37th Parliament, 2nd Session



Wednesday 26 September 2001 Mercredi 26 septembre 2001














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Wednesday 26 September 2001 Mercredi 26 septembre 2001

The House met at 1331.




Ms Caroline Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton): We know and understand that a significant role of government is to protect public health and safety. Safety-Kleen in Lambton county remains the largest importer of toxic hazardous waste in the country. It is the second-largest landfill and incinerator on the continent.

I have been continuously bringing to the attention of this government the need to change regulations so as to make this site safer, regulations which would impose that hazardous waste be pretreated before it is landfilled. Ontario is now the only jurisdiction in North America that allows simple dumping of hazardous waste into the ground. Without treatment, this approach creates a tremendous danger to public health and safety. The provincial government is the one which establishes the controls for hazardous waste landfills and has the authority to accept or reject toxic hazardous waste from outside the province. I continue to bring to the attention of the Harris government that it has a responsibility here that it is not meeting.

The Safety-Kleen hazardous waste landfill is an example of where the Harris government is the worst in all North American jurisdictions in how it regulates hazardous waste landfills and incinerators. The current practice does not protect public safety or public health, and in years to come we will likely see a devastating environmental impact from this site.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): I'm pleased to rise in the House today to speak of a World War I hero from my riding of Durham who has been recognized by Bowmanville's hospital volunteer association. Mabel Emma Bruce distinguished herself as a nurse in World War I while serving as a member of the 1st Canadian Field Ambulance. She was honoured with three medals, including the Royal Red Cross insignia that she received from King George at Buckingham Palace. This rare medal is conferred only on those who exhibit "special devotion and competency during wartime."

Before volunteering to serve overseas, Mabel Emma Bruce was Memorial Hospital, Bowmanville's first superintendent of nursing when the hospital opened in 1913, so it is fitting that last evening she was recognized by the Association of Hospital Volunteers, Bowmanville. Her medal has been suitably framed and displayed, along with a plaque and photograph of this distinguished woman.

At this time I'd like to recognize Jill Haskins, president of the Association of Hospital Volunteers, Bowmanville, and the members of the association's newsletter team who were responsible for recognizing this distinguished nurse and researching the details of her life. The newsletter team consists of Les Trotman, Mary Taylor and Roger Wharmby.

Actually, there is somewhat of a mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Mabel Bruce after World War I. She never claimed her medals, and they were stored by Veterans Affairs in Ottawa until the hospital volunteers located them and brought them back to Bowmanville 76 years later. Perhaps there is someone viewing today who may know more details on this topic.

I'd like to thank Mabel Emma Bruce, along with Jill Haskins and all the volunteers at Bowmanville Memorial Hospital.


Mr Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot): Today at sundown starts Yom Kippur. To my Jewish friends I want to say Shana Tova.

It's been a year now since the province forced amalgamation upon the good people of Ancaster, Dundas and Flamborough. I invite members to recall the government's three-fold amalgamation commitment: first, to more efficient, effective and accountable government; secondly, to the provision of better municipal services; and finally, to the achievement of both at lower cost and lower taxes.

Let me share what's really happened. In Flamborough, residential taxes, even with area rating, have skyrocketed some 13.8%. Thanks to the inequitable business education tax and the burden of over $100 million of downloading and transitional costs, today our economic future is in jeopardy. Long-established businesses are fleeing for greener pastures. Serious conflict has arisen between full-time and part-time volunteer firefighters. Just two days ago, Mayor Wade told business leaders that the unique contract provisions of this government's unelected transition board had regrettably made personnel changes difficult, showed contempt for the responsibilities of elected officials, and will cost the city some $300,000-plus.

My constituents want their communities back. They continue to resent the undemocratic amalgamation that was forced upon them.


Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Since September 11, there have been some incredibly regrettable reports of attacks on Muslim people and their mosque in the Niagara region. These reports, of course, have come from across Canada and the United States as well. So I want to stand today and condemn in no uncertain way the hatred and the violence that have been demonstrated against members of the Muslim community in Niagara and across North America.

I know the Muslim community in Niagara. These Muslim people, women and men and their families, are our neighbours, our friends, our sisters and brothers. I want to tell you, Speaker, that I will be at the mosque in St Catharines on Sunday. I'll be joining Zakir Ali and other Muslims and their friends in a gesture of solidarity, in a gesture of celebration of the great contribution that Muslim people have made to Niagara region, to this country and throughout the world, and in recognition of the significance of the Islamic faith not only for people in Niagara region and Canada, but for so many people throughout the world.

I hope and trust that the members of this assembly will permit me to speak on their behalf as well when I condemn the violence and hatred and racism that have been displayed against Muslim people in Niagara and beyond.



Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): Christian Horizons, Ontario's largest provider of community services for people with disabilities, celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters on July 30 while the House was in recess.

From the renovated head office in Elmira, Christian Horizons leads the staff and volunteers who enhance the lives of more than 1,000 individuals per year in 150 different locations across the province. They also operate a retreat facility in Paisley that provides vacation-style fun to more than 1,000 individuals.

Christian Horizons provides a unique approach to serving people. Their objective is "to provide for the physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual welfare of the exceptional person." Christian Horizons helps lead the way because they are strongly motivated and because they bring together people from different faith backgrounds to fulfill their mission. They insist on private sector funding and partnerships, a standard that includes the new headquarters, where they celebrated the expansion and improvement of the At The Crossroads Restaurant and Mercantile Gift Shop.

I was honoured to speak at the opening and I congratulate Ed Cider for this historic development and on his appointment as CEO of Christian Horizons. I also want to thank his predecessor, Noel Churchman, whom I also met with recently in his capacity as chair of corporate relations.

The new headquarters in Elmira is as much a tribute to the strong leadership of these men and their staff as it is a sign of continued growth in the provision of services by Christian Horizons. I know all members of this House will want to congratulate the staff and the volunteers at Christian Horizons.


Mr David Caplan (Don Valley East): At sundown tonight, I, along with members of the Jewish community, will be celebrating Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, is the most solemn day of the Jewish year and is observed on the 10th day of the month of Tishri. It is a day of fasting, reflection and prayers.

On Yom Kippur, the metaphorical Book of Life is closed and sealed. Those who have repented for their sins are granted a good and happy year. This holiday is also one of forgiveness for promises broken to God, to make amends between people and for remembrances of those who have passed on.

I know that many people, myself included, will be putting extra emphasis on remembrance this year. With the events in the world, I will be lighting an extra candle in memory of those who were taken in the United States tragedy on September 11. Like me, many will be sharing an extra prayer in hope that the wisdom and faith that we have been endowed with will guide us through whatever the new year brings.

I would like to extend to members of the Jewish community in Don Valley East, in the province of Ontario, across Canada and around the world a healthy, peaceful and happy new year. Shana Tovah.


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): Once again it's fall fair time in Ontario, and one of the best is the 27th annual Brighton Applefest taking place in Brighton, in my riding of Northumberland, from September 27 through September 30.

Applefest events include an apple baking contest, a vintage car show, the Kinsmen pancake breakfast, the 14th annual Applefest Challenge Run and a 2 o'clock parade. There will also be open-air concerts. The Yuk Yuk's Comedy Show and Dance will provide entertainment on Saturday evening at the King Edward arena.

There will be plenty of events aimed at children as well, including the traditional Applefest parade and historic ghost walks. There will be hayrides throughout the weekend and a pet show on the lawn of the Proctor House Museum on Sunday afternoon.

Rural festivals such as this help bring communities together, and this is certainly true in the case of Brighton. Applefest attracts tourists, boosts the economy and brings citizens together to celebrate community life.

I invite you to come see what Northumberland county has to offer. Join me and special guest Lance Brown from CFTO television for a weekend of family fun and excitement at one of the best fairs Ontario has to offer, the Brighton Applefest, the original applefest.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Thunder Bay-Atikokan): Concerns about unacceptably long waits for cancer treatment continue to grow. We have known for more than two years that the waiting time for radiation therapy was much too long.

This summer we learned that the waits for cancer surgery are equally unacceptable. Fifty per cent of cancer patients are waiting more than five weeks for surgery; 20% wait longer than two months.

The Minister of Health responded to this incredibly shocking information with the assurance that he would solve the problem with his plan to merge cancer centres with hospitals. The minister said the problem is not a lack of money; the problem is an inefficient cancer system.

In fact, the problem is a lack of money, a lack of hospital beds, a lack of operating room nurses, a lack of diagnostic equipment. Those problems can't be solved by merging cancer centres with hospitals that are already facing $600 million in deficits.

In fact, the government's plan to gut our cancer centres will make the waits longer. That's exactly what the government was told yesterday by Graham Scott, who was appointed to manage Cancer Care Ontario on an interim basis. He said that if the government goes ahead with this plan, waiting times for radiation treatment and cancer surgery will grow and access to treatment will be uneven across the province. He also said that merging cancer centres with hospitals would lead to money being shifted from cancer care to cover costs in other areas.

The government's so-called plan for integration is really just a way of burying the problems that Cancer Care Ontario has been bringing to light. If Cancer Care Ontario is no longer coordinating patient care and is no longer setting standards for care, we'll never know just how long patients are waiting for treatment. But a patient who is waiting for life-saving cancer treatment will know.

It's time to abandon this foolish merger plan.


Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): On Sunday, September 23, I had the privilege of attending an event in my riding of Thornhill celebrating the courage of Alberto La Rocca, a 20-year-old carabiniere serving in Italy in 1944, who demonstrated his love for country, his respect for life and an enormous sense of altruism.

Born in Sora, Vaughan's sister city, Alberto La Rocca, together with two other young carabinieri, chose to offer his life so that the lives of 10 citizens might be spared.

In recognition of his bravery and courage, the city of Vaughan, along with the community of Sora, worked together to officially open La Rocca Park and unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of the young hero.

As well, to help strengthen relations between the sister cities, local families agreed to open their doors and lives to students of the community of Sora. The 60 students were invited to learn, participate and experience in the Canadian way of life, the importance of which we have all come to respect in the wake of the recent US tragedy. Unfortunately, they were not able to take the trip as the day they were scheduled to leave Italy was September 11.

Although the students did not make the trip, some of the local dignitaries did. They are in the members' gallery, and I would like you to join me in welcoming them: Enzo Di Stefano, regione lazio -- he's equivalent to an MPP; municipal councillor of Sora, Massimo Ascione; and the mayor of Sora, Francesco Ganino. Also accompanying them is Frank Cippolone, who is a former councillor of Woodbridge. My mom is here as well.



The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): I beg to inform the House that today the Clerk received the 13th report of the standing committee on government agencies. Pursuant to standing order 106(e), the report is deemed to be adopted by the House.


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Mrs Ecker moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 101, An Act to protect students from sexual abuse and to otherwise provide for the protection of students / Projet de loi 101, Loi visant à protéger les élèves contre les mauvais traitements d'ordre sexuel et à prévoir autrement leur protection.

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

The minister for a short statement?

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): I will do it in ministers' statements.

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Mr Bartolucci moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 102, An Act to protect consumers and prevent price-gouging in situations of crisis / Projet de loi 101, Loi visant à protéger les consommateurs et à combattre les prix abusifs dans une situation de crise.

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

The member for a short statement?

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): The bill prohibits unjustified increases in situations of crisis, in the price of products and services needed to protect health and safety and to protect people and property.

I introduced a similar bill two years ago, and the government didn't adopt it. I would suggest that in a time of crisis such as an ice storm, going into a new century or in times of terrorism, people should not profit from the distress of others.


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Mr Dunlop moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 103, An Act to declare Martyrs' Shrine Day for Ontario / Projet de loi 103, Loi déclarant le Jour du Sanctuaire des martyrs canadiens en Ontario.

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

The member for a short statement?

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): This year marks the 75th year since the opening of the shrine in Midland, Ontario. The shrine continues to promote historical information and awareness of the events of the 17th century in this province. It witnesses to the spiritual testimony of not only the early missionaries and First Nations people but now as well to the multicultural and multi-faith celebration of that heritage.


Mr Bryant moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 104, An Act to amend the Building Code Act, 1992 to permit municipalities to pass by-laws prescribing standards for the use of fortifications, barricades and surveillance equipment on property within the municipality / Projet de loi 104, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1992 sur le code du bâtiment en vue de permettre aux municipalités de prendre des règlements municipaux prescrivant des normes pour l'utilisation de fortifications, de barricades et d'équipement de surveillance sur les biens situés dans la municipalité.

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

The member for a short statement?

Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): This bill authorizes municipal councils to pass bylaws prescribing standards for the use of fortifications, barricades and surveillance equipment on property within the municipality. The purpose of the bill is to permit municipalities to address concerns regarding motorcycle gang clubhouses that can be fortresses of crime and targets in gang warfare -- in short, the anti-biker bunker bill.



Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): One of our government's most important priorities is the protection and safety of our young people. We must do everything we can to protect young people from sexual abuse, and that includes protecting them in our schools.

Earlier this afternoon I introduced legislation that, if passed, will help to further protect the students of this province. It is important to stress that the vast majority of teachers have and deserve the respect of their students, parents and their communities. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who do take advantage of their positions of trust. Today we are sending a clear message to those who would prey on our children to stay out of our schools.

The Student Protection Act is another step to do that. If approved, it will set a clear, comprehensive definition of sexual abuse so that students will be protected from sexual harassment as well as sexual assault.

It will provide the College of Teachers, the professional body that regulates the teaching profession and governs its members, with the added authority it needs to take strong action against those who would harm our children. It will require employers of certified teachers to report a teacher charged with a sexual offence against a student to the Ontario College of Teachers. School boards, as well as public schools, private schools, tutoring companies or other organizations, will be required to do this if they employ teachers certified by the Ontario College of Teachers to instruct students.

It will ensure that any teacher in a publicly funded school is removed from the classroom if he or she is charged with sexual assault against a student.

It will improve information sharing between employers and the college, making it much more difficult for a teacher who has been disciplined for sexual abuse to quit and move from one board or school or body to another undetected. Employers of certified teachers will face fines upon conviction of up to $25,000 for breaking the reporting rules.

This proposed legislation responds to the recommendations from retired Court of Appeal Justice Sydney Robins, who reviewed the events that led to the 1996 conviction of a teacher in a public school in Sault Ste Marie. Justice Robins's 101 recommendations have been seriously reviewed both by the ministry and by many of our education partners, including the federations, school boards, parent groups and the College of Teachers. The bill I have introduced today acts on the recommendations from Justice Robins, the college and our other education partners.

The bill also reflects the professional and regulatory obligations currently required by law for regulated health professions in Ontario.

Much has already been done by this government to protect children, to reduce the likelihood of abuse and violence in our communities and to better protect those who teach and work in our schools. The Student Protection Act we introduced today builds on and supports these efforts, and it will help to ensure that Ontario students are safe at school.

I would like to thank the staff at the ministry for their work on this bill and the Ontario College of Teachers and other education partners for their advice. I'd just like to draw to the attention of members that we have in the gallery Liz Sandals and Jeff Sprang from the Ontario Public School Boards' Association.

Mr Speaker, I think you will find that there is a great deal of consensus about the need to deal effectively and quickly with those individuals who would abuse our children, and I would respectfully ask that all members join with me in supporting this bill.

Mr Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-High Park): We on this side of the House welcome the minister's response made to the Robins report tabled in April 2000. There is no question that we in this party take very seriously the oversight that this Legislature extends to every classroom in this province, and that every classroom, and every child in that classroom, should have the best protection we can afford them and whatever application of our imagination and integrity this House can provide.

We will compare very carefully the legislation we have just received to the Robins report, to the College of Teachers recommendations the minister received a number of months ago, and make sure this is the best protection that students and anyone in the school environment can have.

We appreciate our teachers, but we understand as well that it is a trust situation from top to bottom in terms of how they are in a position of trust with the young people of this province. We recognize that there may well be a need for additional intelligent protection to ensure that there are no loopholes, that there are no practices, that there is nothing that can be done that would escape the notice of the authorities, which we in this House represent, ultimately.


It strikes me as passing strange and irreconcilable that this type of protection, if necessary and if worthy of our attention today, does not extend to every classroom in this province. How can there be a lower standard? How can there be less of an interest? How can there not be the same kind of concern for children who are in directly sanctioned private schools, who are in unregulated environments now officially sanctioned for the first time by any government anywhere in North America? Those children will not have the benefit of whatever protection these laws will provide.

When asked at the media conference, the minister provided a very unsatisfactory initial answer, which I hope the days that attend this debate will allow her to improve on. She said, "There are other laws to protect those kids." Well, then, what do we have in front of us? What do we have in front of us when the Minister of Education, the chief executive of the province when it comes to the interests of school children, is unwilling?

Further, yesterday in the estimates committee we asked the minister, in that role, unique in this province, of looking after the welfare of children in schools, if she had any recommendations to make for qualifications for private schools, anything at all she would put on the record on behalf of the people of Ontario in her role, and she declined. Not even these very serious measures did she indicate should be part and parcel of what private schools should have applied to them.

We on this side of the House recognize that there will be no games played with this particular piece of legislation. We have in Rick Bartolucci and other members of this caucus ideas and legislation which, to its slight credit, after a long delay, the government has adopted that are in the interests of children. But we cannot and will not rest until this inexplicable dichotomy between the ideology of one part of the government, the Ministry of Finance, which wants to have a wild west of education, and the legislation we have in front of us is somehow brought together, because every child in this province deserves as much protection as we can possibly provide, especially in an area that is so potentially disturbing, traumatic and unacceptable as that involving sexual abuse.

We would ask the minister today as well to provide to this House and to the public of Ontario some indication whether we have any boards in this province that did not adopt the protocols she asked them to adopt last spring. Just as we show our resolve to act, we do not want to be a place that fosters undue anxiety for parents or others out there. I think people need to know and I think it's good we have with us today the president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association. I think all four school boards have taken measures over the years. They have recognized that there may be loopholes. They have welcomed the type of legislation we have in front of us today. But I think it's important to know that this is something every authority, not just the provincial authority, is working on.

We look forward to working with the government to create a broad, powerful coalition that doesn't use this as any kind of wedge issue but instead brings people together on something we absolutely agree on: all school children in this province need to be and shall be protected from sexual abuse.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): There is no question that the New Democrats support this legislation or indeed any legislation that would make it possible for us to protect the children who are in our care. While they are in school, they ought to be protected and need to have the protection, and any legislation that comes forward that does that, New Democrats would support.

Teacher federations support this. Every teacher in the system obviously is supportive of this legislation, because they too care about what happens to young people in their care.

I can't say that the minister has been as generous to teachers as teachers are generous to this government and to this minister as she introduces this legislation. They have been whacked from one corner to the next for the last six years, yet when there are initiatives that are good, positive and important to be introduced into law, they are the first to support this government.

New Democrats, parents and teachers are behind this piece of legislation. We say that in the public system there are 1,200 unqualified teachers who receive letters of permission to teach and these people would be covered by this legislation, subject to this legislation. But you can't say the same of the unqualified folks who teach in the private school system. How can you have unqualified teachers in the public system be subject to this law but this minister and this government deem it unacceptable, or at least, if not unacceptable, that it's all right for those who aren't qualified in the private system not to be subject to the same law? It doesn't make any sense.

What we're saying to this minister is that once you give public money, in whatever way, to a private system, not a system that New Democrats support -- clearly, we do not support a private system, we do not support public dollars to a private system. If they want it, they can have it on their own and pay for it on their own. But as soon as you decide as a government to give taxpayers' dollars to a private system, they must be subject to the same rules. And if you believe that teachers need to be tested, if you believe we need to protect students from sexual predators, then the same rules have to apply to everyone across the province.

I just don't know how this government and this minister can justify that these people in the private system ought not to follow the same rules. If people with letters of permission in the public system and teachers have to abide by the rules, we argue that you need to think about what you're going to do to protect those students from those possible predators who might leave the public and the Catholic systems and find themselves in a private school that is unregulated, where you have unregulated teachers and certified teachers, and they will not be subject to this law. You understand, Minister, you've got a problem.


Mr Marchese: Not you. Well, you will have a problem as a legislator, but the children indeed have a problem and potentially could have a problem.

Earlier this year, two administrators of a Bolton private school were charged with failing to report five alleged sexual assaults at their school. In that case, children were victimized by another student. But the point is that the people in charge of the children's safety did not report the abuse. That's the point we are making.

Mr Frank Mazzilli (London-Fanshawe): That's an offence already.

Mr Marchese: No, Frank, Mr Former Policeman, the point we're making is that the unqualified teachers in that system, in the private system, the ones who are getting money from you and from the taxpayer, will not be subject to this law. I'm saying to you, Frank, Mr Former Policeman, you've got to talk to the Minister of Education and convince her that the law applies to everyone across the land, particularly so now that you have decided public dollars are going to go to that private system. You have to think about it. If you're going to protect students, you have to protect them wherever they are: the public system, and now the private system that is publicly funded.

Minister of Education, I know you're busy talking on other matters, but you should be listening to this issue because we'll be talking to you about this over and over again, as we have talked to you about it in the past. Protect everyone and make sure that those teachers in the private system are subject to the same law.


Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of the Environment): It is my understanding that we have the consent of all three parties to speak for approximately five minutes.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.

Hon Mrs Witmer: I will be sharing my time with the member from Kitchener Centre.

I rise today on behalf of the government to join with all members of the Ontario Legislature in recognizing the passing of Mr John Sweeney, former Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and member of provincial Parliament. We are very honoured to have with us in the gallery today Kay Sweeney and members of the Sweeney family.


I first became acquainted with John Sweeney shortly after moving to Kitchener-Waterloo in 1972, when John was the director of education of the Waterloo County Roman Catholic School Board. From that time until his passing, I developed a tremendous personal respect and admiration for his dedication, his compassion and his all-embracing commitment and passion for his work, whether as an educator, an MPP, a cabinet minister, a trustee or a volunteer, as well as for his genuine interest in each and every human being, his faith and his tremendous love for his family. I can tell you that he was a man who was personally an inspiration not only to me but to countless others in our community and beyond.

In everything that John accomplished, he was surrounded by the presence and the love of his family: Kay, his wife of 48 years, and his 10 children, Mary Ann, Michael, Cathy, Stephen, Eileen, Shelagh, Peggy, Maureen, Tim and Peter.

At the provincial level and as a cabinet minister, John left a most impressive legacy to the people of our province, including his groundbreaking reforms to make it easier for people to move off welfare, his granting native communities the power over their own child welfare agencies, and his bringing in legislation enabling adoptive children and birth parents to find each other.

I would like to turn now to his impact on my community of Kitchener-Waterloo. Kitchener-Waterloo has a well-regarded reputation as a generous and inclusive community, and this is due in large measure to the contributions of individuals such as John Sweeney. John made unprecedented contributions to Kitchener-Waterloo in the fields of education and health and in numerous community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and St Mary's hospital. In recent years, one of his most significant contributions was his close affiliation with and support of St Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo, where he served as chancellor since 1992. It was here that John was able to continue to demonstrate his dedication to the ideals of selfless public service.

As I reflect on his many years of selfless public service, I remember in particular that he was a tireless community builder who always applied his own standards and his own high moral and ethical values to everything he did. He was a man who always demonstrated an unfailing belief in the inherent goodness of each and every person.

The Globe and Mail on July 13 quoted former Premier David Peterson, who offered these words about John Sweeney: "He was driven by principle, faith and love. These three things governed his life." Those of us in this place who had the privilege of knowing John Sweeney can attest to the accuracy of this statement. As John Sweeney confronted difficult issues, he always remained committed not only to the principles of compassion, wisdom and patience; also, he led us all by example and he always stood up for his ideals.

Despite the tremendous issues that he faced and the tremendous community commitments, Kay and John always made time for their family. I know they made a special effort to be there for sporting events and individual pursuits. In more recent years, I know that this family love was extended to their 21 grandchildren, and John was certainly a proud and loving grandpa.

In conclusion, I want to personally recognize John Sweeney and Kay for the tremendous impact they have had on the lives of so many others, and I want to take this opportunity to thank their children for sharing their father with us.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener Centre): It's a real pleasure to be able to rise today and pay tribute to not only a former member of provincial Parliament for Ontario but to a man who always discharged all of his duties with honour and principle. He was a man that I am proud to say I regard as a role model for myself in everything I do in this place.

I admired him because he had the courage to do everything that he thought was right, regardless of the consequences. When I entered the Ontario Legislature I vowed to do likewise. I thought that maybe, just maybe, somebody would think of me in the same breath as John Sweeney when I was no longer here.

When John originally ran for the nomination of the Liberal Party against a couple of other candidates, he was then serving as the director of education for the Waterloo County Separate School Board, and in spite of advice to the contrary, he resigned as director in order to run for that nomination because he thought it was the principled thing to do -- rather risky for a devoted father of 10.

A week ago I had lunch with a friend of mine, Tim Fitzpatrick, who was one of John's closest friends. He was also John's chief fundraiser. Tim related to me how dedicated John was and how he had always wanted to serve where he could make a difference. Well, John certainly did that.

Tim also related to me about John's campaign signs when he ran for the nomination originally, how the signs said, "He cares." He did that too. He cared about his family, he cared about his country, he cared about other peoples' families. He cared about his friends, his relatives, his province and he cared about all the organizations in which he had a part of play. He cared desperately about his faith.

John Sweeney suffered a number of heart attacks, four major ones that I know of. Five years ago my own father suffered a massive coronary, and I talked to John about what we might be able to expect insofar as behaviour, insofar as progress after the heart attack, and John spoke with me on a number of instances after that to demonstrate how much he cared. In fact, I can remember that at one of the convocations at the University of Waterloo I was sitting beside John on the dais and the president of the university was giving a speech. John leaned over to me and said, "How's your dad?" I say that to demonstrate John's humanness, if I can use that world. He cared about others, he was principled and he was passionate.

But he was also a human being. In some ways he was subject to some of the foibles that the rest of us are. Tim Fitzpatrick told me about an instance when the two families rented a cottage on Stoney Lake and how one night John got lost in the boat. He had decided he didn't want a map and he got lost. I guess he made contact with a rock, and Tim took away his boating privileges that night.

I hope that my tribute today will demonstrate how human John Sweeney was, how gloriously human. I wasn't able to attend John's funeral because I was out of town, but I did express my sadness to Kay the night before. Their loss is shared not just by everyone in Kitchener, but it's shared by everyone in this province and in this country.

John represented Kitchener-Wilmot riding but he and Kay lived in my riding of Kitchener. They raised their family in my riding. They attended the same church that I did for many, many years. A more devout Christian probably doesn't exist. When you look up "dignity," "honour" and "principle" in the dictionary, you're liable to see a picture of John Sweeney.

I dropped a short line to John a couple of weeks before he died to let him know that I was thinking of him. I also stated in that letter a belief that I have, that John's heart was just too big.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): On behalf of Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal caucus, I'm delighted and honoured to join the previous speakers in paying tribute to John Sweeney.

It was 26 years ago this week, thereabouts, that John and I walked into this chamber together as newly elected members of the Legislature. It was about that time that I discovered that John Sweeney liked to talk -- and, boy, could he talk. It perhaps was the Irish blood in him, I thought to myself.

In fact, John and Kay and some of the family are here today. It's too bad Bob Nixon is not here today, because one of John's most famous speeches was at the very beginning of his political career. The leader -- we've all been through this experience -- was invited to a big rally before polling day and, as it was expected, the leader would be the featured speaker. Well, in Kitchener-Wilmot that night in September of 1975, it didn't quite turn out that way. John was called upon to introduce the leader, and 55 minutes later the leader got a chance to thank the guest speaker.

Those of us who served with John can remember the sight and will recall the voice, that lean figure, the eyes darting, the finger pointing, an intensely moral man in a very secular world.

John English -- a good friend of mine and former member of Parliament for Kitchener -- and I were talking the other day, and we were talking about John. Professor English said that one of the remarkable things about John Sweeney was that, notwithstanding how intensely he held his views -- and whether it was his views about the family, about education, about poverty, about opportunity, you always knew where John stood. He stood very firmly on his ground and would argue very passionately for his position. As Professor English observed, the remarkable thing about John Sweeney was his tolerance for opposing views.

I think if there's something we have to remember about John Sweeney in this, our more modern age, it's that no matter how deeply held are your views, it is a very useful thing, particularly in politics, to be tolerant and understanding of alternate or opposing views. It is no secret that John's views about abortion centred him out in our caucus and in this place; very strongly held, very controversial views throughout his entire public life.

John was, in a sense, a true Gladstonian in that his were the passionate politics of conscience and he was compelled to tell you about how he was going to reform and improve the world. Whether it was in the school system, in social welfare or in Habitat for Humanity, he meant to make a difference.

Now, he was no saint. Dare I say it, Bradley? The sinners in his caucus, with names like Conway, Bradley, Roy and Breithaupt, and many others, I could imagine -- and I'm sorry to have to say this to you, Kay and family: behind his back we called him "the Cardinal" because he was the voice and the image of moral authority. I say to my friend Stockwell, you would not so much as think about using bad language or bad behaviour around the Cardinal, because he was just that kind of person, private and public. You felt compelled to be a good boy or girl. It may have been the principal, it may have been the teacher; I don't know, I say to my friend from Waterloo North. But that he was no saint you were always reminded when you went to Kitchener-Wilmot, as I did on many happy occasions, because when you saw those Liberal partisans with names like Fitzpatrick and others, as they prepared their purposeful way to get John re-elected, you knew you were not among an angelic host. They knew how to play this game of politics in a vigorous, forceful and winning way. John was always there, just a bit above it all, but happy to be there on election day to gather the votes and lead the charge.

Mrs Witmer has so rightly observed that John was a man of family. I've been here for a long time as a single person, and I used to think John, whether he was a member of our caucus or a member of cabinet, was always polite; he had always read the briefing book, and he was always not just on time but he was actually there before the meeting began. You thought, "He's got a big department to run. He's got a wife and 10 kids. How did he do it?" Well, as Liz Witmer has observed today, if you ever knew Kay, his wonderful wife, you knew how he managed his life, both public and private.

Let me say, as John would want it said today, that the success and the reputation that he enjoyed as a private citizen and as a public official is to a very great degree a function of that wonderful marriage he made nearly a half-century ago. Kay, we are so delighted to see you and the family here today.

In summary, I just want to observe something. It was about 10 years ago, I say to my friend from London North, that at a roast in Kitchener, Dianne Cunningham was reported to have said, "How do you roast someone as decent and as honourable as John Sweeney?"

So as I take my seat today, I ask this House not to roast John, but let us celebrate a truly wonderful public life, not just in politics, but in education, and not just in elementary and secondary; one of John's great passions in later life was St Jerome's College, Habitat for Humanity, as I mentioned earlier. He had a wonderful public life. It was for John almost a secular ministry. He came to public life because he saw public service as a wonderfully positive end in its own right; I think a great legacy.

Let us cherish a good friend and former colleague. And let us, each and every one, try to emulate the honour, the compassion and the utter incorruptibility of this wonderful man, John R. Sweeney, now deceased.


Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): On behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus here, I want to tell you and the Sweeneys how proud I am and honoured indeed to have a chance to speak on behalf of this caucus, speak to and about and to remember the life and the work of John Sweeney, a man who served this Legislature and the people of this huge province, both as a backbencher and as a cabinet minister, during a very distinguished 15 years here in this provincial assembly.

I had the opportunity, and I was blessed to have the opportunity, to know John Sweeney for a very brief time, until his retirement from here in 1990, at the very beginning of my career here at Queen's Park. As has been said and observed, he was a man very gentle in nature, but he also possessed an incredible and discernible and quiet strength that in that silent way very much commanded people's respect.

We in this assembly today have the opportunity to recall John Sweeney's contribution to the province as an elected member. But he was far more than just an MPP. He served his community in so many ways: as a teacher and a superintendent and director of education; as an advocate for the homeless and the poor, indeed, the poorest, the most disenfranchised. One of his incredible achievements right here -- and I say this in the context of recalling that when John Sweeney was a member of this assembly, this was a far different Legislative Assembly.

The few people here who were here in that time I'm sure agree with me. It was John Sweeney and others like him who set that tone that was so very different from what it is today. Of course, there was partisan politics, and John was as partisan as they come. But at the same time there was a collegiality and a mutual respect; that has been spoken to already as well.

There was a driving passion by John Sweeney that he expressed so clearly here in the assembly and through his work as a minister to make sure that it was not just the suited and the well-dressed who had their day in Ontario. His welfare reforms, for instance, were designed, among other things -- and they did do this; by God, they did do this -- to help eliminate the stigmatization of merely being poor. John understood that, didn't he? He felt that in a very visceral sort of way, and he knew it was wrong to stigmatize people and to knock them down because they suffered the misfortune of poverty. He knew that the right thing to do was to lend them dignity and to ensure that they had a chance to share some of the great prosperity that exists in this province.

Every newspaper obituary has referred to his comments upon his resignation as a member of the Legislative Assembly, his departure from here in 1990, where he said he wanted a chance to "smell the roses." For a gentleman who had already spent 15 years in this assembly, who expressed an interest in smelling the roses, he became incredibly occupied in his community and beyond in ongoing service to so many people and on behalf of so many organizations and constituencies. One of the areas that certainly stands out was his incredible effort on the part of affordable housing. I'm proud to tell you, and I hope the Sweeney family is even prouder of the fact, that John Sweeney was one of the people who was at the forefront in putting housing back on the public agenda back in his day.

Looking back on John Sweeney's career inside provincial politics and in so many other ways in his own community and across the province, the words that clearly come to mind for everybody who knew him or who had a chance to share some space with him are words like "integrity" and "incredible competence" and "consistency." I know, because I saw him and his work here and I was able to see what he did after leaving the Legislature, that John Sweeney was a man of incredible principle, profound principle. He was a man who could be relied upon to act with absolute clarity of purpose and a clean conscience. His political and his moral convictions were deeply felt and he approached every one of the difficult issues that he had to confront in the course of his work here and his work subsequent to Queen's Park with honesty and integrity. His moral convictions and his value system, he understood full well, weren't necessarily shared by the community that he was in, but he didn't park them or set them aside for even the briefest of moments in the pursuit of political goals or political expediency. He lived with what was in reality the burden of those values when it came to the impact of those values and his moral beliefs on his goals and ambitions.

In that respect, I put to you that we should reflect on that and contrast, every one of us, our pursuit of our own ambitions and the extent to which any of us may have or may in the future from time to time set aside convictions, set aside values in a way that John Sweeney never did, never would, and in a way that in his own heart I'm sure he deplored, and beyond deploring, he simply found unimaginable.

John Sweeney was a man who truly believed in the goodness of his fellow human being. He did. And I believe that it was those convictions of his, those values that guided him both as a Minister of Housing as well as a Minister of Social Services. John Sweeney believed in empowering people to better their own lives, and he implemented policies aimed at supporting people as they worked toward improving their individual economic situations.

As we've heard from so many here already today -- it's unanimous -- John Sweeney was widely respected. He was one of those politicians -- and they're very few and far between -- who had the respect of both sides of this House. In fact, both the New Democratic Party and Conservative governments called upon John Sweeney to provide advice and direction on issues where John Sweeney had experience and expertise. The NDP government called upon him to head up the Ontario School Board Reduction Task Force, which looked at the structure of the education system across the province. Although he concluded -- he did -- that the number of school boards in Ontario should be reduced, he also made a very strong recommendation to this province to maintain equitable funding for boards across the province.

Mr Sweeney not only felt close to his community but he was very much a part of that community. He was inseparable from his Irish Catholic heritage, and in that respect I hope I do some justice to the words of poet George William Russell, The Everlasting Battle. I think it's appropriate. I hope you agree.

When in my shadowy hours I pierce
the hidden heart of hopes and fears,
They change into immortal joys
or end in immemorial tears.
Moytura's battle still endures
and in this human heart of mine
The golden sun powers with the might
of demon darkness intertwine....
But in the lightning flash of hope
I feel the sungod's fiery sling
Has smote the horror in the heart
where clouds of demon glooms take wing,
I shake my heavy fears aside
and seize the flaming sword of will,
I am of Dana's race divine
and know I am immortal still.

On behalf of New Democrats here and those who aren't here any more and people across this province who have been blessed with the direction and wisdom and guidance of John Sweeney, with his friendship, with his companionship, with his collegiality, please let me express our most sincere condolences and our gratitude to you for having shared him with us. Thank you, friends.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): I thank all members for their comments today and I will ensure copies of today's Hansard are forwarded to Mr Sweeney's family.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Finance. Yesterday, you and the Premier told Ontario's working families that they didn't have to worry about the economy. You told them the economy was strong and healthy, there was no need to revise the government's financial plan, and everything was on track. Today, Air Canada laid off another 5,000 employees, making 9,000 now in total laid off. Bombardier laid off 650 of its Toronto workforce. That's on top of the 450 they laid off earlier this month. Chrysler is going to be announcing next week that they will be laying off approximately 6,500 on a temporary basis. That's on top of thousands already laid off in the auto sector.

Minister, will you now admit that our economy is not nearly as strong as you thought it would be and it now demands that you change your original financial plan?


Hon Jim Flaherty (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): As usual, the member opposite is confused. It is clear that the Ontario budget for this year is on track. When one is speaking about the budget, one is looking at the revenues and the expenditures: will they be in balance come the end of the year? I indicated to the Leader of the Opposition yesterday that the answer to that is yes.

The federal finance minister apparently is bailing and is saying no, but we can't compare with the federal finance minister since the federal finance minister has not done a budget. We did a budget in the province of Ontario. Progressive Conservatives budget; Liberals don't budget. That's the problem when we try to do a comparison with the federal Liberals.

On the revenue side we are on track. Of course, there will be consequences to the economic slowdown. Of course, there are consequences, certainly in the short term, to the tragic events of September 11. That's self-evident.

Mr McGuinty: Minister, you continue to maintain that the economy is healthy and strong. Those are your words. I can tell you that Ontario families and Ontario businesses strongly disagree with your opinion. They don't want to hear about your advice for the federal government; they want to know what you are going to do on their behalf, starting now.

Your advice yesterday to families was to go on with their lives and keep spending money. You will know that consumer confidence is a fragile thing at the best of times, and consumers and families see signs all around them that our economy is at least slowing. I believe that the job of government, and specifically your job, is to help inspire confidence in our consumers and in our families, and that means showing our families that you are on the ball, you recognize that the economy is slowing substantially and that, rather than standing there like a deer in the headlights, you are going to do something about it.

I put forward two specific proposals. If you don't like those, what specifically are you going to do, knowing what Ontario families and businesses know, that our economy is slowing and you have to do something?

Hon Mr Flaherty: What is the question in that? The member opposite says that the economy is slowing. Indeed, the economy is slowing. Indeed, we planned in our assumptions to take into account the fact that the economy is slowing.

Am I going to be negative like the member opposite? Am I going to say to the people of Ontario that it's all gloom and doom? No, I'm not, because since 1995, Premier Harris and our team have made the difficult decisions, resulting in lower taxes, resulting in lower inflation, prudent fiscal management and three balanced budgets in a row. So Ontario is in a better position to withstand slower economic growth, which we have, than it has been for generations.

Mr McGuinty: Families are rightfully worried about the economy, but I think one of the things they are particularly worried about now, as is business, is the fact that you're not worried, Minister. They see people around them losing their jobs. They hear from economists confirming that the economy was already slowing before the events of September 11.

There are two things you should be doing now. Number one, admit that we have a problem in terms of the strength of our economy. Stop maintaining in the face of all evidence to the contrary that it is strong and healthy.

Second, take action. Meet with business leaders and labour leaders to hear from them and get their best possible advice. We are moving in uncharted waters. Try to put together a plan to meet this new challenge.

Finally, we need an updated fiscal and economic plan. I don't think that's being negative; I think that's being responsible. Those are the kinds of things that consumers and business are looking for.

Hon Mr Flaherty: The Leader of the Opposition suggests to me that I should admit, in his view, that the Ontario economy is weak. If it were 1990, at the end of the last Liberal government, I would say yes, the Ontario economy is weak. And why was it weak? It was weak because they raised taxes every year. It was weak because they increased the sales tax from 7% to 8%. It was weak because despite record revenues, they increased deficits, year after year after year.

That's provincial Liberal economic management in the province of Ontario. That is your record, and you dare to give advice to a Progressive Conservative, responsible government about how to deal with economic slowdown. I tell you, the people of Ontario know better. They know who they can trust for prudent fiscal management, particularly in more difficult times.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Yesterday, Minister, you were asked about the economic impact of delays at our borders and your answer provided cold comfort to Ontario families and businesses. You said, "In Ontario, the export of goods and services tops $200 billion annually. Fully 93% of these exports are destined for the United States. That translates into approximately 1.5 million Ontario jobs that depend directly on trade with the United States."

Minister, the problem isn't with what you said; it's with what you failed to say. You did not take the opportunity to tell us what, if anything, you are doing to secure that trade. I want to give you the opportunity now to stand and tell us specifically what actions you have taken, not only in light of the fact that the economy is slowing down but in light of the events of September 11. What are you doing to protect our economic lifeblood: the trade between Ontario and the US?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Minister of Economic Development and Trade): We are doing quite a bit in this regard. In fact, we started on this issue early in June, much prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

We recognize the concern in terms of the importance of cross-border traffic for our economy and the economies of various states in the United States, which was raised at the New York-Ontario summit. That report has not yet been completed, but it will be. The report has been finalized with the exception of the final approval of New York State authorities. All of us on this side of the House can understand the delay in that with respect to the final sign-off on the recommendations flowing from that report. Last week we met with officials who are involved in cross-border transportation in a whole range of areas and they are meeting today as we speak.


Mr McGuinty: Minister, we are the most export-driven economy in the world. Some 1.5 million Ontario jobs depend directly on trade with the US. We have got to keep the free flow of goods and people between our two jurisdictions.

Here are two specific things I'm putting to you, Minister, that I'd ask you to consider in terms of substantive actions that you should be taking now. The first thing that you should do is lobby the Minister of Finance to accelerate capital projects that might help relieve congestion at the Windsor-US border. As you know, in a just-in-time world, congestion is a job killer. I think that's a substantive, positive proposal.

The second thing that I would ask you to do is to initiate an emergency meeting with Governors Pataki and Engler and representatives of federal governments so that you might put together a plan to protect the free flow of trade between Ontario and the US.

Those are two positive, substantive things that I think we should be moving on, and I put those to you.

Hon Mr Runciman: I appreciate the advice and we'll take it under consideration. But I should, on the record, point out the fact that this is the party that ran a provincial election opposed to free trade. I think we should emphasize that point.


The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. It's too noisy. The member for London-Fanshawe, come to order. The member for Niagara Centre, I think, was right: it was less than a minute before we started shouting after the last speeches.

Hon Mr Runciman: We're certainly going to be very actively exploring what we can do at the provincial level to improve cross-border traffic. But I should point out that yesterday in Washington the Attorney General for the United States, in testimony before a congressional committee, before the judiciary committee of the US Senate, said that the border with Canada is undermanned and rather porous. I think that is a real and legitimate concern that many of us in this province very much understand, but the federal government has yet to come to grips with it. If I can offer some advice to my friend across the floor, why does he not get on the phone with his friends in Ottawa and say, "Do something meaningful about the border situation in this country"?

The Speaker: The minister's time is up.

Mr McGuinty: If Ontario's Minister of Finance and Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Trade are so fixated with federal economic policy, then why didn't they seek seats in the federal government? The people of Ontario have entrusted you with a job to protect our economic interests. The time for inaction is over; the time for action is here.

Minister, we live in a just-in-time world today. If we can't get our supplies over to the other side of the border in time, they're going to get the supplies down there and we're going to lose jobs. On the other hand, if we can't get parts from the States up here for our finished products in time, we're going to lose jobs. That is what's at stake. The free flow of people and goods between our borders is our economic lifeblood. Some 93% of our exports go to the south.

We need some action from you. I put forward two positive proposals: an emergency meeting with the governors; and, on top of that, there's another opportunity for you to do everything --

The Speaker: The member's time is up.

Hon Mr Runciman: I indicated that I appreciated the advice being offered, and we will --


The Speaker: OK, folks, I gave a little leeway. Now we're going to start throwing people out. I'm going to pick people out. Both sides are starting. Typical of what happens, as one starts to elevate it, the next one elevates it. We're now at the point where I can't hear anything, because all you're doing is shouting. You're not even listening to your own leaders or your own ministers.

Hon Mr Runciman: I indicated in my second response that I appreciated the advice being offered, and we will take it under consideration. But at the New York-Ontario summit in June, we had a very large forum on this issue. We had experts from throughout North America. Certainly a lot of the focus was on the federal government. We cannot avoid that issue. We've had situations where we've now had the Attorney General in front of a US Senate committee saying how porous the border is. We had reports from the Canadian intelligence service --

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): It's their border.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex): It's their border.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Essex, this is his last warning. The member for Ottawa Centre as well. Last warning for both of you. We're not going to have this. I gave you the warning. I don't care what comments you make. I can't be keeping track of people. I warned you, and I was very patient. Typically, I let you go; and when I let you go, each side goes too far. Now I'm going to clamp down. Last warning to both of you, and the same for the other side. If you start shouting out and interrupting each other, you'll go for the afternoon. It's as simple as that.


Hon Mr Runciman: I'll give you another example of the co-operation that has been lacking on the Canadian side. US customs officials, in terms of pre-clearance to expedite commercial traffic across the border, have offered to set up pre-clearance stations in Canada. But because Canadian officials will not allow the American officers to enter Canadian property wearing side arms, we simply haven't been able to proceed on that issue. That's a very basic sort of thing that the Canadian government has refused to do. I'm saying to that gentleman across the floor, talk to --

The Speaker: The minister's time is up.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Deputy Premier. Today in Ontario, jobs are being cut hard and fast: 5,000 at Air Canada, 3,800 at Bombardier. People are looking for a signal that your government understands the seriousness of the situation. They don't get a signal of that. What they get is your government persisting with a plan to sell off our electricity system.

Recent experience in the United States tells us that selling off the electricity system increases prices of electricity and kills jobs. Electricity is a backbone of Ontario's economy. Deputy Premier, tell us, why does your economic plan continue to include an electricity strategy that will sell off our electricity system, force up the prices and kill more jobs?

Hon Jim Flaherty (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): The Minister of Energy, Science and Technology would like to answer the question.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Energy, Science and Technology): To the honourable member, nothing could be further from the truth. In over 40 jurisdictions, including 23 American states that have introduced some element of competition in their electricity sectors, prices have gone down or they've been better than what they otherwise would have been under the old monopoly systems.

Your government had an opportunity during your five years in office to do something about electricity prices, about supply, reliability and safety, and you did nothing except increase Ontario Hydro's monopoly debt to some $38 billion. Today, 30% of people's hydro bill coming into their homes is used to pay toward that debt. That's a portion of the bill that we want to see shrink over the next few years as we make increased payments toward that old monopoly debt and as new businesses come into Ontario, and new jobs come into Ontario, that will allow us to supply competitively priced electricity. That has been the majority experience throughout the world for those who have gone down this road. We're learning from the mistakes of others where there have been problems, but we intend to do it right in Ontario.

Mr Hampton: Same old story. A year and a half ago you were in here telling us that California was the state to follow. Then privatization and deregulation there were a massive screw-up.

Then you referred to Pennsylvania. But now the Consumer Federation of America has looked at Pennsylvania, and since the price caps have come off, electricity prices have shot up there. It's the same in New York, Montana and Massachusetts, and 22 states in the United States are now saying, "We want nothing to do with deregulation of the electricity system." Yet you persist.

This is a letter from Stelco. Stelco wrote to you and they pointed out that what you've done so far -- increasing electricity rates -- cost them an extra $10 million this year that they can't recover from anywhere else.

How much more do you want to increase electricity prices? How many more jobs do you want to kill at Stelco or Falconbridge or elsewhere, Minister? It hasn't worked in the United States. Send industries and consumers in Ontario a signal that you're not going to sell off the electricity system, you're not going to do what they did in California, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. That would be a good economic policy. Will you do it?


Hon Mr Wilson: I recall President Clinton some three years ago, in espousing the benefits that had occurred in the United States, reminding the Congress that prices had fallen, become more competitive, that old debts were being paid off in the old monopoly systems, like the old Ontario Hydro system we used to have, and that the number of jobs in the electricity sector in the United States had doubled. So I would hope the honourable member would get his facts straight.

The other thing is the states he mentioned. He is in error in mentioning those states where prices have gone down. Yes, Pennsylvania hasn't had a high degree of retail participation in the competitive market. That may happen in Ontario also. People may be very happy with their current supplier.

You know, I've never switched from Bell as my current supplier, my supplier over the years, but AT&T and Sprint have consistently forced down that old monopoly, as the federal government opened up that market, to go from 10 cents a minute to seven cents a minute; it's darned near zero cents a minute now to make a long distance call. I stayed with my old supplier, but competition made that old supplier smarten up, get its prices down and offer more choices to consumers.

The telecommunications industry is a good example of an old monopoly broken up --

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): The minister's time is up.

Mr Hampton: It's about electricity, and it's about how essential electricity is to the economy of Ontario.

When you boasted about California, California is spending billions of dollars today buying back their electricity system. That's after spending billions of dollars trying to overcome the rolling brownouts and the blackouts, and they're trying to get billions of dollars back from the very corporations that you talk so highly of that ripped off consumers and ripped off industry.

It is undeniable. The Consumer Federation of America points out that almost everywhere in the United States anyone who is advocating privatization and deregulation of the electricity system is now saying either no or, "Let's slow this down as much as we can and take a very close second look."

Are you going to do what Alberta did when prices go through the roof: offer $4 billion and $5 billion in subsidies so that people and industries can afford to purchase electricity? You owe people in Ontario an answer. Are you going to follow California and Alberta and watch electricity prices go up --

The Speaker: Minister?

Hon Mr Wilson: We've made it very clear in this province that Ontario is not California. An independent market survey of availability or supply of electricity in this province shows that Ontario has adequate supply over the next few years.

This government, in preparing for adding more jobs and increasing the strength of our economy, needs to plan ahead, unlike governments in the past or unlike California, where they find themselves in a supply crunch. We need today to begin to plan to build those new generating facilities for the future. The private sector has announced some $3.6 billion worth of new jobs, new generating capacity. That's a better record than any other jurisdiction at this stage of introducing competition into their market.

I don't think the employees at Bruce, for example, where the union owns 5% of that deal which has to do with deregulation, would agree they lost jobs. I think the people of the Bruce area, who are a good example of where competition is working, would say they've gained jobs and in fact saved hundreds of jobs in that community.

The Speaker: The minister's time is up.


Mr Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Deputy Premier. We understand that you are now going to provide provincial funding for GO Transit in the greater Toronto area. We understand that you finally recognize that urban transit is a foundation of the urban economy and you finally recognize that municipalities on their own cannot provide the full costs of urban transit. If this is true, then New Democrats say this is good news. What took you so long?

But if you're going to do it for GO Transit, there's another part of the equation. The Toronto Transit Commission, the TTC, is also essential to the urban economy. It's essential to ensure that people can get to work and get home from work and participate in the economy in an affordable way. So if it's good for GO Transit, why wouldn't it also be good for your government to pick up some of the cost of the TTC? Can you announce both of them, Minister, and treat all municipalities the same?

Hon Jim Flaherty (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): The Minister of Transportation will answer that.

Hon Brad Clark (Minister of Transportation): I thank the honourable member for the question. I'm slightly confused, however, about the question in itself, because the member himself still has not recognized that our government all along has been investing in public transit. As a matter of fact, we have invested, since 1995, $3.2 billion -- that's billion, with a "b" -- into public transit. So I'm a little bit curious why he believes we haven't.

As a matter of fact, he's so friendly with the TTC, I'll ask one of the pages to take this over to him. It's a wonderful poster that's been on many of the TTC outlets, and it has actually a very good picture of the Premier, Mike Harris, thanking him for his investment in the TTC.

Mr Hampton: I appreciate that the Minister of Transportation is new to his job, but some of his officials had better give him a briefing fairly quickly. The reality is that urban transit systems virtually across this province have been downloaded by your government, and the reality for Toronto is that the TTC, which is an essential economic foundation stone of this largest urban area in Canada, has been totally downloaded on to the municipal property tax base.

I simply say to you, if you recognize now that downloading GO Transit was a mistake, that it doesn't work, that it will not equip the greater Toronto area with the transportation infrastructure it needs, are you also going to recognize that the Toronto Transit Commission must also receive adequate funding from the province?

Let me give you a suggestion: implement an Ontario transportation trust fund. Put some of the money from the gas tax, which you keep, into that trust fund so that municipalities can afford to fund their transit systems.

Will you treat the TTC on the same basis as GO Transit in terms of provincial funding?

Hon Mr Clark: Once again I thank the member for his question. I feel sorry for him that he appears to suffer from selective memory and selective hearing. I just finished stating very clearly, very slowly, that we have invested $3.2 billion into public transit since 1995. If the member opposite is so concerned about urban transit, then he would be equally intrigued to know that the federal government contributed $7 million -- that's with an "m" -- since 1995, which equates to 0.02% of what we contributed to public transit.

Very clearly the leader of the third party doesn't seem to understand that we have been there for transit all along, we continue to be there for transit all along, and we'll continue to support it. The TTC recognizes it; maybe the member should talk to them.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Business Services. I want to bring something to your attention which I believe you will want to act on immediately. Given that the issue of personal security weighs so heavily on the minds of Ontarians, when it comes to applying for a birth certificate today in Ontario, we only need to provide the name, place of birth, mother's name at birth, father's name, and nothing further. There's no identification of any kind required. This is submitted by mail with $15.

I'll tell you why it's so important: because once you get the birth certificate, that's an important step along the way to a passport. As well, to get into the US, in many, many cases all you need is a birth certificate.

Again, no identification whatsoever is required, separate corroboration, for the identity of the applicant; just complete this form, and 15 bucks gets you a birth certificate.

I think there's a loophole there, Minister. I think we should now be, especially in light of the events of September 11, more stringent, and I would ask you to address this.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): I do not believe that to be the case. I believe there are additional information and requirements needed in order to obtain a birth certificate, but I will have to get back to the member, and promise to do that in the future.

I do know that, for instance, in a birth in Ontario, a doctor has to validate that the birth has taken place and who that particular child's father and mother are, and therefore there is a fairly rigorous process. But I would be glad to look into that allegation. I don't believe it to be the case. We are, however, reviewing the whole procedure and updating that procedure at the present time.


Mr McGuinty: Minister, I'll tell you what our 103 constituency offices are doing. We facilitate these applications. If you apply in person, you have to provide two pieces of identification, but if you apply to the source in Thunder Bay, you can apply by fax or by mail and all you need to provide is this form and $15. I would ask you to carefully look into this, Minister, and if my understanding is correct, I would ask you to take immediate action to close this loophole.

Hon Mr Sterling: I think there may be either an unintentional or intentional effort here to confuse the issues. I don't know whether the member is talking about the issuance of an original birth certificate or the replacement of a birth certificate. If we're talking about the original, I think he's got the wrong process, but I'll be glad to get back to him on that.


Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): My question is for the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty. Minister, this question is very similar to the one that the Leader of the Opposition has been consistently asking, but let me make it clear that's the only similarity between us.

In the last two weeks, I've spoken with many concerned business owners and residents in my riding. They tell me they are pleased with the Premier's comments and our government's response to assist the victims of terrorist acts in the United States. They are also very concerned about the current state of the economy in light of the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Minister, can you tell my constituents of Thornhill what effect these attacks will have on the Ontario economy?

Hon Jim Flaherty (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): I thank the member for Thornhill for the question. Unlike the Leader of the Opposition, I'm not negative about Ontario. I think we have a strong foundation. Our economy certainly has a strong foundation. We have a diverse, resilient economy in Ontario.

The tragedies of September 11 of course have an impact on Ontario. Our largest trading partner is the United States. That impact hopefully will be largely in the short term, but we're monitoring it carefully, making sure that we observe all of the data as they come in so that we can respond accordingly.

The economic forecasts of course are being reduced. The predictions with respect to economic growth in Ontario for this year are being reduced by the private sector forecasters, which is to be expected in light of two factors: the economic slowdown that was anticipated, and the tragic events of September 11.

Mrs Molinari: Thank you very much for the response, Minister. These same Thornhill residents and business owners have expressed to me that they have benefited as a result of this government's direction in investing in a strong economy by cutting taxes, which has created jobs. Many of those jobs are in Thornhill. Thornhill parents have lobbied for and will benefit from the education credit once it is implemented. They are now deeply concerned and want to know if this unforeseen attack will throw off your fiscal plan.

Hon Mr Flaherty: I thank the member for Thornhill again for the question. In the budgeting process in Ontario this year we built in a reserve. The reserve, which has been built into all our budgets since 1995, is designed to address contingencies, unforeseen circumstances, slowdown in economic growth. That reserve may well have to be used during the current fiscal year, as it is intended to be used, in order to arrive at a balanced budget. That's important. That's prudent fiscal planning done by the government of Ontario.

We do have low, competitive taxes. We have two major stimuli in the economy now: continuing tax reductions, which have been in place in Ontario since the beginning of 1995-96 and more recently by the federal government, and the very substantial infrastructure spending by this government that is happening now: hospitals, universities, colleges -- in excess of $2 billion going into the economy as a result of previous good capital planning by the government.


Mr Michael Bryant (St Paul's): My question is for the Attorney General. It's on hate crimes. No one could have anticipated the number of hate crimes that are taking place in Ontario right now because nobody could have anticipated the events of September 11. We're in this new world. We cannot bury our heads in the sand, but I think we ought to be careful also not to fan the embers of fear. So let's look at the facts.

Hate crimes have tripled, at least in Toronto, since September 11 -- tripled. There have been incidents reported in Ottawa, Oshawa, St Catharines, Toronto and Hamilton, among other cities. There is also a great fear, especially within the Canadian Muslim community. Events are being cancelled. It is not just one community; it is really all visible minorities.

In this new reality, in this new world, you are charged with the administration of justice. What changes are you making to respond to this new rash of hate crimes in Ontario?

Hon David Young (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I thank the member opposite for the question. This is a very serious matter, and on every occasion possible I have spoken out about what I find to be irresponsible, reprehensible examples, the worst type of examples, of individuals within our society. By and large, we have a society that is respectful of everyone, as it should be. The member is quite right that there have been some instances, few and far between, but some instances of hatred that have been demonstrated. That sort of mindless, wanton activity will not be tolerated. I have spoken to a number of representatives from the police forces across this province, who are taking this very seriously, who are conducting investigations. If and when they come to me with information that would suggest a charge is warranted, I will give it due and proper consideration. It will be prioritized.

Mr Bryant: In this time of fear and insecurity, it's important for people to be briefed, to the extent to which the justice ministers can, on an ongoing basis, to provide information about hate crime incidents, perhaps correct some myths, provide updates on arrests and perhaps convictions and prosecutions. I haven't been able to determine whether or not there is a hate crimes database province-wide, but if we don't have one, I think we're going to need one.

Hate crimes officers and prosecutors specializing in hate crimes in Ontario: if we have triple the hate crimes right now, clearly we're going to have to have more officers in place, particularly for those regions outside of the major urban centres in the province.

I think we also have to do what we can to prevent hate crime through education campaigns in the public schools and at the doorstep. There is much that we can do. I hope the Attorney General takes these and many other calls for reforms to update the administration of justice for hate crimes. I'd like to know which, if any, of these reforms the ministry may be looking to or be given some specific examples of ways in which we are making those reforms.

Hon Mr Young: The member opposite raises some good points. I'm certainly prepared to sit down and talk to him about some of the initiatives he has referenced this day. I will, though, if I may, also talk about some initiatives that we have come forward with.

In October 1998, there was a federal-provincial-territorial conference at which all of the Attorneys General from across Canada -- that's all of the provincial Attorneys General and those from the territories -- agreed that the Criminal Code should be amended in order to reflect what we at that time anticipated may be a growing problem in certain regions. We all agreed. We presented it to the federal Liberal government at that time and asked them to expedite passage of these amendments. Unfortunately, the silence has been deafening. There has been no such amendment. Frankly, I'm not even sure they have drafted any bills that would allow us to do what the member opposite indicates, and I agree, should be done.



Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): My question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. As we begin to come to terms with the tragedy of September 11, one of the things that has surfaced in my riding is the effect on tourism. Tourist attractions in my riding, as well as the hotels, restaurants, travel agents and shops that rely on tourism, have seen a drop in attendance. What can you tell me about the impacts this tragedy is having and will have on the tourism industry?

Hon Tim Hudak (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation): I thank the member from Niagara Falls for the question. I certainly appreciate the efforts he's making in his community to come to grips with the impact on tourism, especially from delays at the border that we experience in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of September 11. Certainly I want to say, as a member representing a border area in this province with many families directly impacted by the terrorist attack, that my heart is with them, our friends and colleagues and friends across the border.

And certainly it was an attack not simply on the United States but an attack on all of us. No doubt the member is right: as soon as the attack took place, the world stood still. Travel was suspended and immediately after that we saw some delays at the border. My view is we can't let the terrorists win and keep us in our homes. I'd encourage Ontarians who are looking to travel across this province to go to the Oktoberfest, the Butterfly Gallery, or Winterfest in Fort Erie and to continue to do so. We are a safe and secure jurisdiction. We want to make sure it continues to be a safe and secure jurisdiction and to invest in this industry.

Mr Maves: Thank you, Minister, for that answer. Our Premier said earlier this week that we must not let those who carried out these evil acts succeed in their goal of undermining our way of life. Ontario's strong, vibrant industries, including tourism, have always been a vital part of our way of life. Can you tell this House and my constituents what you are doing in your role as Minister of Tourism to address this situation?

Hon Mr Hudak: Again, I appreciate the member's question. In fact, immediately after the attack we ensured that our offices stayed open extended hours. We kept the 1-800 line open longer to reassure tourists considering travelling to Ontario and within Ontario that we are safe. We kept updates on the borders in terms of waits, which are way down. Tourists coming across the border should not have concerns about waits at the border and should continue their travel to the province of Ontario.

We are monitoring on a daily basis statistics from our areas in terms of how they're feeling the impact on us of the attack of September 11. I'm calling together tourism stakeholders from across this province and from the regions, the major industries like the hotel and motel association, on Friday. Meetings are going on today as well to make sure that we have a plan in place to respond, to get the word out of the great attractions we have here in the province to encourage those in Ontario or who are coming to visit they should continue to do so and to spend money in our hotels, our attractions and our communities to help to continue to grow what was an outstanding summer up until the events of September 11.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): To the Minister of Education: your Premier, in my view, deserves a failing grade for his fabricated education numbers. This year's public accounts show-

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Order. You've got to withdraw the word "fabricated."

Mr Marchese: Withdrawn, Speaker.

This year's public accounts show that in 2001, you spent $7.965 billion. That's $60 million less than in the year 2000. The figures belie your claim that you're investing more in our schools. Why are you spending less?

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Education, Government House Leader): First of all, I'm surprised the honourable member from the opposition party has that little faith in our Provincial Auditor. Provincial spending on education is up. For example, in 1995, we were spending $12.9 billion on our education system. Today, we are spending $13.8 billion. Even with the NDP math, that is an increase. That is also an increase that is larger than the growth of enrolment in the schools which, again, I think proves the intent of this government to continue to invest in public education, that it is indeed a priority for us. We will continue to keep it the main and major priority of this government because it underpins not only economic prosperity in this province but it also underpins our quality of life.

Mr Marchese: I have full faith in this document, and I'm reading from it. It is page 31. It says that in the actual year 2000, you were spending $8.024 billion, and the actual spending in 2001 is $7.965 billion. I have absolute faith in the numbers.

Hugh Mackenzie, an economist, has said that you are spending $2.3 billion less now, accumulated over your stint in government, than you did before. Everyone involved in education knows that except you, the Premier and your members there. You're spending less on education and the effects are being felt in the classroom. What we need is a student-based funding formula that will lift student achievement. That's what people, educators and parents want. Parent groups and educators are telling me this. I'm sure they're telling you the same thing. Are you going to listen?

Hon Mrs Ecker: I had thought we had provided a briefing for the NDP party on how education is financed. You're talking about half of what gets put into education. It's not $7 billion or $8 billion; it's $13.8 billion. That's the first point.

Secondly, yes, I am familiar with the report that particular Mr Mackenzie put out. He put in an inflation factor that included things like the price increase in the cost of cigarettes. The last time I checked, school boards weren't purchasing cigarettes for their kids.

Finally, maybe he wants to measure the success of how our students learn by how much we spend, but how much we spend does not mean the kids learn better. It's what they're taught in the classroom; it's the curriculum they have; it's the quality of their teaching; it's the quality of the parental involvement; it's the ability to measure and test; it's the ability to put strategies in place. The research and best practices are very clear: that's what improves student achievement.


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): My question is for the associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Last week the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Community Care Access Centre placed an ad in the Kingston Whig-Standard that informs the public of its plan to significantly reduce admissions to home health care for several weeks, beginning on September 17, 2001. It further directs that if an individual is expecting to have a medical procedure that may require nursing or other health services at home, to contact their physician to discuss their plans. Administrators in the local hospitals clearly indicate that this announcement will result in delays for surgeries, block admissions to hospital and lengthen hospital stays.

The CCAC decided to limit admissions after it was told by your ministry that it must live within its base budget of $25 million. Clearly, the withdrawal of service is as a result of your underfunding. You have forced this CCAC to restrict essential health services for a period of six weeks. Will you commit today to answer the need so desperate within this community and provide the dollars that they need to operate the CCAC and meet the needs of the people in our community?

Hon Helen Johns (Minister without Portfolio [Health and Long-Term Care]): I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question. The first concern of this government is the care and the services in health that need to be provided to our communities. We work hard to do that. In the CCAC in the Kingston area, the dollars have increased substantially from 1995 to 2000. They have increased from $20 million to $25 million, a substantial increase.

We are disappointed in the tactic, the way the board has decided to move forward to stay within the budget. It would be our preference that the board work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that people have the services they need in the community. We certainly are providing increased funding to make sure that happens.

As the member knows, there's a review of CCACs happening in the province of Ontario, and the Kingston area will be one of the first that we'll look into.

The Speaker (Hon Gary Carr): Supplementary.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): Minister, the advertisement specifically states that reductions will introduce waiting lists for admissions for people coming out of hospitals. You have funded that community care access centre by $2 million less than last year. Last year you spent $27 million; this year you're only allocating $25 million to them. People will be coming out of hospitals and put on waiting lists because of your policies of closing beds and closing hospitals under the guise that people would get community health care. Can you at least not live up to your commitment and your promise when you closed all the hospitals and all the beds and make sure that the community health care is available for the people not only in the Kingston area but throughout this province? That's the least that you owe to the taxpayers and the citizens of this province. We demand nothing less from you.

Hon Mrs Johns: This government places a very high priority on ensuring that the people of Ontario receive quality health care as close to home as they possibly can. Let me remind the members opposite that since 1994-95, this government has increased home care spending by 72%, on average, across the province.

There is no question that these new agencies have some growing pains. We've undertaken a review to ensure that we are effectively delivering quality health care through the CCACs. We continue with that review.

But let me remind the people of Kingston that the budget for home care in this area has moved from $20 million in 1994-95 to an unprecedented $25 million.



Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): My question is directed to the Minister of Community and Social Services. This summer you visited Northumberland and many other communities across Ontario. That was to highlight their success in meeting the targets of the Ontario Works placement program. I know that in my community there has been a really positive response from staff as well as clients. In fact, in Northumberland county it more than doubled its goal for placements.

Minister, I know this program has been a big success in Northumberland. Of course, we like to brag about our own riding, but could you tell us how this has been working in other areas and the kinds of challenges they've been meeting.

Hon John R. Baird (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for children, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Back in 1995 we set about to change a welfare system that wasn't working for people. It wasn't helping people make that important transition from welfare to work. People in Northumberland haven't just done a good job; they've done a phenomenal job. The member opposite I think isn't telling the full story. They didn't just meet the target or double it; in fact, they met the target with a 244% rate, which is something that is to be commended. Not only did they meet the target, but indeed 44 of the 47 municipalities, consolidated municipal service measures, right around Ontario met the target. That is good news for people who are looking for work; it's good news for people who want the skills and want the experience they need to make that important transition. We're seeing people get job references; we're seeing people boost their self-esteem; we're seeing people get some recent experience to put down on their next job application. That's something that's absolutely essential for them to make that transition from welfare to work.

Workfare and work-for-welfare is working in the province of Ontario.

Mr Galt: Minister, outside of the benefits to clients, there's also a tangible benefit given to each municipality. Of course, they save on the welfare payments and they save on administration, but also in my community they've put over $300,000 into our coffers, money that will be used to support projects that help the disabled find work and support literacy programs offered by Sir Sandford Fleming College. Other local agencies such as Northumberland County Community Care and the Salvation Army have also benefited from this extra funding.

Minister, how much money has been allocated across the province, and what is it being used for?

Hon Mr Baird: One of the commitments we made back in 1999, in the Blueprint, was to reward municipalities that not just met the target but in fact exceeded it. The member opposite has spoken of the $309,000 that Northumberland has been able to earn on behalf of the hard-working taxpayers of that area, a committed group of staff and community agencies. What a difference that's making in Northumberland to places like Youth Rebound Services, where they're able to do more to help kids facing a drug problem; whether it's helping special-needs children, whether it's helping the disabled, providing more supports for the disabled, or providing additional support for the chronically unemployed.

That's one of the most amazing things you have. In the province you have people reinvesting part of this $33 million into helping more people beat the welfare trap, which is exceptionally good news. Around the province we're seeing more people get the skills and experience they need to meet the challenges of the workforce, whether this comes to more training, more social services or providing more supports to children, which is good news. I want to congratulate the entire team in Northumberland and the member for making the work-for-welfare program work in Northumberland.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): My question is for the Deputy Premier-slash-Treasurer. The Premier is arriving in Windsor on Monday, October 1. This is about his second visit in the last six years. My question for you is this: I'd like to know what investments the Premier is bringing with him to my city especially to bolster our health system.

I'd like to tell you that in your own Health Services Restructuring Commission report, one that you mandated that we must follow, it called for innumerable changes to health delivery and investments in our community in health. As an example, one of the reports called for one of our hospitals to be closed two and a half years ago, but it hasn't happened, because your government has not properly funded the reconstruction of the system.

I'm asking you this: what will the Premier bring with him in investments in our health system when he comes to visit Windsor on Monday?

Hon Jim Flaherty (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): I thank the member from Windsor-slash-Essex for the question, since we're exchanging slashes this afternoon, if we can do that. The Premier, as I understand it, is going to Windsor next week. I enjoyed seeing the member opposite in Essex county in August, I think it was, when we honoured the mayor.

Health care spending, as the member knows, has increased in Ontario from $17.6 billion in 1995-96 to $23.5 billion in 2001-02. I'm sure the member opposite appreciates that that is a very substantial increase in spending. It moves the program spending in health care to about 45% of the provincial program spending budget -- a very substantial commitment to the health and well-being of people in Ontario, including of course the people of Essex.

Mrs Pupatello: I can tell you what he's taking. He's going to be taking money from our community to the Conservative Party coffers, which is the purpose of his visit. We particularly find it galling to see that he comes to my community for maybe the second time in six years after what he has done to our health system.

I can tell you that we need access to doctors; we need access to specialists; we need children's mental health services; we need good, tuned, operating emergency rooms; we need operating rooms. We need all of these things that you have not provided for us because you have not kept pace with your own Health Services Restructuring Commission report.

I want to know, what is the Premier bringing with him? We've requested innumerable things over the last six years. Even your health ministers agree these things are required. Treasurer, I am asking you, what is the Premier bringing with him when he comes to visit us in Windsor on Monday?

Hon Mr Flaherty: The member opposite raises the issue of fundraising. Her leader said in Kitchener on April 8, 2000, in a scrum, "We just ramp up our ability to raise them. I'm not for getting mad, I'm -- we're getting even, and that means we've got to get in the game and become much more aggressive."

The Leader of the Opposition said on CFRA, November 8, 1999, "Greg (Sorbara) is a former cabinet minister and the -- a business person and he has a particular knack for fundraising which is a very important objective when it comes to modern politicking." That's Dalton McGuinty's view of the importance of fundraising for the Liberal Party of Ontario.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): My question is for the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. You know for certain that the Conference Board of Canada released a study on Monday calling on the federal government to take greater steps to help skilled immigrants practise their chosen profession in Canada. But many aren't able to practise because the education and experience they've earned abroad may not correspond to the standards and requirements we have here in Ontario.

Minister, you know this is happening at a time when employers in my riding are concerned about the short supply of available skilled labour. Could you tell the House today the steps Ontario, and specifically your ministry, is taking to help foreign-trained professionals enter the workforce and contribute to Ontario's strong economy?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, minister responsible for women's issues): In response to the question from my colleague, Ontario, as we all know, is home to more than half of all immigrants who choose to come to Canada. Some 72% of working-age immigrants arrive here after completing some post-secondary education or training. Different jurisdictions have different standards across our country, and many new Ontarians find themselves in a position where they are not able to practise in their field despite previous education or experience.

Many new Ontarians need assistance in meeting the skills requirements. That is why our government announced $12 million in new spending to help foreign-trained professionals put their skills to work in Ontario. These funds will support new bridging programs that build on the previous experience of immigrants and focus on preparing them to practise in Ontario. It's a substantial increase over the $3.5 million invested in the previous year to support bridging projects for pharmacists and nurses.


Mr O'Toole: Thank you, Minister, for investing in people and investing in new Ontarians. As you know, skill shortages have a negative effect, not only on the economy, but they threaten our very quality of life.

I have a particular case in my riding, because we have a physician shortage, of a person I have spoken with, a constituent, Lillian Lockyer, who is a physician trained in China and would like to resume her career here in Canada. Business and other industry have also spoken to me about the need for finding the skilled workers they require, especially in trades.

Would you not agree that we should be paying special attention to areas where our province is facing skill shortages, and will these funds be targeted to address these demands in our economy?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: In answer to the member's question, we'll also spend $9.3 million through our Job Connect program. This is to help newcomers prepare for the job market through training information and employment preparation.

The honourable member is quite right when he points out that the supply of skilled, knowledgeable workers is important to our economy. He's always been extremely interested in working with his own college to make sure that the needs of his community are met.

The $12 million in funding will support bridging programs in health care, information technology and engineering where we need trained professionals in these jobs, where we know that they're well paid and where we know that we will be meeting the demands.

We're going to continue to work with trainers, educators and occupational regulatory bodies to eliminate skill shortages. Bridging programs are important, Job Connect is important and the community is important.

Thank you for this opportunity to take the appropriate time in answering this important question.



M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) : J'ai ici une pétition qui m'a été remise par la station de radio CJRC, la radio de l'information de l'est ontarien et de l'ouest du Québec. Cette pétition a été signée par plus de 1 400 personnes.

« À l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario :

« Attendu que le constable Danno Cusson de la PPO et son chien ont été impératifs à sauver deux personnes et à trouver les personnes décédées dans la terrible tragédie à New York ;

« Attendu que sa participation était essentielle pour poursuivre les recherches de victimes dans les ruines du World Trade Center à New York ;

« Attendu que le gouvernement provincial de l'Ontario a offert son aide dans cette affreuse tragédie ;

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

« Que la police provinciale de l'Ontario refuse la démission du constable Danno Cusson et lui accorde son congé sans solde pour des raisons humanitaires. »


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor West): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Mike Harris government promised to institute patient-based budgeting for health care services in the 1995 Common Sense Revolution; and

"Whereas community care access centres now face a collective shortfall of up to $175 million due to a funding rollback by the provincial government; and

"Whereas due to this funding rollback, community care access centres have cut back on home care services affecting many sick and elderly Ontarians; and

"Whereas these cuts in services are forcing Ontarians into more expensive long-term-care facilities or back into hospital;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately lift the funding freeze for home care services, so as to ensure that community care access centres can provide the services that Ontario's working families need."

I am very pleased to present this petition on behalf of people from Brockville, Kemptville and a number of other places around the Ottawa East area.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham): I am pleased to submit a petition on behalf of my constituents, Harmony United Church in Oshawa, specifically Betty Greentree.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Lord's Prayer, also called Our Father, has been used to open the proceedings of municipal chambers and the Ontario Legislative Assembly since the beginning of Upper Canada in the 18th century; and

"Whereas such use of the Lord's Prayer is part of Ontario's long-standing heritage and a tradition that continues to play a significant role in contemporary Ontario life;

"Whereas the Lord's Prayer is the most meaningful expression of the religious convictions of many Ontario citizens;

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

"That the Parliament of Ontario maintain the use of the Lord's Prayer in its proceedings, in accordance with its long-standing established custom and do all in its power to maintain use of this prayer in municipal chambers in Ontario."

I submit this on behalf of Jan Bathgate and a number of other constituents in my riding of Durham.


Mr John C. Cleary (Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh):

"To the Parliament, Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the squeegee kid law was set up to stop squeegee kids from hassling motorists, we believe that the law has gone too far; it has now stopped the Lions Club of Chesterville from raising money for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

"This law has to be changed to exclude non-profit organizations, otherwise the various fire department fundraisers, fundraising parades etc will have to cease and desist immediately;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Parliament, Legislative Assembly of Ontario to rewrite the squeegee kid law to exclude all non-profit organizations."

I've also signed the petition.


Mr Bob Wood (London West): I have a petition signed by 1,010 people.

"Whereas children are being exposed to sexually explicit materials in many commercial establishments;

"Whereas many municipalities do not have bylaws in place to protect minors and those that do vary from place to place and have failed to protect minors from unwanted exposure to sexually explicit materials;

"Whereas uniform standards are needed in Ontario that would make it illegal to sell, rent, loan or display sexually explicit materials to minors;

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

"To pass Bill 95, Protection of Minors from Sexually Explicit Goods and Services Act, 2000, as soon as possible."


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the provincial government has damaged public health care by slashing funding and engaged in ill-advised restructuring;

"Whereas the provincial government has slashed funding for social assistance, therefore forcing welfare recipients to live in more poverty;

"Whereas the provincial government's refusal to raise minimum wage is forcing low-income workers to live in poverty;

"Whereas the provincial government's removal of the Rent Control Act has forced residents of this province to become homeless;

"Whereas the provincial government's refusal to commit itself to building new affordable housing is forcing people to either live on the street or in the hostel system;

"Whereas the provincial government has shut down schools and instituted Bill 74, causing unrest in the school system;

"We, the undersigned, petition to make the following demands of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"That the government of Ontario repeal Bill 74; reopen schools, hospitals and psychiatric institutions that have been closed; make a commitment to building new social housing; reinstate the Rent Control Act; reinstate all funding to social assistance programs and health care; and raise the minimum wage.

"If the government of Ontario is not prepared to act on these issues, we demand that the government resign."


Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas we the undersigned residents of Ontario draw the attention of the Legislature to the following:

"Kidney disease is a huge and growing problem in Canada;

"Real progress is being made in various ways of preventing and coping with kidney disease.

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to encourage the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explicitly include kidney research as one of the institutes in its system, to be named the Institute of Kidney and Urinary Tract Diseases."

I agree with the petitioners. I've affixed my signature to it.


Mr Bob Wood (London West): I have a petition signed by 734 people.

"Whereas children are being exposed to sexually explicit materials in many commercial establishments;

"Whereas many municipalities do not have bylaws in place to protect minors and those that do vary from place to place and have failed to protect minors from unwanted exposure to sexually explicit materials;

"Whereas uniform standards are needed in Ontario that would make it illegal to sell, rent, loan or display sexually explicit materials to minors;

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

"To pass Bill 95, Protection of Minors from Sexually Explicit Goods and Services Act, 2000, as soon as possible."

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Petitions? The member for St Catharines.



Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I always love Algoma-Manitoulin.

This is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas many residents of St Catharines and other communities in Ontario are unable to find a family doctor as a result of the growing doctor shortage we have experienced during the tenure of the Harris government;

"Whereas cancer patients in Ontario requiring radiation treatment face unacceptable delays and are often forced to travel to the United States to receive medical attention;

"Whereas many prescription drugs which would help patients with a variety of medical conditions such as macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes and heart failure are not covered by OHIP;

"Whereas many assistive devices that could aid patients in Ontario are not eligible for funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health;

"Whereas community care access centres have inadequate funding to carry out their responsibilities for long-term and home care;

"Whereas the Harris government has now spent over $240 million on blatantly partisan government advertising in the form of glossy brochures and television and radio ads;

"We, the undersigned, call upon the Conservative government of Mike Harris to immediately end their abuse of public office and terminate any further expenditure on political advertising and to invest this money in health care in the province of Ontario."

I affix my signature.


Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a petition addressed to the Ontario Legislature. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the northern health travel grant offers a reimbursement of partial travel costs at a rate of 30.4 cents per kilometre one way for northerners forced to travel for cancer care while travel policy for southerners who travel for cancer care features full reimbursement costs for travel, meals and accommodation;

"Whereas a cancer tumour knows no health travel policy or geographic location;

"Whereas northern Ontario residents pay the same amount of taxes and are entitled to the same access to health care and all government services as residents living elsewhere in the province; and

"Whereas we support the efforts of OSECC (Ontarians Seeking Equal Cancer Care), founded by Gerry Lougheed Jr, former chair of Cancer Care Ontario, Northeast Region, to correct this injustice against northerners travelling for cancer treatment;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Ontario Legislature to demand the Mike Harris government move immediately to fund full travel expenses for northern Ontario cancer patients and eliminate the health care apartheid which exists presently in the province of Ontario."

This is signed by 132 residents in the Nickel Belt riding. I agree with the petitioners.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Thunder Bay-Atikokan): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the nurses of Ontario are seeking relief from heavy workloads, which have contributed to unsafe conditions for patients and have increased the risk of injury to nurses; and

"Whereas there is a chronic nursing shortage in Ontario; and

"Whereas the Ontario government has failed to live up to its commitment to provide safe, high-quality care for patients;

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

"We demand the Ontario government take positive action to ensure that our communities have enough nursing staff to provide patients with the care they need. The Ontario government must:

"Ensure wages and benefits are competitive and value all nurses for their dedication and commitment; ensure there are full-time and regular part-time jobs available for nurses in hospitals, nursing homes and the community; ensure government revenues fund health care, not tax cuts; ensure front-line nurses play a key role in health reform decisions."

There are now 13,840 names on this petition, and I affix my signature in full agreement with their concerns.


Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the need for home care services is rapidly growing in Ontario due to the aging of the population and hospital restructuring; and

"Whereas the prices paid by community care access centres to purchase home care services for their clients are rising due to factors beyond the control of community care access centres; and

"Whereas the funding provided by the Ontario government through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is inadequate to meet the growing need for home care services; and

"Whereas the funding shortfall, coupled with the implications of Bill 46, the Public Sector Accountability Act, currently before the Legislature are forcing CCACs to make deep cuts in home care services without any policy direction from the provincial government;

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

"(1) That the Legislative Assembly direct the provincial government to take control of policy-setting for home care services through rational, population-based health care planning rather than simply by underfunding the system; and

"(2) That the Legislative Assembly direct the provincial government to provide sufficient funding to CCACs to support the home care services that are the mandate of CCACs in the volumes needed to meet their communities' rapidly growing needs; and

"(3) That the Legislative Assembly make it necessary for the provincial government to notify the agencies it funds of the amount of funding they will be given by the government in a fiscal year at least three months before the commencement of the fiscal year."

This continues to be a huge issue in my riding. This petition is signed by 1,700 people who live in the Sudbury basin. I agree with them and I call on the government to fund CCACs adequately.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North): The physician shortage crisis continues to be the number one issue and priority for constituents in my Thunder Bay-Superior North riding. We have 40,000 people who do not have a family physician.

I have a petition signed by over 40,000 people. It reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Our community is facing an immediate, critical situation in accessing physician services and in providing hospital care to the people of northwestern Ontario. While the recruitment and retention of physicians has been a concern for many years, it is now reaching crisis proportions. Training more physicians in northern Ontario is certainly the best response to this problem in the longer term. We are, however, in urgent need of support for immediate short-term solutions that will allow our community both to retain our current physicians and recruit new family doctors and specialists in seriously understaffed areas.

"Therefore, we, as residents of Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario, urge you to respond to our community's and our region's critical and immediate needs. For us, this is truly a matter of life and death."

Thunder Bay Television is holding a special live town hall next week which will be part of this issue being discussed.

I'm glad to sign this.


Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Mike Harris government promised to institute patient-based budgeting for health care services in the 1995 Common Sense Revolution; and

"Whereas community care access centres now face a collective shortfall of $175 million due to a funding rollback by the provincial government; and

"Whereas due to this funding rollback CCACs have cut back on home care services affecting many sick and elderly Ontarians; and

"Whereas these cuts in services are forcing Ontarians to more expensive, long-term care facilities or back into hospital;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to immediately lift the funding freeze for home care services so as to ensure that community care access centres can provide the services that Ontario's working families need."

I will affix my signature to this petition.


LOI DE 2001

Resuming the debate adjourned on September 25, 2001, on the motion for second reading of Bill 86, An Act to rescue children trapped in the misery of prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation and to amend the Highway Traffic Act / Projet de loi 86, Loi visant à délivrer les enfants prisonniers de la prostitution et d'autres formes d'exploitation sexuelle et modifiant le Code de la route.

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I've got one hour and, as I indicated yesterday, we in the New Democratic Party take the bill very, very seriously. We take the issue -- who couldn't? -- incredibly seriously, and we have some great sympathy with the motive behind the bill. We're talking about child prostitutes. We're talking about young women and men prostituting themselves and being exploited, abused, victimized by johns. We're talking, with respect to this bill, about youngsters working in -- the bill so politely calls them adult entertainment parlours -- strip clubs. We're talking about youngsters, children working in the pornographic film industry.

Who in their right mind wouldn't want to find some mechanism to intervene and protect these young people from the incredibly dangerous and repugnant world that these activities are one part of and that these activities lure them further and further into? No two ways about it. The members of the New Democratic Party caucus are taking this bill very seriously, taking the issue incredibly seriously. With me right now is Ms Martel. I know Ms Martel -- she'll be speaking to the bill -- has an incredibly intense commitment to children and young people and safeguarding them here in the province of Ontario.


The members of this caucus, first of all, have read the bill, and we've read it very carefully. We've read it over, and we've read its predecessor, which was the private member's bill which prompted this bill from the government. And we participated in the public hearings around that private member's bill when it reached the hearing stage prior to the prorogation of this House, which effectively killed that bill. Again, the government, as was its right, reintroduced it in somewhat different form.

We've indicated already -- we indicated at the point of first reading of the bill when the Attorney General announced it in the House and we indicated yesterday -- that we, at this point, because we have some incredible concern about the activity which is being addressed here, child prostitution, are eager to see this bill go to committee. We made it clear at the same time, though, that we're very troubled by some elements of the bill, but that we are not at this point going to vote against the bill. We encourage and support this bill going to committee so that perhaps some comment could be made on some of the concerns that we in the New Democratic Party have about the legislation.

One of the most fundamental problems I have -- the line has been used: "rescuing" young children. Fair enough. But the reality is that what the bill does to children and other youngsters, for whom the bill facilitates an intervention, is that these people are victims. Huh? No two ways about it. These children are victims. It locks them up for up to 30 days.

I understand the motive. This is an effort to legitimize an intervention. For instance, police officers and police forces, in the last round of committee hearings, expressed great interest in the bill. They said, "Look, we need this tool because we're out there on the streets of Toronto and other cities in this province, seeing kids out there on the street who we know are being pimped off, or kids, youngsters, being lured into the strip clubs here in Toronto, down in Niagara Falls, in any number of places across this province; dancing and lap dancing." It's come a long way from the Victory Burlesque in the 1940s. You know that as well as I do. It's been well publicized, what's happening in these strip clubs, in such a sanitized way being called "adult entertainment parlours." Please.

So we understand why police officers, police forces would say, "Yes, we need a tool that enables us to intervene." You see, one of the problems that we'd better understand is that prostitution is not illegal in Canada. Whether you agree with that proposition or not, it never has been illegal, it's not illegal now. If it were, page after page of escort services in the Bell telephone Yellow Pages wouldn't exist.

Prostitution is not illegal. Police cannot arrest somebody, male or female, for being a prostitute or for, let's say, engaging in the trade or practice of prostitution. That's number one.

Number two -- and this is where the bill gets a little interesting, because you see, as well as reading the bill I encourage members to read the Child and Family Services Act, and especially the part that deals with a child in need of protection, because this bill, Bill 86, in fact borrows much of the language and process from the Child and Family Services Act. The reality is that the Child and Family Services Act is a far more effective tool for an intervention than Bill 86 is.

Please read the Child and Family Services Act. When a child in need of protection is brought before a judge pursuant to the Child and Family Services Act, the judge isn't limited to confining that young person for 30 days in a lock-up. That's what Bill 86 says; they can be locked up. A child who is confined in what we call a -- there is no definition here of "safe facility." That responsibility is delegated over to children's aid, as we know it colloquially, family and children's services. A child who is confined may be confined in a locked facility or in a locked area, and the maximum is 30 days.

There is nothing in the bill that indicates what that young person who is locked up for 30 days -- for being the victim. I've got to tell you, this runs contrary. What are we doing? The world has turned upside down. We're locking up victims. We should be locking up the pimps and the johns and the operators of the adult entertainment parlours and strip clubs, with their private VIP rooms etc. That's who we should be locking up. We should be locking up the purveyors of porn and the manufacturers of it, not the people who are being victimized by the johns and the strip club operators, with their more often than not intimate relationships -- I'm talking about the strip club operators -- with any number of elements in the community: perhaps from time to time biker gangs, perhaps from time to time organized crime, the porno industry. If pornography isn't an activity of organized crime or a manifestation of it, what is? This bill doesn't facilitate locking up the perpetrators of crimes; we're locking up kids.

I understand the motivation. Your imagination doesn't have to run overtime to think or imagine or start to understand the incredible desperation of a family who has lost a child to the streets; parents who know that their kid is out there prostituting himself or herself and being victimized over and over again and being lured into the world not just of that horrible assault on young people but into a world of drugs, part and parcel, and a real downward spiral from which recovery is, I suspect, more often than not mere hope as compared to a real prospect.

We New Democrats don't believe that you should be locking up victims. We don't believe it. We have real trouble with that proposition in the bill. Again, we align ourselves and side with any member or any party in this Legislative Assembly that says, "We're going to do things to come to the aid, to come to the defence, to come to the protection of kids."

Let me put this to you. As I told you, after first reading of this bill, I would have been very pleased to see and hear the Attorney General stand up and announce a public inquiry into the events in Cornwall. Where is the passion for kids when it comes to the incredible litany of sexual assaults on young people in Cornwall? No response from this government to that. Notwithstanding the best efforts of some of their leading members to provoke them into doing it, notwithstanding evidence that's been put before this assembly and to the public by the government's own member, it's been futile. The efforts to persuade this government to call a public inquiry into that horrendous set of allegations around sexual assaults on young children in Cornwall have been dismissed. Advocates for those children in Cornwall have been told to go away. "Quiet up. Don't talk to us about conspiracies and sex rings," notwithstanding that there seems to me to be more than adequate evidence to support a call for a public inquiry so that the victims can begin to witness some justice and so that the perpetrators of some of the most horrific crimes that could ever be committed can be brought to justice.


The government says, "We're going to really go after the pimps and the johns. We're going to teach them a lesson: we're going to suspend their drivers' licences." Please. The last thing a pimp, who has his group of teenaged women or men working for him out there, bringing in big cash, is concerned about is, "Oh, the Ministry of Transportation is going to suspend my licence." Sorry, that doesn't cut it, and I don't find it particularly impresssive or comforting.

I appreciate that the government is limited jurisdictionally in the extent to which it can impose penalties, and suspension of licences is one of the things that the government can constitutionally do. Fair enough; it's one of the things. Quite frankly, the last time we heard the same amount of fanfare about suspension of licences -- Ms Martel knows about this -- was with respect to delinquent dads. It isn't always dads; I should be careful: delinquent parents.

Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): Payers.

Mr Kormos: Payers of child support. Good grief, for my constituency office and the staff down there in Niagara Centre, just like Ms Martel's staff, trying to get licences of delinquent payers pulled has been, again, a pretty futile exercise.

I'm not overly convinced of the capacity or competence of this government to engage in even that seemingly mere bureaucratic exercise of, "We've identified the delinquent payer. We know where he or she lives. We've got their address. We've got the licence plate number of their car." Look, it hasn't worked.

Ms Martel: They still drive.

Mr Kormos: That's right. Ms Martel is behind me, prompting me to say, and I'll say it, because she's right, these guys still drive, because the likelihood of getting apprehended is marginal.

So I'm not convinced that suspending pimps' licences is going to be a significant deterrent. Oh, yes, there's Joe Pimp: "Oh, no, I better be careful about my pimping activities, because, boy, oh, boy, if I keep pimping, they're going to pull my driver's licence." Sorry, it's not a likely scenario. Look, what it is, that's a little bit of icing on the cake here. "Let's throw that in and just sort of round it out."

The bill defines three classifications of activity that will permit an intervention under Bill 86. I made some special notes around the language used, and I'm hoping the parliamentary assistant will listen, if only to this part, of my comments.

They're saying that people under 18 engaging in prostitution permits an intervention on reasonable and probable grounds. Under most circumstances, one would hope the police officer would go to a justice and obtain a warrant to seize that person. However, the bill -- and, again, this isn't what's particularly offensive, because other legislation permits similar powers on the part of police officers, where the effort of obtaining a warrant is unreasonable under the circumstances. As I say, it lists a whole bunch of sections from the Child and Family Services Act. It's the same model of intervention, that it's unreasonable to expect a police officer to get a warrant where the urgency is such to seize the young person.


Mr Kormos: But that's the Child and Family Services Act; that's what I'm saying. They could seize the young person, and then the young person appears before a justice in short order, in any event, before the 30-day confinement is imposed. Oh, yes, the bill is quite complete in saying the young person shall be advised of their right to a lawyer, shall be advised of the location or telephone number of the nearest legal aid office, but the bill doesn't tell us what kind of situation that young person is going to be forced into as a result of the 30-day order of confinement. The bill doesn't prescribe a single program that is mandatory in that place of confinement. It doesn't prescribe a single standard for that place of confinement.

The period of confinement is 30 days, and again, there you go, the world of someone we're jailing is upside down, the victim's. Think about it. We're taking the victims, putting them in a locked up place, with the bill not prescribing what's going to happen to them when they're in that place, and then 30 days later they're out. I don't know how much experience you've had with drug addiction programs, with similar treatment programs for young people. I've had a fair amount of experience with them. I don't purport to be a professional as other people here in this assembly who are professionals, who I hope will participate in this debate and maybe add their comments, but I'm very aware of drug treatment. The 30 days is not an accident either, because 30 days is a standard, for instance, in-house treatment program for alcohol and drug dependencies. The 30-day program has become sort of a model out there.

Sorry to tell you, Speaker, that in most instances, especially where there is not a high level of motivation on the part of the person participating in that program -- when the scenario develops, for instance, of people being forced into the programs as a result of, let's say, probation orders imposed by a provincial judge -- the first thing that happens when they're out is that that speed freak has a needle in his or her arm within five hours of finishing the 30-day program. The first thing the alcoholic does, who's had the rigours of that program imposed on him, they're out of the program, out the door and in the first gin joint they find. That's not a secret. The fact is that these quasi-treatment programs -- because here it's nothing better than a quasi; that's the best I can do for it, because there is no prescription of what's going to happen during the course of that 30 days, none.

This bill will do one thing: it will permit the police to pick up these young people out there prostituting themselves. It will permit the police to pick up young people who are involved in the porno industry. It will permit the police to pick up young people, as defined in the bill, people under 18, who are working in strip clubs. It will get them before a judge.

Now, what's interesting is that the bill isn't about people under 16, is it, parliamentary assistant? The Child and Family Services Act in fact gives much greater powers to a justice in its application than the judge or justice has under your Bill 86. The interesting thing is that Bill 86 specifically says that when a process is initiated under Bill 86, the Child and Family Services Act doesn't apply. That's very dangerous in my view. Understand that's only applicable to people under 16. Got that right?

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey): The Child and Family Services Act.

Mr Kormos: That's right. Under the Child and Family Services Act, for a child in need of protection, a judge can order the child into wardship. The judge -- and I've watched some very good and clever judges in this province --

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa West-Nepean): The best.

Mr Kormos: -- use those kind of powers. Yes, I've been in front of some of the best -- and use the powers in here, because the judge has the power under the Child and Family Services Act to prescribe a program. I've watched judges say, "Well, I've read the assessments" -- under the Child and Family Services Act, not under Bill 86; this is one of the problems I'm trying to explain to you. Under the Child and Family Services Act, which is excluded from its application by Bill 86, a judge gets the assessments. The judge has the power to say, "Well, I think this child needs a treatment program at Centre X or Centre Y." And then the lawyer for the government says, "Oh, but who's going to pay for it?" The judge says, "It's not my problem. I've got the power to order this and it's going to happen." Judges have this incredibly progressive authority under the Child and Family Services Act to tailor a program for a child in need of protection, a child who may well need extensive psychological or psychiatric treatment, a child who may need some very special programs and some expensive programs. Look, when you've got kids out on the streets selling their bodies, you're not talking about young people in good shape.


Mr Tilson: Why haven't the judges been doing it?

Mr Kormos: The parliamentary assistant says, "Why haven't the judges been doing it?" I tell you, brave judges have been doing it; other judges have been beaten up on and have gotten the message six ways and another that it's not going to happen that way. Judges have been making orders in some jurisdictions and the orders are simply being ignored. Judges have been ignored. Judicial orders for treatment programs have been ignored.

How many times have I seen a well-meaning judge, sincere, good, competent, order in the imposition of, let's say, a custodial sentence that this prisoner will be sent to Brampton, for instance. The judge says, "I want this inmate sent to Brampton because I know he or she is going to get the treatment there that they need," and no, the system plays silly bugger with the judge. That inmate sits cooling their heels in the detention centre and then the judge almost swallows his or her bubblegum three months later when they find out that their order has been ignored. Am I wrong?

Mr Guzzo: When did that change? It never was like that.

Mr Kormos: That's right. We've seen some remarkable changes in the resources being given to the judicial system, to the criminal justice system, for good judges who want to effect meaningful programs for the young people, the persons they sentence.

There's no authority given to the judge in Bill 86 to prescribe a treatment program. There's no authority given to the judge to tailor the program to meet the particular needs of what is a very damaged young person appearing before them.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of Labour): I don't understand the treatment program.

Mr Kormos: I know the Minister of Labour doesn't understand. That was a given.

What I'm telling you is there's no authority in Bill 86 for a judge to tailor a program in response to an assessment of a young person. You're talking about young people with multiple problems. You're going to be talking here about young people, many of whom -- when I practised law, many years ago now, when I was in criminal courts five days a week, it seemed like 52 weeks a year -- I guess there were a couple of weeks out of the year that the courts didn't sit -- I acted for a whole lot of women who had been charged with prostitution offences. I got to know these women well, and I tell you, subsequent to learning what I did working with these women -- and every one of them I considered a victim. You see, they were the ones who went to jail. The johns went to john school. The women, who are the victims, go to jail. We're repeating the mistakes of our sad history and our attitudes, quite frankly, toward women and to victims of sexual crimes.

One of the things I learned is that there are very few people out there prostituting themselves who couldn't relate to anybody in this assembly a litany of horrors that would cause us to recoil in shock and horror. I talked to one judge who related to me some of his experiences working with young child prostitutes he was compelled to deal with according to the Criminal Code. He told me that when he would put to them questions like, "How could you do this? Why don't you go back home and live with your parents? You're out here on the streets. You're 14 or 15 years old. You're servicing strangers who pick you up in their cars," the response was, "When I'm at home I have to service my father or my brother. Out there at least I'm getting paid for it."

I don't relate that with any pleasure. I don't relate that with any joy. I relate it to try to give you a little bit of an impression about the fact that we're dealing with some very damaged people, some very damaged children, for whom the damage started long before they got out on the streets. Do you understand?

We find it quite difficult to accept the proposition that you jail victims, that you lock them up for 30 days with no defined powers on the part of a judge to order any meaningful treatment programs, no defined powers on the part of a judge who's imposing that 30-day period of confinement to obtain access for that young person to what from time to time are very expensive treatment programs, treatment programs in increasingly scarce supply.

I come to Bill 86 and I have to relate it in my mind to two previous pieces of legislation that this House dealt with: one was the Parental Responsibility Act, two was the so-called squeegee kid bill. This government thought it was just unacceptable and reprehensible that homeless young people should be out there trying to hustle a quarter or a loonie or a toonie by cleaning my windshield down on University Avenue as I'm headed on to the Gardiner to get back home to Niagara. This government said, "No, we've got to lock these kids up. These are kids who are out on the street." You see, I've been persistent and consistent in saying, look, I admire the tenacity and the strength and the ingenuity of these kids to get out there and hustle, cleaning my windshield, not being sure whether I'm going to give them a nickel or whether I'm going to give them a loonie or a toonie. But they're out there in the hot sun, in the cold wintry weather -- they were -- washing my windshield.

Do I like the fact that these kids are on the street? Of course not. Do I wish that the programs cut by this government for those kids that helped them straighten out their lives, helped them deal with some very serious problems in their lives and in their family life were still alive? Of course I do. But I'm hard-pressed to understand how this government can stand up with Bill 86.

The government was warned during the course of debate around the squeegee bill -- and that's not to say that there weren't young women and young men prostituting themselves before the squeegee bill was passed. Of course not. But I have to question, however rhetorically, Mr Parliamentary Assistant, how many young people as a result of the squeegee bill have been pushed out of the intersection of University and Front into the dark alleys where $25, $30, $40 gets you serviced. I'm trying to watch my language. The street out there isn't anywhere near as polite as the debate is in here. They don't call it "servicing." It's not that sanitary.

I defended prostitutes who tried to defend themselves against johns who attacked them, and I defended more than one in this circumstance. It was the prostitute who was charged with aggravated assault or assault bodily harm. I'm happy to say that in my experience not one of the juries that I brought those cases in front of ever convicted a prostitute. We were able to convince the jury that she was the victim.

I just have some great difficulty in that a year ago this government was insisting that a squeegee bill had to pass because homeless kids washing your car windshield posed such a grave threat to our civilization. And the government was warned. How many critics told the government, "Look, what you're going to do is force more than a few kids out of that activity into far more insidious and evil and despicable activities," and I'm confident that it's happened.

The bill isn't about 15-year-olds or 14-year-olds or 13-year-olds, because the Child and Family Services Act continues to apply to them, and it is my sincere hope that the authorities will use that act to apprehend 15- and 14- and 13- and 12- and 11- and I suppose from time to time 10-year-olds, though I don't want to even begin to think about it, rather than Bill 86, should Bill 86 become law. Bill 86 is really about 16- and 17-year-olds.


Let me also talk about this: how can we talk about this sexual exploitation of young people -- children -- without talking about the climate that we live in? Travel up and down Yonge Street or, I don't know, go to whatever mall or whatever highway where they've got billboards, and there's the incredibly, oh so hip, cool sexualization of younger and younger people in mass marketing. And they're not marketing -- I'm pretty confident about this -- to youngsters their own age. The whole phenomenon, I've got to tell you, of little kids entering beauty pageants and not the fact that a child in -- oh heck, in the Welland Rose Festival we have the baby contest. I'm not talking about that. I've seen these things: little kids dressed up like Madonna or whatever happens to be the icon of the day.

Maybe I'm sounding like my father now. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I'm just right out of touch. Maybe I'm just not hip at all. But I think there's something horribly wrong with our society in general when we tolerate that, when we don't send messages out to some of these advertisers and make it clear that we're well aware of what they're doing to young women and young men by sexualizing them at prepubescent ages. Am I way off point on this? I don't think so. Because you can't isolate that kind of culturalization from the phenomenon of sexual exploitation of younger and younger children. This is very scary stuff. It's very sad stuff. It's very tragic stuff. Because not only are youngsters then the victims but all of us become victims. We suffer a climate of culture where it becomes increasingly difficult to stigmatize the exploitation of children.

As mentioned briefly yesterday, there's new language in our vocabulary, the phenomenon of sex tourism. It's become bigger and bigger. There are places in the world that are on the sex tourist route, if you will, that are identified as places where, more often that not, men go to have sex with kids. I'm glad that the Criminal Code has been changed recently to give more power for the prosecution of these offences committed outside the jurisdiction. But the whole issue is not getting caught, isn't it? You can skulk around some back alleys in the city of preference where the sex tourism is prevalent, some of it in our own hemisphere.

You heard Ms Churley yesterday in a brief two-minute question and comment; I'm sure she'll be speaking later today. She'll talk about the tragedy of us not spreading our scope and talking about the protection of children universally. It seems to me that the first focus should be on -- I know this sounds so weak in the context of such a dramatic and horrifying issue -- the context of helping to create healthier communities and healthier families. That's why I say I have to make some connection between this bill and the family responsibility act, because those same kind of comments and issues were raised during the family responsibility act. Down where I come from, the paucity of mental health services for children remains as dramatic as it ever was, indeed has increased. Do you understand what that means? That means that a family that identifies problems in their kid, the very same sort of problems that two years down the road could mean that kid's on the streets in Toronto prostituting, but the family who says, "We've got some problems here, we've got to do something," can't access mental health services for their kid down in Niagara. There just aren't the resources, and that's a big community, the Niagara region; never mind in the north, where there's an even greater scarcity of resources and with the distance you've got to travel to access it becomes more profound so that they're inaccessible.

When we talk about this sort of issue and we talk about addressing it, don't we have to talk, don't we have to address the need to rebuild those kinds of services so that children can be responded to before they're out there on the street? Is that far-fetched? Is that not some significant contrast between the proposition of saying, "Oh, we'll lock you up for 30 days and we hope something happens in the course of that 30 days," but in reality, what's going to happen is at the end of that 30 days the doors are going to open and that kid's going to be back out there and doing another BJ for another 25 bucks in short order. That's the reality of it.

This government wants to clean up the streets. I understand that. The political motivation for that is profound. I mean, I was there when they brought in their American experts from New York City and they talked about broken windows and cleaning the streets and getting rid of the riff-raff, and they wanted to get rid of panhandlers and they tried to do that, except the sad reality is that there are as many panhandlers as ever out there on the streets of Toronto because circumstances have been getting worse and worse. The economy is again suffering on the cusp of a significant recession; we're going to see more.

The government tried to clean up squeegee kids. I suppose it did get rid of squeegee kids, but it pushed those kids, I'm convinced, deeper and deeper into the dark alleys, where the activities they engage in are far more sordid than squeegeeing my truck window on the way back to Welland on a snowy winter day. You see, there's a dilemma that 16- and 17-year-olds are in in this province and in many parts of the country, because a 16-year-old is entitled to live on their own. It's one of those historical anomalies. Is that a reasonably good explanation of it? It's that gap. The fact is that 16-year-olds cannot be compelled to live with their parents. That's the law. They're no longer children, but they're not adults. Nobody ever really said that, except that age of majority, 18, means that you've got to be a certain age to buy cigarettes, you've got to be a certain age to drink, you've got to be a certain age to get married. I think it's 18.

Mr Guzzo: How about joining the army?

Mr Kormos: You've got to be a certain age to join the army. So young people are in that limbo.

How come the Attorney General isn't talking about the fact that there are provisions in the Criminal Code that put special onus on the johns of younger prostitutes? It seems to me that we should be focusing on cleaning up the streets by cleaning up the perpetrators, by getting the paddy wagon out there, and I don't care whether it's doctor, lawyer, judge or politician, architect, nurse, what have you -- but cleaning up the streets.

That seems to me to be a far fairer approach and a far more realistic approach. It seems to me that restoring funding for some of the street programs that historically have existed here in Toronto -- it's a big city that's a magnet for runaway youth from across the country -- restoring some of those outreach programs that are out there, working with street people, is one of the ways to make meaningful interventions in the lives of young people: (1) providing resources in communities to help build safer and healthier communities and healthier families in those communities; (2) safeguarding children before they reach the age of 16.

I'm hard-pressed to believe that 14- and 15-year-old prostitutes had pristine, healthy lives in their families before they got out there on the street, and that's not to say that this hasn't -- I know it's happened to families who are careful and loving and capable, but families are facing some incredible competition. We talked about this during the Parental Responsibility Act. There's some incredibly powerful competition for families out there, and competition that targets young people, everything from the Internet to computer games to the pop culture of the day, any number of things. Again, it's big bucks, it's corporate Hollywood, it's Los Angeles more often than not, big, fat guys sitting on the top of office towers who are making big bucks, at the same time shaping our culture and our society in a way that is incredibly dangerous and that encourages and nurtures and creates almost a Petri dish for the sorts of things we're trying to address with this bill, where they flourish.


I want to hear how it is -- because you see, a 16- or 17-year-old is a young offender for the purposes of the Young Offenders Act, but they are not a child for the purposes of the Child and Family Services Act; they are permitted to and called upon -- look, where is this government's commitment to support, by way of social services for kids of the age of 16 and 17? We know what happened to that age group when it came to the social services cuts by this government. Then why are we surprised when we discover young people of that age, in that age group, out there prostituting themselves or working in the strip club environment or working in the porno industry, to the extent to which it exists? I'm sure it does exist to varying degrees here in Canada, here in Ontario.

If we're really serious about addressing that issue among 16- and 17-year-olds, we as a provincial community should ensure that people that age have safe, affordable housing, ensure that young people that age have resources made available to them for education, for their support. Again, I know that families that have been responsible, capable, careful, loving families, loving parents, still lose children to these subcultures. But I also know that for every careful, capable, loving, caring family that loses a child to this subculture, there are families that are far from capable and parents who are far from loving and parents who are far from caring who force their kids into this subculture.

I go back many years now to when I did practise law. One of the toughest things was to sit down -- I had a lot of young clients -- and to know that their father sitting in that room with them was abusing them. People who have worked in that area -- I know the member from Ottawa West-Nepean, with his incredible commitment to justice for the kids in Cornwall and his professional background, is aware of how conniving and slippery and deceitful child sex abusers are. There are families out there where kids are fleeing scenarios, where the streets are a far more attractive alternative to the homes that they were supposed to be being raised in. Why aren't we addressing that during this debate? And why aren't we talking about the things that have to be done that can be done in response to that?

I have no doubt that in Alberta the numbers are staggering, that hundreds upon hundreds of young people have been scooped under the Alberta equivalent of Bill 86. What I look forward to from the government, though, is some follow-up information on what's happened to those young people after they have been scooped, after they've been locked up for a maximum of 30 days and then pushed back out on the street. There is absolutely nothing in this bill that provides for follow-up, that ensures support and support systems for that young person when they're expelled from that so-called facility -- it's a lock-up -- after 30 days. Even if that young person said, "I want more treatment; I think I'm starting to get a handle on the things that have motivated me, that have lured me, that have forced me out on to the street, into a life of prostitution or a life of strip club dancing," there is nothing in the bill or there is nothing in the programs that are available to young people today that enables them to access any ongoing services.

That's the problem. This government wants to test the urine of everybody but its cabinet, but it hasn't got any place to send the people for whom problems are identified. I don't know about your community, but I can tell you about where I come from in the province, down in Niagara. Our drug and alcohol treatment centres, operating on shoestring budgets as it is, have got waiting lists that are round and round the block. I've got folks in my community who are paying cash -- big bucks -- to go stateside into private centres. It's true, that's what's happening, because the resources aren't available to them here in Ontario.

Down in Niagara region a couple of years ago -- and I raised it here in the Legislature -- a family had a crisis when their underaged daughter was hired on by one of the strip clubs. They and I and other fair-minded people prevailed upon the government to respond to the issue by enacting legislation that would get tough with strip clubs that hire underaged dancers -- for naught.

The opposition here, the New Democrats among others, have been pointing out to this government for a period of six years now what's been happening to programs for families and people in need. This isn't the first time I've raised the concerns about the paucity of mental health beds for adolescents in Niagara region. And this government's goal is to lock up child victims of sexual abuse, to lock them up 30 days at a time when they haven't committed any crime. Johns go to john school and the victims go to a lock-up. There is something about that that doesn't balance out. Do you find that as bewildering as I do, Mr Hoy? Johns get to go to john school and their victims get locked up.

There were several people who spoke yesterday who wanted to say, and in fact did say, "Oh, the support for this bill is unanimous." Well, they weren't listening, and if they persist in saying that, that means they're still not listening.

We understand the motivation for the legislation. We understand the desperation of a family that has lost a child to the streets. We understand even the interest in trying to intervene in the lives of 16- and 17-year-olds, even though 16- and 17-year-olds are, for all intents and purposes, adults in every regard but for the mode in which they are prosecuted; to wit, under the Young Offenders Act. Yet any of the activities that are being talked about in this bill that is being addressed are, for better or worse -- look, that's not the point here, but it is, for better or worse, not a crime.

If we're to accept the premise -- because you see the language: "Oh, we're rescuing." Look, I'm told by Ms Martel that the children's aid societies, when they responded to this bill in its first form when it was still a private member's bill, during the committee hearings in Sudbury, expressed concern about the bill, because they believed that the Child and Family Services Act was the appropriate vehicle. The Child and Family Services Act gives judges a whole lot more effective power to deal with children in need of protection, and it doesn't lock them up for 30 days. It gives the judge the power to prescribe specific treatment programs, should those programs be warranted.


Interjection: Like what?

Mr Kormos: Somebody here is going, "Like what? Like what?" It's a stupid comment, because there isn't -- well, perhaps it's not so stupid. Perhaps it's just coming from somebody who doesn't understand that you can't solve social problems, you can't solve the problems of damaged kids, by boot camp, slapping them around a little bit. Oh, what the heck. Why lock them up just for 30 days? Why not slap them around a little bit; that'll straighten them out, huh? Yes, that's what these kids need. Just rough them up a little bit. Yes, that'll teach them a lesson. "You cut that out right now. No more prostituting yourself. We'll rough you up if you don't." Please. The kids who are out there doing that, more often than not, have been roughed up far too often in their lives. Those kids have been beaten and beaten and beaten -- beaten down psychologically, and more often than not beaten down physically and sexually abused within their own families.

This government wants to sweep every single social issue -- which in no small way has at the very least been aggravated by this government's abandonment of effecttive social programs -- away so it disappears. Don't address the issue of child homelessness and youth homelessness and youth poverty. No, make it illegal for squeegee kids to go out there and hustle up a loonie or two. Don't address the issue of a culture which nurtures and accommodates children as sexual objects. No, just sweep it away. We'll lock them up, get them out of sight so the tourists can traipse up and down Yonge Street and not be confronted by some of the nastiness of real life here in Mike Harris's Ontario.

The numbers will be incredibly effective, because I have no doubt that the police, if they have the power in this bill, can scoop any number of people in short order, young people under 16, and 16 and 17. And the numbers will be staggering. All it will do is confirm the fact that this scenario is one which should be addressed, and addressed effectively.

I find the urgency of this matter for the government, and indeed some others, to be troubling as well. This bill is a little feather in, what, their law-and-order cap? I saw the list that was provided by my staff over at the NDP caucus of the bills that are still before the House, this and half a dozen other of their law-and-order bills.

Can I leave this without talking about the abandonment of young offenders by this government? Can I leave this debate without commenting on the fact that this government has abdicated its responsibility to provide the correction and treatment programs for young offenders serving sentences here in the province of Ontario?

I'll engage in a debate and I'll be critical of the Young Offenders Act any day of the week. I have been and I will continue to be. There are issues about the Young Offenders Act that warrant debate and that should warrant concern and about which there are numerous views. And this government wants to play the game. I'm quite eager to attack the federal Liberals; fine. But the reality is that, under the Young Offenders Act and the whole juvenile justice system, the province has the responsibility to provide the treatment programs, the treatment facilities and the correctional facilities for those young people serving sentences. What has this government done? This government has washed its hands of responding to children who need the treatment and correction that the Young Offenders Act, by virtue of the sentencing power of judges, can provide.

Hon Rob Sampson (Minister of Correctional Services): They have not.

Mr Kormos: Well, you have. What facilities the government was running with trained, skilled professsional staff have been turned over to their friends in the private sector, the boot camp operators, American-style. It hasn't been very successful in the United States; it hasn't been very successful at all.

You don't take damaged kids, you don't take kids who have been beaten up day in and day out of their lives, both physically and emotionally, who have been undermined, demeaned, kicked down, stepped on and spat upon, and make them better people by beating them up a little bit more.

We've got some serious problems in terms of youth crime, we've got some serious problems in terms of adult crime and we've got a government that wants to talk a big game on law and order but when it comes to real ways to deliver, to make our community safer, to make life fairer -- shouldn't we be talking about making life fairer for these young people who are out there prostituting themselves? Because life hasn't been very fair so far in their lives, has it? If you've got a 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kid out there servicing some john in the back seat of his car, it's hard to believe that life has at all been fair for that kid.

This government doesn't want to talk about fairness for those kids, it doesn't want to talk about concerted drives against the perpetrators of the crimes against those kids, it doesn't want to talk about joining in and acknowledging this phenomenon, this child sexual abuse phenomenon that's international, and address the whole process and the issues of sex tourism and the culture that sexualizes children. Oh, no, this government's the free enterprise government and by God, let the corporate world do what it wishes, supply and demand and all that kind of stuff.

New Democrats very much want this bill to go to committee.

Hon Mr Stockwell: You're going to vote for it, aren't you?

Mr Kormos: New Democrats are making no commitment as to where they stand on third reading of this bill.

Hon Mr Stockwell: I thought you said yesterday --

Mr Kormos: The Minister of Labour is being silly. He wants to treat a serious issue like this in a frivolous way. Mr Stockwell laughs. Laugh about young children being victims. I find your response to this whole scenario not atypical of your colleagues in the government back benches. We take the safety of young children seriously, we take this bill seriously and we raise serious questions.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Questions and comments?

Mr Tilson: I have two minutes to respond to what the member has been speaking about for the last hour.

One of the joys we have in government is that we have, outside this House, a lawyer who sends me notes indicating where the members of the opposition have been giving misguided statements. I have so many rafts of notes that have been passed to me to comment on the member's speeches that I can't keep up with them all.

The point is he has made a number of -- and I'm trying to be within order -- statements that need to be corrected. We can't do that in two minutes and perhaps at another time we will. He did say yesterday the New Democrat caucus was going to support this bill, yet I don't know where he is today, quite frankly. Today he said, well, maybe they will.

The problem is we have a social problem. All of us in our ridings can talk about runaway children. That's caused by a whole slew of things. It may be as a result of social problems, mental problems, problems of not getting along with their parents, problems of not getting along at school; there could be a whole slew of reasons.

Then they move to the big cities that we have in Ontario and they get dependent on these -- to use my friend's comments -- "slippery creeps," or something similar to that is what he said, and he's right. That's what it all is and they get dependent upon it. It could almost be compared to domestic violence against women. We've heard my friend Ms Martel talk about this, where they're afraid to do anything. So what are you going to do? This 30-day thing is an interesting concept, and we'll have to talk about it more as the debate goes on, but they're scared out of their wits of these creeps.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough-Rouge River): Let me at the onset just say how enlightening I found the member of the New Democratic Party express his emotion and passion for this. There are a lot of facts and information that we could gather from that. I was disappointed, of course, that the government has not seen fit to assess some of the things that he was saying.

It took this government three years, beating them over the head by my colleague Rick Bartolucci from Sudbury, who introduced this over three times in the House, and the government had ignored it completely. All of sudden they introduce this bill, which we welcome, but how limited it is. The point I want to raise is that the victims who are here are being victimized more.

The people who have been abused will now be 30 days in jail, as it's stated in your bill. Of course, we oppose very much so the fact that you're going to put into jail those young people who need help. We are shouting out and asking the government to make a decision about this, but it is consistent with this government. They are very good at building jails and putting muscles on people. They are very effective in that way of making sure the only way we can solve social issues is to put those who are victimized in jail -- larger jails. When they can't deal with it, they privatize that effort, because they themselves don't want to deal with that. Of course, the attitude of the government continues in this blatant ignorance of what is happening.

It's the community that raises a child, and this government has not been a good parent at all. While we welcome any move at all by the government in that direction and we'll be supporting that, how limited this bill is.

Ms Martel: I did listen to everything the member for Niagara Centre said and I think I have to clarify something for the parliamentary assistant and the minister. We said very clearly we would support the bill on second reading and we want the bill to go to committee so we can have a full debate with respect to the concerns that we have raised, which I think are appropriate concerns indeed. After that, what we do will be up to us to decide, but we very clearly said, and he said it again here today, that we'd support the bill on second reading.

I sat at the committee hearing in Sudbury when Mr Bartolucci's private member's bill was discussed. I was there when the young woman whom this bill was crafted for in essence came before the committee with her father and talked about her experiences on the street. I was there when a second prostitute, who didn't come to the committee hearings but joined us by teleconference, talked about her story as well. Every single one of the presenters who came forward spoke in favour of the bill, with one exception, and that was the representative from the children's aid society, who came at the end of the day, when we had heard very compelling stories and histories and the tragedy about this issue, and to her credit raised a different point of view at the hearing.

It was the point of view that my colleague tried to raise here today, that under the Child and Family Services Act we have better protection for children than is envisioned in this bill. We have more powers in the hands of judges and JPs to do something for these kids than is envisioned in the bill. Poor Ms Roberts, her point of view wasn't very popular at the end of the day in Sudbury because of everything else we had heard. But when I left that day, I thought, "You know what? She's got a point and we should look at this again." That was one of the points that my colleague raised here today. If we've got better protection under a different bill, what are we doing?

Hon Mr Stockwell: First let me say that there's an unhappy method used in this place. The member for Welland, I suppose, employed it again. A member is chit-chatting or talking or commenting and then they automatically put on the record that that member, which was myself, was somehow laughing about a bill that was before the House. The member knows that wasn't the case. It's really unfortunate when members do that because they actually leave an impression that is completely different than what was happening.

I expected more from the member for Welland. It's normally newer members who do that, not long-term members such as himself, because you know full well that the other person could do that to you in a heartbeat. It really isn't a fair way to debate, by imputing motive as to what this person is chit-chatting or laughing about. I wasn't laughing about the importance of this bill.

Second, it seems to me the crunch of the issue was the 30-day period. If the member is suggesting categorically that he is opposed to that 30-day period -- potentially a 30-day period -- which was put in as necessary to help the child break out of the cycle of drugs and prostitution, stand up and say you're opposed. The member for Scarborough was up. Say you're opposed. Liberals and NDP, get together and say, "No, we don't think that right should be there."

The belief is it would allow an opportunity for the child, who is frightened, who is scared, to have a safe place for 30 days, not to be frightened, not to be scared. If the members opposite are saying you don't agree with that, you don't think that power should be there and to use not all 30 days but some portion thereof, then say it, but if all you're going to argue is the other side, then it's difficult to get what point you're making. Member, are you opposed to that 30-day period? Stand in your place and say you're opposed.

The Deputy Speaker: Response?

Mr Kormos: I have no interest in the Minister of Labour's inability to understand what's at issue here. There are issues here that transcend the partisanship that entered the response of some of the government people. I made it clear when I began this one-hour comment that some of the stuff I said wasn't going to go over very well, that some of it wasn't going to be particularly popular. So be it.

The fundamental approach of saying, "Child prostitution is wrong. Young children shouldn't be used as prostitutes. Young children shouldn't be used in strip clubs as dancers. Therefore, we bust them and lock them up for 30 days" -- I find that to be a very difficult proposition. I find the absence of an interest to address the broader issues, to address the need for a serious attack on the perpetrators of the crime, to be troublesome. I find the usurpation of the Child and Family Services Act -- and the failure to replicate it here -- which gives the judge far more creative ability to profile a program, to be very troublesome. I find this government's interest in once again doing some street-sweeping and cleaning up -- first it cleaned up the squeegee kids. It wanted to hide them away. It drove the squeegee kids away from the intersections, into the dark alleys, where they've become child prostitutes. Now it's going to clean up child prostitutes by locking them up.


The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill): It's a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to speak today on such a worthwhile piece of legislation. I commend our government and the Attorney General for bringing forward Bill 86, An Act to rescue children trapped in the misery of prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation and to amend the Highway Traffic Act.

The children of Ontario are our future and it is necessary that we ensure their protection and safety in our communities. Every child in Ontario deserves the right to be protected from sexual perpetrators. This legislation is a strong commitment by the Mike Harris government to preserve those rights and freedoms. This government has always made the needs of victims a priority. We stand firmly on the side of victims of crime and are committed to ensuring that all victims in Ontario have access to the support and services they need and deserve. There is none more important in my mind than that which includes child victims of sexual exploitation.

The proposed bill would give police and children's aid society workers better tools to help young victims of sexual exploitation. It would also allow the province to target the sexual predators who abuse these children. The Mike Harris government is sending a message that we will not tolerate sexual predators in Ontario.

Our government cares about the future of our children and protecting the rights of families in Ontario. Previous legislation that we have passed in regard to the rights of victims clearly indicates this government is on the side of victims. To support victims of crime, the government has taken a number of steps by introducing several important pieces of legislation.

In 1996, the Victims' Bill of Rights was proclaimed. It recognizes the needs and rights of victims of crime in both criminal and civil justice systems.

In June of this year, the Victims' Bill of Rights Amendment Act was proclaimed, creating the first permanent Office for Victims of Crime in Canada. The office will advise the Attorney General on issues relevant to victims and victimization.

In December 2000, the provincial government made amendments to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act. The amendments increased the maximum periodic award from $250,000 to $365,000, and extended the limitation period from one to two years.

Christopher's Law created the Ontario sex offender registry, the first such registry in Canada, to monitor sex offences in Ontario communities.

This government's commitment is clear: we are doing more, much more, to ensure victims get the services they need and deserve, and we are cracking down on the individuals who think they can get away with these activities.

As part of the victims' justice action plan, we have dedicated up to $50 million in funding from the victims' justice fund to enhance existing victim services and improve access province-wide. The victim assistance program will be extended to 57 sites across Ontario over the next three years. This program provides crucial support to victims and witnesses to help them participate in and have a better understanding of the criminal justice system.

These are but a few of the many important initiatives that this government has implemented to help protect and care for the needs of victims in Ontario.

Bill 86 is not only about protecting children from these wicked acts, but also about rescuing the victims who are affected by these terrible deeds perpetrated by cowardly individuals. Under section 11, "Court Order," the court may order that a child under 18 years of age "be confined in a safe facility," and place them in a secure location for up to 30 days. Children, more than any other individuals, are the most vulnerable, and we must take steps to ensure they are not harmed.

The application of this legislation recognizes that many child victims of exploitation are being kept underground to avoid detection by the justice system. Under this proposed bill, the child could be rescued without a warrant. I will focus on the issue in the legislation under "Apprehension of Child without Warrant," and I'd like to quote from the bill.

"A police officer or a children's aid society worker may apprehend an individual without a warrant and convey him or her to a safe facility if,

"(a) the police officer or worker has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual is a child who is sexually exploited...; and

"(b) the police officer or worker is of the opinion that it is impracticable in the circumstances to obtain a warrant under section 4 before apprehending the individual," unlike most other circumstances, where a warrant would have to be obtained to enter premises to rescue the child.

Our children are precious and the time is precious when they're in need of being rescued. To ensure due process, a judge or justice of the peace would review the legal authority and validity of the action to rescue the child within 24 hours, or as soon as possible. A second hearing would occur within five days, at which time the court would be able to make a number of decisions in the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child is what this proposed legislation is trying to accomplish. This could include extending the placement for up to 30 days; returning the child to his or her parents or legal guardian if appropriate care and supervision would be provided; or determining that future intervention is not required in this particular case.

We must take into consideration who this bill is targeting. It is targeting individuals who wish to exploit children in the most sick and harmful ways.

In an effort to further protect the privacy of child victims of this terrible abuse, the bill includes provisions to ensure that all such hearings are closed to the media and that records of proceedings are sealed. This is a very important aspect of the proposed legislation. Not only do victims need to be protected physically, but they also require emotional protection.

Under section 14 of the act, "A hearing under this part must be held in the absence of the public and representatives of the press, radio, television and other public media." We must take into consideration the traumatic situation that the victims have experienced and give them the full benefit of our protection and privacy. To protect our children who may have been involved in this process, provisions are included in this bill to protect child witnesses from abusive cross-examination or irrelevant questions and to ensure a child's personal information is private. Having dealt with the physical scars, emotional scars may never fully disappear. But measures that deal with the privacy of the victims are integral to this legislation and are important and well-thought-out initiatives. Having to go through sexual exploitation, the traumatic experience of being asked irrelevant and abusive questions is inappropriate. The proposed legislation works to keep intact the victim's dignity.

Once removed from the dangerous situation, these children would be placed in a safe, secure and reassuring environment where they can receive appropriate care and assistance during a very difficult time. As a result of being sexually exploited, many children suffer significant and long-term impacts on their physical and emotional well-being. It is an ordeal nobody, let alone the innocent children, should have to endure. It is a tragic experience which, if the necessary care is not taken, can be compounded by drug addiction, sexually transmitted disease and physical abuse.

Bill 86 recognizes that each child is unique and has different needs and that flexibility is required in determining what care is required and appropriate in certain circumstances. That is why each child's needs would be assessed on an individual basis.

I am proud to say that if this legislation is passed, the government would commit approximately $50 million annually to ensure that appropriate services and supports are in place so that these children receive effective and meaningful assistance. This is an important commitment put forth by our government. We must protect the rights of our children and their safety. We must assist those who are affected by sexual exploitation. Our government is committed to ensuring that victims who are in need of help get the help that is required and that they deserve.


The children's aid society would assume responsibility for managing the child's care while in a safe location. With the help of the children's aid society, some children can be linked to longer-term care and support services to assist them with ongoing issues and problems that may arise.

The sexual exploitation of children is a highly complex problem with no simple answers. We must put forward our best effort to combat forces that would sexually exploit children. Bill 86 is a step in that right direction; it is a bill that addresses rescuing victims from sexual exploitation by protecting their rights, targeting sexual predators and providing meaningful intervention by helping victims recover from these traumatic experiences.

Helping victims return to a normal life is one step in combating this problem. Bill 86 is a step in the right direction and a piece of legislation that will help victims recover from these spineless acts perpetrated against them, but what it will also do is make the perpetrators pay for their actions.

This legislation, if passed, would permit the suspension of drivers' licences of pimps and johns convicted of prostitution-related Criminal Code offences involving the use of a motor vehicle.

The proposed bill, under part III, section 20, will allow the province to recover some of the costs of treating child victims. I quote from the bill:

"The crown in right of Ontario has the right to recover the total of the ... amounts from a person who, for the purposes of financial or other gain, sexually exploited a child for commercial purposes:

"1. All costs incurred or that can reasonably be expected to be incurred, directly or indirectly."

Children are the most innocent and vulnerable people in our society. We must strive to weed out those who sexually exploit our children.

As a means to get tough on individuals who perpetrate these crimes against children, the province would be able to sue for the full amount of taxpayer dollars that have been spent or may be spent in the future to provide assistance to a particular victim or identifiable group of victims who have been exploited as a result of an abuser's conduct.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the member from Sudbury, Rick Bartolucci, for bringing this bill forward in the past. His sincere and heartfelt efforts on this matter are truly appreciated. Mr Bartolucci's private member's bills dealing with the sexual exploitation of children were clearly well-intentioned, but the proposed government bill is substantially different and goes much further.

The proposed government Bill 86 includes strong due process provisions for all children. Regardless of whether they have been apprehended with or without a warrant, every child gets a preliminary hearing before a judge within 24 hours and gets a full hearing within five days.

Bill 22 lacks constitutional guarantees of due process. In Bill 22, only children apprehended without a warrant have the right to appear before a judge, and this has to occur within 72 hours of the child's apprehension. Children apprehended with a warrant have no right to appear before a judge.

In contrast, Bill 86, the proposed government bill, also provides a stronger foundation for meaningful intervention. This government bill allows both police and child welfare workers to apprehend children in situations of sexual exploitation.

Interjection: You might give credit where credit is due.

Mrs Molinari: Bill 22 empowers only the police to act. And I have given credit to the member for introducing this bill. I am pointing out the differences between that bill and this bill and how this enforces a number of issues that are of importance, that need to be enforced.

We know from Alberta's experience that both police and child welfare workers are actively involved in these types of cases, and it is necessary to provide both with the tools needed to assist these children. Bill 86 has a maximum 30-day intervention period, whereas Bill 22 provides for a significantly shorter 72-hour detention period. Alberta recognized that 72 hours gave little opportunity to make a meaningful intervention and since has amended its legislation to provide longer intervention periods.

Bill 86 also better targets the predators who sexually exploit children. Bill 22, to its credit, attempts to create a provincial offence against pimps and johns which is likely outside the scope of the provincial jurisdiction. We have concerns that key elements of that bill could not successfully withstand a constitutional challenge.

Yesterday I listened intently to the member from Sudbury, who stated, "I understand the role of government, but the most important role of government, in my estimation, is the protection of people who elect them to this assembly with sound, good laws." That's an excellent statement that the member from Sudbury put on the record as he was debating this bill yesterday.

I agree wholeheartedly with the member opposite. We need good, sound laws. Our government agrees as well. That is why our Attorney General has put forth Bill 86, a strong, good law that will protect the people who elect us. We cannot risk having laws such as Bill 22 that would not withstand a constitutional challenge. The proposed government bill is constitutional and will target pimps and johns in a manner that more clearly falls within our provincial jurisdiction. Still, we appreciate the member's work and interest and his attempt in trying to help Ontario's children. The intent is truly commendable.

As a mother of two boys, I couldn't imagine what it would be like for them to have to go through this kind of exploitation. Exploitation of children is offensive in any manner, but sexual exploitation is much more offensive. I certainly support this government's Bill 86 and the attempt we're making to address some of those issues.

This legislation is just another example of this government's commitment to holding offenders accountable for their crimes and protecting all our taxpayers. This proposed legislation is another example of the government's commitment to support all victims of crime, taking appropriate action on the perpetrators and, again, also protecting our taxpayers.

I support Bill 86 and I encourage all members in the House to support Bill 86. I believe it is a step in the long direction of countless other steps this government has taken to ensure the safety and protection of the people of Ontario.

This legislation is truly a good piece of legislation. A lot of members in this House have spoken positively on it. There will be some ideas that others will have, and I'm sure there will be good ideas, but you need to look at what's in the bill and what it does for the people of Ontario, for the victims of the crime of sexual exploitation and for the perpetrators of sexually exploited children.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands): I too will be supporting this bill. As the last member stated, this is such a good bill; why wasn't this done two or three years ago? Mr Bartolucci, my seatmate here, has come up with three separate bills over the last three to four years dealing with the identical subject matter as contained in this bill. If the government agrees that it's so important, why didn't it bring this forward before? Rather than getting involved in a discussion about how this bill is different from Mr Bartolucci's bills etc, let's get right down to the nub of the problem. The problem is, what do you do with these children after 30 days? Where are the medical services that these children require? Where is the funding for the counselling services that they require? Where is the money for the adequate shelter that they require?


Speaker, the bill is full of good intentions, but you and I know that none of it will work if the adequate resources aren't out there to actually help the children who are involved in child prostitution. Until that problem is dealt with as to what we do with these individuals and how we get them off the street on a full-time basis, how we counsel them and provide for them adequately through housing, through accommodation, through medical treatment, until we deal with that issue, this problem, as well-intended as it is to be dealt with in this bill, will always be with us.

I urge the government to look beyond the mere sanctions of this bill, look at the real problems that we're involved in and fund the solutions to the real problems by funding for adequate medical treatment and counselling services and shelter for our young people.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions, comments?

Mr Kormos: I like this member. I like you. Tina, I like you.

Mrs Molinari: But.

Mr Kormos: But please stop reading the pap that they give you. It's only going to get you into trouble.

Mrs Molinari: It's the bill.

Mr Kormos: No, no. Ms Molinari, these canned speeches -- you're supposed to lead with your strong argument. What does Ms Molinari lead with? She talks about this government's Victims' Bill of Rights. I'm sorry, the Victims' Bill of Rights doesn't exist in the province of Ontario. Our courts said so. There are no rights for victims in Mike Harris's Ontario. Judge Day of the Ontario Court of Justice made it as clear as any judge could make anything. Ms Molinari, please, lead with your strong argument; don't lead with the Victims' Bill of Rights.

Please, Ms Molinari, you told us Bill 86 holds offenders accountable. I read the bill. It suspends their licences. "Let's get tough on pimps. We'll suspend their licences. That'll scare the daylights out of every pimp in Toronto, North Bay, Thunder Bay, Welland, Niagara Falls, St Catharines. They're going to get their licences suspended."

Ms Molinari says, "Look what the bill does for the victims of crime." You suspend the perpetrators' licences and you lock up the victims. The police scoop them off the street and you lock them up for 30 days, with no follow-up. You send them out. You say, "OK, you've done your 30 days. Boop, out of here."

Ms Molinari, you've got to read the Child and Family Services Act, because you can't say that this bill gives the authorities more power. This bill gives them less power. Read the bills. Read Bill 86 and understand. You see, that's why the children's aid up in Sudbury, during the committee hearings, wanted this government to permit them to use the Child and Family Services Act, because it gives them and the judges more power to protect children in need of protection.

Mr Tilson: Just to the last speaker, I would suggest that before we get too much further into the debate, he read sections 19 and 31 of the bill, which say something quite different from what he is alleging in this House as far as the child and family services legislation, something completely different from what he's saying. Those sections of those bills are going to be adopted. That's what the act says. Sections 19 and 31 say that.

As far as my friend from Kingston and the Islands is concerned, if he had listened to the speeches that were made yesterday, we have made it quite clear that we are going to put increased funding into this problem.

Mr Gerretsen: Promises, promises. Do something about it.

Mr Tilson: No. Mr Baird, the minister for child and family services, has stood up and said he's going to provide $15 million annually to this problem, which is going to deal with drug and alcohol counselling of these children; which is going to deal with specialized legal services with respect to these children, such as a witness protection plan and victim/witness assistance. It's going to provide medical assistance to these children, such as detoxification and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. He's going to provide mental health services. He's going to provide counseling and support services. That's what the $15 million a year is going to pay for, so to say that we're not going to do anything is not true.

As far as the speaker from this side who has spoken in support of this bill is concerned -- and it sounds like all members of the House are going to support the bill, although I get doubtful when I hear members of the New Democratic caucus and members from the Liberal caucus stand up. I don't know what they're going to do but I hope they do support it. I think it's a good piece of legislation. We're trying to deal with the victims, the children. We're trying to deal with the pimps and the perpetrators of these evil crimes, and we all want to solve those.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I was glad to hear that the member for Thornhill mentioned the work that Rick Bartolucci, the member for Sudbury, had done in this regard. It points out well that once in a while in the Legislature individual initiatives by members of any political party -- and I say that as individuals -- can come to fruition eventually in terms of a government bill. People wonder, will a private member's bill pass? Occasionally it does, but that is a fairly rare occurrence in this assembly. What more likely happens is that a government in power, having seen the virtues in a proposed piece of legislation or in a piece of legislation by an opposition member or individual government member that has received perhaps first and second reading, might well incorporate it into its own bill.

This bill, of course, contains provisions -- I think there were three different bills that were brought forward by Rick Bartolucci to deal with the problem of child prostitution and the unfortunate circumstances in which these people find themselves. I think that members who have responded to the member for Thornhill have rightly pointed out that it will be absolutely necessary to have the appropriate resources in place to deal with the problem.

There are two aspects to almost any of these crime circumstances that we face. One is dealing with what I would call the policing action, the Attorney General's and Solicitor General's role. The second -- and often the second should come first -- part of it in this case deals with community and social services or perhaps the Ministry of Health. We in the opposition will be vigilant to watch to see that the necessary funding is available for the services for these young people.

The Deputy Speaker: Response, the member for Thornhill.

Mrs Molinari: I would like to thank the members for Kingston and the Islands, Niagara Centre, Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey and St Catharines for their comments.

Just to address some of the points that have been made, certainly, as I indicated in my comments, there are a number of services that will be made available and put in place. I'd just like to put some of those on the record: drug and alcohol counseling, specialized legal services such as the witness protection plan and victim assistance, medical services such as detoxification and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, mental health services, and counseling support services.

I also indicated that approximately $15 million annually would be put aside to ensure that appropriate services are in place. The members in their comments indicated that was not available. I wanted to clarify, because that in fact will be put in place.

Also, in section 27: "Money recovered by the crown under this act must be deposited in a separate interest bearing account in the consolidated revenue fund.... For the purposes of the Financial Administration Act, money deposited under subsection (1) is deemed to be money paid to Ontario for a special purpose." So there will be money collected in this act from the perpetrators to be able to provide the services that victims need after having fallen victim to the heinous acts that these perpetrators think they can get away with.

Certainly the intent of Mr Bartolucci's bill is a good one. It's something that I'm sure he would support and other members of this Legislature would support, because this bill provides for some protection of these children. It's a first step in getting to what we need to do.


The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mrs Leona Dombrowsky (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington): As children's critic for the Ontario Liberal Party, it was very important for me to take this opportunity to speak to Bill 86, the Rescuing Children from Sexual Exploitation Act. It's also important for me to speak about the very good work, the foundation layer of this legislation, by my colleague, Mr Rick Bartolucci from Sudbury.

It has been mentioned before in the debate on this piece of legislation, but it's important for me personally to make some comment about Mr Bartolucci, who I know is recognized by all members of this Legislature as a true advocate for children. He has worked tirelessly to bring to the attention of this government the need, the necessity to introduce laws that will better protect our innocent children. He's been doing that for three years. I've had some conversation with Mr Bartolucci and I've understood some frustration he's had that it has taken so long for the government to understand how important and how pressing it is to enact laws that will protect our children better than they are being protected today.

I know there's been some question about the resources that will be put in place to ensure that after 30 days children who might have been rescued from the unhappy occurrence, the unfortunate occurrence of being involved in prostitution, that there would be resources to support them following 30 days of being held by the province.

While the member from Thornhill has indicated, has given us some assurance that money has been put in place, I think it's important to remind the people of Ontario that in the 2000 budget this government allocated $8 million to Save the Children Canada. That money was put aside in a budget account and our investigation of that particular budget line is that there was a good deal of planning that happened around that $8 million but not a penny of it was spent.

I want to have the government understand that we on this side of the House are going to be very attentive to ensure that they would be able to access the resources that you would say you're putting aside to support victims of prostitution; to ensure that they have shelter made available to them, to ensure that the government is providing resources that will enable them to access the counselling that they will need; to make sure that if there's any medical treatment that they would require following, they would be able to access that.

While I appreciate what the member from Thornhill has said, sometimes what the government plans and what actually gets followed through on can be two very different things. I only point the members of the government to the Save the Children Canada initiative, and if I'm incorrect in that presentation, then I do look forward to being corrected and will be very happy to receive that information.

My colleague Mr Bartolucci has also indicated his sincere wish that this legislation would go to committee. It's good legislation. We -- Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals in Ontario -- will do anything, will support any bill that is going to better protect the children in the province. We do believe, however, that this bill needs a little bit of work.

Mr Bartolucci indicated in debate yesterday -- and he was able to point more particularly to those areas of the bill that should receive some attention and perhaps some amendment. I think it would be important for all of us to have that opportunity to take this legislation, that is good, and make it better. We would do this because our children are worth it. Let's not rush it through; let's get it right this time. So I would hope that the government is going to send it to committee so that all members of the Legislature will have that opportunity to make suggestions to make it an even stronger piece of legislation.

It's been a long time in coming, and I'm going to say in this Legislature today that it's been too long. It has taken a full three years. Mr Bartolucci has, I believe it's seven times, presented his bills in the Legislature. Finally you got the message, thankfully. But what we are saying today is, let's do it right this time and get it passed for the kids.

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-St Clair): I am pleased to join the debate on Bill 86 and indicate to the House and to my constituents that I will be voting in favour of this bill, although I believe the bill is flawed.

I too want to take the opportunity to congratulate my colleague Rick Bartolucci from Sudbury, who has led the charge on this issue of, first of all, protecting young children who get into the sex trade, helping them get out of it, and making sure that those who exploit them are brought to swift and unequivocal justice.

The provisions contained in the bill with respect to suspension of driver's licence, cost recovery in terms of the costs associated with treating some of the problems that arise from a child's involvement in the sex trade are, in my view, proper provisions in this bill and provisions that are worthy of the support of the Legislative Assembly and of the people of Ontario.

The Bartolucci bills, Bill 22 and Bill 23, are contained in here, as well as some provisions of Bartolucci's Bill 24, which deals with children in the sex trade again, in adult entertainment parlours. We're pleased that those provisions of the bill were retained.

I should note, however, that Ontario Liberals would have preferred to have seen stiffer penalties, penalties that are consistent with what had been part of Mr Bartolucci's bills. I can tell you, as opposition House leader, we are going to formally request the opportunity to have this bill in public hearings, at least for a day, so that some of the organizations that have had an interest in this can come and make a presentation. We would like the opportunity to have this bill go through clause-by-clause consideration in order that we can propose some amendments, amendments that we believe will improve the bill.

This is an important step forward. I believe it satisfies the concerns that have been raised with respect to the Alberta legislation with regard to constitutional issues and the ability of police to seize kids off streets and so on, and therefore it is worthy of the support of this Legislature.

The government has got to come to the table with the resources that are needed, whether it's for counselling, helping get kids back on track. We know they've already broken some of their commitments in the past in this area. We suspect that with the downturn in the economy and the government's poor financial record in terms of squandering the great prosperity we've had in this province over the last five years, it's going to make it very difficult for them to deal with these matters or any number of other matters in the context of what appears to be the beginning of a severe economic slowdown in this province. That will be a challenge for the government and for the Legislature and for all people of goodwill who want, with good intention, to ensure that young people are not enticed into the sex trade.

This bill, in my view, is an important first step. It is flawed. I hope the government will agree to a day of hearings, a day of clause-by-clause consideration in order that amendments, for instance, to stiffen the penalties can be brought forward, amendments that were contained in our party's bills on this subject matter. I look forward to the government saying in the affirmative that we will have those hearings and have the opportunity to amend this bill to make it better so that when we come to office in two years we're not simply revisiting then, that we get it done right now and make sure that we do all we can to protect children in the sex trade in Ontario.

Mr Bradley: As I did in my response to the member for Thornhill, I wish to once again pay tribute to Rick Bartolucci, the member for Sudbury, who has, in effect, carried this issue forward in the form of three different bills presented to this Legislature for consideration. I have to believe that certainly was part of the prompting that caused the government to move forward with legislation of this kind.

This bill is not perfect. It has some imperfections contained within it, but I think the principle of the bill and the incorporation of many of Mr Bartolucci's ideas and proposals makes it supportable by those of us in the official opposition.


With social problems of this kind, there are two aspects to them, two ways of addressing them. One is a way of dealing with them through the police and the courts, and that is one necessary component. We can't simply say that because people find themselves in difficult social circumstances, in an environment which is perhaps one that involves poverty and abuse and disadvantage and perhaps even ridicule, a person coming from that background then is allowed to break the law, to engage in activities that are not acceptable to society as a whole and not good for the individuals themselves. We cannot allow that. So there has to be a police aspect, there has to be a court aspect, and that is why Mr Bartolucci has proposed those parts of the bill that deal with the court system, the police action and the legal system.

But we also have to look at what breeds individuals of this kind, what breeds those circumstances where young people will turn to prostitution, will leave home. Most of the time, and I would suspect almost all of the time, it means people have made a choice or have been told to leave their natural home, a home where they were born. We have to try to address those issues as well as we can through the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, trying to provide equality of opportunity for those young people so it is less likely they will find themselves in a lifestyle as contemplated by this bill.

Too often, it's either one or the other. Some will take an extreme position on one side and say there should be no police action, no court involvement, and others will say that the courts and the police are the only action that might be necessary, that action by those two entities is necessary. I happen to believe it's a combination that's needed.

I will be watching the member for Dufferin and other parts of Ontario, Dufferin and -- what else is it?


Mr Bradley: Dufferin is good enough I guess, he says, for now. He promised the House, said that it was contemplated in the legislation and promised by the government, that there would be resources in place to ensure that there would be a follow-up after the court system deals with these individuals. We in the opposition, and I'm sure the member himself, Mr Tilson, will be vigilant to ensure that the government will follow through on that commitment. That's going to be extremely important if we're to turn the lives of these young people around.

The penalties that are described for those who live off the avails of the prostitution of these young people are penalties that are necessary. Mr Bartolucci has recommended in his bills a two-year jail sentence. The government has decided to proceed with a six-month sentence. The members who have spoken, who have the notes from the Ministry of the Attorney General and speak on behalf of the government, will say, "Well, we want to ensure that it's constitutional," yet when I hear them railing on against the federal government about something, they don't seem to worry about that aspect; anybody who would not ask for the maximum possible fine and the maximum possible sentence is soft on crime. I'm not going to make that charge of the government -- I think that would be an unfair charge -- but we do have to recognize from time to time that the Attorney General's department, when they're looking at legislation, does contemplate any constitutional challenges which may be brought about against the legislation.

This is one time I think we find a pretty good consensus in the Legislature. I must say before I relinquish time to my friend from Kingston and the Islands that I heard it mentioned that the victims' rights bill is going to be held up as virtuous. Mr Kormos has mentioned on many occasions the ruling of Justice Day, which really exposes the victims' rights bill and its weaknesses. It is much trumpeted by the government as a law-and-order bill, as a bill that helps victims, when in reality it does not have that. This bill does have those possibilities, and I will be supporting the bill when it comes to a vote in this Legislature.

Mr Gerretsen: I too will be supporting this bill when it comes to a vote later on, because I think it's a good bill, as I indicated before. My question to the government is that you could have done this two or three years ago when the Bartolucci bills were first introduced.

I'd like to just pick up on another point, though, that was made earlier in the debate in one of the questions and answers by the member from St Catharines. Basically what we're dealing with in this bill is the policing aspect of child prostitution, as to what should happen to the pimps, what should happen to the people who are involved with child prostitutes and what action the government can take through its policing mechanism, through the Attorney General's department, and through its legal mechanism.

But if you want to deal with this issue in the long term, you have to deal with the root causes of child prostitution and you have to deal with what we do with child prostitutes. Yes, we can take them off the street for a certain period of time and, yes, arguments can be made as to whether or not their rights may be jeopardized in the five days that they come before a judge, either with or without a warrant, after they've been apprehended. But what happens after the 30 days? That's the issue as far as I'm concerned.

We heard the statement here from the minister, and from various other government members as well, that the government intends to spend $15 million in effect in dealing with this problem, and $15 million is a lot of money. Don't let me for a moment diminish that. But I also know that when you look at my own community, which has roughly 1% of the population of the province of Ontario, to deal with this problem, basically what it would mean out of the $15 million is about $150,000. I don't know how far $150,000 stretches to deal with this kind of situation in my community, when I think of all the various services that may be required in the medical field, in the mental health field, in the supportive housing field and in the medical treatment field. So I'm not so sure; $15 million sounds great when you look at the one big number, but when you start divvying it up between the communities where this may be a problem, it may not be all that much.

The other question I have is, quite frankly, is this new money that the government and the ministries are committing, or are we just recycling money that is already there in various programs to in effect provide these services already? In other words, is it a phony announcement or is there some real value to it? Is it truly a new initiative with new government resources to deal with the issue of child prostitution? Because you and I know, Speaker, that there have been many, many announcements made by this government repeatedly over the last five years. Sometimes the same program has been announced and reannounced on four or five different occasions, but when we looked at it later on, we realized that no new commitment of money or resources and funding was really forthcoming.

In the two minutes that will follow this session -- and it may be tomorrow, from the looks of the clock right now -- I would like somebody on the government side to give us a definite commitment that this is new funding, in addition to the programs that already exist out there. I think we're not going to get that, because I think this is just recycled money from other programs. So what we're left with at the end of the day is, yes, a typical kind of government bill when it comes to any of these law-and-order issues. We've got a stronger law out there with perhaps not very strong enforcement, and certainly laws and programs that aren't going to deal with the root causes of a lot of these issues.

That's my issue. It's not what's in this bill. Yes, it's a great bill, from the point of view that it's a good start in the area. Yes, it should have been done three or four years earlier when Mr Bartolucci first brought the idea forward in his private member's bill. But where do we go from there? Why aren't we committing the necessary resources to deal with the real issue of child prostitution?

The Deputy Speaker: It being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 10 of the clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1800.