36th Parliament, 1st Session

L244b - Thu 9 Oct 1997 / Jeu 9 Oct 1997













The House met at 1833.



Mr Eves moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 115, An Act to reduce red tape by amending or repealing certain statutes administered by the Ministry of Finance and by making complementary amendments to other statutes / Projet de loi 115, Loi visant à réduire les formalités administratives en modifiant ou en abrogeant certaines lois dont l'application relève du ministère des Finances et en apportant des modifications complémentaires à d'autres lois.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Mr Eves.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): No further comment, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Further debate? The member for Scarborough-Agincourt.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'd like to indicate that I will be sharing my time with the member for Kingston and The Islands and the member for St Catharines.

I wanted to comment on Bill 115, first to say that as a matter of operating principle I think it's useful to have a process where governments of any political stripe can update and modernize our acts. They do get out of date and we're very supportive of a legitimate process that allows any government of the day to update them. As a matter of principle, we have no problem with the approach of the bills. I think any government should have this kind of process in place. We have to constantly review our laws and our regulations and keep them up to date.

I've always argued that omnibus bills such as this are quite in order. The members will know that we all -- at least all of us in opposition -- had a very different opinion of the omnibus bill, Bill 26, which covered a broad scope and went well beyond simply updating our outdated laws and regulations. In the future this is the kind of process we would be supportive of. As a matter of fact, I think the previous NDP government had similar omnibus bills.

In an overview sense we are supportive of the bill. It offers some significant improvements. I would say, however, that one of the trends that we're seeing is the government moving increasingly to taking away much of the public input and opportunity for comment. By definition, I suppose often when you are eliminating red tape, speeding up the process, modernizing, all of those things, if you're in cabinet you very much like that because it makes your job far easier. There's less scrutiny, you can get things done far faster and you don't have that messy process of involving the public. But we're here of course to serve the public. Running a government isn't quite like running a business. It isn't quite as smooth as running a business. The public wants an opportunity for input.

I would say to the members, as you look at the bill, in virtually every section Bill 115 moves away from the minister having to do things through regulation to letting the minister make the decision by himself or herself. By the way, I continue to remind ourselves that we're writing these laws for all future governments. Governments come and go, as all of us have experienced. I'd urge the members of the Conservative caucus to look at any bill and assume that some day there will be a party of another political stripe working on them.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Two years, Gerry.

Mr Phillips: Who knows, but just make that assumption because that's what we're here for. In every section it says things. Various forms will be approved by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. Fees will be established by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. Forms for the purpose of the act will be approved by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. For the purposes of occupancy tax, students' residences will be designated by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. Forms will no longer be approved by the commissioner.

Virtually all of the bill is about taking away public scrutiny and letting the government of the day do these things without any public debate, any opportunity for public input. For people who are watching this, the jargon must sometimes confuse, but when you do things through regulation, there are two types of regulations, order-in-council regulations and ministerial regulations. At least an order-in-council regulation has to go to a committee where there's some scrutiny and it's available for the public to be aware that it's being dealt with, and if they've got a concern, at least to express that concern.

But, as with most of the red tape bills, this bill is designed to speed things up, to make cabinet more efficient, to grease the skids, let things happen more quickly, take away public scrutiny and input. I repeat, it's often great when you're in government, particularly when you're in the cabinet, to approve a bill like this, because, believe me, it makes life simpler for the cabinet. But we are here to serve the public and I would just ask the members to bear that in mind as you look at Bill 115.


The reason I raise this is that it's part of a pattern, and I think the Minister of Finance may even share my concern, although not to the extent I do. We're also dealing with another of his bills right now, Bill 149, which is the property tax bill, and also with Bill 160, which is the education bill, but the Ministry of Finance has a huge role in that bill. Just as in Bill 115, the public's opportunity for input and scrutiny is severely diminished. It's part of a pattern. I've said I am amazed that the government is giving itself, in Bill 160, the authority to set over one third of all of the property taxes in the province of Ontario without even having to take it to the public at any time.

I'm actually surprised that the Conservative back bench has not objected to this. The Minister of Finance simply signs a document and a third of all of the property taxes in the province of Ontario will be set by the Minister of Finance and the Premier -- no input, no discussion, no dialogue. Many of you are former municipal politicians -- reeves and mayors and councillors. I am surprised you are not objecting to that because I personally find it objectionable. I just don't think any government should give itself the right to set by regulation what amounts to $6 billion of property tax income without any debate, any input, without ever having to even discuss it publicly. The first time the public will find out about it is when something called the Gazette comes out and in the Gazette is the property tax.

The reason I raise this is that you can see in these red tape bills a pattern to remove from public scrutiny much of what I think the public has a right to know and have an input on. It perhaps is no more dramatic than in the education bill. If any duly elected council in Ontario ever tried to set the mill rate in private, they would be thrown out. By the way, the minister, by regulation, can set the tax rate on businesses, and it can differ by municipality. The Minister of Finance can set different property tax rates on businesses. Bear in mind that for businesses this is over half their property tax. The Minister of Finance, by regulation, by the stroke of a pen, can set a different rate for different municipalities, different parts of municipalities, different classes of property, different subclasses of property, different portions of a property's assessment, different geographic areas and different parts of the municipality.

I object to it. I think that what we're seeing in Bill 115 is the start of a pattern, where the public will not have an opportunity for input. What I think should happen in something as important as setting the property tax -- and bear in mind, this is the first time in the history of Ontario that the provincial government has tapped into property tax. This is the first time that the province has said: "We're looking for a brand-new source of revenue -- property tax. We're going to set the mill rate on businesses. We're going to do it by regulation and $6 billion worth of taxes will be set by the minister, by the government, by the cabinet."

I said this before, but I guarantee you, if the NDP were still the government and Bob Rae brought in a bill that said, "I want the power to set over half of the business property taxes. I want that power and I want to be able to do it privately. I don't want to ever have to come to the Legislature and get approval for it. I'm just going to sign a piece of paper," Mike Harris, who used to sit right here, would be over the desk screaming at Bob Rae, who used to sit there. I remind ourselves, we are passing these bills; Bill 115 and Bill 160 will become law for this government and future governments. The then leader of the Conservative Party, Mr Harris, would have really gone ballistic.

Yet you find in virtually every section of Bill 115 -- and it covers, by the way, modifications to probably 20 different acts. Bill 115 modifies 20 different acts. In every one of the acts the minister is giving himself the power to do what used to have to be done through some public consultations.

Bill 115 is amending the Loan and Trust Corporations Act. The amendments will authorize the minister to establish fees and approve forms, rather than have fees and forms set out in regulation, so the minister doesn't even have to pass a regulation.

I say to the members, all of us, "All right, we want to streamline things, but don't we also want public input and public opportunity to have some say in the way they're governed?" I think the Minister of Finance has some sympathy for our view. The other bill I mentioned, Bill 149, is the major property tax bill before us. In that case, the minister is giving himself 25 different cases where by regulation he's making decisions that used to have to be made through passing a bill, passing an act in the Legislature.

There are solutions to this. The solution is to do on the property tax what the government has to do on something like income tax. If the government wants to change the Income Tax Act to change the rates, it has to come here and get approval. That's legitimate. That's a process we should go through, so at least the public has an opportunity for some debate and some input into it, but no, on this particular one where $6 billion of property taxes are going to be set, it will be done without any input, any opportunity for the public to know even what's being contemplated. The public will only find out on a Saturday when something called the Ontario Gazette is published. They'll look in there and they'll see the government has made a decision.

Why do I think all of this is important? I keep reminding ourselves that we're here to serve the public. All of us only represent them. We are here to represent the public. We're not here to assume unlimited powers unto ourselves, and yet these bills, all three of them -- the reason I point out the other two bills is that there is a pattern in them.

I would say this particularly to the Conservative back bench because it is they who often say, "Not only do we want public input on taxes; if we're going to change taxes, we want a referendum, we want the public to have a chance to vote on it." You can't say that on one the hand and then on the other hand be supporting a bill that allows the minister to set the taxes, not only with no referendum but with no debate -- nothing, just the stroke of a pen.

I would also say that giving himself the power to change rates within municipalities, by property classes -- I asked in a briefing, "Is there anything he can't do?" No, pretty much this bill will give the minister unfettered taxing rights by decree. I would urge the members to look at it because the minister can say: "All right, in Oakville this will be the rate. This will be the rate on commercial. This will be the rate on industrial. In this part of Oakville, it will be one rate; in that part, another rate." The minister can do that and there is no recourse. Nobody can challenge it. It will just be issued. The other part is setting the residential mill rate. The minister there again will have the unilateral power to do that and there will be no debate. None of us can challenge that. There is no opportunity even to have a vote here in the Legislature.


The reason I raise that is -- I don't want to sound overly partisan here -- this is a government that is centralizing power at the cabinet table in a way we have never seen before. The government now has complete control over education. You wonder why the teachers are upset? The government, with this bill, in addition to setting all the tax rates on education, will set every budget for the school boards, will negotiate all the contracts and will tell the teachers their working conditions. They'll be the only group that is negotiating with collective bargaining and having no say about their working conditions. The government, by decree, will tell them their working conditions.


Mr Phillips: The government may not appreciate what I am saying, but what we see in these red tape bills -- and Bill 115, which we are debating now, is a finance red tape bill -- is that every single paragraph takes power away from the people, power away from the Legislature and gives it to Mike Harris. I can see why the bureaucrats like this, because it gets away from the need for any messy debate and having to get some public input. It's smooth. I can see why somebody who may have come out of the private sector and run a company, owned it -- "I'll do what I want" -- how they may like it, because it's clean. You don't have to get any public input, you can just do what you want. But whoever was responsible for drafting these bills, the one group they ignored was the public. You just have to pick them up and you can see in every one of them that the opportunity for public input is gone.

Forms will be approved by the minister rather than by regulation. Fees will be established by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. That's on the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations Act. The Land Transfer Tax Act: Fees will be established by the minister rather than prescribed by regulation. The Retail Sales Tax Act: The minister is authorized to determine types of vehicles and their highway fuel consumption ratings rather than prescribing them by regulation. The Small Business Development Corporations Act: The act is amended to authorize the minister to approve forms in place of having forms prescribed by regulation.

In virtually every section, public scrutiny is removed. I say to the public, we're supportive of eliminating red tape and streamlining and getting rid of things that are out of date, but we've got to begin to draw the line, and a line that surely all of us except the cabinet can agree on is that I don't think it makes any sense to have the cabinet, Mike Harris -- I repeat, if this bill had been passed before, think of Bob Rae, if Bob Rae could set property taxes on businesses, well over half of the business property taxes, with the stroke of a pen, no input, no debate, and could vary them all over the lot.


Mr Phillips: The member said it would go into the billions. Exactly. That's what Mike Harris wants.


Mr Phillips: The member says it won't. It will, because the government has already told the business sector: "We are going to extract $3.5 billion from you. We're going to extract it, we're going to tell you to do it and then we'll tell you where to send the cheque."

As I say, we have been supportive of the principle of streamlining, of eliminating unnecessary red tape -- I guess red tape is by definition unnecessary -- but I just urge us all to look at the pattern here. We have a series of bills from the Minister of Finance. Every section of Bill 115 says, "We'll give that power to the minister rather than by regulation." Regulations have been there for a purpose, and that is to give the affected parties an opportunity to know when you're going to charge them more money. That's gone now. Bill 149, the property tax bill, takes out of legislation and gives to the minister 25 new rights. The other day the minister indicated that maybe they will back off on two or three of them, but all sorts of new rights to set taxes by regulation, and the most astonishing one to me is the education bill, Bill 160, where a completely unfettered right to set taxes is given to the minister.

So what appears to be a fairly benign bill and one that seems to have broad support has a broader theme -- a theme of centralization, a theme of the Premier having the power to control things. It's nowhere more evident or obvious than in Bill 160, where now the mill rate will be set. I think the public will, as they realize what is happening, say: "Wait a minute. Who gave you the right to set" -- for the businesses -- "over half my property tax, never have a debate, never give me any input and do it all by regulation in private? I don't think so."

As I turn the floor over to one of my colleagues, I just say that we are supportive of proceeding with the bill. We have broad concern that it's more of a symptom in Bill 115 and more of a huge problem in Bill 149, the property tax bill, and Bill 160, the education bill, where we see it totally manifest itself in this total control of everything that Mike Harris seems to want. We hear him saying: "You can't trust the school boards, you can't trust the teachers, you can't trust the unions. The only person you can trust is me. Give me the power. Trust me." I think the public have another view. The public trust themselves and in the final analysis they want to be involved in this decision, not some politician who wants to make all these decisions in a cabinet room.


Mr Gerretsen: I'm very pleased to join this debate. I won't take very long, because I know that the member for St Catharines, who will follow me, will have some very important announcements to make with respect to what people may be reading about in the newspapers or seeing on their local television shows tomorrow morning. I'm sure they will want to know about this, so I advise everyone to stay tuned for the next 10 or 15 minutes and they will get some pre-news announcements, as it were.

I wanted to talk about something that was referred to by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. It deals with this bill and what in effect is happening here. He gave a couple of examples as to the kind of powers that are now being given to ministers directly, whereas prior to this they could only be given by way of regulation. For the general public, what they should understand is that you're going to get the most public scrutiny on anything that's proposed if a law is passed on that because then it gets publicly scrutinized in this House on at least two readings of a particular bill and usually by way of public consultation and public meetings.

One step away from that kind of public scrutiny is if something is passed by way of regulation. Yes, there is still a certain type of public involvement but not to the same extent as there would be if a bill is enacted by this House. But if something is changed by way of regulation, at least an order in council has to be passed, a ministerial or cabinet committee has to get involved, and there is some scrutiny beyond just the scrutiny of that ministry and that particular minister.

What's happening in this bill is that -- and yes, my colleague had it correct. I just counted the number of bills this act affects. It affects about 25 different acts, and in each and every case the result is exactly the same. I'll just read you the acts it affects: the Commodity Futures Act, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, the Co-operative Corporations Act, the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, the Employer Health Tax Act, the Fuel Tax Act, the Gasoline Tax Act, the Income Tax Act, the Insurance Act, the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations Act, the Land Transfer Tax Act, the Loan and Trust Corporations Act, the Mining Tax Act, the Mortgage Brokers Act, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act, the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act, the Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan Act, the Provincial Land Tax Act, the Race Tracks Tax Act, the Tobacco Tax Act, The Retail Sales Tax Act, the Small Business Development Corporations Act, and that's the entire list.

What happens in each and every one of these situations is this: From here on in, once this bill is passed, the minister can authorize what forms are to be used in that particular situation and authorize the use of what fees can be charged in order to comply with that act. It will no longer be done by regulation. So any kind of public scrutiny, even though it was very limited if it were done by way of regulations, is completely taken out of the system.

I suppose all of us would say that's all right, it moves things along, until we ourselves are affected in one way or the other; until, for example, the land transfer tax is increased and then what happens with a new home buyer, when all of a sudden they realize they've got to pay more than what maybe somebody else paid six months before? That can all be done overnight and there's no longer any public scrutiny on that. I know for a fact that's one tax that has increased tremendously over the last number of years, and if it were to increase along the same lines, it would become a burden on anybody who's buying a piece of property. Yet with the changes that are being proposed here, we would have absolutely no control over that.

It is really symptomatic of what this government's all about. This government got elected on the notion that it wanted smaller government. It wanted less control, more localized control, and of course what it has done is exactly the opposite. There are a number of bills that clearly indicate this, but probably the best one that illuminates it all is Bill 160.

I didn't have an opportunity to speak about this yesterday and I just want to take a few minutes about some of the points that I think are very relevant. One of the points has already been raised by my colleague from Scarborough-Agincourt, and that is the $6-billion, stroke-of-the-pen amendment, regulation, ministerial edict that can be signed by the Minister of Finance whereby he or she sets the residential educational tax rate and the commercial educational tax rate for Ontario. It is very well for the minister to say, "This year we need a total of $6 billion from the residential property taxpayer." I think that's a commitment that's more or less out there -- we're not 100% sure of that, but it's out there -- because basically they said, "Next year we're only going to charge the residential property taxpayer 50% of the education taxes they paid last year in this particular year."

But who is to say that the next time more funding is required for education -- and by the way, the way in which this government is going, that may be a long day off. But let's assume they're in a crunch and they want to get more money for education. They can have it in two different ways. They can either get it out of the general coffers of the province through the income tax method, or they can say, "All right, maybe this year we don't need $6 billion from the property tax rate, but we'll make it $7 billion." So all of a sudden your individual residential property taxes are being raised as a result of a decision that is being made by a Minister of Finance without any public consultation here at Queen's Park.

I think every residential property owner can determine right now from looking at this year's tax bill exactly how much you're going to be charged for educational taxes next year. It's half, from what we've been told. But what I'm telling you is that when it comes to a crunch, the Minister of Finance can very easily increase that amount from $6 billion, not by putting it on the general tax rate out of the general revenues of the province, but by placing a much larger amount on the local property tax rate. That can be done without any consultation; that can be done without any kind of debate.

Of course what they're hoping for under those circumstances is that when you get your tax bill and your taxes have gone up 20% and you run down to your local city hall and say: "What are you people talking about? You said you were only going to increase it 2% or 3% this year and my taxes have actually been increased something like 15% or 20%," the local treasurer or the clerk will tell you: "Well, look at that educational portion on your taxes and compare it to last year. What we have been charged by the province this year is more than we charged you last year on your local property tax bill." You can do that in Bill 160.

I know that most of the debate has been about the quality of education, about the way it affects our students, the way it affects our children, about teachers etc, but there's been very little discussion about how the money is actually raised on the property tax bill. I've only been around here for two and a half years, but I know of no other way in which the province of Ontario can raise $6 billion to $7 billion as quickly as by the stroke of a pen as to what that rate's going to be in any one given year.

The other one I find kind of interesting is this whole notion of equalized or market value assessment -- oh, no, it's actual value assessment, but of course we all know it's the same -- where everyone's taxes, on the basis of a fair system, will be based on the market value, the actual value, the current value of your property.

Of course, if we take a look at Bill 149, there are all sorts of classes within, let's say, a commercial grouping, an industrial grouping, that a local municipality can set up. It's even possible to do that within a residential rate. The end result is that if you had a property that is the same value in one part of town, if that local municipality decided to implement a different rate or a different class in another part of town, your taxes would be quite a bit different for the same value of property or the same value of house.


We all know, by the way, that when you look back at Bill 160, there's much more to it than just a financial tax grab by the Minister of Finance that can be done by a stroke of the pen in setting the residential property tax rate. We know that it affects teaching in this province. We know it is going to affect our children in this province. What we should really also clearly understand is that the power of school boards, school boards that have existed in this province since 1832 -- they were around some 30 years before you had organized local government in this province. School boards have been around since the 1830s. They have always had the power to tax their local residents on the quality and basis of education that they wanted for their students. That was the whole initiation, the whole start of the school board system. That is totally done away with now. That's been totally done away with because school boards no longer will have any power left after these current municipal elections.

It's quite evident that is so, because in many, many municipalities around this province there haven't been enough candidates. There are some ridings, some wards or areas where there haven't been any. Nobody's come forward to offer themselves as candidates for a school board position. I think those people who have served on boards before, or who were thinking of serving on these boards before, realized that there won't be anything for them to do.

What are they going to deal with? About the only thing they can deal with, I suppose, are bus routings and things along those lines. But as far as having a say over the quality of education in their community is concerned, over what that community values and maybe wants to spend some extra money on for particular programs, the local school boards, because they no longer have any power of taxation at all, will become totally useless. I hate to say this, because I'm a great believer in local government and I'm a great believer in the power of local school boards. Unfortunately, that's gone by the wayside.

Bill 115, although it is in its outlines something that we can support, is at the same time, however, really -- how shall I put it? It sort of shows that this government thinks that government is a business. As I've always said, government is not a business. If government were purely a business, there are many activities that you wouldn't be involved in because they're totally money-losing. They're non-productive. But I think when you're in government you also look after the welfare of all the residents, regardless of whether or not under certain circumstances they may cost you money. I think that is what is lacking.


Mr Gerretsen: Yes, I thought a plane was coming inside here, Mr Speaker, and we were getting ready for the parachute landings, but it didn't quite happen that way.

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): He's picking up some of those folks who are leaving cabinet.

Mr Gerretsen: Oh, that's the way in which the cabinet shuffle is being handled. I see. They're airlifting people in and picking the other ones back up.

In any event, I won't take any more time because I know my colleague from St Catharines has some very important announcements to make --

Hon Mr Eves: I want to find out where I'm supposed to work tomorrow.

Mr Gerretsen: -- so that particularly the members on the government side will know where to report for work tomorrow. Of course, we on this side know where we're going to report for work tomorrow -- same old place, and we're going to fight this government tooth and nail for the next two years, as we have for the last two and a half years, because we really feel government should be about compassion, government should be about understanding, government should be about doing things perhaps in a business-like fashion. But government is never a business because in government you deal with people and the needs of people change from time to time and are different from community to community.

Without any further ado, I will now yield the rest of my time to the member for St Catharines.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I've been looking forward to speaking on this piece of legislation. I know it's a very important bill, and I am wondering which minister will be carrying this bill or a bill of this kind when we resume on November 17, because at long last the Premier has listened to me. All these days I've been saying to him as the ministers get up and answer questions, "Time for a shuffle," and now, at the end of the session, the Premier is finally shuffling the deck. People are moving around the cabinet. All those people who have been shining the Premier's shoes for the last while -- his shoes are really shiny these days -- and laughing at his jokes and applauding wildly when he comes up with one of his stellar performances in the House, one of his intellectual gems that he fires at the opposition and there's laughter and applause, it has paid off for some.

I have to tell members of the House, I can't tell all of you the whole story yet. I want to keep it a secret for tomorrow morning when you read the newspapers and their speculation, and then the official announcement. But I can tell you that despite the fact that many would have seen Ernie Eves, the member for Parry Sound, in the economic development and trade portfolio --

Hon Mr Eves: Do you mean I'm not getting that?

Mr Bradley: -- where perhaps he could travel outside of Mactier and Nobel and places like that, Ernie is going to be left in the Ministry of Finance. I hate to break that news to him, but there he is; he's left in the Ministry of Finance.

I would have thought one person -- here would have been a stroke of genius. A stroke of genius would have been to pluck -- notice I said "pluck" -- the Speaker from his chair and place him in a senior portfolio in cabinet, because I can't think of a more capable person previously on the government benches than the member for Etobicoke West. Now he's not allowed to use this in his campaign literature. I know there are some members of municipal councils and others who use others' quotes, but I know that this Speaker would not do it. But that would have been a stroke of genius. My friend from St Catharines-Brock would no doubt agree with me. To take the Speaker of the House from his chair and place him in the front benches of the cabinet, I'll tell you, would have been a stroke of genius. But alas, there seems to be a clash there somehow.

You know what's difficult, I think? When you become a Premier, there's a certain ego that goes with it.

Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): How would you know?

Mr Bradley: I'm told. I'm only told that. And the ego prevents you from admitting that you were wrong and that you should have chosen someone for the cabinet.

The Speaker: I'm with you so far.

Mr Bradley: Alas, I say to the Speaker of the House, who is so demurring, that didn't happen.

But I can tell you that we have a new Minister of Education.

The Speaker: You should speak to the bill if you're not going to talk about me any more.

Mr Bradley: Well, I'll tell you, I'm wondering what stamp each of the cabinet ministers would have on this bill. That's why I'm going to go through them.

The new Minister of Education will be Dave Johnson, and the reason is, if you'll remember watching him in the House all the time, he never seems to get angry. He doesn't point fingers at the opposition. He has a smile on his face most of the time. He's a calm person.

I want to see him in a discussion with Earl Manners and some of my other good friends in the teachers' federation, people who have steadfastly supported the education system over the years, because they will find him a different person from John Snobelen, who had a certain personality that wasn't necessarily acceptable to many people in the teaching profession -- I try to be kind when I'm using these various analyses -- and that was a problem.

So now we will see perhaps some concessions to the teachers because, I'll tell you, the bugles of retreat are sounded every day. I have a feeling that the government has fallen below 30% in the polls and that there's a full panic on now and there's a need to bring new people in.

If I were given the choice, I would have elevated certain people. If you think of David Tilson, for instance, a very capable person, I would have thought David would be in the cabinet. I don't have any word on that. Cam Jackson has served long and with distinction in this House and has been a minister responsible for two different areas. If I were the Premier, I would put someone with his experience in a senior portfolio in the cabinet.

David Turnbull, a person who has had some senior responsibility: I would put David Turnbull in. But I didn't see David Turnbull walking around with a shoe brush and the shoe polish, and so I knew that his chances of getting into the cabinet were not necessarily that great.


However, we're going to have a new Minister of Health, because the last Minister of Health is associated with hospital closings and a lot of cuts in the hospital area. So when the vault is about to open a bit, and I know from the Treasurer that that is the case, they want to have a new minister there to be smiling and giving out the money. Elizabeth Witmer of Waterloo North will be there to hand out the money to the various communities, and they'll call it reinvestment.

A new face in the cabinet: Mr Flaherty, our friend from Oshawa, will be in the cabinet. He's going to be the new Minister of Labour.

Mr Froese: Durham Centre.

Mr Bradley: Well, Durham Centre is Oshawa, isn't it?

Mr John L. Parker (York East): Not Oshawa, Whitby.

Mr Bradley: Whitby? I stand corrected: Whitby. He is going to be the Minister of Labour. I'm wondering what stance he will take on this bill. He has obviously served his Premier well.

Mr Wilson, the Minister of Health, will go to energy, a new challenge for him.

Mr Clement, who has served so well, who I have noted leading the applause on many occasions and who has the loudest laughter when the Premier tells a joke -- no, not the loudest. Sorry, Tony. There have been other people in the House who have equalled you that I won't mention. He's going to be the Minister of Transportation of Ontario.

Mr Hodgson is now going to be the Management Board chair. He leaves a portfolio that I think he liked very much, natural resources. He's going to be the Management Board chair and he's going to have responsibility still for northern development.

I understand that my good friend Margaret Marland -- they're bringing them in from all over the province. Margaret Marland has arrived and others have arrived from various parts. There are trains and buses and airplanes and everything arriving with the new ministers. She is going to be minister without portfolio responsible for children.

Mr Snobelen, the Minister of Education, will go to natural resources, the new Minister of Natural Resources.

Al Palladini, Minister of Transportation, is a good salesman, so he's going to go to economic development, trade and tourism.

Mr Saunderson is going to take a senior position, I understand. I don't know if it involves still being in cabinet or not, but it's a senior trade type of position.

I don't want to give them all away. These are just some of the changes.

Rob Sampson from Mississauga, I'm told, is getting a promotion. I thought he had already reached the highest position you can in cabinet as minister without portfolio, responsible for privatization. I think he can anticipate some increased responsibilities.

Isabel Bassett is here tonight, a very pleasant person to deal with. I thought she was good when she was deputy House leader, I want to tell you, because she was so good to deal with. I had to deal with some other people in the cabinet at the time -- I'm not saying Ernie; he was okay too. But Elizabeth was very pleasant to deal with.

Mr Gerretsen: Isabel.

Mr Bradley: What did I say?

Mr Gerretsen: You said Elizabeth.

Mr Bradley: Why did I say Elizabeth? Elizabeth Witmer is pleasant too. But I'm going to tell you --

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Where's Isabel going, anyway?

The Speaker: Well, member for St Catharines?

Mr Bradley: Isabel will be going to culture. She'll be a good culture minister.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): And citizenship. She can give out all those plaques.

Mr Bradley: And citizenship as well. She's a very pleasant individual, a person who is easy to get along with, a good, conciliatory person in terms of dealing with the opposition. I think we'll be kind to her for the first week in which we direct questions to her. We'll make sure of that.

So those are some of the changes. I want to keep some hopes up in the government benches. I know there are some there. I mentioned some of the people I would put in because of their experience and their knowledge.

Ernie Hardeman: I would look at Ernie for the cabinet. He would be good in municipal affairs, for instance. He gets along with people. You know what I like about him? When I'm speaking in the House, he looks like he's actually listening to what I'm saying, one of the few members who actually looks as though he's paying attention.

Janet Ecker is going to stay in the Ministry of Community and Social Services. That is the word. I am going to check with Sandra Pupatello to see whether that's good news or bad news, but she will stay on there, and I know she won't be like Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them eat cake." I know she won't, because I know her too well.

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): It's not good for your health.

Mr Bradley: It's not good for your health, she says.

Some of you thought Al Leach was leaving municipal affairs and housing. He's not. He's staying right there. He's going to stay the course.

One word I heard was that the member for Scarborough East, Mr Gilchrist, may be in charge of privatization. I would like to see Mr Gilchrist, or Steve, if I can say Steve Gilchrist, as the ambassador of this government. I would like to see Steve selling the message for this government, because I find that when he speaks in the House it resonates very well in many quarters. There he is now, and he has his new Harry Rosen suit on tonight.

Interjection: Just in case.

Mr Bradley: Just in case. I have informed the photographers they should come up into the press gallery to take photos of various members, so everybody look as though you're in the cabinet anyway, just in case you are, and they'll have some good shots.

I don't know how many of the family values caucus are going to be in, but I would like to see at least one or two in there to keep the rest of the cabinet in line. My friend Mr Spina last night was -- what can I say? -- expressive, and I am sure he has been chastised by some of his colleagues for the colourful performance he provided for members of the House when they angered him last night. I would have thought he might have been considered for the cabinet until that happened.

Whom else have we got? Norm Sterling: I think Norm will probably stay on as Minister of Environment. He feels comfortable in that position. Dianne Cunningham, who certainly could have been Minister of Education, will stay where she is. I believe Mike Harris is staying on. That's the news I hear anyway. Noble is staying in agriculture. Let's see who else we have. Dave Tsubouchi is staying where he is.

I don't want to give everything away now. I want to be surprised tomorrow when the list comes out, and I'm going to be watching all the newscasts. I'll still be up at 3 o'clock in the morning when --

Mr Colle: What about Derwyn Shea? He should be a minister.

Mr Bradley: Derwyn Shea. There's a Toronto person. I saw him ask a few lob-ball questions in the House that made the ministers look good. He's the Chair, I'm told, of the Hydro committee. He may be a person who will be considered. But I want to leave the hope out there for some of my colleagues from the Niagara region. I want to leave the hope out for Tom Froese, my good friend from St Catharines-Brock, and Bart Maves from Niagara Falls. I want to leave the hope out there that somehow they will be considered for cabinet positions.

Mr Colle: Here comes one of the new ministers in now.

Mr Bradley: Here is a new minister just arriving, Jim Flaherty, from Whitby, Ontario. The limo is warming up outside already for Jim to take him back to wherever he is going tonight, and then back in for the cabinet tomorrow.

Mr Colle: When do you get the limo, tonight or tomorrow?

Mr Bradley: There are some perks, I'm told, to being minister, but in seriousness, it's a very difficult job. I want to tell all members of the House that it's very difficult to be a cabinet minister. When you are on this side of the House, as I have been most of my life, there is not quite the same degree of responsibility as there is when you sit on the governing side, and regardless of who they are and what party they are, I admire the people who take on the responsibility of cabinet minister, because it is a genuine challenge. I wish you well, not as well as perhaps you would hope, but I don't wish you any misfortune; let's put it that way. We on this side will be asking all the necessary questions to probe any weaknesses in the government, to bring out any policies that perhaps you're reluctant to share with us, but I want to say to the new ministers that you're going to find, at least in the initial stages, that people will be very understanding and perhaps even kind.

Janet, you got a good round of applause the first time you stood up. Remember?


Hon Mrs Ecker: You've never done it again, Jim.

Mr Bradley: You know, I might again. If you were to resign because you disagree with the direction of this government, I would lead the standing ovation.

Hon Mrs Ecker: You will be the first to know.

Mr Bradley: I'm glad to hear that.

Anyway, I stray from the content of Bill 115. What I want the people out there to know tonight, who now know what the cabinet changes are, is that no matter what face is in any position, the real power will continue to reside in the back rooms of the Premier's office.

Mr Colle: With the whiz kids.

Mr Bradley: The whiz kids will still run the operation. You may be a new minister, people will carry your suitcases and open the door and laugh at your jokes now --

Mr Phillips: Return your phone calls.

Mr Bradley: Yes, they will return your phone calls now. Everything you say will have some degree of importance, but you should know that ultimately, just as they vilified John Snobelen and said, "Isn't John Snobelen awful as Minister of Education?" -- I'll leave that judgement to some others. I want to tell you that while Mr Snobelen or Mr Wilson or anyone else might have been speaking, the script was really written by the backroom boys in the Premier's office, Guy Giorno and Tom Long and -- give me some other names. David Lindsay is gone now but I'm sure he still phones in his suggestions. McLaughlin; the person you got from the Liberal Party out in British Columbia. What is his name? Here are the cameras. Get ready for the pictures. Anyway, I want to tell people that regardless of who is in the cabinet positions, the real power resides with the unelected whiz kids in the Office of the Premier. They are the ones who will continue to run it.

With regard to this bill, the problem I have -- it's not innocuous but it's not a dangerous bill as long as the government doesn't use its regulatory power to continue to raise taxes. I have now counted the Conservative government of Mike Harris as being responsible for 478 tax increases. Do you know how I calculate? I calculate that because Premier Harris, when he was leader of the Conservative Party in opposition, said a user fee is a tax, so I have now counted 478 increases in tax since this government came into power.

Hon Mrs Ecker: Get a life, Jim.

Mr Bradley: It's obviously two wasted years -- lost years?

Mr Phillips: Lost years.

Mr Bradley: It's two lost years that we have had under this administration.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Get a life.

The Speaker: Order. Member for Nepean, you can't tell him to get a life.

Mr Bradley: I want to wish them all well. Those who may be departing to go to better things, I want to wish them well, because despite many of the differences we have, there is no personal animosity between those of us in the opposition and the government side. I hope members will always remember that.

The Speaker: Questions and comments? Further debate?

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): I take some pleasure in rising on third and final reading of Bill 115, a bill in the name of the honourable Ernie Eves.

But before I go to 115, I have with me a news release that I want to share with Mr Flaherty because I understand the member for St Catharines did a lot of speculation and there are a lot of nervous people. Many more are right by the phone anticipating that Mike the Man is going to call.

The press release relates to infrastructure, Canada-Ontario projects. It says --


Mr Pouliot: Well, it's tomorrow. "Somewhere in Ontario" --

Mrs Boyd: No, Tuesday.

Mr Pouliot: The Honourable Al Pallidini will be attending the event --

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): What's happening tomorrow?

Mr Pouliot: There's a cabinet shuffle tomorrow. There are a lot of nervous people who are telling their spouses and their children: "Do not use the phone tonight. I can feel it: Mike is going to call. I feel right for it. I can feel it. I will serve the province in a new capacity."

Many of the backbenchers, when the phone doesn't ring tonight, "It's Mike calling," will be disappointed. All that energy, all that egocentricity, all that vanity goes for naught. We know we have a government that is somewhat in disarray. The question here is, will it be a full-fledged shuffle or will it be a shufflette or will they have an encore when those sitting ducks and duckettes start falling apart and just aren't ready to do the job? In January, Mike will convene them again and will dispense the ultimate favour, that of a cabinet minister with or without portfolio.

It's quite a lineup. Some of those Young Turks who see themselves as cabinet ministers, it's quite a step from a bicycle to the backseat of a limo. But they see themselves ready, they've served the revolution well and they can really, really do it.

We understand that the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Finance, might leave his present post and go to that of a full-fledged portfolio, that of tourism, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow. It is a ministry with portfolio. Mr Saunderson is going back to making money, going back to Bay Street, and that's okay. Isabel will benefit from the additional stipend, that of the Ministry of Culture, an excellent job.

Ms Isabel Bassett (St Andrew-St Patrick): I will never catch up with you, Monsieur.

Mr Pouliot: Madame, you will be right in your element: street culture and the culture of others and also deep culture. You will do very well. We want to wish you well. On this side we have a pool. There's $20 in the pool. Mr Laughren put in $5. Mr Wildman put in $5. Mr Rae and Mr Cooke, the money is on the way, there's $20 in the pool. So we'll see who will be successful.

Bill 115 is the most --

Ms Martel: Gilles, we have to split the time.

Mr Pouliot: We don't need the acquiescence, they've changed the rules again. We will be splitting time on cabinet speculation and also on 115.

The Speaker: Would that be with the member for Sudbury East?

Mr Pouliot: Yes. Bill 115, the most substantial of all the red tape bills, is so massive and it really deserves serious attention from the House, because this deals with no less than 42 acts and it repeals an additional nine. It will serve the government well. It's the light side of your red tape bills. There is a dark side that we shall get to in relatively short order.

This is good and I'm happy that the minister and the parliamentary assistant have taken some time off their busy schedule, and I know it's an anxious moment this evening, the eve of a large, overdue shuffle of the cabinet, to be with us. It will give more time to the revolutionary cabinet to address other issues.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): Are you going to list all of those acts?

Mr Pouliot: Yes, 42 different acts; nine of them are being repealed. The summary, the very fine print, takes all of four full pages. This is quite impacting and it gives the Minister of Finance of the day more power. You don't have to go through regulations. They can rule by decree and sign the forms as if there is no problem. It's a de facto bill, Bill 115. But we will be supporting Bill 115 because we too believe in expediency, in getting the government off the daily business. People are filling in far too many forms and we will be supporting the bill.

Unfortunately, many of the other red tape bills are mere camouflage. When you start on the scrutiny line by line, you begin to understand the wicked ways of this regime. For instance, under some regulations you will increase the workweek to 50 hours before you get paid overtime.

Mr Wildman: What?

Mr Pouliot: That's right, and they're doing it under some other provisions.

The Minister of Finance -- and this bill stands under his name, but there are also other red tape bills that represent more of the dark side, that really illustrate the gap between your promises, promises that have -- well, they haven't been broken; it's just that they haven't arrived.

Take your tax break, for instance, Minister, with the highest of respect. It was to create a lot of jobs. You've said 725,000. There are more jobs. There's no question about it. There's a global recovery. Things are getting better. There are more consumer goods that are affordable. People have more confidence in the economy. But even with your tax cut it is very likely, since the unemployment rate has not decreased significantly, that you could well be short of the 725,000 jobs you were committed to. Yet, when you rolled the dice -- and you made the choice. You were on the hook for 30%, and rather than pay down the mortgage, what did you do? You spent money.

Two and a half years after taking office, sir, with respect, every hour of every day you still spend $500 more than you're taking in. People are saying, "The minister and his cohorts are managers of prosperity." You had a choice. You could have paid down the mortgage, paid down the debt and then rewarded the population of Ontario for belt-tightening, rewarded them with a tax cut. It's during good times that you must put some money aside for the rainy days when the cycle turns negative, but you choose to ignore the very basic, the very fundamental of every economic law. Kings would tell you that if you wish to spend your way out of a recession, make sure you have money in the bank that has been accumulated during good times.

The gap between rich and poor keeps on widening. You have an erosion of the middle class. None of the bills significantly address this growing problem. The poor are just as poor, if not poorer, the working poor are not being represented by this government; they are not the ones who are benefiting from the tax break; bien au contraire. The rich do very well indeed.

This morning I was looking at the Report on Business of the Globe and Mail and it talked about chief executive officers. It talked about salaries and it talked about bonuses and stock options, and they're doing very well; in fact, 14% better than last year. That's 1996 vis-à-vis 1995, and 1997 promises to be just as good. They're running away from the field. Yet the middle class does not benefit nearly to the same extent, but you've hit good times. I want to wish you well.

It was this morning also when I checked the overnight closing and opening markets. Germany raised its interest rates. The day before, Mr Greenspan got up on the wrong side of the bed and talked about unrealistic expectations and it didn't take long. The All Ordinaries in Australia was the first one to react, followed swiftly by the Hang Seng market in Hong Kong. The Philippine currency took a beating. European markets opened; all of them went down significantly. It was a big hit. Even this morning Standard and Poor's futures were down at the opening by more than six points. Except for NASDAQ, Dow Jones spent the whole day trying to reconcile what has taken place by virtue of an announcement, followed by a real interest rate rise. It was two days before in Vancouver that Mr Thiessen, governor of the Bank of Canada, issued the same warning after having increased the prime by 25 basis points. The banks did what they had to do. They raised theirs by 50 basis points.

The government doesn't react. We don't see any announcements. At the same time, the irony of it -- try to understand this -- is that they lowered mortgage rates to an all-time low. The last time mortgage rates were this low Moses was around. It's been a long, long time. Then they'll hook people and then the monopoly will make sure they raise them again, and consumers will be left paying. There was an opportunity -- not under Bill 115; we have no disagreement -- under other bills for the last two and a half years to rectify what is really wrong and needs to be fixed.

I could go on about the gap between essential public services, the sectors of health, the looming crisis or confrontation on education. Time is limited. I've already pledged that the time would be shared with my distinguished colleague and friend from Sudbury East. Second reading of 115 was called yesterday at 20 to midnight and this will be the final chance at it.

I only wish that the government would have extended the courtesy, because it is a massive bill, it is quite impacting, to give a chance to members of the House to fully debate red tape Bill 115. But a few hours before we adjourn until November 17, they sort of twist your arm and they sneak the bill in. A little more cooperation and consultation with the official opposition and the third party could have avoided this and we could have developed the theme some more.

I wish to pay tribute to and thank people who work with the Ministry of Finance. Time and time again I see them in the back; they were here until midnight last evening and they will be here -- it's now 10 to 8 -- until 8 or 9 o'clock again today. I thank them for their good counsel and assistance.

We will be supporting this bill. I'm anxiously awaiting the comments of my distinguished colleague from Sudbury East.


Ms Martel: Mr Speaker, I know you're anxious to get home tonight too, to hear if your phone is going to ring, so we will not prolong this, although when we watched at supper at 6 tonight and saw much speculation on a number of media outlets about what will happen tomorrow, we thought we might sit until midnight because a lot of people are going to be here tomorrow anyway, given the shuffle. However, I do recognize that some people, like the Treasurer, will probably stay in his post and he probably wants to get home to Parry Sound tonight, so we will do the best we can to accommodate him.

I want to make a couple of points, though, this evening with respect to Bill 115. First of all, the bill is one of a number of red tape bills this government is putting forward. I believe the government has at this point put on the table in this House about 17 red tape bills, all of which they describe as bills which will streamline government, reduce regulatory control etc. This bill is the most substantial, not in terms of the content or the changes that are being made, but just in terms of the volume of acts that are being changed under this particular bill.

My colleague from Lake Nipigon said this amends or creates about 42 acts. I know the Liberals had talked about 26, but it being late tonight, they actually forgot to turn the page and the rest of the ones that are being changed are on the second page. So we have got some 42 acts that will be amended or created. We have another eight which are being repealed under Bill 115. As I said earlier, it is the most substantial of the government bills, not because of what is being changed, because there are other red tape bills which in my opinion are far more ominous, but just given the volume of acts, the number of acts which are being affected in what is an omnibus bill.

In terms of the content, one could argue that the changes the Minister of Finance is proposing in this bill are of themselves, and probably as a total package, benign or quite innocuous. Having said that, I want to say that I don't necessarily agree with the approach the government is taking, because despite the fact that the changes are fairly benign, are fairly innocuous -- they will allow for a number of forms which traditionally, right now, have to be dealt with by regulation, to be dealt with by whoever is the Minister of Finance -- the fact is that the approach really reflects where this government has been going on any number of bills.

That approach is to centralize control in the hands of a minister to make a number of decisions, so that decision-making itself and that whole process, which should be in the public domain, then takes place behind closed doors somewhere at Queen's Park, without the benefit of any kind of public scrutiny or public input. There is a real loss through this bill of the ability of the public to know what is happening even if it is through the regulation-making process, because much of that is being wiped out.

That is part and parcel of where this government has been heading on any number of bills. My colleagues from the Liberal Party tonight talked about the changes in Bill 160, for example, where now the Minister of Education and Training will make a number of changes by regulation that used to be done at the local level, or where the Minister of Finance, who is sponsoring this bill tonight, will now set the mill rate for the entire province.

We have also seen a number of similar changes through other bills. One we debated last week, Bill 147, which also stands in the name of this Minister of Finance, where at the end of the day he is going to have the right to set the property tax rate on Hydro lands, on utility rights of way and on rail lands. So the direction and the approach of this government is quite curious, through this bill and a number of others. It is a government that used to say it cared about local control, about local government, decision-making at a local level through committees and councils. The fact of the matter is this is a government that through many pieces of legislation, and again through Bill 115 tonight, centralizes that control, takes that control and that power and that decision-making ability out of the hands of local property taxpayers, local school trustees, local politicians, local members of council at all levels, and centralizes that power in the control of a minister or ministers at Queen's Park, in a process that more likely than not is done behind closed doors.

I don't agree with that approach. I don't like that this is where this government is heading. We see it in any number of other forums, whether it's the limited time this government allows for public debate on certain bills, the limited amount of time it allows for public hearings across the province, the very draconian changes to the rules which limit debate. This is one other step in what has been quite an enormous effort by this government to keep the public out of a legitimate decision-making process, which is how this place, and then by extension, how the province is run.

In contrast to some of the other red tape bills, I said this one was fairly benign, but I should point out at this point that I worry a great deal about some of the other red tape bills that are coming. We'll agree with this one, we'll support this tonight, but some of the other things the government is trying to do which they would like to call streamlining, getting rid of regulatory control, really do represent fundamental change in what Ontarians have come to have already, either as rights or responsibilities.

Consider, for example, the change in the red tape bill that affects the hours of work. We know very well this government wants to extend the hours of the workweek in the province, and the government puts that forward as a choice for Ontarians at a time when many people are working harder than ever before, and at the same time their kids can't get a job anywhere. The government is going to move forward on a bill which extends the hours of work when at the same time we've got a youth unemployment rate of 100,000. That is the highest ever in the province. For the life of me, I can't understand why the government wouldn't, if it really wanted to deal with the question of work, look at the ways and means the government could create more jobs by shortening the workweek, by limiting overtime hours and dividing up those hours among the thousands and thousands of young people who would like to work in the province.

The second red tape bill I have great concerns about is one that the government moves forward on pay equity, again to limit some of what women have achieved through legislation passed first by the Liberals when they were the government and then by us when we were in government. I would have thought the government would have learned a lesson with the court ruling on proxy pay equity, a lesson that is very clear: The government violated the Charter of Rights when it repealed proxy pay equity.

The court made it very clear that our government had spent an enormous amount of time working through the studies, working through what happened elsewhere, put a good system in place, and then the rug was just pulled out from under women's feet, so to speak, without any thought, without any real review given to what had been done. I would have thought the government would have learned a lesson from that, but we also know that another red tape bill that is being brought forward by this government will again limit pay equity that should be paid to people who deserve pay for the work they do in this province.

A third red tape bill the government looks at as well talks about changes to the Human Rights Commission process and a shutting down or a closing down of that process in a way that makes it much harder for people who want to file appeals, who want to go through that system because they believe they have a legitimate complaint. It makes it much more difficult for them to do.

Our party has serious concerns about some of the other red tape bills in the package of 17 that the government has put, but we will approve this one tonight, even though we also have some concerns about the public scrutiny that is taken away through the changes mentioned here.

So that the people at home who are watching have some sense of some of the changes and the power that is being shifted from regulation-making to the hands of the Treasurer in this case as the minister in charge, if you look under the Commodities Futures Act, for example, a whole section is added to the act that will enable the commission to manage, by directives, the matters formerly dealt with by regulations.

If you look under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, for example, all the authority to prescribe documents and forms by regulation is replaced with the authority of the commissioner -- the commissioner under the Insurance Act -- to approve forms for the act, work the minister used to do.

If you look under the Co-operative Corporations Act, the fees for various purposes under the act will now be established by the minister rather than by regulation. The affidavit required to obtain a list of names of members or security holders of a cooperative will now be in a form established by the minister rather than a form prescribed by the act.


The third change under that same act: The requirements respecting the forms of amended articles of incorporation, restated articles, articles of amalgamation, and articles of dissolution will be approved by the minister, and the requirement for affidavits of verification are repealed, and various other forms will also be approved by the minister.

The fourth act that's affected, where you see power being taken away in terms of public scrutiny and put into the hands of the minister comes under the Corporations Tax Act: Waivers, notices of revocation of waivers, notices of objections to assessments, notices of appeal will be in forms approved by the minister, rather than forms prescribed by regulation.

Changes occur in the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, the Employer Health Tax Act, the Fuel Tax Act and Gasoline Tax Act, the Income Tax Act -- for example, for the purposes of occupancy costs, students' residences will be designated by the minister rather than be prescribed by regulation -- changes in the Insurance Act, the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Corporations Act, the Land Transfer Tax Act, the Loan and Trust Corporations Act, Mining Tax Act, Mortgage Brokers Act, Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act, Retail Sales Tax Act, Securities Act and the Small Business Development Corporations Act.

All told, the explanatory notes point out some 18 bills where issues that used to be dealt with by regulation, that would allow for some little public scrutiny, will now be dealt with solely by the minister, the Treasurer, the Minister of Finance, in this case, all done outside of public scrutiny, all done in his office centralized in Toronto.

While at the end of the day it may be true that a number of these changes will streamline the process, I think the minister has to recognize that had the positions been switched, had we as a government, for example, been looking at trying to amass such control for any number of acts into the hands of a single ministry in this government without any public scrutiny, their party would have been opposed to that. They would have cried long and hard about how undemocratic that was, how that removed public scrutiny, how that removed the opportunity for public input.

Here we have before us a bill, which in the case of the 18 I have mentioned, and in the case of a number of others, does just that: allows for processes that before used to take the public and public concerns into account to be wiped out and instead to have that power transferred to the hands of the Minister of Finance.

We hope that at the end of the day this may result in a streamlining, that this may result in less onerous work having to be undertaken by any number of corporations, co-operatives etc, but I say again that as a party we are very concerned about the approach we see reflected in this bill because it is so much a part of this government's direction which is, regrettably for the democratic process, at the end of the day to try to find the ways and means to shut out public debate, public input and public participation in the most important thing we have in a democracy, and that is how this place works and in the end, by extension, how the laws that govern people are made.

I regret the government takes this approach in this red tape bill and the others because I think it's a wrong-headed approach. At the end of the day I really do not believe it's going to serve the democratic process well.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Questions and comments?

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I want to commend the member for Sudbury East for pointing out to the government some of the direction it is going in, and I commend the cautious way she did it.

I would also want to say about this red tape bill that of course we'd like to streamline things, that things can be done more efficiently, but we must be mindful of the fact that while we like to have more efficiency in things, in a democratic society people would like to make sure their input and concerns are heard.

While we may try to hurry things along, we must realize that we could also exclude many of the most important facts we have. This government, I am sure, has learned by now, over the two years they have been here, that by rushing things thorough and omitting some of the most important parts of consultation they have been paying very highly for that neglect.

We have seen, even right now as we handle the education bill, how upset teachers are, how upset students are and how upset parents are, and that we can't rush down the line just because we want to hurry this thing for the bottom line, for money. I know the Minister of Finance, who is quite a concerned and competent individual, would like to balance the books and that he wants the money there, but somehow we have to keep reminding that minister that running a government or a province is not like running a business. Often I have heard the Conservatives say that.

I want to commend her for the excellent speech she gave, and they should be mindful of that.

Mr Cullen: In responding to some of the remarks that have been made about this bill, we all know that democracy is an untidy process. It's a process of accountability. It's a means by which government is controlled by the electors who pay the taxes, who give authority over to government to legislate, to run the affairs of the state that affect our lives.

I have to tell you that democracy gets in the way of government. The natural tendency for any government structure is to move towards efficiency because overview, democratic control, democratic oversight is inefficient. It means people who wish to have control over events must give way to other people's point of way, must provide time for consultation, must therefore change their mind if there is another party or a group of people who say, "Wait a second, you forgot about this," or, "Whoops, this is going to cause this difficulty here, intended or unintended," and sometimes people are even forced to change minds, which for some people is very difficult to do.

That's why we're supposed to have a system of checks and balances. That is why we go through this sometimes cumbersome process of debate, discussion, consultation, what have you. But in the long run it is the wiser thing to do. The wheels of government may grind slowly, but through a democratic process, by having these checks and balances, it produces a better product.

All I can say is that by devolving all these powers to cabinet, by having rule of regulation, we fall back to the very roots of what caused the Renaissance, what caused the difficulties we had in the evolution of parliamentary democracy years ago, which was to balance the power of the king, the capriciousness of totalitarian rule. This is a step backwards.

The Acting Speaker: Does the member for Sudbury East wish to respond. Further debate? Does the minister have some comments?

Mr Eves has moved third reading of Bill 115. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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



Mr Flaherty, on behalf of Mr Harnick, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 128, An Act to amend the Family Law Act to provide for child support guidelines and to promote uniformity between orders for the support of children under the Divorce Act (Canada) and orders for the support of children under the Family Law Act / Projet de loi 128, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le droit de la famille pour prévoir des lignes directrices sur les aliments pour les enfants et pour promouvoir l'harmonisation entre les ordonnances alimentaires au profit des enfants rendues en vertu de la Loi sur le divorce (Canada) et celles rendues en vertu de la Loi sur le droit de la famille.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Does the member have come comments?

Mr Jim Flaherty (Durham Centre): No further comments, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Alex Cullen (Ottawa West): As we move through this stage in the progress of this bill, it's been very clear from reading the record that there is all-party support for the initiative that's being proposed today. I'm very pleased to see this go through the legislative process to its penultimate enactment.

But I have to emphasize what I said earlier in discussion with respect to this bill, and that is that even though we're trying to harmonize our legislation with federal guidelines dealing with family support payments, the requirement for the non-custodial spouse to support his or her children who reside with the custodial spouse, the record in Ontario still falls far short. It remains still an uneven, difficult program within our province. We still have far too many single parents, particularly mothers, not getting their support in time, and this is money that has already been already to the government. The government has the cheque, has cashed the cheque. It itself is being derelict in forwarding the money on, most often to a single mother who is either trying to pay the rent or trying to pay the mortgage and look after her children.

I know the government still suffers from the credit rating that was given to it by the bond-rating agencies on Bay Street. I know it hasn't changed, not one iota, since the days of the previous government, the previous government having seen it marked down four times. But I would think this government would have the wherewithal to ensure that the cash flow was in place, that indeed the mothers, the single parents, the custodial parents who are looking after their children, would get their cheques on time and it would be up to the government to chase the derelict support-paying parent who is behind in their payments. This was so. I believe that was the intent. Is this not what the government said when it initially went into this, when it reformed the legislation, when it reorganized its ministry? That's what it intended to do. But alas, it is not the fact.

During the last by-election, and those members opposite will remember that was September 4, all through August and September, as I door-knocked in the riding of Ottawa West, I encountered case after case of single mothers still having problems getting their cheques in time from the government which, after all, has a multibillion-dollar operation, which has the ability to finance this current debt from the private market. You would think that in the ability to finance all of these things, all of this magnificent process, all these wonderful pension payouts, the whole bit, it would find the wherewithal to ensure that the cheques were going through to the people who needed them most.

When you shortchange someone who is on the low-income end, as most single mothers on this program are, then what happens? You have to pay the rent, you have to pay the mortgage and if you don't have enough money to give the $10 for pizza day at school or to make sure that you have boots for your kids when it rains or to make sure -- I can go through the whole list. If you don't have the money, you can't make it up, so the kids get shortchanged.

That is why the government has to be reminded again and again that the system it has in place is still not functional. As long as we have families who are in the hands of the government, as they are through the family support program, to provide them with the wherewithal to look after their families and children -- and we all know that if we have these systems in place, then these families will not become charges of the state and cost taxpayers more. That was part of the purpose of this whole changeover in system. The government would come in and be the middle person between the non-custodial, supporting parent and the custodial parent who had charge of looking after these children, and the children would be well looked after. Unfortunately, even though we try to improve things, it still remains not the case. That still is an unfortunate blemish that this government should be taking every step to remove.

It was just a month ago that I went door to door and found these cases. I say shame on this government. Yes, this bill is going in the right direction, but I say shame on this government for not devoting enough resources to clean up its act so that we don't have these shameful things affecting our children. Once you shortchange children, once parents have found that they are being shortchanged in their ability to care for their children, their children go to school, and what happens then? The children themselves are not on the same footing as others in their class who come from better family situations and it ultimately costs us all. If the children aren't on the same footing, then they have more difficulty learning, they have more behavioural problems -- this is all documented -- and we end up paying more for it, either through remedial education or through the inability to obtain appropriate employment and all the remediation that falls into place there.

These are all well documented. The ministry knows it up and down. It's been documented for 20, 30 years already. That's why we invest in early childhood education, that's why we put such emphasis on early childhood education. But when we place this emphasis there and we don't hold up the other end, if the government speaks so strongly about supporting families and even has a family values caucus, but in the end it is not providing the wherewithal to ensure that this bureaucracy has the resources to ensure that parents are being supported and that the full force of government is being focused on derelict parents who aren't providing the appropriate support, my Lord, what is the purpose of the exercise? How incompetent can the government get?

Again and again, I have to stand in my place here and just simply hope that the government on the other side moves into reviewing how it delivers its services here, because there's no point centralizing. This government loves to centralize, loves to cut down on bureaucracy, loves to fire civil servants. But unfortunately, when the civil servants are taken out, and it therefore compromises the ability of the program to deliver the public objectives, you have to say to yourself, "We've gone too far."

A wise government is a government that realizes that from time to time it will make mistakes -- no government is perfect -- that recognizes that it has made a mistake and can turn around, reassess, put in the appropriate resources and do the job it was damn well elected to do.

In the instance here of family support, there is no greater example of a public purpose that is so important to us all, which is ensuring that families who have been given the right to adequate shelter, adequate financial support by the courts -- these are agreements entered into or orders being given by the family courts in recognition that there is a requirement to provide so much to support these children. The government has said: "Okay, the system's not quite working well, we're clogging up the courts through enforcement orders. Therefore, we will step in, we will do a better job." For crying out loud, do the better job. Yet when I still find in my riding case after case where the government is not doing the better job, where these children's futures are being put at risk, then for heaven's sake, wake up, smell the coffee, do the right thing. That's all that we're asking here.

Time and time again members in this House bring to the government examples where the system is failing. For heaven's sake, at least show that you're listening, show that you're making the efforts. Make those investments, put those people in there to clear up the backlog so I don't get the phone calls, other members in this House don't get the phone calls from people who say: "Look, damn it, the government's cheque is late. My husband's cheque isn't late. In fact, I phoned him up. He's already paid it. The government has my money. Why can't I get the money that's owed to me that the government has?" There is no adequate response to that except for the government to put the appropriate resources in place and do the right thing.


Our party is pleased to support the uniform support guidelines act and hopes that we put a better system into place, but the government itself has a responsibility, not to say, "Great, we've done a wonderful job, all's well," but to pay attention to the areas where it can do better, can do more. Here's a clear situation, and I know other speakers in the House will speak to it as well, where the government has to live up to its rhetoric and has to put the resources back in. This is one reorganization that simply went into overkill.

I have to say that I have had some personal experience with the notion of trying to deal with these issues on a transprovincial basis. The effort of this particular act is to try and make sure that what we have in place, what other provinces have in place, will ensure that scofflaws, those who are required to or have made the commitment to or have been ordered to look after their own children will be able to do so in other jurisdictions.

I have to tell you that in some circumstances it has cost families dearly, cost individuals dearly to hire the lawyer to go out of the province to make the pleading, to go into Family Court on other pleadings. Often it requires a great deal of tactical manoeuvring, if you know that your spouse is moving out, to try and initiate the action to enforce a court order, issued in Ontario, in another jurisdiction and all that requires. We know that has been very costly, not only in terms of the bureaucracy, in terms of the legal system, but it has been devastating indeed for those families left holding the can.

We all know, as a matter of fact -- I believe members opposite should know -- that the support payments that are by and large being ordered by the courts go in excess of what we consider to be the minimum support that the state gives, the province of Ontario gives, under family benefits for a single mother with two children. Let's take that case of a single mother with two children and what is being advanced by the province and what is being awarded by the courts. Why is there such a difference? Why is there such a significant difference between the average of what the courts are awarding and what the province is giving out? What does the legal system know about the requirements to adequately raise a child in this province compared to what this government does and has already proven through its own cut in terms of welfare assistance?

Isn't it amazing? When I think back a year and a half ago, I was on the council of the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and we were faced with a 21.6% welfare cut. Certainly, for those who are living in public housing, it was a clear recognition that those rents would go down, and indeed they did go down in those circumstances, because it's rent geared to income. That's a principle that's very important in public housing and social housing. It's a fundamental part of Canada's social safety net. I hope when we get into discussion about Bill 152 and the downloading of social housing on to municipalities, that will be a principle this government will protect, that social housing forms part of our social safety net and indeed that rent geared to income will remain a provincial standard, will remain at 30%.

Right now, if you go out and you try to buy a home, what the banks will say to you is, "What is 30% of your gross income?" "You qualify or you do not qualify for a mortgage" etc. So 30% is an appropriate level that's been identified, at least in the private sector, and has been the standard in place with respect to rent geared to income.

The reason I refer to this is that when the famous 21.6% welfare cut was put into place, those on family benefits, which in Ottawa-Carleton was around 17,000 cases, were somewhat sheltered by this effect. It didn't effect their shelter, it certainly didn't cut into their food, their so-called discretionary -- isn't it amazing that food is considered discretionary? I suppose you don't have to eat as much. However, for those under general welfare assistance, which is what the municipalities fund 20% of today, of which we had almost a record at 27,000 cases in Ottawa-Carleton, their rents didn't go down. Why? Because they were in the private sector market. Their shelter allowance was cut, but their rents did not go down.

What did that mean for those families who were on the family support plan? For some of them who saw that their ability to get support payments, to go to the province to get funding to ensure that adequate shelter was being paid for, to ensure that there was adequate food -- because if we don't give our children healthy nutrition, they do not grow up as healthy adults and therefore are at a disadvantage not only in terms of ability to find a job, but ability to learn and all that. All these things come into play.

That is why it is so reprehensible that the government can't say out loud, "Gee, we're trying to achieve this objective in terms of supporting families, so we are going to collect the funds from the support-paying parent," and make sure that those families aren't on our system because we don't want to put them through what people on welfare go through, because it's a benefit to the state to make sure the non-custodial parent, the support-paying parent, pays their fair share, that indeed it ensures, it guarantees, it provides that automatic assistance and then chases the delinquent parent instead of itself becoming delinquent. It is an anomaly, if that's the right word. I would say "hypocrisy," but I don't think I can in this House. But it is the fundamental aspect, that we have to make sure this program is performing well.

I think I have exhausted my time on this issue, but I hope that some of my words will at least receive a fair hearing on the opposite side.

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I'm pleased to have an opportunity to speak at third reading of Bill 128. Over the period of time since this bill came in, and with respect to the previous acts that the Attorney General has brought forward concerning the family support plan, we have consistently brought to the attention of this government the sense of unreality we have around their claims that they are making the situation of receipt of support payments for children and for spouses better with the changes they have made in the plan.

We know, as the member who previously spoke talked of, that in our constituency offices we are seeing people who had not experienced problems before but now, of course, since the regional offices closed, since this minister has had such difficulty trying to implement what he talked about as changes in the family support plan, these constituents are numbering, in my office certainly, in the hundreds in the last few months, so it hasn't resolved itself at all. These constituents are saying, "Why did he break something that was a good program?"

It is quite true when the government says the program didn't work for everybody. There has never, ever been any dispute about that. Certainly when the Liberals put the beginnings of the program in place, when my leader, the member for Rainy River, was Attorney General and put the family support plan in place, and when I was Attorney General, we clearly admitted that we had difficulty in some areas collecting the support that was owed and that improvements needed to be made consistently in the plan.

So when we talk about the botched-up implementation of the changes in the family support plan, we are not in any way saying it was a plan that didn't need improvement. We weren't in any way saying that some of the things that have been put in place may not eventually make the plan better. Our concern was the way in which it was implemented, the lack of administrative ability, the fact that you see a ministry closing down a plan and putting in danger all of those who depend on the resources of that plan, and taking months and months to even have the office up and running, as my colleagues from Sudbury East and Welland-Thorold showed the people of Ontario.


When we come to Bill 128, which brings our support guidelines under the jurisdiction of provincial law into line with the new support guidelines that came into effect federally under the Divorce Act at the beginning of May, we hope it will be a good thing. I can tell you that in my years and years in working counselling women who had experienced marital breakdowns and hearing again and again that there seemed to be this price on the heads of children that somehow, whether the support payor was bringing in $200,000 a year or $20,000 a year, the price on a child's head seemed to be $200. It was quite remarkable when you looked at case after case. It seemed almost as though that was the set amount in many cases.

Well, all of us who have raised children know that is not sufficient where the means are there to raise a child. Marriage breakdown is difficult enough for children to cope with, having separated parents is difficult enough, without that child being put in a position of poverty because of that breakdown. The stresses are remarkable in those circumstances.

We are very pleased, first, that the federal government went ahead with the work that had been in preparation over all the years we were in government, very hard work on the part of federal and territorial ministers and provincial ministers in this country to try and come up with a scheme that was going to give us a better chance of ensuring that children got the kind of support that their support-paying parent could afford to pay. And so we find the charts in Bill 128 and the charts in the federal plan giving a better hope that there is a more realistic picture of what the support is. We are pleased with that.

We are also pleased that the government of Ontario is including in this the provision for extraordinary expenses, because although there is a chart figure, if there are extraordinary expenses for a child, it is possible for the judge, in recognition of those, to order those extraordinary expenses. The extraordinary expenses most often mentioned might be school fees, where a child has special difficulties with learning and needs special learning aids, might be orthodontic services, might be prosthetic devices that are not covered in some way. It might be horseback riding lessons or piano lessons. It might be summer camp. There are many different extraordinary expenses that a judge will be able to deem over and above the cost that is predicted in the charts according to the income of the paying parent.

But there's a real problem. This bill is going to interact with the social assistance system in many ways, because quite rightly, one of the reasons this government and other governments are so strong on trying to enforce support payments is that very often if those support payments are adequate, then people are not forced to rely on social assistance. In fact, if you go on to social assistance and you are entitled to get some form of support, then you sign that over, and when and if it's collected, it goes into the provincial coffers to pay back the province for bridging the financing for that family.

But what is happening consistently with the social assistance services in this province is that if judges order these extraordinary expenses, the social assistance system is going to add the extraordinary expenses to the regular expenses, and that whole lump sum will be clawed back from the recipient. That's not the intention of this act and it's not the intention of the federal act, but I know from provincial court judges doing family work that this in fact is what is happening. Increasingly those judges are saying, "There is nothing we can do, when we hear these cases, that's going to help in this situation," because the social assistance system in Ontario is not taking account of those extraordinary expenses and therefore the child is not getting the benefit the court has ordered.

Although we clearly are in favour of passing Bill 128, as we go through the hearings on Bill 142 and talk about the application of the new welfare rules in this province, one of the clear issues we will be bringing to the fore is the necessity for the social assistance system not to scoop back extraordinary expenses needed by children when those have been awarded by a judge, so that kids can actually get the orthodontic treatment the judge has recognized they need, so kids can actually get those special courses, those special educational opportunities. For the most part, those are the major items we see ordered in special assistance, in extraordinary support.

The other issue I would like to raise is that no law is worth anything unless it's enforced. We have made a great deal of the fact that this government has allowed to grind completely to a halt the enforcement measures that used to be common in the family support plan.

It's not hard to check how many enforcement proceedings the government is bringing in the courts of this province. It is quite dramatic that since they fired all the staff lawyers who used to bring those enforcement proceedings on behalf of both the province and as assistance to individuals who should have received those support orders, those enforcement proceedings have ground to a halt. They simply are not happening.

When we consider that approximately 30% of outstanding support payments are owed to us as the taxpayer, as well as the 70% that is owed to women, for the most part, and their children, who have a real need of receiving those support payments, then we know we have a problem. We know we have a government that is not prepared to invest in enforcement, even though the family support plan consistently proved again and again that the cost of enforcing support orders was repaid 30-fold in terms of what was collected. There are many examples of that in the history of the plan. Yet we see a tremendous falling off of enforcement over the last few months.

It may be that the Attorney General was waiting until the driver suspension program got into place and hoping that would take up the slack. But there's a lot of experience with the collection of support payments and there's a lot of very good advice the minister needs to hear about the fact that that factor alone, without enforcement, is not going to do the trick.

While we are quite happy to be supportive of the province bringing into line with the federal government the guidelines around support, we are very sceptical that we are going to see the kind of consistent enforcement that has been promised by this government. There is no evidence that's happening and there is much evidence every day in our constituency offices that it is not.

I got a tally of my September and August constituency requests for assistance. Family support is way up there at the top in terms of issues, even though this is the season for OSAP problems, even though this is the season for changes in people's income as those receiving social assistance go back to school. There's a lot of adjustment that needs to happen, and we're all used to the kind of requests we get in the fall of every year.


We will certainly be supportive of Bill 128, but we will in no way stop criticizing the government for the way it has been neglecting to enforce the very serious matter of family support, while at the same time claiming that it has revamped and revised the system and made it a system that is the best in Canada. The joke is, it always was the best in Canada. What this government did with the family support plan was take the most effective and the most cost-effective support plan in the entire country and destroy it.

With the tools this bill gives the courts and gives those seeking support payments, with the assistance this gives the court in making those decisions, we hope we will see a renewed commitment on the part of this government to actually enforce. If we don't, it'll all be for naught.

My last point is the point my leader made last time we debated this bill, and that is the very serious issue of the variances people are going to be demanding to go through court. In the federal system and in our system, these new guidelines don't go into effect unless you have a new order. It will only go into effect on federal matters from May 1, 1997, and I believe when this bill is proclaimed that will be the effective date.

The problem is there will be many people who want to apply to the court for a variance to bring them into line with these guidelines. We have seen no plan, although we have consistently asked the Attorney General how he is going to handle that huge influx of variance requests and how both the payors and the payees are going to get the kind of legal assistance they need to make those variance claims. That's the only way this bill will make a difference to those 150,000 people we now have on the family support plan.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. We'll certainly pass this bill, but we hope that in the coming days we're going to see an Attorney General much more willing to explain in a transparent manner how he is going to change the disgraceful record that has pertained so far.

If I might be so bold, if this is an effort we're going to see tomorrow to put a brand-new face on government, one of the aspects of that brand-new face could be a mouth that opens and closes and gives some real information to people who are desperate for it.

The Acting Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): The member for London Centre has raised a very valid point, that the number of requests for variances that will come through our court system once these guidelines are implemented will be just humongous. I don't know how the system is going to deal with it in a satisfactory and an efficient manner. That's the first thing.

Second, I don't know how the people who will request these variances are going to finance it, because we all know what's happened to legal aid in this province. We know that the number of certificates issued last year, for example, was 14,000 compared to over 50,000 just the year before that. It's down by a third in just a matter of two years.

It really points towards the central issue, a matter that I've talked about a number of times in this House. It is great to pass a law that looks as if it's fair and equitable towards all those concerned, and certainly the guidelines that are being implemented here fall within the category. But it is quite a different thing to make sure that these new guidelines are being applied in a fair, consistent manner from an administrive viewpoint.

I am not sure, taking the track record this Attorney General has with respect to the family support plan and the total mess that was in, that the kind of administrative structure necessary to make sure that the implementation of the guidelines as set out in Bill 128 will be properly applied throughout the province in an efficient manner will happen. So once again, I ask the Attorney General to get his act together, to make sure that this department is totally organized so that once the guidelines come into effect, they will be dealt with in a proper manner.

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): I want to commend the member for London Centre for her comments tonight and follow up where she left off, which is to say, God help all those women and children if these support guidelines are implemented in the same way by this Attorney General as he has implemented the restructuring at the family support plan, because we continue today, a year and some after this government decided to close the regional offices of the family support plan and lay off 290 staff, in a position where daily in my office the highest number of calls we receive and the highest number of problems we get from people coming through the door still relate to family support. There has been absolutely no improvement in the system to date.

It has been a year since this Attorney General decided that he was going to take 35% of the budget of the family support plan, give it to his colleague the Treasurer to help fund this government's rich friends and at the same time put thousands and thousands of women and children across this province into financial hardship, and that hardship continues today.

While we support the bill this evening because it's the right thing to do, and we do hope it's going to benefit recipients and children, I must say that we are very sceptical of the ability of this Attorney General to deliver because in the last year since he made the cut to the family support plan, he has delivered on nothing. He has proved to be completely incompetent when it has come to managing this plan. The changes in Bill 82 that he wanted so desperately to pass have yet to be implemented. Not a single cent of arrears has been collected to date, despite the fact that the bill was passed in December. God help all those women and children if this is implemented as badly.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I just wanted to grab a few moments to speak on this. Of course it's been long awaited. If there's any other issue in my riding beyond the teachers' bill it's this one, the family support regulations, to put something in place that should have been there a long time ago. This minister, with all the shouting, with all the appropriate questions, delayed this process for such a long time that many, many families were denied their proper support due to the neglect and the way this case was handled. Now that we have had cooperation bringing it together with the federal and provincial regulations, we may have something appropriate to deal with and some better guidelines to follow.

But I want to say that the pain and suffering that many of the families have undergone because of -- I was hesitating to use the word a couple of months ago but now I can say it -- the incompetent manner in how this was handled by the minister is unacceptable. In certain instances, many ministers would have resigned by now in shame, but we have shouted and asked very appropriately how we were to deal with this situation. What he did first, as you know, was dismantle what was in place without having anything proper to put in place. People suffer under those processes.

I welcome this now, that we can have something that we can have a guideline on, but again, many of those families who suffered in the past will never forgive this government for the very insensitive manner in which they carried out this process. So I also will support this.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I'm pleased to stand and compliment the member for London Centre once again. I've heard her speak on this bill before and she clearly has analysed and carefully studied the bill and of course has always said that she supports it.

The issue here is one of what happens after the bill is passed, because as the member for London Centre and the member for Sudbury East said, we have witnessed the Attorney General make a complete mess of the family support plan. Also, the enforcement tools were given in Bill 82, which was passed before Christmas, and not a single penny has been collected -- not one cent.

What does this mean to the women and children of Ontario? It's all very well for us to stand here and say nice things about how important -- and this is important. We support it, but we don't have any faith in this Attorney General and this government to be able to implement the very basics of making the system work.

We're all hearing about a cabinet shuffle taking place and we've been looking with interest to see who's moving where. At least the gossip I've heard is, the Attorney General is still going to be the Attorney General. I would say there's been overall a lot of incompetence. In fact, I would say that this government is in real chaos and that's what this huge shuffle is all about. Yet the Attorney General who has --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): In full panic.

Ms Churley: In full panic, yes -- has messed up the family support plan and ruined the lives of thousands of women and children in this province should have been removed.

The Acting Speaker: The member's time has expired. The member for London Centre has two minutes to respond.

Mrs Boyd: I want to thank all the members who responded. I think, Mr Speaker, it would be very clear to you how deeply people feel about passing a bill that may not have any effect. We all agree with the intent of this bill, that's quite clear, but we all have real apprehension that it is going to make the kind of difference it ought to make in the lives of women and children. Basically I think it's always a strange feeling in this place when you have reason to believe that you are passing a bill that has the potential to make life better for a large group of citizens in this province and yet you fear that the very government bringing that bill forward does not have the competence to make that dream a reality.

I think it is very offensive in the eyes of many people when a government holds out hope and claims to be able to do something which it doesn't do. Frankly, the previous bill, which set up the Family Responsibility Office, is a really good example, because there was all this pressure and all this political mumbo-jumbo about our holding up the bill and yet it was only, what, at the end of September -- September 30 -- that the provisions that were most likely to be useful in that bill in terms of enforcement were even proclaimed.

You can understand that as we pass this bill, we are issuing a very, very clear message to the government. If this does not have appropriate enforcement, it won't work any better than any of the other measures that have been taken. We urge the government to begin to pay attention to the implementation of its laws, not just the passage of them.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): In regard to Bill 128, there are obviously some much-needed initiatives here which do some housekeeping and also attempt to deal with long-standing problems with spousal and child support. It certainly provides greater access to support for women and their children.

What we're perhaps able to do here tonight is put this in perspective of the whole issue of child support. As you know, the government earlier this year undertook to make massive changes to the family support act and that proved to be quite a black hole of confusion and disarray. The government, before undertaking this massive change in the family support area, closed down the regional offices, and subsequent to the closure of the offices you had such a storm of confusion and anger from parents and children who were affected by this that I think the government will admit they made a big mistake in the way they handled that. They made the mistake because I guess they're just trying to meet these so-called financial targets without thinking of the human implication of it. Nothing illustrates that more than the way the government's handled the family support area, where they arbitrarily chose a date without looking at the human impact of what they did.

Maybe this is something this government should learn from, that rather than doing things arbitrarily, without looking at the impact on human beings, on children and those who are going to be subjected to the changes in laws like the family support act, they should evaluate, as I say, the human dimension of what they're doing. Too many times in the last two years this government has moved ahead in a reckless fashion without looking at that human impact.

I know many in the government still will not learn from the horror story we had earlier this year where we saw all those files in boxes haphazardly stored in a central office here in Downsview. We know that the result of that haphazard direction, without looking at impacts, caused a great deal of hardship to people.

I know my office, as probably your office, Mr Speaker, and a lot of other offices across Ontario, got calls from parents who were distraught, families who were unable to get income they had been getting as a result of family support agreements. All of a sudden, that dried up. I know those calls came to all three parties. They weren't partisan calls. Most of those people who called asking for help were legitimate citizens who had been forgotten in this government's haste to change the family support act.

As we know, the act has always been a challenge for any government. This whole area of family support is a challenge because of the intricacies of it, the legal implications, the Family Law Act and how complicated it is. Bill 128 at least goes in a positive direction, and hopefully the government will never again try to implement such a dramatic change as they did earlier this year where they essentially forgot what government is about. This government prides itself on being run like a business, but even good businesses run with the customer in mind. In other words, you don't change business practices. You don't close down a business unless you consult the customers. When the government passed these family support changes earlier this year, it didn't consult with the children and the families who were the victims or, you might say, the customers of the family support services.

Hopefully this will never happen again, because it's just like when the first thing this government did for families was also the arbitrary, unilateral cutting back of social assistance by 22% across the board. The government didn't stop to think or didn't want to think about the fact that when you arbitrarily cut social assistance 22% across the board, you had over 120,000 children affected by the arbitrary cut, 120,000 children whose parents were under social assistance. So you not only cut the adults, you cut the children who rely on those parents for basic necessities. A lot of children are still suffering the consequences of that arbitrary cut and they have no way of escaping that, because if their parents aren't getting the assistance they were before, it's certainly going to be very difficult for them to get any kind of basic necessities, whether it be clothing, proper nutrition etc.

I just hope that we do see a government that perhaps begins to realize there is that human toll, there is that ordinary person who is not involved in the political machinations of this place, but they are ordinary citizens who are looking for a government that at least takes into consideration the fact that they have needs and they can't take care of themselves all the time. Whatever government does will sooner or later affect people who are vulnerable. That's what the government did earlier this year when it arbitrarily affected people who could not help themselves and made them even more vulnerable.


At least with Bill 128 we see some attempts to ensure that there are amendments to the Family Law Act, that there are directions to the courts whereby more attention can be given to the human deficiencies out there whereby people through no fault of their own are involved in very unfortunate circumstances. They cannot resolve these problems by themselves and that's why they need government.

I know some of the neo-conservative zealots feel there's no place for government anywhere, but there is a place for government in helping people. They don't have to be there all the time, but government has to help people, especially children or people who are subject to problems in their marriage breakup or problems of health. You need government to help you, to nourish you and at least to give you that helping hand, and not to take the rug from underneath your feet. That's what they did earlier this year and I hope it doesn't happen again.

On this night of what I call the Thanksgiving shuffle, the turkey shuffle, where the cabinet is being shuffled, where they're getting some new faces in, some new blood in, possibly the new cabinet members will remember the family support fiasco, and when they make decisions will remember that the decisions they make affect people who in many cases depend on government to be fair. That's what they're asking of cabinet members, that they do not think or act in isolation. The well-to-do in society are generally able to take care of themselves. It's the people who are vulnerable, the people who are under financial hardship, in many cases like marriage breakups etc, who need some kind of support.

I hope the new cabinet members, and I see a few of them across the way, will take heed and learn their lessons from the family support fiasco earlier this year, where this government was just totally reckless in its approach, forgot the needs of ordinary Ontarians, who weren't asking for intervention, were just asking for fairness. At least Bill 128 is a small step to correct the mistakes made by the Attorney General earlier in this mandate.

I'll close with those remarks and hope that lessons have been learned.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Further debate?

Mr Flaherty has moved third reading of Bill 128. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.

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


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for third reading of Bill 102, An Act to improve community safety by amending the Change of Name Act, the Ministry of Correctional Services Act and the Police Services Act / Projet de loi 102, Loi visant à accroître la sécurité de la collectivité en modifiant la Loi sur le changement de nom, la Loi sur le ministère des Services correctionnels et la Loi sur les services policiers.

Mr Alex Cullen (Ottawa West): I rise to speak on Bill 102, the Community Safety Act. It is an act that of course our party is in full endorsement of. We know this is an act to try and improve community safety through providing legislation to ensure that there is proper information with respect to dangerous offenders, that where public safety is put at risk, information can be made available to the public through the appropriate authorities, and furthermore that the appropriate administrative arrangements are put in place so information can be exchanged with respect to name changes and the very rare but disturbing cases where people may be changing their names to cover their tracks and yet are people whom we, as a community, will need to know something about because of their anti-social behaviour and their danger to society.

I support this bill, but I have to say I am concerned that in dealing with this bill we build in the appropriate safeguards, because we are dealing with a balance between individual rights and the rights of society. We all know we have a public process where people are convicted, where people are proved through a court of law to be dangerous, that we have a process to deal with that.

Once they have served their punishment, they have paid their debt to society and in 90% of the cases the issue is moot; we don't have a problem any more. Unfortunately we do have those in our community for whom, for whatever reason, a prison term is not sufficient to alter their behaviour. They are either on the verge of becoming dangerous repeat offenders or are dangerous repeat offenders. Where the justice system allows for prison terms to be finished and where people are released, there ought to be an ability for those in authority to provide the information to our community.

What I want to suggest to the government is that this not lie simply within the purview of an individual, because as we know through the evolution of our civilization, individuals from time to time get swayed by emotional concerns and sometimes make inappropriate decisions.

That is why when the police want to go and investigate your home, they have to go to a judge and show cause to a judge, a third party, who then says: "Gee, boys, I think you're right. Here's the warrant." Being reasonable people, the police, knowing they have to go to a third party, have to present reasonable grounds to justify a warrant and therefore get one. But it certainly means that the police do not have the ability, because of having a bad day or whatever, to invade your place of residence.

Similarly, when we start talking about publicizing the whereabouts of an individual who has already paid their debt to society through our justice system -- they may pose a threat. We saw in Ottawa-Carleton a situation where the police did provide the name of someone who had been a predator with respect to juveniles, to minors, where that person was set upon by members of the public and was beaten on the street.

That was a violation. This person had not committed a crime. The point of giving out the information was to tell the community, "Be aware of this person," to provide more public scrutiny on this person, to be aware of this person. This person's behaviour would be therefore constrained and people could protect themselves and take note accordingly. It was not to provide a licence to go and beat up, to assault a person who was living a lawful life.

This is the delicate balance we have to here. That is why I believe it's important that when the police have information they wish to make public, they first have this checkpoint, this balance point, that they go to a judge or a justice of the peace and show cause to explain why, so it's not just on a whim, a caprice. Capriciousness was the hallmark -- I hate to be historical on this -- of kings. We know what Parliament ultimately did to capricious kings; they took off their heads. It happened in England, it happened in France, and therefore we brought in the rule of law, due process.

I have to say this time and again because this is a government that's heading down the road of kingship in so far as more and more power is being given to cabinet, being given to individual ministers to issue edicts without proper checks and controls. We saw what happened in Ottawa with the mere publication of a potential predator who had not done anything wrong: The inappropriate, illegal action happened where he was assaulted on the street, not once, not twice, and was driven from his abode. How can someone who has paid their price by serving their time in prison go through the adjustment in our community when we continue to point them out, to isolate them and to therefore restrict their ability to adjust and live normal lives?


What I'm saying is that this act delivers rather extreme power and it has to be used judiciously. The only time the police should be able to publicize the name of a threat to the community is when it is genuine, and if it is so genuine, then any reasonable justice of the peace or judge would be able to say so. Therefore, that kind of step should be there.

We're not talking here about the police sending out, "Listen, Joe Blow spent two years for shoplifting and he's in the Bayshore Shopping Centre now." We're not suggesting that. We think that's inappropriate.


Mr Cullen: I know where Bayshore Shopping Centre is, member for Nepean. I used to represent it on regional council. I've been there many times and I've even met other members of my community there. The point is, though, that is a communal place and one ought not to be driven from it because one's going about one's lawful business.

Even though there is good intent here, again it's a question of striking the right balance. We are dealing with balancing the needs, the rights of the individual who has served his time, who has the right to live a life lawfully without being impeded by other individuals, and the right of the community to know that so-and-so, who has a history of preying on children or minors or what have you, is living here.

It would actually surprise the population, considering our rates of criminal conviction over time, how many people who have made a mistake once in their life and now, 20 or 30 years later, are living in our community. You just check the records there. I'm sure you will find that the incidence is over two or three per thousand, which, if you look at a community of 10,000, means you're dealing with a dozen to two dozen people who have committed some criminal offence and have paid their time and are now living peacefully in the community.

It is an issue of trying to balance. I have to draw this to the attention of the government, because it's too easy for any government, for all governments to try and extract power to deal with this issue and then misuse this issue downstream. This is why civil libertarians are always conscious of the intrusion of the government into the private affairs of people.

We're not saying that in the instances that are being suggested here the definition of "dangerous offender" is inappropriate. It is absolutely appropriate here. What I'm trying to say is, this is awesome power, strong power. You go back to the days of hazing, you go back to the days of the puritanical societies which we've said we've long evolved from, but it was only two centuries ago -- think of it, two centuries ago; we're only talking five or six generations ago -- when people would be stoned in the community, despite laws, despite the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," for simply unsocial, inappropriate behaviour.

We've developed a process of checks and balances. We've developed where someone gets charged with an offence but is innocent until proven guilty, and even though all of us may think that person is guilty, we all saw it on TV, there's still a reason why we have due process.

The issue of naming someone who has not committed an offence -- they committed an offence before, they've spent their time in jail, they've been appropriately punished, but they're living their lives now, they have not committed another offence, yet we're naming them: "This person is likely to do X, Y, Z." We have to be very careful with that and not simply leave it in the hands of the police, because the police -- Lord love them, I've been with the police in my own municipality, gone out on the ride-along program and understand the difficult task they do. They're there to serve and protect and they do an excellent job. But they're human like all of us, and one has to be very careful that one does not ruin someone else's life by making an injudicious and inappropriate decision by letting loose to the public that so-and-so is a dangerous offender and might do something in our community.

What is the community to do then? Try and protect itself. The beating that happened in broad daylight of a person who was named by the chief of police as having a history of child predation is wrong, is uncivilized and not to be promoted. It's not the kind of reaction we're looking for when we pass this kind of legislation. The point of the legislation is not to create vigilantes, but simply to provide the parameters where the community is informed, the potential predator is informed and the proper help is given.

Giving this kind of information is only part of the process. We have to think in terms of additional help in trying to reintegrate the unfortunate individual who has a behaviour that's inappropriate, that's dangerous to us. We have to find ways and means of dealing with it. We simply cannot lock them up and turn the key.

Some people may say that's the only thing to do. Heaven knows, in the past 50 years we've made tremendous advances. Whereas 100 years ago someone might have been hung by their neck until they were dead because of an offence, we find today that with proper medication they can provide a useful contribution to society as long as it is identified ahead of time that their condition is not a result of will but merely the fact that they have a chemical imbalance of their own genetic makeup and this is what it takes to make them proper, contributing members of our community.

These are things we learn. We try to identify these things early in the process so that we do not end up with tragedies in our families. But where we do have those people -- I can use the name Clifford Olson. Thank goodness the system worked appropriately with Clifford Olson, in that when his parole time came up and he had the ability to appeal for parole, the parole board turned him down.

But say, for whatever reason, Clifford Olson had finished his time, had been released in the community and the police believed that he remained a threat to society. They should be able to go to a justice of the peace and say, "The community down in Smiths Falls," or Cobourg or Markham, "should be aware that Clifford Olson is in your community, trying to get a job, trying to lead a normal life."

What do we want that community to do? We want that community to know that person is in their midst so that they can watch him and perhaps help him. I don't believe the object of the exercise is to empower the community to go and beat him up in broad daylight, which is what happened in Ottawa when the chief of police identified someone who had served his time, was released and happened to find an apartment -- you know, it's pretty hard in our community to find an apartment that's not near where children are. Think of it. Children are everywhere. Wherever we live, there are families.

In this particular instance, this person in Ottawa happened to live four blocks away from a school. The papers made a big thing of the fact that this convicted paedophile was living four blocks from a school. I think it was appropriate for the school to be informed; I think it was appropriate for that community to be informed. I think we can all agree that it was inappropriate for an innocent person, which this person was, to be beaten up on the street, blood drawn in broad daylight, and have that splashed all over the Ottawa Sun. That's what happened.

It is an issue of balance in all these regards. It is a hard thing for anyone to judge. Lord love us, I would not presume to be able to play God in all these circumstances. I would want to have a system in place where if I had a concern, I was able to take it to someone. If they agreed with me, then we have a process to follow and the appropriate things can happen, because I believe in the long run all of us in this House, given adequate time to get over an emotional response, given adequate information, do come up with thought-through, reasoned judgements.

Here in this House, when the government presents things that we in the opposition think are going too far, we know we have an obligation to point this out. As we create the debate and as the public get to see what we're talking about, get to participate in the debate and therefore get to influence the government of the day, cooler, saner heads begin to prevail -- as I hope earnestly, just to use a small tangent here, is happening with the government with Bill 160. It is time for cooler heads to prevail. It is not the time to rush ahead.


Dealing with this particular legislation which, as I say, we are going to support, and for good reasons, there are concerns about when this information is brought forward. Simply to say that someone who has been convicted once, years ago -- we have had many people convicted over the years -- can you believe this? -- 20 years ago, 30 years ago for an unfortunate incident they did which would count as paedophilia and they were convicted at the time and have gone on to live productive lives, you don't want the episode that happened 20 or 30 years ago suddenly, for whatever purpose, because it happened to turn up on a driver's licence check dealing with this individual -- that the police officer says, "I'm going to release that information because I think the public should know about it."

I'm sorry, there has to be cause, there has to be a context and there should be some form of third-party review to make sure this is not abused. There is a famous saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We all know that there is a good reason to have this legislation in place, but we have to be mindful of abuse, and no government is ever immune from abuse, which is why we build into our process a system of checks and balances.

We look at the other aspects of this bill in terms of the free flow of information, with respect to name changes. I was just thumbing through one of the most recent editions of the Ontario Gazette and I was amazed at the number of name changes that were going through, that were being processed here in Ontario. Yes, it is sometimes appropriate to be able to track someone who is clearly intent on continuing criminal activity, to be able to ensure that you identify him through the process. But someone who years ago committed a criminal offence, paid their fine, wished to purge themselves of their guilt and therefore wished to change their name -- is there something wrong with that? History is replete with people who have done that and we have not taken away that right to do so.

I would hope that the purpose of the exercise here is to facilitate law enforcement officers to continue surveillance on those where there's a clear prima face case that surveillance needs to be there. I would hope it is not just another means of Big Brother keeping track of who's changing their name for what, and why, and therefore leading to abuse, unregulated by this body here which stands up and speaks for the citizens of Ontario.

That is our charge. We are elected here not only to be their voice, but to be their guardian. Remember, Parliament was created to provide limits on the government of the day which had taxing powers. What is the government of the day? They are ministers of the crown; they are ministers, on behalf of the crown, providing government. We in this Assembly are charged with scrutiny, making sure our rights as individuals out in the community are not being impugned upon by the ministers of the crown, by the government of the day.

I alluded in my earlier remarks to the tendency of government to seek the most efficient way of providing service and the obstacle it runs into with the democratic process, not only in terms of checks and balances, the requirement to consult, the requirement that other people see what's going on so the other people can say, "Wait a sec; you're going too far," and ultimately the government adjusting its course to meet the concerns of the community that it is elected to represent; but also within the context of the community being able to say, "You are going too far." If there's anything I've ever heard in this by-election back on September 4, it was the criticism that this government was going too far, too fast.

Even though we're speaking on a bill on which there is all-party consent, there is the issue that the power of the government has to be used extremely judiciously. It is too easy to agglomerate all kinds of powers and say: "Trust us. We will do right, and if we do wrong, throw us out in four years." That may be too late. With respect to this particular legislation, it is a step in the right direction, but I caution the members opposite to use this power carefully.

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

Mr Bob Wood (London South): I'd like to thank the member and his party for their support. The purpose of this bill is to use information to enhance community safety, and I think the member can take some assurance from the fact that the purposes for which disclosure can be made are clearly set out in the act. We have confidence in the police to use those provisions of the act responsibly. I think the approach of judicializing the release of information is wrong. However, at least I personally am open to improvements on this act once we get some experience with the act.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): As my colleague for Ottawa West was speaking, I recalled a similar situation occurring in my riding a couple of years ago where we had a paedophile with a number of convictions who was released in our community. This person had been spotted near one of the local schools in the Eglinton-Bathurst area. I know the parents were very upset and very concerned. We worked with the police, with the neighbourhood association.

We came to that same dilemma, I guess the real crossroads here: What do you do? Do you publicize that person's name so that the community, the parents, the children know and watch out for this person or do you protect his or her anonymity because that person has served his time? In this case here this person had a track record of repeat offences over and over again. I guess what this bill is saying, and that's why I agree with it, is that you have to err on the side of the children and the potential victims.

I know it is not an easy thing to do, publicizing the name of that person, but I think it has to be done with caution; it has to be done judiciously. We certainly don't want to see the type of activity that has occurred in Ottawa where that person was beaten up. In order to allow parents to protect and inform their children, you have to do it but you have to do it, with great caution, and I think you have to do it with great sensitivity so that you're not doing this haphazardly or at random, where a pattern develops. We have to err on the side of the parents who I think have the right to know. This is the beginning of appreciating that right to know.

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): Just briefly to the member: He clearly understands the delicate balance that's involved, and I would say to him that I wish his party had brought forward amendments that would be similar to what you suggest, that it go for judicial review prior to releasing the name. As I will say when I stand to speak, that is something we also agree with. I think the more often we talk about the necessity for due process as being basic to the protection and safety of any community, the more important it is.

One of the other speakers, the member for London South, expressed, as he did in the committee, a touching belief that these powers given to the police and corrections officials would not be abused, but we certainly know of instances beyond the instance you talk about where that has not been the case in the past, even when the information was not supposed to be released. So I think it is a very good point that you have made, and I will be looking forward to expanding upon it.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I too want to compliment the member for Ottawa West on his speech with respect to the fact that this law will require a very delicate balance between the public's right to know and the right of the individual. What this probably speaks to --


Mr Gerretsen: I wish the members opposite at least would try to gain something out of what is being said. Believe it or not, just because you are on that side of the House, that doesn't mean you've got the answers to all the problems in the world. There may just be one or two good ideas on this side of the House and, who knows? When we're on that side of the House in two or three years from now, we may even accept one or two of your ideas. While a few of you, probably no more than about 10 or 12, are left on this side, you may have something to offer to the then government of the day as well.

Coming back to Bill 102, what it clearly shows and what's required is the great cooperation not only between the government ministries of Ontario but also with respect to the federal governing authorities, with respect to the police departments -- federal and provincial and municipal -- and with respect to the mental health facilities and people who run those facilities as well. There has got to be a complete cooperative effort with respect to all the various parties involved and with a clear understanding that the individuals have rights and that those rights need to be protected as well to ensure that this kind of law will in effect be implemented in a successful fashion.

It is an important bill. I think the people of Ontario need to be protected. We will be supporting Bill 102.

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

Mr Cullen: I would like to thank the members for London South, London Centre, Oakwood and Kingston and The Islands for their comments with respect to my remarks on this important bill. I believe they have clearly acknowledged the delicate balancing act. I think all of them have used that terminology in their remarks.

I was pleased to hear the member for London South hold open the door that, after some practice with this legislation, the government may be open to some possible improvements, particularly with respect to the notion of judicial review.

We're not talking about trying to make the system onerous or bureaucratic, but you have to realize there is a role for due process so that people do not just shoot from the hip, half-cocked. We are dealing with people's lives. Yes, we want to protect the vulnerable in our community; that is our primary obligation. But when someone has not committed a crime and there is no compelling evidence that they are about to commit a crime, then we have to be very, very careful with what we do here. We have the corresponding obligation to give this person, whom some of us may worry about, the adequate supports in place to ensure that they can reintegrate themselves into society. There is no point in going around stigmatizing people and crying wolf all the time if we do not help these people. If we do that, we just drive them underground, they become harder to find and the community is not made any safer as a result.

It is a balancing act. I would like to thank the members for their contributions, particularly with the notion that the government would review the legislation after some practice and possibly bring in the kinds of balances this legislation needs to make sure it doesn't become an inappropriate tool for protecting our community.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Further debate?

Mrs Boyd: I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to this bill, which concerns me a great deal. Let me be very frank that someone like me, who has worked in the field of victim services, worked with women and children who have been abused physically and sexually -- no one probably has a greater concern around the protection of members of our community who are vulnerable to predators. The reality is that there are predators out there and there is a real concern within the community about the lack of sureness about whether or not we can predict that someone will offend again.

We have some very discouraging research that seems to show that, particularly paedophilia, a disorder which is extraordinarily difficult to treat successfully and to change behaviour over the long term. Hence the community has some real basis to have some concern about the eventual release of people into the community whom they may perceive to be dangerous.

I don't dispute at all the intention of the government to try and protect the community and to see this as one mechanism. I certainly acknowledge that there are many people out there, many victims' rights groups out there, who are making demands upon the government, very strong demands, that this kind of mechanism be available to protect the community. I think it is a problem we need to discuss in a way that makes it clear there is no one who doesn't have concern for the safety of the public, particularly for those who are vulnerable within our communities to attack by people who are inappropriate.

Having got that out of the way, however, the whole issue we are dealing with here is, what is the right way to protect our communities? How can we be sure the actions we are taking are going to be protective? How can we be sure they aren't undermining the very basis of our community itself?

When we began our civilized government through the rule of law, we decided it was inappropriate for people to take action against others on a presumption. The whole issue of the rule of law is that you can't make an assumption that someone might commit a crime and therefore take action against them without having proven that they committed a crime. We're on a very slippery slope when we have a bill like Bill 102 that allows for correctional officials and the police to stigmatize and pillory, if we listen to the example the member for Ottawa West brought forward, a person who indeed has committed a crime, who has been convicted of that crime, who has served their term for that crime and over whom the state has to at some point relinquish control.

The extreme law and order crowd in this government, which sometimes but not always corresponds to the family values group, is a group of people who see the whole issue of crime and punishment in very stark terms, in very punitive terms. To hear people in this government talk about law and crime and talk about the issues of people who are confined in the provincial jurisdiction, one would think we were talking about the worst criminals who exist in our communities. It's always important for us to recognize that our jurisdiction in this province is over people who are convicted of crimes and sentenced to two years less a day or fewer days -- mostly fewer days. I believe the average length of sentence is somewhere between 65 and 74 days for crimes that are within our jurisdiction.

It is really important, when we accept the rule of law, to balance the needs and desires of the community and the respect for privacy and for the rights of the individual. That's the struggle that's going on in this bill. As the member for Ottawa West suggested, the task is to come to some kind of balance in balancing out those rights, and those rights sometimes conflict.

We know, for example, we have a right, when someone has been charged with a crime, to determine whether or not they need to stay in custody, even though they haven't been convicted, until they go through the court process and a court finds them guilty. We say as a community that that is an appropriate balance. If someone has committed a crime they might commit again, that's one of the criteria. They may flee the jurisdiction and never go through the court process That's another issue. They are a danger to others or to themselves. That's another issue. We say, "You can't go free until you're tried, until the evidence is brought and a judge makes a determination." We allow ourselves the power to keep people in jail or to release them on bail, and the objective there always is the safety of the community and the safety of the judicial process, the whole justice process.

There are lots of occasions where we have made decisions through law in our community that the rights of an individual are secondary to the needs of safety and protection in the community. There's no question about that. If somebody says, "Can this government do this?" the reality is yes, this government can put forward a bill that enables a police chief or his or her designate to release the name and the whereabouts of someone who has completed a sentence, who is not now accused of anything but who that particular police officer determines has a potential to possibly commit a crime in the future.


One of the things that's really disturbing about this is that there's no process here to bring evidence; this is just a belief on the part of this person. There's no judicial process we go through, as we do when we determine bail, and of course the whole bail process is done before a justice of the peace. We have to make it very clear; the onus is on the crown to prove it is in the best interests of the community to keep that person from being free. The assumption is always that you're free until you're convicted, unless there's some very good reason that you should be jailed. Even where there's a review of that and the onus reverses on that, the whole objective is the protection of the community.

You can imagine how surprised I was, given the kind of presentations that had been made to the committee, the particularly eloquent presentations by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and their counsel, Alan Borovoy, that when we began clause-by-clause on this bill there was no provision in the bill for a judicial process, due process, to determine whether a person's name and whereabouts would be released under these circumstances -- very surprised.

So of course we put forward an amendment. I'll read it to you, because I don't think it was a strange amendment. We said there should be a restriction on the disclosure of this information to the general public, for a very good reason: We said:

"(2.1) A person described in subsection (2) shall not disclose personal information about an individual to the general public unless he or she first obtains an order from a judge of the Ontario Court (General Division),

"(a) finding that the individual who is the subject of the proposed disclosure is dangerous to the public;" so it's not a little presumption in the mind of the police chief but a court of law determining that this person poses a danger;

"(b) finding that the proposed disclosure consists only of information that is reasonably required for public safety;" so making sure that the information released is as limited as possible, invades the privacy of that individual as little as possible; "and

"(c) permitting the disclosure."

So the police service has an order that allows them to do their job in protecting the community. If they can't prove that to the satisfaction of the judicial official, then obviously they can't disclose the name.

The argument that was used by the parliamentary assistant was: "The courts are already crowded and we don't want to throw this into court, don't want to judicialize this. We trust the police, and we ought to just allow them to go ahead." I thought he brought rather unconvincing arguments around the fact that if we found the police were abusing this power, we could look at it again. I was amazed to hear him, in his comments to the speech from the member for Ottawa West, say that again. This is sort of like, "Let's try this out and see how it works, and if it doesn't work we will go back to a more just system after we've ruined the lives of the people who have been treated as this bill suggests." Government by trial and error certainly does appear to be the style of this government; that's a rather explicit statement of it, to be quite frank. The parliamentary assistant went on to say that the amendments brought forward by the government would solve this problem.

The real problem of timing did arise. We all have to admit that we know the courts are all clogged up with a lot of matters, so I have some appreciation for the concern around the timeliness of taking any action under this bill if it had to go through a judicial process. I do have some sympathy with that. But I would point out that this kind of action is similar to an injunction or a civil restraining order, both of which can be obtained very quickly, both of which have the same objective as the disclosure of information under this bill, both of which need to be brought in a timely fashion and a decision made in a timely fashion; a very analogous kind of a situation.

The government itself has no compunction about applying for injunctions and knowing it's going to get them within at least a 48-hour period, if not a 24-hour period. In fact, the former provincial judge from Ottawa-Rideau made it clear that you would get it in very short order because it is that kind of proceeding; time is of the essence. However, the argument made no impression on those who are determined to continue the punishment of people who have already paid for their crimes and determined not to ensure that their rights are also respected once they have paid that penalty.

The government moved an amendment. Let me tell you what they thought was going to solve this problem. They put some conditions in. They put a purpose clause in. It says:

"Purpose of disclosure

"(2.1) Any disclosure made under subsection (2) shall be for one or more of the following purposes:

"1. Protection of the public." All of us agree this would be an appropriate reason.

"2. Protection of victims of crime." All of us would agree that would be an appropriate one. That is one of the reasons we have bail hearings and keep people incarcerated until they're convicted, that they may be dangerous to the original victim.

"3. Keeping victims of crime informed of the law enforcement, judicial or correctional processes relevant to the crime that affected them." Of course, in that case you'd only be disclosing this information to the victim of the crime, not treating the whole community as though it were the victim of the crime, even though in the rule of law to some extent we do define ourselves that way.

I have no problem with any of those three reasons, one or more of those being the reason for disclosure. But when we go on to the rest, listen how broad these are.

"4. Law enforcement.

"5. Correctional purposes.

"6. Administration of justice.

"7. Enforcement of and compliance with any federal or provincial act, regulation or government program.

"8. Keeping the public informed of the law enforcement, judicial or correctional processes respecting any individual."

It seems to me that those four pieces leave this wide open. We cannot have any confidence that the very best trained, the very best intentioned, the very most effective police chief in this province isn't going to see a door open with that kind of provision and see himself or herself as protecting his or her community by having undesirable people drummed out of the community as a result of disclosing what they had done in the past.

My friend the member for London South thinks that means I don't have much respect for the police. He needs to know I have a great deal of respect for the police. I worked with the police for years. But I also know it is the job of legislatures, the job of the lawmakers to set the boundaries on the work police officers do. We set the laws; they enforce them. We make sure as legislators that our laws are enforced in an appropriate way that respects the rights of citizens.


I tried at least to get the parliamentary assistant to admit that "law enforcement" was far too loose and tried to at least get him to say "criminal law enforcement," because we have all sorts of provincial offences which could be considered law enforcement. In fact, under number 7, we do talk about compliance with any provincial act or regulation. In other words, someone who has been released from prison and is living in the community may have a parking ticket, may have a traffic infraction, may not pay their family support, so this information could be disclosed within the community. That's wide open in here. All we have is the assurance of the member for London South that "Oh, the police wouldn't do that." I think all of us know that we need more assurance than the goodwill of people, however expert they are.

Whenever we get into a position, as legislators, of deciding that it is appropriate for us to limit the rights and freedoms of any individual in our communities, we have to do that in a way that, within the legislation, protects not only that individual but the whole community, because the way we treat individuals within our community is the way we can expect to be treated. Our problem is that people who commit criminal acts do not respect the dignity and the integrity of their victims. The problem with criminal behaviour is exactly that. You don't correct that criminal behaviour by not respecting the integrity and the rights of the person who has committed the crime. In fact, the whole rule of law as it applies to people who break the law ought to be to demonstrate to them exactly why they have offended against us as the community and to demonstrate that we have figured out a way to solve our problems without infringing on their rights.

This bill is a big step backwards. There were safeguards suggested by the Civil Liberties Association that could have protected the privacy of individuals very effectively and had the same effect in terms of safety within the community. I think it is a slippery, slippery slope, to start putting these kinds of powers in the hands of police officers. I think it is a small step from here to the encouragement of vigilantism, which really is what the member for Ottawa West was talking about.

We began a rule of law to get away from the eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth form of law and order. What we are doing here is setting the stage for setting one citizen against another. We're setting the rights of one citizen over another without a due process. If we have a due process, that can be very appropriate, especially when we fear for the safety of our community, but it must be due process, and Bill 102 does not achieve that.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Bob Wood: In response to the member for London Centre, I'd like to reiterate but not repeat my previous remarks. I would like to point out, however, that information disclosed must be factual and it's got to be disclosed in accordance with the purposes set out in the bill. I'd like to emphasize that we do not see judicializing the process as the answer. I'm sure members of the House are aware that 50% of discretion in the criminal law system is exercised by the police. They are very experienced and I think very fair in exercising that discretion.

This bill has nothing to do with punishment and everything to do with community safety. We believe this act is a great step forward for community safety and we think it will work well. Having said that, we are also committed to monitoring how the act works and are prepared to look at any improvements that may be indicated.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions and comments? The member for St Catharines.

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): How about a cabinet update?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I do not have a cabinet update; I'm sorry, but I do not.

But I did want to mention what happened with this bill and what it reminds me of in the field of justice. What it reminds me of is that this government has cut considerably the resources the people of Ontario have, through their government, to fight crime.

I listen to the law and order gang over there make great pronouncements about how they're going to deal with serious crime in the province, yet we have seen severe cuts in allocations to certain areas of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General, so now we have more and more cases out there where plea bargaining is taking place.

I heard from the law and order crowd over there during the election campaign, and in this House they are always up with resolutions on Thursday mornings, telling the federal government what to do about something, or with petitions. But in fact, here in Ontario the Harris gang is cutting back the resources available to fight crime in this province. I am perturbed and perplexed by this, since I keep hearing they are the great crime fighters.

Are you all aware on the government side, for instance, that plea bargaining is now almost routine? The courts are clogged, there are not enough police officers, there are not enough people to prosecute, and as a result, bargains are made with those who have committed crimes to get a much lower sentence, a much easier sentence. You have to not just talk about it; you have to put the resources there to fight crime.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I would encourage the House, particularly the members opposite, to pay attention whenever the member for London Centre gets up to speak. She's probably one of the few in the place who actually takes a bill page by page, line by line, and goes through it so she understands it and is able to see how it applies to the everyday workings of government as it reaches into community. This bill is no exception to that. When she gets up this evening and challenges us in the way she has about the very nature and purpose of this bill, never mind its specifics, I think it behooves us to listen, to think it out and perhaps have another look at it. It will not, as she says, do all it is intended to do.

The other member from London gets up and challenges her on some of what she presents. I suggest he might want to think about that a little further before he does it again, because this bill leaves many details to be dealt with by regulation and therefore it makes it very difficult to assess the consequences of it.

What the member for London Centre puts forward by way of consequence is very possible and I suggest to you will be very real. The very cause this bill is presented in the name of, the context in which it is played out, that of trying to reduce community crime, will not be the end result, I suggest.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions or comments? Member for London Centre, you have two minutes to respond.

Mrs Boyd: I want to thank all the members who commented. It is extremely important for us to have a serious discussion about what is really a serious matter. It is late, we're all tired, we're all anticipating being out of here, and this is exactly the most dangerous time for the freedoms we cherish in our community. Those of us who are not vigilant at this time may not realize the importance of what we're doing.

I would say to the member for Sault Ste Marie that it's very good that he remembers that a lot of the details will be decided by regulation. We always are nervous about that. We always are concerned that the effect of regulations at least, if not the regulations themselves, be articulated before we pass legislation.

In this instance, it is my very deep hope that in putting into place the regulations that set the context for the powers we will be granting if this Legislature passes this bill, we will be limiting those appropriately for the protection of individuals as well as the protection of the community.

I would say again to my friend from London South that I find it touching that you are so trustful, given the many examples we have of instances where the police are not always appropriate, to assume we can assume they're going to be appropriate in this instance. I would remind him that the overwhelming desire of police officers is to protect their community, and that to do that they have shown themselves willing to contravene the rights of individuals on many occasions in the past. We shouldn't give them more licence to do so with this bill.


The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I look forward to participating in this debate on Bill 102, the Community Safety Act. I almost reluctantly want to support this bill; I will be supporting it, but quite reluctantly, because I'm concerned in many respects.

First, I should say that many of the victims of crime in our society today are not adequately supported. Quite often with the consequences of crime, the victims seem to come out worse for it than those who have committed the crimes. Any government, all governments should make sure that we have not only a safe society and a safe community, but that the victims who are the subjects of such crimes are protected even long after the crime has been committed. Quite often, while someone may have physical loss in incidents, some mental torture continues for years to come, and that in itself has gone without any protection in any way.

While, as I said, I intend to support this legislation, I am concerned in some respects. Of course we must have adequate information sharing among all the ministries and all people who are involved so we can have very effective legislation. One of the problems we find quite often in government is that when we institute any kind of law or any kind of policy, other agencies in government are not informed, so it becomes quite inadequate and not as enforceable as it should be.

We have known that with this government, whose basic concern all the time is the bottom line and it talks about fiscal responsibility and the fiscal deficit, quite often the human deficit is left to waste and becomes worse.

This act itself tries to bring about some justice for the victims and to make sure that the human deficit that is there, or abuse, is being addressed, but one of the things I'm concerned about is that this legislation, as I understand, will be amending three different areas. As a matter of fact, we're going to have to amend the Police Services Act, which we understand, the Ministry of Correctional Services Act and the Change of Name Act. Let me deal first with the Police Services Act.

I have worked with the police quite often and I have the greatest respect for many of the good police officers who are around, and as a matter of fact for the system that is in place, but I'm not quite sure if I would allow the police officers under the Police Services Act to deal with the release of names. It should really be given to the judicial powers in some respect, where those names to be released should be given judicial review before the police themselves issue those names.

The member for London South said, "It's not a punishment when we release those names so those individuals could be known to be in that community." But let's face it, it is a punishment, and that's why we are putting it in place. Therefore, we cannot stand by and say, "Listen, we're going to give those names to the community and these people are on guard."

Many people try to turn their lives around, of course, and we must have that balance in place. There are accidents and there are situations that happen in life and people try to turn their lives around and one cannot be punished forever. Before one gives this power to the police, some judicial review should be given as to when the name should be released and how it should be released.

I should read a concern that was expressed by the John Howard Society and I think we should adhere to that. The John Howard Society warns us that the publishing of names of offenders soon to be released could drive those individuals underground. That's my concern. The fact is, while we intend to release those names so the community would know, they'll just disappear and then it becomes more difficult to find those individuals.

Furthermore, as I said, the concern of this government all the time is that we have to cut costs. Mark you, we can build greater prisons and more efficient electronic prisons, but to cut costs the resources that will be given to those institutions are not there to follow those individuals. Therefore, those individuals will have gone underground. I don't know how you're going to find them unless you have the proper resources to do so.

They further state that there are also concerns that paedophiles and other sex offenders could simply move to a different province and avoid the name change, because one of the acts they're going to do is the name change act so you can't change your name unless you've been more or less given permission. But all they have to do is move to another province. In moving to another province, what you've done is given the other province that kind of concern.

It's a difficult thing to monitor. I understand that; I understand it very well. It's very difficult to monitor and enforce that, but you must be mindful of those kinds of situations that we'll have trying to enforce that.

As I said, I will not be taking a long time. I thought I'd just make a couple of points because I think it's quite important. It's extremely important.

One of the other concerns I have is that many mentally sick individuals are out on the street because of government deinstitutionalizing quite a few of these individuals, sending them out on the street to live, with nowhere to go. Then when they do commit a crime, we come with all the full force of a hammer on them, while it is the government itself.

As a matter of fact, I can remember, it was this Conservative government way back which first started deinstitutionalizing people and sending them out on the streets without any proper resources. Now they're back at the game again. I want to emphasize that you've got to put the proper resources in place so individuals can be dealt with properly.

Today we have heard that some of the people who are running in the municipal elections are saying that maybe there's no homeless in certain areas, and so most of those individuals are concentrated in certain areas. I'm concerned about a colleague of mine who has a concentration of quite a few of those individuals who are taken care of in those areas. The fact again is the lack of resources to deal with those individuals.

I want to ask this government: Upon bringing this legislation in place, will they be bringing the necessary funds, the necessary resources to make sure this legislation can be effective?

I'm concerned that there are insufficient resources, but I will support this legislation. It's going in the right direction, but it's one of the few things that I would say is not going far enough from the point of view of resources.

Many of the concerns we have about this government is the ramming way in which they do things. They don't listen, and maybe this is another part. If you would listen carefully instead of ramming this through right away, maybe you would start addressing some of these concerns, or maybe before the bill is passed make a proper announcement and say you're going to put all the adequate resources; not just by words but in some specific sums of funds, that will be there to make sure this enforcement will be adequate in protecting those victims, and also not to unnecessarily -- and I would say that, unnecessarily -- punish those individuals who need some help, some mental help from this government which has pulled back many of those resources.

Again, I don't mind at all supporting this, but it doesn't go far enough.


The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Bob Wood: I'd like to thank the member for Scarborough North for his support. I think his concern about victims is very well placed. He addressed the issue of punishment versus community safety. As he can see from the bill itself, where the authorities are satisfied rehabilitation has taken place, no disclosure is going to occur.

He made the point with respect to perpetrators moving from the province. That point is well taken, and I think it's a good reason other provinces should follow our lead in this area. I would also like to assure him that there will indeed be adequate resources in place to make this legislation work.

Mr Gerretsen: I just want to confirm something that both the member for Scarborough North and the member for St Catharines talked about earlier, and that's the fact that the bill as proposed is a good law, but the real question comes in how you're going to enforce it and whether there are there adequate resources available to actually enforce it, so I took it upon myself to take out a copy of the 1997 Ontario budget, which is the government's document. It's not my propaganda; it's your propaganda, and presumably the numbers you've got in here are correct.

Let's just take a look at what's happening to the Attorney General's portion of the 1997 Ontario budget. The amount they plan to spend in this fiscal year is $654 million. The amount that was spent in 1995-96, just two years ago, was $1.085 billion. So we have a difference of almost a 40% cut.

You can say you took the 40% out of this area or that area, but I don't think anybody out there is going to believe you if you don't acknowledge that a lot of this money is coming out of the enforcement area. So what are we doing here? We're putting a law on the books for which, in order to have it properly implemented, you have already taken the money out of the budget, not only provincially but also by all the local police forces. We know what has happened to the local police forces. They have already taken $180 million for local policing away from the local forces.

The law is a great law, but it doesn't mean anything unless you have the resources to actually implement it and have it come to completion. That's the problem. You haven't done that and you will fail in this as you have in so many other things.

Mrs Boyd: Everyone in this place knows how much I respect the member for Scarborough North. After all, I have to respect him; I once spent a memorable night with him here in this chamber. That having been said, I'm very disappointed --

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): You respected him in the morning.

Mrs Boyd: That's right. I must tell him I'm very disappointed. When I heard he was going to speak tonight, I anticipated that he was going to talk about his concerns based on the very serious report that was done on systemic racism and the way in which the police and the criminal justice system treat visible minorities in our communities.

One of the big concerns I have about a bill like this is that it is an open door to the kind of discrimination that report showed happened in terms of the whole process, from beginning to end, in the justice system, against visible minority people, in particular the black community in our province.

I have a real sense that I'm glad he can be so sanguine that a bill like this is going to protect his community, knowing what he knows about the way the justice system treats visible minority people in this society. I don't think it will. That's why we're very deeply concerned about it.

The safeguards are not here in this bill to ensure that a perpetuation of the kind of discrimination that the systemic racism report showed happened in every place, at every juncture, in the process of the criminal justice system, wouldn't happen, and now we have added another thing, an extension of that criminal process to post-sentencing, to allow that discrimination to prevail.

Mr Cullen: I'm rising to respond to the comments from the member for Scarborough North, who I think gave an excellent perspective on the issues we face with this bill. I know that if we had an opportunity to discuss the broader issues of law enforcement in our community and the issue of racism, we would find no stronger proponent to ensure our public institutions and our law enforcement are devoid of any sense of racism than the member for Scarborough North, but that's not the topic we are discussing today.

I want to pick up on the theme that was introduced by the member for Kingston and The Islands, which is the whole issue of the adequate nature of law enforcement, giving enough tools to our police to do their jobs so they are not in the position of having to go public and ask the public to act as vigilantes because there is an identified dangerous offender in our midst. We need to have adequate resources starting at the base, ensuring we have adequate education, adequate mental health support and adequate health support for our community so that those who are vulnerable are not pushed off the track.

I want to speak specifically about Ottawa-Carleton, the provincial support to our police. It is a $100-million budget. Last year it was cut by over $4 million. This year it's going to be cut by over $4 million. That means in the space of two years $8 million will have been removed from our budget in Ottawa-Carleton in terms of law enforcement. I say to the members opposite this is a clear contradiction to this government's stated objective in terms of supporting the community in its efforts to ensure a safe community, so that the vulnerable are protected, so we can lead honest, decent lives. How can they say that when they cut funding from Ottawa-Carleton?

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Questions and comments? Responses?

Mr Curling: I must say to the member for London Centre that you are so right that maybe I should have taken all that time, but I was trying to focus exactly on this issue.

Let me tell you about my emotions and my feelings about the discrimination that is happening now in this province, and also the neglect by this government to deal with employment equity, pay equity, human rights and the Ombudsman, continuing to deny justice to all those people. As a matter of fact, here is another way of saying how inadequately you have put this bill.

I very much hope the next time we come around not only I, who see that in my constituency, but all of us in this Parliament would speak on behalf of the blacks and the Chinese and women and all those minorities who have been discriminated against in this province. Let me say very, very strongly that I may speak far less on this issue, but I would like to see you speak far more on this issue. That is not my issue but an issue for all of us, the fact that injustice has been done in this province to those who are vulnerable in our society and that justice has been denied.

If you want to, go through the courts and see the backlog. If you want to, go to human rights where this minister made sure they called all the cases frivolous, threw those cases out and then came back and said, "Look at that, we don't have a lineup any more." We see this minister also cutting back on the Ombudsman. So where is this justice? Here we are now with a little limp legislation that is coming through, and we're going to deal with these issues without resources.

As my colleague from Kingston and The Islands pointed out very well, 40% of the budget of the same minister who is presenting here about enforcement has been cut, and then he is saying to us, "We are moving forward." You may be moving forward intellectually, but to enforce this on a financial basis, there is nothing there. I hope we all speak on this discrimination in the time to come.


The Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Martin: I have to say at the outset that this has been a most interesting and informative evening. It's interesting that on this, the last day of sitting of this session of the House, we would be here at 10:20, some in the House even having written off the debate as just the opposition wasting time, when in fact we are debating a bill that has some significant and tremendous consequence for every community out there in Ontario. We have a government attempting to correct the sense of foreboding that exists in communities about crime and who causes crime and the effects of crime in a way that, yes, may go a distance, but then again may not, depending on the details of the bill, depending on the regulations that are passed, depending on how it's handled by those who ultimately are called upon to implement the bill as it is finished.

This evening we've had some very interesting input by the members. The member for Ottawa West, who gave a wonderful speech, I thought, brought a very enlightened and interesting and well-researched perspective to this very complicated issue. He brought his own experience from his own community, and for me, that was worth listening to, worth hearing. The member for London Centre got up then and in her own inimitable way, dealing with the details of the bill, presented a case for it perhaps not being such an enlightened piece of legislation. We have people in our own caucus who see it differently. That is in many ways the interesting and exciting part of what happens here in this place.

It's unfortunate, though, that members from the government side don't choose to participate, don't choose to share with us why they feel so strongly that this bill is in the best interests of their constituencies and the people they serve and indeed the province of Ontario. The only member who gets up every now and again is the member for London South. We appreciate the fact that he makes the effort every so often to get up and give us 50 seconds of his wisdom and feeling and understanding about this bill. It's important that you tell all of us here why it is that you in your caucus feel so strongly that we need to be moving this forward, that we need to be here at 20 after 10, as a matter of fact, on this Thursday night, the last night of the sitting of this session, debating this bill. But you don't choose to participate.

To digress for a second, I suggest that the reason given for the changing of the rules in this place was -- correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it was said that the members of the government back bench wanted more time to participate in debate. Yet here we are tonight -- all kinds of time; they could have 20 minutes apiece -- and we haven't heard one voice other than the member for London South get up and proffer or present --

Mr Gerretsen: He says the same thing every time. He reads the same five lines from the notes.

Mr Martin: Well, at least he says it. You've got to give credit where it's due, member for Kingston and The Islands. At least he gets up and says it and provokes some response from the opposition and we have a real debate. In fact, we do have a real debate going here this evening, because this is a very important piece of business, a piece of business that, as presented and articulated by the member for London Centre and the member for Ottawa West, needs to be looked at with some intelligence and with some sensitivity and with some understanding of how it might in the end play itself out.

It's a bill that, it says here, ensures that justice records, including a person's criminal record registered under a previous name, are updated to reflect a legal name change, that among a few other things. Basically, it's to make sure that when somebody gets out of jail and comes into a community, the people in that community know that he or she is around.

At first blush, that may sound to a lot of people like a good thing. In fact, there are moments in my own life, as I think about my family and my neighbourhood and my community, when I think, "You know, that might not be such a bad idea, to know who is living in my neighbourhood or is coming into my community." On the other hand, as the member for London Centre so eloquently presented, first of all, what about the rights of that person who has done their due, who has done their time, given their pound of flesh, so to speak? What about their rights coming back into the community? What about the artificial sense of safety it gives to a community that just because they know who among them has a record of some sort or another, they're now safe, that there is no more reason to worry, that the community can throw the key away, lay off all the police, and go to bed and sleep comfortably and quietly?

There are a couple of things I would like to present tonight, a few thoughts I have had in trying to come to terms with this bill and decide just exactly where it is I sit as I listened to the debate and the presentations made by so many learned folks around the House here this evening. One of them, and it was raised by others, is the fact that this bill, as do so many bills presented by this government, says one thing, yet when you get into the meat of it really says nothing at all. It presents sort of a motherhood statement, has with it some of the bones of perhaps how we might get to where it is the preamble suggests we all want to get to. Safe communities: I mean, who can speak against safe communities? Who can speak against initiatives that will leave us all, when we go to bed at night, feeling like we're going to be okay, that we're all going to wake up in the morning and be protected? But when we look at the bill -- and I've suggested on other occasions that some of these bills are like the proverbial Trojan horse: When you get it in among you, you find out that there are all kinds of other things attached to it and all kinds of consequences that come with itand that if we don't think about them beforehand, it is often too late afterwards. It's like closing the gate after the horses are out.

This bill leaves many details to be dealt with by regulation and therefore makes it very difficult to assess its consequences. For example, will the regulations allow for the release of information regarding persons within corrections systems who are out on parole, mandatory supervision, electronic monitoring etc, or will it only allow the release of information for persons who have completed their sentence and all court dispositions? That's just one of the questions. What protection does it really provide communities? Maybe by giving a false sense of security. Perhaps that's what this is about. I would hope not, because that in the end will not serve anybody, will not serve the community, nor will it serve the people who have unfortunately entered into some behaviour that has been antisocial or obstructive or dangerous in some way and who have, at the end of the day, done their time and been through some counselling and want to get on with their life.

Some advocates against naming of offenders state that it will drive ex-inmates underground and will make it impossible for police to keep track of them once they are publicly named. I would suggest to you, Speaker, and members of this assembly and others out there listening that this bill, to me anyway, as I look at it, presents a lot like some of the other initiatives of this government, which deal with the end result of some activity or behaviour as opposed to actually getting to the root cause of some challenge or problem that is presented out there in our communities as life evolves and as we're all called to recognize and to deal with these things.

For example, there's the issue of why we have so many people on welfare. This government came to the conclusion that there are too many people on welfare because we're giving people on welfare too much money. Well, that may make sense to some people, but it certainly doesn't make sense to me. I would suggest that if you're going to deal with the question of people on assistance, you might want to take a look at the fact that there aren't enough jobs out there to go around, that there aren't enough programs to assist people who would like to be working to get back into the workforce; that you deal with it from that end, to deal with the cause of the difficulty in the first place as opposed to the symptom

We have here a situation where we're being asked to approve of a bill that will again target a particularly marginalized, already vulnerable group of people without considering, perhaps, some other things that we might do to improve the situation where it means bringing people back into the community once they have served some time. We have a government here that is now in the process, a way down the road to building these superjails that will not have in them any resource to help people mend their ways, any counselling, any small-group therapy, any ability to be rehabilitated.


This government that we have in front of us today believes that if you kick people hard enough and low enough they will straighten up and do the right thing. That's their approach to the poor, that's their approach to people who find themselves in difficulty when it comes to abuse of situations and that's their approach when it comes to issues of justice and safety in the community. It's to meet violence with violence. It's the old "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" mentality.

This government is taking us back so far that some of us are beginning to feel quite lost in the middle of it all, wondering if we'll ever be able to recapture some of the very enlightened and progressive and, I suggest to you, successful programming and attitudes and approaches to the difficulties that present to a community as it tries to be all that it can be, as it tries to answer the needs of all of the people who live within it, as it tries to provide for the common good of all people who live therein.

I suggest to you that some of what this government is doing is in fact going to lead to more crime as opposed to less crime. Anybody who has studied at all, even minutely, the issue of why we have poverty and why we have crime knows that there are what we call common determinants of those kinds of things and that kind of behaviour. The reason we have poverty and crime is because we have people who don't have the same opportunity as others, either for themselves or for their children, to participate fully in the community they live in. They get frustrated and angry and they reach out in anger and they take things sometimes that should actually, in the first place, have been offered to them if we were the society that we hold out there to the world that we think we are.

Lest you think I'm making some of this up, lest you think it's in my imagination that we're going down the drain in Ontario and that as a community of people who care about each other we're losing a sense of how you do that and what that means, let's have a look at what the scribes are saying. Let's have a look at what the people who write in our newspapers and watch what's going on and unfolding and beginning to happen in our communities as governments do their business are saying.

Let me try and get this in some chronological order. Here's an article from Monday, October 6. It says here, "TB Plagues Homeless." This is the Toronto Sun. This is not a newspaper that normally writes this kind of thing. This is not a newspaper that normally is critical of this present Conservative government, but it has no choice.

Mr Wildman: You were right in the first place. The Toronto Sun is not a newspaper.

Mr Martin: No, it's a tabloid in many ways, but it is a newspaper and it's a newspaper that a lot of people in this community read and look at as the gospel. This newspaper on Monday, October 6, writes an article under the byline of Sharon Lem that says, "TB Plagues Homeless, Disease Spreading at `Alarming Rates.'"


Mr Martin: Does that concern you over there as you laugh about that? Does it concern you that there are people who have no homes in this city, in this province that is recognized around the world as one of the best places to live, who are now suffering the disease of tuberculosis, a disease that we thought we had eradicated?

Some of us who know what the environment is within which TB is allowed to grow and to prosper, who are sitting in this place tonight, who work with the poor and the homeless and the hungry in our communities, know why we get plagues of TB. You get plagues of TB when you get too many poor people huddled together for warmth, trying to protect each other and support each other because the government of the day finds in its wisdom that it is better to give somebody a boot than to give them a hand and turns our cities and communities into places that resemble more what we refer to as third world countries as opposed to first world countries.

Here's an another article that I want to share with you, again from the Toronto Sun, not a bastion of socialism by any stretch of the imagination. You have to look at it in the context of the first one, "TB Plagues Homeless." This article, on October 9, says, "Homelessness at a 30-year High."

Here's another article, from the Catholic Register. This was written on September 8. It says, "Welfare Reform `Ghettoizes' the Poor; Ontario Bill" -- and they're talking about Bill 142 -- "Will Mean the Poor `Are Going to Belong to Another Canada,' Critics Say."

Why am I sharing this with you? I'm sharing this with you because it presents some of the evidence that the programs of your government -- and I would suggest the bill that we're debating here tonight is an example of that -- are not what are needed today. They are not going to answer the very real concerns and needs of people out there as we try to bring this province into the next century, as we grapple with the globalization that is going on, as we grapple with the change in the economy that is seeing some of the traditional jobs that people worked in disappearing while new, higher-tech jobs that require higher education take over.

A whole lot of people begin to fall through the cracks. To kick them in the butt, to tell everybody in the community who they are when they get out of prison without having first tried to rehabilitate them, to shut down shelters for abused women and suggest for a second that that somehow is going to reduce the amount of abuse that's happening in our communities flies in the face of logic and reality.

Sadly, this bill is in the same vein as the whole agenda of this government. The evidence is mounting out there that it's not working and people are beginning to realize that. That's why -- you see polls beginning to come out now more and more -- the Tories are slipping.

Mr Cullen: That's why they have a cabinet shuffle.

Mr Martin: That's why we're seeing tonight a cabinet shuffle by this government. Exactly. I think finally they're beginning to recognize that perhaps they're on the wrong track, and I would suggest that they take another look at this bill before they pass it.

The Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Bob Wood: I'd like to assure the member for Sault Ste Marie that this bill in fact says a lot. It provides for an effective flow of information to enhance community safety. I'd like to draw to his attention the fact that the purposes for which the regulations can be drafted are set out in the bill. I'd also like to assure him that this government's approach to the prevention and repression of crime is quite broad-based, is quite effective and is going to be increasingly effective.


Mr Bradley: I was happy that the member for Sault Ste Marie recognized that despite all the rhetoric, despite all the bluster, despite all the bragging of this government about being anti-crime, they have cut $400 million out of the crime-fighting budget, in other words, out of the Ministry of the Attorney General. That doesn't take into account the Ministry of the Solicitor General, which deals largely with policing and fire protection in the province, and the Ministry of Correctional Services. I would have thought a government that cared about crime, that was there to fight crime, would put the necessary resources into it.

I hear these new programs introduced. They come to various communities and there's a lot of fanfare and a press conference, and the Attorney General or the Solicitor General or the Minister of Correctional Services appears and the local people are writing down all the important things the government is doing, and then we find out there are no financial resources to pay for these programs.

We have a huge expansion into more and more gambling in the province, yet they have not put out the kinds of resources needed to combat the crime sometimes associated with gambling and the problems that originate with gambling, the problems that must surely disturb the family values coalition within the government caucus. So they talk a big game, they make great announcements, they put out the pamphlets, the advertising on TV, but when it comes down to providing the resources to fight crime, this government refuses to do so, and it's going to show up in an increased crime rate.

Mrs Boyd: I want to congratulate my friend from Sault Ste Marie on his speech. As you can hear from his voice, he's very passionate about things. The member for Sault Ste Marie understands that when we're really enraged by something that's going on, we sometimes have a tendency to feel vindictive if we don't give it a second thought.

The member for Sault Ste Marie feels very angry about what is happening to the poor in this province as a result of the actions of this government, but he's not suggesting in any way that the rights of the members of the government be contravened as a result. He knows that when we feel angry about the offences some people have committed in our community and have to deal with how to keep our communities safe from them in case they should reoffend, there is a temptation to apply that vindictiveness to someone who has served their time for a crime for which they'd been convicted. But there's just as much danger in that kind of vindictiveness as there is in any other form of vindictiveness.

His concern, which I share, is that this bill opens the door to a vigilante style of justice that is going to play into those feelings of anger people have when they see people victimized. It's our understanding of how easy it is to fall into that anger and to become vindictive as a result of that anger on behalf of those who are victimized that makes us understand that this is not a safe measure; this is not a safe set of powers to give to any group of people, particularly people who are as committed and as concerned as our police forces are.

Mr Cullen: I have been following the debate with great interest. Of course, we've talked about the technical aspects of the bill and the requirement to balance the needs of the community and the needs of the individual, but I think the member for Sault Ste Marie has brought a larger dimension to this debate by talking about the underlying societal problems we all must face that sometimes find expression, unfortunately, in tragedies that lead to the introduction of these kinds of bills that are basically Band-Aid bills. They're trying to deal with a particular aspect of an offender.

I think the member for Sault Ste Marie has put his finger on the nub of the issue: What are we doing about the causes of the problem where we're trying to deal with the after-effect? Isn't it sad to find ourselves in a situation where we have to move around regulation and law to deal with somebody who has already gone through the system once?

We're not talking about somebody who has a mental imbalance and has fallen out of Mike Harris's Ontario because there have been hospital cuts or what have you. We're talking about someone who has been through the system, has been convicted, has come out, hasn't had the appropriate rehabilitation or what have you, so the police say, even after having served both punishment and rehabilitation -- because this government, in its prison system, not only talks about punishment but talks about rehabilitation. Here we have a product of this justice system, where we seek to rehabilitate so we can have someone who can become a contributing member of our society, yet all we can do is stigmatize them, as if that's going to correct the problem.

I think the member for Sault Ste Marie has identified an issue. I hope the government will think about this, because it will take more than this to remove, to eliminate the underlying problem.

The Speaker: Response?

Mr Martin: I want to thank the member for London South again for participating and getting up and offering his view. It's much appreciated. I think it's a very important part of what happens here in this place, even though it is Thursday night, the last night of the sitting of this session, at a quarter to 11.

I want to thank as well the member for London Centre, as always very astute and to the point and challenging in her comments, and the member for Ottawa West for his comments.

Mrs Boyd: And the member for St Catharines.

Mr Martin: And the member for St Catharines, yes, for reminding us that this government on one hand is wanting to bring in this piece of legislation while on the other hand is removing huge gobs of money from the very important policing service we have in our communities. It doesn't make sense, and that's the point I was trying to make in my few comments here tonight.

I can't help but remember one time in a small community I lived in trying to open up a home for the developmentally handicapped, and going around the community, so excited to tell the neighbours that they were going to have this house amidst them, and finding out from those neighbours that they weren't so welcoming, that they weren't going to be so hospitable to these wonderfully exciting and caring and loving individuals for all kinds of strange and weird reasons that were tied into misinformation and bad experiences in their history. But at the end of the day we were able to convince the community that it was a good thing and it was accepted. I would suggest to you that is the context as well --

The Speaker: Thank you. Further debate?


Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): I'm happy to speak on this bill, which I think is rather important for society, those people who are most concerned about the release of dangerous offenders into the community. Surely, all of us are concerned with that. The concerns stem not only from the release of offenders but how we deal with that in the community.

It's one thing to notify people and to suggest that there is a series of things that can be done to make the public aware of what is going on when the release occurs, but I think we have to speak to the larger question. I heard some of the speeches earlier this evening on this matter, and the larger question deals with what is taking place in our communities that has given rise to many of these offenders; and furthermore, what is it we should be doing beyond just notifying the public? What can be done in terms of further assisting the community to deal with repeat offenders? They'll be among us one way or another.

One of the concerns that has been raised by the John Howard Society is that many of the ways in which we're dealing with repeat offenders upon their release in Bill 102, amending sections of various acts to deal with changes of name, in particular the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, and the Police Services Act to authorize police in that case to warn communities, among the many things we're doing, some of them may drive repeat offenders underground, thus thwarting the very reasons why this was done in the first place. So we have to be concerned about that.

That is a start. But to suggest that somehow this will solve the problem and we can rest assured that this problem will go away simply because we've notified the community and we've done a series of other things to reassure the community with the acts I've mentioned, which allow the police to warn the public when a dangerous offender is about to be released, and the Change of Name Act which would register any name changes, that the Registrar General must clear those requests with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to ensure that people changing their names don't have criminal records or outstanding criminal charges against them -- those are all good things, but that's not enough.

What I'm concerned about is that this government sets a tone that these simple matters can be addressed in these particular acts. I'm not suggesting for a moment that the way to go about it is incorrect. What I'm saying is that there's a deeper responsibility on the part of society. There's a deeper responsibility on the part of this government. Governments, both federal and provincial, have a greater responsibility to communities. In fact, we have to work with communities.

We've heard from police organizations across the province. These days they're talking about how difficult it is to carry out their jobs, how difficult it is because of the cutbacks we've seen. What we're doing is further eroding the ability of communities to respond to these very difficult crises. We're doing that in so many ways. This government has perpetrated the withdrawal of many of those resources. We're seeing that community after community is having a much more difficult time.

This government's downloading, for example, is going to put a greater strain on municipalities and their ability to ensure that there are enough police doing community work. It's not work after the fact that we're talking about here; we're trying to prevent crime. We're trying to prevent crime in all forms.

These are dangerous offenders of all kinds, the worst offenders, those who have committed heinous crimes. I think all of us would suggest that we need to do more to ensure that our communities are protected. It is upon our shoulders that the burden falls. At no time should we allow for any of the most vulnerable members of our society, namely children, to fall prey to dangerous offenders. That's simply not acceptable to me and I'm sure not acceptable to most members of the House.

What I don't see in this bill are further resources for communities to cope, because we are still sending out these dangerous offenders at one time or another. The fact that communities are forewarned I don't think is enough. So we have to talk about what we're doing in those communities to ensure that there are the resources, that police have additional resources, because we're hearing time and again that the police out there cannot cope with the burdens that are being placed upon them.

This government talks a good game --

Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): Whoever wrote your speech must have written your leadership speech.

Mr Cordiano: There's no written speech. I'm just talking about my views. You should try that some time. It might help.

Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): Pop quiz: What bill are we on?

Mr Cordiano: It's Bill 102. It's your bill. It's another one of those government bills that sounds good, but wait a minute. Read further. It leaves you wanting more at the end of it. It leaves you wanting a great deal more. It's just part of the story. On the one hand you want to try and deal with the problem, and it appears as though on the surface you're dealing with the problem, but you're not really dealing with the root causes of those problems.

Furthermore, the resources aren't there to deal with those problems. You're not funding a whole variety of programs that are meant to deal with these matters. You're not funding those programs. In fact, you've cut the funding quite severely in community after community.

I would say that in general we support the direction of this legislation but we have concerns. We have concerns that extend beyond simply the measures that are taken in Bill 102 that deal with ensuring that communities have the necessary resources to not only cope but to enhance community life, to ensure that there is real public safety.

That's what this bill, the Community Safety Act, purports to do. But you can't assure a community of real safety, a real sense of community and a sense that there isn't the kind of insecurity when a community can't cope, when it doesn't have the funding that's necessary. We need programs for a whole variety of reasons in coping with these individuals, because they will be among us once they are released. It's not good enough just to track these individuals; we have to ensure that communities can deal with these individuals on a long-term basis, that there are additional programs.

I would say that the government is taking the first step, but we need to do more. Again, the general direction is supported, but we believe the government is reneging when it comes to its responsibility for policing and providing adequate funding for the policing that needs to take place in our communities so that we get real prevention of crime. That's the key, after all: prevention of a variety of things. We need resources so that the police can cope. Not only do they have to monitor this, but if they don't have the resources to do that, then they're not going to be able to do it. They're not going to do an adequate job.

I want to finally say that we will be supporting the bill, and I want to relinquish the floor.

The Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Bob Wood: I'd like to thank the member for his support. I'd like to assure him again that our approach to the prevention and repression of crime is broad-based. I would like to suggest to him that more money does not always produce more results and that we're going to do the right things and fund them adequately.


Mr Gerretsen: Let me just say how pleased I was with the speech from the member for Lawrence just now. He has put his finger right on it, as have so many other speakers tonight as well, that there have to be adequate resources made available for this program to work.

I think the viewers out there, and indeed the members of the government who may never have opened their budget for this year to see how the funds are actually allocated within the various ministries, should once again be reminded that this year in the Attorney General's department the expenditures are expected to be $654 million, as opposed to $1.085 billion in the year 1995-96, almost a $400-million decrease.

Now somebody is going to say: "The enforcement aspect is not in the Attorney General's budget. It's in the Solicitor General's budget." Well, in the Solicitor General's budget, the numbers have dropped from $1.1 billion in the year 1995-96 to less than $1 billion in the year 1997-98, not as drastic a cut, but still a $50-million cut. When you put both the budgets together, for the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, there is $450 million less being spent in the enforcement aspect of all our laws across this province than there was two years ago.

Yes, we support the notions and fundamental concepts included in Bill 102, but we know darned well from the amount of dollars you have made available in those two budgets that you simply do not have enough money to properly look after the enforcement of Bill 102.

Mr Wildman: I was not intending to intervene in this debate, but after listening to the member for Lawrence and others who have participated, I thought I would make a couple of comments.

I understand the arguments the member for Lawrence has made about cuts in funding for police enforcement and policing in the province by this government, but I must say that I'm torn in looking at this legislation, and I'll explain that in a moment.

I would also like to say that I think it's unfortunate that we are dealing with such an important piece of legislation on Thursday night, the last day of the session, when everyone is distracted by what is going to happen in the government tomorrow, and we're not really paying attention to what is important. This is a very important piece of legislation.

I said I was torn. I want to explain why. I am very concerned about the fact that Alan Borovoy, a very respected general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, appeared before the committee and asked that there be an amendment put, which was indeed put by members of the New Democratic Party, that before the name of an offender could be published, it would have to be taken to an independent judicial hearing and the judge would have to decide, rather than leaving it simply to the police. I have a lot of sympathy with that. I am opposed to disrupting the rights of people unless it can be shown, not just by the enforcement branch but by the judicial branch, that this is necessary. But having said that, I also understand that paedophilia is almost completely untreatable, and we have to protect children, so I come down in favour of the bill.

Mr Gilchrist: I simply would like to congratulate the member for Lawrence. I appreciate his comments and give him the assurance that any concerns he might have about the ramifications of this bill will come to naught. We will adequately fund all the issues related to the bill. I'm sure that with the passage of time, you'll see how this really does come to the advantage of all Ontarians.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Lawrence.

Mr Cordiano: Let me just thank the members for their comments. I truly believe that this will be a hollow piece of legislation if it's not followed by some real supportive mechanisms and some real funding to make certain that the programs that need to be implemented -- there are a whole host of things that need to be done along with changes to acts here. We have to ensure not only that community after community has the necessary capacity to monitor and to enforce by various police organizations, but there need to be additional follow-up programs. Those perhaps are not known to us right now, but each community will find community-based solutions.

I don't believe this is sufficient. I don't believe this will permit us to find the kind of comfort that we should find. I am still not one who would feel reassured as a parent that my kids will be in safer conditions as a result of this bill alone. It wouldn't give me the kind of carefree attitude that we used to have when I was growing up. That's simply not going to be the case in the future.

But what I do want to see us move towards, I doubt very much that this government is committed to: the possibility for each community to have additional mechanisms in place. They now have the legal mechanisms to provide for the tracking, the monitoring and the enforcing of these dangerous offenders by police. I would like to see additional measures in place in communities. That can only come with additional programs, and that needs resources. I don't think there is a commitment on the part of this government to those resources.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Further debate?

Mr Gerretsen: I'll be very brief, Madam Speaker; I will be less than a minute. But let me just remind you what a very prominent individual who has a lot of knowledge about these bills, who has studied the bill, states about this. I'll read this to you right from the note:

"Everything in this bill turns on adequate information sharing between ministries, agencies and institutions. If the name change program is to work, the government must be willing to put enough resources and infrastructure into place between the registrar general and the Solicitor General, to ensure that information is transmitted quickly and accurately. Otherwise, dangerous offenders may continue to slip through the cracks. And, given this government's record on funding and staffing provincial programs, we think that there is a real potential for problems in implementing this legislation."

Let's not give the general public the idea that these kinds of dangerous situations will somehow disappear once Bill 102 is passed. It's not going to happen unless you, the government, put adequate resources in place to make it happen.

The Acting Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Bob Wood: I'll beat you. I would again like to offer assurance that there will be adequate resources to make this bill work.

Mr Cordiano: The member for London South, who just spoke, must know something about what's going to happen tomorrow morning, because he keeps reassuring us -- he's going to be a minister, I think. He's got some knowledge that we don't. I don't see any -- oh, Mr Johnson is here. I was going to say that I don't see any cabinet ministers here tonight who could make that reassurance hold.

Mr Cullen: Tony Clement.

Mr Cordiano: There you go. There are all kinds of potential cabinet ministers here tonight. Make sure you don't blow it in the 50 minutes that remain here this evening.

Once again I want to commend my colleague from Kingston, who put forward what I think was a quote from some person who was an expert in the field, who said, justifiably, that these measures need adequate funding, that the programs have to be there, that this entire program, this entire initiative, would fall apart if there wasn't adequate funding. It can only work if the government is going to commit the necessary funds to ensure that the program will work the way it is supposed to work.

But the public should not sit back and feel as though somehow we can rest easy. This is not going to make a huge difference -- and I'm a parent, I say again -- by way of ensuring that somehow there is a level of comfort there. We cannot take this as a way of sitting back. We have to ensure that we are still vigilant in our communities. I repeat: This government must be committed to community-based funding.

Mr Wildman: The member for London South has intervened in the debate in a very comprehensive way and has explained on behalf of the governing party all the intricacies of this debate and this bill. He's explained why the decision was made in committee not to "judicialize" the process of determining whether information should be released about inmates who had completed their sentences and were now in the community. I must say, though, the expansiveness of his speech left me confused. I'm not quite certain why the government chose not to judicialize the process, other than that I guess they were concerned about the cost involved and they didn't want to make it too complex for the police or the public.

The problem, though, is that while paedophilia is a very serious problem and other crimes of a similar violent sort are very serious and we should protect the public, I think it cannot be left solely to the police. If the government's view is that it should not be judicialized, there are other ways. The police could have to justify to some independent body the reason for the release of the information prior to making that release. I hope the parliamentary assistant helps explain, for those of us who were not in the committee to hear the debate, why the decision was made by the government party not to support the amendment requested by Alan Borovoy.


The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Then member for Kingston and The Islands, you can sum up.

Mr Gerretsen: I think I've already summed up before, but to make the point once again, just in case there's anybody unclear about our position, we support the bill, but to make it work, enough resources have to be there. We know that the ministries of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General have been cut by $450 million, which is almost 40% of their combined budgets. Most of this money is out of the enforcement area.

For the government to bring in this kind of bill and somehow give the general public of Ontario a feel-good feeling that we're doing something about these dangerous offenders walking the streets of Ontario, that's bogus. The only way this kind of law is going to be effectively implemented throughout the province is if you have great cooperation between all the agencies, the government departments, so the information flows back and forth very quickly and some of these dangerous offenders do not fall through the cracks. If you don't, people are going to rely on this bill, feeling that these kinds of situations will no longer occur in their communities. As a result, they will be given a false confidence.

I once again implore the government to make sure there's adequate funding available for this program. I agree with the member for London Centre on that, and he has said it at least five or six times tonight. It was almost like a commercial. Every half-hour he'd read exactly the same --

Mrs Boyd: London South.

Mr Gerretsen: Did I say London Centre? My deepest apologies. Of course I meant London South. I would never say anything like that about the member for London Centre. But I did say something nice about him, as I would for the member for London Centre. Government, make sure you adequately fund this program. That's my plea to you.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Colle: I think the public appreciates that this bill is an attempt to respond to some of the concerns the public has raised in a very real way over the last number of years. I mentioned before, in response to my colleague for Ottawa West, that this is a real problem that occurs in cities. There are people released from facilities who have a track record, who have many convictions that are repetitive. They are released into the community and the question is, what does the community do?

I agree with the members who expressed concern about how you treat people, that you have to make sure you don't do it callously, that you do it judiciously and in a thoughtful way. It's not the answer to just name everyone automatically. You have to be very careful. One of the concerns the police raised about this type of activity is that naming a habitual offender sometimes forces them underground and therefore the police cannot track them. That is one of the concerns I know the police have had.

The public in recent years, as a result of the Stephenson inquiry and so forth, has asked for notification of such offenders being released into the community. All in all, this bill is at least a step in that direction. It has to be cautiously reviewed and examined to make sure there isn't an abuse of power, that it isn't done without thought and without premeditation on behalf of the authorities.

On the other hand, I just think the public today is demanding greater awareness of what's happening. They are very worried about impact on their neighbourhoods, on their children. As the member for St Catharines said, all these programs, even information programs in communities -- there's the automatic dialling system, there's the police liaison programs -- require funding. You can't have these programs taking place in the community without adequate funding on the street so that, first, crime is prevented, and second, police and community groups are able to deal with criminal activity.

Another aspect of funding is that there be enough funding to treat people who are mentally ill or criminally insane or whatever. You need an investment in communities to protect communities and ensure that people who are not well, who are ill, are given supports in the community. That has to happen.

The police also have to have adequate funding. In Metropolitan Toronto, we're still short about 800 police officers. We are still understaffed in our police force in Metropolitan Toronto. As much as we have community policing, new technology, new computerization, you still need those flat feet on the street. They've got to be there. Without human beings walking our streets, working with community groups, working with community agencies -- the police, as you know, in recent years have become more like community officers. They do everything from organizing harvest festivals to organizing sidewalk sales. They go to schools. They have basketball programs in the parking lots of police stations. At 13 Division they have a permanent basketball court in the parking lot. The police and their supports in the social agencies need funding. At this point in time, a lot of that financial support is in short supply.

I am also concerned about this government's attempts to introduce wide-ranging gambling programs into our neighbourhoods. As you know, in the near future electronic slot machines are going to be in every bar and every restaurant all across this province. I wonder what resources are going to be given to the police and the social agencies and to the shelters that deal with people who are going to be addicted to the electronic slot machines. They are going to be in every bar and restaurant in St Catharines, for instance. I can just imagine what's going to happen all over the Niagara Peninsula with these slot machines from Port Dalhousie up to St Catharines. They're going to be all over.

In Metro, these slot machines are going to be a plague. The police haven't been given any training, any resources, to deal with this plagues of slot machines. As you know, there are slot machines in casinos; people are not that concerned if slot machines are in Niagara Falls or in Rama. But people are very concerned about the proliferation of these electronic slot machines -- as the member for St Catharines calls them, the crack cocaine of gambling -- into every bar and neighbourhood throughout this province.

The police have not been given any money or training to deal with the onslaught of these slot machines. What will they do to people who run short and lose to the machine? Will they be going out for more petty thievery, for more purse-snatching, for more break-and-enters because of the slot machines?


I hope that this government does more than expect that the police will take care of these things. The government must support the police and the community with funding, especially since the government is going to make millions on the slots. They're going to be making millions upon millions on a weekly basis from these electronic slot machines. Hopefully, somehow, the government will come to their senses and fund our community resources, give people the opportunity for employment, give people an opportunity to prevent crime in the first place.

As far as this bill is concerned, it's one small step in terms of allaying community fears, but we need reinvestment in, as I said, flat feet on the street so that we can get people who are going to be working with communities to protect communities. You can't do it without money, you can't do it without volunteerism and you can't do it without a government that's going to invest in protecting people from the onslaught of these new technological gaming devices called slot machines.

That is the thing I think we fear most from the Niagara Peninsula to Kenora to Cornwall. We fear the onslaught of gaming that's going to proliferate every bar and restaurant on every corner, in every neighbourhood, in every community in this province.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Bob Wood: I'd like to thank the member for his words of encouragement. I think many of his points were well taken and I hope he'll follow with interest some of our anti-crime initiatives.

Mr Gerretsen: It was nice to hear the member for London South once again giving us the implication which seems to come through about once every half-hour or so. We will hold you to your word, because right now you're $450 million short.

Mr Bob Wood: No, we're not.

Mr Gerretsen: Yes, you are. Don't say you're not $450 million short. You are spending $450 million less for the departments of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General than was spent in 1995-96. That's what you're short, and that's about 30% of the two combined budgets. So you have just made a commitment that you're going to restore the $450 million, plus put in adequate resources so that this new bill that we're now going to pass tonight will be properly financed as well. I will look for your resignation if I don't see an extra $450 million in there in the next fiscal year.

But of course the member for Oakwood is correct. When we talk about gambling in this province and when we talk about the crack cocaine of gambling, which is really what the VLTs are all about, community after community is saying, "We do not have sufficient resources to fund it." So what has the minister done? The minister has in effect tried to buy off the communities by saying, "We will give you $1,500 for every machine that is in your municipality." Actually he hasn't said, "We will give you," but there will be $1,500 for every machine in your municipality.

Nobody knows where it's coming from: Will it be coming from the VLT owner? Will it be coming from the province? But that's the way this government can still be assured of the government money in revenues that it gets out of these gambling machines and the municipalities can be paid off. I say shame on you. Put enough resources in there so that the policing can be done adequately in this province.

Mr Colle: I want to also thank again the member for London South, who has made a valuable contribution to the debate over Bill 102 tonight. I appreciate his commitment to ensuring that there will be safeguards and a quasi-judicial review of the bill as it progresses, and hopefully we can have a progress report on how it is interpreted by our police officers in our community. So I hold him to that commitment.

I want to thank the member for Kingston and The Islands for his usual incisive comments about everything that takes place in this House.

I just want to conclude by saying that we endorse the direction of this bill. We're just telling the government to be cautious and careful. That's what the message is from our party. Like most Ontarians, we want to make sure that the public is aware when there are dangers in a community, and I think the public has a right to know, but we're saying be cautious in terms of using this proviso in a holus-bolus fashion.

What we're also saying to the government is that if you're going to have peaceful and safe communities, you have to invest in them. You have to invest in them in a comprehensive way, from policing to social services to education, and you have to invest in them in a comprehensive way that means it's an ongoing investment. I can certainly vouch for the fact that if you have good volunteerism, good policing and employment in the community, you're going to have a vibrant community that's going to be without crime.

Again, what we're worried about most of all in this province is the flood of those slot machines, which is going to put every community in jeopardy.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Runciman has moved third reading of Bill 102. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Mrs Ross moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr65, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mrs Ross moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr65, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Mr Newman moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr78, An Act respecting the City of Scarborough.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Newman moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr78, An Act respecting the City of Scarborough.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Mr Turnbull moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr84, An Act respecting Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Turnbull moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr84, An Act respecting Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Mr Jim Brown moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr87, An Act respecting the Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Jim Brown moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr87, An Act respecting the Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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



Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): With great sadness, I am moving the last bill for the city of York. I move second reading of Bill Pr90, An Act respecting the City of York.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Mr Colle: Again with sadness, the last time there will be any act from the city of York, I move third reading of Bill Pr90, An Act respecting the City of York. Rest in peace.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Mr Hardeman, on behalf of Mr Kells, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 112, An Act to observe two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day / Projet de loi 112, Loi visant l'observation de deux minutes de silence le jour du Souvenir.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

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


Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I move that notwithstanding standing order 6(a), when the House adjourns today it shall stand adjourned until Monday, November 17, 1997.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Mr Johnson?

Hon David Johnson: Madam Speaker, I think the motion stands for itself. In view of the hour, I will decline my opportunity to debate it this evening.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): It was very kind of the government House leader to leave extra time for me to speak on this motion tonight. I'm going to disappoint the government House leader by saying that I intend to be quite brief this evening. Even though I have 60 minutes in which to put forward some views on this motion, I intend to be uncharacteristically succinct in putting my arguments this evening.

I do want to take advantage of this opportunity to commend the member for York Mills -- no, sorry, not York Mills, Don Mills -- Don Mills and York Mills both, but the government House leader on his responsibilities that he has carried out as government House leader. I have enjoyed working with him. It's always very difficult to be the House leader and I've enjoyed that opportunity, as I did, to work with Ernie Eves, to work with Dave Johnson in that capacity. The word is out there pretty strongly that he will no longer be House leader as of tonight and he'll be replaced by the Honourable Norm Sterling, who I know will be as flexible as we all expect Norm to be on these varied matters.

As well, my friend Bill Saunderson has indicated that he will not be continuing in his position in the cabinet -- that's out in the hallway; everybody knows that -- and will be taking on a new responsibility, a very important responsibility for which I happen to believe he is very well qualified and will do a good job in this new responsibility that he has.

I must say I've enjoyed having him here as a cabinet minister. He is an individual, I've said on many occasions, and not simply to be flippant or anything of that nature, who actually gave some honest answers in the House. This isn't a put-down of other ministers, but Bill, coming from a different sector, from the private sector, and probably not recognizing immediately that cabinet ministers never really give the full and frank answer, was prepared to give that full and frank answer, and while sometimes I would disagree with it, I appreciated that. I wish him well in his new responsibilities. I know that he has also indicated publicly -- I've heard this on news broadcasts -- that he will not be contesting the next election. He has served the people of his constituency extremely well to this point and will for some time to come. But I'm pleased for him for his new responsibility, that he will be assuming that responsibility.

I simply want to add as well that it seems to me that, if I can now sound political, having been non-political, the government is in full panic. The government appears to be in full panic. There's been a rumoured widespread change in the cabinet, people being shuffled everywhere. I didn't think the Premier would accept my advice when I kept saying, "Time for a shuffle," but he apparently has. We will see how people do in their new responsibilities.

I want to tell those of you who didn't make it in this time that I did campaign for you, and that's why you didn't make it in. I put in a good word with Premier Harris for you. If not this time, next time. As you know, Premiers always say, when they get into the caucus meeting after a new cabinet is sworn in --

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): "This is the last one."

Mr Bradley: No, he won't say, "This is the last one." He'll say, "There's going to be another shuffle, so if you just behave yourself and do everything you're supposed to and be supportive of the team, you still have a chance for it."

Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): Jim, there will be another motion.

Mr Bradley: I may have inadvertently said earlier this evening that my friend from Scarborough East was going to be the new minister of privatization. That may have to wait. I just saw him come in with a Harry Rosen suit on and I thought that perhaps this meant he was going to be elevated to the cabinet.

Just so the public who are riveted to their television sets at this time, having turned off Jay Leno and all others who are on this evening, and maybe even the ballgame, maybe it's between innings of the ballgame -- by the way, I do want to report that Cleveland is now ahead 5-4 as a result of Marquis Grissom's three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. That's good news for Bill Saunderson and me, who in this series would favour the Cleveland Indians.

To all of you, I wish you well for the little break that you're going to have, though all of us know this isn't a break for those of us in this House. I am here forever, or whenever the people of the constituency of St Catharines give me the pink slip. You're always one election away from that, of course. I just want to indicate that to you.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): There's a letter for you, Jim.

Mr Bradley: I see a pink slip being issued across there.

I wish the new Minister of Education good luck because he's got a tough challenge out there. He was described as "Mr Fix-it" on the 11 o'clock news. Earl Manners was even -- well, I wouldn't say complimenting him --

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): I wouldn't say that, either.

Mr Bradley: But Earl Manners wasn't complimenting him tonight, so he should be happy with that.

I understand that the chief government whip, who has the whitest shirts in the Ontario Legislature, by far, is now going to be a member of the cabinet. He has cabinet status. All of you who have been calling him names other than David or Mr Turnbull or Mr Whip can now call him the Honourable David Turnbull because he will be chief government whip and a member of the cabinet. I wish him well in that. I saw him at Addison motors just a while ago checking out his new limousine, and I notice that he doesn't reach for the door any more. There is somebody there to open the door for him so he does have ministeritis already, or something like that.

Anyway, we will be back. I'm glad that the motion says we will be back in November. I hope the committee hearings are very productive. I hope that we don't have -- what do you call that fancy machine they have now? You can tell how electronic I am.

Mr Colle: Teleprompter.

Mr Bradley: Not the teleprompters -- teleconferencing. I hope we don't get into this teleconferencing; that we actually go to those communities, meet with the brothers and the sisters, meet with the men and women and children who are there, hear their point of view and actually listen to it.

So I'm delighted with this motion and I'm glad we're going to be back. I know that the government House leader will be passing on to the new government House leader his advice that we revert back to the old rules that existed before the change in August. If he does that, he will have left in a light that can only be seen as a bright light for all of us in the Legislature.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I wasn't intending to participate particularly long in this debate on the calendar motion, but I've been provoked. I want to congratulate my friend from St Catharines on surviving one more House leader.

I want to say, as House leader for our caucus, that I've enjoyed working with the member for Don Mills and I wish him well. I'm sure that I'll be working with him again in that portfolio -- perhaps not with him as opposed to against him, unless there is a shuffle on this side that I haven't heard about yet. I hope that the minister found his briefing on Bill 160 this evening interesting and edifying and that he will be ready to go out to meet with the teachers' federations and to resolve all of the problems that have occurred that led to this cabinet shuffle.

I do say that in working with the member for Don Mills in his capacity as the government House leader, it has been an interesting experience. We've had time to spend together late in the evening and we've gotten to know each other and we've still respected each other in the morning.

I would also say that, along with the government House leader, I've still yet to hear what position the Liberal House leader is going to take on the bills that we've been discussing for the last year and a half.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the new government House leader, who I have known for many years in this assembly, and I am sure that he will be as affable and as accommodating as the current government House leader, who turns into a pumpkin in about 15 minutes.

I want to also congratulate the chief government whip on his elevation to this new high status. I am sure he will do all he can to moderate the new regime with the new government House leader and to ensure that everything works well and there's a good, affable feeling among all of us, and that he will do everything he can to ensure that the member for Carleton is not too stubborn in his approaches and is more flexible.

I would say that I don't think the member for Don Mills appreciated the necessity to bring in the new rules. Maybe I'm giving him too much on that. I do regret some of those changes, but I don't hold it against him personally.

Having said that, I did think there was something in this motion missing. It says we're coming back on November 17. I am trying to understand the calendar these days and I realize that the fall started in August, so when we come back on November 17, is this a continuation of the fall or is it the beginning of winter? Or is it the spring session?

Hon Mrs Ecker: It's the spring session.

Mr Wildman: It's the spring session. I do congratulate the minister and wish him well in his new portfolio, and all of the ministers who have been appointed to new portfolios or to new positions in the cabinet. To those who are leaving the cabinet, all the best in he future. To those of you who didn't make it this time, hope springs eternal.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Further debate? Did something happen? Did they have a cabinet shuffle or something?


Mr Bradley: Are you not waiting by your phone? I think I hear the phone ringing in the Speaker's office.

The Speaker: And to think I don't have voice mail.

Mr Johnson has moved government notice of motion number 52. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Hon David Johnson: I'm with you, Mr Speaker. I have no idea of what they're talking about at all.

Mr Bradley: It's obviously a bloated cabinet now. They have two more members.


Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I move government notice of motion number 51: That, notwithstanding the order of the House dated October 9, 1996, Ms Churley, member for the electoral district of Riverdale, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of the committee of the whole House; that Mr Johnson, member for the electoral district of Perth, be appointed First Deputy Chair of the committee of the whole House; and that Mr Morin, member for the electoral district of Carleton, be appointed Second Deputy Chair of the committee of the whole House.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Hon David Johnson: Mr Speaker, although I have no idea whatsoever what my two honourable colleagues opposite are referring to, I would say it has been a delight to work with the member for St Catharines and the member for Algoma over the past year. Some of the comments I can identify with. The comment about not knowing precisely where one of the House leaders stood on each and every issue does come to mind. And then, pertaining to the other House leader, there's the saying: "If you build it, they will come. If you call it, we will debate." What that means precisely I haven't quite figured out yet, but maybe I'll have less need in the future to understand precisely what it is.

At any rate, I have appreciated working with both of the members and the whips as well, and my colleague David Turnbull from York Mills in that capacity.

I would also, in terms of this particular motion, like to congratulate the member for Riverdale. It is a little known fact, but the member for Riverdale becomes the first woman Deputy Speaker of this Legislature. I add congratulations to the member for Perth, of course, and add my congratulations to Mr Morin for his excellent service over the past year.

Simply at that point, I wish everybody a happy five-week break. I know many members will be working hard. We call it a break, but that's not true, is it? We know absolutely that we have --

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North): Prep time.

Hon David Johnson: You get 25% more prep time -- no, committee work. I see you're getting anxious, Mr Speaker. I'd like to congratulate you too for the fine job you've done.

But three hard weeks of committee work and constituency week, and we'll see you all back on November 17.

The Speaker: I'll need a motion to adjourn.

Hon David Johnson: I move that this House now stand adjourned.

The Speaker: The government House leader moves adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

This House stands adjourned until November 17 at 1:30 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 2352.