjustment Panel, signed by the co-chairs, that said in part, "We would like to express our concern about the difficult position in which over 1,200 laid-off health sector employees now find themselves as a result of the cancellation of funding for HSTAP."

Minister, the fate of Ed Sharpe and his young family is in your hands. He agreed to leave his job because your government said you would help him get something else. Will you live up to your commitment to this man and to his family?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I'd be more than glad to discuss this case with the member opposite at some point if he'd like to send me the details of it. Perhaps there is a program we can point him to, because I can tell you there are any number of support systems available.

Obviously one of the things that is offered to people when they're making a transition from one job to another is a variety of different supports in which they get to choose what the training is that will best help them get to their own future. I think that's a critical part of that program. I'd be very happy to discuss this with the member opposite and to explain to him any of the number of support systems that are available in Ontario.


Mr Trevor Pettit (Hamilton Mountain): My question is for the Solicitor General and it has to do with the important issue of the role of victims in the criminal justice system.

Our government's plan places a high priority on improving safety in Ontario's communities and properly dealing with violent crime. In the election of June 1995 I promised the constituents of Hamilton Mountain that once in government we would make certain that victims of crime would be given an enhanced role to play in the criminal justice process. I also promised that if elected, we would not ignore them as the previous two governments had done.

Minister, could you please tell my constituents high atop Hamilton Mountain what this government is doing to follow through on that very important promise?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): To those folks high atop Hamilton Mountain and others in this province, I want to assure them that this government has a strong commitment to victims of crime and our actions are clearly indicating that. We are restoring the balance between the rights of offenders and the needs of victims of crime. Last year, unlike the two previous governments, we moved ahead on a Victims' Bill of Rights. We have enhanced the victim crisis assistance and referral service, which assists police to ensure victims get the appropriate assistance and service as soon as possible. The four current sites in Kingston, Sault Ste Marie, Brantford and Metro were expanded to eight new locations last year in Windsor, Belleville, Sarnia, Caledon, Haldimand, Norfolk, Peterborough and Barrie. There will be an additional eight new locations this year. The total funding for this fiscal year is $4.5 million for the 20 sites.

We continue to fund at the $9-million level 34 sexual assault centres. We introduced automated information referral service and the victim notification service and we're committed to spending --

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

Mr Pettit: It's encouraging to me, and I'm sure to the people of Hamilton Mountain, to hear that steps are finally being taken to refocus the justice system to assist victims instead of criminals. But I'd further like to ask the Solicitor General about a related commitment we made: a commitment to keep victims properly informed through the various stages of the justice system. Minister, would you please update us on the government's progress in this area?

Hon Mr Runciman: In the recent budget, the government announced a new victim support line, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help victims overcome the impact of crime. By calling 1-888-579-2888, victims of crime have a number of options, including speaking directly in person to a counsellor who can refer the victim to programs in their community.

In addition, Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide an automated victim notification service. A victim can register to be automatically updated when an offender is scheduled for release or when there is any change in an offender's status. They can also have input into the parole process by expressing concerns about the release of an offender into their community.

It's very important that victims are aware of this new service, and therefore I am sending out information to all members of the Legislature this week.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): My question is for the Minister of Education and Training. There are teachers, students, board officials, taxpayers and parents with the Ottawa Board of Education who have made it perfectly clear that you have no legal right to the $31 million in locally raised education taxes which you are demanding from the board. Now, finally, one of your own caucus colleagues is saying you're wrong in trying to extract the money. He's the member for Ottawa-Rideau, and I'd like to tell you what he said: "The truth of the matter is that the board is right. All we're doing here is causing bad feelings. I just want to see it off the table. Let's get on to more important stuff."

Minister, I couldn't agree more. I think the member for Ottawa-Rideau is right, don't you?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I know the member opposite is aware of the fact that we for some time have been talking with the Ottawa board, have been negotiating with the Ottawa board. If you'll recall, during the social contract there were some permanent savings that were asked for by school boards across the province, including the Ottawa school board. Those were permanent savings.

Virtually all the boards in Ontario have found those savings and have now reflected those in their budgets. Unfortunately, Ottawa has not done that to this point in time, and we are continuing to negotiate with them to find mechanisms to do that. The mechanisms they found under the social contract were sharing some resources with coterminous and local boards, and that seems to be the approach that would be most appropriate now. However, we're willing to listen to any other suggestions they might have.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Supplementary.

Mr Patten: The suggestion they have is that it's their tax money that they have paid already and you're trying to extract it. You have no right to the money, and you know it, because it's double taxation. The member for Ottawa-Rideau knows that. He's a lawyer and he's a judge. I would listen to him carefully.

You're creating anxiety in the community. The only provincial funding that board has received is for the McHugh centre, which serves 254 kids with special needs, and you withdrew $3 million from them. You're going to use kids as pawns in this particular arrangement.

The Ottawa board has already had to cut $22 million from its budget this year, and now you want to put into jeopardy other educational services by blackmailing the board to hand over $31 million, to remove it totally from education to pay for the ill-timed tax cut. If you won't stand in your place and admit that you've made a mistake, will you at least have the courage to respond to the invitation from the taxpayers to go to Ottawa to explain to them face to face why locally raised education taxes are being taken away from the Ottawa Board of Education?

Hon Mr Snobelen: To correct the member opposite, first of all, no one is blackmailing anyone in this case. We have had discussions with the people in Ottawa. We have directed staff to continue those discussions to make a reality out of the permanent savings that were offered under the social contract and perhaps to use a template of the social contract as a way of finding those.

Let's be clear about this. There are no programs in jeopardy in Ottawa. In fact, much of what the honourable member opposite has talked about is really the unfairness of the general legislative grant program, a program that treats some students in the province as second-class students. This government is ending that general legislative grant program. Your government, while it was in power, could have put in a fair funding system for students in Ontario. You didn't. We are, and it will be in place by next year.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I would ask for unanimous consent for Mr Guzzo, the member for Ottawa-Rideau, to have a supplementary to this question.

The Speaker: Except that there is no supplementary to this question; it has been asked.

New question; third party, the member for Nickel Belt.


The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for the member for Ottawa-Rideau to have a supplementary to this question? No. I heard a no.


Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): I have a question for the Chair of Management Board. You are in the process now of privatizing the mail and printing services of about 15 ministries, involving 130 employees, 30% of whom have either physical or developmental handicaps. On May 5, in response to a question from the member for Ottawa Centre, you said that extra points would be awarded to potential private sector employers who hired existing staff, but you made no mention whatsoever about staff with disabilities, such as Lisa Patterson, who has been with the Ministry of Health for 16 years and who is deaf.

I have here the approximately 90 pages of your request for proposal, your RFP, as it is usually known. Could you tell me where in these 90 pages there is any reference whatsoever to the employment of people with disabilities if a new employer takes over these tasks?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I don't have the 90 pages in front of me and I'm not able to tell the member what page and what paragraph, but I will say again that in terms of the existing employees, and that includes all employees, the firms that submit bids will be given higher marks if they employ current employees, any current employees. They will be given higher points and be more likely to win the bid if they hire current employees.

Mr Laughren: It wouldn't matter if the Chair of Management Board had these 90 pages in front of him; he wouldn't be able to find in them any reference to people with disabilities. That is truly monstrous. You are putting the most vulnerable people there are in your employ out on the street if the private sector employer doesn't guarantee to hire those with disabilities. It's plain and simple. Will you make a guarantee today that any successful bidder will be required to employ those existing employees who have disabilities? Will you make that commitment today?

Hon David Johnson: We haven't put anybody out on the street with regard to the mail services, the courier services. We're going through a process because the services cost the taxpayers about $12 million a year. There is a considerable cost to this particular service, about $12 million a year. In the estimation of the government, through this process several million dollars will be saved, but at the same time we have concern for the challenged employees, for all employees associated with the province of Ontario.

There is a weighting; the weighting varies function by function. I will assure the member opposite that the weighting will be part of the final consideration, which has not been made at this point in time. That will be taken into account, and those employers who act more progressively in that vein will be given higher marks and will be more likely to win.


Mrs Lillian Ross (Hamilton West): My question is to the minister responsible for women's issues. In our government's budget of May 6, the finance minister announced many new initiatives and program funding. Recently you came to Hamilton and met with representatives and advocates of women's issues, including the women's centre, the sexual assault centre, the rape crisis centre and the native women's centre, to name only a few. They expressed lots of concerns and interests to you and me, and I thought it was a very good dialogue we had with them. In light of what we heard at that meeting, I'd like you to explain to this House how some of the budget announcements will affect women in my riding and indeed across the province.

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): Thank you to the member for Hamilton West. We actually did have a very interesting afternoon and great opportunities to discuss the budget, the implications of the budget, and focus on services that were important for women in the areas of health care, child care, small business development, supports to families and strengthening community safety.

I would add that the budget supports job creation for women through tax cuts and through supports to small business. I'd also like this House to know that women are the most successful creators of small business, as we discussed that afternoon, at three times the rate of men, and they're creating new jobs at four times the national rate. So we had a very interesting discussion.

Our administrative savings have held us in good stead across all ministries, and with that, we were allocated some 27 million new dollars in the next four years to provide more services and prevention programs with regard to our violence-against-women initiatives. It was a good afternoon. Thank you very much for the question.

Mrs Ross: I agree with you. I think the meeting went very well, despite what some other members might say. The $27 million will help in dealing with violence against women. We all recognize that the safety of our communities, especially the safety of women, is a critical factor contributing to a better Ontario. Can you outline for me and for the other members how this $27 million will be utilized and how it will affect the women in my riding?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: In response to the specific question about the $27 million, this is a four-year funding program. This year we have been allocated some 5.5 million new dollars. As we look at all the violence-against-women initiatives, the money that is also spent through the victims' justice fund, the dollars that are put into housing supports for abused women through the Ministry of Housing, we're looking at well over $100 million and we're adding another $5.5 million.

The challenge we will have in spending this money is in discussing across all ministries, with community agencies, around the areas of prevention and new programs and especially taking the advice of the people we're consulting with. Hopefully, some time within the next four weeks, we'll be able to make an announcement on a new framework of programs, over 50 agencies and 500 responses to the initiative we put out early in January, and we'll be able to make that announcement with the good advice we've had --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you, Minister. New question.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I have a question for the Attorney General. Over the past few months a number of issues around your centralization of the family support plan offices have been raised in the House. You have attempted to respond to those. Indeed one of our colleagues, I understand, faces criminal charges resultant from his attendance at that office -- alleged incidents that have occurred.

That office is still in a mess. I have today sent over to your office copies of private information from one client of that office that was sent to somebody else, information that should not be in the hands of anyone other than the individual to whom this information applies.

Can you tell us what steps you'll take to ensure that information of this nature doesn't get sent to the wrong person when your office isn't responding to the other person's original question? What safeguards do you have in place? When you've had a chance to review this issue, will you share that with the House and tell us just how this type of travesty could occur in Ontario today?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I can tell you the last time I received a complaint from this member the facts he put to me were all wrong. I'm prepared to take a look at the details of what this particular issue involves. I'm prepared to get back to the member and advise him about what the problem is and how we can deal with the solution if indeed there is a problem at the family support plan's end of this particular involvement. I await to receive the facts from the member.




Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I believe we have unanimous consent with regard to a motion pertaining to the privacy commissioner.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Let me seek consent first. Do we have unanimous consent with respect to the privacy commissioner? Agreed.

Hon David Johnson: I move that an humble address be presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as follows:

"To the Lieutenant Governor in Council:

"We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, request the appointment of Ann Cavoukian, to act as interim Information and Privacy Commissioner until November 30, 1997, or until the Legislative Assembly appoints a permanent Information and Privacy Commissioner, whichever is earlier."

And that the address be engrossed and presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council by the Speaker.



Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas TVOntario has served Ontarians of all ages for more than 25 years with quality non-commercial television that continues to focus 70% of its programming on education and children's programming; and

"Whereas TVOntario is available to 97.4% of Ontarians and for some uncabled communities is the only station available, making it truly a provincial asset;

"Whereas TVOntario continues to work towards increasing self-generated revenues; and

"Whereas TVOntario provides unique services to people living in northern and remote communities;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to ensure that TVOntario continues to be a publicly owned and funded educational broadcaster."

That's signed by a good number of residents from the communities of Webequie and Moose Factory in my riding and other points north, and I have attached my name to that petition as well.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have a petition from residents in the riding of East York. It reads:

"A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I have a petition from the Triple X Hunt Club. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the Liberal government of Canada has passed Bill C-68, An Act respecting firearms and other weapons; and

"Whereas we welcome real gun control and support those portions of Bill C-68 which provide tougher penalties for the criminal use of firearms, new offences related to firearms smuggling and trafficking; and

"Whereas existing laws requiring the registration of handguns have done little to reduce the number of crimes committed with handguns or lower the volume of handguns smuggled into Canada; and

"Whereas the national gun registration provisions of Bill C-68 will result in a massive misallocation of the limited resources available to law enforcement agencies, with no practical effect on the traffic of illegal firearms or the use of guns by violent criminals; and

"Whereas the gun registration provisions of Bill C-68 will take police officers off the streets and involve them in bureaucracy rather than fighting crime and will make the task of real gun control more difficult and dangerous for police officers;

"We, the undersigned, respectfully petition the province of Ontario to continue to urge the government of Canada to repeal from Bill C-68 those provisions for a compulsory registration of all firearms."

I sign my name to this petition.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): I have the pleasure of introducing a petition which has been signed by 30,000 people in the Ottawa-Carleton area, and it's my pleasure to affix my signature to that, which reads as follows:

"Whereas Premier Harris had reneged on his election promise not to close hospitals; and

"Whereas the Harris hospital closing commission wants patients to leave Ontario hospitals quicker and sicker; and

"Whereas the Riverside Hospital in Ottawa is one of the most cost-effective community hospitals in Ontario; and

"Whereas the Riverside Hospital has been recognized nationally for the quality care that Ontarians deserve;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, demand that Premier Harris honour his promise and not close the Riverside Hospital."


Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): I have a very brief petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"We, the undersigned, support our OPP, and especially Sergeant Deane, in their testimony and action taken at Ipperwash park. We believe all the OPP acted properly in their line of duty."

The petition is signed by approximately 1,000 people.


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

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

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

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

I have affixed my signature to it.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This is another several-hundred-signatures petition regarding class sizes and it's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the private member's bill introduced by Rick Bartolucci, MPP for Sudbury, which promotes smaller class sizes passed second reading; and

"Whereas this bill, called Bill 110, was referred to the social development committee; and

"Whereas we, the stakeholders in education, want the government committee to hear what we have to say about smaller class sizes; and

"Whereas we want to hear what the government committee has to say regarding smaller class sizes; and

"Whereas all people in Ontario have a right to speak to the social development committee about smaller class sizes;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support the recommendation that the social development committee travel across Ontario to find out what the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Ontario are saying about smaller class sizes and Bill 110, the smaller class sizes act."

Of course, I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): The campaign to save TVOntario continues all across the province. We have thousands more signatures on the petitions. In light of the government's recent $6.5-million further cut to TVO, I think it's important these petitions are listened to by the government.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas TVOntario has served Ontarians of all ages for more than 25 years with quality commercial-free television that continues to focus 70% of its programming schedule on education and children's programming; and

"Whereas TVO is available to 97.4% of Ontarians and for some uncabled communities is the only station available, making it a truly provincial asset; and

"Whereas TVO continues to work towards increasing self-generated revenues;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to ensure that TVOntario continue to be a publicly owned and funded educational broadcaster."

I'm very proud to sign my name to that.


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell): The firefighters are still concerned about Bill 84. I have a petition here that comes from Hammond, Orléans, Clarence Creek and Ottawa.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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



Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I affix my signature to the petition.


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

"Whereas Windsor-Essex county was the first community to undergo hospital restructuring; and

"Whereas the community supported the recommendations of the Win-Win report based on a funding model that included the expansion of community-based care; and

"Whereas recent reports estimate that Windsor-Essex hospital expenditure is underfunded by approximately $122 per person; and

"Whereas this represents the lowest funding per capita for hospital services of any community in Ontario with a population of over 200,000; and

"Whereas hospitals across the province have been forced to further reduce expenditures 18%; and

"Whereas these cuts have forced hospitals to eliminate emergency services in the west end of Windsor and other desperately needed services; and

"Whereas the minister acknowledged that additional funding was necessary in high-growth areas;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to call on the Minister of Health to provide appropriate levels of health care funding to hospitals in Windsor-Essex which would allow Windsor Regional Hospital to provide urgent care services for the west end community and to restore equitable health care funding across Windsor and Essex county."

I affix my signature.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This is another petition gathered by the United Steelworkers of America.

"To the Honourable Solicitor General and Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario has decided to scrap mandatory inquests as a result of fatalities in the mining and construction industry; and

"Whereas this unprecedented and callous decision sets workplace safety back 20 years;

"We, the undersigned, request that Solicitor General Bob Runciman and the Legislative Assembly, on behalf of all workers in the mining and construction industry, reverse his decision to remove mandatory inquests from the Coroners Act of Ontario."

Of course I affix my signature to it.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a petition here signed by hundreds of my constituents concerned about the costs of post-secondary education.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas post-secondary educational costs have been increasing due to economic and technological changes;

"Whereas student tuition fees have increased greatly over the past few years;

"Whereas the cost of living for students continues to increase;

"Whereas students are unable to continue their education due to high costs;

"Whereas future economic growth depends on access to post-secondary education;

"Whereas the panel on the Future Directions for Postsecondary Education recognizes the inadequacy in financial resources available to post-secondary education;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to renew its financial commitment for post-secondary education and to recognize that a multi-year commitment to the restoration of support must be guaranteed."

I'm proud to sign my name to this and credit Claudio Monteleone in Thunder Bay for beginning this drive.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I have a petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas TVOntario has served Ontarians of all ages for more than 25 years with quality non-commercial television that continues to focus 70% of its programming on education and children's programming; and

"Whereas TVO is available to 97.4% of Ontarians and for some uncabled communities is the only station available, making it a truly provincial asset; and

"Whereas TVO continues to work towards increasing self-generated revenues;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to ensure that TVOntario continue to be a publicly owned and funded educational broadcaster."

This is submitted to me by the students from the École Sacré-Coeur in Kapuskasing. I affix my signature to the petition.


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

"Whereas Windsor-Essex county was the first community to undergo hospital restructuring; and

"Whereas the community supported the recommendations of the Win-Win report based on a funding model that included the expansion of community-based care; and

"Whereas recent reports estimate that Windsor-Essex hospital expenditure is underfunded by approximately $122 per person; and

"Whereas this represents the lowest funding per capita for hospital services of any community in Ontario with a population of over 200,000; and

"Whereas hospitals across the province have been forced to further reduce expenditures 18%; and

"Whereas these cuts have forced hospitals to eliminate emergency services in the west end of Windsor and other desperately needed services; and

"Whereas the minister acknowledged that additional funding was necessary in high-growth areas;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to call on the Minister of Health to provide the appropriate level of funding to hospitals in Windsor-Essex which would allow Windsor Regional Hospital to provide urgent care services for the west end community and to restore equitable health care funding across Windsor and Essex county."

I add my signature to many more petitions, and I'm sure there will be more coming.



Mr Young moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 134, An Act to promote zero tolerance for substance abuse by children / Projet de loi 134, Loi encourageant une tolérance zéro concernant l'abus de substances par des enfants.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Do you have any comments to make?

Mr Terence H. Young (Halton Centre): Thank you, Speaker, I do. In greater numbers, our children are choosing deadly companions which threaten to destroy their minds and bodies. Substance abuse among our youth has surged to its highest level since 1980, and our society's apathy and ignorance have paved the way.

The bill I am introducing today is our wake-up call. It will bring these youth together with their parents to confront this tragic problem and get the help they need to solve it.



Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I move opposition day motion number 5:

Whereas there has been a proliferation of accidents and fatalities related to truck safety in Ontario; and

Whereas this has caused a great lack of confidence in road safety in Ontario; and

Whereas the government has repeatedly stated its intention to deal decisively and swiftly with truck safety in Ontario; and

Whereas the government has had a truck safety bill on the order paper since February 24, 1997; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation has attempted to exploit the issue for political purposes, choosing numerous photo opportunities to advance the need for truck safety; and

Whereas the government has failed to address the issue in a meaningful way; and

Whereas the Liberal caucus has stated its desire to cooperate and expeditiously pass legislation ensuring road safety in Ontario;

Be it therefore resolved that this House calls upon the government to bring forward Bill 125 immediately for second and third reading and that the House further calls upon the government to respond to the Target '97 recommendations with legislation so that a full, public debate can occur.

Mr Speaker, I will keep my remarks brief at the opening and will conclude at the end. We offered even today to give up this legislative day to deal with the government's truck legislation. We call upon the government to bring forward a bill as quickly as possible.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Further debate?


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I find out within about 30 seconds that I'm up to speak, not so much as a critic, but I understood the Liberal caucus was going to lead off on their own opposition day. Anyway, I will commence.

We need to start this particular debate today on the opposition motion we have before us by recognizing what the problem is. We have a problem in Ontario in so far as there are a number of unsafe vehicles on the road that are endangering the safety of the motoring public. That is not to say every truck out there, every truck driving the highways of Ontario, is unsafe. There certainly are some responsible carriers out there who are trying to do the job properly, but there are some bad apples in the bunch. Part of what we are trying to discuss here today is how you get at those bad apples.

Unfortunately, we've seen too many fatalities on the highways of Ontario. There has been everything from flying truck wheels -- they call it in more esoteric terms wheel separation; we call them flying truck wheels -- to other types of accidents, everything from cars running into the back of trucks to other problems being caused where the motoring public has been put in danger.

What we need to do is recognize what the problem is. That's part of the problem I have in this debate. It seems to me that, first of all, the government, the Minister of Transportation, is trying to approach this problem from a fairly interesting perspective. They are trying to make this out to be some sort of simple problem that could be cured by putting large fines on people who do things wrong or by introducing some magical piece of legislation where all of a sudden, waking up the day after royal assent, the problem would have gone away.

It's not as simple as that. There are a whole host of issues that have to be addressed within the trucking industry in order to make the industry as safe as it can be for the travelling, motoring public.

I think the first thing we have to do is change the culture. One of the things we have to do within the transportation industry, and also within the general public, I would add, is to say we need to change the culture of how we deal with the trucks themselves.

It's rather ironic that not only here in Ontario but across Canada we look at trucks as being basically large cars. The reality is that trucks are not large cars. They are huge shipping containers that are running down our highways at about 120,000 pounds, barrelling down the road at 90 to 100 kilometres an hour. That's a pretty dangerous vehicle to come up on. It seems to me that one of the things we need to do within the trucking industry and within the general public is to change that whole attitude and to start recognizing that trucks are not large cars, that trucks are shipping containers that weigh about 120,000 pounds and are pretty lethal when involved in an accident. If we were to change some of the attitudinal problems in our approach to the trucks themselves, I think we'd be able to get at part of this problem.

I always find it interesting that we look at rail transportation in this province from a much different perspective than we look at trucks. Could you imagine, to put it bluntly, having a rail industry or an airline industry in this country that was not properly monitored by the provincial and federal governments to make sure they are meeting certain standards when it comes to safety or maintenance? There would be a hue and cry out there. The people would say, "Why would I want to get on a plane unless I am assured that the government is assuring itself that everything is being done to make this plane safe?" Why would people embark on a train or ship goods on a train unless we knew that the government, either federally or provincially, depending on who has the authority, would assure itself that the trains themselves and the track are as safe as humanly possible within the limitations we have? Nobody.

When it comes to trucks, we have a totally different attitude. We see an 18-wheeler or we see a double trailer-truck coming down the highway and we look at it as being just another car. Well, it's not another car. It's a huge vehicle. It is a transportation vehicle that needs to be treated differently than a car. I think that's one of the first things we have to do: We have to change that attitude.

I'll give you an example, Mr Speaker. You were a member of this House under the former Peterson government, two governments ago. They looked at the whole issue within the industry itself, not just trucking. They looked at the manufacturing industry and the problems we were having in handling chemicals within the workplace. The opposition, being us, the New Democrats, and the unions who were out there trying to make the workplace safer for their members started going after the Peterson government and saying, "What we need to do when it comes to the handling of dangerous goods, chemicals within industry, is to start changing the attitude."

So the Peterson government put in place what was called the WHMIS program. You would remember, Mr Speaker, that what WHMIS did was it trained the workers, the employers and government people in making sure that everybody understood what was dangerous within the workplace and then if something God-forsaken should happen, how to deal with it. By training people and educating people, they started changing attitudes about how we handle dangerous chemicals, how we store them properly and how we transport them.

As a result of that, I would argue that over the last about 10 years now, or maybe a little bit less, that WHMIS has been in place there have been far fewer incidents where people have been injured or killed because of chemicals in the workplace. Why? Because we managed to change the attitude within the workplace. We managed to get employers, the managers in the workplace and the foremen and whoever runs the companies, to start understanding that you do not treat a container of chemicals the same way you treat a container of water, that they are not the same thing and that we need to make sure there are standards in place and we need to make sure the workers who handle the equipment understand what can be done and how it can be done safely. More importantly, we made sure we have the proper supports within the workplace both to store and to handle and transport those particular chemicals.

As a result of the change in attitude, and I give kudos to the Peterson government for this one, we managed to make a change within the whole problem that we had where we had literally hundreds of workers every month being diseased and some unfortunately killed by the handling of toxic chemicals within the workplace.

It seems to me we have to come at the shipping industry in the same way. We have to get the motoring public to understand and we need to get the industry and the shippers and the drivers and everybody to understand that trucks are not big cars. Trucks are exactly what they are: They are huge shipping vehicles. We need to make sure that we have standards in place and we need to make sure that those standards that are in place are enforceable and reasonable in making sure we make the industry as safe as possible. More importantly, we need to recognize that they are basically huge transport vehicles. I think that's one of the things you have to be able to do.

What are some of the things we can do in order to make our highways safer? What can we do in order to deal with the issue of how we make the trucking industry as safe as we can?

The broad stroke I would say is this: As well as changing the attitude and getting people to understand that trucks are not big cars, we need to start looking at how we make us as a society responsible. We all have a share in this, we all have a stake in this and we all have a responsibility. We need to make sure the government takes its responsibility in making sure that there are proper conditions, that there is proper regulation in place, that there is proper inspection and proper enforcement in place, to make sure the industry does what it can.

We also have to look at the people who produce the goods and who contract the trucking companies to ship the goods. We need to make sure the manufacturers are also held accountable, because that's part of the problem we're having today in the trucking industry. We live in a world of deregulation. We live in a world in which the trucking industry, along with a whole bunch of other industries, has been deregulated. With that deregulation came a price. Yes, it has been cheaper to ship goods, on average, for the manufacturers; no question. But has it necessarily been good for the travelling public? I would say not, because what has happened is that you have cut-rate operators who come into competition with good shippers who are trying to do their job. You have people in competition with them slashing prices, and to do so, they slash safety. What ends up happening is that they put the motoring public at risk.

One of the things we have to do, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the government's bill that is supposed to be introduced next week, is to take a look at the issue: Are we going to hold the manufacturers responsible? When a manufacturer goes out there and knowingly hires a company that he or she knows may have problems when it comes to their safety rating, will we hold them responsible? I think it is awfully unfair to hold the driver responsible, which seems to be what we are doing in this day and age. We blame the driver, and if there's any other blame to be given, we blame the trucking company. I'm not saying they are not without some responsibility. What I am saying is that we need to look at the root of the problem. We have to make sure the trucking industry is dealt with in such a way that they can make a sufficient dollar so that we can assure ourselves that we are able to have safer trucks out on our highways, and that costs money.


I guess the basic question is: Are we prepared to pay the price? I think most people in Ontario are fairly reasonable. I think most people are prepared to say, "I would put safety over the cheaper price of shipping." I want to make sure when I drive down the 401 or I go up Highway 11 that I'm not going to meet some 18-wheeler or some 53-foot truck or some double-axle truck on the highway that's unsafe, that just might come apart as I'm going by it or it's coming by me. That's the first thing we need to do.

What's happened up to now to deal with this problem? It's been interesting what has happened over the past two years. I watched the Minister of Transportation get up with great fanfare on a number of occasions to announce measures to deal with the issue of truck safety, but up to now they've just been announcements. We haven't seen anything concrete on the part of the government in bringing forward actual legislation that it is prepared to carry through this House to deal with the broad issues of truck safety.

We've seen the government come in here, the Minister of Transportation, and announce with great fanfare last January, I guess it was, Bill 125. That was a bill that was going to give absolute fines of $50,000. When truck wheels come flying off trucks, we would fine the trucking company and the driver 50,000 bucks for the wheel coming off.

I'm not so sure that's a good idea, to be quite honest. I think there are other ways of coming at the responsibility. But the point is, he introduced that legislation knowing that it was never going to get called to the House, and we caught him on that one. Members of the opposition, both the New Democrats and the Liberals, caught the Minister of Transportation at his own game. Nobody was listening to us at the beginning when we pointed that out.

I remember that Al Palladini came to this House and introduced legislation called Bill 125 with great fanfare, great press opportunities, wonderful photo ops, great articles in the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Globe and Mail, Global television, City-TV and all the others. It was a great announcement. He was going to finally do something. But he knew he didn't have the support of his House leader.

The Minister of Transportation knew that the House leader had told him: "Don't introduce this bill because I have no intention of calling it, because we have other legislation we want to deal with as the Mike Harris government. We want to deal with the megacity." They wanted to deal with the consolidation of school boards. They wanted to deal with the assessment of taxes in the municipality of Toronto and what will be the greater city of Toronto. They had other things that they wanted to deal with and the minister introduced legislation to the House in order to get a photo op and make it look as if he's doing something.

I understand the pressure put on the minister. I don't want to attack the Minister of Transportation outright because he has done some good things. But I think it's fairly cynical when a government comes in and introduces a bill that it knows will never be called to the House. It's quite interesting where we find ourselves today some three to four months later. The bill has never been called to the -- well, it's been called to the House but we haven't finished --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): There was a big fund-raiser in Toronto.

Mr Bisson: I was getting to that point in a second. The point is that this bill has been before this House since January and has yet to be passed into law. I would just say, number one, the Minister of Transportation introduced the legislation knowing that he wasn't going to deal with it and, number two, the minister really had no intention -- I guess the first point is the same as the second. It was good for going out to fund-raisers. The Minister of Transportation can deal with people at fund-raisers fairly well, but when it comes to this legislation he certainly had problems.

He has done some things that I've got to say are a step in the right direction. One of the things that the Minister of Transportation did was carry on some work that was started by my colleague Mr Pouliot when he was the Minister of Transportation, and that's the issue of safety ratings. I think that's a very important first step. What we need to do, and we did this through the legislation and I understand it might even be fixed up a little bit better in future legislation, is say that we will make a safety rating system whereby anybody in Ontario who has doubts about a particular shipper is able to call up and find out if that shipper is within a particular parameter when it comes to safety. If they're not, automatically they would be pulled off the road. I think that's not a bad way to do it.

I'll tell you, I'm not a big fan of fines. I don't think fining trucking companies in the end is the entire answer. I think there might be the odd exception where you need to do that, where you've got a really bad operator such as we've seen in the past. I forget the name of the company offhand, but there was one particular company in the city of Toronto there for a couple of years that had been having a pretty rotten record. There might be cases where the minister has to move on that because nothing else seems to work. But I think in most cases the best thing we can do is to turn around and say: "Listen, you have to be able to operate your company within a certain rating when it comes to safety and if you don't do so, you ain't going to have a licence. You're not going to be able to ship in Ontario."

If we go the next step, if we follow that safety rating system, we assure ourselves that shippers who ship with these companies have some sort of -- there should be some sort of financial incentive so that the companies that are the safest have some sort of preferential treatment with the Ministry of Transportation, maybe cheaper licences. I know some of this stuff is being talked about in Target '97, but take a look at how we reward those transport companies who are out there doing the thing right and whose rating systems are impeccable. We should be making it economically better for them, so that shippers out there use them rather than the people that are more unsafe. We should have a competition to make the system better and have safer trucks rather than having the competition as it is now, where the people who have the worst safety records are the ones with the cheapest shipping prices.

I was talking to one shipping company out of Oshawa a couple of months ago. We were having a chat about the rates to ship goods from the city of Toronto to Montreal. What's interesting to note here is that those bad shippers, the ones that are out there with the trucks that are not in very good shape, that try to plan their runs so they don't run across any Ministry of Transportation inspectors or the OPP, are the ones that are really cutting the price. They're doing the shipping from Toronto to Montreal at about one third less than what is being charged by other shipping companies. That's what's happening in the market and that's the problem. We need to assure ourselves that the reputable operators out there are not undercut by operators who are operating unsafely, and that's what we need to get to. I don't argue to regulate it that way -- I think we can do that in other ways -- but I think what we need to do is have a carrot-and-stick approach, being able to put the carrot out there rather than just whacking them over the head when they do something wrong.

What are some of the things we need to deal with? We need to look at all the aspects when it comes to shipping. Let's start from the beginning. When it comes to the manufacturing of trailers, we need to assure ourselves that the manufacturers are building trailers to a sufficient standard and that the parts being used to build these trailers are also sufficient. One of the things that I found in talking to operators out there is that some of the replacement parts, and even in some cases some of the parts used in the manufacturing, are substandard and are not of the quality they used to be some years ago. If we're seeing wheels flying off trucks, rolling off highways and killing people, part of the reason, from what I understand from talking to people in the industry, is that some of the replacement parts that we're using are not to the same quality as they used to be. In order to cut price, in order to be more competitive, they've weakened the materials being used, which has made the equipment -- the hubs on wheels and others -- a lot less sturdy than it used be before.

We need to look at that particular issue. We need to take a look at how we assure ourselves that trailers being produced meet a certain standard and, once they are repaired, that the parts being used in the replacement of the defective parts are to a sufficient standard as well. Whatever we do in legislation or by way of regulation, I think we need to take a look at that issue.

I'll tell you, talking to people who run pulp and paper trucks up Highway 11, it's a big -- I was coming down the highway about two, three weeks ago and one guy lost two wheels and was off on the side of the road. The highway was blocked for about an hour and a half until they were able to tow everything out of the way because of the way the truck ended up stopping. Luckily, nobody was hurt and there was no big accident.

One of the things that ends up happening is that this was a brand-new truck. This was a trailer that had been purchased I think it was in Orillia. I'm not quite sure where it came from -- I'd have to go back and look at my notes -- but it was somewhere in southern Ontario. This particular trailer had just been purchased about a month ago and here it is, it had lost two wheels. There's something wrong here. The guy -- I don't blame him -- was mad as heck. He was saying: "I spent all this money, I spent over $100,000 to buy this trailer, and here I am driving from Timmins to Smooth Rock Falls with a load of chips and two wheels come flying off. What's wrong here?"

That tells me that part of the problem is we need to assure ourselves the manufacturers are living up to a standard when it comes to building these. This particular owner also told me he's had problems with replacement parts. Some of those parts have not been up to standard. We need to protect the owners of the rigs. I see the parliamentary assistant shaking his head in the negative. Oh, it's not you, the parliamentary assistant? You are anyway. That is part of the problem. We need to assure ourselves that when the trucking operator goes out there to buy a truck, he or she is getting something that is of quality and not something that's going to fall apart and endanger the public. I think that's one of the issues we need to be able to deal with. I understand and I accept that it is easier said than done, but I think we need to move in that direction. We need to be able to protect the people who are going out there purchasing the rigs and make sure they are safe.


One of the other things you have to do also is to assure yourself that when maintenance is being done, the maintenance is being done in such a way that it is up to standard. One of the things that strikes me as interesting is that the Ministry of Transportation -- here's how it works. I own a fleet of trucks. Let's say I'm shipping lumber chips from Timmins up to Smooth Rock Falls. I have four or five trucks and I have a garage in order to take care of them. The Ministry of Transportation will give me the ability to inspect my own trucks. That might be okay in some cases, but I can certainly tell you, in other cases it ain't a good idea. When the operator is the same person who does the maintenance, there may be some economic benefit to it, but unless it's properly monitored, you can start having some problems in the long run.

If we're going to give the owners that ability to do their own inspections, we have to assure ourselves that the Ministry of Transportation is going in there and making sure that those shops are properly licensed, properly equipped and in fact are doing the work they should be doing to make those trucks safe.

Again, I want to preface, a lot of the operators are doing this quite well. I look at some of the companies out there like Manitoulin and others. They certainly have some credibility when it comes to this area. But with some of the smaller operators, it's a problem. What we need to do is to make sure that the ministry properly inspects those garages and that the work being done on them is actually being done and is being done by certified people.

I was talking to the fellow up in my riding from the Ministry of Transportation who is responsible for that. Given the amount of time he has, being one person, he's lucky to inspect all of these, to get to each one of these garages once a year. That means in a lot of cases these trucks might be being repaired, but they might be repaired badly and the ministry doesn't find out about it for a couple of years, unless they happen to catch you at a roadside inspection.

I think we need to go back to the beginning. We have to say at the beginning, "Let us assure ourselves that the people who are fixing the trucks are doing so and are doing so well." That's making sure that we have qualified mechanics, that we have quality parts and we have good maintenance programs to keep those trucks up to standard.

One of the things we can do that would be really easy -- and I'm not going to get into the whole issue of lick-and-stick stickers. I think most people understand what's happening out there. In some cases an operator goes out there, again, sometimes with the smaller ones, and says, "Jeez, I've got to get my rig out on to the road." He gets himself a sticker from a mechanic -- that's why they call it a lick-and-stick; it hasn't even been inspected -- plop on the tractor-trailer it goes and down the highway goes the truck. In fact, the thing has never really been inspected.

One of the things I'm going to ask the government to do in their legislation would be really simple. If you look at how they deal with maintenance on trains, the actual maintenance log of the train car itself is kept on the car, so when the ministry inspectors federally go and take a look at that particular shipment or container, they can pull out the maintenance log. It's against the law not to have it there. They can pull out the maintenance log. They know who's worked on it, when it was worked on, who did what, what was replaced, when it was done, what were the parts used. It's a very non-bureaucratic way of doing it, and if there is any problem, immediately they can tell if something has gone wrong, if something has not been properly done.

Why don't we take the same approach when we deal with trucks? When it comes to trucks, rather than trying to figure out, "Is this an actual valid sticker? Has the maintenance really been done? Shall I call the shop? Can you find the mechanic? Has it been done?" why don't we put the maintenance logs right on the trailer? That way, when the Ministry of Transportation pulls it over off the road, the Ministry of Transportation inspector or the OPP officer can pull the maintenance log out of the pouch that's on the trailer and say, "Indeed this trailer has been properly maintained."

That's part of the problem we have, because a lot of people don't recognize that the owner-operator of the truck often doesn't even know what trailer he's going to be pulling the next day, or she if it happens to be a female driver. The guy takes his rig, he drives down to the yard, he's assigned a trailer and he pulls that trailer from Windsor to Toronto or from Toronto to Montreal or Toronto to Timmins. Often you're not pulling the same trailers, and the truck operator has no way of knowing if the maintenance has been properly done, other than doing a walkabout around the truck and doing the inspection, which I'll get to a little bit later. But one thing that could be done really easily is, I could walk up to the truck, as the driver, I could pick up the log and find out, "Has this thing ever been maintained?" and if it has not been maintained, I don't take it. That's one of the things you can do.

You can increase the frequency when it comes to maintenance. That's something that's already happening now. It wouldn't cost any money. With the reputable shippers out there, they don't just maintain their trailers once a year. You've got people out there who understand that if you maintain vehicles properly, both the rigs and the trailers, and you do it on a frequent basis, every three months or so, and in cases of trucks a little bit more frequently, it's cheaper when it comes to costs because you're not letting things break down. You're better off to fix it before it becomes a huge problem.

One of the things we can look at is increasing the frequency of actual maintenance inspections on the part of mechanics to the rigs and to the trucks themselves. If we were to post that within the maintenance log that I talked about putting on the trailer, we'd have a way of assuring ourselves that that's actually been done. That's one of the things we can do and it wouldn't cost a lot of money. That's one of the things we need to say here. That's one of the things we can do in order to try to make the trucks a little bit safer on the highway.

One of the other things we can do is make sure that we properly train truck drivers to do the inspections. Again, some truck drivers, and I would argue probably a majority, have been in the industry for a long time and know their job and try to do it well. But one of the problems I'm told by truck drivers is that often the fellow or the company who owns the truck is more interested in seeing that thing drive down the highway than he is in seeing the guy walk around the truck to do the inspection. There's a quick runabout in the middle of the night with a flashlight; he jumps in the truck and down the highway he goes. But if we were to take the time and make sure that proper pre-trip inspections were done -- and we can put that in legislation -- and number two, if we properly trained drivers to be able to do those trip inspections, we would be able to get at part of the problem. Again, it won't fix all of the problem, but there are little bits and pieces that add up to being able to reduce a lot of the problems we have with flying truck wheels and other things within the industry.

I understand part of this is going to be responded to by the bill from the Minister of Transportation, and I look forward to seeing that bill. If that's in there, I think that's a good idea. But one of the things we can do is assure ourselves that, number one, the truck drivers are properly trained when it comes to doing the trip inspections. I'm not saying, "I'm ABC Trucking and I'm going to train my own employees." No, no, that's not good enough. What you have to do is to make sure that the truck drivers are properly trained by certified trainers and not just by the owner-operators themselves. We need to make sure that's done properly.

The other thing we need to do is to look at a graduated driver's licence system for trucks. That's not a bad idea. It has been done with vehicles. My eldest daughter when she turned 16, and my youngest one when she turned 16, had to go through a graduated system to get their licence. Again, that's not a bad idea. We should be doing that with truck drivers.

I was standing at Malette waferboard the other day, talking to the drivers who were coming into the plant to pick up loads. They were bringing them pretty well anywhere in Ontario and the northern United States. That's one of the things some of the drivers were saying, that some of the jockeys they've got coming in behind some of these wheels have been in the business for not a long time and they think the faster you go, the more money you're going to make. Well, not necessarily so. The faster you go the more wear and tear you're going to put on your truck, because the conditions of our highways are such that it's the shaking and the vibrating and the bumping you get on the truck that eventually makes wheels fly off trucks.

One of the things we need to do is to make sure that we properly train drivers when it comes to driving. We should first, at the very least, have a graduated driver's licence system for truck operators. Then one of the other things we should do is make sure there are mandatory driving schools that are certified.

I know this is a big leap for a lot of people, and even some truck drivers may have some problems with it, but I think you have to start changing the attitude within the trucking industry. You've got to start saying to them, "Listen, these are not big cars; these are huge transportation vehicles that weigh 120,000 pounds that are rolling down the highway at 90 kilometres, 110 kilometres an hour," and if you hit one, God forbid, you're not going to survive.

We certainly take our time to properly regulate the airline industry, we do it within the rail industry, and we should do so within the trucking industry. In the end, who is left better? First of all, the public ends up with a safer industry as far as what it means to our highways and what it means to motorists, but it makes it easier for drivers and it also makes it easier in some ways for the industry itself. At the very least, we should be able to look at how we put in place mandatory truck driver programs where the truck drivers have to go through a licensed school or whatever it might be to be able to get their licence, and then they get their licence on a graduated system.


You can't put that in all of a sudden, I understand that -- you'd have to grandfather those people who are there now -- but certainly you can start working towards that in the future. That's something that wouldn't cost the government a lot of money that in the end would make it better for everybody around -- the shipper, because if the shipper has a good driver, he makes money, and a good driver is not driving down at 120 kilometres an hour; it's the driver who does proper trip inspections, drives his rig with care, drives it within the speed limits and doesn't do things he shouldn't be doing when it comes to driving those trucks, and recognizes when there's a problem, pulls over and gets it fixed and doesn't wait until a truck wheel flies off. Unfortunately, people get killed by that, and there's no nice way of putting it.

The other thing we need to do with drivers on the preventive maintenance programs that I talked about a little while ago is to certify that. It's not good enough to say, "You're a truck driver; let me walk you around the truck and show you how you inspect a huge 120,000-pound rig worth $100,000," and walk around the truck a couple of times with the driver. We need to make sure that drivers are given the proper skills. These are complex pieces of equipment that cost a lot of money and endanger people's lives if they're not properly inspected, so we need to make sure those preventive maintenance programs are put in place, and we should be doing that in a formal way to make sure the drivers understand that.

The other thing we should be doing when it comes to the maintenance side of it is looking at inspection and maintenance standards. We should be making sure the maintenance standards, when it comes to inspecting vehicles, of the drivers and the mechanics are at a level that responds to the safety issues and safety concerns that have been raised up to now. Those are some of the things we can do that don't cost a lot of money that would be able to deal effectively with how we assure ourselves that the people in the trucking industry are doing a good job.

One of the other things I think we need to do is to protect drivers from the owners in some cases. It amazes me that in Ontario -- Mr Speaker, you won't know this, because I don't think a lot of people do -- we allow our truck drivers to drive longer than in any other jurisdiction. We allow our drivers to get on the road for 13 hours, where in the United States and other areas we say 10 hours is the maximum the driver can drive.

I want to ask you a question: How would you feel sitting in the back of a Dash-8 flying up to Timmins or in a 747 flying to Paris, France, with a pilot who has been flying for 13 hours? How would you feel? Not too safe. I think one of the things we have to do is --

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): They fly 14 hours all the time to the Middle East.

Mr Bisson: Yes, but they're crews; they're not alone in the truck, Margaret. They don't sit and all of a sudden fly the plane alone for 14 hours. They've got autopilot; they've got computers; they've got a co-pilot. They've got somebody else in the cockpit with them.

The point I'm making is that in any other industry we make sure the people who are operating the equipment are properly supported both technically and when it comes to hours of work. One of the things we have to do is look at the issue of hours of work for drivers, and one of the things I'm not convinced the government is going to do in the bill that is coming up is to look at that issue.

I don't pretend to have the magic answer. All I know is that when I talk to truck drivers out there, there's a pretty sorry story to be told about drivers having to run fairly long distances, for many hours, in order to try to make a buck. Why? Because they're paid by the kilometre. It's a pretty simple thing.

I have one fellow I'll tell you about. Here's one guy's run up in my area. He would get up at 3 o'clock on Monday morning, drive his car up to my friend's riding just south of Hearst, pick up a truck, drive it all the way down to Michigan -- that was his first day of work -- have a sleep in the truck, pick up a load and drive it all the way back up north. That first drive alone was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 22 hours. It's nuts. The rules allow us to do that. We say you can't work more than 13 hours consecutively, but if you stagger the hours of work in such a way, you're able to get away with driving more than the 13 hours.

One of the things we have to assure ourselves of is that we protect drivers. We need to make sure the drivers are properly protected when it comes to hours of work. We need to make sure that the employer, being the owner of the truck at this point, doesn't take advantage of the drivers in making them drive longer than they should. We need to look at that issue.

One of the things we need to look at in addition to that -- this is a fairly controversial one -- is the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Why is it that in Ontario a truck driver who knows there is an unsafe condition with his truck cannot refuse to work? If I work at the mine in Timmins or Margaret works at a manufacturing plant in Mississauga and there is unsafe work, we could refuse under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. That's the law. Any employer who tries to make Margaret work in that plant or me work in the mine, and we know there's an unsafe condition, will be charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): It's the member for Mississauga South.

Mr Bisson: The member for Mississauga South works in Mississauga, I would take it, and you would work somewhere up in your area, sir, if you've ever had the opportunity to work with your hands.

The point I make is simply this: In the modern industrial world, if there is an unsafe condition at work and a worker refuses to work, he or she is protected by the Occupational Health and Safety Act; in Ontario, when it comes to the trucking industry, we're not. There are cases out there, and there are drivers who have talked to me and I am sure there are drivers who have talked to you in your travels, because I see some of you in the members' galleries over here who unfortunately are victims, who know people who have died on highways, and in a lot of cases the truckers are knowingly driving trucks in an unsafe condition. Why? Not because they want to. It's called economic terrorism. He's told by his employer, "If you don't drive that truck, out; I'm going to get somebody else to drive it," and all the driver knows is, "Jeez, I've got bills to pay, my mortgage is behind by a month, my kid needs braces," whatever the financial pressures are at home, and he ends up having to drive that truck in an unsafe condition.

We should be protecting the driver. We should be saying that the truck is a place of work. Yes, it might be moving around the highways of Ontario and North America, but none the less it's the place of work. When the pilot or the mechanic or the baggage carrier at the airport sees a defect on an aircraft, they have the right to ground the darned thing. If the baggage carrier working for Air Canada, loading a DC-9 or whatever aircraft it is, sees something that's unsafe, all the baggage carrier has to do -- that's not even the mechanic; this is the best part -- is report the unsafe condition. What happens? Boom, a mechanic comes and fixes it. If not, Air Canada would get charged, rightfully so. In our industry when it comes to trucking: "Oh, no, these are big cars. These aren't transportation; they're big cars. It's okay. You can go down with a couple of loose bolts. Nobody is going to get hurt." Unfortunately too many people have been hurt or killed because of that attitude.

What we need to do is protect the truck drivers, in some cases, from the bad operators and say, "This is a workplace, and if you see something that is unsafe, you have the right to refuse to work and nobody can force you to drive that truck if it's unsafe." I've been told too many times by too many drivers, "Gilles, the problem is that I sometimes know it's unsafe but I ain't going to have a job tomorrow morning if I push it any more." That's something we need to deal with. We've got to stop kidding ourselves. We've got to stop looking at this problem as if there is one magic solution, that increasing a fine or doing whatever is going to fix it, because that's not it. It's a combination of things, and the right to refuse unsafe work for truck drivers is one issue we would be able to do.

That's nothing revolutionary, by the way. Everybody else has the right. Your workers in your office have that right. If they're in your constituency office and they see something unsafe in the office, they have the right to refuse work. But we say to a truck driver who is pulling a 120,000-pound rig, "You haven't got the right to refuse work if it's unsafe."

I think there's something wrong in this province. We need to deal with some of that. We need to be able to come clean as a Legislature and as members. We have to stop playing politics with the issue of truck safety and we have to start dealing with the real issues.

That brings me to another issue for another debate, but at some time we've got to start changing the rules in this Legislature to make it work for the people so that when we raise issues like this, it's not partisanship that comes into play but it's actually dealing with the problem. We need to look at parliamentary reform, but that's for another time. That's for another day.

We need to take a look at this from various aspects. So far I've talked about how you can deal with this by making sure there is proper maintenance done by qualified people, making sure the Ministry of Transportation is inspecting those shops and making sure that proper work is being done by qualified people, and if not, boom, they lose their certification rights. We need to assure ourselves that the drivers themselves are properly trained when it comes to not only being able to drive the truck but also being able to do their trip inspections, and that this be done by properly training them through certified schools and not doing that just with on-the-job training. It is a very technical industry.


One of the issues here that has to be raised I just found out about today, as a matter of fact. I was talking to my colleague the member for Cochrane North, Len Wood. He met with how many, about 70 drivers?

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): About 200.

Mr Bisson: About 200 drivers up in the Hearst area. For those people who may not know this, up in the Hearst area the language spoken is French; 90% of the people up in Hearst don't speak English -- I don't think that would be stretching it too much -- or sufficient English to get by. The new standard set for replacing wheels is that if you're going to change the wheels, you have to be properly trained in order to do so. It's done entirely in English. There is no way for francophone mechanics or francophone drivers, whoever happens to be doing it, to get that training in their own language.

One of the issues I certainly want to talk to the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Education and Training about is making sure that we respect the linguistic reality of the province and make sure we're not putting people in the position of committing safety infractions by virtue of sending somebody to a program and they don't understand the language. We need to make sure we provide French training for those people who are taking the program so they understand what's going on.

Potentially what could happen is that we send somebody to one of these courses and the person could pass and never understand a word that was said. What does that mean to the public? I'll raise that again. I'll raise that at another time. It's something we need to do.

The other thing we need to do is take a look at the whole issue we talked about when it came to training drivers; we need to take a look at driving schools themselves. We need to make sure that what we have are accredited driving schools; that they're people who have been checked out by the ministry, they're people we know are doing a good job, are training the drivers properly. We need to ensure that when we're training our drivers we're doing that in schools put in place for that.

One of the other things we need to do in this -- and I just touched on it at the beginning, and I think that's the other part of the puzzle -- is take a look at the whole rating issue. Yes, the government -- and we need to acknowledge it; when the government does something right, I think we need to acknowledge it -- like I said earlier, moved forward on something that was being started by the Minister of Transportation in the previous government, the member for Lake Nipigon. We moved into a commercial vehicle operator's registration system that is a little bit more accountable. I think we need to look at what has been done, because I'm not convinced from the work the government has done that we've really covered that one off well.

We need to take a look at ensuring that the information available to the public is there. I know in just trying to check up -- I was trying to check on the CVOR for a couple of companies -- you're not able to get all the information that's really needed to assure yourself that indeed this particular company is actually as safe as we believe it is. We have to assure ourselves, when it comes to the ratings, that the ratings indeed reflect what we see within the company itself. More importantly, we have to make sure it's transparent. We have to make sure the public is able to get the information necessary to assure themselves that those particular trucks are safe.

I'm just going to wrap up in the few minutes I have left and bring it down to this: What we've got going on right now is that we have a situation in Ontario where over the years we've been seeing fairly alarming statistics in truck safety. Why? I think one of the reasons the industry has become quite unsafe is because we've moved from a regulated environment some years ago to an almost totally unregulated system today. I've got to say we told you so. We in the NDP have been telling you for years that if you move to an unregulated system, there's going to be a cost when it comes to safety.

Now we're in an unregulated system where, quite frankly, we don't have the kinds of assurances on standards and we don't have a way of ensuring that indeed what's happening within the industry is being done properly in order to assure the motoring public that what's happening in the industry is being done in a safe way.

I don't advocate that we completely reregulate the industry. Ontario could not do that on its own. But I think people need to understand that the deregulation that's happened has not only been here in Ontario; it has been across Canada. I don't think we as a provincial Legislature can deal adequately with the regulation issue. But as a provincial Legislature we can do certain things when it comes to what happens within our borders to assure ourselves that drivers are properly trained; that where they're trained, there are properly accredited schools; that trip inspections are done and are done in a way that makes some sense, that would make sure that when the person is trained it's done, again, by an accredited facility.

We also have to assure ourselves, when it comes to hours of work, that we deal with that in some adequate way. We need to make sure drivers are not driving on the roads far longer than they need to be. We need to make sure that when the driver is behind the wheel he or she is rested, is alert and is able to drive that rig in a safe way. I ain't convinced that's happening.

I drive up Highway 11 from Toronto to Timmins and back about every second week starting this time of the year. I pull into the truck stops, and you really wonder sometimes. Some of the people who come crawling out of those rigs are pretty tired. I don't blame the truck drivers for that. I understand what's going on. We need to take a look at why that's happening.

One of the other things we need to do is make sure we have a good vehicle safety rating system to assure ourselves that things are happening in a way that makes some sense.

The last comment I would make, and then I'd leave the time on the clock for anybody else in our caucus who would like to speak on this particular issue, is to recognize also where we're at. We've got the Minister of Transportation, who introduced Bill 125 last January. Why did he do that? He did it because there has been a demand on the part of the public for the government to do something, for a very good reason: There are people dying on our highways.

I'm very cynical about how this has been dealt with up to now. The Minister of Transportation came into this House, introduced Bill 125 and said, "We need to have this passed right away," knowing that the House leader for his party was never going to call that legislation forward. He then tried to say it was all the opposition's fault.

We've offered time and time again -- me and my House leader, Bud Wildman, and the House leader for the Liberal caucus, Mr Bradley -- have offered how many times now? We've offered unanimous consent to pass that bill in one day at least six times now, and the government refuses to do so.

I've got some problems with Bill 125, I understand there are some problems with it, but if the government thought it fit to be introduced into the House to deal with the problem, at least it would have been a step in the right direction. It may not have caught all of the problems in the industry, but at least it would have been a step forward. I'm cynical about a government and a minister that knowingly do that and know the bill is never going to be called forward.

Where does it leave us? I suspect next week some time the government is actually going to call forward the truck safety bill. Why? I guess the Minister of Transportation can take some credit here. He actually tried to pull the wool over our eyes and we kept him accountable. The opposition kept on pushing him and pushing him for the legislation until finally the government said: "We've got to do something. Al, go back and get your bill done and get it back in here."

The one thing that I didn't say and that I almost forgot -- and this has to be said, because this is the biggest problem with the process up to now -- is that in preparing this bill that's coming forward before us this spring, the comprehensive truck safety legislation the government talks about, it did so how? It prepared that bill based on a report called Target '97. The Target '97 report has been written by whom? It has been written by the Ministry of Transportation and the trucking industry.

I don't say they don't have a stake. Of course the trucking industry has a stake in what happens in trucking legislation, and the Ministry of Transportation sure does. But have any of you been called? Have any of the public, any of the victims, any of the families of the victims been called when it comes to what's happening within the Target '97 process? Have any of the groups like CRASH been called? Not one. Nobody has been called before this committee to give their ideas about how you can make good truck safety legislation.

That's what we're going to be watching for in this legislation that's coming before us now. We're going to be looking at what's in that legislation. Is the legislation just what the Ontario Trucking Association wanted or is it stuff that makes some sense to make our highways safer for the people?

I say to the Minister of Transportation, who is looking through his notes now, I presume, to find out if CRASH had been consulted -- I can tell you they weren't --

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): No need.

Mr Bisson: No need? No need to be consulted? Minister, they're the only group that was out there looking at the issues of truck safety in the province and you're saying they don't need to be consulted? Come on. What's the matter with you? I don't believe this guy. All I expected the minister to say is, "Of course, in the future we'll make sure CRASH is involved." He stands there and says they don't have to be consulted. Minister, you have to understand something: There is nobody out there except for the victims' families who are advocating -- what are you saying?

Hon Mr Palladini: You did nothing while you were in government, absolutely nothing. You should be ashamed.


Mr Bisson: What a bunch. Come on, you know better than that. You know what has happened within a number of years when it comes to truck safety. We're here because of the problems of truck deregulation and we're trying to fix the problems some years later.

Let me get back to the point. I've only got four minutes. I want to say this: Minister, you have to assure yourself that in the next round, as you bring this legislation before this House, you find a way to consult with the public out there. You need to make sure there are proper public hearings on the bill when it comes forward, you give the families of the victims the opportunity to comment, you make sure that indeed people like CRASH are called before it to comment on the bill.

Hon Mr Palladini: You talked a lot. You initiated zero.

Mr Bisson: More important, you've got to stop yelling at people and start listening to people for a change. I wish the minister would do a little more listening and a little less heckling. Maybe you'd be doing all right.

Hon Mr Palladini: Listen to who's calling me a heckler. You heckle a lot.

Mr Bisson: Hey, I hardly heckle in this place any more. I've really cut back lately. Ask my friend over here; she can hear now.

I see there are people from Kapuskasing, St Pat's school. Hello. How are you doing up there? We get an opportunity to do that.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Order.

Mr Bisson: Oh, Speaker, come on.

Mr Len Wood: They're nice people.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): They came all the way from Kapuskasing.

The Acting Speaker: There are a lot of good people in Kapuskasing, but I don't think it's proper for you to entice them into doing something that is not right. I'll bring you to order and I'll not warn you again about that.

Mr Bisson: We just learned that it is against the law to wave in the province of Ontario. That's a terrible thing. We should learn how to wave goodbye to the government as it's booted out of office.

I just want to say, in the minutes I have left, that we need to come at this problem from a comprehensive position. I'm looking forward to seeing where the government's going to be when it comes to the legislation it brings forward. Minister, I hope you address a whole bunch of issues that I've had the opportunity to speak to. I hope you take a look at making sure the legislation looks at this from a comprehensive point of view and that you don't just try to window-dress your way around these problems. Thank you very much for the opportunity to debate.

Hon Mr Palladini: I of course will be opposing the opposition's resolution, because it would have the public believe that this government has not acted on road safety, which is completely false. I'm pleased to have an opportunity to present some of the facts on this.

From our very first cabinet meeting in July 1995, when we fulfilled our campaign promise to scrap photo-radar, an NDP cash grab -- that's all it was, an NDP cash grab -- we have been acting on road safety where the need is the greatest. I might add that the Liberal Party also claimed to oppose photo-radar but never came out and said whether they would scrap it. They just sat on the fence, as they usually do.

When we scrapped photo-radar, we were told to come back in 90 days -- those were my instructions, to come back in 90 days -- with a comprehensive road safety plan that would effectively address all road safety issues, not just collect money from speeders. We fulfilled our commitment, coming back in October 1995 with a plan containing 100 initiatives.

I would just like to share with the people of Ontario what some of these initiatives were:

Alternative treatment for senior drivers, so they could have group counselling sessions to make them aware of the risks we all face as we get older.

The OPP Highway Rangers, who have been out focusing on all dangerous driving behaviour, such as speeding and aggressive driving.

Ninety-day automatic licence suspensions for impaired drivers. It's sad that I must report that as of today 10,416 drunk drivers have been taken off the road for at least 90 days.

Maintaining RIDE funding so our police officers can be out there catching impaired drivers.

Removal of seatbelt exemptions.

Legislation to allow us to give demerit points for commercial vehicle offences.

Legislation for the carrier safety rating system, which the NDP was urged to do by the industry and our party when it was in government and something we ended up doing as a government in Target '97. We did it. You guys had the chance to do it and you didn't do it.

Higher fines for commercial vehicle safety offences. They were saying we need higher fines and this government acted on that: We raised the fines up to $20,000, the highest in Canada.

The Avion system, that allows safe operators to bypass inspection stations, freeing up our staff to focus on the bad apples.

A mobile truck inspection station, so trucks cannot take the back roads to evade a blitz or inspection station -- and more of those are coming.

Here's another one: enforcing the axle weight limit. The Liberals had the opportunity; they had the legislation in place. Did they enforce it? No. They kept allowing truckers, aggregate haulers, to load up those trucks, chewing up our roads. The NDP came into power. They had the same opportunity. Did they stop that? Did they enforce that legislation? No. They allowed them to do the same thing.

These are just some of the things we have done as a government, and I'm very proud of what we have done. But the most important thing -- there are some other things I will talk about -- is that we will continue to do the right things to make sure Ontario's roads are the safest on the continent. As members know, we are working on those other initiatives.

The Liberal and NDP record -- I think I've touched on a couple of things, but what did they really do while they were in government? Well, I'll tell you. The NDP cut 100 truck safety inspectors while they were in office. They actually cut people who were enforcing our roads. They cut 100 safety inspectors. They allowed the out-of-service rate that they inherited from the Liberals to go from 33% to 43% and did absolutely nothing.

In 1995 the member for York Mills urged the transportation minister then, Mike Farnan, to implement a safety rating system. Did they do it? Of course not, just as their whole record shows they did nothing while they were in power except double the debt. That's what they managed to do very well, spending more money. That they did. We have already passed legislation on that, something they failed to do.

I've already said something about my good friends on the Liberal side. They had an opportunity in 1989 to really do something good, not only in the best interests of safety but also to actually make sure our roads would not be further abused. You guys had a chance to enforce that legislation on the aggregates and you didn't do it. You let the people of Ontario down. The NDP dithered and had lots of meetings; they had all kinds of meetings, but the end result was talk.

Target '97, this government's initiative in getting groups in the province together, of which I'm very proud, is a precedent. Never before in the province's history was a group of this nature assembled in the best interests of safety on our highways. This government had the vision to pursue that opportunity and take advantage of it.

Target '97 addressed 79 recommendations. I'm very happy to say that 72 of these recommendations are going to be implemented.


Mr Bradley: "Are going to be."

Hon Mr Palladini: The rest require further review or legislation, which I believe is a normal thing, a normal procedure in this chamber. Some will be addressed in the spring bill and others will be forthcoming.

We have already legislated, in place, some of the recommendations: the carrier rating system, Bill 92, requiring operators to notify the ministry of changes in their fleet size.

The Tyrrell-Worona inquest: Again, the opposition would have people believe these recommendations have not been put in place. Not true. Of the 27 recommendations that apply to MTO, we have implemented 15, partially implemented four, and Target '97 will address the others. Last November we implemented the number one recommendation of the inquest: mandatory training for wheel installers. We also implemented another key recommendation: higher fines.

The Liberal bill now would have you believe they have the answers. First of all, I really want to thank the members because I did ask for input, I did ask for their help, and certainly there have been situations where they genuinely tried to help. I understand, and I want to give my colleague the member for Windsor-Walkerville a certain amount of credit, but my colleague from Windsor has a way about him. He would like the people to believe that this government has done nothing. He would have the people of Ontario believe that this government has done nothing. I would like to remind the member from Windsor that while his party was in government, I think that tack fits nicely, because they did nothing as well, and they can shake hands with the NDP.

Most of the Liberals' bill comes from the Target '97 process which, as I said, is something I am proud of. It is an initiative that this government had the vision to accomplish. But I want to say to the honourable members that we appreciate their pledge to cooperate and pass the spring bill. I am certainly going to rely on that and I really want to rely on that to help us get closer to that point. We look forward to taking them up on their pledge, and that's going to happen very shortly.

Some of the problems with the Liberals' proposal -- I don't quite understand. They propose a new requirement for all trailers to be inspected every year. We're already doing that. This already is a requirement under regulation 611. It's in the Highway Traffic Act.

Their definition of "truck" -- I know I might have a little bit of an edge on the honourable member because I did happen to sell trucks once upon a time, but he basically says 4,600 kilos for trailers only. That is very inconsistent, because the Highway Traffic Act basically states it's 4,500 kilos, so that would certainly be the wrong message. But I'm not surprised, because the Liberal flip-flops are something we've all been exposed to.

They say the absolute liability will not hold up in court, yet they have it in their own bill. I don't quite understand how they can say one thing and do something else, but again that's common for them.

They want to take the bill to hearings to discuss the absolute liability issue, something where even my Premier said, "If that's what you want, that's what we're going to give you." You had a window of opportunity to bring in that wheel separation bill. You shut the door in our face.

All we wanted to do from day one was to make sure that Ontario's roads are safe. I asked my critics for their help. I must say they were being genuine when they said they would, but obviously their House leaders had different intentions.

We are going to proceed with the wheel separation bill as part of my --

The Acting Speaker: Order. The Chair recognizes the member for St Catharines on a point of privilege.

Mr Bradley: I know the member would not want to mislead the House. He's not the kind of person who would want to mislead the House or anybody else. But if he were to say that the opposition tried in any way to block this legislation from going through, that's exactly what he would be doing, so I want to give him an opportunity to clarify that.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): On the same point, Mr Speaker --

The Acting Speaker: No. I'm not going to debate it.

Mr Wildman: Well, Mr Speaker, unfortunately he's objecting to things that --

The Acting Speaker: Would the member for Algoma please come to order.

Mr Wildman: The minister who was speaking referred to me. I have a right to speak as a point of privilege.

The Acting Speaker: Would the member for Algoma please bring himself to order.

Mr Wildman: I am now in order. I have a point of privilege. You have to hear a point of privilege.

The Acting Speaker: Please take your seat for a moment. I want to address my comments to the member for St Catharines. It is not a point of privilege.

Mr Wildman: I have a point of privilege.

The Acting Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Algoma on a point of privilege.

Mr Wildman: The minister stated that the opposition House leaders in some way blocked his Bill 125. That is not true. It is a complete fabrication, and I would ask him to withdraw and correct the record.

Mr W. Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): What about the filibuster?

Mr Wildman: The filibuster had nothing to do with it.

Hon Mr Palladini: Mr Speaker, I have no intention --

Mr Wildman: You scheduled other bills that week. You didn't schedule Bill 125. This government has never scheduled Bill 125. Give me one date when your House leader tried to schedule this bill.

The Acting Speaker: I'd like to address a comment to the member for Algoma.


The Acting Speaker: Would you please make yourself comfortable someplace else.

The member for Algoma rose on a point of privilege. I wasn't able to make the connection between his statements and what he would have thought should have been privilege. In actual fact, during his statement he was out of order. We in this House don't use language about misleading, so I would ask you to just please withdraw those remarks in connection with that.

Mr Wildman: I'm sure the minister was mistaken, he was not misleading, therefore I withdraw.

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

Hon Mr Palladini: Thank you. I have no intention of withdrawing what I said, Mr Speaker. As a matter of fact, I think they had an opportunity. We had a window, but for whatever reason, you know, they wanted hearings. This is one of the reasons why the bill wasn't going to be coming forward, because they wanted hearings. But when we agreed to give them the hearings, they wanted to introduce the bill one, two, three, without any hearings. They refused to debate the bill unless we had hearings. That was the case back in February, but obviously it's no longer the case today.

My honourable colleague Mr Sterling asked for unanimous consent to sit through midnight, and they refused. This was the opportunity you had to debate. We're willing to debate. We're willing to debate whatever you want to debate.

I am very excited about bringing the comprehensive safety bill forward, which will include --

Mr Bisson: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I believe the standing orders are very explicit when it comes to the question of members not misleading the House. I listened patiently and heard the ruling you gave to our House leader a little while ago that members in this House are not allowed to mislead the rest of the members or the public when it comes to their statements. Clearly the Minister of Transportation is trying to mislead the public and the members of this House in the comments he is making, and I would ask you to get him to withdraw.

The Acting Speaker: No. You're wrong. The rule is that you cannot accuse members of misleading. That is not a point of order.


Mr Bradley: Oh, but you can mislead.

The Acting Speaker: That is not a point of order. The Chair recognizes the minister from York Centre.

Hon Mr Palladini: I'm very excited and anxiously awaiting the opportunity to present the comprehensive road safety bill forward. I believe that once again it will reinforce the conviction this government has had when it comes to road safety. I believe the bill we will be introducing very shortly, which will include the wheel separation bill, which will also address bus safety, will certainly make the people of Ontario feel that much safer when they are on our great highways. I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to speak.

Mr Bradley: I would like to correct some of the misimpressions that have been created by the previous speaker in regard to the chronology of events that have taken place.

First of all, if the public is out there watching, I don't know whether they're that interested in who said what when. I think what they're most interested in is: What legislation will we see coming forward, how will that legislation affect highway safety in the province, particularly as it relates to trucks, and will it be practical and reasonable and good legislation? I think that's what all of us in the House would want to see.

It's interesting that the rules of the House -- you were smiling when I said this previously, Speaker, and understandably so -- do not prohibit a member from misleading the House but they do prohibit a member from accusing another member of misleading the House. That is very strange indeed. That's my dilemma this afternoon: I can't accuse the Minister of Transportation of misleading the House. You would justifiably call me to order because that is specifically prohibited in the rules. However, no member is prevented from misleading the House. That is indeed strange.

Let me say that when this matter was finally brought forward by the government in late February of this year, I indicated to the government House leader -- the government had a meeting of the three House leaders -- that it was interesting we had never seen any reference to a bill dealing with truck safety. In other words, it was never on the government agenda. Weekly, the government House leader does his best to share with the opposition House leaders those matters that are going to come before the House, legislation that either has a bill number or legislation that's contemplated. At no time did the government ever bring forward this particular piece of legislation on that list. It clearly told me the government had no intention in the spring session of dealing with the issue of truck safety, particularly as it relates to, as we call them, the flying wheels or the flying tires.

I took advantage of the opportunity in February, after watching the press conference, because the Minister of Transportation -- someone who was watching mentioned to me that they used to watch this program called the Howdy Doody show on television and there was a character in that called Phineas T. Bluster. When they phoned my office they said, "You know, the Minister of Transportation reminded me of the character Phineas T. Bluster." He had a press conference when there was a lot of flak about flying tires. There were two more incidents that particular week, so somebody in the minister's office said: "Let's do something about this. Let's hold a press conference. Let's throw together a bill rather quickly that shows we're interested in this."

I said to the government House leader, the Honourable David Johnson, "I think we should proceed with this legislation," and weekly at the meetings of the House leaders, I have said to the government House leader: "Will we have Bill 125? Your Minister of Transportation says he wants it passed quickly. Can we bring that forward for consideration?" Every week he would mumble something and be evasive about it and talk about the possibility, but at no time would he ever give a commitment to bring it forward, even though I, as the opposition House leader, and Bud Wildman, member for Algoma, as the third party House leader, both said: "Please bring it forward. You'll get expeditious passage of this legislation."

This is a matter on which there was some consensus. I can tell you the two opposition parties were going to vote for the bill, were going to speak in favour of the bill and were going to be supportive of it and even give credit to the government for bringing forward such an initiative. I'm always prepared to do that when I think the government is following the recommendations of the opposition and doing things which might be good for the province. I was all set to get up and give a speech in the House back in February or March or early April praising the Minister of Transportation for bringing forward the bill, but the bill didn't appear.

On February 27, 1997, just so I could put it on paper, so everybody would know it existed, I wrote the following letter to the Honourable David Johnson, government House leader:

"Dear Minister:

"The Minister of Transportation introduced legislation entitled An Act to improve road safety by making wheel detachments an offence by amending the Highway Traffic Act on Monday, February 24.

"This is a piece of legislation that we in the Liberal Party have demanded for well over a year and we are eager for you to proceed with this bill as expeditiously as possible. Unfortunately, at no time at any House leaders' meeting has this bill been placed on the agenda by the government, and no provision has been made for this legislation in the proposed legislative calendar of your government.

"In this regard, I urge you to place this bill on the order paper for debate as early as possible and to complete at least second reading before the Legislature recesses next week," because at that time it had been scheduled in February to recess the next week, in early March.

"This can be accomplished by changing the legislative schedule from this Monday, March 3. In this regard the Liberal caucus has suggested that the truck safety legislation be called on Monday instead of Bill 98, the Development Charges Act."

The Development Charges Act, as we know, is doing a favour for developers. It's putting more money back in their pockets. We thought that could wait. We disagree with it, but we know the government wants to do that. But we said, "Let's put that aside for a day; let's deal with this bill." I went on in my letter to say the following:

"It is not often that there is a consensus on the need for and general content of a piece of legislation proposed by a government. In this case, I believe such a situation exists and that the House should move forward with the processing of this legislation before the winter break, despite the fact that you have made no provision of time for this bill in your legislative plans.

"I look forward to a favourable response to this letter at your earliest convenience."

Of course, the response was that the government wasn't prepared to move forward. I was disappointed, because I kept saying at every meeting: "Can we have this legislation? You have the support of the opposition. I think you have pretty good support in Ontario for that piece of legislation." But somebody sidetracked it somewhere, somebody in the government apparatus.

Then we got into May and there was the big fund-raiser in Toronto. I don't know if it has any influence on it at all. I don't know these things.

Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): No.

Mr Bradley: The member for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings says no, but there was a big fund-raiser on a Thursday night a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. The day after, they asked the Premier about the bill and he said, "Oh, I don't think we're going to bring that forward until the fall now." There was something wrong and they weren't going to move forward until the fall. I thought, I hope nobody got to the Premier at the fund-raiser. I hope nobody from the trucking industry whispered in his ear that this legislation wasn't good, because I couldn't believe that could possibly influence anybody.

I was worried about that happening. My friend from Stormont was probably worried as well, because --

Mr Jordan: Imputing motives all the time.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): He thinks we think like he does. It wasn't a bunch of Liberals, Jim; it was a bunch of Tories. That's the difference.

Mr Bradley: I'm showing you the coincidence -- the next day, coincidentally, they were withdrawing the legislation. They weren't going to proceed with the legislation.

I was disappointed, because I remember the enthusiasm of the Minister of Transportation at that press conference. There was all kinds of bluster, all kinds of public relations, all kinds of energy and enthusiasm. I thought, "I want to help my friend out; I want to help Al Palladini," as we know him in this House, as an individual.

I wanted to help him out, so we started to ask some questions of the government House leader and the Premier and the minister, trying to move the legislation along, because the government in effect had cut the poor Minister of Transportation off at the knees. He wanted to proceed and I knew of his enthusiasm. I could see it in his face in this Legislature that he wanted to proceed with this. The Premier and Guy Giorno and whoever else advises, not the cabinet and the others, but the people who sit in the Premier's office said, "We can't proceed with this; we've got to stop Al Palladini." I'm saying I would prefer to see it proceed.


I have a notice that's come before me that says I have only a minute left to make this case, and that's most difficult, but I have to let my colleagues get involved with this as well.

I thought I had dealt with it in this way. But again, on May 12, when I saw that the minister was in trouble -- I'll read this last letter, I'll say to the opposition whip -- I wrote another letter to David Johnson. I said:

"You will recall that on February 27, 1997, I directed a letter to you urging you to place Bill 125 on the order paper for debate or as early as possible for debate and passage.

"Unfortunately, your government has chosen not to call Bill 125 for consideration by the House despite continued pleas from me as Liberal House leader and Windsor-Walkerville MPP Dwight Duncan as Liberal transportation critic to do so.

"I have indicated to you at every regular House leaders' meeting the willingness of the Liberal caucus to process this bill in one day and to have brief hearings conducted in Toronto in a legislative committee and to complete third reading expeditiously.

"If this bill is as great a priority as your Minister of Transportation has claimed at well-publicized press conferences, I cannot comprehend why you have refused to call this legislation for debate.

"Again, as I have on many occasions in the past, I request that you proceed with Bill 125 immediately. You may be assured of our support and our expeditious consideration of this legislation."

Signed by myself in my capacity as House leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

I repeat that offer today. We have brought forward our own bill to be helpful as part of the consideration for this House. I hope the government will do the right thing and proceed and not simply make excuses and point fingers at everybody else.

Mrs Marland: I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to speak to this resolution today for a number of reasons, the most important of which is Mr Tyrrell, who was the second person killed by a flying truck tire and was one of the two family members who were included in the inquest. Mr Tyrrell and his wife were constituents of mine; in fact, his wife had been a friend of our family up north at our cottage for a very long time, about 20 years.

I want to say at the outset that a few of the comments made by the member for Cochrane South, in terms of hours of operation and the policing of how long an individual may drive, I actually agree with. I think there has to be control over how long these drivers are on the road. I agree with him on that part of his argument.

I also agree with him when he says that this should not be a partisan issue, because when we're talking about --

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): When are you going to fix it? When are you going to fix the problem?

Mrs Marland: I say to the member for Lake Nipigon that we've had a fairly constructive debate this afternoon on this resolution, and I would appreciate not having your interjections, because we have not been interjecting with the other speakers.


Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, I ask you to call the member for Lake Nipigon to order.

It could be easier for us to be non-partisan except for the wording of the resolution. There is one part of the wording that I personally find very offensive. I ask Mr Duncan, under whose name the resolution stands, to try to address what it was he was trying to say here and maybe the interpretation won't be as bad as it is on face value. He says in the resolution, "Whereas the Minister of Transportation has attempted to exploit the issue for political purposes, choosing numerous photo opportunities to advance the need for truck safety."

I find that a very unfortunate statement. It's one of these issues, I suppose, where if you don't do anything, you don't win either. Personally, I think the Minister of Transportation has been doing his ultimate best to try to solve this very serious problem. Yes, there have been photographs taken in different instances when he has made different announcements, because we want to -- and I'm sure you would want us to -- publicize the need for improved truck safety. That doesn't mean doing something in isolation in an office tower in downtown Toronto that happens to house the Ministry of Transportation's offices; it means getting out on the highways and the road systems of this province and indicating to the trucking industry that we will not tolerate the kinds of infractions that have been brought to the attention of this government in the last year and a half that we have been in office.

I feel, for the Minister of Transportation, that that is an unfortunate sentence in this resolution. He and his staff have been very conscientious in picking up this subject and literally running full out to try to solve it.

We all see examples from time to time that we wish we didn't see. I have to mention that last Sunday evening I was returning from an event in Hamilton, driving eastbound on Highway 403 past Hamilton Bay, I think it's called. I was driving at 108 or 110 kilometres an hour, and a very large tractor-trailer passed me at 130. The reason I know he was going that fast is that in the next few kilometres, he was passing everyone on that section of Highway 403, weaving in and out to the extent that I wrote his licence plate down. That kind of truck jockey we do not need on our highways in this province, and that kind of driver is the kind of driver that the Ontario Trucking Association itself is concerned about.

I want to say that I'm very grateful for the fact that our government has responded to the recommendations of the inquest into Ms Worona's and Mr Tyrrell's deaths. It's amazing when you look at the recommendations from the inquest and see just exactly how much we have done with those recommendations in a relatively short time. Yes, we haven't solved all the problems, but it's very interesting to note that we have done a lot more in a very short time than was done by the previous governments. They may have their own reasons for some of the things they did or some of the things they didn't do; nevertheless, nobody's hands have been clean in solving this issue of truck safety.

For all of us who are commuting every day on the major highways in this province, we all have second thoughts about when we come up behind a truck or when a truck has just passed us or we're in that configuration where we're in the centre lane with trucks on either side of us. Certainly when I see my daughter driving with two of our grandchildren in one vehicle, a small car, I have a lot of second thoughts about truck safety. I'm just the same as every other person in this Legislature, I believe, who wants to be part of the solution in doing whatever we can.

Actually, it's very interesting to see the quote attributable to Mr Bill Wrye, the Minister of Transportation on May 1, 1990. He's talking about the problem, and he says: "We are continuing to review this problem" -- the effect of deregulation on the industry -- "very carefully with the Ontario Trucking Association and leaders of various trucking firms in Ontario to ensure that the industry, which is such an important one, with almost 250,000 jobs, remains a very viable industry in this province."


It's also interesting to note that in 1989, with the wonderful coalition between the Liberals and the NDP, the Liberal government stopped enforcing weight limits on dump trucks after a convoy of dump trucks surrounded the Legislature in protest. Those of us who were here in the Legislature at that time well recall that convoy tying up the Queen's Park circle.

The one thing I would say to Mr Dwight Duncan, under whose name this resolution stands, is that in December he actually tried to exploit two family deaths by blaming cutbacks as the cause. In fact, at that time there had been no cutbacks and the minister did correct him publicly.

I think we have to approach this subject very honestly, very sincerely and very carefully. Otherwise, if we turn it into a totally political football, we will not get the resolution we need.

I simply say that there were 27 recommendations that came out of that coroner's inquest that apply to the Ministry of Transportation. We have implemented 15 of those 27, we have partially implemented four and we are working on another five. In particular, I highlighted some of these most serious recommendations because I think the public needs to know which recommendations have been implemented.

A very serious one was that mandatory training and certification programs should be established for all individuals involved in tire and wheel installation, with input from the Ontario Trucking Association and the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association. That has been done. Mandatory programs were implemented in November 1996, administered by the OTA, and to date 4,000 people have taken the training.

Another recommendation is about judiciary training. This in itself is quite interesting because the recommendation of the inquest was that prosecutors and the judiciary should be educated in the consequences of mechanical and load infractions endangering public safety and fraudulent use of annual inspection certificates.

That has been done also. The Ministry of Transportation has taken great care in ensuring that the proper evidence is brought forward in the prosecution of serious safety violations in court. This is the best way to properly educate the judiciary. We have also provided specific education and awareness opportunities to the judiciary in parts of the province. This is a serious recommendation of the coroner's inquest.


The Acting Speaker: Member for Essex South, come to order.

Mrs Marland: Another one was on installation. It was recommended that invoices of work orders for work requiring the removal of truck tractor wheels should state the torque at installation using a torque method approved by the manufacturer, and the need to retorque. That also is a recommendation which has been done and is in fact being enhanced further. Proper torquing and retorquing procedures are included in the training and certification program.

Another one is reporting of defects by mechanics. We often hear the public asking us why that isn't happening. There was a recommendation of the coroner's inquest that qualified mechanics should be required to red-tag trucks and trailers which have defects that might present a risk to public safety -- another recommendation that has been done. Mechanics must by law identify safety defects, note them on the work order and repair them prior to certification of the vehicle.

One other, because I am sharing this time with my colleagues, is a pre-trip inspection. The recommendation of the inquest was that owners and drivers should be educated on the consequences of failure to comply with regulations requiring a proper 27-point pre-trip inspection. That also has been done and is being enhanced further. The Ministry of Transportation has done numerous education and awareness seminars on pre-trip inspections.

What this is saying is that our government did listen to the recommendations of the coroner's inquest into those first two terrible tragedies, people who were innocently driving on one of our highways who met their death. Thank goodness we acted quickly. We still all of us have work to do. The problem isn't solved instantly; it didn't develop overnight either.

Finally, in closing, I want to mention a letter that I received from another constituent, who ironically lives very close to where the Tyrrell family lived in my riding. John Walmark wrote to me on April 30. He recalled that his father, who was a supervisor with the CN truck division for many years, had told him about how "CN installed governors on all vehicles. These devices would give a detailed printout of the history of the driver's trip and could tell speed, time stopped and various engine operating details. It would also restrict the speed of the vehicle by limiting the engine revs."

I'm sure governors are being used by some trucking companies. Maybe that's a very realistic solution that we should look at, especially to address the member for Cochrane South's comments about how long these drivers drive uninterrupted. Maybe through some system like that we can control the hours of rest and hours off driving.

When you think of a 20,000-pound truck with its full load trying to stop to avoid a crash, trying to cope with a mechanical failure or defect that wasn't detectable ahead of time, all of that responsibility rests on the shoulders of the operator. I believe the responsibility for the solution to this problem rests on the shoulders of all of us in this Legislature, so that when we have further regulation changes and legislative changes, it can be dealt with in a non-partisan, expedient manner.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this.

Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): I'm pleased to be able to speak today on my colleague's opposition day motion that relates to road safety. I think the minister would know that it's more than just filling the potholes of our highways that lends itself to road safety. There are many more issues in our driving public that need to be addressed. I think the people of Ontario have a certain lack of confidence currently in this minister and his approach to road safety.

In Ontario there are over 16,000 school buses out on our roads every day. There are 810,000 children getting on and off school buses every day in Ontario. Some of them are very young, as young as five years old. Those children, no matter how old they are, rely on the public stopping behind or in front of those school buses when the red lights are flashing. Their lives depend on the driving public to stop when the red lights are flashing on a school bus as they board or disembark. But we find all too often that people are passing these school buses with reckless abandon. Over the past number of years there have been over 80 injuries and there have been, more tragically, at least 11 children killed. We need to look into what is known as school bus safety. For the children, we must look at the law as it exists and look at what we can do to protect their lives.


The existing law states that a bus driver must positively identify the driver of a vehicle that passes a school bus when those red lights are flashing. I've spoken with many bus drivers, police and people who drive their own vehicles, and they recognize that it is near to impossible to identify the driver of a vehicle as they pass by a school bus. There are a number of reasons why. One might be the speed with which they are passing. Another might be that many vehicles today have blacked-out windows; they're darkened and very hard to see through.

More importantly, the school bus drivers are watching their precious cargo of young people either getting on or getting off the bus. They refer to these children as "my children." For that hour or so in the morning and that hour or so in the late afternoon, the school bus drivers refer to these young men and women as "my children." They believe they are in their custody, and indeed they are, for that time. It is near to impossible to identify a driver passing a school bus.

It's even more difficult when they pass the bus from the back to the front, because the school bus driver only sees the back of their head. How do you make a positive identification of a driver when you see only the back of their head? School bus drivers have said the public knows what the current law is. It's gotten to the point where school bus drivers say they have witnessed people going by the bus when it's stopped and those red lights are flashing and they're shielding their faces because they know a positive identification is the only way to make a proper charge. I have introduced Bill 78 to address this issue.

Bill 78 does change the fines, but more importantly, it brings about vehicle liability. This would allow for school bus drivers to identify a vehicle by licence plate number if they indeed pass that bus while the red lights are flashing. This is an eyewitness account of a crime. It's an eyewitness account of someone disobeying the law. School bus drivers, police and others say this is the only way to assist school bus drivers in enforcing the law and protecting our children.

When we talk about vehicle liability, the owner of the car would be responsible. However, the owner of the vehicle could and probably would identify the driver of that vehicle if indeed it was someone other than themselves. The fines for the driver are less in dollar amount than the fines for the owner, so there is an incentive for the owner to come forward and say a family member, a friend or someone else was driving the car that day. The bill does not fine both the driver and the owner; it is one or the other.

Bill 78 had unanimous support in this House, and I appreciate that very much. All parties recognize that we need a strong deterrent and a strong message to the driving public here in Ontario that jeopardizing children's lives won't be tolerated.

I've cited some of the deaths and injuries over the past years, but we've also had numerous near misses. We've had far too many situations where people are passing school buses on a regular basis. School bus drivers say they are passed when their red lights are flashing as many as 20 or 30 times in a month. Depending on the driver, the route and the situation, they're passed twice a day, sometimes three times a day. I admit there might even be days when they're not passed at all, but they are passed far too often. If they are passed, let's say, four times per shift, day and night, late afternoon, and there are 16,000 buses on Ontario roads -- I'll let you do the mathematics -- it's happening far too often and it's jeopardizing the safety and the lives of the children in Ontario.

I was interested to hear the minister yesterday talking about absolute liability and how it would pertain to his truck safety bill. He said that absolute liability will remain as part of the comprehensive bill. But he said vehicle owner liability is unfair and onerous. It is not when compared to absolute liability. This bill has the support of the public. We've had legal advice that it will withstand the courts. It will protect our children. Parents, drivers, school boards, municipalities, and the list goes on, support Bill 78.

Driving is a privilege here in Ontario, not an automatic right. When those red lights are flashing, it means stop. It does not mean slow down, it does not mean proceed with caution; it means stop. We need to send a strong deterrent and a message to the driving public that the passing of school buses will not be tolerated. This bill is neither unfair nor onerous on the owner of a vehicle. It will help to protect the children of Ontario. We need to move forward and have vehicle liability through either Bill 78 or any bill the minister might bring forth. Without it, we will not be able to get convictions, we will not be able to give fines and we will not be able to protect the children of Ontario.

Mr Pouliot: There's two minutes -- so much to say and again so little time. If I didn't like the minister so much, I would think he would have as a licence plate, as the Minister of Transportation, "So many pedestrians and yet so little time."

We've been waiting for them to call the bill. The member from Mississauga is quite right; it goes beyond party lines. It's not that people have done nothing. Everyone is interested in road safety. Who wouldn't be? We encourage this government and we know it will do what's right and take its responsibilities seriously.

When we were the government, wheels were not falling off at the same rate, but it had nothing to do with our government, the Liberals or the present Conservative government. Truck traffic has more than doubled in seven years. People are insistent on door-to-door delivery, just-in-time delivery. You've got the phenomenon of deregulation. Add to it the fact that we went through a very acute recession for a period of no less than four years. People did not have the opportunity to renew or overhaul or change vehicles, so they're paying the price.

We were encouraged, when our turn came up, to have graduated drivers' licences; we formed the blue ribbon committee with the Ontario Trucking Association; we increased the number of blitzes; we went to the factories and convinced them to install slack-adjuster brakes on their new vehicles; we changed the onus to a shared onus, so that both drivers and owners of the vehicle would be responsible for excess weight and hence better repartition on axle weight.

We did all this, the government before us did a lot and the government of the day will do a lot too, for it is necessitated by the people. We're waiting for the government to call the bill so that we can look at it, scrutinize it and no doubt support it.


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I'm pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to speak on the government's commitment to truck safety here in Ontario. While mulling over the issue and considering how to address it today, I recalled the words of Donald H. McGannon, who said, "Leadership is action, not position." This sentiment serves very well to illustrate our government's philosophy, especially with regard to truck safety.

For the record, let's recall the actions taken to date by this government to improve the safety of the roads in Ontario.

This government has already passed two road safety bills. With Bill 55, there are increased fines for truck safety offences and an automatic 90-day suspension for impaired drivers. Bill 92 includes several truck safety measures. Among these are the expanded powers for the registrar of motor vehicles, including a provision giving them the right to refuse to issue a commercial vehicle operator record and to prevent bad operators from avoiding sanctions; enshrining in legislation the carrier safety rating system; and the requirement that the operators keep MTO advised of the size of their truck fleet and the distances the vehicles have travelled.

It should also be noted that the Ministry of Transportation has increased enforcement efforts. In fact, last year staff inspected in excess of some 37,000 vehicles. Of these, 19,000 trucks were pulled off the road because they failed to pass maintenance standards. It is significant to keep in mind that these trucks may not return to the road until they meet those standards.

Also, the Target '97 program was introduced, which yielded some 79 recommendations; of these, 72 are currently being implemented and the remaining seven require further review or legislation; some of these will be addressed in the spring road safety bill. Some 27 recommendations were also made as a result of the Worona and Tyrrell inquest. Of the 27 that applied to the Ministry of Transportation, 15 have been implemented and a further four are partially implemented and, finally, the ministry is working with Target '97 to find ways to implement another five recommendations, a total of some 24.

These are only the highlights of our achievements over the past two years. It is by no means exhaustive, but it undoubtedly illustrates the government's commitment to action on the issue of road safety in Ontario. But perhaps any such review of initiatives should also include some comparison. For example, what action on road safety do we find when looking back over 10 years of Liberal and NDP leadership? Was there any substance or action taken during those years? As far as I can see, virtually no action was taken during their term, as this issue was obviously deemed of little priority.

This then leads us to another important fact. Contrary to what the Liberals and NDP would have us believe, truck-related injuries and deaths are not a phenomenon which began with our election back on June 8, 1995. In fact, in January and April 1995 there were two deaths from flying truck wheels. Although the House was recessed for most of the NDP's last year in office, they could have called the House back to deal with these issues if they chose to.

We have been addressing and will continue to address this problem. The irony of the member for Windsor-Walkerville's resolution seems very apparent to me. The opposition member has accused the Minister of Transportation of exploiting the road safety issue for political purposes and of failing to act in a meaningful way to address road safety in Ontario. Not only is this absurd, but it is the member opposite whose intention might be interpreted as opportunistic. While the Minister of Transportation has over the last two years been implementing and researching new initiatives designed to protect Ontario's drivers, where has the attention of the opposition been, or is their recent focus on Bill 125 an attention-grabbing ploy on their part?

I'm sorry to say that I must question the motives of the members opposite when it comes to their sudden involvement in the truck safety issue. For so many years there has been inaction and silence from them in this particular area, a pattern, by the way, which this government has broken with the passage of two road safety bills in 1996 alone. Now, quite suddenly, the opposition members are worried about the speed at which Bill 125 is passed.

The fact is that the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Al Palladini, has already made a commitment to a third road safety bill. This bill will comprehensively address the safety of drivers in Ontario, including the unchanged Bill 125.

At this point, I think it is also important to mention the member opposite's attempt in December 1996 to exploit the tragic Campbell-Jessiman deaths by blaming cutbacks. As I recall, there were no such cutbacks, and the minister publicly corrected this accusation.

After relative silence on road safety for so long, I would like to suggest that perhaps the opposition should tread a little more carefully when accusing the minister of attempting to exploit this issue for political purposes.

I would like to conclude by repeating Mr McGannon's sentiment, "Leadership is action, not position." This government has taken definitive action on this issue, and for the first time in over 10 years real leadership is being shown to ensure that Ontarians can drive the roads in our province without fearing for their safety.

I look forward to further improvements and tough new regulations when Minister Palladini introduces his third road safety bill in the very near future. Quite clearly, this government has taken action and continues to take action. There is no doubt in my mind about who the true leaders of road safety improvement are in Ontario today.

Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I am pleased to take the next few minutes available to me and hopefully make a contribution on the important piece of legislation we await being introduced by the government side and the minister. I am speaking in support of the resolution put forward by our colleague the member for Windsor-Walkerville.

I think this goes to the core of the matter. We are speaking of making the roads safe not only for the vehicles using our roads but for the other people as well; not only the large trucks we are aiming at with Bill 125 but any others who use our minor and major arterial roads as well. They are used by people going on vacation, travelling, going to work and carrying school kids, as the member for Essex-Kent has mentioned before; and we have major motor transportation that not only transports goods but, very often, very dangerous goods. I think it's incumbent upon every member of the House to make sure the bill is approved as quickly as possible.

When motorists are faced with high traffic volume, speeding -- which does take place, whether we wish to accept it or not -- and road conditions, I would say there is a direct relationship between flying wheels and the condition of vehicles themselves. I think there is a direct relation between vehicle condition and road conditions.

I know the minister's heart is in the right place. I know he means well when he says he wants to remove from our roads the unsafe and whatever other name he has attached to it and make sure our roads are safer and save lives as well. But having his heart in the right place is not enough. I think the minister has a major problem. He has a major hurdle on his hands, and evidently he doesn't know how and he doesn't have the power to overcome it.

His problem is this: Mike Harris, the Premier, and his own caucus. I believe the minister has had all the good intentions to bring the bill back and introduce it to the House for a very speedy passage. So what has been the problem here? The problem has been the agenda of the Premier and his own caucus and his own government.


It's most unfortunate that the Premier did not attach enough interest and responsibility to Bill 125. He has introduced of his own will all kinds of other legislative pieces and they have pushed that legislation through this House very quickly. So when we hear that the opposition has been stalling, that they could have voted on and debated in this House -- come on. I have to remind the Premier and the minister responsible for introducing this piece of legislation that when they wanted to introduce their own legislation their own way, when they wanted, they had absolutely no difficulties, no problem, in spite of the opposition of the opposition parties. They went ahead and they did it.

What's so sad is that they moved so quickly on a number of legislative proposals that have had absolutely no major bearing on the action of the government, if you will, or on our side or the public at large. Some of it favoured some particular groups, and I think it was the member for St Catharines who mentioned Bill 98. There was absolutely no rush to push that particular bill through, but they had a commitment. They had to favour a particular group: developers.

I'm asking the minister, who is present -- I'm pleased he is here for the debate -- and the Premier, what is more important: to make sure that our roads are safe and to save some lives or to have more money in some developer's pockets? I'm sure the minister does not agree with that, but I'm sure he has a problem with the Premier himself in trying to bring this particular piece of legislation, Bill 125, into the House for speedy approval.

It's fine to accuse the opposition, "Well, you didn't want to debate it; you didn't want to vote on it." Even today we offered the minister and the Premier to use our time here today to bring that back. They could have done that. The minister himself, with all due respect -- as I said, I know that he means well -- withdrew the bill. He said, "I'm going to bring in a revised bill some time in the fall." If it weren't for us, if it weren't for the opposition's sake -- come on, summer is coming; people are getting killed. You've got to do something about it. Bring it back. We agree and we're going to support you.

But the poor minister, with all due respect, doesn't have the ear and the sympathy of Mr Harris, the Premier of this province. He doesn't think that saving lives and making our roads safe is a priority, and that is most unfortunate. When you're driving at 100 kilometres an hour on a major highway, especially if it's raining and you're behind one of those 18-wheelers, whatever they are called -- I'm sure the minister is familiar with those large trucks -- no one wants to drive behind one of those trucks. So you're going to move to the other lane, and if there is another truck, you're squeezed between two large vehicles. If you were to hit a bump or if you were to hit a pothole, you wouldn't know what to do.

So I'm saying to the minister, I'm saying to the Premier, I'm saying to the government side: Rethink it. Bring it in. Let's get on with it. It's people's lives and I think we should move on very quickly.

I don't think it's a question of playing politics or finding excuses with an issue such as this one here. As I said before, if the government really wanted to pay attention to what's happening out there on our roads, to the lives that have already been lost, to making sure that our roads are safe, they would have brought this piece of legislation back. It's sad that the Premier has his own agenda, and his own agenda is not to give priority to this particular piece of legislation.

They have introduced a number of other pieces of legislation. I'd just mention Bill 98. There is the other one, the injured workers. There is cutting the school boards and the megacity legislation. Even when people said, "We don't want it," they went ahead and pushed it. So who says to the government, "Don't bring it"?

My time is up, unfortunately. I'm getting the time notice. I hope the government side will support the motion of the member for Windsor-Walkerville and bring this into the House, that the minister will say: "Let's do it. It's the right thing to do. Let's bring it in and let's approve it."

Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I'm just going to bring forward several points that I think should be addressed. First of all, there was no single contributing factor for wheel-offs. What that means is it's not bearings, it's not faulty parts, it's not overtightening or undertightening. Actually, there is more overtightening of wheel studs contributing than undertightening, but there was no single contributing factor in all the inspections that have been done of all the wheel-offs.

There was mention by the member opposite about the length or the size of vehicles. If the length or the carrying weight of the vehicles were a concern or part of the problem, we would find that in England there should be a considerable decrease in the number of wheel-offs, because they have addressed the length, oversize and length and width within the vehicles, and they are seeing virtually the exact same number of wheel-offs that we are here in Ontario.

Tire retention devices: We constantly hear, "Why not have these devices where if a wheel comes off, the wheel stays with the truck and thereby doesn't cross any pavement or cause any problems?" However, there are significant indicators that give us the belief that these may actually contribute to greater problems rather than helping the situation. What I'm referring to is that when the wheel stays with the truck, the truck has a tendency to flip. It's a lot more serious when you have a 120,000-pound vehicle going down a road rather than a wheel.

Believe me, we've heard of quite a few devices or instruments to try and assess the situation, and I have personally talked to quite a few individuals who thought they had the answer, yet when we're dealing with it, we haven't quite found any specific device or instrument that will assess or notify us that wheels are potentially a problem at that time.

One of the things I want to talk about is the truck blitzes. What I am referring to there is that we in government hear from all sides. We hear from the truckers that we're being too hard on them, that we've come down on them too hard and that we have to watch out, whereas we hear from other individuals that we're not being nearly hard enough. I think the fact is that in Ontario we have the toughest package of legislation geared towards trucks of any jurisdiction in North America. When you look at that, how do people compete in Ontario and what do they do when Quebec trucks or trucks from another province or state cross into Ontario? What standards do those trucks have to fall under? We make it very clear that if you want to travel in Ontario, you follow Ontario standards, and we stick to those beliefs.

The truck blitzes: I had heard from a number of members from a number of caucuses that we were being unfair and that we were being too hard and that people were taken off for simple things such as a dirty licence plate. However, when I found out that locally there were a number of truck blitzes taking place in my riding, I quietly showed up without informing anyone. I waited an hour after the truck blitz had started. We showed up when there were some vehicles taken out of service. I took my own police, truck drivers, 35-year mechanics. These were people who said to me, "Your ministry is being too hard on the trucking industry."

The trucks had been pulled off and were sitting there when we got there. I said, "Okay, you go over that truck and tell me: Should it be taken off the road or not?" They went over that truck themselves. They looked at it, they inspected it, and they said: "You know something? You guys are tougher than I would be." These are the people who are telling us that we're being too tough on them. So we've gone out there, we're looking at it, and actually our inspectors are doing a great job. They've turned these people around, and now they believe that, "You guys are actually doing a fantastic job." It was quite a surprise.

There were two types of inspections, one where you pick a lot, you get a group. It was the OPP, the Durham regional police and the MTO that were involved in the situation. What they do is go out and drive around until they find a truck that looks rather sceptical whether it's going to pass. They don't go around picking trucks that they figure are going to pass the inspection, so they pick ones that they have targeted. They bring this truck into the inspection station and they run it through. Lo and behold, you have a high number of out-of-service rates because of the fact that you're targeting the vehicles that you feel are not going to be passing the inspections. That was one type.


I attended another type of inspection as well. That took place on the 401. In one hour, 276 trucks had passed through the inspection station. Out of the 276 trucks, there were 12 that were identified and removed from the line as it was going through. Out of those 12, it averaged between three and four every hour that were pulled out of service because they didn't pass the inspections.

When I went back and talked to our members who had concerns about the fact that we were taking people out of service for such things as --

Mr Gerretsen: And they said, "Be quiet, Jerry."

Mr Ouellette: Actually they didn't say, "Be quiet," to the member opposite. They said, "I want to hear." They said, "You're taking our guys out for dirty licence plates."

I told them: "You go back and get the inspection certificate and look. Maybe they had a dirty licence plate on there, but there will be a number of significant things on the inspection that would take them out of service."


The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Member for Kingston and The Islands, come to order.

Mr Ouellette: The member for Kingston and The Islands is constantly coming across. He made some comments about -- what specifically was that? -- the licence suspension. Actually, there has been a conviction. The one conviction I'll bring forward took place in Parry Sound. It was to the tune of $18,000, which is a significant amount. These are some of the things that we have done and we are continuing to do.

You talk about unscrupulous truck drivers as well, who transfer their assets into other companies and avoid all the problems that come forward with having that company being dealt with by the Ministry of Transportation.

Mr Bisson: Name names. Name the company.

Mr Ouellette: The member from the third party is asking me to name names. We deal with everybody who is a problem, not just one specific company.

Mr Bisson: Was it Tudhope? That's what I want to know.

Mr Ouellette: What we did there was address the situation. If somebody wants to avoid dealing with the government by transferring assets, we get involved in it. We have addressed that issue and are taking care of it.

The number of wheel-offs: We're constantly hearing that there are more and more wheels off. Actually, 10 or 15 years ago, the OPP used to help a trucker roll the wheels up and put them on to get him off the side of the road. Now it's quite a different situation. It's the same percentage of wheels falling off trucks; the only difference is that we're reporting now and recording the incidents, doing incident reports so that we know exactly what's taking place in those situations.

We talk about the lick-and-stick, as it was called by the member from the third party. What he's referring to is illegal safety inspections. Somebody goes out, they say they do an inspection and they don't really do it. If that is the case, they're breaking the law. If they're breaking the law, that's a conscious decision that they make to go around it. We'll charge those ones, and we do every one that we find out. We will continue to do that to ensure that our roads are as safe as possible.

Pre-trip inspections: Every time a truck driver goes out there, they do a pre-trip inspection that includes 27 inspection points. It was mentioned earlier that truck drivers don't do these inspections. They're required to. Not only are they required to, but in order to get their licence, they have to do this pre-trip inspection so that the inspector knows that they know what they're doing in that particular case.

Those are just a number of the issues. I appreciate the time.

Mr Gerretsen: I've been listening with great interest to the debate that has taken place over the last couple of hours, and I have heard nothing but excuses from the government side. The general public out there really isn't interested in what the NDP didn't do or what the Peterson government 10 years ago didn't do; it's a problem today, and they want this government to do something. What this resolution wants the government to do and what the people out there want this government to do is to simply call back Bill 125.

Let's talk about Bill 125, because I'm sure the average person who is watching this out there wants to know exactly what is in Bill 125. It's a very simple bill. It goes for a page and a half. What does it call for? It simply calls for an amendment to section 84 of the Highway Traffic Act, and it states: "Where a wheel becomes detached from a commercial motor vehicle...while the motor vehicle is on a highway, the operator of the commercial motor vehicle and the owner...are guilty of an offence."

Then it says, "Upon conviction of an offence...the person is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000."

It further goes on to say:

"It is not a defence to a charge under this subsection...that the person exercised...diligence to avoid or prevent the detaching of the wheel."

Finally, it says that "the holder of the permit or the plate portion of the permit shall be deemed to be the owner of the vehicle."

That's all the bill says. It merely increases the fine as far as the owner and operator of the vehicle are concerned. It's a very simple one-and-a-half-page bill, which was introduced on February 24. I completely concur with what my House leader said earlier, that on a number of occasions it's been made quite clear to the government House leader that there would be unanimous consent to have this bill passed in one day. That's what we're talking about here today; that's what the resolution basically talks about. It says, "Government, bring this back."

For the life of me -- the minister can talk about all sorts of comprehensive legislation that he wants to introduce somewhere down the line. Why can't he call this bill back and simply have it passed? It's a very simple section that merely increases the fines. There may very well be other things required as well, but what the public wants right now is to make sure these dangerous vehicles -- I'm not for a moment suggesting that all trucks on the highway are dangerous, but that the dangerous ones, where you've got wheels flying off trucks, be removed from the highways and that the fines be increased.

That's what we're talking about, that's what we want this government to do, and that's what this Minister of Transportation has refused to do. Let's get that clear.

Second, we just heard the previous member, the former parliamentary assistant of the Minister of Transportation, make it sound as if there are only a few trucks driving around that don't meet all the specifications. Well, I'm reading here from a report that was in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record on May 14 which states: "Almost half the trucks" -- and this is as the result of a blitz -- "stopped along Highway 400, including what one policeman called `a horror show on wheels' were detained for mechanical and safety violations. Eighty-five plates were removed and 273 charges were laid for such things as poorly maintained brakes, faulty steering and loose wheels in a two-day safety blitz, which involved more than 120 transportation ministry inspectors and police officers."

I think that's a very tragic matter. These -- what was it? -- 199 trucks were on the roads that shouldn't have been there. They were causing an immediate danger to the motoring public, to the people who are using our highways on a day-to-day basis.

I'm a great believer that the proof is in the pudding. I always believe that if there's enough money spent by a particular ministry in the right kinds of program areas, some of these problems can be dealt with. Let's look and see what's happened to the Ministry of Transportation budget over the last two years. It has been decimated. On the capital side of things, we have gone from a budget of $2.2 billion to a budget of $1 billion in the Ministry of Transportation. That is a decrease of 46%; that money goes into building new roads and into redoing the roads out there, making sure they're in a good state of repair.

How can the minister, with that kind of evidence, get up in the House here today and suggest that transportation and the proper maintenance of the highways in this province are a priority of this government when the funding for any capital repairs has been reduced by almost 50%, by 46%? That to me is totally unacceptable. When you look at the operating budget, it too has been reduced by some $76 million in the last year.

Minister, don't stand in this House and suggest to the people of Ontario that transportation is a priority of this government, because it just ain't so. The facts and figures in the government's own budget document clearly indicate that. Transportation is not a priority, and obviously road safety, with the kinds of violations these trucks are involved in, is not a priority either, or else they would have done something about it.


How do the people out there feel? It's very interesting to read the Angus Reid survey that clearly indicates that the people who use the roads on a day-to-day basis are concerned. For example, in answer to a question that was asked of them: "In general, how would you rate Canada's roads and highways in terms of safety? Do you think Canada's roads and highways are becoming more or less safe?" more than half the people, 55%, perceived there was a reduction in road safety. These are the people who are using the roads on a day-to-day basis.

More than four out of five Ontarian respondents, 83%, felt that travel on Canadian roads and highways had become more dangerous as a result of the upward trend in the number of tractor-trailer trucks. I'm not for a moment suggesting that we don't need tractor-trailers. Obviously, we need to move our goods around from place to place. Transportation in a country as vast as Canada and in a province as vast as Ontario is an integral part of our economic system. But at the same time, people feel that with the ever-increasing number of trucks that are out there, their use of the road is not as safe as it used to be.

What can we do about it, then? Surely what we can do about it to start off with is to make sure the trucks that are legally using the roads are as safe as possible. For that reason alone the minister shouldn't think about it twice; he should take the suggestion of the opposition, whereby they're basically saying, "Bring the bill forward and we'll pass it in a day." That's been suggested on at least two or three or four or five occasions over the last two or three months: "Bring it forward and let's deal with it. It's a step in the right direction." It's not the end result, but it's a step in the right direction.

When you look at some other facts -- I see I've got one minute left -- the motoring public out there doesn't feel all that safe and secure with the present situation. We should recall that in 1996 alone, there were 31 reported wheel separations along our highways. There have been seven wheel separations in the first three weeks of this year alone.

The general public want to make sure their highways are safe and sound, and the best way we can make it safe and sound as far as these tractor-trailers are concerned is to make sure there are adequate provisions in the Highway Traffic Act to deal with offenders. As far as we on this side of the House are concerned, Bill 125 would have done it, so Minister, why don't you call Bill 125 back and we'll give it speedy passage.

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): I'm certainly glad to join in the consideration of some of the material we've heard today from the opposition benches. The way I would like to start is to make a factual presentation, an update of exactly where we are. The assertion made that this government isn't interested whatsoever, or hardly at all, in road safety is completely erroneous, documented incorrectly and inadequate in a number of other ways. Let's start with a few of the facts.

First off, we have introduced some bills. We have covered such areas as mandatory wheel installation training. That wasn't done before; that's now in place. We have introduced air brake training and made it mandatory for commercial operators; that wasn't in place. Those are two points.

Third, in the bills that were presented in the last year and a quarter, Bill 55 and Bill 92, we have increased the fines substantially for violations of road safety. We are starting to see some of those in the courts.

Fourth, we're finding that the number of charges has gone up substantially. I would like to make a note that in point of fact, the charges in 1996-97 have gone up approximately 51.6%. Over the last fiscal years the numbers show there were 37,184 level 1 CVSA inspections, which resulted in 19,204 trucks taken out of service. There were 13,723 charges laid as a result of these inspections, and 3,235 plates removed. Those are facts. Those are reliable, solid statistics.

To continue on the factual side to prove that road safety and truck safety are priorities, this government has instituted a policy of zero tolerance for vehicles that fail the CVSA tests. Plates are removed, and they are removed until the vehicles are fixed. We have instituted a carrier rating system that was long overdue and bound it back to the shippers so we will have a registration record in place, that when the shippers are shipping out goods that are overweighting the axles of the long-haul vehicles we will be able to trace it back in terms of liability. That is called coordination, and that is taking a little more time to get into place, but we want to trace the line of responsibility back not only from owner-operators and operators, but to the shippers.

It has been mentioned in this House that the axle weight for gravel trucks was taken off some years ago, approximately seven years ago. We have reinstituted that particular situation, so there are now axle weights and they have to be carefully confined and carefully registered. I think it's important that the motoring public know that, because before, we had seven years of a deal made by previous governments in which that particular point of concern was not dealt with. We have now addressed that.

Those are some of the items.

I want to focus for a few moments on some of the recommendations contained in the Worona-Tyrrell inquest recommendations. At the beginning of this debate, the member for Cochrane South suggested that there wasn't a place, a public forum, in which the public could make comments regarding truck safety and how they would make specific ideas and suggestions achievable.

The purpose of any inquest -- unfortunately, we have had some deaths out of this, and I must remind members of this House that the whole issue of trucking safety and wheel separation goes back to long before 1995, if you want to give any dates. If you go back and honestly look at the media reports over the last decade, regardless of the government in power, we have had a number of incidents. Some of them were serious; some of them were fatal.

Mr Gerretsen: Why don't you do something about it?

Mr Hastings: The member for Kingston and The Islands keeps talking about doing something about it. We have pointed out, if he is listening carefully, specific facts. Obviously he doesn't accept the point that reinstituting weighted axles for the gravel trucks is a significant thing in and of itself or combined with all the other initiatives we're looking at, particularly a number of proposals out of Target '97.

I'd like to go back to some of the specific recommendations in that inquest, whose rationale and purpose is to make recommendations. When you have a jury closeted and they come up with specific recommendations to government, the purpose of any inquest is to see that those recommendations are carried out, and we have done so.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. The member's time is up. Further debate? The member for Windsor-Walkerville.

Mr Duncan: I'd like to begin by reading the last paragraph of the minister's statement to the House on February 24, 1997:

"Members of this House have continually reminded me of their concern about truck safety and in particular about wheel separations.... I believe that once all members have had the opportunity to read this bill, they will consent to its immediate passage into law."

The member for Mississauga South took umbrage at a paragraph in our statement being critical of the government for its media posturing. I'd like to remind the minister that you didn't announce that legislative initiative first in the House, did you? You did it the previous Friday in front of the cameras, not in the House. It had been in the newspapers with the full photo opportunity three days before it came into this House.


I'd like to remind the minister of a few other comments he made: "If safety is not your business, you'll be out of business. We are committed. I'm telling you, I'm going to get the job done in the next 90 days. A few changes are going to happen." That was on January 9. You are now approximately 50 days behind.

We said on February 24, "We welcome this long-overdue bill and say to the minister that we will support it and hope we can pass it this week," long before the filibuster, long before the other issues the government has raised.

Throughout the course of today's discussions I have heard talk about what the government has done. I will acknowledge in this House, and publicly, that I believe the Minister of Transportation is an honourable man who wants to do the best by road safety. I don't believe for one minute that he wants to see death on our highways.

But I need to point out some facts. The government has talked a good game this afternoon about the number of inspections being up. You're absolutely right. Last year they were, but they're still way down from those 10 lost years, according to your own statistics, according to your Road Check '96: Ontario Historical Trends. Another point well worth noting is that the number of vehicles taken out of service last year in all categories was down.

The minister took some umbrage at comments I made about cuts to the budget.


Mr Duncan: Capital cuts have been outlined. Operating cuts have been outlined. To the member opposite, who says I was wrong, I have here a document sent to me by the Ministry of Transportation, dated March 5, in response to a very specific question I had placed to them in a briefing, where I said, "What is the complement that's approved and what percentage of it is full?" Lo and behold, the complement as of March 5 was not full. In fact, almost a quarter of the approved complement had sat empty.

The government members have talked about Ontario's role relative to other jurisdictions. Just as a point of curiosity, for those government members who have been talking about your Historical Trends, I will note for you that in your Road Check '96 data you can't even distinguish how many wheel separations or wheel problems there are because you don't separate them from tire problems. That is an issue they've addressed in Great Britain, that is an issue they've addressed in the United States.

The government members, in their briefing notes from the Premier's office, would not have been made aware of the National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, DC, report which we secured from the government, which implemented a number of the things contained in our bill in 1991 in the United States.

We have in front of us a government that has selectively used statistics, not told the whole story, and set its own bar. The minister, Sunday, January 9, quoted in the Toronto Sun: "I ain't going away. The bad operators, they're going to go away," within 90 days -- big talk, and we've heard it before.

I don't know what has happened since February 24. Yes, we think there may be a problem with absolute liability. We asked the minister again for a copy of the government's legal opinion on absolute liability, and in a response dated March 5: "Would the ministry supply a copy of the Ministry of the Attorney General's legal opinion regarding wheel detachment legislation?" Answer: "The Ministry of the Attorney General's legal opinion on wheel detachment legislation is considered advice to cabinet and therefore cannot be provided." That's nuts. Bring it out.

We now have three legal opinions, and I have some sympathy for the minister's position, because those legal opinions differ. We don't have an exact answer. But we do know this: In spite of the importance of 125, it is but a drop in the bucket relative to the recommendations contained in Target '97. When the minister brought forward those recommendations, the opposition said, "Good. Let's deal with them." The opposition said: "Let's get on with the job. Let's have a bill. Let's debate it. Let's see what you're proposing."

The minister knows full well that a number of the recommendations in Target '97 can only be implemented by regulation. Those of us in the opposition who want safer roads -- and I believe the minister wants safer roads -- want to have those hearings. In January we offered a non-partisan committee, a select committee of this Legislature, to review and respond to those issues in a manner that would allow for a full public debate. I'll remind the minister and members of the government that Target '97 was not debated publicly. I tell you, we liked a lot of the recommendations.

It's really easy to bring in a bill. What we don't understand is, why haven't you done it? I will remind you. The minister in Hansard, January 13, 1997: "We will not stop until Ontario's roads are the safest in North America." The Toronto Star, February 21, 1997: "Wheels separating from trucks is a very serious problem, one that shows no signs of improving" -- your words, Minister, not mine -- "and one that can't wait any longer." That was February 21 of this year. February 22, 1997, the Toronto Sun: "We can't continue to accept this. It is a serious problem." The Globe and Mail, March 11, 1997: "If safety is not your business, you're not going to be in business in Ontario." The Toronto Sun, March 11, 1997: "Our commitment is there." And yes, the Toronto Sun, May 13: "I'm not backing off."

Minister, I believe you when you say that. I believe that you want to bring in legislation. I'll remind all the members of this House that this is the first time on the floor of the Legislature that we've debated this issue. So when you tell us that we've blocked you, filibustered you -- you control every day in this House, with the exception of three. This is one of our three and it's the second one since this bill was introduced. I say to you, the proof is in the pudding. It's on our day that we're discussing this issue.

We offered again today to give up this opposition day, to have a debate on a government bill, and you didn't take the bait. We had bluster from the Premier about events long since past. We didn't deal with your own comments that it's a serious problem.

Even today we hear the members talk about the response to the Worona inquest. Yesterday the minister said they had responded to 25; today it's 21. I'll tell you, Minister, the Worona family have asked your office and your ministry for a point-by-point-by-point response and to date they have not had a response. The official opposition has asked for a point-by-point-by-point analysis of your response.

Let me give you one example: the recommendation of the inquest with respect to fines. You said you responded to it. My understanding from those who attended and from the transcript is that not only did you not respond, it was really just a sop. That's why we want a public debate and that's why we want your bill.


We have talked about a lot of issues. We know, and the government knows, there is a serious problem out there. We have brought forward a bill. We have offered a day of debate. We have now, in cooperation with our colleagues in the third party, agreed to a section 125 hearing in the resources development committee so that we can discuss these issues. I think the government ought to do that.

I found it interesting in the Premier's comments in the Toronto Sun that he referred to the bill as draconian. I think it needs to be said that the vast majority of trucking companies and truckers in this province operate good rigs and have good business practices. Indeed, the elements of our bill were developed and designed by an industry group. The families of victims support many of those recommendations. We're asking for a bill. We are asking to deal with it as quickly as we can.

There is no magic solution to this problem. We know full well it is not that minister's fault, just as it wasn't the fault of previous ministers or previous governments. Accidents happen on our highways. Tragedy cannot always be averted. The road conditions will impact it; government regulation will impact it. Indeed, in some areas Ontario historically has been a leader, and we acknowledge that.

Let's take the next step. Let's bring in a bill. That's all this resolution asks for. Let's deal with the issues. Let's try to put some closure to this issue. We also suggest to the government that we are prepared to move quickly. When you bring in your bill, we're going to want to look at it. We've arranged for a committee of experts as well as family members to review it. I would invite the minister to share it with us in advance of its introduction in the House so that when we get to the House we can deal with it more quickly.

We will analyse it and we expect that the bravado we've heard will be responded to with concrete and meaningful action. We truly hope the statistics that have been quoted will include reference to the difference between what was implemented from the inquest and what actually happened. We hope the full range of issues that have been addressed in Target '97 will be addressed in the bill.

There has been much give and take on this issue. It's unfortunate we couldn't get it to the floor of the Legislature until today. It is truly unfortunate. We can point fingers at one another and we can be partisan about it, but I say to the government: Give us a bill, just like we suggested in January, and let's get on with it. Let's do the business of the province in this area, where I think there is substantial agreement.

There are so many things the government has driven through with very little legislative debate that are far more far-reaching in their consequence and scope than this, that have gone through with a fraction of the debate, where there has been serious disagreement. So we are troubled as to why we can't get on with this particular issue.

Allow me to conclude today by saying: Bring us a bill. Let's put some closure for these families and friends of victims who have joined us. Let's give a sense that we can put aside this bickering. I don't care if you don't take our bill. We don't care. Bring in your own bill and incorporate it. Have a press conference. Take credit for it. Put it in your campaign literature. But let's deal with it and let's stop the talk.

This government has prided itself on having a busy agenda and moving hard on things. You've taken a lot of heat as members, I know that, because there is substantial disagreement on a number of the issues you've addressed. But this is one where you'll not only have the support of the opposition if the bill is done right and reflects Target '97; it is something that will garner you support in the community, because all of us, the members opposite and the minister, want safer roads in this province. We share that desire. We want to work with you. We regret that it's taken this long even to get the issue to the floor of the Legislature. Let's have a bill, let's debate it, let's pass it and let's make Ontario's roads safer for everybody in this province.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Further debate?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): This is not further debate, Speaker. It seems the debate is finished. I believe there is consent for the House to continue to sit for the purpose of royal assent.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to continue to sit for the purpose of royal assent? Agreed.

Mr Duncan has moved opposition day motion number 5. All those in favour, please say "aye." All those opposed, please say "nay." In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1756 to 1801.

The Speaker: All those in favour please rise one at a time to be recognized by the Clerk.


Agostino, Dominic

Duncan, Dwight

McGuinty, Dalton

Bartolucci, Rick

Gerretsen, John

McLeod, Lyn

Bisson, Gilles

Gravelle, Michael

Patten, Richard

Boyd, Marion

Hoy, Pat

Phillips, Gerry

Bradley, James J.

Kormos, Peter

Pouliot, Gilles

Brown, Michael A.

Kwinter, Monte

Pupatello, Sandra

Churley, Marilyn

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Ramsay, David

Cleary, John C.

Laughren, Floyd

Ruprecht, Tony

Conway, Sean G.

Marchese, Rosario

Sergio, Mario

Crozier, Bruce

Martin, Tony

Wildman, Bud

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


Arnott, Ted

Grimmett, Bill

Pettit, Trevor

Baird, John R.

Guzzo, Garry J.

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Beaubien, Marcel

Hastings, John

Ross, Lillian

Boushy, Dave

Hudak, Tim

Runciman, Robert W.

Brown, Jim

Johnson, Bert

Sampson, Rob

Carroll, Jack

Johnson, David

Smith, Bruce

Chudleigh, Ted

Jordan, W. Leo

Spina, Joseph

Cunningham, Dianne

Kells, Morley

Sterling, Norman W.

Danford, Harry

Klees, Frank

Stewart, R. Gary

DeFaria, Carl

Leadston, Gary L.

Tsubouchi, David H.

Doyle, Ed

Marland, Margaret

Turnbull, David

Ecker, Janet

Martiniuk, Gerry

Vankoughnet, Bill

Elliott, Brenda

McLean, Allan K.

Villeneuve, Noble

Fisher, Barbara

Munro, Julia

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Flaherty, Jim

Mushinski, Marilyn

Wilson, Jim

Fox, Gary

Newman, Dan

Wood, Bob

Froese, Tom

Ouellette, Jerry J.


Galt, Doug

Palladini, Al


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 30; the nays are 52.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost. I'm sorry, I'm used to saying "lost."


The Speaker: I was right. I'm sorry, I thought you were getting up against me.

I declare the motion lost.

Hon David Johnson: Well done, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Thank you very much. They pay me the big money for that.

Hon David Johnson: Mr Speaker, Her Honour awaits to give royal assent to certain bills.

Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.


Hon Hilary Weston (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present meetings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.

Clerk Assistant (Ms Deborah Deller): The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:

Bill 84, An Act to promote Fire Prevention and Public Safety in Ontario and to amend and repeal certain other Acts relating to Fire Services / Projet de loi 84, Loi visant à promouvoir la prévention des incendies et la sécurité publique en Ontario et modifiant ou abrogeant certaines autres lois relatives aux services de lutte contre les incendies

Bill 106, An Act respecting the financing of local government / Projet de loi 106, Loi concernant le financement des administrations locales

Bill 107, An Act to enact the Municipal Water and Sewage Transfer Act, 1997 and to amend other Acts with respect to water and sewage / Projet de loi 107, Loi visant à édicter la Loi de 1997 sur le transfert des installations d'eau et d'égout aux municipalités et modifiant d'autres lois en ce qui a trait à l'eau et aux eaux d'égout.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): In Her Majesty's name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills. Au nom de Sa Majesté, l'honorable lieutenante-gouverneure sanctionne ces projets de loi.

Her Honour was then pleased to retire.

The Speaker: It now being past 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1810.