36th Parliament, 1st Session

L201 - Mon 9 Jun 1997 / Lun 9 Jun 1997



















































The House met at 1331.




Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): My statement is addressed to the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I would like to remind both of them that since, and with the approval of, Bill 106, they have eliminated business taxes to the tune of $1.6 billion. This responsibility dumped on to the local municipalities represents a huge amount that they will have to find somewhere else; $1.6 billion that the municipalities now will have to find somewhere else.

Let me remind the Premier and the minister that it is quite clear that without this money, municipalities cannot afford to subsist and provide sufficient needs they are accustomed to providing to their taxpayers at present. Since municipalities only have one source of income -- realty taxes and business taxes -- that money now will have to come from one source: the homeowner and the small business community.

It is most unfortunate that the Premier and the minister are picking on the two most vulnerable groups in our society. I hope they reconsider and do the right thing.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): It's with extreme sadness that I advise this chamber of the passing on Sunday of Roland Hardy. Roland Hardy, as we in Niagara well know, served as a regional councillor for the last three years. His political career spanned four decades. He was first elected to Crowland township as an alderman, then to Welland city council and then serving as mayor of our city with dignity and grace and a powerful but understated sense of leadership.

He was truly one of the great citizens of our community and also a great Canadian. As a francophone, his advocacy of the role for francophones and of the need to maintain the French language and French culture in our community, in our province and in our country was unparalleled.

A trade unionist, he won the respect of his peers, as he was elected to leadership positions by his co-workers at Atlas Specialty Steels. He was a strong believer in co-op housing, as he was one of the groups that was instrumental in developing one of the most recent co-op housing projects in Welland.

We will surely miss him. Our sympathies are being extended to his wonderful wife, Vivianne, to his sons, Raymond, Marcel and Jean-Guy, and to his daughters, Dahlia and Doris. He was a great Wellander and a great Canadian.


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): I rise to bring attention to a serious issue in not only my riding of Oshawa but the entire province as well: road safety. I am proud to say that last week Oshawa participated in the 1997 Road Safety Challenge. The challenge is judged on the comparison of the lowest per capita collision rate, and locally Durham Regional Police officers are issuing T-shirts for all those contributing to safer roads.

Oshawa's Road Safety Challenge included the promotion of child safety seats and Seatbelt Safety Day, Seniors and Pedestrian Safety Day and Arrive Alive, Don't Drink and Drive.

This type of community effort takes place not only in my riding of Oshawa but all across the province as well. It so happened that I attended a funeral in Sault Ste Marie last week and was very impressed with the reaction of the community as the procession went by. Not only did all the traffic voluntarily halt as the procession went by, but pedestrians stopped whatever they were doing and removed their hats in respect. This is the type of care and concern that emphasizes the commitment we need to make every day in all of our communities.

While the city of Oshawa and other communities competed with each other to see who will be the winner of the challenge, the real winners are the citizens of the communities across the province who benefit from our safer roads.

I'd like to say to the gang in the Sault, "See you at camp." More importantly, I'd like to congratulate all those volunteers and individuals who commit to making our roads that much safer.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): It is with a great deal of interest that I note that the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Health were in Sudbury this morning to make a reinvestment announcement. Certainly I wish I had been invited to that announcement so that it truly could have been a joint effort with all three parties, but that's not the way this government works.

What I am seriously concerned about, though, is that after the statement took place, I wonder if they met with the Sudbury Regional Hospital Corp's chair-designate. He's requested a meeting with the minister because he's got serious concerns about transfer payments to the hospitals and the compound effect that's going to have when it comes down to the new Sudbury Regional Hospital Corp.

He's talking about an annualized effect of $4.4 million less in transfer payments, and he's concerned that there is absolutely no way they will be able to function effectively if that isn't re-examined. All he's asking for is that this government and this Minister of Health meet with the new chair and the new board-elect to discuss the possibility of increasing transfer payments to ensure that there is some type of labour adjustment policy or clause written into this transfer payment so that there will not have to be unnecessary layoffs occurring without any discussion at all.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I want to bring to the attention of the House the decision this year of the Minister of Education and Training, without notice, to ensure that the Ontario student assistance program will no longer cover and give assistance to part-time students for the costs of their part-time courses at the post-secondary level.

I give you an example of a student who, in 1993, began working on her bachelor of arts at the University of Waterloo distance education program. That student has always carried a 20% to 40% caseload and has averaged 72% overall and 78% in her major. She has now been told that unless she takes a 60% caseload she will not be able to get OSAP assistance. If she's a full-time student, she will have difficulty dealing with her family and the fact that she works full time.

She's already applied for her fall semester. She can't change her caseload now to 60%. She has her family commitments to be concerned about and she's worried that her grades will fall if she has to take an additional amount. Somehow she has to come up with $660 by this September.

Will the Minister of Education and Training --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.



Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): It is a privilege to stand in the Legislature today to talk about Sam McCallion, Mayor Hazel McCallion's husband, who died on May 14. As one of our city's most admired people, Sam has been posthumously honoured as this year's recipient of the Gordon S. Shipp Memorial Award, which recognizes the Mississauga citizen of the year.

A printer and photographer by profession, Sam was one of the greatest supporters of the town of Streetsville. He founded the Streetsville Chamber of Commerce, the Streetsville Booster newspaper and Streetsville's Bread and Honey Festival.

Sam was also a lay reader for 42 years at Trinity Anglican Church, where his funeral was held. In his eulogy, Canon Harold Percy said, "Sam learned early in life what some people never learn: that giving is the highest form of life."

In 1994, Sam received a Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest honour given by Rotary International for citizenship. The legacy of Sam's role model will continue through the Sam McCallion Volunteer of the Year award, which is sponsored by the Streetsville Lions Club and the Mississauga Booster.

In Hazel's words, "While Sam is no longer with us, he leaves behind a loving family whose lives he has deeply touched and his sense of community spirit, integrity and compassion for his fellow man which will be long remembered."

Sam, you surely made our cup runneth over. We will miss you and we will remember and love you always.


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): Ever since the Mike Harris government started its agenda of slashing health care in this province, the patients have had to pay the price. I've encountered many cases where the government's cuts to hospitals have caused major problems, even death. I would like to point out to the Premier one such case.

In April, Mr Percy Trepanier from Tilbury West township was in hospital for hip surgery. Mr Trepanier was well on the road to recovery when complications arose. The family believes that delays in producing X-rays, overworked nursing staff and the fact that there were no beds available in the ICU led to a rapid worsening of his condition.

Premier, you are cutting and it is hurting patients. Mr Trepanier's family says the nurses were dangerously overworked, sometimes having as few as one nurse for 15 patients. There were no beds available in the ICU and tests took too long to produce.

The staff is not to blame. Your cuts have shrunk the support staff. You have cut and closed beds and your cuts have caused nurses to be drastically overworked. Nurses provide primary care and oversee the patients' progress. There are no frills. These are necessary parts of the health care system, a system you and your government have allowed to decay to a shell of its former self.

Mr Trepanier died the day before he was to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary. The family have returned the Premier's congratulatory scroll to his office.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): Last week in London, Ontario, there was an international conference on children exposed to family violence, hosted by the London Family Court Clinic.

Over 750 participants from all over the world came to this conference. Not only were people there from all over Canada, but there were 40 different jurisdictions in the United States represented, and over six countries.

One of the elements of this conference which I expect I will talk about on a number of occasions in this place was a visit to a school in my riding, Sir Winston Churchill Public School, a school that has put in place a safe schools program that is frankly the envy of the world.

This is a program based on a very firm position that children have rights and responsibilities, that parents have rights and responsibilities, and that teachers have rights and responsibilities and that the job of a school environment is to create a safe, caring place.

The watch words for this school are the following: respect, responsibility, cooperation and do your best. Every participant within that school, whether teacher or student, whether parent or community member, is expected to adhere to those principles. It works. I would invite anyone to come and see Sir Winston Churchill --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I am thrilled to be able to report that Northern Telecom announced the company will hire 5,000 new employees and invest more than $250 million in Nepean to upgrade and expand the company's research, product development and business base in Nepean.

Nortel already employs more than 10,000 people in Nepean. With this announcement, Nortel's expansion is expected to generate more than 10,000 new net infrastructure jobs. The economic spinoffs of this expansion are extraordinary. The local economy could see an additional 10,000 to 20,000 spinoff jobs directly as a result of this announcement. This is good news for home builders, small businesses and the retail and hospitality sector.

To quote Gedas Sakus, president of Nortel technology: "Nortel is expanding in the region because it is the high-tech centre of Canada. The talent we can attract to Ottawa is allowing us to win international markets."

Nortel is the high-tech engine of our local economy. With $4.2 billion in exports and a Canadian workforce of 22,000, they are truly a Canadian success story. Nortel has done it on their own; no government handouts were part of the announcement on Friday.

Congratulations to Nortel president John Roth and Nortel technology president Gedas Sakus and to the thousands of Nortel employees who made this announcement possible.

If Ontario is to create 725,000 net new jobs, Nepean is going to be the first riding to complete the task -- 101,000 net new jobs in the last three months. That's more jobs, more hope and more opportunity for a better and brighter Ontario.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, I'd like to request unanimous consent for the member for Scarborough East and the member for Brampton North to respond to that statement.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Unanimous consent for the members for Scarborough East and Brampton North to respond to that statement? No. I heard some no's.



Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): It is my very great pleasure to inform members and our viewers that today marks the beginning of an extremely important week, Ontario Tourism Awareness Week.

During this week, Leo Jordan, my parliamentary assistant responsible for tourism, and I will be travelling across this great province, helping communities celebrate the enormous contribution tourism makes to our economy and as a creator of high-quality jobs. For many of us, our first experience in the business world was working in the tourism industry.

Tourism is now the fastest-growing industry in the world, and because we are determined in Ontario to increase our share of it, we have chosen as our theme for Tourism Awareness Week "Ontario Tourism: The Global Industry in Our Backyard."

Like the rest of Ontario's economy, the tourism sector has made excellent gains in the last two years. Tourism is now our sixth-largest export industry, contributing $13.6 billion to our economy annually, which results in nearly $2 billion in tax revenues to the province each year.

The tourism industry in Ontario now directly and indirectly employs approximately 415,000 people, or over 7% of the province's workforce. As I mentioned the other day in the House, the tourism industry is also a major employer for students. It provides thousands of jobs for our youth each year, who find part-time employment in areas like marinas or working in various facets of the hospitality industry which serve tourists in our urban and rural centres or even through jobs attached to outdoor sporting activities.

Our tax cuts clearly support the tourism industry by putting more disposable income in people's pockets. Most tourist operators fully benefit from the elimination of the employer health tax on the first $400,000 of payroll since most of them have modest payrolls below that level.

I believe Ontario's tourism industry is the quintessential small business. In a recent meeting arranged by my ministry between the tourism industry and the Canadian Bankers Association, tourism industry operators learned how they can benefit from the positive measures outlined in the recent Ontario budget, including how to access capital.

Later this evening, my parliamentary assistant Leo Jordan and I will join about 200 of Ontario's leading tourism industry representatives at their two-day tourism forum. At this forum, delegates will develop an action plan to increase Ontario's competitiveness as a tourist destination.

In conclusion, I encourage all members to use the tourism material we forwarded to all members' offices to help raise awareness of the importance of tourism in their communities. All of us during Tourism Awareness Week should take time to consider the growing impact of tourism in our communities as it continues to expand and create new jobs in this province.

We live in a special land that is unique in all the world, a land that is blessed with vast natural resources that enhance fascinating wilderness experiences, and bustling urban centres that are vibrant with a rich multicultural mix. Let's join together to make these experiences a celebration for our visitors. Help us celebrate the achievements of our valued partners in tourism.



Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines): Later today I will introduce a bill that will improve the way government manages fish and wildlife resources in Ontario by giving us tougher enforcement provisions and more protection for a wider range of species.

Fish and wildlife management is a priority for this government. It is also a personal priority for myself. Today's action will also fulfil a promise made to many people who value our natural resources to bring forward modernized legislation for fish and wildlife management in the province.

With more than seven million people participating in fish-and-wildlife-related activities in Ontario each year, we can all recognize that the effective management of fish and wildlife is vital to the environmental, social and economic wellbeing of the province. Both the ministry and the public have recognized for some time that significant changes were required to the Game and Fish Act in order to sustain the province's fish and wildlife resources.

With this bill we will replace the seriously outdated Game and Fish Act. When it comes into effect, the new Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, will demonstrate Ontario's commitment to natural resources conservation efforts. The legislative changes proposed in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act were developed through consultation with a wide variety of client groups. I want to thank them for their important input. I also want to thank the MNR staff, some of whom are in the gallery today, on the development of this bill.

The bill proposes changes in three broad areas: better protection and management of a broader range of species; better enforcement capability; and better client service. The improvements reflect the great importance of fish and wildlife resources to this government. For example, black bear populations will be further protected. It will also be illegal to intentionally interfere with black bear dens or to damage dens. The species will also be added to the list of those which may not be hunted while the animal is swimming.

Enforcement efforts will be made more effective. For example, the limitation period on prosecutions will be increased from six months to two years. As well, to help prevent Ontario being used as a base for illegal trade activities, we will prohibit the possession of wildlife and fish that were illegally taken in or from another jurisdiction.

The bill reflects the value placed on fish and wildlife resources by providing penalties for commercial offences of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years, and by allowing the courts to order community service or training for violations.

A number of client-service-oriented changes will be made. For instance, we will have a better basis for establishing new business relationships with our partners. A clear legal framework will also be established to recognize the valuable work of Ontario's wildlife rehabilitators. Property owners will be able to legally hire an animal control agent to deal with nuisance wildlife.

Introduction of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act is the next big step being taken by our government for the protection and conservation of fish and wildlife. We have come this far with the help of a lot of people. I look forward to having the bill passed so we can make a significant contribution to ensuring the sustainability of Ontario's fish and wildlife resources and the sustainability of environmental, social and economic benefits associated with those resources.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I note with some interest the way the minister delivered this presentation today. He emphasised the fact that there is going to be better enforcement. It surprises me that he says that when just before the election they said there would be no cuts to conservation officers. After the election, in their first year in power, they cut the conservation officers by 20%.

I would suggest, Minister, that you continue the consultation with the groups you've consulted with, because you're going to need their help to ensure that you do what your government said they were going to do.

This minister's sense of timing is always incredible. Here we have a minister who flew up to Sudbury in a Ministry of Natural Resources plane to make a good-news financial announcement on restructuring and reinvestment. He didn't fly over Timmins; he didn't fly over the other portions of northeastern Ontario. He was too busy landing, making a good-news announcement.

Timmins is burning, northeastern Ontario is burning, northwestern Ontario is burning, and this minister stands up here and gives us fluff. What we want, what the people of Ontario want, what the people of northern Ontario want, is protection -- protection against forest fires, protection of natural resources -- and we don't get it with this minister.

What we do get, what we always get, is lip-service. You know what? Northern Ontario quite frankly is tired of lip-service from this minister. It is unbelievable that this is the Minister of Natural Resources who cannot, who will not, ensure that the natural resources of northern Ontario are protected through sound policies. He's so busy downloading the cost of forest fire management on to people who can't afford it, yet he stands in the House today and makes an announcement that, if carried through, won't be a bad announcement -- it's long overdue; we worked on it -- but the timing is terrible.

It reminds me a little bit of early Roman history. Here we have the emperor playing the fiddle while northern Ontario burns. Let me tell you, if the emperor of Ontario were really wise, what he'd do with this minister is give him the hook.


Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I want to respond to the minister's statement regarding Ontario Tourism Awareness Week. I would suggest that the awareness should first take place in his own ministry, where last week they put out a publication that showed that the Museum of Civilization, which was supposedly number 8 of the tourist attractions in Ontario, is located in Hull. I'd also like to suggest that he do the same thing with regard to those people seeking lodging accommodation in northwest Ontario, who find that they have to call Winnipeg to get those references.

We have again a lot of talk but not a lot of action. The government has been closing provincial parks. They have been cutting funding to such places as the St Lawrence Parks Commission. They have been doing a lot of things that belie the statements they make. I'll give you an example: The minister touts the fact that he's creating a lot of youth employment, when in fact Ontario has an abysmal record of youth employment, with the figures showing that as of May 18.9% of youth is unemployed in Ontario and over the five months from December it's 18.5%, compared to last year at 16.3%.

The minister has stated that later today he and his parliamentary assistant will be joining a group to develop an action plan to increase Ontario's competitiveness as a tourist destination. I would suggest to him that the time has long passed when we should be developing an action plan. This government has been in place for two years; there's a time when we should be getting action, not plans for action.

Tourism has always been a major sector in this economy. All you have to do is take a look at our licence plates and you'll see it's "Yours to Discover." But somehow or other this minister and this government haven't discovered the fact that there are lots of things they are doing that are working counterproductive to the tourism industry. We see that the assessment changes being made are going to impact on small businesses, we see the problems with unemployment, we see the problems with underfunding, and we see the problems where this ministry seems to be giving a lot of lip-service but very little action.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): It's certainly good today to see the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism on his feet saying something about the economy of this province. It's about time he focussed his attention on Ontario. He spends far too much time flitting around the world to places like Japan and Germany and the United States of America, not knowing that under his very feet the economy of this province is sifting away like sand.

It's appropriate that today we recognize the efforts of the folks out there who are struggling to make ends meet in the tourism industry. It is indeed a viable and an important part of the economy of our province. But for this minister for a second to stand up and to suggest that the panacea to youth employment -- that his government and he himself have done anything to enhance the viability of the tourism industry in Ontario is to belie the truth.

The tourist operators in northwestern Ontario are beside themselves with the fact that there is absolutely no money being put into marketing of what they have to offer in their major market areas. As a matter of fact, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the Dakotas, are way ahead of us.

Minister, when are you going to take your job seriously about anything with regard to the economy and in particular tourism in this province?


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): I want to respond briefly to the statement made by the Minister of Natural Resources. When you try and tell the public and this House that fish and wildlife are a priority for this government, a priority for you, that's a joke.

You were the minister who allowed over 10% of your staff to be cut last fall; 2,000 staff from your Ministry of Natural Resources have got their pink slips and are going out the door. Your ministry and your government are not capable any more of protecting fish or wildlife or our forestry resources or our aggregate resources in this province and that's the fact, and that's what you should be talking about in this House today.

Just take a look at what's happened to fire and then what happens to our natural resources. You were the one who cut 17 of the 19 fire bases in this province last year. You kept two open: one in your riding and one in the riding of the finance minister.

We have a situation in Gogama where this minister cut the fire crew. Last week fire crews that used to be based in Gogama were driving back and forth from Timmins, where they are now based, to try and provide fire protection near Gogama. At the same time we've got two crews from Sudbury that are being housed in a motel room in Gogama with a helicopter on standby to provide fire protection. What sense does that make? We're spending all kinds of additional financial resources when you should have kept the fire base open in Gogama. But you're more interested in cut, cut, cut than you are in protecting the natural resources in this province.

Let's take a look at the environment. We know that two months ago the jurisdiction for the Niagara Escarpment Commission moved from the Minister of Environment and Energy over to the Minister of Natural Resources. Do you know that in the last year we have had seven people who have had to leave the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and those people have yet to be appointed? The chair has not been reappointed and the senior staff person of the Niagara Escarpment Commission has not been appointed. Some one month ago, the Niagara Escarpment Commission for the first time ever in its history, Minister, under your tenure, did not have quorum to deal with a development application on the Niagara Escarpment. That's what's happening under your watch in Ontario now.

It's a joke for you to stand in this House today and talk about the new legislation you're bringing forward, because you, sir, do not have the staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources any more to protect fish, to protect wildlife, to protect our timber or to protect aggregates. That's the shame of it.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Both statements today, of the Minister of Tourism and of the Minister of Natural Resources: We're looking forward to the legislation he's going to bring forward and to analysing it to see what it's going to do for northern Ontario and for the people in the province.

On both of the statements: You go through two years of cut, slash and burn and take money out of the economy in northern Ontario, lay off thousands of people within MNR, and tourism is not much better, and then all of a sudden you expect that two years later we're going to get two statements in here that are going to mean a whole change for northern Ontario.

There are high gas prices, the roads are falling apart, and there's all the money that's being taken out. There is nothing the two ministers' statements today can do that is going to turn Ontario around as far as tourism is concerned. It's just been destroyed over the last two years. We need something to change it and those two statements won't do it.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to a certain bill.

Clerk Assistant (Ms Deborah Deller): The following is the bill to which Her Honour did assent:

An Act to improve the Efficiency of the Environmental Approvals Process and Certain Other Matters / Loi visant à améliorer l'efficience du processus d'autorisation environnementale et concernant certaines autres questions.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): Mr Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent to pay tribute to a couple of individuals who are celebrating their 20th anniversary of election to this place.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Do the members want to know who they are first? Unanimous consent? Okay. I warned you. Agreed.

Hon Mr Eves: That is a good warning indeed, Mr Speaker, and a good note to start off with these two.

The members for St Catharines and Carleton, Mr Bradley and Mr Sterling, were both elected to this place on June 7, 1977, and as remarkable as it may seem to some of us here, they managed to get re-elected in elections in 1981, 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1995, proving the old adage wrong, that you can fool all the people most of the time.

They have a lot in common. Mr Sterling is currently the Minister of Environment; Mr Bradley was formerly the Minister of the Environment. Mr Bradley is currently his party's House leader; Mr Sterling is his party's deputy House leader. They both previously served as critic for treasury and economic ministries for previous governments. But there the similarities cease.

Jim Bradley was interim leader of his party from November 1991 to February 1992; Norm was the wannabe interim leader of his party. Norm was instrumental in developing freedom of information legislation and modernizing Ontario's liquor laws; Jim uses the legislation. Jim worked very hard for 10 years as a teacher and served on St Catharines city council for seven years; Norm practised law and engineering and had two university degrees prior to election. Some would say he was educated beyond his intelligence -- but I wouldn't; I might add that.

On a much more serious note, I have two personal anecdotes which I think --

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): Did you say anecdotes or antidotes?

Hon Mr Eves: Anecdotes, not antidotes; that will come later, Bud -- which I think display both individuals' approach to elected office.

As a newly elected member in 1981, I can recall the then parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General, about to attend an Attorneys General conference, making sure that he included a young, newly elected member to the delegation going on behalf of the province of Ontario. That, I think, portrays exactly what Norm Sterling's approach to being a member of the Legislature has been about. He has always included newly elected members; he has always been available for advice and counsel to those newly elected members, not only of his caucus but other parties as well.

In a very similar situation, Jim Bradley was the Minister of the Environment when there was a train derailment in my riding, just south of Parry Sound. One of the very first phone calls I received at 5 am -- everybody knows how much I like to get up at 5 am -- was from the Minister of the Environment, asking me if I wanted to accompany him to the site of the train derailment by helicopter so that, together, we could view the site and determine what should happen. I think that speaks very well of the approach of the member for St Catharines to his term of elected office for some 20 years in this place.

They both share a tremendous amount of respect for Parliament and its traditions. They both have served their constituents very well without losing their commonplace touch and their sense of humour. They are both very well respected members of their respective caucuses. As I said a few moments ago, members can rely upon each of them for advice and counsel, especially in the most difficult of times.

Both have developed a tremendous amount of respect, not only from other members of the Legislature of Ontario but from the general public as well. We are indeed fortunate to have individuals of this character serving the people of Ontario, even though some might question their sanity about being here for 20 years.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): On behalf of my colleagues, I want to join the Minister of Finance in paying tribute to the members for Carleton and for St Catharines. I want to say to Jim and Norm that if Lewis Mackenzie had gotten that kind of endorsement from the current Minister of Finance, who knows what might have happened a week ago today?

In his inimitable style, Mr Eves has highlighted some of the unique characteristics that we honour today. I see in the weekend national capital press that 300 well-wishers gathered at North Gower on Saturday night to pay tribute to the local member who, I know his colleagues from the eastern caucus would want me to say, is tireless in his ministrations to the community needs of Carleton-Grenville as it was 20 years ago. Think of it, Norm: 20 years ago when you came in here John Baird and Tony Clement were in kindergarten studying Milton Friedman as you dedicated yourself to putting some kind of democratic restraint on Roy McMurtry, which was not easily done back in those years.

I think Mr Eves pointed out how, back in those late 1970s, the very strong-willed Minister of Justice of the day was never seen without Norm Sterling someplace in the distance crying, "Freedom of information, Roy, freedom of information; let the information flow," in a way that I don't seem to think is government policy today. I don't think we've ever had a lawyer-engineer combination in this place before, and it is certainly no small tribute to the intellectual prowess of the member for Carleton.

What can I say about the member for St Catharines, except that he's our House leader; we have to be very deferential, and we always are. He seems to have borne the burdens of office and the opportunities of opposition in a rather different way than the member for Carleton. He has more gravitas, more weight, in a sense, but no grey hair at all. He certainly is someone who can tell you all you ever need to know about St Catharines and provide at the same time tickets to a Sabers game, a Blue Jays game, a Canadiens game. You name it, Ticketmaster has an agent in this place, and his name is Bradley.

Seriously, to both our colleague from St Catharines and the member for Carleton, the Liberal caucus pays tribute for 20 long years of dedicated service. We wish them many happy returns and many more to come.

Mr Wildman: I rise on behalf of our caucus to extend congratulations to the two members who are celebrating their 20th year in this House today. As was indicated, both have served -- one is now currently and the other did formerly -- as Minister of Environment. Both have a tremendous interest in the Niagara Escarpment and have indicated their commitment to the preservation of that very important land form in this province.

I go back a while with both of these members. The member for St Catharines does -- I know most members won't understand this -- have a life outside of this place. He seems to be here all the time. He always seems to show up to make those two-minute interventions at the end of everyone's speech. He seems to come puffing through the door just in time to do it. He also has a tendency to have a petition on just about everything, not just VLTs in every corner store, in every neighbourhood, in every community, in every restaurant and every bar in this province. I've often wondered how many people actually sign those petitions.

But he does indeed have a life outside this place. As indicated, he's a tremendous sports fan. I've been lucky enough to be able to accompany him to Sabres games on occasion, and we've enjoyed the evenings. We have a mutual friend in the current coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Ted Nolan, who is originally from my riding, the Garden River First Nation, and who is a good friend of both of us.

When Mr Bradley was Minister of the Environment, we used to wonder how his arms did not continue to grow, because he used to come into this place with a briefcase in this hand and a briefcase in that hand and briefing notes under both arms. He'd pile them on both his desk and the adjoining desk; I don't think he ever looked at any one of those things. I couldn't understand this until I once had the misfortune to have to visit his office. Now, if any of you have ever visited Mr Bradley's office, you'll know that his notes, when he brought them in here, were just an extension of that office. There are boxes everywhere. I don't know how he can find anything, but he seems to know where everything is.

The member for Carleton -- obviously we go back a long way. He comes from the community in which I grew up, Manotick; he has been referred to on occasion as the member from Manotick in this place. I know he has worked very hard on many issues. One of the issues he used to raise continually, and did lead to changes, was living wills, which I know he took very seriously. Some would suggest that his 20 years in this place is a testament to that and indeed itself is a living will.

Also, I want to point out that as deputy House leader, I hope the member for Carleton will consult with the member for Nepean. He and Mr Bradley are among the few in this place who remember what it was like when we used to have regular evening sittings in this assembly. There was always the tendency -- no members here now included -- for some to perhaps imbibe a little at supper. We used to come back here sometimes and have, shall we say, very interesting sessions in the evening; not that we achieved a great deal on most of those, but we did indeed have some interesting sessions. So I hope the member for Carleton will consult with the member for Nepean, who seems to have made a speech today arguing that his proposals, so-called, for rule changes in this House are the reason Nortel has invested in all these jobs in Nepean.

I would just say sincerely, congratulations to the member for Carleton and the member for St Catharines on 20 years of serving their constituents and the people of this province on both sides of the House. On a personal note, a few years ago when I went through a very difficult time, both of them were very quick and honest in their expression of sincere friendship, and I really did appreciate it at the time as a friend of both these gentlemen. Congratulations.

The Speaker: Since they're both here, it's difficult to see which one goes first, so I'll simply decide: the member for St Catharines.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. You're going to be accused of favouring the opposition for that.

Mr Conway: There's a first time for everything.

Mr Bradley: A first time for everything, as the member from Renfrew says.

I want to first thank Ernie Eves for his very kind remarks, along with Sean Conway and Bud Wildman. In this House we're supposed to call them by their constituencies, but I guess this is a bit of a special occasion when this happens.

I want to say, first of all, that it's been a privilege and an honour -- that almost goes without saying -- to serve in this assembly for any period of time, let alone 20 years. I've had the opportunity to serve under five different premiers. Premier Davis was the Premier when I came in and Frank Miller was the Premier right after that for a brief period of time. Frank was an extremely well-liked individual in this House, still very active in his political life. I see him at many different events. David Peterson, of course, was the Liberal Premier, Bob Rae was the NDP Premier, and now Mike Harris. Mike came in in 1981, along with Ernie, as at least two of the members coming in, among other members.


It has indeed been an interesting time. We've seen many changes, all of us, particularly Norm and I and the members who were here when we arrived. Floyd Laughren is the dean of the House, as you would know, having been elected in 1971, and Bud Wildman and Sean Conway in 1975.

One of the things I think we all notice is how kind and understanding and helpful members are when we arrive in this assembly, because we are new to the place and there is a lot to learn. I remember Jack Spence left and he said to me -- Jack Spence was a member from southwestern Ontario and Kent county. He said: "Remember, Jim, that there are more people who talk themselves out of this place than talk themselves into this place." As you can see, I have certainly followed that over the years and kept my remarks very brief on all occasions.

I have met so many nice people over the years. You see them in all the political parties. The public sees confrontation, particularly during question period and other times. The members of the news media ask us for our opinions in the hallways. We give them and we provide our point of view from an individual's point of view and a party's point of view. Those views often clash. I think what the public doesn't see and perhaps should see is that there are many individuals in this House who have very strong friendships, that we have respect for one another.

What we debate and where we differ is on ideas and policies and legislation and regulations, but not as individuals, not as people. I have grown to respect everyone in this House who has served. I have a great admiration for people who will put their name on the line. There are a lot of people out there who we all meet who have opinions, who have suggestions, who have criticism. Not all of them are prepared to put their name on the ballot, to allow their name to stand for public office.

Even when I disagree vehemently with anyone in this House, now or in the past I have disagreed from time to time as well, I have a great respect for those individuals who are prepared to run for election, to serve the people out there, because it isn't always an easy job. It's an exciting job, it's an exceedingly interesting job, but it's a job full of pressure.

Until you've served on the government side -- I serve on the opposition side -- you don't understand the pressure under which the Premier and members of the cabinet and others find themselves. Perhaps it gives one a better perspective, having served on both sides of the House, and I am certainly hopeful that many of the government members who were elected in this past election will have that opportunity to some day, somewhere along the way, view both sides of the House.

The members I have met -- and I am sure Norm would say the same -- have been by and large and overwhelmingly very dedicated, very hard-working and very committed individuals. I hear today, more so in 1997 than when we came in in 1977, remarks which are directed against people who serve in public office. Yes, we're supposed to accept that criticism. That's part of the job and it was said by Harry Truman, "If you don't like the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

But I think there is some unfair criticism directed towards politicians at large, because my observation has been that the people who serve in this House in all parties and people who serve in the federal Parliament and at local levels are by and large good people, dedicated people, hard-working people who are prepared to serve the people in their own communities.

I have been privileged to serve the people of St Catharines. I have learned that we should take our responsibilities seriously and not ourselves seriously. If we do that, it certainly gives us a better perspective on the jobs that we have.

In this chamber, as Norm and I have noted, we debate ferociously on some occasions the issues that come before us, but we hope ultimately from the debate in this House and from our service that the people of Ontario and our own constituencies will be the beneficiaries of that debate and that discussion and those initiatives and those ideas.

To my friend Norm Sterling, I offer my congratulations. Norm and I have been good friends over the years, though heaven knows our views on a number of issues are quite far apart, except I must say I did agree with him when he wanted to abolish the penny, and I think that did pass in this Legislature.


Mr Bradley: It didn't pass. Well, that just shows you, Norm, that I was not as alert as I might have been that day. But Norm wanted to abolish the penny because it was such a nuisance to so many. That was just one initiative and he did it with good humour on that day. But he is responsible for a number of other initiatives alluded to by my friend Mr Conway; I think of living wills, freedom of information and his definite commitment to that, and naturally he and I sharing a commitment to the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

To all who have expressed through your applause your kindness and your thoughtfulness to me today, particularly Ernie Eves, Sean Conway and Bud Wildman, I thank you very much, and I hope I will be able to serve the people of St Catharines and Ontario for some period to come.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): I shall be brief, never short. I don't know how many times I've used that joke in the last 20 years. That's not much speaking after Jim Bradley, I must say.

It's indeed an honour to have represented people for the length of time I have in eastern Ontario. I have had many, many people I owe loyalty to in my constituency, in my family and among my friends.

One of the people I would like to, however, recognize is my constituency assistant, who has been with me for some 15 or 16 years of the 20 years I have been a member. Doris Seabrook has acted as a member. I hope she never enters politics in opposing me, because I don't think there would be much choice for the electorate.

Mr Eves said you can fool all the people all of the time. I am much more attuned to what Abe Lincoln said: "You can't fool all the people all of the time; all you need is a majority."


Hon Mr Sterling: That coming from Landslide Ernie.

I have, over a period of time, followed the principles of a very strong woman, my mom, Doris Sterling, who raised a family of four kids on her own because of the untimely death of my dad when I was only two years of age. My mom taught me some of what I consider are eastern Ontario principles, which I believe are as sound as the Canadian Shield, on which eastern Ontario finds itself. She taught me about fairness, equity and hard work.

Most of all my mom, in spite of the fact that she took care of a family of four on her own and never had to turn to the state for assistance, notwithstanding that, gave back to her community like you wouldn't believe. She took time and effort all the time to help people within her church and outside her church, notwithstanding that she had four young people in her home to take care of. I have admired her. She is still alive. Yesterday she celebrated her 88th birthday. She is independent and as smart as she was when she raised me as a young boy.

It's people like that and people like my son, Ian, and my daughter, Sara, and my partner and spouse, Joanie, who have give me the determination and the will to carry on in this place. I have enjoyed it.

As Jim said, there is no more exciting life than being a member of this Legislature. I believe you can accomplish things here. You have to try hard, you have to focus. In addition to some of the things that have been mentioned, perhaps one of my proudest forays was in the opposition when I brought forward six or seven private member's bills to control smoking in the workplace and in public places. I believe the government acted in response to my leadership in those areas.

When I leave this place, either voluntarily or involuntarily -- and I'm not planning to do that. In 1977, when I ran for nomination in the riding of Carleton-Grenville and later in 1987 became the member for Carleton, I had fire in my belly to change things. I believe I still have that fire left.


I am in essence a small-r reformer; I am a big-c Conservative. Notwithstanding that, I look forward to the future in terms of making changes here. I'm proud to be a member of this government, which has attacked some of the problems I saw were not addressed over the last 18 years prior to our getting into government.

I believe this will be a way of government in the future notwithstanding which party sits on this side of the Legislature. It will be necessary for us to respond more quickly to societal change, to economic change. We will have to make this institution run in a more efficient way in order to allow the governing party to do those kinds of things.

Over the past 20 years I have attempted not only to put forward my party's position and what I believed was right, but also to defend this institution. I think each and every member of this House owes a responsibility not only to their constituents and to their party, but also owes a significant responsibility to this institution.

Lastly, as a parting shot, notwithstanding some of the things I might have done which I considered more important, the thing I will probably be remembered for most of all was that I was the guy who put beer on the golf courses.

The Speaker: I'll be certain to get those transcripts sent to the families of the members. What they do with them --



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Premier. In September of last year your government awarded a $28-million highway maintenance contract to a company by the name of IMOS. What's notable here is that one of the people involved in making that selection was an assistant deputy minister who at the same time was applying for a high-level job with that very same company, namely, IMOS. As it turned out, not only did IMOS get the contract but this ADM got his job.

You said that privatization would be a good thing because it would be in the public interest. I want you to tell me, Premier, how is it in the public interest for this kind of blatant conflict of interest to take place? Second, how can you expect Ontarians to believe we got the best possible deal in this case?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think the Chair of Management Board has some information on this.

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I'm not going to name names, and the member opposite hasn't named names, but there has been a review by Management Board and there has been a determination that there has been a violation of the Public Service Act. But the same study concluded that there were no improprieties, no wrongdoings; indeed the private sector firm that was brought in to monitor this whole process to ensure fairness has indicated that the process was a fair one, that it was applied effectively, that the recommendations were fair and that the taxpayers did receive benefit.

Mr McGuinty: I can appreciate the minister's assurances, but they're not good enough. I think the facts here are very important. This man involved, this ADM, was one of only three people who made the decision as to who would get this contract. He was one of only three people who had a very good idea what the government was expecting in terms of dollars for this contract.

IMOS, the successful bidder, came within only 3% of the exact price the government was prepared to pay. The other two bids were several million dollars off the mark. The real kicker, of course, was that the ADM got a job; in fact he resigned the very same day the contract was awarded.

What we need to know, notwithstanding the minister's good and genuine assurances, is, how did this happen, what do we have to do to make sure it doesn't happen again, and do we know if we got the best possible price in the circumstances? There's only one way we can get those answers, and that is through a full public inquiry. Minister, will we get that?

Hon David Johnson: If the member opposite is interested in how things happen, things happened because there was a process in place. His government was in place between 1985 and 1990 and the NDP was in office between 1990 and 1995; there was a process in place, and the process was not good enough.

We are the government -- we came into office in 1995 -- and this government has put into place a stronger conflict-of-interest policy/guideline/procedure. In addition, this government has put into effect lobbyist registration. This government is concerned about the perception that government be open, fair and honest. That's why recently, in April of this year, we brought in conflict-of-interest guidelines and announced the lobbyist registration process.

Mr McGuinty: You've been talking about those guidelines for quite some time. They have done nothing to prevent this from happening.

We have some very real concerns about privatization and what it's going to mean for Ontario, and this is an excellent test case. Somebody involved in the selection of the bid benefited from the result. This case stinks. We need an inquiry. The minister, notwithstanding those genuine, I'm sure, assurances, doesn't seem to understand, doesn't get it.

We've got to have an inquiry to find out how this happened in the first place, and I'm sure it is in the public interest for us to do that; we've got to find out how we can make sure this does not happen again, and that too surely is in the public interest; and finally, we've got to find out whether we got the best value for the amount awarded in connection with this contract. That is why we need a full public inquiry. Minister, will you give us that?

Hon David Johnson: The member opposite may wish to be a bit careful in indicating that any particular individual has benefited from this process. If the member has evidence, then let's have it, because there has been an investigation into this situation and the investigation has indicated absolutely no wrongdoing, no improprieties. If the member opposite has information, I for one would like to have that information.

This situation, this process the member is alluding to, happened last September. The procedures that were in place were carried over from the Liberal and NDP governments. Today, as of April of this year, we have announced new conflict-of-interest processes, we have announced a lobbyist registration policy. I'm confident that those announcements will ensure that the taxpayers get the best value for their dollar and that the taxpayers will be assured that there's an open, honest and fair process.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My second question is for the Premier. Premier, during the course of the campaign and within the Common Sense Revolution document itself, you promised there would be no new user fees. We are all quite aware that you have imposed upon seniors in this province a $100 user fee for their drugs, plus dispensing fees. We understand as well that this kicks in when you earn $16,000 or more.

Last July 15, you said you were going to charge a $100 annual fee. Now, you tell me if this is true: I hear that effective April 1 of this year you're going to charge another $100, so you are shortchanging our seniors to the tune of three and a half months. Tell me, Premier, that this is not true, that I have misheard, that this is not correct, that you are not about to pick the pockets of our seniors for three and a half months' worth of user fees.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the Minister of Health will respond.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I don't know where the honourable member gets this three-and-a-half-month bit, but when I made the announcement in this House on behalf of the government I made two things clear: that in the first year the $100 would be set as the program is today and that we would work towards bringing the system in to prorate the $100, which is what we're going to do this year. So we're fully living up to our commitment.

I remind the honourable member that it is absolutely the lowest copayment by far in Canada; that with that money we have added 460 new drugs to the formulary, which is in contrast to the previous government that de-listed over 250 drugs; and that all the money and more is being spent on the drug program because we also were able to lower the deductible for the working poor by improving the Trillium drug program.


Mr McGuinty: Minister, your Premier said, "No new user fees." The fact that it happens to be smaller in relation to what other provinces are charging is really not relevant and you know that. Now, as to this issue of three and a half months, talk to seniors around the province. Don't hide from them. They will tell you that it is their clear understanding that the 100 bucks ripoff fee was for 12 full months. Now all of a sudden you say, "No, no. The new $100 is going to kick in effective April 1."

That generates $30 million more for you. Tell me, has this obsessive interest in the tax cut driven you to such depths that you're going to steal $30 million from Ontario seniors, when you told them that it was supposed to last for the full 12 months?

Hon Mr Wilson: Most seniors in this province -- and I spoke to the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, for example, recently -- very much understand the copayment. It is obviously --

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): They are happy about this, eh, Jim?

Hon Mr Wilson: The pharmacists are the front line. Over 20,000 pharmacies, with the exception of one press conference in the last year by a handful of people, were not receiving complaints.

I remind people that in Saskatchewan the copayment is $600 every six months and it goes slightly down from there in every other province. Nobody is at the $2 or the $6.11. All of that money and more has gone into new drugs for seniors and into expanding the Trillium drug plan so that 140,000 more working poor families can receive help with their catastrophic drugs.

I would also remind the honourable member that the words "user fee" do not apply. It is his government in Ottawa that defines that term --

Mr Agostino: Say you are sorry to the seniors.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Seven thousand new clients to deal with, Jim. What a mess.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Member for Hamilton East, you are out of order. Member for Lake Nipigon. Member for Yorkview, you are completely out of order as well.


The Speaker: You're out of order on two counts. That makes it complete. Final supplementary.

Mr McGuinty: The minister can try as he might, and so can the Premier, but they cannot wriggle themselves off this hook. The facts are very clear. First of all, the Premier said, "No new user fees." Second, seniors in this province were told, to add insult to that injury they were about to experience in terms of a $100 user fee, that it would last for 12 months. Now they've been told: "No, no. It was a mistake. It's only going to last until April 1." They're being short-changed by three and a half months.

Is that what we've come to in this province? We're going to pick the pockets of our parents. We're going to pick the pockets of seniors to the tune of $30 million in order to deliver on the tax cut. Really, is it worth it, Minister? Is it really worth it? Do the right thing. Tell seniors you're not going to proceed with this and you're going to reimburse them.

Hon Mr Wilson: We are reviewing our options to prorate the fee. We said we would do that, particularly --

Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): Do it now; do it today.

Hon Mr Wilson: No. It's exactly what I announced in this House. Again I remind the honourable member that it is not a user fee. It is his government in Ottawa that decides what a user fee is and what it isn't, and every other province and jurisdiction has a copayment.

I think the honourable member is completely out of touch with seniors. Most seniors say to us, "We're happy to pay our little bit as long as it goes into improving the plan and," with the true generosity of Ontarians, "as long as it goes into helping people who need help." The honourable member knows in his heart of hearts that all of that money, and more, has gone into improving the Trillium drug plan, which is like no other plan in Canada, for the working poor. I am not meeting the seniors that you apparently are meeting, or you're responding to one press conference.

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Wilson: Most seniors in this province are very generous. They want the money to go back into health care, which is where the money is going, and they want to help their friends and neighbours, and that --

The Speaker: Thank you. New question; leader of the third party.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): A question to the Premier: Following the federal election, you told reporters that a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Reform Party was a good idea. You said, "I gave my view a couple of years ago that I thought it was in the interests of the parties to see if they could not come together." Jean Charest, who I think is your federal leader, says such a merger would be impossible. He says, "Reform leader Preston Manning clearly stated where he stood in regards to a number of values that I cannot and will not compromise on."

My question to you is, which side are you on? Are you with Mr Charest, who seeks accommodation with Quebec, or are you with Preston Manning, who tried to win seats in the federal election by attacking Quebec? Which side are you on?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I of course am on the side of Ontarians and am prepared to work with the new Prime Minister. Now, post-election, I am preparing to work with the re-elected Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He is my Prime Minister. He is the Prime Minister of Canada. He is the Prime Minister of Ontario. I am spending my time both working with him and my new-found friendship with Bob Rae, on behalf of the people of Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Sudbury, come to order. Member for Dufferin-Peel, that's a pathetic demonstration, but it's still a demonstration.

Mr Hampton: I wish it were as simple as the Premier tries to make out. The fact is that the Reform position, as stated by Preston Manning, is that all the provinces are the same, that there is nothing unique or distinct about Quebec's history, culture or language. I think Ontarians rejected that view in the election. I think they rejected it because they find it very divisive, because they find it quite unproductive and because it takes us down a road that I don't think any of us wants to go down.

Traditionally, Ontario has helped to build a bridge to Quebec. Ontario has helped to find accommodation for Quebec. Is your government going to reflect the obvious views of the citizens of Ontario and build a bridge, or are you going to echo the views of Preston Manning and attack Quebec?

Hon Mr Harris: I don't know why the member wishes to indulge in the federal election and federal campaign --


The Speaker: Order. Member for Hamilton East, I'm warning you. If I have to warn you again, I'll name you. Other members -- Windsor-Walkerville, come to order as well, please.

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): Stand up and be counted.

The Speaker: Member for Windsor-Walkerville, I am now warning you as well. Come to order.

Hon Mr Harris: I'm not sure why the member wants to rehash the federal election, but I am very happy to take the time in question period to do so. The premise, though, of your question is entirely wrong.

The message that came through loud and clear from the voters in Ontario was that 89% said, "We want less government, we want less bureaucracy, we want to balance the budget and we want tax cuts." Three parties, the Liberal Party, the Reform Party, and the PC Party, said all of those things, and 89% of Ontarians said: "Yes, we want to balance the books, we want tax cuts, we want less government, we want to downsize the size and cost of government. We're with Mike Harris. We're with Bob Rae." You're with the 11%.


M. Hampton : C'est incroyable. C'est une question très importante pour le Canada et aussi pour l'Ontario, et M. le premier ministre de l'Ontario a dit que c'est seulement une question d'impôts. Monsieur le premier ministre, l'Ontario a traditionnellement joué un rôle de réconciliation dans le débat constitutionnel. Ce rôle a mérité à l'Ontario un certain respect de la part de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes, y compris les Québécois.

En effet, les Canadiens et Canadiennes s'attendent à ce genre d'intervention de la part de l'Ontario. Votre fascination pour les réformistes et leur politique qui divise les Canadiens et Canadiennes, ne menace-t-elle pas votre capacité de jouer ce rôle conciliateur ?

Hon Mr Harris: I think my views on the campaign were very clear. I supported no leader and no party in the federal election, so the premise of your question is absolute nonsense and silliness. Second, if you want the facts of what Ontarians voted on, they voted for tax cuts, they voted for a balanced budget, they voted for less government and they voted overwhelmingly 89% that way.

If you have a question on my views on Ontario's role in Confederation, this Premier and this cabinet and this caucus and this government will continue to play the most conciliatory of as roles we have always played, as I played through Meech Lake, when unfortunately the Prime Minister didn't support it but Mike Harris did, this party did, this Legislature did; Charlottetown, again, leading the way on behalf of Ontario and on behalf of Quebec and on behalf of Canada, and once again this Premier and this caucus and this cabinet, and I would hope this Legislature in a very --

The Speaker: Thank you, Premier. New question.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Another question to the Premier: My question concerns conflicts of interest in his government. Richard Brennan's story in the weekend paper shows that your privatization of road maintenance in southwestern Ontario has led to a serious conflict-of-interest problem. Your own internal investigation found that former senior bureaucrat Carl Vervoort was part of the panel that awarded the road maintenance contract to IMOS, a Thornhill company. But immediately following the awarding of the contract, Mr Vervoort then turned around and virtually overnight became an employee of the company he helped negotiate a contract with. Your government is privatizing everything from mail room services to water-testing labs to the cleaning service for government buildings. The public needs to know that the Carl Vervoort episode won't be repeated.

Will you do two things, Premier: make your investigation of the IMOS contract public and launch a similar investigation into all your other privatizations to ensure that the taxpayer interest is being protected?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think the question has already been asked and answered.

Mr Hampton: We've asked three questions on this issue now. We had two situations last week where people who worked in the public service either negotiated or helped to negotiate very attractive contracts for private sector companies and then, as soon as the contract was in place, went over to the private sector company. Who in your government is looking out for the taxpayers' interest? Who is looking out for the public interest? Who is going to ensure that some of these people, when they go over to the other side, don't make a lot of money at taxpayers' expense? Who is going to protect the public interest? Your House leader promised legislation to do that, but we don't see it. Premier, when are we going to see something that protects the taxpayers instead of your corporate friends?

Hon Mr Harris: The answer to "who" is the Chair of Management Board, better than any government has in my time here, which is just 16 years, not 20. We will be bringing in new legislation because we have found that that which was left to us by your government was inadequate.

Mr Hampton: I think what I heard from the Premier is that this is inappropriate. We brought two examples to you last week. Here's another example. It would seem to me that if you're interested in protecting the taxpayers' interest, if you're interested in protecting the public interest, you'd want to bring this legislation in and you'd want to pass it through the House before you proceed with any more privatizations, before you give any more opportunities for fat contracts.

Why isn't this legislation before the House now? Why aren't we dealing with this legislation before more people take advantage of these privatization boondoggles, before more people take advantage of their insider knowledge because they've worked on your political staff or they've worked in your public service and then they go out and get a job in the private sector after having negotiated the contract with the private sector? Why don't we see the legislation first?

Hon Mr Harris: You've seen the statement of intent from the government. Those principles of I believe April 21 are in effect. They're in effect now. They are in practice. We are telling everybody they must follow them. We cannot deal with those things that took place before, under the old rules you had, save and except to make sure that your rules were complied with and follow up those investigations.

You talk about all the examples you bring up. The problem is, you bring up examples without checking very many of the facts. I would have thought that today, instead of repeating the allegation you made last week, you might have wanted to correct the record on the allegation you made concerning Domenic Alfieri, who sent you a letter, copied to me, saying in conclusion, "I do not work for Navegante, I have received no remuneration from Navegante, and I doubt Navegante needs my advice." You pull this silly stuff out of the air and you treat it around here like it's fact, and half the time it's not true.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Mr Premier, you can't accuse a member of not telling the truth in the Legislature. You must withdraw.

Hon Mr Harris: I'm sorry. We had an inaccurate statement. I invite the member now to correct the record as Mr Alfieri would like.

The Speaker: I don't need an explanation. I just need a withdrawal.

Hon Mr Harris: I withdrew. Now I'm asking for unanimous consent --

The Speaker: Mr Premier, I appreciate the fact, but I'm not here to debate it. It's just a withdrawal.

New question; official opposition.

Hon Mr Harris: Point of order, Mr Speaker: I have here a copy of a letter from Mr Alfieri correcting the record in the public domain, but it has not been corrected in the Legislature. As only the member can do that, I would invite him and ask unanimous consent that he do so.

The Speaker: First let me deal with the unanimous consent. The Premier has asked for unanimous consent so the leader of the third party can correct the perceived incorrect record of the Premier. Agreed? Agreed. Go ahead.


Mr Hampton: The Premier knows this. You might want to read that letter rather carefully, Premier. I can tell a letter when it's been written by a lawyer, and I searched that letter in vain --


The Speaker: Order. Government members, I remind you that it was your request to give him unanimous consent to correct the record as he sees fit. You have to allow him the opportunity to do just that.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Well, we are.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): We're listening.

The Speaker: Order. I'm not debating it. Leader of the third party.

Mr Hampton: I know some of the government members don't want to get into that. Premier, if you look at that letter -- I searched for the words that said, "There is no relationship now nor has there been a relationship between Mr Alfieri and the company in question." Nowhere could I find those words. I found words that sort of tried to slide by that, I found words that almost get there, but nowhere could I find those words, Premier. The fact still remains the facts speak for themselves on many of these cases, and your government is not standing up for the public interest.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): My question is to the Minister of Health and it concerns the kidney dialysis problem we've got in eastern Ontario, a problem that according to the Kidney Foundation of Canada is getting worse, not better. Minister, for weeks and months now people like my colleague Mr Cleary from Cornwall, myself and scores of other people, have been telling you and your department that all across eastern Ontario, from Deep River to Bancroft, Belleville, Tweed, Cornwall, Perth and Hawkesbury, there is a growing problem with the difficulty of kidney dialysis services.

Your privatization scheme went amok and scores of innocent kidney dialysis patients are being held hostage to that bad fortune. Minister, what are you going to do to relieve the burden that is falling so unfairly on these men and women from all across eastern Ontario who so desperately need the expanded services they're not now getting?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): It was this member who encouraged the government many months ago to cancel the request for proposal.


Hon Mr Wilson: Yes; I could read back the Hansards.

This whole matter now is before the courts and I can't comment on that action other than to say that this government has put 36 million new dollars into dialysis over the last 18 months. We have opened new clinics across the province and we eagerly await the court's ruling on this issue so we can get new clinics or expanded clinics up and running in eastern Ontario.

Mr Conway: Just so there is no confusion, you cooked a deal indirectly with National Medical Care of Boston to expand regional kidney dialysis services through part of eastern Ontario. Yes, Lyn McLeod and Sean Conway pointed out that the New York Times had reported that in five states of the American union National Medical was under indictment for, among other things, pumping poison into the systems, into the bodies of innocent people. We pointed that out in the public interest.

My supplementary question is very specific: In Renfrew and in Belleville, those particular venues had nothing to do with the problem case in Ottawa. So my question for you today is: Since Renfrew and Belleville are no part of the National Medical court case in Ottawa, why can't you relieve the problem in Renfrew and Belleville? Are you prepared to do that in those two locations?

Hon Mr Wilson: The court has ruled in this case -- and it's on appeal -- that everything across eastern Ontario is on hold. I agree with the honourable member that's very unfortunate. We have the money. We're very eager to move forward.

I will say to the honourable member that I didn't cook anything. I had nothing to do with the awarding of these contracts. A special committee made up of people from the Kidney Foundation, the nephrologists, the kidney specialists themselves -- in fact, in most of the province all those contracts went out at highest quality, best price. Hospitals won a number of them; private clinics run by nurses are running a number of those clinics across the province.

It's going very well throughout the province, except for the legal challenge in eastern Ontario. As soon as the courts have dealt with this matter, we will hopefully be in a position to move forward and put those services in place for the people who need them.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have a question to the Premier. Last week we saw clearly in the House how desperate your government is to deflect attention away from your botched downloading on to municipalities, deflect attention away from the hospitals you're closing and deflect attention away from the money you're going to take out of school classrooms. You've decided to pick a fight with the women and men across this province who deliver a number of public services.

It's clear you're hoping to force them to pay for your cuts to hospitals, your cuts to classrooms and your cuts to municipalities. But it's also clear you're hoping to deflect attention away from your agenda; you're hoping to put the attention on them rather than on your agenda. Premier, do you not understand that you're giving them no choice but to fight back against your government? You're giving them no choice whatsoever. Don't you understand that?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): We are quite happy to have attention on our agenda, just as 89% of Ontarians voted for less government, more efficient delivery of services, a balanced budget and tax cuts. We are quite happy to have you talk about it. We're happy to have the focus on work for welfare, on changing attitudes, on jobs. A thousand jobs a day have been created over the last three months, far in excess of anybody's expectations.

We are quite comfortable focusing on the Common Sense Revolution, on what we campaigned on, on keeping our promises, on our agenda and on the results -- excellence in education, the latest in health care, jobs for Ontarians. That's our agenda and I'm happy that you invite me to talk about it more.

Mr Hampton: This is the Premier who said there would be no hospital closures under his government. This is the Premier who said there would be no new tax increases, and we see user fees breaking out everywhere. This is the Premier who said there would be no cuts to classrooms, but we're seeing those everywhere.

The bill you launched last week doesn't just attack labour legislation; it rolls back pay equity rights for women, their attempt to get fair pay and equal pay; it attacks the wage protection plan and takes $25 million out of the pockets of workers who have been laid off because of a corporate bankruptcy or a corporate closure. Your plan isn't about stability or transition or any of those things; your plan is about attacking working people across this province, to get them to pay for your cuts to health care, your closures of hospitals, your cuts to classrooms, your cuts to municipalities. That's what it's all about.

Premier, this is unfair. It's unfair that while you give your corporate friends tax breaks you're attacking the wages of working people across this province. Don't you understand that?

Hon Mr Harris: Our agenda, including the legislation introduced last week, first-contract legislation that exists in this province for the benefit of unions negotiating a first contract, is now extended to provide for smooth first-contract legislation, protection both for unions and unionized workers and for employers; making sure we have a first-class education system, better, we hope, than we have today, because good is not good enough in today's economy; first-class health care services, better than we have today, because as good as our health care system is -- it is one of the best in the world -- it needs to be better, we believe, in the future; first-class municipal services, because as good as they are today, we believe they need to be better in the future.

This is to provide protection for services for people, to provide protection for those unionized workers, a coming together of many different locals and different unions with some of the changes that are taking place, and to do so in an organized, systematic way. It will be supported, I hope, at least by the New Democratic Party, if not --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.



Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce): My question this afternoon is for the Attorney General. Minister, I understand through a recent article in an Owen Sound newspaper that Brian Farmer, the crown attorney for Walkerton, has been transferred to London. My constituents are wondering whether there will be a replacement for Mr Farmer and whether there's been a decision by your office to continue with these services in our community.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I thank the member for Bruce for the question. I can assure her that the level of service to the community will remain the same in Walkerton. There are no plans to change the Bruce county crown attorney's office. Currently, we have a senior assistant crown attorney from another area acting as the senior crown counsel. The operations of the office have not changed, and a competition for a permanent posting for a senior crown counsel will commence shortly.

Mrs Fisher: Thank you, Minister. I am sure you know that the people of Bruce are very happy about that, but they also have a concern with regard to the courthouse. I wonder if you could inform us whether or not there is any intention of closing the courthouse in Walkerton.

Hon Mr Harnick: I also want to assure the member for Bruce that there are no plans to close the courthouse in Walkerton. The ministry is currently investing in major renovations at that courthouse in Walkerton to provide even better service to members of the community. There are plans to renovate the courthouse to accommodate a second courtroom and a larger motions room at that location. There are certainly no plans to close the Walkerton courthouse.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): My question is to the Premier. As summer is approaching, Ontarians, particularly seniors, people who have health problems and children, are concerned about the unacceptable level of air pollution and smog in this province and the health effects it's having on Ontarians.

Last year in Metro 380 people a year, on average, died prematurely as a result of bad air quality. In Hamilton-Wentworth a report last week showed that 130 people a year die prematurely; 300 people a year are hospitalized as a direct result of air pollution, contaminants and smog in the air. Your own minister, Norm Sterling, said that 1,800 Ontarians die prematurely every year due to poor air quality.

There is one way you can help, and that is a vehicle emission testing program. Your government on at least 25 occasions in the past two years has come forward and said that they're going to introduce a vehicle emission testing program. Premier, how many more people have to die before you start to act and bring in the types of programs that are necessary to cut air pollution in this province and save people's lives?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I appreciate the member's interest in the whole area, and I say this not trying to suggest that we ought not to; we are, and the minister is working on this. I don't know if you've worked with him. I know the Hamilton Spectator suggests you work more cooperatively with our minister in these areas of mutual concern. But I know he had to leave today and he would welcome your input in helping us facilitate that, getting it finalized and on the public agenda. But it is our intention to have that in place as soon as possible.

Also I would hope that the Deputy Prime Minister, if she is still to be after tomorrow -- we could make the call later today. We have today and tomorrow, perhaps. It's something that we think should be worked on nationally and it has been brought up by the minister, I believe, to try to have national standards. But in the absence of that, we are prepared to go it alone.

Mr Agostino: I appreciate the Premier's concern with the Deputy Prime Minister, but I'd rather deal with the health effects your policies are having on the people of Ontario.

Time and time again we have seen real evidence here. This is not a partisan issue. This is involving people's lives. This involves children, seniors and people who have health problems in this province. In the last two month, and it's not warm summer weather yet, there have been over 20 occasions in Hamilton and Toronto where pollution standards have exceeded the limit; that's once every three days in the months of April and May. Last year in Toronto, on five days there were smog alerts. That meant people with health effects -- seniors, children, people with asthma -- could not go outdoors.

It is unacceptable, and what have you done, Premier? You have cut 39% of the air monitoring stations across Ontario since you took office, the very equipment necessary to monitor those problems.

We have a crisis with air quality in this province, Premier. I will ask you, will you commit today to appointing an independent commission to study the air quality problem in Ontario and bring forward recommendations we can act upon to avert what is coming to be a crisis in this province?

Hon Mr Harris: We have done a lot but not enough. There is still more to do. I know the minister has made a commitment that if we can't get national standards, we will move on our own anyway.

In June 1996, we released Towards a Smog Plan for Ontario, the proposed 20-year emission reduction targets. The minister travelled and met about a month ago with 11 officials in 11 US states to pursue a cooperative action that way. The gasoline volatility regulation 271 was amended to require gasoline refiners and blenders to reduce smog-causing fumes. Tighter standards were released for PM10 inhalable particulates. I think that was the area where the Hamilton Spectator suggested you work more cooperatively with the minister.

We recognize that vehicles are southern Ontario's single largest source of pollutants which lead to smog. Where the pilot project started by the NDP is over, we accept the results. We're working on a program that will make sense for Ontario, and I invite you to be part of the minister's advisory committee and make sure it works in Hamilton.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I've got a question of the Solicitor General. Later today, your Bill 105 is going to receive its final consideration in the Legislature. You give chiefs of police far more control over police complaints and you turn the clock back by over a decade on civilian oversight. While you did this, you refused to deal with the most urgent issue that's been facing us, namely, making sure that police officers cooperate with the special investigations units as they investigate police shootings. This is your last chance, at least with respect to Bill 105. Why have you refused to take action concerning duty to cooperate so that we can make sure the truth comes out when a civilian is shot by police officers?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I have indicated that in some areas of the province duty to cooperate has been an issue, but more broadly speaking, I think we have had very significant and extensive cooperation of police officers with the SIU during investigations.

I've indicated on a number of occasions my willingness to explore the feasibility and possibility of looking at the protocol which establishes the relationship between the SIU and police and the issues of a witness officer and a subject officer. It's certainly my intent to continue to pursue that.

I indicated as well to the member that I've discussed with some police stakeholders as well the possibility of reviewing the code of conduct which is set through regulation under the Police Services Act, which can again give us an opportunity to spell out the responsibilities and duties of witness and subject officers.

Mr Kormos: During the course of drafting Bill 105 you didn't consult with the community that has expressed great concern about the shootings and the failure of there being any enforcement of the duty to cooperate.

You knew very well that there was a festering problem surrounding the inability of the SIU to get full and timely information from police officers after a shooting. You know that we introduced an amendment to Bill 105 that attempted to address and clarify the officer's duty to cooperate.

Will you please commit now to ensuring that the community of citizens who have expressed great concern about the ineffectiveness of section 113 and who have attempted to meet with you in the past regarding Bill 105 will be consulted in the course of developing a new protocol, new regulations or amendments to Bill 105 or to the Police Services Act?

Hon Mr Runciman: I'm glad to give the honourable member my assurance that any individual, group or organization that wishes to be consulted and has a view to express with respect to this issue -- I want to assure the member and those individuals and organizations that we will have extensive consultation if we indeed proceed with this, and certainly that's the intent. We have a number of hurdles to overcome before we can establish a review, but certainly that's my intention. I'm very optimistic that we can do something this summer. There will be extensive consultation, and everyone who has a view will have an opportunity to be heard.



Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): My question is for the Minister of Transportation. As you are well aware, with this government road and highway safety are paramount. Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Transportation, your ministry, last year was the first year of the Road Safety Challenge. Last week the community of Oshawa participated in the challenge to make our community's roads safer. The success of the challenge was greatly due to strong community commitment. Minister, could you outline what is involved in the Road Safety Challenge for any community?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I'd like to thank the member for Oshawa for the question. The second annual Road Safety Challenge, which wrapped up this past weekend, is an excellent example of how people can work together in helping make Ontario's roads safer. Some 13 communities from across Ontario competed in the event from June 1 to June 8 to see which community had the lowest number of reportable highway traffic collisions per capita.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): We like the answer; how about the question?

Hon Mr Palladini: I think the member for Kingston and The Islands might be interested in the answer, because next year I would like his community to participate. I would like to ask his community to participate.

Mr Gerretsen: We have every year.

Hon Mr Palladini: I have been saying all along that government alone cannot ensure safety on our roads. By bringing road safety down to an individual level, a community can raise awareness about this important subject. Each community had its own road safety injury prevention team, planned a number of road-safety-related activities and encouraged local citizens and businesses --

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

Mr Ouellette: Oshawa's Road Safety Challenge initiative included the promotion of Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Safety Day; Seniors and Pedestrian Safety Day; and Arrive Alive, Don't Drink and Drive. While the Road Safety Challenge itself lasted only a week, activities such as these, with the strong community participation they involve, contribute to safer communities. My constituents would like to know who exactly won the Road Safety Challenge and what future plans exist for involving more communities in this challenge in the future.

Hon Mr Palladini: I'm very pleased to see that the member for Oshawa has encouraged his own community to participate in the Road Safety Challenge. I would like to inform the member and all members in this House about community participation in this year's challenge. All relevant data are being collected as we speak. The winner will be announced early next week. I'm also pleased to announce that prizes will be awarded to mayors and chiefs of police for the top five cities. These prizes will recognize their efforts to reduce collisions and improve road safety.

I'm very pleased to report that a lot of other communities throughout the province have actually contacted MTO about this year's event and would like to participate in next year's event. I would like to ask every member in this House to speak to your community. Maybe we can get all Ontarians to participate in this project.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): My question is to the Minister of Health. Minister, over a month ago I made a statement in the House and sent you a letter regarding two very young constituents of mine, Peter-Justin and Avery Navratil. These small children, aged two and a half years and eight months old, suffer from a very rare skin disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum, which renders them highly sensitive to ultraviolet rays. These children are unable to go outside during the day as their skin will burn terribly with any exposure at all. It's so serious they need protection from light indoors.

To control their exposure to light, they need a light meter, a very expensive but necessary device that just might save their lives. We've learned these devices are not presently covered under the assistive devices program, although the mandate of this program is to provide such devices to Ontarians with long-term disabilities.

Minister, I've since sent you another letter recently regarding Peter-Justin and Avery, and you've not favoured me with a response. Surely you agree that we need to find the resources to help protect these highly vulnerable children. What can you tell me, the Navratil family and all the people in Thunder Bay who are concerned about the Navratil children today? How can you help them?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I've asked ministry staff to review the particular request the honourable member did bring to my attention. I will undertake after question period to find out if we are able to extend some extraordinary assistance; and I stress extraordinary. We have not paid for light meters or other things -- no government has -- even though the assistive devices program is by far the most generous program in Canada and indeed covers far more medical devices than any other jurisdiction in Canada, in fact in North America, in a publicly funded system. I am doing what I can for the honourable member and I will be sure to get back to him with a final determination in the near future.

Mr Gravelle: If I can just help you and your officials too, I think it's important to point this is an extremely rare condition. I believe there are only two children in the province who suffer from this, only five documented in Canada, fewer than 1,000 worldwide. Obviously, you as the health minister have a responsibility to provide that protection, so I appreciate what you're saying.

It would be very helpful indeed if you or someone on your staff or a ministry official could contact the Navratils directly. They are very upset about this problem, very concerned. It would be helpful if you could have someone contact them, and I would appreciate it if you would ask your officials to do that.

Hon Mr Wilson: I think that's a very reasonable request, and I would actually be surprised if that hasn't been done, because it is normal to talk to the family. I will endeavour to find out in just a few minutes for the honourable member.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. On Monday, April 28, I asked you a question regarding the adult protective service worker program in Sault Ste Marie and the fact that there was an amalgamation on the move to bring it underneath the umbrella of Community Living Algoma. At that time you very graciously agreed to look into it and also expressed the same concern that some of the people in Sault Ste Marie were expressing re the vulnerability of some of the people served by that organization.

It seems from the press this weekend and from talking to some people in this business that the amalgamation is moving ahead, and the association itself is agreeing that the case management piece of that should move but that the advocacy piece should stay outside their purview. What is your position on this? Have you looked into it, and are you supporting the amalgamation of adult protective service workers under the umbrella of Community Living Algoma?

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): Thank you for the question. I have asked staff to look into it. If they have not yet got back to the honourable member, I will speak to them and ask why that has not occurred. We know that many communities are undertaking restructuring exercises. It's being driven by the local communities as they attempt to make sure their services are more appropriately planned for those people who need them. If there is a problem that is occurring with this particular restructuring exercise, we can certainly take appropriate action, if required.

Mr Martin: I appreciate that, but this situation has some ramifications that are much broader than just Sault Ste Marie. I refer you to a letter that's in your office now, dated June 2, written by Daniel Casey, chair of the Adult Protective Service Association of Ontario. It says in part:

"Recently I have had the opportunity to speak with David Morrow at developmental services branch" -- your ministry. "David and I discussed the proposal of MCSS to begin the accountability framework for developmental services. Part of the proposal is for the APSW program to act as third parties in the signing of service agreements between individuals and direct service providers. Pilot projects have begun...in Timmins," and other communities. "This will entail APSW programs being housed outside of the direct service provider, and yet the area office in Sault Ste Marie is still planning to move the APSW program to a direct service provider. Does this make fiscal sense when in two to three years the accountability framework will be launched and the program will need to be moved or another program established altogether?"

Hon Mrs Ecker: As the honourable member is making reference to, we are restructuring in local communities. That is starting now. I will certainly have staff look into this to see if the situation has changed since the last time he and I discussed this.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs. In the 1996 business plan, and subsequently, with the passing of Bill 54, the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act in June last year, the government outlined an initiative to move towards self-management for a number of business sectors regulated by your ministry. Could you inform the Legislature of the progress made towards implementing self-management for travel agents?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): The government outlined our intention in Bill 54 to delegate certain responsibilities for administration, enforcement and licensing to non-profit, independent organizations that really will provide a higher level of policing and protection for the consumer. Clearly, what we're trying to do here is self-management.

I might take the opportunity to point out that there's quite a difference between self-management and self-regulation. The government will still retain the responsibilities for policy and regulation; however, we believe that we'll certainly raise the bar and the standards of this by having the industry involved.

The agreement between our ministry and the Travel Industry Council of Ontario was signed on April 29, and it should be up and running by the end of June. Some of the industry members have been appointed already to the board, and the consumer representatives as well. Sue Corke, from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and the two consumer representatives have experience with the travel industry, as they work on the travel compensation fund, Bruce Fraser, an accountant, and Lillian Morgenthau, from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.


Mr Chudleigh: The consumer protection area is of course uppermost in the minds of people as they enter the summer season and the travelling that they do. There is some comment being made that by turning over the responsibilities to the private sector, consumer protection will be lowered. Can you inform the House what protection will be in place to assist consumers in Ontario, especially as they travel out of country and across the oceans?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Once again, I'd like to emphasize we're talking about self-management, not self-regulation. The ministry of course will retain its responsibility for regulation and policy. I might add that in a number of these industries there are associations, whether it's in the real estate industry or the travel industry, and not everyone who operates under those industries belongs to these associations. These associations of course have standards of ethics and some enforcement of discipline within themselves, but not everyone belongs to them.

Now, as a result of these initiatives, everyone will be subject to these new codes of conduct and ethics and will be subject to the enforcement. This has worked well in other provinces. Experience has shown that it has raised the bar. There's been far more responsiveness to the consumer through this self-management initiative.

I would like to share with you that Pauline Mitchell, who is with the Canadian Automobile Association, expressed confidence that industry self-management will maintain consumer protection under the Travel Industry Act. This is a clear message that our ministry, our government and the industry believe that we'll be providing to the consumer a far greater standard of accountability to the consumer.



Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This petition is 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."

I affix my signature to this petition as I am in complete agreement with it.


Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): I have received about 900 signatures from Jarvis, Selkirk, Hagersville and rural areas in my riding on a petition entitled "Stand up for Rural Health Care."

"Whereas there is urgent concern about the future of community hospitals located in Dunnville, Hagersville, Simcoe and Tillsonburg; and

"Whereas distance, weather and doctor shortages are serious barriers to people in rural areas accessing emergency services and health care; and

"Whereas local communities have worked for years to establish, maintain, improve and modernize hospitals, physician and other health services;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to adopt a rural health policy to deal with these problems and to protect the health care rights of rural communities, and that hospital boards, district health councils, the Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission and the government of Ontario adhere to this rural policy."

I hereby affix my signature to these petitions.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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

"Whereas Ontarians feel that health services are suffering; and

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

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

I have affixed my signature, as I agree with the petition.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): From my town of Milton:

"Whereas the chemical substance chlorine was added to the people of Milton's pure well water supply in 1995; and

"Whereas the Halton region water delivery system in the town of Milton has received the regular maintenance and standard upgrade requirements outlined by the province and is supported by a standby chlorination unit sufficient enough to prevent the spread of a serious bacterial threat; and

"Whereas recent studies on the use of chlorine additives in drinking water have raised the spectre of chlorine as a possible cancer agent; and

"Whereas the people of the town of Milton overwhelmingly supported the belief that a standby chlorination requirement is sufficient enough to prevent the spread of a serious bacterial threat;

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

"That the Ontario government grant the people of Milton's request for a variance allowing only standby chlorination to be used in treating the pure well waters supplying Milton's water delivery system."

It's signed by a number of members from my constituency and I'm pleased to add my name to that list.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which concerns user fees for seniors. It reads as follows:

"Whereas prior to the Mike Harris government's introduction of the Ontario drug benefit plan on July 15, 1996, seniors received all prescription drugs free of charge; and

"Whereas since Premier Mike Harris and Health Minister Jim Wilson launched new fees, seniors have denounced it as a tax on the poor; and

"Whereas seniors who were required to pay the annual deductible of $100 on July 15 of last year have been made to again pay another $100 three months prior to the expiry of that year; and

"Whereas many seniors are forced to choose between paying for food, for rent or paying for their prescriptions;

"We, the undersigned residents of Ontario, call upon the Legislative Assembly and the government of Ontario to do the following:

"(1) Direct Premier Mike Harris and the Minister of Health to scrap their user fee on health care and live up to the election promise of no new user fees for health care;

"(2) Refund the deductible overpayment or credit three months towards the new $100 deductible; and

"(3) Ensure that seniors are not subject to any further user fees for health services."

I've gladly signed my name to the petition as well.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): The petition campaign for TVOntario to save TVO is continuing in a remarkable way, with petitions from all across the province. We have some here from Burlington, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Ottawa. The petition reads:

"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 of Ontario to ensure that TVOntario continue to be a publicly owned and funded educational broadcaster."

I'm proud to sign my name to this petition.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): As the construction industry begins the summer season, this is a very timely petition. It's 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, 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 this petition.



Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a petition sent in by Claudio Monteleone of Thunder Bay, who is very concerned about the increase in tuition fees for university students, signed by several hundred people from Thunder Bay in particular:

"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 recognized 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 am pleased to put my name to that petition.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and it concerns the new Mike Harris northern vehicle registration tax.

"Whereas the new Mike Harris northern vehicle registration tax does not recognize the uniqueness of the north; and

"Whereas Mike Harris should know that gas prices are higher in northern Ontario; and

"Whereas the new Mike Harris northern vehicle registration tax is blatantly unfair to the north; and

"Whereas we have no voice for the north fighting for northerners around the cabinet table;

"Therefore, we the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to revoke the new tax imposed on the north by Mike Harris and convince the Tory government to recognize that indeed northern Ontario does not need another tax to its residents."

Of course I affix my signature to this petition.


M. Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa Est) : «Attendu que la recommandation de la Commission de restructuration des soins de santé en Ontario ordonne la fermeture de l'hôpital Montfort et que cette décision constitue le rejet de la volonté de l'entière communauté francophone de la province de l'Ontario et la communauté de l'est ;

«Attendu que 40 % des francophones de la province de l'Ontario résident dans l'aire de service de l'hôpital Montfort, soit à l'est de l'Ontario, où la population connaît un des plus hauts taux de croissance de toute la province, que le comté de Russell n'a pas d'hôpital et qu'en plus, Montfort dessert le nord le l'Ontario, où le nombre de francophones est très élevé ;

«Attendu que L'hôpital Montfort est le seul hôpital enseignant et de formation des professionnels de santé en français en Ontario et que la fermeture du seul hôpital spécialisé, offrant une gamme de services complets en français, mènera à la dilution et, éventuellement, à la disparition des services de santé en français ;

«Attendu que l'on fait disparaître l'hôpital qui a un des meilleurs rendements de la province et qui, pour fins de comparaison, constitue l'exemple de choix du ministère de la Santé ;

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

«Nous demandons que le premier ministre de l'Ontario intervienne fermement auprès de la Commission de restructuration des services de santé en Ontario afin que soit préservé l'emplacement actuel de l'hôpital et que soient consolidés la vocation, le mandat et le rôle essentiel que joue Montfort auprès de la communauté.»

Je signe la pétition.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): As I said earlier, the petition campaign to save TVO is just remarkable in terms of participation from all across the province. There have been thousands -- here I have petitions from Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Nipigon, Ontario, just a remarkable number. It reads:

"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 to ensure that TVO continue to be a publicly owned and funded educational broadcaster."

Once again, with these thousands of signatures I'm very happy to add my name.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Gary Leadston): The honourable member for St Catharines.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Congratulations on being in the chair today. You look most appropriate there.

This is to the government of Ontario.

"Whereas the people of Ontario want rigorous discussion on legislation dealing with public policy issues like health care, education and care for seniors; and

"Whereas many people in Ontario believe that the Mike Harris government is moving too quickly and recklessly, creating havoc with the provision of quality health care, quality education, and adversely affecting seniors; and

"Whereas the Mike Harris government now wishes to change the rules of the Ontario Legislature, which would allow the government to ram legislation through more quickly and have less accountability to the public and the media through exercises such as question period; and

"Whereas Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, when they were in opposition, defended the rights of the opposition and used the rules to their full advantage when they believed it was necessary to slow down the passage of controversial legislation; and

"Whereas the Mike Harris government now wishes to reduce the amount of time that MPPs will have to debate the important issues of the day; and

"Whereas the Mike Harris government, through its proposed rule changes, is attempting to diminish the role of elected members of the Legislative Assembly who are accountable to the people who elect them, and instead concentrate power in the Premier's office and in the hands of people who are not elected officials;

"We, the undersigned, call upon Mike Harris to abandon these proposed draconian rule changes and restore rules which promote rigorous debate on contentious issues and hold the government accountable to the people of Ontario."

I affix my signature as I'm in full agreement with the contents of this petition.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a petition sent in by people concerned about the cutbacks to the educational system in the province and the attack this government is making on education. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Minister of Education is presently discussing the education cutbacks in Ontario; and

"Whereas the cuts made so far have already seriously affected our education system and further cuts will endanger essential services;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to disallow any more cutbacks in the education system."

I'm wholeheartedly in agreement and I'm happy to sign this.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I'm grateful to have another opportunity to have a final petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas Bill 104, the Fewer School Boards Act, is a threat to our education system;

"Whereas the Education Improvement Commission has far-reaching and unprecedented powers;

"Whereas outsourcing of non-instructional jobs such as school secretaries, custodians, library technicians and educational assistants will result in chaos and poor service and limited savings, if any;

"We therefore petition the Legislative Assembly to repeal Bill 104, to limit the powers of the Education Improvement Commission and to guarantee successor rights for non-instructional jobs."

I'm pleased to sign my name to that petition.



Mr Hodgson moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 139, An Act to promote the conservation of fish and wildlife through the revision of the Game and Fish Act / Projet de loi 139, Loi visant à promouvoir la protection du poisson et de la faune en révisant la Loi sur la chasse et la pêche.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Gary Leadston): Is it the pleasure of the House that the bill carry? Carried.

Minister, do you have any further remarks to make?

Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines): No, thank you, Mr Speaker. I read a statement earlier today in the House.




Mr Runciman moved third reading of the following bill:

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

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): Following my comments, I understand there is unanimous consent with respect to the remaining time to be shared among the opposition parties -- I believe that's the case -- in agreement at five to 6 for a five-minute bell. That's agreed, Mr Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Gary Leadston): Is there consensus between the leaders of the two opposition parties? Agreed. And if necessary, there may be a five-minute bell.

Hon Mr Runciman: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As Solicitor General, I am pleased to have the opportunity to make a few brief remarks at third reading of Bill 105.

Today I want to highlight a number of the provisions of Bill 105, as amended, which I believe will bring fairness, flexibility and accountability to the way policing is organized, paid for and governed in Ontario. Before I address the key points in the bill, I should point out that Bill 105 does not accomplish all of these things by accident. On the contrary, this bill is the result of a comprehensive review of policing which was initiated in December 1995, and extensive consultations with policing stakeholders, including the policing summit, which was held in June 1996. The Who Does What emergency services subpanel also expanded on this work and reported to the government in November 1996.

With respect to the issue of civilian oversight of policing, the Attorney General and I appointed Mr Rod McLeod, the former Deputy Solicitor General, to conduct an independent review of the existing system and recommend a simpler, more efficient and effective system of civilian oversight and police accountability.

Ministry officials, my staff and I also met with representatives of a number of community groups concerned about police oversight. In addition, the members of the standing committee on administration of justice held extensive public hearings on Bill 105, where they heard from witnesses from all across the province about issues of concern.

The government listened to the concerns raised at committee and proposed almost 50 amendments to Bill 105 during clause-by-clause consideration. I am pleased to say that the committee adopted not only the government amendments but also a number of amendments put forward by the parties opposite. Taken together, these amendments strengthen and enhance key areas of the bill, including service delivery, civilian oversight and the police complaints system.

At this time, I would like to thank the members of the justice committee for the long hours they spent carefully considering Bill 105. I also want to express my appreciation to all those who took the time to appear at committee. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people behind the scenes, in my office and in the policing services division of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, for the outstanding work they did over many months to bring this legislation to fruition. I believe that this legislation will better stand the test of time and more effectively protect the people of Ontario as a result of their collective efforts.

With respect to the contents of Bill 105, first of all I want to indicate that this bill is about fairness. In our view and in the view of the Who Does What panel, and even that of the Provincial Auditor in his reports in 1990 and 1994, it's not fair that some municipalities now receive OPP policing at no direct cost to the municipal taxpayers while their neighbours pay the full amount. I've made this case before, during previous debates concerning this issue, but I believe it's an important point that bears repeating. Some 202 municipalities in Ontario, representing 85% of the province's population, pay for policing services directly from municipal property taxes. The remaining 576 municipalities do not pay for policing from municipal taxes. In those municipalities policing is provided by the Ontario Provincial Police at no direct charge.

The cost of providing that OPP service is more than $182 million a year. In general, it is smaller rural municipalities that receive policing at no charge, but that's not always the case. I've mentioned the example of the village of Wheatley in Kent county, which has a population of about 1,500 and pays for policing through municipal taxes. The district of Muskoka has a population of 45,000 and receives policing services without charge. We believe this is an extremely unfair set of circumstances for those municipalities that are paying their fair share of policing costs.

This question of fairness has another aspect which has had an impact on a number of OPP contract locations across the province where for some years now we've had several municipalities refusing to pay their policing bills because their larger neighbours were getting comparable OPP at no direct cost to their taxpayers. That payment default now totals over $6 million owed to the OPP, and I want to reiterate today that it's money that must be collected. Our government, through Bill 105, is taking action to correct this unfairness. As of January 1, 1998, all municipalities in Ontario will be required to make a contribution towards the cost of policing their communities.

Bill 105 is also about flexibility. This government believes that local needs are best understood by local officials who are accountable for the delivery of services to their ratepayers. Based on the budget process used in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, municipalities will now have control over municipal budgets and will appoint a majority of members to the police services boards.

Bill 105 also gives municipal councils the authority to approve the total police budget envelope. Police services boards will continue to have responsibility for line-by-line budgeting.

This bill empowers municipalities and police services to choose the best possible structure to deliver policing to their own communities. It allows the police to reduce waste and duplication so they can focus on what Ontario residents want, enhanced front-line policing. Whether that means police walking the beat in our cities and towns, a more visible presence in our rural areas or fighting smuggling in our border communities, Bill 105 allows Ontarians, through their local governments, to have their say.

Under Bill 105, as amended, municipalities have a choice of a number of models for service delivery. For instance, municipalities can decide to continue with OPP service and be billed on an actual cost basis; contract with the OPP directly to provide police services; join with a neighbouring municipality or municipalities to establish a joint OPP contract and a joint police services board; enter into a contract with a neighbouring municipal police force to provide police services; or finally, a municipality can join with other municipalities to form a new police service.

Regardless of the option chosen, public safety will not be compromised. In fact, Bill 105 sets out the five core functions that must be provided by any police service in Ontario. These core functions are crime prevention, law enforcement, assistance to victims, maintenance of public safety and emergency response. For the first time, benchmarks will be established by regulation pursuant to the bill to ensure that adequate and effective police protection is provided in every community in Ontario.


The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, commonly referred to as OCCPS, will continue to deal with police budget appeal issues in the context of police adequacy. The difference is that now there will be a clear yardstick to measure police adequacy against.

Finally, in many ways Bill 105 is about increased police accountability to the public. Bill 105 transforms the current police complaints and civilian oversight systems from a costly, frustrating and time-consuming model involving four different agencies to a more affordable, more accessible and more accountable system comprised of two agencies. The special investigations unit, or SIU, is not affected by Bill 105. The SIU will continue as an independent agency under the Ministry of the Attorney General with a mandate to investigate cases of serious injury or death involving the police.

Mr McLeod, who conducted the review of police oversight on behalf of the government, recommended that the SIU be placed back under the Ministry of the Solicitor General, but the government opted not to accept that recommendation. Our reasoning, quite simply, is that there has to be a clear understanding and appreciation that the SIU operates very much independently from the ministry responsible for policing in Ontario.

Another critical arm of independent civilian oversight of police, the civilian commission, will deal not only with police budget issues, as I mentioned earlier, but will also have the power to hear appeals, investigate, inquire and report on police conduct or performance of duty for all police officers in Ontario, both municipal and OPP.

The commission has these broad investigative powers either on its own motion or at the request of the Solicitor General, a municipal council or a police services board. Bill 105 simplifies the process of filing a police complaint. It puts the complainant in the driver's seat and allows for a third party to assist in preparing a complaint. Under this new, simplified system, all a person has to do is write a letter detailing the complaint and mail, fax or deliver it to the police station or to the civilian commission on policing. As requested by community groups, Bill 105 was amended to allow complainants the option of filling out a complaint form approved by the commission instead of writing a letter. This form will be available at all police stations in the province.

The bill, as amended, also increases the transparency of the complaint system by enhancing the reporting requirements to both the subject officer and the complainant. For example, the bill provides a 30-day initial response time set for public complaints. Written reports are to be provided to subject police officers and the complainant following completion of the case. Similarly, police chiefs are required to notify subject police officers within 30 days if the complaint has been continued or withdrawn.

Perhaps the most significant change to the police complaint system under Bill 105 is that it encourages informal resolution by allowing non-serious matters to be resolved any time in the process and by ensuring that statements made during informal resolution are not admissible in any other legal proceedings without consent of the parties.

In any case, under the new complaint system a complainant who is not satisfied with the way a complaint has been handled by the police may request that the commission review the matter. The commission has the power to confirm the decision or assign the investigation of the complaint to another police service. In parallel, a police officer, after a hearing, has the right of appeal to the commission on the outcome and any penalty.

I appreciate that some individuals and organizations have expressed concern about the oversight changes under Bill 105, but I want to clearly indicate my strong belief that what we are doing strengthens police accountability to the public, allows everyone increased access and fosters a clear understanding of what is currently a very difficult system to understand, let alone gain access to.

In conclusion, the changes to the Police Services Act we're debating today are the result of extensive consultation. I would once again like to thank all those who provided their insight into this process, and I look forward to our continuing dialogue during the implementation phase of the bill.

Bill 105, as amended, brings fairness, flexibility and accountability to the way police services in Ontario are organized, delivered, paid for and governed. Many of these changes are long overdue. Bill 105 sets the standard for the protection of our communities for decades to come. I believe these changes will lead to improved policing and a safer Ontario for us, our children and our grandchildren.

Madam Speaker, I have been asked to read this matter into the record:

With respect to an understanding, there is unanimous consent, notwithstanding standing order 42, for the official opposition to give notice for an opposition day to be taken up tomorrow.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs Margaret Marland): Is there agreement? Thank you.

Hon Mr Runciman: I have concluded my remarks.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I request unanimous consent to share the allotted Liberal time this afternoon with the member for Windsor-Sandwich, Mrs Pupatello, and the member for Timiskaming, Mr Ramsay.

The Acting Speaker: Is there agreement that they may share their time? It is agreed. So you're going to celebrate your 20th anniversary by taking part in this debate.

Mr Bradley: I am. Thank you very much to the member for Mississauga South. People who are watching today should know, and I reminded them the other day, that Mrs Marland was the Progressive Conservative critic for the field of the environment when I had the privilege of being the environment minister. She'll want to put this in her campaign literature, of course, but she was an excellent critic in the field of the environment and I appreciated her input very much on those occasions, as I do in this House today.


Mr Bradley: The whip of the government leads the applause, appropriately, for Mrs Marland.

I am going to keep my personal contribution to this rather brief this afternoon. This is a bill which has some contentious points in it, but also has some points in it which deserve the support of all members of the House.

Overall, the concern we have is that the police forces in our communities will have the appropriate resources to carry out the responsibilities, because it is one thing to pass legislation and change regulations and announce policy; it's another to be able to carry it out. We will find out, and the minister has on occasion appropriately pointed out, that if people are going to want the services that are provided by police forces, they're going to have to pay for them. That doesn't mean there will be inefficiencies out there that anybody is looking for, that doesn't mean there's going to be some overspending taking place, but it does mean that when you pass new laws and have new regulations and different policies to be implemented, you have to have the resources to implement them.

That's why I know communities across Ontario want to ensure they have adequate funding for their police forces, and we want to know that the Ontario Provincial Police has the necessary personnel and equipment to carry out its responsibility, because it's a different ball game, if you will, today in the field of policing. There are more sophisticated ways of carrying out crime. There are resources available to the criminal elements in our society, such as computers and other high-tech equipment, which make it more difficult for police to deal with certain matters that come to their attention. Therefore, we have to have the necessary resources to carry out the policing if people want that. It is not sufficient to say, "I'm concerned about safety" in a community, but not be prepared to pay the taxes that are going to be necessary to have the appropriate level of policing in that community.

This legislation has some support in that I think you would find many members of the House are in favour of simplifying the procedure for making public complaints about any alleged police misconduct if that would improve the public accessibility and confidence in the system. But in many ways there's a concern that this new process might sweep away any semblance of civilian oversight and public accountability, and those are what people want to see.


The overwhelming majority, virtually everybody involved in policing in this province, is honest, forthright, carries out responsibilities in an appropriate fashion, is cognizant of not breaking the law in order to enforce the law, and is going to treat people in a fair and reasonable fashion.

When it happens that individuals within the policing sector are outside that realm, there has to be a provision for the public to lay legitimate complaints. Of course, what is frivolous in the mind of one individual may be serious to another. That's a hard balance to strike.

We do not want our police forces to have to carry out the responsibilities with one hand tied behind their back. But equally we do not want a situation where the public may feel they have no access to a method of complaint if indeed there is a need to lodge a complaint. Our system works best when the public has full confidence in our police forces, and that full confidence is there if the public believes it has a fair and legitimate complaints process; in other words, one which is fair to those being complained against and fair to those who may be laying the complaint.

I think we would all agree that allegations of police misconduct should be dealt with in an open, fair and publicly accountable manner that will build public confidence and trust in the police. A closed system will always create mistrust and is not fair to the public or to the vast majority of police officers who conduct themselves responsibly.

I think it's as important that at the end of the process, when there is an exoneration of a member of a police force, that is very public; that when the person has been found not guilty everyone knows it, just as when a person may be found guilty through the process, that is known to the public as well.

We in the opposition are not yet aware of the exact costs that will be faced by municipalities that will now be required to pay the full cost of policing. In the context of the massive downloading of provincial expenses on to the municipal level, we are concerned that many Ontarians will face huge property tax increases as a result. That is a concern.

Police officers, police chiefs and administrators have all expressed the view that they are going to be worried when those tax bills come in. If there's a transferring of responsibility -- and that would mean, with it, financial responsibility from the province to local municipalities -- members of police forces are worried that their competition for the local tax dollar, so they can carry out their jobs appropriately, will be even greater.

They are justifiably concerned that the resources and personnel that will be required to enforce the laws of this province, to engage in such activities as community policing, may not be there if municipalities touched by a need for greater taxation for other purposes may cut back on the allocation of funds for the police forces. I think this is a legitimate concern.

There are many municipalities -- the city of St Catharines is not one of them -- small towns and villages, that have had the Ontario Provincial Police provide services to them. I'm sure some of them will be shocked when they see the bill that comes in for policing in their area. Many of these communities do not have the industrial and commercial tax base, or the residential tax base, for that matter, which would allow them to have the necessary amount of money to carry out their police activities.

This government has made many pronouncements in the field of law enforcement, whether it's the Solicitor General or the Attorney General or someone else who might be making those pronouncements, but the way we will measure the success of the government's initiatives will be on how they are actually carried out. In other words, will the resources be available? It's easy to call a press conference. It's easy to distribute the press release. It's much more difficult to ensure that the people who are carrying out the new responsibility will have the resources and the staff personnel to be able to do so, and that's a worry which I have and I know many others will have.

There has been considerable criticism of the present system's oversight of police forces, particularly as it relates to the way we make complaints. This is always so difficult. Police officers are in a very difficult position because they must be virtually perfect people in the eyes of the public. Nothing would undermine the confidence in police forces more than to find out that there were people breaking the law within those police forces or people engaged in unethical conduct.

That's why police officers are under such great scrutiny. That's why they have to be so cautious all the time. That's why they are worried if they see a system which tilts a balance in favour of those who want to register complaints against police. But equally, in a democratic society where we have an elected assembly as we have today, it is important for the public to be able to lodge those complaints but to have them dealt with, for the sake of both sides, in an expeditious and thorough manner at the same time.

I look out at our police forces and say that they are one way of combating crime. Police officers themselves would tell you, however, that there's another way of dealing with crime as well, and that's engaging in methods which would be defined as crime prevention, and this is a genuine challenge. If we could remove the social problems which contribute to crime in our society, if we could deal with the psychiatric problems which cause some people to commit crimes that if they were healthy mentally they would not do, we would not need the resources for police forces and for jails and for other institutions that appear to be necessary today.

The Acting Speaker: Excuse me. There are several conversations in the chamber and I don't think it's fair to the member who has the floor. Please continue, member for St Catharines.

Mr Bradley: Thank you, Speaker. I'm requesting that the government not dwell exclusively on the provision of enforcement activities through police forces but that it also deal with the social problems which contribute to crime which arises in our society.

If we had a society where everyone felt he or she had an equal opportunity to succeed, where injustices were eliminated, where the necessary financial resources and supports were there for the more disadvantaged people in our society, I think we would see less of a need for large police forces and for jails. I remember, when I first entered the Legislature in 1977, visiting some of our institutions with the Honourable Gordon Walker, who was then Minister of Correctional Services. He was succeeded I believe by the Honourable Frank Drea. When you went to these institutions, one of the things you discovered was that many of the people there were ill equipped to survive in our society. Many of them had a very low level of education and were simply not able to cope, and the only way they could get ahead, I suppose, in society, if you want to put it that way, was to be able to commit a crime. At least in their minds that's what they believed.

When through the education system and the social service system we can deal with those problems early on, we at least reduce the risk of people finding themselves on the wrong side of the law. I'm sure many families are heartbroken by the fact that they've done everything right and still someone in the family has gone on the other side of the law. I read a letter to the editor in one of the Toronto newspapers on the weekend from a parent who said she had four children, and three of them were doing very, very well but a fourth had caused great angst for the family.

The reason I mention that is that even in families where all the resources are there, where they have the money to deal with some of the challenges that face those children, where there is love in the family and so on, there's still a chance that someone will go on the wrong side of the law. Our role is to reduce that chance, and I know we will.


This bill, as I said, has some good provisions in it. It has some provisions we're less happy with. I know my colleague the Liberal critic for the Solicitor General's department and for Correctional Services, David Ramsay, the member for Timiskaming, will be dealing with some of those, so I will conclude my remarks at this time and hope that any necessary regulatory changes can be made to improve the bill.

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I'm pleased to have an opportunity to speak in this very brief third reading debate on the issue of the Police Services Act. I think it is extremely important for citizens in Ontario to understand what is being accomplished through this amendment act, what the concerns are that have been expressed to us as legislators during the process of consultation after second reading, and some of the things we will have to be vigilant about in the future around the operation of this act.

I think it is quite right for each government to look at the operation of policing services, to make sure they are keeping up with the times, to make sure they are meeting the needs of the community, to ensure that the basic principles of fairness are applying. The minister said in his remarks and has said on a number of occasions that every government has recognized the need to make some revisions in the way the delivery of police services works to ensure that taxpayers, who are footing the bill for policing services, feel that that burden is distributed in a way that is fair.

The minister must also be aware that simply doing that on a municipal basis, downloading this on to municipalities that have a very low assessment base, is not necessarily going to achieve the kind of fairness the minister talks about in terms of policing. This is a government that has shocked those who are in municipal government quite substantially by downloading a great many of the tasks and the costs of the provincial government on to the municipal tax base at the same time that it boasts of its ability to reduce taxes.

Madam Speaker, you may be able to hear me speak, but I can barely hear myself speak with the meeting that is going on across the way. I would ask you to call the members to order.

The Acting Speaker: The member for London Centre has asked that I call the chamber to order. I did in fact do that about 10 minutes ago. With respect, I suggest that if you feel compelled to have private conversations, you do it elsewhere than in the chamber. It is disturbing to the member who has the floor.

Mr Morley Kells (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): I stand admonished.

Mrs Boyd: I wish all the members stood admonished as you do, member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

This is an issue that ought to be of great importance to all of us. The whole issue of safety in our communities is something that we know, in our constituency offices, continues to be of great concern to all our constituents.

It is indeed admirable that the government talks a very fine line about fairness when it talks about making sure that everyone pays for their policing. One of the things I would point out is that everyone has always paid for their policing, but they may pay in different ways and in different proportions. The Ontario Provincial Police operate with government funding that is paid for by all the taxpayers, under the income tax provisions and the sales tax provisions and the gas tax provisions, so it is not entirely correct to say that taxpayers in municipalities which heretofore have not been charged the direct cost of their policing are not paying. They have been paying, and they have been paying in that way because the municipal tax assessment base was so low that adequate policing could not be provided based on the resources that would be available through municipal tax assessment.

That was a decision that wasn't made by our government between 1990 and 1995 or by the Liberal government between 1985 and 1990; this has been the arrangement.

Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: I ask the members please, for the third time, if you could constrain your conversations in the chamber. I'm also having difficulty hearing the speaker who has the floor, so if we could extend some courtesy to the member for London Centre, who has the floor, thank you.

Mrs Boyd: I think the issue is the same today as has faced other governments. If you cannot have the appropriate assessment base to provide the level of policing that is adequate for your community to ensure community safety, to ensure emergency response that is appropriate, then we all suffer as a result. That was why the decision was made to share costs in a different way for small municipalities that didn't have a large assessment base.

The minister is very fond of saying, "Ah, but this does not disadvantage small municipalities, because we have given them the permission in this act to join with other municipalities so that they can pool their money and their resources to offer policing." The only problem is that the ministry, through its guidelines that it has sent to municipalities, is severely limiting the ability of municipalities to make that decision on a local level. We heard last week of the issue of a small community near Sault Ste Marie that was not given permission to amalgamate its policing with Sault Ste Marie; it was being forced to pay the per citizen cost of OPP policing because of the guidelines of the ministry.

So although we are in the process today of passing a bill which gives permission to municipalities to make local decisions about how they will achieve adequate policing, we at the same time have a ministry that is putting restrictions on those municipalities, that is denying them the right to make the choices they believe are best for their communities. All the fine talk about equity, all the fine talk about local decision-making pales when you look at the reality that is there.

The minister boasts that the changes to the bill will ensure there is adequate policing, there will be standards for adequate policing. But they are not in the bill; they are going to be introduced by regulation later. It is quite clear to anyone who knows how regulations are formed that those regulations will burst upon us in the Gazette with no necessary consultation with either the policing community or the citizens they serve, and that is a serious problem.

I say to the minister that it is going to be extraordinarily important that he take measures to ensure that the people of Ontario believe that it is more than rhetoric when this government talks about community service, that the actual base of policing in this province, the regulations that guarantee adequacy, are enforceable, that municipalities that now have the whip hand -- because they appoint the members of the police services board, they now have the whip hand over police budgets -- that do not meet those standards can be forced by the government to meet those standards, and it is not clear that this is the case at all under this particular regime.


We will have to be very vigilant because it is very clear that the move to have matters dealt with locally without having any kind of general oversight to track what happens to complaints that are dealt with at the local level makes it difficult to know whether or not this is going to be effective. I would say that the principle of civilian oversight is severely compromised by this bill and by the way this bill was brought into being.

In the notes that were released publicly at the time of the release of this bill, the minister boasted of wide consultation. But even in his own notes it was very clear whom he had consulted with. It is very important, as we look at this consultation process, to be very clear that this comprehensive review of police services, this so-called comprehensive consultation, involved policing associations, chiefs of police and front-line police officer associations; it involved the oversight body, the police services boards organization; and it involved the municipalities and, quite frankly, the business folks at the various municipalities; but it had absolutely no input from the broad range of citizens who are the ones who expressed concern about confidence in their police.

Not only was this summit limited in its consultation, in terms of the people who came to speak to it, but following the summit this minister set up a working group which again excluded civilian members of the public, who have a right to be included in discussions about changes to this bill.

I don't think the minister would say the general public is wrong to have some qualms about the way policing services are delivered. We have heard story after story, we have read court minutes after court minutes that lead us to have concerns about the way in which the justice system treats its own in terms of how complaints and charges come forward. We have unfortunately far too many inquest reports that suggest very clearly that we are not training our police officers properly, equipping them properly, giving them the proper guidance and then, if they fail to do their duty in an appropriate way, disciplining them properly. As a result, people have been injured and killed when that was not necessary.

There are large groups within the community who want to be reassured that they can have confidence in the police but have a hard time doing that when they are not consulted when such major changes are being planned.

The minister says that the whole disciplinary process was open to consultation, but the minister knows very well that he appointed a particular person to do a very short study and that this particular person conducted that study in such a way that many of the interested groups felt unable to participate. Because of the way the whole procedure was structured, they felt it was not a fair study in the first place.

The only comfort those citizens' groups get at the end of the process is that some of the recommendations, ones I would say were the most bizarre recommendations brought forward in the McLeod report, the government did decide, quite fortunately, not to implement.

The government did decide to keep an independent SIU unit, and I think that is an important plus in this bill. But the government did collapse all the other bodies into one body and then hand back to the chiefs of police a huge, major piece of the decision-making around whether or not complaints will be considered at all and then how they will deal with those complaints, all in the name of local autonomy, so called.

When we are talking about policing, particularly policing that is now going to be directed from the municipal level of government, with very little oversight in terms of the rest of the province, we are looking at a possibility of activities both on the disciplinary front and on the police complaints front which should give us cause for concern.

Fairness not only must be done but must be seen to be done. Because of the way in which this whole bill has been brought forward, many people are already saying they cannot expect fairness from this process, and that taints the process from the beginning.

It is a very difficult matter to set up a civilian oversight process that is going to meet the needs of all those groups, but many of the criticisms that were brought forward of the Police Services Act as it existed before amendment are similar to the criticisms that are being brought forward now. If the previous government did not listen to some of those concerns when they put their bill through in 1990, surely this government could have learned from that experience and looked at how it could have been made stronger and better.

When you find that none of the concerns basically have been satisfied by any of the groups by this process, with I suspect the exception of the -- no, even the chiefs of police. I was going to say the chiefs of police were happy, but of course the chiefs of police are quite opposed to municipal governments having decision-making power over who's going to sit on police services boards. They see that as a situation where those who have the whip hand in terms of the budget now will determine what is necessary in terms of policing, and they do not believe that is the appropriate way to do that.

We have all the groups still concerned. I've talked a bit about why the citizens' groups are concerned: first of all, no consultation; second, no assurance that some of the concerns around inappropriate policing that have come forward have been addressed at all; third, this whole issue of the chief of police: You have to complain to the chief of police, and if the chief of police decides that your complaint is not meritorious, is frivolous, has no bearing on anything and is not to be looked at, then where do you go?

The minister says you can still appeal to this other group, and this other group will then decide whether or not it's frivolous, and if it's not frivolous, they'll send it back to the chief of police for investigation. If someone who has already decided your complaint is frivolous and gets it sent back to do the investigation, how serious is the investigation going to be? There we have a crisis of confidence immediately. We have a whole lot of people who are going to say: "This is ridiculous. The chief of police doesn't want to hear this. The oversight board says he must at least look into it, but he has already decided it isn't serious, so how serious is the investigation going to be?" That's from the citizen point of view.

This is equally inappropriate from the police officers' point of view, because their view is that when all these things are determined by the chief, and furthermore the chief, on non-serious matters, doesn't even have to have a hearing into complaints, the police officers are at real double jeopardy from their higher ranks.

I think we should take that fairly seriously. I think we should hear citizens being unhappy about this process and those who are subject to the process being unhappy, and their unhappiness resulting from what both sides see as an inappropriate ability of a police chief to make decisions around these issues, which should give us pause. That should make us wonder why two groups that generally do not, on the issue of police oversight, necessarily see things from the same direction see exactly the same problem.

Police personnel are quite concerned about this whole issue of the efforts within this act to slough off some complaints as not serious and therefore to be dealt with through an internal process, and if the police officer doesn't like the result, the police officer has to go through a grievance process under the union contract. They see that as serious because they see their role as police officers, their function as police officers, the discharge of their duties as police officers as inseparable from the so-called, in this government's words, "employee-employer relations" aspect. I think the general public sees the same impossibility.


For police officers this becomes more serious when it is coupled with some of the other actions this government is taking, and in particular the actions with the Provincial Offences Act. One of the areas of increased police chief power in this version of the Police Services Act enables a police officer to be subject to discipline processes because of inadequate performance, and to be subject to that without the opportunity of a hearing. Why does that become an issue? If at the same time you have a Provincial Offences Act which allows the municipalities to take over control of provincial offences and to get the revenue from that, essentially every single front-line police officer we spoke to during the consultation period, and certainly whom I have spoken to outside of that, said, "What is to prevent, first of all, the municipality that sets the budget from appointing police services board members, of whom they have the majority, who set, with the police chief, unrealistic targets for the kind of income that's going to come out of the Provincial Offences Act income?" Then the police chief will look at people's "results" -- this is governing by results -- and say: "Police officer X hasn't issued enough tickets. That's an inadequate performance," and subjecting that officer to disciplinary processes. I think we should all be concerned about that.

One of the things that has distinguished us as a country has been the division of powers to prevent that kind of thing from happening. We as Canadians have often laughed at our American cousins about the whole business of: "Things are much more serious when you get towards the end of the month, because if the quota hasn't been met, then you've got a real difficulty. You can expect to see a police officer lurking under a bush, around every corner." There's some reality to that, however exaggerated that concept, that fear may be.

What we have here is a cascade of events that create potential difficulties for us and certainly for the whole public perception of policing and for the whole way in which we are able to ensure that police officers are able to deal with their jobs in appropriate ways without feeling that they're going to get political pressure up the line from those budget-makers to require them to apply the law in a way that does not allow them to exercise their discretion. The exercise of their discretion, they believe, is a very important tool for them to be sure they are seen as applying the law in a fair way, in a way that is directed at the safety and security of the community, in a way that takes account of the circumstances that only the officer at the scene can see and that takes account of both the general deterrent measures and the particular deterrent measures that are expected to be achieved by any kind of police action in the first place.

The other part of this disciplinary issue that exercises police officers and police unions, of course, is the whole issue of when you shift a whole series of things into the employer-employee relationship, you get into a situation where escalating costs for the union and for the employer often preclude a just settlement to issues. If everything needs to go to a grievance and both parties pay for the grievance in that way, you may not get to the bottom of many issues, because there may be an effort to try to group and lump things together, there may indeed be a real issue around whether or not there is any action taken at all. That of course should concern all of us as citizens.

The reality we heard from many police associations is that what is called in this bill "serious misconduct" is a very small percentage of the kind of complaints that come forward. It's really important for us to understand that for us as regular citizens our contact with the police disciplinary process is likely to be in what is determined by this bill to be the non-serious area. So we have a community of interest with police officers in this province when we say that this process as set down is unfair to the complainant and is unfair to the person being complained about. It can lead, in terms of the police officer, to a situation of real double jeopardy; and for the citizen, we will just simply hear again and again, when they have complaints about the behaviour or the conduct of a police officer, of an eroding confidence that they can get any kind of satisfaction.

It is a really serious issue that was not addressed in the hearings, and it ought to be addressed. This whole unsatisfactory work performance issue in this police act is going to give rise to huge unrest and fear among those who are applying the law in this province. We should be concerned about that. When police officers are concerned about the kind of scrutiny that is being given their work, when they are fearful that that scrutiny has something to do with issues other than the appropriate application of the laws they are there to apply, we should all be concerned.

When we look at the proposal in that whole area of the way in which penalties are going to come forward, it adds more to that concern, because there's a very substantial penalty that can be put in place in this informal discipline process: 40 hours' pay can be assessed. That's very substantial. No hearing is guaranteed before the application of that penalty. It's a real problem. Not one of the police employment agreements that we could find had any informal penalty that came anywhere near 40 hours of pay.

Apparently, at least as we understand, the highest level of penalty on informal situations would be a penalty of two days' leave or forfeiture of 16 hours' pay. That's a huge difference from 40 hours.

In these informal processes, there's the removal of an ability for just an admonishment or a reprimand to be administered. Unfortunately what we have is a requirement that a penalty be levied. There's no apparent ability to have the kind of admonishment or reprimand that was allowed under the previous act.

The other issue we see is that there is no longer under the act, in subsection 68(8), any protection for without-prejudice statements that might be made by either the officer or the complainant when there's an effort to resolve a matter informally. So what we will see is everything driven to the nth degree because you cannot informally sit down and without prejudice discuss the issues in a case.


There are many other matters in this act that concern us. I think it is essential for you to know that throughout the hearings we heard from a wide range of people who were expressing very serious concerns about this act. We have not seen the kind of change that we would have expected from a government that truly was interested in making this act work better for all the players. What we saw was a determination to push this act forward at all costs and in fact to time-allocate it, to force it through this Legislature, with the result that we have very few minutes left to even discuss this act.

So I am going to cede my place. I know at least one and possibly two of my colleagues want also to speak. I will end my comments by urging the Solicitor General to be very vigilant about the things that don't work when this gets into place, to stop saying one thing, like the creation of joint police boards publicly, and then send guidelines to them saying they can't join with whichever police board they want.

There is a real necessity for there to be much more transparency around what is being accomplished here and there is a great necessity for this government to understand the issues that are being brought forward by the George family, for example, and by the many other families who have seen a loved one subjected to a level of force by our police departments that has resulted in grave injury or death, in some cases, and the concerns of the public that civilian oversight under this model is going to erode the public confidence in our police forces.

All of that, which I am sure this minister did not want to have the result of his bill, may occur, and it is his job to continue to be vigilant and to see whether the dire predictions about how this is going to create even more difficulty, more real anxiety among police officers and among the general public about the general operation of policing -- those things are very serious; and that the minister will undertake to monitor the kinds of matters that come forward in a much more open and a much more serious manner than he has since this government was elected.

There have been many serious issues of policing that have come forward and we have not seen this government taking action in a way that gives us confidence that they understand the issues of civilian oversight or that they agree it is an essential element of ensuring that policing is done appropriately in a democratic society.

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I am pleased to rise in my place today to speak to third and final reading of Bill 105. The government has entitled this act An Act to renew the partnership between the province, the municipalities and the police and to enhance community safety. When you go through this bill -- and we've done that on quite a few occasions, having gone through it clause-by-clause in the justice committee of this Legislature -- I think you would find that a lot of the changes, especially to the civilian oversight parts of this bill, have really been caused by the government's need to save money. The government has said that the new civilian oversight mechanism will cost about $3 million less.

I've said on many occasions that while it is very important that we all save money and use the taxpayers' very precious and hard-earned dollars in the most cost-effective manner that we can, there are some things that we do in government that are very, very important. Having civilian supervision or oversight, as we say, of police activities is really a fundamental principle of a democracy that is run by civilians that employs paramilitary force to administer the criminal justice system. It's a very important tenet of our democracy.

It hasn't always been that way. In fact, it's fairly ironic, I find, that it was 25 years ago that a Conservative government felt it necessary to bring really the first substantive civilian oversight mechanism that Ontario had ever seen into this province. It was Arthur Maloney QC who, after a number of highly publicized complaints about police conduct in Toronto, made the initial recommendation that there should be a civilian review of improper police conduct in Ontario.

That was 25 years ago, and since that time there have been three other commissions that have made very similar recommendations: Justice Morand's royal commission inquiry into the Metropolitan Toronto Police practices of 1976; then Cardinal Carter's report in 1979, a report to civic authorities of Metro Toronto and its citizens; and the Pitman task force report, commissioned by Metropolitan Toronto in 1977. That was entitled the Metropolitan Toronto Task Force on Human Relations: Now is Not Too Late. All of these reports recommended introduction of civilian review.

Civilian review is very important and it's a basis of democracy. It's important from the citizen's perspective when he or she has been wrongly treated by a police officer. There has been widespread dissatisfaction with police investigating allegations of police wrongdoing, and rightfully so. There should be a separation of police investigation of their own activities. That's why we have civilian oversight in a democracy.

This led to the Conservative government of 1981 introducing a three-year pilot project and establishing the office of the public complaints commissioner in the city of Toronto. In December 1989, the Police Services Act was amended, again by a Conservative government, which developed a civilian review right across this province for all provincial police forces.

I said in the beginning of my remarks we have come full circle because Bill 105, I believe, substantially waters down the ability of proper civilian oversight. Really what's ironic about this too is that there are many aspects of Bill 105 that the police officers across this province are very concerned about also and they've expressed that concern to us in committee through the public hearings we held. I think police officers certainly have a right to be concerned about their fate being thrown back to more internal police procedures. They have to be concerned about the independence and the fairness when it is their superiors who judge the validity of a complaint.

Many police officers and police associations came before the committee as we travelled to cities across the province, stating that the ability that Bill 105 gives a police chief to initiate, himself or herself, a complaint against a police officer could very well be abused and it could be very well abused because there is another aspect to this bill, a new code of behaviour, if you will, that is introduced, and that is unsatisfactory work. What's different about this new concept of unsatisfactory work that's introduced in the bill is that unlike misconduct, which is stated in the bill in detail about what constitutes police misconduct -- there's a full list on a page of all the various actions that we construe as being misconduct by police officers -- unsatisfactory work is not defined.

So what police officers are really very much concerned about, especially in today's economic climate, is that a police chief could initiate a complaint against an officer for unsatisfactory work based on maybe such things as not levying a sufficient number of speeding tickets or parking tickets in a municipality.


Why is this a concern right now? With this new downloading regime of the Harris government, where municipalities are being forced to come up with more and more of their own revenues to pay for local services, obviously the levying of fines through ticketing by municipal police forces would be an ample opportunity for municipalities to raise money. Now Bill 105 gives an ample tool to the police department, to the police services board, which I'm sure could, through the municipal council, put pressure on the police chief to make sure that the men and women in those police forces are not only upholding the law and protecting the public but know it's necessary to make sure that sufficient tickets are written month after month to generate the revenues that are required now because we can only tax so much through local property taxation. Of course, this is caused by so much of the downloading that's going to the municipalities.

Another major downloading that is brought to you courtesy of Bill 105 -- and one could say it may be an act of fairness -- is that the Ontario government is now making sure that all municipalities will levy a per household charge on the local taxation through the municipalities for all policing in Ontario. Those sparsely populated, less wealthy rural municipalities that up until now have been receiving police services through their payment of Ontario income tax are now going to have a per household levy that we hear could be in the neighbourhood of about $250 a year additional to all the other local tax increases that are going to occur next year.

This is a big concern for these municipalities and another reason why I think we're going to see increased pressure on the men and women who should be out there making sure our communities are safe and being a little more proactive in working with the community, which is the trend today in community policing, rather than having a watchful eye over their shoulder each and every month to make sure they're writing a sufficient number of tickets to generate revenue for the local police department and the municipality.

We moved many amendments that unfortunately did not get accepted by this government because the government seemed bent upon drastically cutting down citizens' ability to make a complaint and to have independent adjudication of those complaints. That was a big concern for both community groups and police officers themselves. They came before us and made those complaints, but the passage of Bill 105, which I believe is going to happen later on today, is just another example where this government is not listening to the people of Ontario and is proceeding on its own track.

It's interesting to note that the vast majority of police officers, I think most people in Ontario would agree, are dedicated and hardworking, but as in any group of people in a profession, things do go wrong and people do make mistakes. So we constantly have to have some sort of supervisory mechanism to make sure that when things do go wrong the public has the confidence that the mechanism is in place to make sure that justice is done. It's like politics when it comes to these circumstances.

It's very important that justice is even perceived to have been done so that people have full confidence in the system, to make sure that if something does go wrong there's a civilian mechanism there to ensure that we will get to the bottom of it and, if something has gone wrong, the people will be punished. Through a system that's consistent and fair and judicious, we can assure the people of Ontario and the police officers that we have a system that works and is fair and democratic. That's important for the people of Ontario and it's important for a democratic society.

What's interesting about this and came up in our committee is that this sort of problem is not unique. All professions have problems within their membership, and in most professions they have been given the authority to be self-regulating. One of the government members in committee said, "If self-regulation is good enough for doctors and dentists and lawyers" -- and went on to a few more -- "then why wouldn't it be good enough for police officers?" I was quite concerned about that remark and that lack of sense of civic responsibility that we must maintain with our police forces and came back to that member to say, "We don't authorize dentists or doctors to use guns." That's the difference.

We confer some extraordinary powers on the men and women we entrust to be police officers, to uphold the peace in society, and with those extraordinary powers must come extraordinary responsibilities. That's why we must always maintain very strong civilian oversight of police. With those powers must come those responsibilities, and part of those responsibilities has to be accountability.

A system, to work well and to be perceived to work well, to function well in a democracy, has to be accountable to the people who pay for it and support it through their democratic institutions such as the Legislature. Anybody who feels, "We'll let the police self-regulate just like any other profession, because it certainly is a profession," is dead wrong when it comes to that. There must always be strong civilian oversight of our police forces.

I must tell you that when I talk to police officers across the province, that's the system they want too. They know they have to be accountable to the government of the day -- actually beyond the government of the day. They swear a loyalty to the country and they swear a personal loyalty to uphold the law. That is their responsibility, and for that we give them the tools and the powers to carry out their work.

I rose in my place in this House last week to speak to a situation where an officer was killed last week in Ontario, and I think it's important that police officers understand the respect that we as politicians have for the danger of the job they pursue out there as police officers in Ontario. It is a very dangerous job, and unfortunately it's a more dangerous job today than it ever has been before. We have to do everything in our power as politicians to ensure that they are protected, that they have the tools to do the job, that they have the training to do the job properly and that they are well equipped to do that job. Part of that -- they know it also -- is that to protect them there has got to be good civilian oversight of the whole system so they feel they're working in a system that is fair and unbiased.

Their big concern is when a police chief in a local police department can start to either initiate a complaint or deal with a complaint -- this starts behind doors without the Ontario police services commission knowing about it -- and can, on an arbitrary basis, be prosecutor, judge and jury, and mete out a punishment. As previous speakers have said, punishments can be as great as a week's pay. That's an incredible price to pay for maybe unsatisfactory work performance, however that's defined, especially when it's undefined, for a police officer and his or her family to pay because the police chief might feel that a quota of parking tickets has not been fulfilled in a certain month in town X in Ontario.

That's the type of thing that still needs to be changed in this bill. It's not a perfect piece of legislation; it's a piece of legislation that still needs many amendments. It needs to have much tighter and stricter independence of civilian oversight of police so that many of these complaints cannot be handled on an internal basis.

One of the areas that has been taken out of this bill that had been there previously is the ability of a third party to make a complaint on behalf of a victim. Many times in society an independent party walking down the street might see some behaviour from a police officer or a number of police officers that they as citizens feel is improper.


Under the current act, before we pass this one, that person has the ability to make a complaint as a citizen of Ontario because of that particular incident that happened to somebody else. This privilege, I think this right, is now being taken away through Bill 105. I think that's wrong, because there are also other reasons why a third party might have to make a complaint on behalf of a victim.

Not everyone in society is fully literate. Not everyone in society has the ability or the confidence to make a complaint to a police department. Most people in society feel intimidated when they have to have an encounter with police officers, most people would rather not have any sort of encounter with a police officer, but citizens know it has been their right up till now to make a complaint when they see what they believe is a wrongdoing.

This right is going to be taken away through Bill 105, and an independent third party would not be able to make a complaint about an action they thought was ill advised, which either they witnessed or perhaps a victim came to them and asked them to do that on their behalf. This will be taken away. I believe this is a big mistake, because there are many in society who just don't have the confidence or the ability to make this complaint process effective. They're not going to be able to access this process. They're not going to be able to understand where they can go beyond to the next step if the police chief turns them down or if at the front desk the desk sergeant says, "This is not the appropriate time to do it," or maybe they got sloughed off. That complaint could stop there.

It's very important that our police departments and police officers know there is an effective means of hearing complaints so that they know the system works and they know that the people they serve out there have confidence that the system works. That's how this whole system works. It's basically almost an article of faith that we in the public have to have faith in our police system, that it is going to work on our behalf, that it is going to be fair and just. If that faith ever breaks down, the tenets of our whole democratic society break down.

It is of the utmost importance that the perception and the reality are there that police services in Ontario are fair and just, that when those services break down from time to time, when a mistake happens, there's a system in place that will get to the bottom of that and correct that situation so that all of us continue to have confidence in the police system. That's very important.

Today we've moved backwards 25 years, as I started my comments by saying. We've lost a bit of ground in our pursuit of democracy today, and I think it's a sad day for the Harris government.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate. I want to thank Jim Bradley from St Catharines, Dave Ramsay, and especially Marion Boyd, who led off on behalf of our caucus in this debate. I'll indicate to you that Sandra Pupatello from Windsor is going to be speaking after me, and I would urge people not to get the clicker going yet.

What that indicates is something most remarkable, you see, because other than the minister, not one Tory backbencher has wanted to participate in this third reading, this final debate on what is a major revision to the Police Services Act, an attack on civilian oversight, an attack on police officers, something that will serve neither our communities nor our public nor, I believe, our police officers well.

I make mention of that because just last week some proposed rule changes -- and I have no doubt they're going to be rammed through with the strength and the abuse of the majority this government has. But one of the rationales for reducing the time frames in which participants in debate can speak, it was argued by the member for -- where is that guy from? -- Nepean. It was argued by him that it's to permit more members to participate in the debate. What gives?

There's some roorbacking going on here, methinks, some classic, old-fashioned, Tory roorbacking. And roorbackers like this you don't find very often, because the fact remains that here we have an important bit of legislation, with not one Tory backbencher prepared to express their views, prepared to expose how much disdain they really have for police by virtue of what will inevitably be their support, like the little trained seals that they are. None of these Tory backbenchers, these trained seals, has accomplished the skill of balancing balloons on their nose but, by God, they can vote when ordered to.

They're not the most competent trained seals. Let's make that quite clear. They're far from being competent trained seals, because their repertoire of tricks, of performances, is rather limited. But by God, at the end of the day, they'll vote as told, regardless of their conscience, regardless of what their constituents say, regardless of the welfare of their community.

I want to mention, and I don't know whether the member for Wentworth North is going to be here to vote on this, but I recall what he had to say about this government. He said: "There's something wrong when the Premier and a couple of unelected staff people can run the entire province. It's a dictatorship." That's what Tony Skarica, the member for Wentworth North, had to say.

I don't know whether Gary Carr, the former parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, is going to be here today. He may well have other things -- and I understand; not every member can be here on every occasion for a vote. Some people have responsibilities in their riding. Gary Carr, the former parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, had this to say -- Gary Carr, the parliamentary assistant. I have no quarrel with the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General is here. I just quarrel with his legislation and the manner in which he's ignored police officers during the course of deliberations on Bill 105. But let me tell you what Gary Carr had to say: "Mike Harris has got to realize this is still a democracy, not a dictatorship." That's what Gary Carr, the former parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, had to say.

Now Bill Murdoch, I'm not sure if I can tell you what he had to say. May I merely show it to you? No, I think it warrants telling, because Bill Murdoch said with respect to this government, "You have to be nicey-nicey" -- it's right here -- "and kiss ass if you want to get ahead."

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): This is not the issue.

Mr Kormos: Well, don't shoot the messenger. I'm only telling you what one of the former parliamentary assistants in the Tory benches had to say about his government: You have to be nicey-nicey and pucker up if you want to get ahead. That's what Bill Murdoch, the member for Grey-Owen Sound had to say.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Richard Patten): The member for Welland-Thorold knows -- if you read from the letter, fine.

Mr Kormos: The problem is, Speaker, I've got it written on both sides. I'm reading it from this side, but I'll move on from there.

I'm disturbed and distressed that Tory backbenchers aren't participating in this debate. I don't know whether their lack of familiarity with the bill is what dissuades them from joining in the debate, whether their embarrassment about the bill is what dissuades them from participating in the debate, whether their disinterest in debate and in the process is what dissuades them, but I do know that New Democrats will not be supporting Bill 105.

I tell you that to find anything attractive about 105 that would bring us to a position where we could support it is drawn from approximately four major areas of the bill. The bill is beyond erosion. It's an outright attack on civilian oversight, which has been developed over the course -- quite frankly, I'll give credit where credit is due. It's origins are from within the Bill Davis government of the early 1980s, and I recall some of the major inquiries and hearings that were held that gave rise to civilian oversight of police misconduct.

As a young law student I attended some of them here in Toronto. Those were hearings that gave rise to the establishment of rules and the ultimate establishment of civilian oversight, civilian oversight that had been built on over the course of the years of coalition, the years 1985 and 1986 under the leadership of Ian Scott, and subsequently reinforced by Howard Hampton and Attorney General Marion Boyd.


Civilian oversight is something that's imperative if there's going to be independence of a body which reviews conduct or alleged misconduct and which, at arm's length, responds to that. Civilian oversight is crucial if the public is going to have confidence, if the system is going to have any integrity.

This bill turns the clock back over a decade in terms of abandoning the concept of civilian oversight and returns more and more power to individual chiefs of police in a way that neither the public can endorse the proposal nor can many of the police officers who spoke to the committee. Police officers clearly wanted an adjudication performed by somebody independent of their immediate supervisor, to wit, their chief of police. It seems to me, in a peculiar sort of way, because I acknowledge that police associations and the people they represent were often at odds with the civilian and community groups that were advocates of civilian oversight, many of them met, notwithstanding the divergent interest.

They're very concerned about the transformation of police services boards from provincially dominated, and that is to say dominated by provincial appointees, to dominated by municipal appointees. I've got to tell you there is something inherently attractive about the proposition of municipal appointments being the dominant number of appointments on a police services board when it's municipal taxpayers who are footing the bill.

There was a time -- quite frankly, before this government, the Tory government -- when I would have been more inclined to support the proposition of a majority of municipal appointees, because that was a time before the massive downloading by Harris and the Tories on to municipalities. It was a time, before Harris and the Tories here at Queen's Park, when Queen's Park was prepared to support policing in the province, and support it with the resources it needed if it was going to adequately, properly and effectively do its job.

We've got the Niagara Regional Police -- and I don't quarrel with the chief of police -- having to ponder advertising on police cruisers to help finance policing. Mind you, the Niagara Region Police Association, through its spokesperson, Mike Pratt, says that's nuts; says it, among other things, starts to trivialize policing. It creates the perception of policing being less than independent, having less than the independence it should have.

In this context and in view of the fact that municipalities are being told, by virtue of, among other things, Bill 108, to use their police officers as revenue collectors, we're concerned, especially when we regard that in conjunction with yet another part of Bill 105 that makes it totally unacceptable to us. We're concerned that police officers are increasingly going to be used as revenue collectors, are going to forfeit their independence to respond to crime and be the ticket deliverers for high-ticket items, if you will, particularly those items that, as a result of this government's recent legislation, will result in fine revenues going directly to the municipality. The police have that concern too.

From a police perspective, one of the repugnant elements of this bill was the inclusion of a new disciplinary standard, and that was the concept of unsatisfactory work performance as being something that can draw discipline.

Speaker, you weren't there, but this was a particularly painful stage in the committee, when we were trying, we were doing our best, and in fact spent some time trying to get Mr Wood, the parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, to talk about unsatisfactory work performance. What does it mean, Mr Wood? It warrants some explanation, something on the record to give people down the road some feel, some sense of, what's the problem that's being addressed by the inclusion of "unsatisfactory work performance"?

We know, because we heard, what police officers believe it's there for. Police officers and their associations very candidly told us that they feared that unsatisfactory work performance -- because, you see, prior to the inclusion of that there was section 73 of the act, and there will continue to be 73, which provides for basically the code of misconduct, those things which, if contravened, resulted in consequences for police officers.

We weren't told of a single scenario where in that code of misconduct section 73 was inadequate for the purpose of responding to a police officer's misconduct. We couldn't get a single illustration of why it was necessary to import this vague, amorphous, ill-defined or almost undefinable concept of unsatisfactory work performance, neither from the parliamentary assistant nor from any of the brain trust that were there with the parliamentary assistant -- you know, the high-priced civil service help, intimate with the development of the bill and the policy developments. Quite frankly, I think they were gagged a little bit in that they weren't allowed to explain why "unsatisfactory work performance" has been imported into the legislation.

That lead us to what I suppose was the almost irresistible conclusion that the cops on this one are right, that there's inevitably something insidious about the inclusion of unsatisfactory work performance. This government has given tools to communities to raise new revenues by virtue of transferring the ability to prosecute and collect the revenues from certain levels of provincial offences, including speeding tickets, to turn them into municipal revenues. That means that police officers -- good cops, hardworking, committed, professional women and men who work in dangerous and unpleasant circumstances -- I tell you that; you know that as well as I do. I suppose my greatest familiarity is with the Niagara Regional Police Force. I have acquired, over the past, familiarity with other police forces from geographic area to geographic area, in a variety of capacities. So be it.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Is it lifestyle or --

Mr Kormos: Yes. Policing is as professional and skilled in this province as it could be anywhere. What I found ironic was that this government, which promised to do things differently, this porcine government that said, "No more troughing," have had an unparalleled presence at the trough, all the snouts in there ear deep, including a recent junket to New York City where three government backbenchers -- why you needed three, I don't know; I guess one to hold on to the watch, the other to hold on to the wallet while the third one is doing whatever it is one does. Three government backbenchers on a junket to New York City to examine New York City policing, as if it's going to constitute some sort of model for Ontario. Unbelievable.

Here are the photos in the Sun, right out of NYPD Blue, I suppose. You've got these three backbenchers down there travelling Times Square -- regarding New York City cops as a model? I'm sorry, Solicitor General, there's nothing that Ontario's cops have to learn from New York City police officers. I can't think of a single thing that they have to learn. Indeed, I am told that one of the largest single divisions within the New York City Police Department is their internal affairs division that investigates other police officers. That's what happens when cops are increasingly underpaid, when they are increasingly under-resourced, and when they're increasingly put into the role of mere revenue collectors rather than being allowed to police.


We reject the inclusion of unsatisfactory work performance as a disciplinary threshold or standard for police officers. The code of misconduct, section 73, has worked well. This will give increased and arbitrary powers to chiefs of police and police services boards to engage in witchhunts of good cops who may not manage to play the politics well enough.

In that regard there were many community groups, civilian groups and police associations that were particularly valuable to the committee, and I only regret that the government didn't respond to them. I found particularly interesting the contributions to the committee made by Roy Rawluk, who is a police constable but acting, as he described it, in his own right, not representing a police force or a police association, but who provided some extremely valuable material and insights around the issue of unsatisfactory work performance. I am, as I'm sure other committee members are, grateful to Roy Rawluk. His material was extremely valuable.

Our final major hesitation was the bill's failure to deal with the lack of interpretation of subsection 113(9) of the act. We moved an amendment to the bill which would amend subsection 113(9) to clarify and reinforce the duty of a police officer to cooperate in the event of the SIU investigation of a police shooting.

There were a number of models provided to the committee to facilitate that end. The use immunity model: that is to say that a police officer's statement, compellable by 113(9), would not be capable of being introduced as evidence against that police officer, indeed because it was compellable. The Solicitor General knows what I'm talking about. I'm not sure the Attorney General does, but then again, so be it.

We heard about use immunity as a proposition. We heard about proposals for there being workplace-style disciplines, that is to say, interpreting subsection 113(9) as a condition of work. We heard about the difference between subject officers and witness officers and a proposal, that not everybody agreed with, that there be some distinction in the treatment of subject officers as compared to witness officers in terms of compelling a statement under subsection 113(9). Unfortunately, because 113 wasn't addressed in Bill 105, our amendment trying to introduce debate around the issue was not in order and rejected by the Tory Chair of the committee. I think it's imperative, though, because there remain too much uncertainty and too much concern among the public.

The Cherry Beach incident of a couple of months ago is the most blatant example of the failure to apply even the most modest intent of 113(9) to police officers being investigated. When there was no question about some very serious misconduct -- a fellow took a beating; there was no question about that -- people clammed up, dummied up. It was a flagrant contravention of 113(9). The community has been increasingly concerned about the inability of the SIU to gather evidence in a timely and accurate way promptly after a police shooting.

I appreciated the Solicitor General's comments earlier today in the House, where he indicated that duty to cooperate remains very much on the government's plate. We look forward to participating in that debate and encourage those community civilian groups with a strong interest to demand an opportunity for input.

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I am pleased to speak to Bill 105 today. I think it's in the best interests of the people from Windsor-Sandwich so they too know what we're debating today and what Bill 105 is about. I'd like to mention a couple of things today.

First, I'd begin with what the public in Ontario expected from a Mike Harris government and compare that to what we are getting. When we are finally dealing with legislation that affects police services, many people, police included, and certainly members of the public who are active with the police services, never expected Bill 105 nor its contents. I'd like to talk about that initially and speak specifically to some of those amendments we would have liked to have seen in the legislation that are not there. I certainly wish I had more time to get into more detail.

Specifically, the Mike Harris government campaigned and said they would be tough on crime. I think we all remember that. We were talking about the justice system as well. If there was anything the Conservatives were known for, it was, "We're tough on crime." They made a big kerfuffle about it. "We're tough on crime" is the PC Party line. In fact, they said a number of things in their Common Sense Revolution that they don't seem to be speaking much about any more. It has been exactly two years now -- we've hit the two-year anniversary of the Mike Harris government -- and we've seen instead a number of things that imply they're actually soft on crime, that their number one agenda is to cut taxes and in order to do that they'll borrow money and take money from needed programs that the public expects to receive.

When I think about police services, I think of that in terms of the taxes I pay and the taxes the people in Windsor-Sandwich pay. I feel, and I hope I represent my constituents, that I like paying taxes when I get value for my money. The issue then becomes, are we getting value for our money? A lot of people would agree that "Police services are the kind of service that I expect, that I want and that I am prepared to pay for." When we see those services being lessened in our communities, we are concerned, especially concerned because this is a government that campaigned on being tough on crime.

Interestingly, we just finished working with the Solicitor General in Bill 84, dealing with the fire services departments right across Ontario. That was another bill which was a clear disappointment for firefighters, for members of the public who are familiar with those firefighting services, where we had an expectation that this government, of all governments, was going to be doing things to enhance those services. What they're in fact doing is introducing legislation that becomes a toolkit to allow every city and town to take on more responsibility and continue what was always referred to as "unfunded mandates." You will provide the service and you will pay for the service. The province is pulling away from those funding mechanisms.

If we look in the law enforcement area, what Mike Harris said in his Common Sense Revolution -- this is important, because one would think that Bill 105, a police services bill, is going to do something that actually enhances safety for all communities. That is not anything to do with Bill 105. What Mike Harris said in the Common Sense Revolution was: "Funding for law enforcement and justice will be guaranteed... Any savings we find in our justice system through greater efficiencies will be reinvested to ensure public safety in our streets and homes." That's what Mike Harris said.

When we busy ourselves here taking up valuable legislative time, we expect to be dealing with legislation that has something to do with the promise he made during the campaign. What have we seen instead? The Solicitor General's budget cuts totalled $41.2 million; the Attorney General had budget cuts of $176 million. This was produced by the Liberal caucus, The Human Deficit, because we have seen clearly over the course of the last two years that that has been the effect of the budgets of this government, all for the sake of the tax cut. Those cuts include: $17.1 million in cuts to the OPP; $8.2 million in cuts to policing services; $38 million in cuts to justice services; $11.8 million in cuts to courts administration; $8.3 million in cuts to legal services to the crown.

How interesting. Here we have a quote in the Common Sense Revolution: "Funding for law enforcement and justice will be guaranteed." That's out the window. That's clearly a broken promise. In fact, they did that in their first year, never mind their second year. Given that the Attorney General is here, he says: "We will reform the legal aid program." Reform the legal aid program? If we're paying any attention to the kinds of calls we're getting in our constituency offices these days, we have people who are in dire need of assistance. They have nowhere to go. The only thing the government is able to tell them is, "Go find a lawyer," so naturally they try to go to the legal aid program.


The legal aid programs across Ontario have been so restricted in the kinds of cases they're able to take that some very important matters now are left undefended for those members of the public who cannot afford a lawyer. That's why they created the legal aid system in the first place, so that in Ontario you would never find people without the ability to have justice.

There is a significant number of cases -- I know the Attorney General is familiar with one case that keeps cropping up all the time. We were told that with this streamlining and increased efficiency, all this money was going to be reinvested in the system. That's a broken promise. None of it has come back into the system. All we see is this chronic lineup of people who are trying to have at a legal aid system, with no improvement in sight. We have staff people who work in the clinics across Ontario who are all overworked, who are forced to make these choices among cases, all of which are so critical.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): How much money was cut from the clinics, Sandra? Zero.

Mrs Pupatello: I know the Attorney General would like to speak. I wish he would speak to this bill as well.

Let's give a perfect example of no reinvestment. Let me tell you what's happening. If a client is now on family benefits and that client also is separated or divorcing from their spouse, they have to go to the other spouse for supposed support. This can be done by going to Family Court -- very costly -- or to a parental support worker in the office of Comsoc, and they can draw up an agreement for support.

Here's what's happened in a memorandum that just came out, dated May 16. The memo was to court services managers about a revision to court fees. Let's look at who's paying now for this new, streamlined efficiency of government. I'll tell you who: the very parents on family benefits, usually moms, who are supposed to go to the spouse for support, but now they have a new $50 fee. The Attorney General really should give me some reaction. I can't imagine you would be proud to go to the very mothers who don't have the funding in the first place, which is what landed them on family benefits. Here we are, Family Court, filing of a domestic contract, a new $50 fee. These same parents, who are in no position to pay, are being forced to pay $50 to do something that should have been available to them.

This is the kind of government we're dealing with, one that doesn't even make sense from one arm to the other, no logic, no straight line of thinking here, yet they were all elected, unfortunately, because they made promises, none of which are being kept.

Specifically to the bill and what the people had to say, what's interesting about the police association and the comments they made on this bill is that they were also supported by civilian groups. It's not just the police officers who had problems with the bill; it was also civilian groups who are very familiar with the legislation and who have worked within the system.

They're having trouble with the complaints process. Bill 105 removes the requirement to provide officers with full disclosure of the results of complaint investigations, yet that right of notice is still there for the complainants. We're actually treating our police officers worse than members of the public. At the very least, we should have the same kind of benefits given to both members of the public and police officers. Are they not civilians too, at least for some part of the day?

The informal resolution of complaints: Bill 105 imposes restrictions on the resolution process. It prevents complainants and police officers from resolving complaints in an open, efficient and cost-effective manner. The members who spoke before me spoke very eloquently about this whole process and what ends up happening to those who are being complained against. Everything is referred to the police chief.

If we were in the 1950s and we hadn't really developed any kind of formalized structure of what governments should be leading communities to do, we wouldn't be surprised to see all the power being moved to the police chief, but in this day and age we cannot honestly say this is the kind of management style we want to support through legislation. Any time you have an organization, a city and town, that has a very respectable relationship between its police association and the police chief, they probably won't worry so much. But according to this government and according to their behaviour so far, they are creating what will be very acrimonious relationships. In fact, they are setting the stage through legislation to have one individual make all of those decisions.

When other members of our side have spoken about the civilian oversight that now is no longer there, what does that mean to me and the people of Windsor-Sandwich? That tells me there isn't a sense of trust, that if a member of the public has a problem, who has some kind of alleged complaint against a police officer, he or she will not have a sense that justice is being done, because it's all being hidden away under that police chief, behind closed doors, and it will be solely up to that one individual whether that complaint goes anywhere. I can tell you that historically police officers want to have that civilian oversight, not just members of the public. Police officers could always count on there being a real sense of trust in the system, that if someone is going to make a complaint against police officers, they knew there was due process.

When we had committee hearings our critic for this, David Ramsay, the member for Timiskaming, finally asked Mr Wood, "What is the process going to be like and how are you going to set the ground rules for it?" They pushed and pushed and never could get an answer. What is meant to actually save money, so the government thinks, is ultimately going to end up costing more money because the police officers have no recourse in any kind of informal resolution, hearings, appeals, because all that has been stripped away and given to the police chief. The only recourse for the police officer now is through the court system, more bogging down of the courts at a significant cost to the government and a significant cost to the police officer or the association where that individual is a member.

I don't think we can look at Bill 105 just in isolation. Last week in this House this government introduced legislation dealing with all the broader public sector and making some pretty massive changes in the way relationships are going to be in all of this merging and downsizing of cities and towns across Ontario. How this impacts on the police, what this means is that in every county or city with neighbouring towns and townships, when they go about merging those services, they just toss their collective agreement into the air and say, "Here we go; we're going to start from scratch now, all the salary levels, benefits." It's not just that which impacts on the individual police officer, but standards of safety, methods of actually doing your job, all those things that are in those collectively bargained agreements, are out the window, given only a couple of things: One of the two groups, either the employer, the city or town, or the employees, can call and trigger the commission walking into that area and saying: "We'll make the decision now. Scrap that whole process."

The government introduced that kind of legislation last week and they did it on the basis that it's actually going to be fair and equitable and: "Don't worry, it's only a temporary commission. It's only going to be around until the year 2001, and after that you won't have to worry about it any more." Between now and the year 2001 we are going to have created, this government will have led, the most acrimonious time in labour relations that Ontario has ever seen. If this again were the 1950s, it would be perfectly acceptable that people hadn't been educated about what a real form of management and leadership style should be, that if we ask any police chief worth his or her salt, the police chief will tell you we have to work with all our partners in order to give good police service to our communities. There is a move afoot out there that involves community policing. It has been the wave, it will continue to be the wave of the future. All those things only happen when you have a very good level of morale, not just with the police chief but of course with the police officers. Bill 105 does nothing to enhance that. In fact, it does everything to try to destroy that.

I'm very disappointed, once again. The Solicitor General should have come right out in the beginning and said, "This is another part of the toolkit; this is how towns and municipalities are going to find savings even though you still have to provide police service to your communities." Instead, they wrap this up and call it fair and just and equitable and they make us look around to see that that's not the case at all. We've got real concerns.

Part of what is not in the bill is a description of what a police chief can call inappropriate conduct by a police officer, and that inappropriate conduct can actually result in some kind of suspension etc for those police officers. We asked again and again during the hearings, "What exactly would you classify as inappropriate behaviour, as misconduct, as unsatisfactory work?" It seems my city knew exactly what that was when information became available that this could actually be a cash cow for the towns and cities across Ontario. They could set a quota, and if the police officer didn't meet the quotas of having effected enough police tickets, traffic tickets etc, that police officer then could be punished for that.

I don't know how many of you have ever driven down south to Florida, but I have, and one of the states you go through is Georgia. If there's anything that is anti-tourism, it's the reputation of the Georgia troopers -- not that I've ever been stopped before by a police officer, but I will tell you they certainly have a reputation. I don't want that reputation in my province. I don't want Windsor, as the gateway, as the most significant trade spot in all of Ontario -- nay, in Canada -- I don't want us to be known to have that Georgia trooper style happening in my city. I don't want to see it. I don't think it's good for business, I don't think it's good for tourism, yet that's the kind of thing Bill 105 will allow for. They say: "Here we go. We're going to set the traps and we're going to put all that together."

I tend to drive back and forth when I go from Windsor to Toronto on a weekly basis. I will tell you that contrary to what was said in advance in the Common Sense Revolution, "We're going to have more men and women on the streets serving the public for safe communities and roads," I have not seen an increase in police officers on the road, and I'm on the road all the time. I can go past towns and cities three quarters of the way through, and sometimes the entire four-hour drive, and never see a police officer on the 401. The government promised we were going to have a better kind of feeling and safer feeling for roads. We don't have any of those things.

You talked about better truck safety as well. We saw what a joke that was, that the minister caught himself in a lie by saying all of a sudden, "Here we are, we're going to have these new, tough regulations for trucks." Then the Premier's office called and said: "Wait. We're having a fund-raiser. Don't do that to those trucking companies yet. Wait until our fund-raiser is over. Then we're going to water down that legislation and try to pass that off as if we're doing something great for the public."

The opposition parties are on to you, and we're on to all that. All of it is becoming just something you got elected on and nothing you're actually delivering on. If there's anything we can say in finishing, for a government that got elected because you thought you're tough on crime, you don't see any of that in Bill 105.

The Acting Speaker: By mutual consent, we will call the question. Mr Runciman has proposed third reading passage of Bill 105.

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. We will have a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1753 to 1758.

The Acting Speaker: Mr Runciman has proposed third reading of Bill 105. All those in favour, please rise.


Arnott, Ted

Harnick, Charles

Runciman, Robert W.

Baird, John R.

Harris, Michael D.

Sampson, Rob

Barrett, Toby

Jackson, Cameron

Saunderson, William

Bassett, Isabel

Johns, Helen

Shea, Derwyn

Carroll, Jack

Johnson, David

Sheehan, Frank

Chudleigh, Ted

Jordan, W. Leo

Smith, Bruce

Clement, Tony

Kells, Morley

Snobelen, John

Danford, Harry

Klees, Frank

Stewart, R. Gary

DeFaria, Carl

Leach, Al

Tascona, Joseph N.

Doyle, Ed

Marland, Margaret

Tilson, David

Ecker, Janet

Martiniuk, Gerry

Tsubouchi, David H.

Elliott, Brenda

Maves, Bart

Turnbull, David

Eves, Ernie L.

Murdoch, Bill

Vankoughnet, Bill

Fisher, Barbara

Mushinski, Marilyn

Villeneuve, Noble

Fox, Gary

O'Toole, John

Wilson, Jim

Froese, Tom

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Witmer, Elizabeth

Galt, Doug

Palladini, Al

Wood, Bob

Gilchrist, Steve

Parker, John L.

Young, Terence H.

Grimmett, Bill

Rollins, E.J. Douglas


Hardeman, Ernie

Ross, Lillian


The Acting Speaker: Those opposed, please rise.


Agostino, Dominic

Duncan, Dwight

McLeod, Lyn

Bartolucci, Rick

Gerretsen, John

Pouliot, Gilles

Bisson, Gilles

Gravelle, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Boyd, Marion

Hoy, Pat

Ramsay, David

Bradley, James J.

Kormos, Peter

Sergio, Mario

Castrilli, Annamarie

Kwinter, Monte

Wildman, Bud

Conway, Sean G.

Martel, Shelley

Wood, Len

Crozier, Bruce

Martin, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 58; the nays are 23.

The Acting Speaker: Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

It being 6 of the clock, the House will adjourn until 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1802.