36th Parliament, 2nd Session

L002a - Mon 27 Apr 1998 / Lun 27 Avr 1998 1
























































The House met at 1328.



The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I beg to inform the House that during the adjournment a vacancy has occurred in the membership of the House by reason of the resignation of Floyd Laughren, Esq, as a member for the electoral district of Nickel Belt, effective on February 28, 1998. Accordingly, I have issued my warrant to the chief election officer for the issue of a writ for a by-election.



Mr David Caplan (Oriole): I rise today in remembrance of the Armenian genocide. April 24, 1915, marked the beginning of a planned and systematic effort by the Turkish government to eradicate the indigenous Armenian population; 1.5 million Armenians were the victims of a deliberate act of genocide.

Recognition is the first step in ensuring that these events do not happen again. To this day those who were responsible for the genocide have failed to acknowledge the events of 83 years ago. For the Armenian community, indeed for all of us, that wound cannot begin to heal until the Turkish government accepts responsibility and apologizes.

I would like to thank and recognize members of the Armenian community who are here today with us. In the gallery, among their number, are professor of genocide studies, Dr Vahagn Daderian, Rev Sarmazian, Aris Babikian, Yagsabet Alpay and Arby Gazarian. Arby was part of a group of Armenian youth who organized a candlelight vigil out here on Thursday.

This tragedy serves to remind us all that we must work together to challenge hatred, racism and intolerance. On this anniversary, I think it's important that all of us speak up to ensure that this never happens again. The tragedy of the Armenian genocide was recognized by this assembly in 1980, and I continue to encourage members to be resolved in our determination to have this act acknowledged.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I'm not really sure why, but the clock is counting up instead of down, so when you do your statement, just note that you're done in 1.30.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): They even messed up the clocks in this place.

Mr Speaker, I ask you the following question. What do the following people have in common: environmentalists, land use people, forest companies, mining companies, municipalities, citizens all across northeastern and northwestern Ontario? The answer is quite simple; it's called Lands for Life.

This government is trying to shove through a land planning process in a period of about a year and a half, something that should take, quite frankly, a good three or four years to do. As a result, there's not a person in northern Ontario who hasn't had something negative to say about this entire process.

What's even more infuriating is that as they move forward with the Lands for Life process, the government refuses time and time again to make sure that there is a good economic impact study done to determine what the economic impact of this particular initiative should be. We need to answer some very fundamental questions.

One of the first questions that comes to mind for myself, and I think for a lot of other people in northeastern Ontario, is, will this have a negative impact on jobs? I ask the minister across the way. He's the one who has to answer in the end. If the answer is yes, I think the minister has to go back and look at this thing all over again. At the very least, the government has got to slow this process down, they have got to give an opportunity to get a good economic impact study done to determine what the effect of Lands for Life is going to be on our northern economy. Only then can the government even think about going ahead. Anything other than that is nothing but a sham and shows that this government again is not wanting to listen to the people of this province.


Ms Marilyn Mushinski (Scarborough-Ellesmere): I am pleased to report on an event that I had the pleasure of attending in my riding of Scarborough-Ellesmere last week. As part of its celebration of National Volunteer Week, on April 23 the Scarborough Association for Volunteer Administration hosted an event to honour volunteers in the community of Scarborough. The theme of this event was "Volunteers Open Doors to a Better World."

It was my pleasure to participate in this event, and I spoke to those in attendance about the value and importance of volunteering. I was also given the opportunity to present awards and personally thank these local heroes for their contribution to our community.

Eighteen individuals were honoured at this single event. Their volunteer activities included such things as providing services for the blind, caring for the elderly and supporting those with developmental disabilities. They also provide friendly visiting, meal assistance and counselling for youth, substance abusers and those in distress.

These 18 individuals who were honoured by the Scarborough Association for Volunteer Administration have touched the hearts and improved the quality of life for countless others in the community of Scarborough. I was proud to meet these volunteers and thank them for their efforts and talents, and at this time I would like to take this opportunity to once again say thank you.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): All Ontarians have had a taste of Mike Harris's recipe for Ontario. Some have died, some have cried, some have been sick and many have stayed awake at night worrying about tomorrow. Now, Mike Harris and the Ontario Tories want us to buy a new blend of finely ground Conservative coffee called the Taste Beyond 2000 blend.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): That's a prop.

Mr Bartolucci: I want to inform the people of Ontario that this coffee will do, beyond the year 2000, what Mike Harris's old recipe has done for Ontarians since 1995. It will leave Ontarians with a bad taste in their mouths; it will keep them awake at night worrying about further health care cuts. This blend of bitter taste for those concerned about our health care system will be the result of this coffee. For those us concerned about education, this coffee is symbolic of the way in which our once world-renowned education system has been run through a grinding machine by this government. You see, the blend may be a little newer, it may be a little different and it may be a little flashier -

The Speaker: And it's a prop.

Mr Bartolucci: - but the reality is that it's the same old coffee and the same old coffee machine and the same brand of coffee that we've been experiencing since 1995, and we all know the side effects of that: heartburn, indigestion, lots of anxiety, sleepless nights and less security. If the people buy this blend of coffee, they'll be buying hemlock. No to Mike Harris and no to the Taste Beyond 2000 blend.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I would agree with the member for Sudbury that this government has not learned any lessons and that the supposed face of compassion that they want to put on their actions is slipping very quickly. I of course am speaking about the way in which this government, along with the other provincial governments and the federal government, has treated hepatitis C victims in this country.

We had a very extensive study under Mr Justice Horace Krever and every possible angle on the tainted blood crisis was examined in the course of that. Mr Justice Krever concluded that there needed to be a very clear compassion in the government's treatment of the victims of hepatitis C, that they should stop being legalistic, should stop defining things around legal liability and have compassion and clarity about their need to treat the victims of tainted blood humanely.

Today in the gallery we have representatives from Hemophilia Ontario: David Mitchell, who is the president, Tom Smith, who is the executive director, and Kim Jepson, who is one of the many victims of hepatitis C among the haemophiliac community.

The Minister of Health promised Hemophilia Ontario that all haemophiliacs who have been infected with tainted blood would be compensated. She has broken this health promise, just as the government has broken its other health promises.


Mr Douglas B. Ford (Etobicoke-Humber): This being the Legislature's first day of sitting in this calendar year, I am pleased to report on construction development in Etobicoke during 1997.

When I looked into this subject, I was curious about two things: How did it compare to the previous year, and what have been the changes since we took office? Answers to these questions on local activity can be found in the 1997 annual report for Etobicoke's own urban development program. It includes some telling data: The number of permit applications increased by 6%; there was major growth in residential sector construction, by 17%; and while the 1997 total value for construction in Etobicoke increased by 6% to $260 million, it's not surprising that the same report shows it was a dismal $147 million in 1994, the year before we took office.

Since then, our government has been taking action to make Ontario a better place to work, live and raise a family. Now, prosperity is returning to Ontario and Etobicoke presents evidence of that.

The interest for further growth in Ontario remains strong, consumer confidence has increased, over 340,000 new jobs have been created since we took office, and I remain determined and committed to seeing it continue.



Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): I rise today to draw attention to Khalsa Day, which was celebrated by Sikhs across the world, the day of unique significance which talks about the 299th anniversary since the founding of the Khalsa order.

What I'd really like to relate today is how those precepts and that outlook is at work today in Canada. Yesterday I attended with some members from one of the local temples, or gurdwaras, at a hostel and shelter at 60 Richmond Street, and in there are some of the homeless people in the most difficult situations living in Toronto - not a nice place most of the time, despite the very good efforts made by Central Neighbourhood House.

Every week for the past year the members of this gurdwara have been bringing food down as part of their tradition, not just for Khalsa Day, not just for once a year, but every single week of the year they've been preparing food and sharing it because it's part of the tradition which they bring to our country and which is enhancing the quality of life of people here. It is a tradition that extends to each of the gurdwaras, having a kitchen where anyone may come and eat. In this case the people from the Canadian Sikh organization have been taking it upon themselves to bring relief to unfortunate Canadians of whatever background, of whatever religion, and I think it's very important for those of us in the rest of the traditions to appreciate what they're bringing to the quality of life here.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): In the shadow of the government's attempts through its throne speech last Thursday to suggest that all is well in Ontario, I want to reflect on the reality in my own community of Hamilton by raising a number of issues and discussing how they are impacting as a result of this government's agenda.

First of all, we still have the disgrace of an environment minister who refuses to call a public inquiry into the Plastimet disaster. Every single group and every single individual who cares about community safety says there ought to be one. The only person in this province who says there doesn't need to be one is the Tories' Minister of Environment.

Downloading: Right now, Hamilton-Wentworth regional council and Hamilton city council are looking at increases of well over $100 a year to property taxpayers to offset the downloading that this government has put down into our community, after they said it would be revenue-neutral.

Health care: St Peter's hospital is on the chopping block, Chedoke hospital is on the chopping block, Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital is on the chopping block. Our community is recoiling from your hand-picked commission's recommendations to close those institutions.

Education: Our public school board is still trying to determine how they're going to manage under the cuts that you've imposed.

The only people not complaining, the only people benefiting, are the wealthy, who are getting the greatest amount of your tax cut.


Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): I'm pleased to rise today to pay tribute to Mike Harris. In his role as an international ambassador for Ontario and for Canada, Mike Harris has become admired and respected around the world. His achievements on behalf of our country are rock solid.

He's faced tough times and always emerges as the winner by a clean sweep in the end. He's a master at playing the angles, keeping up his guards and scoring points by filling the house. Mike Harris is a great sportsman. He works with his team, he inspires them, he leads them. They often call him "Skip."

Yes, Mike Harris's accomplishments in curling at the winter Olympics at Nagano, Japan, made Canada proud. Mike Harris and his team play out of the Tam-Heather Country Club located in my riding of Scarborough East. On behalf of all my colleagues, I offer congratulations to Mike Harris, Richard Hart, Collin Mitchell, George Karrys and Paul Savage.

I would also like to recognize four other outstanding Olympians from Scarborough East: Karen Nystrom, Laura Schuler and Vicky Sunohara of the silver-medal-winning women's ice hockey team, and Robert Legace, a defenceman on Canada's ice sledge hockey team, which won the silver medal at the 1998 Paralympics.

It's been only two months since the members of Team Canada returned home with a record number of medals, surpassing for the first time the medal tally of the Americans.

To all of these athletes, thank you and congratulations for representing us so well at the Olympic and Paralympic games in Nagano earlier this year.


Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): On a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: Over the past few days, a section of our government's throne speech has been the subject of discussion and concern.

First, let me begin by apologizing to the Lieutenant Governor for any discomfort or embarrassment that she may have felt as a result of press reports subsequent to the reading of last Thursday's throne speech. Clearly, the contents of our government's throne speech are the responsibility of our government alone and should in no way reflect on Her Honour.

As most members in this House will know, a government's throne speech is a collaborative effort on the part of many ministries. As such, my ministry recommended that a section be included that would highlight the very positive efforts our government has undertaken in introducing strict discipline in Ontario. Further, we indicated that we had received very positive comments about the effectiveness of our strict discipline facilities from a woman who had particular knowledge of our program.

My ministry undertook the necessary steps to provide this section for inclusion in the throne speech. In doing so, we sought and received the woman's permission to include both her name and a specific quote. At no time did we intend to identify any young offender in this province, and I personally do not believe we in fact have done so.

That being said, I understand that the leader of the third party has asked for an investigation by the RCMP into this matter. I remain willing to offer whatever assistance I can to that process. In the meantime, given my respect for the office I've held for the past two and a half years and my high regard for the laws of our country, I believe I should step aside pending this process. Therefore, I have tendered my resignation from cabinet to the Premier and he has accepted, pending this review.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I beg leave to inform the House that during the recess the Clerk received the 48th, 49th, 50th, 51st and 52nd report of the standing committee on government agencies. Pursuant to standing order 105(g)(9), these reports are deemed to be adopted by the House.



Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph): I beg leave to present a report from the standing committee on resources development and move its adoption.

Clerk at the Table (Mr Todd Decker): Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:

Bill 146, An Act to protect Farming and Food Production / Projet de loi 146, Loi protégeant l'agriculture et la production alimentaire.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed. The bill is therefore ordered for third reading.


Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): Pursuant to the order of the House of Thursday, December 18, 1997, I beg leave to present a report on pre-budget consultation 1998 from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Does the member wish to make a brief statement?

Mr Guzzo: It's not necessary. It's an excellent report and it is self-explanatory, Mr Speaker.




Mr Kwinter moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 2, An Act to amend the Medicine Act, 1991 / Projet de loi 2, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1991 sur les médecins.

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


Mr Gilchrist moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 3, An Act to promote Full Financial Accountability of Labour Unions and Employees Associations to their members / Projet de loi 3, Loi visant à promouvoir la responsabilité financière complète des syndicats et des associations d'employés envers leurs membres.

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


Mr Wettlaufer moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 4, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to the drivers' licences of certain school pupils / Projet de loi 4, Loi modifiant le Code de la route en ce qui concerne le permis de conduire de certains élèves.

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



Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): I move that, notwithstanding standing order 96(d), Mr Pettit and Mr Grimmett exchange places in order of precedence for private members' public business and that Mr Young and Mr O'Toole exchange places in the order of precedence for private members' public business, and that notwithstanding standing order 95(g), the requirement for notice be waived with respect to ballot items 7 and 8.

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


Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of the Environment, Government House Leader): I move that, pursuant to standing order 9(c), the House shall meet from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm on April 27, 28, 29 and 30, 1998, for the purpose of considering government business.

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

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

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


Mr Alex Cullen (Ottawa West): As April is Cancer Month, I ask for unanimous consent of this House so that we may put on the daffodil to show our support for the fund-raising campaign for Ontario's number one preventable killer.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member is seeking unanimous consent. Agreed? Agreed.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Before we continue, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the fourteenth group of pages to serve in this 36th Parliament: Kristan Aho, Kenora; Karen Chorney, Halton North; Lee Coleman, Frontenac-Addington; Daniel de Young, Perth; Jonathan Dignan, Brampton South; Robert Glasgow, Ottawa Centre; Trevor Grahl, Renfrew North; John Guenther, Durham East; Eunice Lam, St Andrew-St Patrick; Vincent Leung, York Mills; Jessica Lunny, from the fine riding of Etobicoke West; Laura Rashotte, Hastings-Peterborough; Adam Scharman, Kitchener; Rachel Skipper-Horton, Brantford; Jeffrey Southon, Halton Centre; Lana Vanderham, Hamilton East; Gian Paolo Vescio, Dovercourt; Ryan Wood, Victoria-Haliburton; Katherine Wu, Scarborough North.

Welcome, and I hope you enjoy your stay.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Premier in connection with the throne speech and the statement just made by the Solicitor General, and I want to follow up. I'm not sure if any more attention, focus and energy would go into anything that a government does as much as it would in the case of the preparation of the throne speech.

I think I'm asking a question that is being asked today by many Ontarians: How could this happen? The Solicitor General has done the right thing today: stepped aside. But I want to ask about the involvement of your office in this. In particular, I simply want to ask the Premier, how could this happen? Dozens of people must have pored over this speech before it was presented by the Lieutenant Governor in this Legislature. How could it happen?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think the member opposite knows that there is a process that has been put into place that really precludes me from commenting. As well, Mr Runciman has done the very honourable thing and stepped aside pending any outcome of that process, investigation by the RCMP, and I think further comments are inappropriate.

Mr McGuinty: Premier, I think the Solicitor General now has removed himself from the fray to allow an investigation to take place, and I'm assuming that you are endorsing such an investigation, by the way. But that does not relieve you of the responsibility now to tell us what happened inside your office. All that the investigation will tell us is what happened with respect to the Solicitor General's ministry and his actions, but what I want to know now is about what happened inside your office.

Clearly somebody there at some point in time looked at the throne speech and said this was okay. Did you, Premier, or did you not obtain legal opinion regarding the presentation of that information in this Legislature?

Hon Mr Harris: I think the member knows it's not appropriate to comment. I'm actually surprised that he, as a lawyer, is now setting out the parameters for the RCMP. We will let the RCMP set out those parameters. Therefore, it's inappropriate.

Mr McGuinty: There's something else that I'm curious about. Were the actions that were taken today by the Solicitor General prompted by your office? Did you ask the Solicitor General to take the steps that he did today in this Legislature or did they come from the Solicitor General himself? It's a very simple question, very straight up. Did you prompt that or did he approach you?

Hon Mr Harris: You heard the statement from the Solicitor General; you heard what he said; you heard his statement that it was his decision. I think your comments are offensive.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question, official opposition.

Mr McGuinty: Premier, this is a very important issue, and I'd like to say it was out of keeping with the general behaviour of your government, but it's not. It's another question of acting first, thinking later and then trying to pick up the damage whether you're talking about hospitals or schools or in an effort to put on a kind and gentler face during the throne speech. You did so at the expense of identifying a young offender contrary to the law.

I want to come back to a question I asked earlier. What happened inside your office? How could this happen? Dozens of people must have pored over this throne speech. It must have been drafted and redrafted and revised over and over again. Many, many eyes would have looked at it. Did you or did you not obtain a legal opinion that would say it was okay for the Lieutenant Governor to provide that information in this House?


Hon Mr Harris: I've already responded to that. Actually, the leader, as a lawyer and with whatever advice he has received, knows two things: He knows that we would want to do nothing to limit the investigation by the RCMP and, secondly, he knows his question is totally inappropriate.

Mr McGuinty: Premier, this is your throne speech. You are responsible for this. This is supposed to tell us what your government is all about and maybe what it wants to be and, in that effort, you ended up trampling on the rights of a citizen of Ontario. You broke the law.

Your Solicitor General has stepped down as a result of that. What you're trying to do here today is to say: "That's his baby. That's not my problem. The responsibility lies entirely with him." It's your throne speech. It's Mike Harris's throne speech.

How could this possibly have happened? After so much work, so much effort, so much energy and so much preparation went into the drafting of the throne speech, how could it happen that the Lieutenant Governor stood up and embarrassed herself in front of the province and identified a young offender contrary to the law? Premier, do you or do you not have any responsibility in this?

Hon Mr Harris: I accept none of the allegations as fact. That's why the RCMP are looking into this.

Mr McGuinty: Premier, you would think that if you are going to make reference to a young offender or a relation of a young offender in a throne speech, somebody somewhere along the way at some time would say: "We'd better have this checked out. We can't just put that information out there. We can't leave the Lieutenant Governor swinging in the wind. We have a responsibility to make sure that this is okay and that it's legal." Surely you got a legal opinion before you went ahead with this.

My question once again to you, Premier, is quite simply: Did you or did you not get a legal opinion before that throne speech was read in this House?

Hon Mr Harris: I can only repeat - and actually the member knows full well on the advice that he has, I'm sure - that I cannot comment. This is a matter now for the RCMP to investigate. The Solicitor General has done the honourable thing here today, and I think if you read his statement, it is not reflective of any of the things you've said today.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Premier, it is true the Solicitor General has done the honourable thing here today. He's done the proper thing. However, the speech from the throne is your speech. It's the speech that you and your advisers authored. It is not the speech of the Solicitor General. In that speech it was very apparent last Thursday that there was what could be termed a breach of the criminal law of Canada. My question to you is: Since it is you and your advisers who wrote the speech, what responsibility do you take for that breach of the criminal law last Thursday?

Hon Mr Harris: I have accepted the resignation of the Solicitor General pending the investigation by the RCMP at your request.

Mr Hampton: We understand that the Solicitor General has taken some responsibility, but you're trying desperately to miss the question, Premier. It's your speech. It is a speech that you and your advisers write, not the Solicitor General, not the Minister of Health, not the Minister of Education. It's a speech that you and your advisers write.

I'm asking you again, Premier. You have to take responsibility here, you and your closest advisers. Your closest advisers would have approved that speech. What responsibility do you take for the apparent breach of the criminal law that happened here last Thursday? You, Premier, not the Solicitor General. It was your speech. What responsibility do you take?

Hon Mr Harris: I think you're well aware that the speech is the government's speech from the throne. You can be free in opposition to throw allegations around, if you like. But you have called upon the RCMP to determine whether there's any validity in those allegations and we have accepted that advice and therefore it's inappropriate for me to comment.

Mr Hampton: Premier, it is quite true that there is a legal element to this, but there's also an element of this that talks to the propriety of government, how properly your office operates, if your office is thoughtful about what happens, if your office is thoughtful in terms of observing not only the letter of the law but the spirit of the law. That's what I'm after, Premier.

We're also told that officials in the Ministry of the Solicitor General told your advisers it was their view that the name that was mentioned in the speech should not be mentioned because it could lead to the identification of the young offender, which would be a breach of the criminal law. We're told that officials in the Ministry of the Solicitor General advised your office. Can you tell us how your office responded to that advice, Premier? Can you tell us what responsibility you have taken?

Hon Mr Harris: I would suggest that we all reserve our comments for the RCMP.

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

Mr Hampton: In the absence of answers from the Premier, I'd like to address my questions to the Attorney General. The Attorney General is supposed to be the chief law officer of the crown. Following the events of Thursday, I waited to hear from the chief law officer of the crown that he was calling an investigation into the events, into the apparent breach of the criminal law. Could you tell us, Mr Attorney General, in your role as the chief law officer of the crown, in your role to protect the legal rights of citizens across this province, what you did following the events of Thursday afternoon?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): Certainly in this situation it would be inappropriate for an elected official to be directing any law enforcement agencies. Certainly the information that might have led law enforcement agencies to take a look at this was in the public domain, and accordingly that was up to those officials.

Mr Hampton: The reason I have these questions for the Attorney General is because not many months ago, when the former Minister of Health, Mr Wilson, got into trouble because one of his staff members called someone in the media and said, "I have some inside information on a doctor's billings that you could use," your government was very quick to call for an independent investigation. Now, here there was an apparent breach in this Legislature before your very eyes. So I want to ask you, why would you not have called for an independent police investigation to get to the facts, to see who might be held responsible? Why, in your office, as the chief law officer of the crown, would you not have done that?

Hon Mr Harnick: It is not the role of elected officials, including myself, to investigate allegations of this kind. As a former Attorney General, the member knows it would be inappropriate for me to comment further in light of the investigation that may be ongoing.


Mr Hampton: The answers of the Attorney General are somewhat confusing. Everyone in this Legislature saw this Attorney General about a year and a half ago come into this Legislature, call for a police investigation of a member of the Legislature and on top of that raise allegations against those members of the Legislature. I'm a bit confused by your response, Mr Attorney General. I saw you come into this Legislature. I've seen other situations where an independent police investigation has been launched and called for. You saw an apparent breach of the criminal law, the most serious law in this country, last Thursday and you did nothing.

Mr Attorney General, if you are not here to protect the rights of all the citizens of Ontario, then what are you doing in the office of the Attorney General?

Hon Mr Harnick: As I said before, it is not the role of elected officials, including myself, to investigate these kinds of matters. It would be inappropriate to make any further comments about this, as the matter has been referred to the police, apparently. It would be inappropriate to comment further.

The Speaker: New question, official opposition.

Mr McGuinty: I'll come back to the Premier on the same subject matter. Obviously the Solicitor General has his own understanding of this issue. You tell us that you don't want to talk about anything that will be the subject of the investigation.

I want to come back to the very statement that the Solicitor General made two moments ago in this House. I want to ask the same question that I asked you earlier: Did the Solicitor General decide of his own accord today to stand up in this Legislature and say he was going to step down until the investigation was completed, or did you ask him to do that? That's a very important question, Premier. Did he do it of his own accord, or did you ask him to make that statement in this House today after you reviewed the facts?

Hon Mr Harris: I think Mr Runciman has made it very clear as Solicitor General what he requested of me.

Mr McGuinty: I'll tell you why I'm coming back to this, Premier, because outside this House a few moments ago the Solicitor General was heard to say, "It was not my decision." That opens the door, then, as to why he took that decision in this House today.

Premier, I'll give you the opportunity again, because it seems to me like he was pushed out, like you were making some kind of an effort to keep this away from you, Premier. If I'm wrong in that regard, then simply stand up and provide us with every assurance that the Solicitor General did this today completely of his own accord and that he must have been mistaken when he said, "It wasn't my decision."

Hon Mr Harris: The member would know that this has been a difficult day for the Solicitor General, Mr Runciman. For you to demean the situation he has presented before you, for you to try to take away from the honourable -


The Speaker: Order. Member for St Catharines, come to order. Member for Hamilton East, come to order. Member for Ottawa West, come to order, please.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I just want to take this time, if you could stop the clock momentarily, to introduce in the Speaker's gallery the member for Quinte from the last Parliament, Mr Hugh O'Neil. Welcome back.

New question, leader of the third party.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have a question again for the Premier. I heard you a few minutes ago say, "We want to do nothing to impede the RCMP investigation." If that's the case, can you tell me why just a few moments ago I saw a printout of an electronic mail from one of your officials asking that all copies of the throne speech as it was originally printed be returned, coming from your officials, Premier? Can you tell me why you're suddenly trying to gather up all the original copies of the throne speech?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I don't know where you've been. There seems to be a little controversy about one aspect of the throne speech. I would assume they've received legal advice that, pending a review of all that, it doesn't make a lot of sense to continue to circulate copies as they were originally written.

Mr Hampton: I didn't hear an answer to my question. If the Premier's office, the Premier and his officials, wanted the RCMP investigation to proceed in an unimpeded way, I would think you would want full disclosure of all the evidence, all the information. That means you would want easy access by the RCMP to original copies of the throne speech. That means your officials would not be circulating e-mails around the Legislature - urgent e-mails, I might add, because that's what the e-mail says: "Most urgent. Return all copies of the original throne speech ASAP." I would think you wouldn't be asking that.

Premier, I put the question to you again: If you want the RCMP investigation to proceed in an unimpeded way, why are your officials sending out urgent messages demanding that the original copies of the throne speech be returned to your office?

Hon Mr Harris: I honestly have to tell you, a former Attorney General, that I don't know if your question is serious or not. Let me assure you of this: The RCMP will have no difficulty accessing Hansard, and I'm sure my staff are appropriately responding to any requests they've been given, under legal advice.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Recently the federal government announced that oil being transported on Ontario's waterways should be taxed at a rate of $1.36 per tonne. This money is being used to cover the cost of cleaning up an oil spill should one ever occur. No one questions the need to establish a financial fund to assist the authorities in cleaning up an oil spill. However, I'm concerned with the manner in which Ottawa is unfairly taxing the oil being shipped through Ontario. The risk of an oil spill occurring in Ontario's waterways is much lower than it is in other provinces; however, we are being taxed at a rate three or four times higher than that of other provinces. Minister, what is the government's position on this matter, and do you not see this federal initiative as unfairly taxing businesses and consumers in Ontario?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I'd like to thank the member for Halton North for the question. What we have here, again, is a made-in-Ottawa, Liberal solution. In fact, it's a universal Liberal solution: "Let's tax the people in Ontario some more." Here we have another tax on the economy of Ontario. The facts are these: Quebec, for example, ships 12 million tonnes; Ontario ships 2.2 million tonnes. The risk assessment made by the federal Liberal government is that the risk is in the St Lawrence. Therefore, what do they do? They tax the people in Ontario at four times the amount. This is going to translate down at the pumps.

I have to ask the Leader of the Opposition, did he pick up the phone and call his buddy Jean Chrétien up there in Ottawa? I don't think he has. Who is going to stand up for the people of Ontario? Certainly not the Liberal MPs, and probably not the Liberal MPPs either. The Leader of the Opposition certainly has to talk to his buddies. That's another Liberal tax on the people of Ontario.

Mr Chudleigh: As the minister is aware, this matter gets worse. The federal government has also proposed, through the recovery of these fees, to make the payables retroactive to September 1995. September 1995 is when the Liberal government in Ottawa gave the licence to the consortiums of major oil companies to collect this fee. It will be extremely difficult for small independents which have received shipments since then to absorb this financial cost. Many gas retailers are going to be facing some difficult situations as a result of this tax, not to mention the possible negative impacts on consumers. Minister, have you communicated this concern with the federal government on this very important issue?


Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The member is quite right. What we have here is a crisis being created by the federal government.

We have about 3,000 independent gas dealers in this province.


Hon Mr Tsubouchi: They may not care about their own independent gas dealers; I think we do. They're small business. Quite frankly, these 3,000 small businesses in the province of Ontario are in danger of either going bankrupt or laying off people as a result of another Liberal tax. This retroactivity is what's really killing them, and that's another indication of the way Ottawa treats us in Ontario. We've got a $2.1-billion cut in our federal health care and social transfers. And you know what they do? They keep on imposing more tax in terms of the payroll taxes, which we know are job killers here in this province.

I wrote to David Anderson, who's the minister in charge of this, back on March 6. Do you think he has responded to someone who's trying to speak up for the people of Ontario? Of course the answer is no.

All this is simply once again a made-in-Ottawa but a universal Liberal solution to everything: Tax people in Ontario unfairly.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Premier, back to the same issue that we've been discussing. We're talking about a throne speech here, a matter of fundamental importance of the direction your government is about to take. There was information in there that identified a young offender. I think, Premier, that surely in the circumstances you would have referred the throne speech to the Attorney General's office for it to be thoroughly vetted there. Can you provide us with the assurance now that that throne speech was in fact sent to the Attorney General's office for the Attorney General to review it?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I can assure you we'll cooperate with the RCMP in any investigation.

Mr McGuinty: That's just a simple yes or no, Premier. I would think that anybody who was looking at this issue would expect that a government, in delivering a throne speech, before doing so, would have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that at a minimum they weren't about to break the law - at a minimum.

Tell me, Premier, once again: Did you or did you not send the throne speech over to the Attorney General for him to vet it to ensure that you weren't about to break the law?

Hon Mr Harris: I know the RCMP will probably want to look into that, but all the allegations that the member makes are just allegations that you're simply talking about. The issue and the specific question is one that I think is better responded to now with the RCMP.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): To the Attorney General again, I want to return to the questions I asked you last time. In your duties as the chief law officer of the crown, you heard and saw, as everyone else heard and saw here last Thursday, what was an apparent breach of the criminal law of Canada. That became evident to everyone once we left the chamber, because the media were certainly aware of it. In your duties as the chief law officer of the crown, didn't you think it was your responsibility to call for an independent police investigation? I would argue the RCMP would be the most independent in these circumstances to gather the evidence, to preserve the evidence. Wouldn't you think that would be your responsibility, and why didn't you do it?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): In the face of an alleged breach of the law, it would be most inappropriate for the Attorney General to comment.

Mr Hampton: Taking that answer from the Attorney General, let me read from Hansard of Thursday, November 7, 1996:

"Hon Charles Harnick: I rise to advise the Legislature of a potentially serious incident at the Downsview Family Responsibility Office that was brought to the attention of the Ministry of the Attorney General this morning" - "this morning," the very day. "The ministry has been advised that there may have been unauthorized access to files held by the Family Responsibility Office. The ministry has been advised of the following...." Then you invoked a police investigation.

What we witnessed here last Thursday can only be termed, on the face of it, to be a breach of the criminal law of Canada, yet you did nothing. I had to call for an independent RCMP investigation. You did nothing. How are you doing your duties, not as a member of the Harris cabinet but as -

The Speaker: Thank you.

Hon Mr Harnick: Again, it would be most inappropriate in light of where this situation is today, with the allegations that have been made and the fact that apparently there is a police investigation that may begin, to make any comment whatsoever.


Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): My question is for the Minister of Labour.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Leader of the third party, come to order, please.

Mr Guzzo: Minister, 27% of all health care jobs in Ottawa-Carleton are held by Quebec residents. Some 62% of the licence plates on one shift at one hospital were found to be from the province of Quebec, but an Ontario nurse cannot even apply to the Gatineau hospital.

Quebec Hydro is stiffing Ontario electrical contractors who worked around the clock under a written agreement during the ice storm emergency. While American contractors have been paid in full, Ontario contractors were offered less than 50 cents on the dollar.

The 1996 agreement entered into with the province of Quebec is not being honoured by that province, as construction workers pile over the border in Ottawa-Carleton every day.

I'm asking you, Minister, in your new responsibilities, what are you personally prepared to do about this situation?

Hon Jim Flaherty (Minister of Labour): I thank the honourable member for Ottawa-Rideau for the question. The issue raised is a priority for this government, and that is the maintenance of open borders that give Ontario and Quebec workers and contractors equal access to work in the construction market.

The 1996 Ontario-Quebec agreement on construction labour mobility was an important step forward in promoting mobility in the construction sector between Quebec and Ontario, but we continue to hear stories like the ones mentioned by the honourable member that indicate that a level playing field does not exist between Ontario and Quebec, particularly in the Ottawa area, and that Quebec may not be implementing the agreement as it stands.

Free trade and unrestricted labour mobility are vital to economic growth and job creation in Ontario. I am here to promote the interests of Ontario workers and contractors, to ensure that a level playing field exists.

Mr Guzzo: Minister, I want to tell you that 25 years ago I came to Queen's Park as a representative of the RMOC council, and I believe the member for Ottawa East was with me. He was then the mayor of Vanier -


Mr Guzzo: No, the mayor of Eastview, before he changed the name. That's right.

Twenty-five years is a long time. I admit that the 1996 and NDP agreements were a step in the right direction, but this situation cannot continue. I am asking you if you're prepared to come to eastern Ontario and learn first hand of the reasons why my constituents - and Mr Grandmaître's constituents, I might tell you - are losing their jobs and losing their homes as a result of the failure of the Quebec government to honour that agreement.

Hon Mr Flaherty: I'm pleased to accept the invitation of the honourable member for Ottawa-Rideau to travel to eastern Ontario and to hear first hand the concerns of those who work in eastern Ontario relative to the Ontario-Quebec labour mobility situation.

The first thing I want to do is hear from the people in eastern Ontario directly. I ask the member for Ottawa-Rideau to help, and I'm sure he will, in arranging that. I plan to speak to people who work in the construction sector first, because that's where we've been hearing first hand about major difficulties, about how best to address the issue and resolve the matter, to make sure that a level playing field exists and that the Ontario-Quebec accord is being implemented by both sides and not just the province of Ontario. I would hope to have the support of both the opposition critics in this effort, in particular the Liberal Party critic, the honourable member for Ottawa Centre.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Premier, as I was saying earlier, a few moments ago, your Solicitor General in a hallway of this building said, "It wasn't my decision." Last week, when he was first asked about this, he said, "I had a legal opinion that as long as she signed a waiver, it could be done." He also said, "The mother signed a waiver and we had a legal opinion that that was the appropriate thing to do and was quite legally okay." My question, Premier, is, who provided your Solicitor General with those opinions? Did that come from your office or did that come from the Attorney General's office?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Two things by way of responding to the preamble: The leader of the Liberal Party continues, in my view most inappropriately and I think beneath the dignity of any member of this House, to challenge the statement that was made by the Solicitor General in this House. I can assure you that the first and only comment and contact I had with the Solicitor General was to accept his resignation, as he indicated right here. To suggest otherwise is most inappropriate and I find it rather offensive. Secondly, the matter is under investigation and we will comply with the RCMP in making sure we get all the facts out.

Mr McGuinty: I'm not suggesting anything, Premier. I'm simply relating the facts. A few moments ago the Solicitor General stood up and said he was going to step down pending the outcome of an investigation. A few moments after that, outside this chamber, in the hall, he said - and I'll get it again - "It wasn't my decision." That's what your Solicitor General said. I'm not suggesting anything. I am relating the facts here.

Premier, I understand that earlier today you had a meeting with the Solicitor General. I'm not talking now about the events leading up to the disclosure of the identifying information in this House. I'm talking about the meeting you had a few hours ago with the Solicitor General. I want you to tell us, what did you discuss at that time and, in particular, what led to his resignation here in this House?

Hon Mr Harris: The minister has made the statement. I don't know what question you're talking about the minister responding to. The first contact I had with the minister today was in a personal meeting to accept his offer of a resignation. I can assure you those were the first words I heard from the Solicitor General today. That's what he said in the House and I find it offensive that you continue to challenge that.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Premier, a number of pieces of information have come to light here this afternoon. I'm going to ask you, so that we can get to the bottom of this, would you be kind enough to provide us with a written copy of the e-mail that is making the rounds of the legislative precinct asking for all copies of the throne speech to be returned? Would you do that? Would you also provide us with any advice your ministry received from the Ministry of the Solicitor General advising that the name in question not be put into the throne speech because it might lead to the identification of a young offender? Would you provide us all with copies of those things? Providing us with copies does not deny the RCMP the copies. They can get copies as well. But so we can all understand this, would you provide us all with copies of those things?

Hon Mr Harris: You know more about e-mail than I do. You're talking about an e-mail of which I have no knowledge. I can help you access e-mail, if you like. If you say it's on the e-mail, you must have seen it, so you must know what's there. We'll provide whatever is appropriate to the RCMP, as we've indicated.

Mr Hampton: I'm encouraged that the Premier will provide them to the RCMP, but, Premier, this is not just about the narrow legal issue. It is also about the way in which your government operates, the way in which your government continues to breach the pay equity law and get caught, to breach the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and get caught, to breach the Environmental Assessment Act and get caught, to try to interfere with the Ontario Labour Relations Act and the Ontario Labour Relations Board and get caught.

What we want here, Premier, is for you to provide us with the information that is now part of the public domain. So I am asking you for a written copy of the e-mail, I am asking you for a copy of the advice that came from officials in the Ministry of the Solicitor General, and I will add a third thing: Would you provide us with any legal opinion or a parent waiver that your government originally referred to? Why not produce those for the public record, Premier? What do you have to hide?

Hon Mr Harris: I think I've answered most of the questions. I also appreciate the assistance the member is trying to bring to this whole matter today and the class with which he does it.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question, the member for -

Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): Huron.

The Speaker: Huron.

Mrs Johns: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I can't believe you forgot Huron, the most wonderful part in Ontario.

My question is for the minister responsible for women's issues. Minister, if there is one thing that is becoming increasingly apparent in today's society, it is the need for our students to have a strong background in science, math and computer science.

I noted with interest a reference in the throne speech to an organization called the Canadian Association of Girls in Science. Would you be able to provide me with more information on this organization?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): I think we are all aware in this House that there was a young group of girls represented here from London, Ontario, the Canadian Association for Girls in Science. We call it in London "Let's Talk Science."

I think if all of us are concerned about equality in the economy, we should know that women are underrepresented in our elementary school courses, our secondary school courses, and actually in our university courses in science.

According to a Toronto Star article which I think all of us should remember and take back to our own families and the young people in our communities, for the first time ever, women in their twenties are graduating at a greater rate and have more post-secondary university degrees.


Hon Mrs Cunningham: I look at the former Minister of Colleges and Universities. Thank you very much for your leadership. But the point is, they're not getting the great jobs.

So thank you for the question. I think it's a great group.

Mrs Johns: Could the minister please provide me with more information on contacting this group? I met with a group of women from a local high school in Huron county that had a remarkable computer program where they were interfacing with businesses. I am sure that some of these young women I met would like to contact this organization and become involved. It sounds like an organization we should all support, and we need to ensure women have every opportunity to become economically independent.

Hon Mrs Cunningham: The young woman who started this group when she was just a 10-year-old is Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko, from London, Ontario. She herself, along with these young women, has started a Web site for the Canadian Association of Girls in Science, who now are not only in London, Ontario, but are also in British Columbia and Alberta. The Web site number is www.uwo.ca/letstalkscience/cagis.html.

I think for the young people who are watching the Legislative Assembly this afternoon, they will get some positive advice in this regard, because all of us, including the Minister of Education, who should be very proud of his new elementary school science curriculum, know we have to do everything we can to take down those barriers and to open the doors.

My colleague from Huron knows, through her association with her own schools and the fact that she mentioned computer science, that that is a special place we want more women to enter so that they can be competitive and certainly independent in the world of work.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Premier, one of the things the Solicitor General said last week when he was scrummed was that PC members' services had sent a camera crew over to the boot camp to film a graduation ceremony.

Is that true, Premier? Did staff working for your caucus go to this boot camp with a camera and film the graduating ceremonies fully knowing of the dangers connected with breaking the law that says you can't identify a young offender? Could that possibly have happened, Premier? Is that true?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I don't know, but we're happy to make that information available to the RCMP.

Mr McGuinty: We're getting all kinds of statements from you on the one hand and from your Solicitor General on the other. He said, before you cut him loose here today, that PC members' services had sent in a camera crew to film the graduating ceremonies at a boot camp. That's what your Solicitor General said. He said he got a legal opinion that said it was okay to disclose this information. He said that he was given, by somebody, a waiver so that it was okay to disclose this information. That's what your Solicitor General was telling us.

Then we find today he stands up and he says, "I'm gone and I've agreed to take the heat with me."

Premier, did PC members' services send a camera crew out to film a boot camp graduating ceremony?

Hon Mr Harris: I said I don't know. But thanks for the advice. I'll pass it on.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): A question to the Premier: The speech that was given on Thursday was the speech of you and your government. It was a speech that had been worked over and put together by your advisers.

When I requested an independent RCMP investigation I requested an investigation of your office and the Solicitor General. Now, the Solicitor General has done the proper thing here today. He has stepped down, he has resigned. Premier, since it was your speech, put together by your advisers, and it's proper for the Solicitor General to step down pending an investigation, can you tell us why you yourself are not also stepping down at this time?

Hon Mr Harris: I thank the member for the advice. I don't believe the status quo as it exists today following the resignation of the Solicitor General will impede any investigation.

Mr Hampton: This has got nothing to do at this juncture with impeding an RCMP investigation. What we've seen here is that the Solicitor General has taken responsibility, has done the proper thing in the sense that he may be responsible.

But I come back to the point: This is your throne speech, put together by your advisers. We are told that officials in the Ministry of the Solicitor General advised your office: "Take the name out of the speech. It may lead to a breach of the criminal law by identifying the young offender."

Since it was proper for the Solicitor General to step down, Premier, I ask you, what responsibility are you taking? If it's proper for him to step down, why isn't it proper for you to step down?

Hon Mr Harris: I accept advice and I think the government, through the Solicitor General, has taken the appropriate steps today. If you're hearing other things and other advice, I'll pass it on to the RCMP.


Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Minister, the year 2000 is fast approaching and many residents of the province are hearing about computer viruses and other potential problems.

The constituents in the riding of Peterborough would like to ready themselves to celebrate and commemorate the millennium. Can you tell me what this government is doing to help Ontarians prepare to celebrate the millennium?

Hon Isabel Bassett (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): First of all, I thank you for your question, because this government is very interested in responding to all the calls we are getting from right across Ontario from communities, cities and towns that are interested in coming up with something that's meaningful, inclusive and fiscally responsible to celebrate the millennium. We are looking at how best we can do that and we have a small team in my ministry which is engineering that right now and responding to what people are asking.

Mr Stewart: Minister, you mentioned that you had a small team preparing. Could you tell me who may be heading up that unit?

Hon Ms Bassett: It's a small team of people, who are appointed, who are reporting to me. It's interesting, because they have been running focus groups as an aid to me to find out what people want and it's there that we are hearing that inclusiveness is a big issue, and volunteerism. For example, in Peterborough, your riding, it's interesting that the winter games, which I attended and which were hugely successful, fiscally responsible and meaningful to hundreds and hundreds of volunteers there, are the kind of thing that we are hearing people want to put on right across the province. Maybe Peterborough will come up with new plans for the millennium now that they've gotten through the winter games.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Premier, back to this issue of the investigation. We're having some concerns about the terms of reference with respect to that investigation, your understanding of what they might be, and also how and when they are going to be made public. Many people now have developed an abiding interest in this issue, since it tells us much about the handling of your affairs within government, tells us much about what has happened in the past and what is about to happen in the future. There's a tremendous amount of interest in this issue. What is your understanding of the terms of reference for this investigation and when will the results be made public?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): There are no terms of reference; I don't have an understanding. A complaint was made to the police and I don't presume to pretend to tell them what their terms of reference are.

Mr McGuinty: Last week, Premier, you said that you would investigate. That's what you said. I'm not talking about the police investigation now; I'm just talking about your investigation. I want to know, have you done that investigation, and what were the results of that investigation?

Hon Mr Harris: I think now that the police are investigating, you would agree with me, and the advice I've been given is, that it's really not appropriate for me to comment.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): A question to the Attorney General: We understand that your government sent out electronic mail information pieces asking that all the copies of the throne speech be sent back. We understand that there was advice given by officials in the Ministry of the Solicitor General saying, "Don't use this name; it may lead to the identification of a person, of the young offender, which would be a breach of the criminal law."

You've acted very quickly in the past. I want to read again from the Hansard of November 7. You said: "We have taken the following steps. The Metropolitan Toronto Police have been contacted and are conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations" - allegations that you stood in this Legislature and raised.

I want to ask you again: It's apparent on the face of the record that there was very likely a breach of the criminal law of Canada here last Thursday. What did you do following that, Mr Attorney General? What did you do?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): In light of the fact that there has been a complaint apparently made to police and the police are apparently investigating, it would be inappropriate to discuss this further.

Mr Hampton: I want to be very clear. I'm trying to hold the chief law officer of the crown accountable. The chief law officer of the crown in Ontario has some legal duties and responsibilities. He didn't do them last Thursday; I had to do them for him. In the past, you've been very quick in this Legislature to get on your feet to make allegations and then to call for an independent police investigation regarding alleged criminal behaviour.

I'm trying to get at this now. I'm trying to ask you, Mr Attorney General: In this Legislature last Thursday there was an apparent breach of the criminal law of Canada that was obvious to everyone. You have a duty, as the chief law officer of the crown, to ensure that those things don't happen and, if they do happen, to ask the police to investigate. Why didn't you ask the police to investigate? Why didn't you do that? It's part of your job.

Hon Mr Harnick: I have no new answer. Quite simply, because there has been this apparent complaint to the police, it would be inappropriate for me to comment.



Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): My question is to the Minister of Education. We all know how hot the Ontario economy is, with 341,000 net new jobs in the private sector, and this is indeed good news. My three children have just finished their university sessions and are home; in fact, we picked them up this weekend. They were going over with me, looking in the paper and wondering what kind of job they'll have for the summer. I know last year we had an excellent program. My children didn't take advantage of it, but they did find jobs. Could you share with the House today what you're doing to help our children and their future in finding jobs in meaningful employment this summer?

Hon David Johnson (Minister of Education and Training): The member is correct that the economy has been doing extremely well, and I'm very pleased to say that since February of this year, just a few months ago, there have been almost 40,000 new jobs for the young people of Ontario. I will also say that the member is correct in that last year the summer program to assist our youth finding jobs was extremely successful. We hoped to help about 40,000 kids find jobs in the summer and we exceeded that by 7,000 and actually assisted 47,000 young people. This year we have allocated about $50 million to help about 50,000 young people, 48,500 to be exact, to find jobs by helping them job-search through a subsidy program, through business startup loans and through jobs within the government.

Mr O'Toole: That's indeed an excellent response, and I'm sure the students watching today who are home from university will take your advisement, and I'm sure there will be jobs. The economy is growing.

Would you share with me how students can directly link up. Is there a Web site? For instance, I can tell you that in Durham we're having a workshop this month for students in Bowmanville, and we're working with Manpower and we're also working with youth groups to bring to their attention the importance of safety in the workplace. I've told some of the constituents to sign on to the Web site, www.gov.on.ca, and they can find information on jobs in the directories. Could you tell me what other information is forthcoming from the government?

Hon David Johnson: The member has given the Web site and I would encourage the young people of Ontario to contact the Web site and get assistance. I would encourage the employers in the province - summer is coming - to start thinking about the young people in Ontario.

The summer jobs are really important to the young people. They need them for a little extra money. They need them for money to assist them in their education as they go back to school. The province will be putting in about $50 million to help those young people through job search opportunities, through summer employment opportunities within the provincial government, through subsidies, a $2 subsidy to employers within Ontario. Let's all get together, the private sector and the kids, and create jobs for our young people. I think this is an excellent program we have this year.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Premier, I would think that it is for most people very, very difficult to believe that nobody at some point along the way approached you or someone in your office and said, "We are about to take a huge risk if we send the Lieutenant Governor into the chamber and have her read this throne speech as it is," or are you telling me that this came as a complete surprise and that nobody in the Attorney General's office, nobody in the Solicitor General's office and nobody in your office caught on to this and happened to know that there is a law on the books that accords some basic rights to young offenders in Ontario? Are you telling me that this came as a complete and absolute shock to you when the media questioned you about this subsequent to the throne speech being read in this House, or did somebody along the way say, "Premier, we've got a problem here, and if she goes ahead and reads that thing in the House, we're taking a big risk"?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Thanks for your advice. I'll pass it on.

Mr McGuinty: This is not a complicated issue, Premier. I'm simply asking on behalf of the Ontario public how this could have happened. There is a law on the books. As lawmakers we're deemed to know what it is. It says you can't disclose information that would identify a young offender. Your government is responsible for young offenders in Ontario.

Some information came from somewhere relating to this young offender. It somehow went before the Attorney General and he didn't pick it up. It went before the Solicitor General and apparently he didn't pick it up either. Then you, Premier, with all those people working on your behalf in your office, failed to pick it up as well. Then the Lieutenant Governor stood up in this Legislature and disclosed that information. Again, on behalf of the people of this province, how could that happen?

Hon Mr Harris: I think the Solicitor General's statement is pretty clear and straightforward. The member also knows it has been asked that this matter be looked into by the RCMP and it is inappropriate for me to comment.

I might say this: The member opposite has made a number of allegations today, including one about Mr Runciman's truth, I would say, in the statement he made in the House. Mr Runciman was asked outside, "What about a return to cabinet?" Mr Runciman's answer was, "It's not my decision." I would think the member opposite would want to correct the record on one of the most embarrassing things he has said in the House today.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Point of order?

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Mr Speaker, I have a point of order, and I think we need to know this. The Solicitor General has resigned. We understand that the Premier's office may be under investigation. We don't know who now is in effect the chief of police for Ontario, who the police would report to after having completed an investigation. I think we need to know who is in effect the Solicitor General. Who do the police now report to in Ontario?

The Speaker: It's not for me to know, leader of the third party. I assume the government will carry on and make the announcement at a future date.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): On a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: Since I'm getting requests for the throne speech in my office, am I now in violation of the Young Offenders Act should I send those copies of the throne speech?

The Speaker: Member for Kenora, I can't answer that for you and I certainly don't want to answer that for you. That's a decision you're going to have to make yourself.



Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I have a petition signed by 620 of my constituents. It's addressed to the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the 43-year-old relic that was condemned in 1983 and has housed Nouveaux-Horizons for six years was deemed a temporary facility;

"Whereas the location of this relic greatly compromises the safety of our children on a daily basis;

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

"To free up funding for the construction of a new French Catholic school in the Chapel Hill area of Gloucester."

I will sign my signature to this petition.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads:

"Whereas nurses in Ontario often experience coercion to participate in practices which directly contravene their deeply held ethical standards;

"Whereas pharmacists in Ontario are often pressured to dispense and/or sell chemicals and/or devices contrary to their moral or religious beliefs;

"Whereas public health workers in Ontario are expected to assist in providing controversial services and promoting controversial materials against their consciences;

"Whereas physicians in Ontario often experience pressure to give referrals for medications, treatments and/or procedures which they believe to be gravely immoral;

"Whereas competent health care workers and students in various health care disciplines in Ontario have been denied training, employment, continued employment and advancement in their intended fields and suffered other forms of unjust discrimination because of the dictates of their consciences; and

"Whereas the health care workers experiencing such unjust discrimination have at present no practical and accessible legal means to protect themselves;

"We, the undersigned, urge the government of Ontario to enact legislation explicitly recognizing the freedom of conscience of health care workers, prohibiting coercion and unjust discrimination against health care workers because of their refusal to participate in matters contrary to the dictates of their consciences and establishing penalties for such coercion and unjust discrimination."



Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): I have a petition of 165 pages and 3,775 signatures. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"In an effort to work together to protect the ones we love and prevent further tragedies, we, the family and friends of Cheryl Herteis, request the Ministry of Transportation to bring forward regulations which would incorporate tape or some form of reflective device to be placed along the sides of all horse-drawn vehicles used in our province, along all roadways, be they major thoroughfares or country roads, to ensure adequate visualization of buggies crossing roadways in order to protect both the occupants of the buggies and those in motor vehicles.

"We bring this request to the government of Ontario so that something positive can come from the tragic deaths of Cheryl Herteis and Aaron and Muriel Kuepfer."


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): This petition is on red-light cameras.

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas red-light cameras can dramatically assist in reducing the number of injuries and deaths resulting from red-light runners; and

"Whereas red-light cameras only take pictures of licence plates, thus reducing privacy concerns; and

"Whereas all revenues from violations can be easily directed to a designated fund to improve safety at high-collision intersections; and

"Whereas there is a growing disregard for traffic laws resulting in serious injury to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and especially children and seniors; and

"Whereas the provincial government has endorsed the use of a similar camera system to collect tolls on the new 407 tollway; and

"Whereas mayors and concerned citizens across Ontario have been seeking permission to deploy these cameras due to limited police resources;

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

"That the province of Ontario support the installation of red-light cameras at high-collision intersections to monitor and prosecute motorists who run red lights."

I affix my name to this petition.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a petition signed by 133 residents of Ontario, addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas many questions concerning the events preceding, during and after the fatal shooting of Anthony Dudley George on September 6, 1995, at Ipperwash Provincial Park, where over 200 armed officers were sent to control 25 unarmed men and women, have not been answered;

"Whereas the officers involved in the beating of Bernard George were not held responsible for their actions;

"Whereas the Ontario Provincial Police refused to cooperate with the special investigations unit in recording the details of that night;

"Whereas the influence and communications of Lambton MPP Marcel Beaubien with the government have been verified through transcripts presented in the Legislature;

"Whereas the trust of the portfolio of native affairs held by the Attorney General, Charles Harnick, is compromised by his continued refusal for a full public inquiry into the events of Ipperwash;

"Whereas the promised return of Camp Ipperwash to the Stoney Point nation by the federal ministry of defence and the serious negotiations of land claims by both the provincial and federal governments could have avoided a conflict;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for a full public inquiry to be held into the events surrounding the fatal shooting of Dudley George on September 6, 1995, to eliminate all misconceptions held by and about the government, the OPP and the Stoney Point people."

I affix my name to that petition.


Mr Jack Carroll (Chatham-Kent): A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario health system is overburdened and unnecessary spending must be cut; and

"Whereas pregnancy is not a disease, injury or illness and abortions are not therapeutic procedures; and

"Whereas the vast majority of abortions are done for reasons of convenience or finance; and

"Whereas the province has exclusive authority to determine what services will be insured; and

"Whereas the Canada Health Act does not require funding for elective procedures; and

"Whereas there is mounting evidence that abortion is in fact hazardous to women's health; and

"Whereas Ontario taxpayers funded over 45,000 abortions in 1993 at an estimated cost of 25 million taxpayer dollars;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to cease providing any taxpayers' dollars for the performance of abortions."

I affix my signature.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I've had a petition directed my way. It's a petition to upgrade the Kejick Bay access road. It reads:

"We, the undersigned, hereby request and demand that you, as our member of Parliament, speak out on our behalf to Ministry of Transportation officials to have the Kejick Bay access road upgraded and resurfaced. Let's not wait until someone gets severely injured or dies before we take action."

That's signed by hundreds of constituents from Lac Seul, Kejick Bay, Frenchmans Head, Kenora and a number of other places and I too attach my name to that most important petition.


Mlle Shelley Martel (Sudbury-Est) : J'ai ici une pétition signée par des centaines de personnes qui habitent dans la circonscription de Sudbury-Est et elle dit :

«Pétition à l'attention de l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario :

«Puisque les contribuables de l'Ontario ont financé environ 45 000 avortements en 1993 à un coût de l'ordre de 25 $ millions ;

«Entendu que la grossesse n'est pas une maladie ni une blessure, et que les avortements ne constituent pas des procédures thérapeutiques ;

«Entendu que la vaste majorité des avortements se font pour des raisons de commodité ou financières ;

«Entendu que la province a l'autorité exclusive de déterminer quels services seront assurés ;

«Entendu que la Loi canadienne sur la santé n'exige pas que les procédures électives soient financées ;

«Entendu qu'il y a de plus en plus de preuves que l'avortement pose un risque à la santé des femmes ;

«Par conséquent nous, les soussignés, demandons à l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario de cesser d'utiliser l'argent des contribuables pour financer les avortements.


Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Ontario health system is overburdened and unnecessary spending must be cut; and

"Whereas pregnancy is not a disease, injury or illness and abortions are not therapeutic procedures; and

"Whereas the vast majority of abortions are done for reasons of convenience or finance; and

"Whereas the province has exclusive authority to determine what services will be insured; and

"Whereas the Canada Health Act does not require funding for elective procedures; and

"Whereas there is mounting evidence that abortion is in fact hazardous to women's health; and

"Whereas Ontario taxpayers funded over 45,000 abortions in 1993 at an estimated cost of $25 million;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to cease providing any taxpayers' dollars for the performance of abortions."


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a petition which arises out of a bill that the Premier introduced the last day. It reads as follows:

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

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

"Whereas the Mike Harris government has passed new legislative rules which have eroded the ability of both the public and the media to closely scrutinize the actions of the Ontario government; and

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

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

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

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

I'm willing to affix my signature to this petition, as I'm in full agreement with its contents.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition forwarded to me by Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, on behalf of their 600,000 members.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas each year in Ontario approximately 300 workers are killed on the job, several thousand die of occupational diseases and 400,000 suffer work-related injuries and illnesses; and

"Whereas during the past decade the Workers' Health and Safety Centre proved to be the most cost-effective WCB-funded prevention organization dedicated to worker health and safety concerns; and

"Whereas the WCB provides over 80% of its legislated prevention funding to several employer-controlled safety associations and less than 20% to the Workers' Health and Safety Centre; and

"Whereas the Workers' Health and Safety Centre recently lost several million dollars in funding and course revenue due to government changes to legislated training requirements; and

"Whereas 30% of Workers' Health and Safety Centre staff were laid off due to these lost training funds; and

"Whereas the Workers' Health and Safety Centre now faces an additional 25% cut to its 1998 budget, which will be used to augment new funding for employer safety associations in the health, education and services sector; and

"Whereas the WCB's 1998 plan to baseline budget cuts for safety associations and the Workers' Health and Safety Centre will be disproportionately against the workers' centre and reduce its 1998 budget allocation to less than 15% of the WCB prevention funding,

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to stop the WCB's proposed cuts and direct the WCB to increase the Workers' Health and Safety Centre's funding to at least 50% of the WCB's legislated prevention funding; and

"Further we, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the WCB to significantly increase its legislated prevention funding in order to eliminate workplace illness, injury and death."

On the eve of the day of mourning, I proudly sign this petition on behalf of all my NDP colleagues.


Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have a petition today signed by 34 residents of Ontario. The petition is calling for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to cease providing taxpayers' dollars for the performance of abortions. I'd like to file that today.


Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I have a petition for long-term-care beds in Elliot Lake. It is similar to a petition signed by 6,000 residents of the city of Elliot Lake. It says that there are no long-term beds in this city, which has attracted thousands of seniors from across Ontario. Elliot Lake is the only municipality with a population in excess of 10,000 people in Ontario without a long-term-care facility nearby. Already families have been divided as one ailing senior is shipped off 115 kilometres away to the closest facility. Couples who fear for their coming years are moving out, often south, to centres with more assurance of long-term care. Most of them love living in Elliot Lake and are sorry to leave, and the city is sorry to lose them.

"Therefore we, the citizens of Elliot Lake, request the government of Ontario, through the intervention of the Premier and Minister of Health, to relieve the current anxiety in this community and provide 120 long-term-care beds." That's nursing-home beds.

I'll affix my signature, as I'm in full support.



Consideration of the speech of Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph): I move, seconded by Mr O'Toole, that an humble address be presented to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor as follows:

To the Honourable Hilary M. Weston, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.

Mr Speaker, before I begin I would just like to indicate that I'll be sharing my time for remarks with the member for Durham East.

On behalf of the members I represent in the riding of Guelph, it is my privilege and it is my honour to move today the adoption of the second speech from the throne from the government led by Premier Mike Harris.

This throne speech celebrates the beginning of the second session of the 36th Parliament. Right now our government is in the midst of revitalizing Ontario. Our government is in the midst of completing and honouring its election promises to voters, rebuilding a province that was in trouble, a province that was suffering from a decade of job-killing tax increases and from labour laws that frightened employment away.

We are in the midst of rebuilding a province that was crippled by former governments who mistakenly believed that people in Guelph and every other community across Ontario had bottomless pockets, bottomless pockets that they thought could pay down debts created by governments that couldn't set priorities or live within their means.

Ontario's debt doubled from $45 billion to $89 billion between 1990 and 1995, forcing billions to be wasted on interest payments. Those dollars were needed for health care, for education and social programs. The wishes of ordinary people of Ontario were not being heard. That is why, when the Progressive Conservative Party sought the advice of Ontarians, reflected their priorities and promised to enact their wishes, even recorded our plans in the Common Sense Revolution, our party was elected.

The people of Ontario told us to turn this province around. Our strategies were to balance the budget, to cut taxes, to create jobs, to reduce wasteful spending, to do better for less and to get rid of barriers to growth. Voters asked our party to fix Ontario because they knew governments cannot do everything for everybody all the time. They knew it was fiscally impossible and that it was that kind of thinking that had created the crushing provincial debt we now shoulder of $106 billion.

Since being elected in June 1995, this government has been busy. We have worked hard to establish priorities and set policies to rebuild this province. We have worked hard to make it strong and vibrant once again and to instil pride and give hope for our future.

In preparing for today, I took the time to review this government's first throne speech from 1995. Let's review what we promised to undertake back then.

We promised that we would create jobs by reducing payroll taxes and eliminating the employer health tax. We promised that we would begin a review of red tape. We promised that we would restore democracy to the workplace and establish new labour laws after repealing the former laws that weren't working. We promised that we would protect family farms and repeal the old Bill 90. We promised that we would reform the Workers' Compensation Board and reduce rates.


We promised to get spending under control and reduce the deficit that was then at $11.3 billion. We promised to undertake municipal reform. We promised to review all agencies, boards and commissions for the province of Ontario. We promised to reduce the number of politicians and end gold-plated pensions and tax-free allowances.

We promised to introduce a Victims' Bill of Rights, to reinvest in health care, to increase dialysis treatment. We promised to increase immunization programs for our children, to reduce welfare rates, to introduce workfare for the first time in Ontario. We promised to rescind legislated job quotas, to improve the substitute decision legislation, and in education, we promised that we would reduce administration, improve curriculum and add standardized tests and report cards.

I am proud to stand before you today and say that on every single one of those intended actions that we promised to undertake we have completed and finished all of them. This government did exactly what it promised to do. I will tell you that it has not been easy, but it was certainly necessary.

Back home in my constituency of Guelph, some constituents have confided in me that perhaps our government was doing too much, that the pace of change was too much, too fast. Well, I have to ask, is there ever an easy way to undertake major change? I think that undertaking major change is a lot like taking off a Band-Aid. There are those among us who prefer to take it off very slowly; others like to yank it off quickly. I can tell you that the former governments had tried very hard to cover up Ontario's problems with several Band-Aid solutions. This government knew that in order to properly heal the province of Ontario and set it back on the track to prosperity, all those Band-Aids had to be removed.

But be assured, we have heard the concerns about needing to take more time and we are listening carefully. Just as we were listening closely to the advice from Ontarians about how to turn around this province, so too are we listening closely on advice on how now to proceed, to proceed with care.

Now we are moving into a new phase of our mandate. The major changes are enacted. It is time to adjust, to fine-tune and to plan for the future.

This government will continue to create the climate for jobs, for investors to seek out Ontario and for employers to hire workers. We will encourage opportunities, opportunities for employers like Denso. Denso is a Japanese manufacturing firm that recently chose Guelph and Ontario as the location for their first plant in Canada. We will offer opportunities for Guelph entrepreneurs like Jean Lane. Jean is opening her first business, her own business, Mail Boxes etc, and realizing a lifelong ambition of being an independent businesswoman. We are happy about opportunities for entrepreneurs like Andrew Beresford and Alex Beath, who have just founded Artemis Technologies and have already hired five people to develop and manufacture rabies vaccine in Guelph. Confidence that they see in Ontario's economy has prompted Bird Packaging, a manufacturing firm that has operated in Guelph for 23 years, to expand and build a second facility in London, Ontario.

Our government will complete its promised income tax rate cut of 30%. Already, 30 taxes have been reduced or eliminated. For communities across Ontario, this means an investment of $3.4 billion into our local economies. The income tax rate cuts to date mean that a family of four, both parents working and earning about $60,000 per year, will keep about $1,030 more of their hard-earned income. It means a senior earning about $20,000 a year on old age security and pension will save $200 a year. When fully implemented, our tax cuts will mean that 650,000 Ontario low-income earners will pay absolutely no taxes at all. Lower taxes benefit everyone.

Confidence is returning to Ontario. Over two thirds of all the jobs created in Canada are happening right here in Ontario - 341,000 net new private sector jobs since September 1995.

My town of Guelph is thriving. Our city's unemployment rate right now is 7.5%, well below the Ontario average of 8.2%, which in turn is well below the national average of 9.4%.

These job-creating tax cuts will continue because the pledge of our government to the people of Ontario is to encourage economic growth so that all Ontarians can benefit from increased opportunity.

Supporting Ontario workers and employers is important to this government. Finding ways to help address the shortage of highly skilled workers will help employers like Nick Galovich at Blount and Bob Ireland at Guelph Tool and Die, who are very concerned not only about the future of their own businesses but that the future competitiveness of Ontario will be compromised without the key skilled workers they require.

The city of Guelph has a very bright future in agrifood, biotech and food science technology and research. Dr Larry Milligan and Dr Murray McLaughlin are working hard to develop economic and research partnerships, building a cluster of activity that will thrive on the research expertise and investments already established in Guelph. Right now OMAFRA is there, Agriculture Canada is there, the University of Guelph is a strong leader, and private sector companies like Novartis, which has recently moved its head office to Guelph, are recognizing the opportunities and the networking possibilities available.

The kinds of jobs that will be created in this field require a highly skilled workforce. Your government is committed to achieving the goal of ensuring excellence in Ontario's education system. To reach their potential, each and every one of our children deserves the best instruction. More dollars will be spent in the classrooms of Ontario. Standardized testing will continue to be introduced. A more rigorous curriculum and clearer report cards will be implemented.

This government knows that one of the most important services a government can offer its citizens is an excellent education. The students and the teachers of this province will be supported in their learning and in their teaching.

One of our strongest assets are the parents, and increased parental involvement through parent councils will continue to be encouraged.

We are also welcoming and are actually excited about the assistance of partners like the Canadian Federation of University Women. I noticed that today in question period we had a question about a science program for young girls. The Canadian Federation of University Women sponsors a science program called Scientists in School. This program was actually begun by the Ajax-Pickering chapter. In this program, people with science and technical expertise visit classrooms to teach and spark critical scientific thinking through a hands-on approach.


The government has already demonstrated its commitment to early childhood education. Over $20 million has been earmarked for early speech and language programs.

I have been visited by many parents in Guelph and Wellington county who are concerned about the lack of programs in our area. I can tell you that many of them are thrilled to see $215,000 invested in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin for much-needed programs to help their children.

Our first minister responsible for children, the Honourable Margaret Marland, has been diligent in seeking advice from MPPs and experts in learning like Dr Fraser Mustard and the Honourable Margaret McCain on how to best prepare our children for school.

As I mentioned earlier, over 341,000 net new private sector jobs have been created. Welfare assistance will be available for those in temporary need of help.

But there is a motto that comes from our area that I believe describes the work ethic of the people who built this great province. It goes like this: "By work and by worth we rise."

The role of government is to help people off social assistance and into the workforce so that each and every person, by work and by worth, can rise. We will continue to provide assistance for job searches, to increase the number of community placement services, to crack down on abuse and expand mandatory work for welfare. We will move to require that where child care subsidies are provided, parents on welfare go to school, stay in school or participate in work placement.

Being involved in workfare and learnfare is about being a contributing citizen. It's about enjoying the dignity of a job and being involved to learn new skills and meet new people. Our objective will continue to be a hand up, not a handout.

Guelph has always been an environmentally conscious city, perhaps because we're still very close to the farming community, or maybe it's because two beautiful rivers, the Speed and the Eramosa, meet in the heart of the city. Whatever the reason, in Guelph we think green. The wet-dry plant, the first municipal composting facility, is a world leader in waste management technology. Constituents, as well as many Ontarians, will be pleased that our government is determined to improve air and water quality through initiatives like the smog plan and Drive Clean.

Guelph is seeing first hand this government's continued commitment to roads and infrastructure. Several million dollars are being invested in a major interchange reconstruction now under way. This government understands that a good road and transportation system is necessary to support a competitive economy. The Golden Triangle economic region, of which Guelph is a part, needs these vital links.

The throne speech indicated that this government will turn its attention to legislation that addresses electricity reform. We will take steps to end the monopoly of Ontario Hydro and to prepare Ontario to meet the challenges of the competition that faces us. We will also continue to cut unnecessary job-killing red tape.

Recently Frank Sheehan, the member for Lincoln and chair of the Red Tape Review Commission, visited the Guelph's chamber of commerce to explain what work his committee had undertaken and was planning.

These efforts to assist small business are appreciated by people like Steve Petrie. Steve is the president of Automated Engineering Technologies Ltd, and Steve said, "The more time I spend on filing summaries for various government agencies, the less time I have to focus on building our business and serving clients' needs."

Referendum legislation will also be introduced and give constituents one more method to keep their government accountable.

The people of Guelph clearly share our government's priority to provide the best health care possible when and where it's needed. I know that in some communities restructuring of their hospital systems is causing heartache.

You might be interested to know that 20 years ago our city voluntarily recognized that restructuring was needed to improve access and increase the benefits from every dollar for our patients. I can tell you that our city was very pleased to receive $68 million last year from this government for two hospitals. Construction is now under way to renovate the Guelph General for a new acute care hospital. St Joseph's Hospital and Home will be a brand-new long-term-care facility. It took us 20 years, so our community knows first hand how tough hospital restructuring can be, but we also know it's worth it. We are convinced that to achieve the best care for everyone, duplication of services must be ended.

This government is spending more on health care than ever in Ontario's history. The dividends will go to restructure and improve services in particular for seniors. Already the minister has announced 1,700 temporary long-term-care beds, with more to come.

This government appreciates innovative projects like the Elliott - and this is no relation - Ellridge and Ellington as an interesting complex in the city of Guelph. It's a facility that, under the direction of David Hicks, is showing the world how to creatively give seniors the flexibility to experience comfortable living in one place with varying levels of care, from full nursing to complete, independent living.

Due to our government's promise, the family and friends of dialysis patients are also looking forward to the establishment of a dialysis clinic this fall in partnership with Guelph General and the Grand River Hospital.

In the throne speech, this government reaffirmed its plan for more money for home nursing, homemaking and supportive housing across the province.

The community care access centre was a new idea of our government when we were elected. It hasn't been without its growing pains, but I can say that in our jurisdiction this concept is working very well. New moneys will be much appreciated. The investment will be good news, but it is the investment in the community that we are most happy about, because with new care and modern technology, people are going home and need to be cared for where they are most comfortable and will heal most quickly.

This government will take care to meet the needs of seniors and the disabled. That means thousands of jobs for nurses. There are many who are excited about the fact that OHIP statements and smart card technology will help us be more knowledgeable about the actual costs of care.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the retirement celebration for staff sergeant Ted Green. Ted is the former commander of the Guelph detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police. Over 250 people turned out to honour his 32 years of policing across Ontario. This was a tribute to a fine gentleman finishing an exemplary career. But it was also an indication of the respect held for the men and women who uphold our laws, protect our families and risk their own lives to keep our communities safe.

This government pledges to continue to support our law enforcement officers. We will expand initiatives like strict discipline facilities for young offenders. We will create a registry for pedophiles and sex offenders. It is the goal of this government that every community is as safe as we can possibly make it. We have already passed the Victims' Bill of Rights. We will continue to support the community Partners Against Crime Project, like victim services.

This government wants to thank outstanding volunteers like Sharon Saunders. Sharon worked very hard in the city of Guelph to develop the victim crisis assistance and referral service. This organization supports the police, trains volunteers and helps citizens cope with the trauma of being a victim of crime or an accident.


We have teams who travel around the city to watch for car thefts and to be on alert, to be extra eyes and ears for our police officers.

Health care, education, safe communities, job creation and welfare reform are the priorities that Ontarians have indicated they want our government to focus on. This government has been busy enacting turnaround legislation and policies and we're already seeing the progress from those changes. But we've also been very busy listening, whether it's in town halls or meetings, sending out flyers or questionnaires. The people of Ontario need to know that the major changes and legislation are almost complete. Now is the time to implement, to consolidate and to fine-tune our initiatives.

We have come a very long way - from the brink of bankruptcy three years ago and we are excited about the future.

We are looking forward to the future, with your guidance and your advice.

We are looking forward to hearing from interesting people like Joe Kovacs. Joe dropped into my constituency office last Friday during my regular coffee and conversation open house to share his views and ideas. We had a wonderful time. That's because he cares about what happens to this province, and I can say that every member of this government cares passionately about revitalizing Ontario, cares passionately about bringing back hope, prosperity and opportunity for every person in Ontario.

Before I ever decided to enter politics and leave my life as a shopkeeper and a teacher, I went to see and sought the advice of a very wonderful person. Alf Hales was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, statesmen the city of Guelph has ever had. He ably represented our riding in Ottawa as the Progressive Conservative member of Parliament for 17 years. When I was talking to Alf about whether or not I should run for politics and whether or not it was time for me to practise what I preached about how Ontario should be improved, he advised me to remember some words that I think actually came from John Diefenbaker. "Remember, Brenda," said Alf, "Polls are for dogs - do the right thing."

This wonderful man and terrific community leader passed away in February. He will be very much missed. But he was right: Politicians must always do the right thing.

I believe our government is doing the right thing. We have not been shy about tackling tough issues and problems - tough issues and problems that former governments shied away from because they thought they might be politically troublesome. I entered politics because I was worried about Ontario, worried that Ontario was in big trouble due to the misguided and inept policies of the opposition parties. What they were allowing to happen was something I did not want for my children, did not want for my city, my community or my province.

The people of Guelph and Ontario have indicated that this government is on the right track as far as policy is concerned. They want us to keep going forward, and we are going to continue. We are going to continue to rebuild this province. We are going to do it thoughtfully and carefully.

Exciting things are happening in the city of Guelph.

This summer we're looking forward to hosting the Ontario Summer Games. Volunteers are coming from every corner to get ready to welcome people from across this country to our city and appreciate athletic excellence.

At the end of May we're looking forward to the Guelph Spring Festival. Our new community arts centre, the River Run Centre, beautifully built on the banks of the Speed river, is going to be filled with talented performers and excited audiences.

This week our Ontario Hockey League team, the Guelph Storm, is battling it out with the Ottawa 67s in the finals for the Ontario championship.

Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): Good team.

Mrs Elliott: Yes, great team. Big game tonight, as a matter of fact.

Exciting things are happening in Guelph and across the province. There is very much a renewed sense of optimism and hope about where we're going, about the future that's before us. We are listening and we are going to continue to listen closely to the advice of constituents across this province. After all, it is their ideas we have been implementing, and to their credit, their ideas are working.

So we will listen as we move forward with care and with determination, because together we are going to make Ontario strong.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): It is with great pride and humility that I stand before this Legislature today to second the speech from the throne. If it's appropriate, I wish to thank the Lieutenant Governor, Hilary Weston, for delivering her speech with such dignity. Traditions are important, not only for me but I believe for all Ontarians.

On a personal note, I wish to share with the members that last Thursday I had two students attend the Legislature to hear the delivery of the speech from the throne - Kristy Dalton and Ryan Moynes, who attend Port Perry High School and are currently doing a political science research project. They were very privileged to meet at first hand the Lieutenant Governor, the Premier of the province, the Minister of Education and a number of other ministers and dignitaries of the day, just to prove to our young students and our youth that indeed we are an accessible government.

As the member for Durham East, I share this honour with every constituent whom I was elected to represent. My riding truly reflects all that is good about Ontario. Durham East has been represented for the past 50 years by Conservatives, except for two brief single terms by two NDP members.

Durham has great industrial workers, self-employed individuals, professionals, engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, bank employees, public sector employees, century family farm businesses, young families, single-parent families, as well as many retired people on fixed incomes.

Just recently the Honourable Cam Jackson, the minister responsible for seniors, visited and spent a morning with the residents of Wilmot Creek, interacting with those people and answering their questions. They truly appreciated the accessibility of this government.

Durham is the fastest-growing area in all of Canada, and Durham is a great place to live, to work and to raise a family. I represent hardworking employees of General Motors, Ontario Hydro and the many small businesses that make up the economy of Durham, businesses like Bowmanville Foundry, undergoing an expansion at the moment; Goodyear tire and rubber, for many years the backbone of the Bowmanville community; Brooking Transport, a family-owned and -operated business; Rushwood Truss; Brooklin Concrete and many more.

In preparing these remarks, I was also thinking about the truly small business people who make up the main streets in our communities, for instance, Ron Hooper of Hooper's Jewellers, currently the chairman of the local business improvement area; and Ron Hope, owner of Stedmans in Newcastle; Murray and Linda Taylor, who spend countless hours in their hardware store, Rolph's, on the main street in Orono; and Tom and Daphne Mitchell, in Settlement House in Port Perry, who were just recently recognized as the merchandising business of the year; Gareth Grainger from Peace of Earth in Port Perry, as well as Paula and Bill Lishman of Lishman Enterprises. The list could go on.

Agriculture is the second-largest industry not just in Ontario but indeed in Durham. My thoughts are with the farm community at this time of year, as they prepare diligently to go on the land to plant the seeds to make the food that we eat - people like Dave and Leha Frew; Don and Jim Rickard; Karen and Dennis Yellowlees; Joe Christl and his son; Terry and Phyllis Price; Peter and Joan Tax; the Schillings family of White Feather Farms north of Oshawa; John and Magda Zoelman; Lisa and Henk Mulders of Link Greenhouses operation; Barry and Anna Bragg, who have a well-known international seed operation just outside Bowmanville. The list goes on.


The agricultural business is famous in our part of Ontario for our apple orchards, beef, dairy, sheep, pork, poultry and almost all manner of field crops. It is so important to the local economy that both the federal minister as well as our Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Honourable Noble Villeneuve, visited Blackstock in the last month alone.

I know our Premier, who visited our riding in February, extends his thanks to all Ontarians for helping us achieve our common goals, common goals held by all Ontarians, I believe. Just as in the recent ice storm in Ontario and Quebec, people in communities like those in my riding of Durham East come together to help one another. No one can achieve anything alone. It takes a team working together to achieve much. Imagine in less than a year how much we have achieved by working together.

I personally thank our Premier, Mike Harris, and his cabinet, first of all and most importantly for their courage in times of trial and their leadership and tireless work and commitment to allow us to accomplish the commitments we made to Ontario. Most of all, our promises made during the election of June 1995 are now the promises kept. All of our caucus is committed to eliminating the barriers to hope and opportunity for every Ontarian.

The people of Durham East elected five members to this Legislature on June 8, 1995. They were known as the five Blue Jays: Julia Munro from Durham-York; Jerry Ouellette from Oshawa; the Honourable Janet Ecker, Minister of Community and Social Services, from Durham West; the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Labour, from Durham Centre. We are a team, the Durham team. We work to support all of the people not just in Durham, but indeed in the province. We are very flattered to have two members in the cabinet from Durham alone. Collectively, we thank every Ontarian for their personal commitment and understanding during this first semester of our term. It has been tough at times, agreed, but we have climbed the mountain together.

There is little doubt that we are on the right track if one looks at recent articles and polls that have been completed. For instance, I refer to the article in the Toronto Star - imagine that, the Star - of Thursday, April 23, by Frank Jones. I go on here to reinforce:

"...Harris is this province's outstanding political leader of the era. His government...will be honoured for that rarest of all political commodities: courage."

He goes on to make other predictions about other leaders. For instance: "By contrast, his predecessor, Bob Rae, while a decent and able person, will go down as an abysmal failure." There are other comments within that.

Also a recent poll that I believe was done by the Star or the CBC or something goes on to outline, for instance, the questions, "Is the government doing a good job on Ontario's deficit?" Seventy per cent of the people agreed. "Is the government keeping its promises?" Sixty per cent agreed. "Are we moving too quickly?" Some 72% say we are.

That message has been heard by myself and, I am certain, the Premier of the province. It goes on to recognize that we understand what the people want and we have to communicate the message more clearly.

Another important question was: "As you know now, the government has recently announced a number of reforms to public education. I am going to name some of these reforms and would like you to tell me whether you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove" etc.

"Bringing back the basics to education": 76% approve of those reforms to the curriculum. "Introducing standardized testing": 78% approved. Clearly, people understand we are doing the right thing, we are on the right track, and clearly the people of Ontario want us to listen and consult more.

There are other articles I could refer to, but to spare the members, I would ask them to refer to some of the articles I have just outlined here.

People in my riding tell me they agree with what we are doing. I quote: "There is little doubt changes had to be made." At the same time, I recognize that many people are critical of the speed and pace of change, as well as our failure to communicate more effectively.

I continually try and remind people of our motive. In the past 10 years we have had study after study on health care reform, education reform, municipal reform, assessment reform, tax reform, welfare reform and reform after reform. What we really had is 10 years of study. We had 10 years of promises. We had 10 years of no action. We had 10 years of lack of leadership and we had 10 years of taxing and spending. This has all changed.

The free-spending spirit of the Liberals increased taxes 33 times, for a net of $3.1 billion in increased tax revenue from hardworking Ontarians, and we are reversing this trend.

With the Peterson Liberals, between 1985 and 1995, employment was actually going up - more people were employed - while welfare rates were increased by 60%. In fact, welfare rolls grew by 43% during one of the highest employment periods in Ontario's history. Even the then NDP critic, Floyd Laughren, was quoted as saying of the Liberals, I think very succinctly, "The gap is not only in dollars but in credibility." I would say Floyd was right then and Floyd would be right now.

Between 1990 and 1995, the NDP under Bob Rae could not stem the tide of spending. They doubled the deficit to almost $12 billion, they doubled the debt to almost $100 billion, and everyone knew that the social contract was a poor, temporary solution to a much bigger problem. The NDP continued to raise taxes and keep spending right to their very end.

We are continually trying to remind people of the motive. It's important that they share the commitment. When we were elected in 1995, less than three years ago, we were spending $1 million more each and every hour than we were taking in as revenue. Imagine. There are 8,760 hours in a year and we were spending $8 billion in interest alone on the $100-billion debt. All of this, by the way, was borrowed money.

Changes had to be made, and quickly, because our debt interest was crowding out our ability to pay for people programs, such services as health care, home care and education.

We promised no cuts to health care. When elected, health care spending was $17.4 billion. Today, our annual spending on health care is over $18 billion. We are changing the way money is spent from institutions to people, with increased spending to home care, long-term care, early detection, treatment and nutrition for children.

The president of Sick Kids' Hospital, Michael Strofolino, was recently quoted as saying, "The latest crisis in health care has nothing to do with restructuring hospitals and has everything to do with the remarkable increase in infectious diseases." He went on to say, "A more critical analysis of how to treat people outside of hospital, not a shower of money, is what Ontario's health care system needs." Mr Strofolino also argues that "long-overdue restructuring will reduce duplication and overlap while creating new professions and greater access to health care for Ontarians."

I, along with other members of the caucus, am working with our Minister of Health, the Honourable Elizabeth Witmer, to bring to her attention the need to address growth areas like Durham and the 905 area. I meet regularly with Virginia McLaughlin, the chair of the GTA Health Care Alliance; along with Jim Armstrong, Tom Schonberg and Victoria Girling of the Bowmanville Memorial Hospital; Guy Kirvan and Frank Pinquet of North Durham Health Care, Port Perry and Uxbridge hospitals; as well as Patricia Adolphis and Jean Achmatowicz-MacLeod from Oshawa General Hospital; and Brock Hovey and Cathy Tunney from Whitby General Hospital. We do work together, we do listen and we keep the minister informed of the needs of the people of Durham. I am confident that our area will get the badly needed growth funding for which these people have been arguing for years.

It is sad the way things get reported. The federal government has cut over $2 billion in transfer payments to Ontario's health care, yet everyone blames the cuts on Harris. It's an easy line. It could be argued, if one looks at it, that the federal Liberal government has cut $2 billion from health care to balance their budgets on the backs of Ontarians, yet our government has protected health care. We are the ones who have protected health care, and you could look around the table to see who's not playing the game.


We promised no cuts to classroom spending. We did, however, promise to cut spending on administration, and we again have done what we promised.

The April 6 edition of Maclean's magazine reports that in 1997 Ontario is the highest-spending Canadian jurisdiction on education, at $6,915 per student, higher than Quebec, which is at $6,736, and BC, which is at $6,074 per student. We're spending the most, and the question to be asked is, are we getting the results that our students need?

I could refer to this article. I think it's worth every member spending some time looking at that Maclean's article and understanding that it's written objectively, reporting what actually is going on. It's quite interesting, because the announcement for education funding was made of course at the Durham Board of Education, the winner of the Carl Bertelsmann award for excellence; in fact, the announcement was made at Pine Ridge Secondary School.

I'm reading the report from Maclean's here: "Students cringed in embarrassment at the unionists' noisy protests." It was just a theatrical, frightening situation. "`It was pretty intimidating,' said Nikki Lewis, 17, who none the less had sympathy for the teachers." That's understandable; I do as well. "`You could see the tears in their eyes and how horrible they are feeling, worrying about their jobs and about us.'" It's all true.

Another quote: "But the system now is not working well, noted Niki Ramdeen," an 18-year-old student and president of a student council. I'm going to repeat: She said the system is not working well now. Niki, an OAC student, takes chemistry courses in one of the 19 portable classrooms onsite, just outside the school's main entrance, a brand-new school, a beautiful new school. Niki has to book time and wait to use the labs inside the building.

That tells me, when I look at the Durham board and the beautiful board office and our students in portables - it's their futures we're spending education dollars on.

I believe that article is worth referring to again. It's not written by any politician of any party.

We have just announced the new student-focused funding model, as I mentioned, and we are spending $14.4 billion on education. Sixty-five percent of educational spending will be in the classroom, where it belongs. We have reduced the number of boards of education from 168 to approximately 72. We have committed money for growth, protected average class size at 25 for elementary and 22 for secondary, and we have introduced a new user-friendly report card. Our new curriculum has been favourably received by both teachers and parents. We have introduced standardized testing and the focus is on excellence. At the same time, we have protected special education funding and guaranteed the funding for junior kindergarten, as decided by the school boards, exactly as we promised in our election document.

Our Premier and the Minister of Education, the Honourable Dave Johnson, have repeatedly said that we have great teachers and great students but our system of education had to change. No government of any stripe, as some would suggest, would set out to wreck our educational system. This sort of fearmongering and spurious comment serves only to frighten and unsettle students, parents and teachers.

I believe that most individual teachers are honestly concerned about the changes. I have heard their pleas for their students. I have listened. I promise to continue to listen closely to teachers, students and parents. We must continue to work together and move forward together. A fight is not going to benefit any student and certainly not the future for our young people.

I recognize that the two-week strike was out of fear and desperation. I recognize that. Change and fear of the unknown are unsettling prospects for anyone, and we as a government failed to communicate in a timely and effective manner, I completely agree.

Clearly the strike was a power struggle over who controls public education: the union leadership or the elected government.

No single person can break with their leadership without consequences. No single parent, no student, no teacher, no principal, no school board administrator or school trustee could stand alone without suffering the wrath of the union leadership.

The strike was well orchestrated by the union side, no question about that, and the government failed to get the message out. However, the real loss was the teaching time our students missed in this academic year. I hope it doesn't affect their futures. It's hard to measure these things in short periods of time. After all is said and done, I believe our education system will improve as a result of our reforms, many of which, by the way, were instituted by the previous government. I commend Mr Dave Cooke for his hard work and commitment to the EIC and the reform of education - and others, the parent councils and all those who are involved in working to improve education.

In Durham, our education funding will mean that over 20 million new dollars will go towards classroom education. Who could say, "Where's the $1 billion they were all threatening to cut from education?"

At the same time, I recognize that the government and the union leadership are at odds over who is in control of our education system, but this is not a new argument. Just the past weekend, I was reviewing an old article in the Canadian Statesman dated May 1973, and the article was exactly the same case: Who's in control?

I believe that taxpayers, which includes teachers and parents, want the highest-quality education system for our youth. Everyone wants an education system that is accessible, accountable and effective.

As a former school trustee, I am tired of too many buses, too many bosses and not enough supplies in our classrooms. I believe the new education funding model addresses many of those outstanding, long-overdue reforms.

As a parent of five children and a spouse of a teacher, I am not satisfied with anything less than a system focused on classroom excellence. We must continue to listen and work together in education. Our collective futures depend on it.

Post-secondary education is a very important investment in all our futures. Gary Polonsky of Durham College and University Centre is on a single-purpose mission to bring a university centre to Durham. I support his vision and his $12-million fund-raising campaign to put actions into place.

We promised tax cuts would equal jobs. In fact, it's working. We are delivering on both: less taxes and more jobs. The facts speak for themselves.

In the next provincial budget, in May, our Minister of Finance, the Honourable Ernie Eves, will deliver on the last part of our commitment of a 30% reduction to provincial income tax. This means over $100 per month in the pockets and purses of the average taxpaying family. Overall, this will put about $3 billion back into the economy and the pockets of individual Ontarians to spend, invest or pay off accumulated debt. No matter what taxpayers do with the money, it will create jobs. People who invest will ultimately create jobs, people who spend will create jobs, and people who pay off accumulated debt will save on interest, which will give them more disposable income in the future. No matter how you cut it, a tax cut equals jobs.

People earning less than $50,000 per year will see their personal income tax go down over 30%. My fear is that the federal Liberals will claw back that tax cut through Canada pension and UI contributions and any other scheme. Their plan is: Tax and spend. You must have noticed it. I'm certain other members of the House agree.

Looking in the dictionary, at first I really couldn't find the meaning for "Liberal." It didn't stand for anything particularly. Then I looked on the Internet, and under one of the search engines, Yahoo, where I thought I'd maybe find "Liberal," the term "Liberal" came up 33 times under one search: 33 tax increases. When I looked a little closer, it came down very clearly to an understanding that one thing you can count on in Liberals is tax and spend, or it could be spend and tax. That should be the memory, that's the legacy and that's the proof. Look on the Web.


We promised to cut red tape and barriers to growth. Mr Frank Sheehan, the MPP for Lincoln, is the Premier's appointed chairman to the Red Tape Commission. Frank and members of the commission have recently visited my riding on two occasions to listen to concerns on red tape and needless regulations.

In Canada it is estimated that regulations and rules cost our economy $85.7 billion annually. Imagine that: some $12,000 per household, every single household in this province, wasted on overregulation for government purposes.

In the last session alone at Queen's Park we passed 10 red tape bills, which eliminated over 500 needless regulations. We reduced the time for business registration from six weeks to 30 minutes. Imagine that: eliminating more than 1,000 unnecessary annual licences and permits and reports for farm and food processing businesses.

We are working on one-window building permits, on consolidation of ambulance regulations and sunsetting regulations that will now have to systematically be reviewed.

I'm sure all members concur that regulations must be reviewed to make government more accountable to the people. Actually, the whole exercise is turning the culture around. I believe many of the civil servants are far more customer-focused than ever before in a world of very competitive environment. After all, we have to let small business get on with creating jobs.

On the job front, Ontario accounts for 30% of the population of Canada, yet we are gaining over 60% of all the net new jobs in Canada. Since 1995, 60% of all the jobs - 314,000 net new private sector jobs - were created in Ontario. By the way, 261,000 of these jobs have been created in the last 10 months alone. The pace is staggering. In fact, it's reported that we're creating 1,000 jobs a week.

Consumer confidence is up, new housing starts are up, auto sales, which are important in my riding, are up, and tourism is up generally across the province. There's a great article in the weekend papers. The anticipation of this summer's tourism is going to be at an unprecedented level.

The restaurant and entertainment business has never been busier. In Bowmanville, King Street Bar and Grill owner Kevin Anyan is confident, according to his statement, and the new Hanc's Too restaurant is doing very well. Another new Bow and Fiddle restaurant and an excellent Silk's fine restaurant, as well as the new theatre and restaurant complex to the west end of town, are all busy and doing wonderful business.

In Port Perry, the Brown Couch Coffee Shop seems to be thriving, along with the famous downtown in Port Perry, especially the Nutty Chocolatier, where owner Ken Koury is expanding into a franchise operation here in Toronto.

Other success stories in the area: For instance, Ocala Wines, north of Brooklin and Whitby, has grown from a family-operated orchard winery to a point where the owners, the Smith family, now regularly win medals for their quality fruit wines and are also listed with the LCBO.

I want to thank ministers Tsubouchi and Saunderson for visiting my riding to help them celebrate this important milestone in the growth of their small family business.

On another note, Archibald Orchards and Winery was expanded and diversified to the point where they are beyond the orchard business, the core business, and are now also producing prize-winning quality products at wine-tasting competitions. I have no doubt the future is bright for them as well.

This government intends to work very closely with and is committed to small business. Small business is growth for each and every one of us. I know without question that all of our members are there to support in whatever way possible.

Both of these destinations I've mentioned - Ocala Wines as well as Archibald Orchards - are important destinations and many of you should consider a day trip to my riding of Durham East.

Let me just share with you for a moment some of the great destinations in Durham East. We're the home of one of the oldest and largest private zoos in Ontario, the Bowmanville Zoo, previously known as the Cream of Barley Zoo. You see the Exotic Cat World in Orono on Highways 35 and 115 on the way up to the Kawartha Lakes. While in Orono, stop in at Carter's Village Bakery Shop for lunch. You will be amazed at the service. The dessert is well known. Certainly I have been there on a number of -it's worth the drive to Orono.

Also visit Tyrone Mill, one of the oldest and finest working mills in Ontario. Bob Shaffer, the mill operator, operates the mill in the village of Tyrone, just north of Bowmanville. The mill is operating on most weekends, doing apple cider presses and also processing lumber and other kinds of mill operations.

Port Perry, you know, is the home of chiropractic. How many people knew that? That's in my riding. By the way, I might say that chiropractic is a very important, growing business and many people want that choice in health care. But Dr Palmer's home was in Port Perry. There is now Palmer Park, which is on the shores of Lake Scugog and is an excellent place for a family picnic and just a leisurely walk around the lake in beautiful downtown Port Perry. It's very picturesque. I would encourage people to visit.

Durham region has some of the finest local museums, of which Clarke Museum and Archives is probably the best known, and it's located on Highways 35 and 115, just outside Orono - well worth your visit. Mark Jackman, by the way, is the curator there. We also have Charles Taws as the curator at the Bowmanville Museum, an old restored Victorian home. Quite remarkable, the authentic work that has gone into it and the volunteer board. These museums make up, in small-town Ontario, very important tourist destinations, and of course, many of the boards and many of the activities there are done on a volunteer basis.

Now that I think about it, I'm not surprised that my area, Durham, is the fastest-growth area in all of Canada, now that I think about it as I have outlined it. We have, in the south, Lake Ontario, with great fishing and boating. In the north, we have the Oak Ridges moraine and the Ganaraska forest, and numerous small, safe and friendly communities inhabited by wonderful people. Where else would you sooner live?

To accommodate the growth, we have an awfully long list of important and distinguished home builders, such as Saverio Montenairo of Melody Homes of Bowmanville, as well as operations in Peterborough, along with Bill Daniell of the Kaitlin Group; Bob Hann from Valiant Properties, building great homes for people; Frank Veltri of Med-Tri Developments; and Mario Veltri of Marianna Developments - a long-standing quality builder in the area who lives just outside my riding. In fact, he has opened a small golf course just outside Oshawa at the Holiday Inn there, a wonderful destination as well. We also have Hanu Halminen from Halminen Homes and Stephen Kassinger, Bob Schickendanz of the two brothers, a long-standing business operation, and many others working hard to build quality homes in a very hot market. As I told you, it's the fastest-growth area in all of Canada, so quality homes in the market.

Again, I have to thank the municipal people as well for working to make the planning process as smooth and seamless and possible. It's very important, and our government, of course, has done some things with new home sales, the land transfer tax for first-time home buyers. This is the third year of that program giving new home buyers that tax break or that needed break. This government is there for young families.

Good government really provides solid leadership, and we are a government that is accountable and committed to doing exactly what we promised. We must continue to listen and move forward to the new century with confidence that our futures and our children's futures are not any longer threatened by spiralling deficits and debt. We simply need responsible, accountable government.

In the final analysis, people make Ontario great - a great place to live, to work and raise a family - people like Elsie Fisk of Newcastle, whom I have just spoken to on the phone. Elsie has not been feeling well for the last couple of weeks, but certainly she will be alive and well in the next election, as she has for many years. People like Edna Larmer of Port Perry Nursing Home, who will be 104 years old this Friday. I send my congratulations to Edna. Edna lives at Port Perry Nursing Home, along with Mauda Waite, who will be 101 on June 18, 1998. Imagine the changes these people have seen, and certainly for the first time in history they have seen a tax cut. That's something they've witnessed that has never happened before.

Also an important constituent to me is an elderly statesman, a gentleman, Mr Lloyd Stephenson, who at the age of 80 is still challenging publicly elected people to be honest and accountable. He appears regularly before local council, where I first met him, challenging everything from snow removal to tax increases - a great, great constituent. I like to speak to Lloyd to keep honest and to keep my feet on the ground so that I'm accountable. That's exactly what every politician should do: find people with a world of experience and the time to share it with you.

Some people have left this world a better place, people like Mel Putnam who was a young school teacher taken with cancer, and a great friend of not just me but my family and his son. Angie Helpard: Her husband Lynn Helpard is now alone and lives on the beautiful gardens. Angie was well known throughout the area for her care of gardens; in fact, she published a garden magazine, as Mr Helpard is now the publisher of World of Wheels magazine. They had retired to just outside the Bowmanville area to a beautiful piece of property. Now that Angie has left us, all that is left are the gardens. Jim Kapteyn, a long-time leader in the community, passed away as well as Paul Riley. Paul Riley, quite a young man actually, was the first riding president of the Durham East Progressive Conservative Association. I just met him briefly. He just passed away, and it's quite sad, to leave his wife Marion alone.

Some people leave the world a better place for what they've contributed. I think every person who is elected to public office should take that to heart and recognize that we one this side, and I'm sure on the other side of the House, try our best to leave Ontario a better place than what we found.

With the support of my wife Peggy, our family, our friends and our five children - I must repeat them for the record. My son Erin is in the armed forces and living in Halifax and flies on the Sea King helicopters which are kind of shaky. My daughter Rebecca is now married and lives in Australia. My daughter Marnie is one of the three children I have in university. She's in third year at Western, and she's coming home. They're all looking for jobs. Andrew is a young first-year student, a member of the Varsity sports team and an excellent tri-athlete. He's looking for work; I think he's volunteering at a YMCA camp for some of his time. Also, my youngest daughter Rochelle goes to the University of Windsor and she's home. All of these children will be out trying to take part in this new vibrant economy in Ontario. Hopefully they will find jobs.

As I think of it, all of the students in my area - a number of them have been visiting back and forth at our home - it's important that they feel the future, that we're on the right track, and I feel they are. They come to me and they ask me and I tell them we're having a student forum in two weeks' time - it will be held in Bowmanville - on youth employment. We're working together with Manpower, the federal ministry, within the resources of our own ministry, as well as others, like the John Howard Society, to provide some kind of workshop stressing the important of attitudes, résumés and such things as workplace safety - very, very important.

I think if we look forward to Ontario, indeed, on behalf of all the children and youth and seniors I've mentioned in my remarks today - it's been a real pleasure - I feel confident that we have a bright future here in Ontario and that we will have a better, more accountable health care system, an improved education system, safer communities and indeed a stronger economy.

It's not just Durham East where it is a great place to live. Indeed, all Ontario is more the province of promise.

It's my pleasure to move to second the adoption of the speech from the throne.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the debate.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Kenora moves adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry? Carried.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

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

This House stands adjourned until 6:30 of the clock later on today.

The House adjourned at 1625.

Evening meeting reported in volume B.