38th Parliament, 2nd Session



Wednesday 30 November 2005 Mercredi 30 novembre 2005






















































The House met at 1330.




Mr. Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): There aren't many of us, with the exception of some of the younger members, who don't remember the goal of the century. The date was September 28, 1972, and it was the Canada-Russia summit hockey series. The goal, with 34 seconds remaining in the final game, was scored by Paul Henderson. That famous goal won the game and the series for Canada, and created a hockey hero: Paul Henderson.

On the 25th anniversary of that goal, Paul Henderson was immortalized on a Canada Post stamp and a Royal Canadian Mint silver coin. He is also a member of the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, but has not been named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A Wingham radio station -- the Bull, 94.5 -- with the help of Mike Brough, wants to change that. Paul Henderson, a native of Lucknow, is being supported by them, and they are currently recruiting signatures for a petition to help get Paul in the hall. Their goal is to get 50,000 signatures, which they will then present to the Hockey Hall of Fame board.

Until January 1, 2006, listeners can sign the petition on-line at www.945thebull.ca or at several area businesses from Wingham to Goderich to Owen Sound.

In a show of support to his hometown, Paul Henderson spent last weekend in Lucknow as a special guest at the Lucknow regional silver stick hockey tournament.

I believe Paul Henderson deserves a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and I am pleased to promote this cause as well as add my name to the list of supporters.


Mrs. Maria Van Bommel (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex): This fall, I had the honour of representing our government at the 40th anniversary festivities of Middlesex Community Living. It was a wonderful celebration of dedication by board members, staff, parents and family, volunteers, supporters and, most importantly, those people who are supported.

We heard from a mother, Catherine Case, about her determination to find support for her son, Bob, who was born with Down's syndrome. She told us about the lack of resources available to her 40 years ago and her decision to ignore her family doctor's advice to have Bob institutionalized. It's obvious today that Catherine and her husband made the right decision. Bob is now supported by Middlesex Community Living, he is in supported employment, he lives with another gentleman in their own apartment and is a valued member of our community. That was the start of the community living effort in Middlesex.

Over the years, I've often seen Bob and his friends around Strathroy. They are truly contributing members of our community. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has associated with Middlesex Community Living and all such associations throughout Ontario for the work they do.

Attitudes have changed greatly over the past 40 years, but we still have a long way to go.


Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): Who knew that deer lived in the forest and who knew that apples grow on trees? Well, thanks to Dalton McGuinty's multi-million dollar advertising campaign, taxpayers who think that deer live in condos or apples grow in grocery stores will now have been given this thoughtful and profound lesson in science. Dalton has made a lot of wild claims in his day, but the notion that his greenbotch plan has given rise to deer and apples is a bit too much even for his standards.

Not only that, but Dalton's greenbotch foundation has opened up plush new offices in the high-rent real estate in the Yorkville area. Putting the greenbotch headquarters in downtown Toronto is like putting Ontario's capital in Labrador.

If the Premier had bothered to ask municipalities in the greenbelt, farmers in the greenbelt and taxpayers in the greenbelt, they would have told him to put that money into helping out municipalities like Lincoln, Pelham or Grimsby, which had their funding cut and their growth frozen. Farmers in the greenbelt would have told them to put the money into programs to assist the marketing of their products, research and to help them out with all the challenges that farmers are facing today.

When my constituents and constituents throughout the greenbelt area see a $1.5-million minimum of taxpayer money going to these rather insulting advertisements and not flowing to assist farmers or small municipalities, do you know what they say? "No wonder they call it the greenbotch."


Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): This Saturday marks a very tragic event in the history of East York. In fact, it's the first anniversary of the death of Andrew "Drew" Stewart. He was a young man, 16 years old, who was killed in front of a set of restaurants on Coxwell Avenue, just north of East York Collegiate. It was something that shocked our entire community. It was something for which I think we as a community, we as a neighbourhood were unprepared for: that two teenaged boys would be involved in an altercation and that one of them would pull out a knife and kill a young man who was doing nothing more than defending his friend.

But his mother and his friends have asked for peace. They do not believe in retribution and they have asked the community to remain calm, and in fact the community has remained calm. Drew's mother did up a T-shirt with Drew's face on it and with the very good words underneath, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good."

This Saturday, people of East York will gather to remember Drew. We will be at Taylor Creek Park, just opposite Crescent Town. We will be planting a tree in his memory and we will be talking to all the people of our community and the greater Toronto and Ontario communities to ask them to look at what is troubling youth, to ask them to please, please remain calm and, in her own words, "overcome evil by good."


Mr. Jim Brownell (Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh): I had planned a different statement today from the one I'm presenting, but received some news this morning that must be shared with this House. Today, Domtar announced that it will be closing a number of mills, among them the one in the city of Cornwall. This comes as a blow to both the city and the rest of my riding. The Domtar mill has been a pillar of the community for decades.

My deepest sympathies go out to the men and women who awoke this morning to the most unfortunate news possible. My late father worked at Domtar. This news certainly comes as a direct blow to me as well. To these men and women I extend my support and the support of the government of Ontario.


From the get-go, I have worked with my colleagues, the Ministers of Economic Development and Trade, Energy, Natural Resources and Labour to defend jobs in the riding. Speaking with the Premier this morning, he voiced his concern and determination to overcome the difficulties this community presently faces. I want the people of my riding to know that their government, their Premier and I will double our efforts to promote the benefits that my riding offers employers: a perfect location, a bilingual workforce and the most dedicated, hard-working individuals in the province. This government will do all it can to help them through these difficult times. I will work diligently with my provincial, federal and municipal colleagues to encourage job opportunities for the people of Cornwall and all of Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh. I certainly want to extend my thanks to the mayor of the city of Cornwall, Phil Poirier, for his diligent work on this file too.


Mr. Norman W. Sterling (Lanark-Carleton): On Monday, November 28, Bill Farlinger, a good friend and a great citizen of Ontario, passed away. Bill was a very successful businessman and a chartered accountant, retiring in 1993 as chairman and chief executive officer of the very large accounting firm Ernst and Young. After that, members of this Legislature will remember that he served as chair of Ontario Hydro and its successor company, Ontario Power Generation, until 2003.

For his philanthropic contributions to Ontario and Canada, Bill received the Order of Canada and many other prestigious awards. Bill worked hand in hand with his wife Esther, raising millions of dollars for many different charitable causes.

I met Bill in 1990, when he agreed to help Mike Harris become the leader of our party and, later, Premier of Ontario. I was impressed that a man of his status and responsibility would devote significant time and effort to help Mike. He did it because he believed in Mike and because he felt a strong sense of duty to his province and his country. Bill was one of Mike's most important advisers and friends.

In 1996, as energy minister, I went to Bill, then chairman of Ontario Hydro, to divide the corporation into two entities, one for generation and one for transmission. In spite of huge opposition from within his organization, Bill carried out this division because he saw it as the best solution for Ontario. He worked hard at OPG, seeking solutions to long-standing and very difficult problems. I believe he did the best that anyone could, given the circumstances, and I thank him for his service and dedication.

Bill was adored by his wife, Esther, and his children, Brian, Pamela, Craig, Leonard, David and his stepson Philip, and their spouses. His family, his grandchildren and his many friends will miss Bill, and our heartfelt condolences go out to them today.


Mr. David Orazietti (Sault Ste. Marie): I rise in the House today to recognize an important investment our government is making in Sault Ste. Marie. This $6-million project will result in 20 to 30 new jobs at a 16-bed youth justice centre, and is part of our $30-billion five-year plan to renew Ontario's infrastructure. The architectural work is presently being completed, and construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2006, with the centre to open in 2007.

Following the election of our government, we created the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to better coordinate and serve the young people of this province. I want to commend the first Minister of Children and Youth Services, Marie Bountrogianni, and the present minister, Mary Anne Chambers, for ensuring that this new centre was in fact built in our city.

The past government closed our youth justice centre and chose instead to transport the area's youth to Sudbury at a cost of over $500,000 per year, something our previous NDP member failed to reverse. We're addressing a very poor decision by the past government by ensuring that these young people receive the treatment and programs they need and deserve as close to home as possible.

The new centre represents a broader commitment to be not only tough on crime but smart on crime. Our government is committed to the development of a comprehensive youth justice strategy to enable young people to become responsible, accountable, law-abiding citizens. We'll continue to improve and develop new services and programs for young offenders that are more effective and that maintain the highest level of public safety for Ontarians. By recognizing the unique needs of youth in conflict, we can help keep our communities safe.


Mr. Bruce Crozier (Essex): It gives me great pleasure to welcome today the Ontario Co-operative Association and the Conseil de la Coopération de l'Ontario to the Legislature. Tonight they're jointly hosting their eighth MPP Queen's Park reception, and I invite all members of the Legislature to attend in the legislative dining room from 6 to 8 p.m.

There are more than 1,900 co-ops, credit unions and caisses populaires in Ontario, with over $19 billion in assets, over 2.3 million members and employing thousands of Ontarians. Not only are co-op organizations a strong economic force; they're open to everyone, regardless of race, culture, religion, philosophical beliefs or economic standing.

A co-operative, as its name implies, is people coming together to meet a common need. It is essentially a form of business enterprise that can be utilized in all sectors of the economy, including health care, housing, food, agriculture, service, financial, youth, renewable energy and First Nations communities.

Tonight, as part of their reception, the Ontario co-operative sector is unveiling its white paper on co-operative development in Ontario. Two years in the making, the co-op sector's white paper, entitled Capturing Co-operative Opportunities, is the result of extensive consultation with the Ontario co-operative sector, with government representatives and with other stakeholders. It is a call to the Ontario government and the Ontario co-operative sector to work together to secure the province's collective prosperity.


Mr. Tim Peterson (Mississauga South): I rise today to recognize an organization called Journalists for Human Rights and its founder, Ben Peterson.

After receiving his M.A. in political science from the London School of Economics, Ben spent eight months in Accra, Ghana, advising the Ghanaian government on the incorporation of human rights into its constitution. From there, Ben realized there was a systematic abuse of human rights in many countries and widespread ignorance of the same throughout Canada and the world. The solution: Educate journalists about these abuses, not only in the countries involved but also in Canada and around the world, so they could write about them and educate us all about them.

In three short years, Journalists for Human Rights has offices in six countries, has chapters in all the journalism schools in Canada and has achieved sustainable funding that supports a staff of six. It is truly remarkable that leadership of this magnitude should come from new graduates, but then again, he is my nephew and he is the son of David Peterson. We should all expect the unexpected.

Today in the members' gallery we have Ben Peterson and his fellow workers, Carina Lentsch, Thomas Asiimwe and Lauren Hortie. May we all applaud their idealism and their accomplishments.



The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): I beg to inform the House that vacancies have occurred in the membership of the House by reason of the resignation of John Baird as the member for the electoral district of Nepean-Carleton, by reason of the resignation of Marilyn Churley as the member for the electoral district of Toronto-Danforth and by reason of the resignation of Jim Flaherty as the member for the electoral district of Whitby-Ajax.

Accordingly, I have issued my warrant to the Chief Election Officer for the issue of writs for by-elections.



Mr. Tony C. Wong (Markham): I beg leave to present a report from the standing committee on regulations and private bills and move its adoption.

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

Bill 123, An Act to require that meetings of provincial and municipal boards, commissions and other public bodies be open to the public / Projet de loi 123, Loi exigeant que les réunions des commissions et conseils provinciaux et municipaux et d'autres organismes publics soient ouvertes au public.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.

The bill is therefore ordered for third reading.




Mr. Ruprecht moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 38, An Act to amend the Consumer Reporting Act / Projet de loi 38, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les renseignements concernant le consommateur.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member may have a brief statement.

Mr. Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): This bill provides that if there has been a security breach and personal financial information has been stolen, consumer reporting agencies and our financial institutions must inform the consumer. This bill also provides that on credit files, vital information such as social insurance numbers must be masked in order to minimize identity theft. The bill further provides that consumer reporting agencies shall investigate disputed information within 30 days and correct or delete any information found to be unconfirmed.

This bill also provides that consumer reporting agencies shall only report inquiry records resulting out of actual applications for credit. The bill provides that consumer reporting agencies shall also report information on consumer reports in written or electronically transmitted form, and not orally. The bill provides that consumers are entitled to a copy of a report obtained by a third party upon request so as to be able to challenge its accuracy.

Finally, the bill incorporates guidelines for the storing and safekeeping of consumer information, including electronic signatures, under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act for the purpose of minimizing identity theft.


Mr. Dunlop moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 39, An Act to prevent the disposal of waste at Site 41 in the Township of Tiny / Projet de loi 39, Loi visant à empêcher l'élimination de déchets sur le lieu 41 dans le canton de Tiny.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member may have a brief statement.

Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): The bill prohibits the disposal of waste at site 41 in the township of Tiny, located approximately four kilometres north of the village of Elmvale and four kilometres south of the village of Wyevale. The bill revokes an environmental approval that has been issued in connection with the possible disposal of waste at the site. The bill extinguishes certain causes of action that may exist in respect of the site, and the bill entitles the county of Simcoe to compensation from the crown in respect of certain expenses if the Legislative Assembly authorizes the payment of compensation.


Mr. Sergio moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 40, An Act respecting the disclosure of information about crimes to purchasers of land and to tenants / Projet de loi 40, Loi sur la divulgation de renseignements sur les crimes commis aux acheteurs de biens-fonds et aux locataires.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The member may have a brief statement.

Mr. Mario Sergio (York West): The bill amends the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act and the Tenant Protection Act, 1997, to provide that a vendor in an agreement of purchase and sale and a landlord in a tenancy agreement must disclose to the purchaser or tenant whether the property that is the subject of the agreement has been used to commit a crime during the time the vendor or landlord had a legal interest in the property.



Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): I seek unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding members who have resigned and private members' public business.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Mr. Caplan has asked for unanimous consent to deal with the withdrawal of business before private members' hour. Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Caplan: I move that the order for second reading of Bill 35, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect workers from harassment in the workplace, standing in the name of Ms. Churley, be discharged and the bill withdrawn; that the order referring Bill 101, An Act to amend the Health Insurance Act, to the standing committee on regulations and private bills, standing in the name of Mr. Baird, be discharged and the bill withdrawn; and that private members' notice of motion 4, standing in the name of Mr. Baird, be deleted from the Orders and Notices paper.

The Speaker: Mr. Caplan has moved that the order for second reading of Bill 35 --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker: Dispense? Dispense.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.


Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): I seek unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding private members' public business.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Mr. Caplan has asked for unanimous consent to put forward a motion regarding private members' public business. Agreed? Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Caplan: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 96(d), the following changes be made to the ballot list of private members' public business: that Mr. Ruprecht and Mr. Lalonde exchange places in the order of precedence such that Mr. Ruprecht assumes ballot item 14 and Mr. Lalonde assumes ballot item 59; and that notwithstanding standing order 96(g), notice be waived for ballot item 14.

The Speaker: Mr. Caplan has moved that, notwithstanding standing order 96(d), the following changes be made to the ballot list --

Interjection: Dispense.

The Speaker: Dispense? Dispense.

Shall the motion carry? Carried.



Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): My question is for the Premier. As I'm sure your Attorney General has advised you, the Quebec Superior Court, in an alarming and disturbing decision, today lifted all conditions that had been placed upon Karla Homolka. This decision means, among other things, that Ms. Homolka can travel freely and unmonitored to any community in Canada, including St. Catharines, the home of her victims. Premier, do you now regret the failure of your government to play an active role in Ms. Homolka's appeal hearing?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Attorney General.

Hon. Michael Bryant (Attorney General): Last June, Ontario crown attorneys, acting as agents of the Quebec Attorney General, appeared before the provincial court in Joliette. They made submissions, all of which were accepted by the court, and a recognizance order was entered. Those submissions and those rulings were then put before the Quebec Superior Court. Obviously disappointed with the result, but the more than a year of intergovernmental legal collaboration that had taken place between Quebec and Ontario up until that date will certainly continue. It is our view that this decision is appealable. Our officials are in constant contact with Quebec officials, and I will be speaking with the Quebec Attorney General later today.


Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't talking about the Joliette hearing. We all know that the Attorney General was front and centre when Ms. Homolka's release from prison was approaching, when all the cameras were turned on. But when her appeal was heard, he was missing in action. He dropped the ball. The reality is that this Attorney General and his officials were once again outsmarted by Ms. Homolka and her lawyers. Ms. Homolka brought in an expert witness to testify that she posed no risk, and Ontario failed to counter.

Minister, how do you explain to the victims' families and all Ontarians your failure to pull out all stops to ensure the restrictions on Ms. Homolka remained in place? How do you explain that failure?

Hon. Mr. Bryant: Well, I don't think anybody here can imagine what the victims' families go through any time the name Homolka comes up, let alone when a hearing takes place. I spoke with the lawyer for the victims' families, Mr. Danson, today and indicated that, just as we have been in constant consultation with the victims' families -- I met with them and our lawyers have been in constant discussions with Mr. Danson, who was present at the hearing in the spring and also at the appeal -- that will certainly continue and that we will continue to do everything we can to put in place the restrictions that will protect them and the public as long as Homolka is in Canada.

Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General can use all the words he wants to weasel out of his responsibilities and to justify his failure, but it won't work with the people in St. Catharines or the people of Ontario. In the original hearing, Ontario crowns were sworn in as Quebec crowns. That didn't happen this time. Unlike the killer, Ontario did not provide expert witness testimony to counter her so-called expert, who testified that she didn't pose a danger to the public. You also refused to fund the French and Mahaffy families' attendance at the appeal hearing, and you forced their lawyer to pay his own way -- an abysmal record. The French and Mahaffy families are devastated by this decision. What are you going to do now to ensure that this decision is appealed?

Hon. Mr. Bryant: As I indicated to the victims' families' lawyers today -- and have indicated already -- we are urging the Quebec Attorney General to appeal. He has jurisdiction. If this were in Ontario, there is no question that we would be appealing.

The member is mistaken: Mr. Ramsay and other crown attorneys from Ontario were present at the appeal, were in constant contact and were advising the Quebec crown attorneys throughout the entire appeal.

Mr. Runciman: I did not say that.

Hon. Mr. Bryant: Look, this is not over. It's not over in Quebec and it is certainly not over in the province of Ontario, Mr. Speaker. I can assure you that if we receive any information that she plans on coming to Ontario, we will be going before Ontario courts to seek a recognizance order in the province of Ontario. In the meantime, we are urging Quebec authorities to appeal this decision.


Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): My question is for the Minister of Energy. What exactly are your contingency plans in the event that Calpine Corp. declares bankruptcy, as is being predicted by analysts, and pulls out of their contract to build a 1,005-megawatt facility, a natural gas plant in Sarnia that you say will make up 11% of your loss by your irresponsible promise to close Ontario's coal-fired plants?

Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Energy): I thank the member for the question. I'd like to assure the member that the partner of Calpine is Mitsui. I had a conversation with the president of Mitsui. He informs me that they are in the process of opening up their office in Toronto in order to follow through with their commitment on the 1,000-megawatt proposal.

Mr. Yakabuski: I'm not sure that we find that reassuring. The former minister, when he announced the Greenfield Energy Centre, of which Calpine is a partner, said, "The projects announced today represent a significant portion of our commitment to replace coal with cleaner sources of supply. In particular, the two projects near Sarnia will be sufficient to replace most of the capacity at the Lambton coal-fired station."

Minister, Calpine's project alone accounts for more than 11% of your scheme to replace coal-fired power in our province. Now the project is in serious jeopardy. In March 2001, Calpine's shares traded for $58; yesterday those same shares traded for 75 cents. Merrill Lynch analyst David Silverstein said yesterday that a bankruptcy filing is "likely." Again, what is your backup plan to ensure that the lights stay on, given your poorly conceived plan to shut down Ontario's coal-fired stations?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: Again, Mr. Murakami, the president and CEO of Mitsui Canada, confirms that the change will not -- underline "not" -- affect the project. They have, in fact, their contingency plans within their agreement with Calpine. So again, I reassure the member that this is under the total and complete authority of Mitsui, and we have every confidence in Mr. Murakami of Mitsui, which is the partner in Calpine.

Mr. Yakabuski: So one phone call and everything is all right in Liberal land again.

Minister, unfortunately your entire scheme to phase out coal-fired energy plants has been one bungle after another. First, you promised to close all plants by 2007, and then, in typical Liberal fashion, you changed that to 2009. Then you announced a series of RFPs for alternatives to coal. Only in August of this year it was announced that the 280-megawatt Greenfield North Power project in Mississauga will not proceed. The 570-megawatt Invenergy project in Sarnia was refused rezoning by St. Clair township in October. The city of Thunder Bay is calling for an environmental assessment of the natural gas pipeline for the 310-megawatt Thunder Bay generating station. Now Calpine's 1,005 megawatts is in serious jeopardy.

Specifically, what is your plan -- not your phone call, but your plan -- to ensure that the lights stay on in Ontario under your coal-fired policy?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: Thank you very much for the question. One thing I can assure the member is that we will not flip-flop like you have. We will in fact build, we will in fact maximize and we will in fact create. Maybe I should ask the member if they have changed their mind about the closure of coal, which was in their platform, and have suddenly taken another perspective.

We are on target. We have put in place 9,000 megawatts. We have 2,300 that came in. We were going to build new generation -- which we have done. For the first time, we have an 80-fold increase in wind capacity in this province. We are going to maximize our existing generation -- a new Beck tunnel, for example. We are going to maximize our transmission, which we did with Manitoba. And we are going to create a culture of conservation, which nobody has looked at for the last 12 years.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Today your government's policy of driving electricity rates through the roof killed another 700 jobs: 520 jobs at the Domtar paper mill in Cornwall and another 185 jobs at the Domtar paper mill in Ottawa. It's very clear that not only is your policy of driving electricity rates through the roof destroying jobs, but your so-called forest industry competitiveness strategy is being ignored by the industry. Since you've announced it, three mills have shut down. I urged you yesterday to announce that you are going to extend the Ontario Power Generation revenue cap for another two years so there would be some stability in electricity rates and they wouldn't go even higher. Now, after another 700 jobs have been killed, will you finally do the right thing and make that announcement?


Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): First of all, let me say that I had the opportunity to speak with not only the president and CEO of Domtar earlier today, but as well with the mayor of Cornwall. I had the opportunity to express my concerns to both, but especially to the mayor my desire and the willingness on the part of our government to work with the mayor, the council and all the people of Cornwall to see what we can do to help strengthen that local economy.

Let me say as well that it's important to recognize that Domtar made it perfectly clear in their press release that the closure was driven by the high dollar. Also, there were closures of two mills in Quebec, which the leader NDP will recognize as well, as well as another in BC. He would like to lay this at the feet of our government, specifically on the issue of electricity policy, but I think, in fairness, that would be much less than accurate.

Mr. Hampton: Premier, I read the press release. The mill in British Columbia is going up for sale because they believe it will be sold. You see, electricity rates there aren't through the roof. Similarly, the mills you talk about being closed in Quebec are not paper mills; they're two sawmills that are being consolidated because Quebec doesn't have enough wood fibre that is suitable for sawmills.

The vice-president of operations who was at the closure spent five minutes telling the workers, "This is not your fault. You, the workers, have done everything. It's the outrageous electricity prices in Ontario that are forcing the closure of this mill." That's what the vice-president said.

Premier, here's what has happened since you announced you had a policy to help the forest sector: Norampac has laid off 275 in Red Rock; Cascades has laid off over 500 in Thunder Bay; Weyerhaeuser has laid off 40; now 185 in Ottawa and more than 500 in Cornwall. How many workers have to lose their jobs before you admit your policy --

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): The question has been asked. Premier?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I know the leader of the NDP tends to look at everything through electricity lenses. He would somehow surmise that electricity prices in the province of Ontario have led to the closures of mills in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Quebec and BC, as well as in other parts of North America and indeed throughout the world. I beg to differ. There are some very serious challenges faced by the forestry sector in the international community -- of that, there is no doubt. We have put forward a $680-million strategy to help support our sector here in Ontario. Part of that is a $150-million forest sector prosperity fund, and I'm pleased to learn that more than two dozen companies in Ontario have already made applications to that particular fund so that working together we can put those mills on a more productive footing and help them transition into this new, highly competitive era.

Mr. Hampton: Premier, you ought to know about the Ottawa mill, because it has two paper machines on the Ottawa side of the border and one paper machine on the Quebec side of the border. Here's the reality: The two machines on the Ontario side are being shut down. The machine on the Quebec side is going to run. You talk about Cascades. Cascades in Thunder Bay shut down their mill at the same time they announced they were going to invest more money in their mill in Quebec. What's the difference? The difference is this: $80 a megawatt for electricity in Ontario, $45 a megawatt for electricity in Quebec. That's why companies are investing in their mills in Quebec while they shut down in Ontario.

Union leaders and industry leaders believe you don't understand the seriousness of this. They're asking for a meeting with you. They have no confidence in your forest sustainability competitiveness strategy and they have no confidence in your minister. They want a meeting with you before thousands more jobs are lost. Are you going to do that, Premier? Will you meet with them?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: Let me say that we remain very much committed to working with anybody in the forestry sector and doing everything we possibly can to help put this industry, which is under siege in the international community, on a more sustainable, productive and efficient footing.

This is not easy work, but I'm pleased and proud to say that we have put together what I think is a very important package of $680 million. I'll further define that for the members opposite. There's a $150-million forest sector prosperity fund. We've announced $28 million of annual -- that's ongoing -- support for the maintenance of primary access roads. We're putting up $10 million for an annual inventory program. That's on top of a $350-million loan guarantee program.

My disappointment is that Domtar did not apply for any assistance so that we might have put in place a co-generation program that would have helped make their operation more efficient. Having said that, we will continue to work with the good people of Cornwall.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): To the Minister of Energy: Your leader says you're interested in working with these companies. What you're doing is shutting them down.

But I want to ask you about your much-ballyhooed announcement about Calpine, that they were going to build a 1,000-megawatt natural gas plant in Sarnia. Yesterday, Standard and Poors, the credit rating agency, cut Calpine's corporate credit rating by two notches to level CCC, eight levels below investment grade, after it was announced that the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer were gone. Standard and Poors said, "The management strategy pursued by the prior CEO and CFO was to keep the company operating."

It sounds like Standard and Poors wants the company shut down. What does that do to your plans for lots of natural-gas-fired electricity, Premier?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): The Minister of Energy.

Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Energy): I thank the member for the question. It's interesting that someone who indicates that, "We will continue to live with the effects of the coal mistakes for decades to come. Some of us will die before our time, victims of coal-fired generated air pollution" -- that was Mr. Hampton in Public Power; obviously not particularly interested in replacing coal-fired.

I have answered the question. I will answer it again. Mr. Maasaki Murakami, president and CEO of Mitsui Canada, confirms -- they are the partner with Calpine -- that this change will not -- underline "not" -- affect this project. In fact, this project is going forward on schedule. I would be very happy, if this question is asked again, to repeat that this change will not affect the project.

Mr. Hampton: I'm not surprised the Premier didn't want to answer the question.

I want to quote Standard and Poors again: "An unfavourable court decision about Calpine's ability to sell or monetize assets, however, worsens Calpine's vulnerable financial position. This, compounded with uncertain prospects in the power markets, makes it unlikely the company will be able to meet its obligations with internal cash flow generation."

Calpine is the energy giant here. Calpine is on the financial ropes. Calpine is likely going to be driven into bankruptcy any day now.

I want to ask the Premier again: What's your plan to keep the lights on when all of your natural gas plants -- or at least, so far, most of your natural gas plants -- can't even get off the ground?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: Again I'm pleased to repeat that Mr. Murakami, the president and CEO of Mitsui Canada, is a partner in the Calpine project. We have had reassurance from the gentleman that this does not affect the project and it will go forward.

I repeat that we do have a strategy and plan in place. We are going to build new generation, which we are doing. We are going to maximize our existing generation and transmission lines, which we are doing. We are going to create a culture of conservation, which is happening in this province as we speak.

Those are the plans and the strategy that include the vision, which means that we will move forward to produce a safe, secure, reliable electricity and power source for this province. That is our commitment, and that is what we are following through with. I have every confidence in Mitsui Canada. It is a very large international conglomerate with --


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Final supplementary?

Mr. Hampton: Here's the situation: Calpine, one of your champions, is in trouble; two of your natural gas plants in Mississauga, supposedly to be built by Eastern, are in trouble; and you keep announcing a natural gas plant somewhere in downtown Toronto, but it can't get off the ground. Meanwhile, the major industrial users say that your electricity policy is killing 140,000 good-paying industrial jobs. You announce a forest sector competitiveness strategy, but after you announce it, company after company announces they're shutting down, killing thousands of jobs, and leaving the province.

Industry leaders and union leaders are very concerned over what's happening. They see electricity rates going up, not down. They see more jobs being lost. They see communities being decimated. Will you meet with union leaders and pulp and paper industry leaders, Premier, or are you going to try to pretend there's no problem here?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: I'd like to give a quote: "This is an historic event and good news in terms of Ontario's energy needs, good news for the environment as higher efficiency and cleaner fuels improve air quality, good news for ratepayers through improved reliability and efficiencies in our economy -- and of course good news for Ontario's power industry."

Interjection: Who said that?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: The president of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario said that. In fact, they do support our initiatives of a balanced approach as we move forward.

As for the other question, we are meeting with the Power Workers' Union, and there's no problem meeting with them. I have that scheduled.


Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): A question to the Premier: I want to direct to you today's Toronto Sun headline entitled, "A Fib By Any Other Name." The article refers to your Bill 37, which effectively allows new municipal taxes on everything from theatre tickets to drivers' registrations. This is the latest on a long, sorry list of broken Dalton McGuinty promises. You've already broken your promises: You're running multi-year deficits, you've already levelled a punishing new health tax on working families and now there's a new regime of taxes across the province of Ontario. Premier, does anybody give a tinker's damn about taxpayers on your side of the House?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): I would encourage the member opposite to sit down or at least phone his leader, because he may be interested in the position that he's taken on this particular issue with respect to putting the city of Toronto on a stronger financial footing.

To quote Mr. Tory, who said, on May 7 last year, "We have to re-examine completely the relationship between the municipal and provincial government to give city governments more latitude to raise some of their own revenue if they choose to do so." He went on to say, "They will then be accountable for whatever they choose to do -- to fund some things that may be priorities for these cities. Right now they have to go and ask for permission to do everything and I don't think that's right."

I would encourage the member opposite to sit down and work this through with his leader.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): My question is to the Premier too. Last Tuesday, when your minister introduced the bill, the no respect for taxpayers act, I stated that this bill, if passed, would be a groundbreaking demonstration of how the McGuinty Liberal government is committed to tax and spend and will now ask the municipalities to help him do it.

My question is very simple: Can you tell the taxpayers of this province what types of new taxes you are going to allow them to foist upon their constituents without being asked? For example, are taxpayers going to be subjected to a new sales tax, a poll tax or an income tax? Premier, is this new increase in taxes that municipalities can collect for the province going to include municipalities all across the province, as the title of the bill suggests, or is it just going to be foisted upon the citizens of Toronto?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: I'll tell you what inspires and motivates the line of questioning the party opposite is pursuing at this point in time. The long and the short of it is that they don't believe they can trust the people who live in Ontario municipalities and that they cannot trust their duly elected officials. What we intend to do on this side of the House is turn this around and respect Ontario municipalities and give them the credence they are due. They sow division; they sow discord. We believe the best way to make this province work is to have people working together, and that's why we're going to recognize the credit and the respect that is due to Ontario municipalities.


Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): To the Attorney General: It was your promises of safety for Todd Petahtegoose, his wife and child in the witness protection program that persuaded Mr. Petahtegoose to give evidence with respect to 10 gangster, biker and gangland murders in this province, and to testify for the crown against a senior Satan's Choice member in a murder trial. Once he did what he did, you're dropping him like a hot potato. As of today, not only has he not received the new identification, the new driver's licence, the new legal names and the new social insurance numbers, but he's being evicted from the accommodations that have been provided for him. As of midnight, he, his wife and 13-year-old daughter are on the street with their possessions in brown cardboard boxes.

Minister, why didn't you keep your promise to Todd Petahtegoose, and why won't you and your staff sit down with his lawyer, who is prepared to negotiate an interim resolution of this matter with you?

Hon. Michael Bryant (Attorney General): There is ongoing civil litigation with respect to this very matter in which the plaintiffs are using pseudonyms. That ended yesterday when the member opposite decided to identify the individual in this House and identify where he's located right now.

This is before the courts right now. The plaintiff is taking a position. We, I, deny the allegations. We are taking a different position in the event that counsel are to discuss some kind of an alternative. That is for that person's lawyer, and he is represented; he has a lawyer. That lawyer can speak with officials in the ministry. But again I say, it's before the courts. We deny the allegations. I'm not going to argue the case in this Legislature. I'm going to let the courts decide.

Mr. Kormos: Minister, the bikers and the gangsters know who Todd Petahtegoose is. He's the one who stood up in court and testified against them. That's why he needs a new identity; that's why he needs a new driver's licence; that's why he needs support; that's why he needs accommodation for himself, his wife and his child. You have encouraged witnesses to the scores of gangster and gangland shootings and slayings across Toronto over the course of the last six months to come forward, even if they're afraid, because you promised them that you would protect them under the Ontario witness protection program.

How does your abandonment of Todd Petahtegoose, his wife and his 13-year-old daughter, putting them out on the street as sitting ducks tonight, how does your abandonment of Mr. Petahtegoose and his family instil any confidence in your witness protection program by any of those witnesses who might otherwise have come forward with respect to those scores of murders these last six months?

Hon. Mr. Bryant: I think it is absolutely outrageous that the member would suggest we ought not to have total confidence in the witness protection program. We are constantly trying to encourage citizens to come forward and participate in criminal investigations, whether they be involving gangs or otherwise. I have total confidence that the police officers and the Ministry of Attorney General officials who assist protected witnesses appreciate very well the difficult situations these witnesses find themselves in and make every effort to treat them fairly. Contrary to what this member is saying, and contrary to what this member is advocating, I urge people to come forward and participate in the justice system.

The witness protection program in the province of Ontario has got more experience and is more developed than any other witness protection program in the country, and I would encourage people to participate in it if they feel that is appropriate. I completely reject the allegations made by the member opposite.



Mr. Tony C. Wong (Markham): My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Traditional Chinese medicine is something that is important not only to me, personally, but it is important to my community and to Ontarians across the province. In March, you asked my colleagues Minister Mike Colle, Peter Fonseca, Richard Patten and I to consult with Ontarians on how to best regulate both TCM and acupuncture. I can tell you that we heard from hundreds of Ontarians, including a wide array of health care practitioners and members of the public. Our findings were presented to you in our report this summer, and I know that you have been working diligently to review our recommendations and make decisions on this matter.

Minister, I have been asked what stage the government is at in its progress toward regulating TCM and acupuncture, and whether the government is still committed to introducing this legislation. Could you advise me on whether we will still be able to regulate TCM and acupuncture?

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): Indeed, we will. The honourable member, alongside colleagues in our caucus -- the members from Ottawa Centre, Eglinton-Lawrence and Mississauga East -- as was stated in the question, spent quite a lot of time taking submissions from a variety of individuals.

In the election campaign, we committed to regulating traditional Chinese medicine. We know that it's a therapy that hundreds of thousands of people are taking advantage of; I amongst them, more recently. I want to say to the honourable member that we think it's important to fulfill the commitment to regulate it and to give them their own self-regulating college. It is important that this profession, which is enjoyed by so many people, is one where we can offer a very high standard that means that the patients will be very safe. This legislation will be forthcoming before Christmas.

Mr. Wong: Minister, I thank you for this assurance. As you know, there are so many Ontarians that benefit from the use of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. These forms of medicine have been practised for thousands of years, and have proven to be effective in keeping people healthy and for treating various ailments. I'm proud that this government is delivering on ensuring that these practices are regulated, that Ontarians will be able to benefit from these treatments and will be able to have full confidence in their safety.

Minister, are we going to be having a college for traditional Chinese medicine, and why is that important?


Hon. Mr. Smitherman: I'm going to leave that aside. We think the regulation of traditional Chinese medicine is important for the protection of Ontarians. We want to ensure, of course, that as hundreds of thousands of people are taking advantage of the services, they can be assured that those practitioners have been appropriately qualified. Accordingly, it's important to have a college; that's the tradition in the province of Ontario with self-regulation. We're going to build on that. In this instance, we've got good experience with that here in the province of Ontario.

This will be an energetic process; many people will be involved. It will take some time to build up the capacities of this college, but we've seen a good degree of willingness on the part of TCM practitioners and interested patients to see this happen. Because of the good work that's been done by these caucus colleagues, we have a good plan to move forward with. As I said, I'm very excited to be able to bring legislation to this House before we rise for Christmas.


Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener-Waterloo): My question is for the Premier. Recently, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research released a series of reports showing that there is evidence for governments to set wait time benchmarks in three of the five priority areas: cancer, sight restoration and joint replacements. I ask you today: Are you going to keep your promise and set and announce the wait time benchmarks in these three areas by December 31, 2005?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Minister of Health.

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I'm happy to report progress [Failure of the sound system.] looking forward to an opportunity in the time between now and December 31 to gather with other colleagues of ours from across the country. The role that we've played as co-chair of the FPT has allowed us to make quite a lot of progress, and jurisdictions across the country have been working very hard. Each of them is reporting some progress toward reducing wait times. Accordingly, directly to the honourable member, I can say yes, we will fulfill the commitments that we made in keeping with the first ministers' accord and the December 31 timeline.

Mrs. Witmer: If I heard you correctly, you're saying that you are going to set and announce those wait time benchmarks by the end of this year.

I would ask you about your commitment to Fabry's patients and their families. They have been begging you for more than two years for treatment for Fabry's. You made a commitment more than a month ago now that there was going to be a start to time-limited research trials for treatment. However, right away, after this, on Silverman Helps on Citytv on October 26, you started to backtrack and said the program would start in weeks or short months. I ask you today, Minister, will you live up to your promise to the Fabry's patients and tell us that those clinical trials are going to start within weeks or days?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: There's an interesting relationship between the supplementary question and the original question. But I do want to say --

Mrs. Witmer: Wait times.

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Oh, I see. Very interesting.

I do want to say to the honourable member, on the issue of Fabry's, that she well knows the efforts I led on behalf of PT jurisdictions to encourage federal government participation in a research program that would extend the product on a pan-Canadian basis to all patients. Accordingly, the assurances that the honourable member seeks from me in terms of weeks or months are not ones that I'm easily in a position to offer, because there are other jurisdictions involved in this. However, I will get back to the honourable member with a more detailed report.

When I asked about this about four days ago, I was told that very strong progress was being made between federal and Quebec officials, Quebec being the lead for PT jurisdictions on the research element of the plan. Of course, moving forward would make the product available to those with Fabry's, but it's critically important that we capture appropriate data to determine the benefits that may be accruing to those patients. I agree that we need to move as quickly as we can, and I'll continue to put pressure on to make sure that happens.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. You promised to bring a new approach to aboriginal affairs in Ontario. You promised to consult with aboriginal leadership whenever government actions might adversely affect their treaty rights. You promised to "build a better future for aboriginal children and youth" in partnership with aboriginal people. Those are your promises. My question is this: Why is your government attempting to pass Bill 210 through the Legislature without any of the consultations that have been repeatedly demanded by First Nations leadership in this province?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Hon. Mary Anne V. Chambers (Minister of Children and Youth Services): I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to correct [Failure of sound system.] several meetings with aboriginal communities. We'll have another one today, and there are more scheduled.

Mr. Hampton: Maybe the Premier needs to inform his minister that holding a meeting with aboriginal people is not a consultation. The courts of Canada say that is not a consultation.

Here's a resolution of the Chiefs of Ontario dated November 11, 2004. They insist on a First Nations consultation process. Here are the Chiefs of Ontario in conference in June 2005, demanding a consultation process. I was speaking with aboriginal leadership this morning. They insist that no consultation process has taken place. So I'm going to ask the Premier: Will you suspend any of your attempts to pass Bill 210 until you have undertaken a consultation process with First Nations leadership on Bill 210?

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: Once again, the member opposite is actually not speaking with accuracy. On November 8, for example, I spent five hours in meetings with some 20 or so people, and they were in fact encouraged by my willingness to listen to their issues and to work with them. I am totally committed to listening to First Nations communities. Their children are as important as every other child in this province.



Mr. Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): I have a question for the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. When I held my energy forum in Davenport, I was quite surprised to find that most of the citizens are already conserving energy. For instance, they're using light bulbs that are fluorescent and programmed thermostats. They are also using energy in off-peak times whenever possible.

When these discussions come up, I often get asked what the government itself is doing to reduce energy usage. I know we are committed to reducing the amount of energy the government is using because we understand the environmental and economic benefits of conservation. Minister, what is this government doing to conserve energy?

Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): I want to thank the member for the question. Just last Thursday, I introduced a proposed growth plan for the greater Golden Horseshoe. That plan encourages municipalities to develop energy conservation strategies for municipally owned buildings, to identify potential sites for renewable energy generation, to develop policies for procuring renewable energy, and to create public education programs that work with communities and residents to reduce energy consumption.

Beyond that, our government is taking other key initiatives. One such initiative is to require the LEED silver rating on key infrastructure projects. LEED, just for the information of all the members, is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It sets standards for buildings to use less water, less power and less heat; in essence, creating smart buildings that will actively change our energy consumption. We have called for the silver standard in several projects, including the Durham consolidated courthouse and the Archives of Ontario. There are other initiatives, and I hope to get to those in the supplementary.

Mr. Ruprecht: One of the projects I hear quite often mentioned is the Enwave deep lake water cooling project. I understand it is price-competitive, clean and sustainable. Could you explain to this House and to the people of Ontario the benefits of this world-class project that I hear so much about?

Hon. Mr. Caplan: In fact, this was one of the issues I did want to bring to the attention of the House. Under the leadership of my colleague the Minister of Government Services, Gerry Phillips, we have entered into an agreement with Enwave to bring a deep lake water cooling system -- it draws water from 83 metres below the surface of Lake Ontario. The system is part of an integrated district cooling system that covers the city of Toronto's financial district. District cooling was introduced in 1997 with the opening of Enwave's Simcoe Street cooling plant.

Our government's real estate service provider, the Ontario Realty Corp., has engaged Enwave to use its deep lake water cooling system for government buildings right here in the precinct of Queen's Park. By installing deep lake water cooling at Queen's Park, the government will continue to show this kind of leadership, as this project provides tremendous long-term energy, environmental and economic benefits. By introducing deep lake water cooling at Queen's Park, 9.1 million kilowatt hours --

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. New question.


Mr. Ted Chudleigh (Halton): That was a great project that we initiated back in our government days.

My question is for the Premier. Premier, it continues: 3,900 jobs at General Motors -- with Ford and Chrysler yet to ring in -- lost to the people of Ontario; ABB in Guelph, 280 jobs gone; Cascades in Thunder Bay, 370 jobs; La-Z-Boy in Kitchener-Waterloo, 413 jobs.


Mr. Chudleigh: Over 30 companies in Ontario have closed down, Premier, in the last -- this is very amusing to the Minister of Natural Resources. Domtar a year ago had 910 employees. Today, they're closing; Ottawa, 185 employees gone. Humpty Dumpty in Brampton, 188 jobs: closed, gone to Montreal. Saint Gobain Advanced Ceramics in Brantford: gone, closed down.

What are you doing, Premier? It's all very well to make telephone calls, but it doesn't get the job done. Liberal Ontario is in trouble. What are you doing about it?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): The Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

Hon. Joseph Cordiano (Minister of Economic Development and Trade): I want to cite for the member the 214,000 new jobs that have been created by this great Ontario economy and the entrepreneurs and the people who work in this province. I want to cite something that's rather interesting: In the first two years of this government's mandate, as compared to the first two years of that government's mandate, seven out of eight jobs created were full-time jobs. During the first two years of your government's mandate, only five out of eight jobs created were full-time jobs. There is a jobs economy out there that is creating real jobs for people, and that's a lot more than you can say for the government that you were a part of.

Mr. Chudleigh: I don't think that answer is going to bring much relief to the tens of thousands of people in Ontario who, coming into the Christmas period, are looking at not having a job next year. The only fortunate thing you had was that your government followed our government. You didn't follow the NDP, who lost 60,000 jobs over their term of government.

The manufacturing industries and the forestry sector of this province are disintegrating under your watch. Their downfall will be your legacy. I ask you again: What plans does your government have to stop the bleeding in the manufacturing sector and the forestry sector of this once great province of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Cordiano: It's rather interesting. I want to give you a quote from November 27, 2005: "From a provincial point of view, I think this province is as competitive as we can possibly be in all aspects, whether it be in infrastructure or whether it be in tax jurisdictions." Who said that? None other than Ted Chudleigh on Focus Ontario. This province is indeed competitive. We are indeed investing in infrastructure, with $30 billion announced for infrastructure over the next five years. We are becoming far more competitive. He was right when he said that.


Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): My question is to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. Earlier today, my staff had a chance to visit the NOHFC Web site. They noted that according to the Web site, when you total it all up, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. has allocated in grants and loans a total of $85.5 million over the last two years. That's rather interesting. What we find rather interesting is that on November 1, you stood in this House and said that as of that date, NOHFC had spent $117.3 million. Minister, can you tell me where the $31.8 million went, the difference between what you announced and what's on your Web site?

Hon. Rick Bartolucci (Minister of Northern Development and Mines): I would be more than happy to tell the member and everyone in Ontario where the money went: It went into job creation in northern Ontario. There may be a necessity to update the Web site, but there is no reason for anyone to question that $117 million has been invested in more than 440 projects, which has leveraged $397 million and created 3,721 jobs. We are very proud of the refocused northern Ontario heritage fund.

Mr. Bisson: That's rather interesting, because when we talked to the staff at the NOHFC, they said that every penny they put out the door is listed on that Web site, and when you total up what's on Web site, there's a difference of $31 million from what you announced in the House. So I've got a simple question: Are you prepared to table in this House all the expenditures of the NOHFC in order to reconcile where the $31.8 million went?

Hon. Mr. Bartolucci: There's absolutely no question that I am convinced that the northern Ontario heritage fund has spent $117 million on job creation in northern Ontario. That has resulted in the creation of 3,721 jobs and has leveraged in excess of $390 million. The fact of the matter is, the refocused northern Ontario heritage fund is working and is creating jobs in northern Ontario at a record-setting pace.



Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph-Wellington): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Minister, the largest employer in my riding, Linamar, reports that they face a shortage of skilled tradespeople in the auto parts sector, yet when they locate candidates from other countries, they have trouble getting immigration permits into Canada.

You recently signed the historic Canada-Ontario immigration agreement, which will quadruple funding for newcomers in Ontario -- an increase of $920 million. In the agreement, there is a specific section about Ontario developing a provincial nominee program, for the first time ever. I'd like to know: How will this provincial nominee program work, and how will it benefit my riding of Guelph-Wellington?

Hon. Mike Colle (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration): Thank you very much to the member from Guelph-Wellington for the question. There has been a lot of discussion about this breakthrough agreement and the fact that, for the first time ever, this province has signed an immigration agreement which gives the people of Ontario $920 million over five years. But another significant aspect of that agreement is that, for the first time, we're going to be full partners with the federal government in determining some immigration policies. One of the things we're going to be able to do is put in a provincial nominee program, which allows us, as a province, to select certain specific skilled-labour-shortage areas where we can match who's coming into the country and where they can go and find jobs, like the great city of Guelph, and help grow the economy and help industry in Guelph.

Mrs. Sandals: That's great news for my riding of Guelph-Wellington. Other provinces like Manitoba have had a provincial nominee program for some time. In fact, Quebec has had total control over its immigration selections. These other provinces already have the ability to nominate individuals wishing to make that province their new home, and have successfully used these programs to address specific labour market shortages.

Minister, what does it mean for Ontario now that we too will have a provincial nominee program? Can the auto industry in my riding expect similar success?

Hon. Mr. Colle: There are some very specific shortfalls in different parts of Ontario. This agreement will allow us to target certain groups of highly skilled immigrants who are very willing to come to Canada. There are also willing employers who have said that they can't expand their businesses because they don't have certain skilled employees. We will be able to do now what Manitoba has been doing for a decade, what Quebec has been doing for 20 years. This agreement, this historic, never-done-before agreement, brings fairness to Ontario, makes us full partners at the immigration table and makes us target special needs to help Ontario communities like Sudbury, like Cornwall, like Guelph. This is great news for increasing our economy and targeting the skills shortages which exist in this province. It also brings these hard-working, willing immigrants into Ontario.


Mr. Cameron Jackson (Burlington): I'd like to ask the Premier a question. In your first budget you cut OHIP coverage for physiotherapy in this province. Last March, under immense pressure, you agreed to provide physiotherapy services for seniors in long-term-care facilities who were aged 65 or older. You announced as well that you were going to cut the amount of service from 150 treatments to 100. At the time, there was a promise made by your Minister of Health and his ministry that they would create a mechanism to allow for those seniors and the most severely disabled in this province to have services above the 100 threshold.

My question is this: Why is it that on August 17, September 14, October 5 and again in November, your government promised these seniors that they would have a mechanism in place and that promise has been broken each and every time? Why has your Ministry of Health turned its back on these seniors?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the Minister of Health.

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): It's interesting to always get questions about health care from a party that has on record a commitment to cut health care by $2.4 billion, not to mention the fact that with respect to physiotherapy and the much-loved status quo that is the hallmark of that party, when we came to office, what we discovered was that some seniors in long-term-care homes were receiving hundreds and hundreds of physiotherapy treatments a year and many none. Accordingly, we decided that in an environment where our resources do have limitations, it was appropriate to move forward on an equitable basis, and that's what we've done. So if you are a senior in a long-term-care home in the province of Ontario, your access to physiotherapy has been enhanced quite greatly.

With respect to the exemption for those who have more pressing medical needs, I will be happy to address that specifically in the supplementary.

Mr. Jackson: This is kind of rich coming from a member of a political party -- between David Peterson's five years and Bob Rae's five years, the debt in this province went up by $65 billion and not one net new long-term-care bed was built under both of your governments' watches. So you don't need to lecture us about our commitment; we built 20,000 long-term-care beds.

Premier, your government is not only cutting 150 treatments to 100; as of April 1, you are cutting it further to 50. So how can your Minister of Health stand in this House and suggest to seniors that he is enhancing services when he is the biggest health cutter for seniors this province has ever seen?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Here is the Tory record on health care: hospitals, cut $557 million in two fiscal years; OHIP, cut $80 million, 1998-99; ODB, cut $34.1 million; introduced the co-pay for seniors; community and public health, cut $136 million; long-term care, 1996-97, cut $23. 5 million; closed 26 hospitals, 10,000 hospital beds; laid off 6,000 nurses.

With respect to the medical exemption, as promised in a November 24 bulletin that went out to designated clinics, that exemption program for those with medical necessity will be in place on December 1 this year. That is tomorrow.


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Stop the clock. We'll wait. I would like to be able to hear the member for Trinity-Spadina. Order.


Mr. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): My question is to the Premier. Researchers at the University of Toronto recently asked local youth gang members why they join gangs, and here's what one 23-year-old gang member had to say: "It's like the only jobs they got for poor black people is like McDonald's or Wendy's or some other [BS] like that. Low pay, low respect. You basically just a slave, just a punk, while some fat owner gets rich. I'm not going down like that."

You talk about being tough on the causes of crime, but quite frankly, we don't see any evidence of it. You talk about results. How would you expect me and our communities to judge you on your results thus far?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): First of all, the member raises a serious issue, and he should understand where we are coming from on this side of the House. I think it all has to do fundamentally with ensuring that young people have every educational and training opportunity they can possibly get their hands on. So far, we have $1.9 billion in new investments in education since taking office, including hiring 4,300 new teachers, all kinds of new programs, new training opportunities for teachers and the like. We are also bringing in student success programs, one element of which is requiring that young people continue to learn until the age of 18.

Beyond that, we are investing $6.2 billion, an unprecedented level of investment and commitment, in post-secondary education which is going to provide more training opportunities, more opportunities in our colleges, more opportunities in our universities, and $1.5 billion of that new $6.2 billion is dedicated to new student assistance programs.



The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): I would like to bring the members' attention to a guest we have in the members' west gallery. Helen Johns, who represented Huron and then Huron-Bruce in the 36th and 37th Parliaments, is with us.



Mr. Norman W. Sterling (Lanark-Carleton): This is a petition to save Rideau Regional Centre, a home for people with developmental disabilities.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Stop the clock. Could members who are leaving please exit quietly. I would like to be able to hear the member for Lanark-Carleton. Order. That's why we have lobbies.

The member for Lanark-Carleton, with my apologies.

Mr. Sterling: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I know you respect the right of individuals to read petitions in this House.

This is a petition about saving Rideau Regional Centre. It's a home to people with severe developmental disabilities.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government were elected based on their promise to rebuild public services in Ontario;

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced plans to close Rideau Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple diagnoses and severe problems that cannot be met in the community;

"Whereas closing Rideau Regional Centre will have a devastating impact on residents with developmental disabilities, their families, the developmental services sector and the economies of the local communities;

"Whereas Ontario could use the professional staff and facilities of Rideau Regional Centre to extend specialized services, support and professional training to many more clients who live in the community, in partnership with families and community agencies;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the government to keep the Rideau Regional Centre open as a home for people with developmental disabilities and to maintain it as a `centre of excellence' to provide specialized services and support to Ontarians with developmental needs, no matter where they live."

I've signed that, and it is signed by over 100 residents of Ontario.


Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas, without appropriate support, people who have an intellectual disability are often unable to participate effectively in community life and are deprived of the benefits of society enjoyed by other citizens; and

"Whereas quality supports are dependent on the ability to attract and retain qualified workers; and

"Whereas the salaries of workers who provide community-based supports and services are up to 25% less than salaries paid to those doing the same work in government-operated services and other sectors;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to address, as a priority, funding to community agencies in the developmental services sector to address critical underfunding of staff salaries and ensure that people who have an intellectual disability continue to receive quality supports and services that they require in order to live meaningful lives within their community."

I am sending that to the Clerk's table with page Nadia, and I'm affixing my signature in support.


Mrs. Carol Mitchell (Huron-Bruce): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas we are asking that access to Velcade treatment be made available in Ontario. Ontario is the only province in Canada not currently making funding available for this drug, even though approximately 40% of people diagnosed with multiple myeloma in Canada are from Ontario;

"We, the undersigned" -- I have over 1,200 signatures -- "petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"To provide immediate access to Velcade, while the review process continues, so that this treatment is available to patients in Ontario as it is in every other province of Canada."

I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I have around 5,000 signatures here from my friend Paul Beckwith supporting insulin pump legislation. It reads:

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

"We are suggesting that all diabetic supplies as prescribed by an endocrinologist or medical doctor be covered under the Ontario health insurance plan.

"Diabetes costs Canadian taxpayers $13 billion a year and increasing! It is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in Canada. Many people with diabetes cannot afford the ongoing expense of managing the disease. They cut corners to save money. They rip test strips in half, cut down on the number of times they test their blood and even reuse lancets and needles. These cost-saving measures often have tumultuous and disastrous health consequences.

"Persons with diabetes need and deserve financial assistance to cope with the escalating cost of managing diabetes. We think it is in all Ontario's and the government's best interest to support diabetics with the supplies that each individual needs to obtain optimum glucose control. Good blood glucose control reduces or eliminates kidney failure by 50%, blindness by 76%, nerve damage by 60%, cardiac disease by 35% and even amputations. Just think of how many dollars can be saved by the Ministry of Health if diabetics had a chance to gain optimum glucose control."

I'm very pleased to sign my name to this petition.


Mr. Tim Peterson (Mississauga South): I'm happy to present a petition to the House presented to me by Keith Tansley and Mike Pawelchuk of Community Living Mississauga:

"Whereas, without appropriate support, people who have an intellectual disability are often unable to participate effectively in community life and are deprived of the benefits of society enjoyed by other citizens; and

"Whereas quality supports are dependent on the ability to attract and retain qualified workers; and

"Whereas the salaries of workers who provide community-based supports and services are up to 25% less than salaries paid to those doing the same work in government-operated services and other sectors;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to address, as a priority, funding to community agencies in the developmental services sector to address critical underfunding of staff salaries and ensure that people who have an intellectual disability continue to receive quality supports and services that they require in order to live meaningful lives within their community."

This petition is signed by over 600 residents of Peel.

Mr. Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas, without appropriate support, people who have an intellectual disability are often unable to participate effectively in community life and are deprived of the benefits of society enjoyed by other citizens; and

"Whereas quality supports are dependent on the ability to attract and retain qualified workers; and

"Whereas the salaries of workers who provide community-based supports and services are up to 25% less than salaries paid to those doing the same work in government-operated services and other sectors;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to address, as a priority, funding to community agencies in the developmental services sector to address critical underfunding of staff salaries and ensure that people who have an intellectual disability continue to receive quality supports and services that they require in order to live meaningful lives within their community."

I have signed this also.


Mr. Kim Craitor (Niagara Falls): I'm pleased to introduce this petition:

"To have insulin pumps, the supplies required to maintain them and glucose test strips covered by the Ontario health insurance plan for diabetic Ontarians.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas diabetics can achieve optimal glucose control when using the insulin pump to infuse insulin around the clock; and

"Whereas diabetes is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in Canada. It costs Canadians $13 billion a year and it is on the rise and many people with diabetes cannot afford the ongoing expense of managing diabetes; they need and deserve financial assistance to cope with the escalating costs as well as equal opportunity in caring for their disease; and

"Whereas good blood glucose controls, reduces or eliminates kidney failure by 50%, blindness by 76%, nerve damage by 60%, cardiac disease by 35% and even amputations, millions of dollars could be saved by the Ministry of Health if diabetics had a chance to gain optimum glucose control;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, in support of Bill 15, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to amend the Health Insurance Act to include the provision of insulin pumps, the supplies required to maintain them and glucose test strips for all diabetics."

I am pleased to support this by signing the petition.



Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas children with autism who have reached the age of six years are no longer being discharged from their preschool autism program; and

"Whereas these children should be getting the best special education possible in the form of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) within the school system; and

"Whereas there are approximately 700 preschool children with autism across Ontario who are required to wait indefinitely for placement in the program, and there are also countless school-age children that are not receiving the support they require in the school system; and

"Whereas this situation has an impact on the families, extended families and friends of all of these children; and

"Whereas, as stated on the Web site for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, `IBI can make a significant difference in the life of a child with autism. Its objective is to decrease the frequency of challenging behaviours, build social skills and promote language development';

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to fund the treatment of IBI for all preschool children awaiting services. We also petition the Legislature of Ontario to fund an educational program in the form of ABA in the school system."

As I am in agreement with this, I affix my signature and give it to Helen to deliver.


Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): This is an additional petition to the ones I've tabled with the Legislature already, and I fully support it.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas without appropriate support, people who have an intellectual disability are often unable to participate effectively in community life and are deprived of the benefits of society enjoyed by other citizens; and

"Whereas quality supports are dependent on the ability to attract and retain qualified workers; and

"Whereas the salaries of workers who provide community-based supports and services are up to 25% less than salaries paid to those doing the same work in government-operated services and other sectors;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to address, as a priority, funding to community agencies in the developmental services sector to address critical underfunding of staff salaries and ensure that people who have an intellectual disability continue to receive quality supports and services that they require in order to live meaningful lives within their community."

I sign this petition and support my local community for this particular purpose, and I give it to Richard.


Mr. Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads as follows:

"Whereas many volunteer fire departments in Ontario are strengthened by the service of double-hatter firefighters who work as professional, full-time firefighters and also serve as volunteer firefighters on their free time and in their home communities; and

"Whereas the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association has declared their intent to `phase out' these double-hatter firefighters; and

"Whereas double-hatter firefighters are being threatened by the union leadership and forced to resign as volunteer firefighters or face losing their full-time jobs, and this is weakening volunteer fire departments in Ontario; and

"Whereas Waterloo-Wellington MPP Ted Arnott has introduced Bill 52, the Volunteer Firefighters Employment Protection Act, that would uphold the right to volunteer and solve this problem concerning public safety in Ontario;

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

"That the provincial government express public support for MPP Ted Arnott's Bill 52 and willingness to pass it into law or introduce similar legislation that protects the right of firefighters to volunteer in their home communities on their own free time."

I've affixed my signature as well.


Mr. Mario Sergio (York West): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas existing legislation enforcing mandatory retirement is discriminatory; and

"Whereas it is the basic human right of Ontario citizens over the age of 65 to earn a living and contribute to society; and

"Whereas the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Yukon and the Northwest Territories have also abolished mandatory retirement in various forms; and

"Whereas ending mandatory retirement is a viable means of boosting the Ontario labour force and accommodating the growing need for skilled workers;

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

"The Ontario government should act by abolishing mandatory retirement in the province of Ontario. This is best achieved by passing Bill 211, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code and certain other Acts to end mandatory retirement."

I concur with the petitioners, and I will affix my signature to it.


Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the redevelopment of Highway 26 was approved by MPP Jim Wilson and the previous PC government in 1999; and

"Whereas a number of horrific fatalities and accidents have occurred on the old stretch of Highway 26; and

"Whereas the redevelopment of Highway 26 is critical to economic development and job creation in Simcoe-Grey;

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

"That the Liberal government stop the delay of the Highway 26 redevelopment and act immediately to ensure that the project is finished on schedule, to improve safety for area residents and provide economic development opportunities and job creation in Simcoe-Grey."

Of course, I agree with this petition.


Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

"We are suggesting that all diabetic supplies as prescribed by an endocrinologist or medical doctor be covered under the Ontario health insurance plan.

"Diabetes costs Canadian taxpayers $13 billion per year and increasing! It is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in Canada. Many people with diabetes cannot afford the ongoing expense of managing the disease. They cut corners to save money. They rip test strips in half, cut down on the number of times they test their blood and even reuse lancets and needles. These cost-saving measures often have tumultuous and disastrous health consequences. Persons with diabetes need and deserve financial assistance to cope with the escalating cost of managing diabetes.

"We think it is in all Ontario's and the government's best interest to support diabetics with the supplies that each individual needs to obtain optimum glucose control. Good blood glucose control reduces or eliminates kidney failure by 50%, blindness by 76%, nerve damage by 60%, cardiac disease by 35% and even amputations. Just think of how many dollars can be saved by the Ministry of Health if diabetics had a chance to gain optimum glucose control."

I will affix my name to this petition.


Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I feel so privileged today. Anyway, I have a petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the average price of gasoline has skyrocketed" to the highest prices at the pumps in Ontario's history;

"Whereas high gas prices are causing great hardship for ordinary motorists, small business owners and industry;

"Whereas the McGuinty Liberals promised to take action to keep gas prices low;

"Whereas the McGuinty Liberals have broken that promise and have done nothing to help ordinary families getting hosed at the pumps;

"I petition the Ontario government to immediately pass Bill 74, the Keep Your Promises at the Pump Act, which would make the Liberals keep their promise to freeze gas prices for 90 days, and Bill 93, the Keep Your Promise on the Gas Price Watchdog Act, which would force the Liberals to keep their promises to establish a gas price watchdog to protect consumers from price gouging."

I've signed that petition.



Resuming the debate adjourned on November 22, 2005, on the motion for second reading of Bill 21, An Act to enact the Energy Conservation Leadership Act, 2005 and to amend the Electricity Act, 1998, the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 and the Conservation Authorities Act / Projet de loi 21, Loi édictant la Loi de 2005 sur le leadership en matière de conservation de l'énergie et apportant des modifications à la Loi de 1998 sur l'électricité, à la Loi de 1998 sur la Commission de l'énergie de l'Ontario et à la Loi sur les offices de protection de la nature.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Michael Prue): On the last occasion, we heard the speech of the member for Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. It is now time for questions and comments.

Interjection: He's still got five minutes.

The Acting Speaker: No, I do not believe so. Was there time left? No.

Questions and comments?


Mr. Ted Chudleigh (Halton): Of course, the member from Haldimand-Norfolk spoke eloquently about this particular bill and brought it to the attention of the House that smart meters perhaps aren't the smartest thing in the world we could do. Smart meters may not be smart. In fact, to start with, smart meters are going to cost the average householder $8 or $10 a month. We don't know what that amount might be. It might be as high as $15 a month, and that's $15 a month for as long as you pay an electrical bill. That could possibly be for the rest of your life; you're going to be paying and paying and paying.

People in Ontario are pretty much creatures of habit. They go to work in the morning. They get up at a certain time and they come home at a certain time. They have their dinner at a certain time, and when they have some free time in the evening, they do their laundry. These people, these creatures of habit, the wonderful people of Ontario who go to work, obey the law and pay their taxes, are not going to change their habits all that much. These people are the backbone of Ontario. These are good, decent, hard-working people and they're not going to change their habits all that much. And what's going to happen to them with the smart meter? When a smart meter comes in and they don't change their habits, they're going to pay more for electricity. They're going to pay a lot more for electricity.

Mr. Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): If they're smart, they'll read it.

Mr. Chudleigh: And the member says if they're smart, they'll change.

Interjection: No, "read it."

Mr. Chudleigh: Well, I don't know. Perhaps the member misses the point that people of Ontario who work hard, obey the law and pay their taxes should not be abused by having to pay extra for the privilege of having electricity in their homes and not changing their lives to suit the government of the day. I think the government of the day will have a rude awakening when those people have a chance to --

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I say to everyone watching, stay tuned. Howard Hampton will be up next. He's the authority when it comes to energy policy in the province of Ontario. And I'm sure that members of this assembly, Conservatives and Liberals, are going to be so happy, because Mr. Hampton has been very, very adept at pointing out that the Liberals have followed Jim Wilson's hydro policies and they really are not working.

I've got to say to my good friend Mr. Barrett, the member for -- I don't know the riding and wish I could mention it by name --

The Acting Speaker: Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant.

Mr. Bisson: -- Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant that I didn't get a chance to see the entire speech; I saw part of it in my office. I thought it was rather interesting, but I have to ask you the following question.

We know that hydro prices in this province have gone through the roof, and as a result of that, consumers, as far as individuals living at home, are paying more than they've ever had to pay for electricity before. God, we've got people in all of our constituencies who are really trying do all they can to save electricity because they can't afford to buy it. So, (1) we know that consumers are being hurt, and (2) we know that industry -- just today, we saw the announcement of Domtar shutting down that mill permanently in the community of Cornwall; we saw Domtar's closure in Ottawa. We saw Thunder Bay's closure. We saw the closure in Kenora. All of these are related to hydro prices.

I have to ask you, after all of this time, looking at what the effects of this policy have been to the economy of Ontario and to consumers, is the Conservative caucus prepared to repent? Are you finally prepared to say, after all these years, that, yes, Howard Hampton and the New Democrats were right, that public power is the way to go, that this sort of experiment in deregulation of the electricity market and the partial privatization of the system has been a disaster, and that finally, after all this time, you're all going to wake up and say, "Yeah, we should have listened to Howard Hampton"? I really want to hear the comments of my good friend Mr. Barrett on that one.

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): In the infamous summer of 2003, the summer of the great blackout, one of the things I was concerned about personally was what I can do to save some energy. In a year when energy prices kept rising and rising, I found that by using some of the switches on my appliances that I had never even known were there, I could do such things as set the dishwasher, let it go for a two-hour or a four-hour delay and do the same thing with my dryer. I replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. A number of years ago, I bought a programmable thermostat and cut my energy use substantially.

There are many things that people can do in their homes with the equipment they have right now that'll make a big difference on their energy prices. Even though prices may be going up, a lot of you can look at your appliances and bring your costs down.

In my own area, Enersource contacted me. In the neighbourhood of Churchill Meadows, my home is the first one in the entire neighbourhood to have a smart meter. That's going to show me, as a homeowner, what difference using energy at different times of day will make and will allow me to adjust my own usage patterns to figure out how I can minimize my costs in years to come by using electricity later in the evening, when it's cheaper, as opposed to using it during the prime hours, when it's more expensive. The net result to me is all the same; the only difference is that I get to save money.

This is the sort of thing that most Ontarians can do, and this is part of what Bill 21 proposes: a series of common sense measures that allow people to use some of the devices available to them, some of the measures that are very cost-effective for each and every one of them and, despite the fact that electricity prices are rising all over the world, to take their costs and bring them down.

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): I just want to say to my NDP colleague that if they'd followed my energy policy, we wouldn't be in this mess. We had reasonable prices. In fact, we saw prices drop dramatically when the market opened. It wasn't until we had a blackout that wasn't our fault and a very, very hot summer that we saw prices go up, which you'd expect in a market.

Having said that, my colleague from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant talked about smart meters. Smart meters eventually become dumb meters. The government says that it's $3 to $4 to $5 to $8 a month on our hydro bills that these meters are going to cost. It will likely be much more than that, because the same vendors who stood to make tens of millions of dollars by giving us all meters when I was Minister of Energy are selling you a bill of goods. The fact of the matter is that unless you buy the top-of-the-line, upgradeable smart meter for your home, which nobody can afford and very few businesses today can afford, even though there is an incentive out there for businesses to have smart meters right now, or interval meters -- very few people can afford the top of the line; thousands and thousands of dollars so you can keep the software upgraded in it. Otherwise you're going to end up with a very dumb meter.

All I can say is that the people of Ontario are being completely fooled by this legislation. They're being taken down the garden path that leads to nowhere but Hades. Because the fact of the matter is that unless prices are going to be three or four times what they are today per kilowatt hour, which is running at about 13 or 14 cents as I looked on the Web this morning -- if it's three or four times that, you might have an incentive to actually save a few kilowatts of power during the day, if you can run your dishwasher at the right time, or your dryer or whatever. So they must be anticipating extremely high prices; otherwise, the payback time for a smart meter is longer than the meter will last itself. There's nowhere in the world where this is working, even in England, where they did it in a great big way and the government paid for all the meters.

So I just say, you're being led down the garden path and you should listen to my colleague, who made a very good speech about this.

The Acting Speaker: The member from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant has two minutes in which to respond.

Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): I want to thank the members for their comments on a speech I made a week ago Tuesday night. I reiterate that certainly we agree that conservation is important in any energy plan. Supply is crucial. We have questions about the smart meter initiatives. I don't know whether it has really been thought out. The questions continue to be raised: How much is it going to cost? We really haven't been told that. What are the tangible benefits? Without these kinds of answers, we are concerned that -- many of these consumers are having trouble meeting their electrical bills as it is.

This particular piece of legislation is a culmination of two years of announcing umpteen times over that smart meters are coming. I indicated last week that I regretted that there was no mention of net meters. There was a lot of talk about smart meters; no talk of net meters.

Hydro One has put out a document. They define net metering as "a system of measuring the energy you use against the energy you generate, resulting in a net energy total from which your bill is calculated." Of course, this has relevance for people who have their own water power system, wind power system or solar power system. I feel that Hydro One and this particular government should be in a position to encourage people who can generate their own power to have the ability to sell it.

As of 2003, Hydro One does not pay for any excess generation. I understand a regulation is being worked on with respect to net metering. I would like to see a position where the customer receives a credit for any energy exported into the grid, and I would hope this government would move that along.


The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): Mr. Speaker, this is my leadoff time, so I have a number of comments I want to make about this bill.

I wish I could stand here and say that this bill is somehow creating new turf, that it is a bold step forward, that it has vision to it, that it has a direction to it. But in fact when I look at this bill, it is really a bill about smart meters, with a little bit of window dressing around the side. If the government had simply introduced it as a bill to provide for the implementation of smart meters and then included the other sections as an add-on, it would be a more accurate description of what's really going on here. However, as is the habit of the McGuinty government, they are trying to spin this bill as somehow being the apple pie and ice cream of energy conservation and energy efficiency. That's the government's spin. The reality, when you read the bill, is that it is very slender and doesn't do much of anything in terms of energy efficiency or energy conservation.

Now let me just say that in contrast to this bill, which is very slender, which is at best vague, doesn't have a vision and doesn't have a direction, the real energy policy of the McGuinty government is to go nuclear and go big and go private. That's the real energy policy of this government. That's why we see a backroom energy deal with Bruce Power being signed, which, when you add in all of the loopholes and all of the fine print, ensures that the electricity that will be delivered, if it is delivered, will be very expensive electricity and is going to drive people's hydro bills ever higher.

That is the McGuinty government's real electricity policy: Go nuclear, go big and go private. Of course, they don't want to admit that to the people of Ontario. As a result, we see the slender pickings that come with this bill but lots of press releases trying to advertise this bill as something very wonderful.

It's worth noting that we're now entering the third year of the McGuinty government in a four-year mandate, so we're past the halfway point. Through the first two years and now three months, I've been looking for real energy efficiency measures. I've actually been looking for something from this government that constitutes an energy efficiency policy, that constitutes an energy conservation program, that has practical things that people can implement in their own homes, that has practical things that small businesses can implement, that has practical things that industrial operations like paper mills can implement. I've actually been looking for those things. I want to give you an example of some of the things that could be done.

If you live in the province of Quebec now or you live in the province of Manitoba, there are real, practical strategies that people can implement. For example, Manitoba Hydro has something that they call the Power Smart program. If you're a homeowner in that province and you want to get serious about energy efficiency, you can apply to the Power Smart program. They'll send out somebody who's an energy efficiency expert to do an audit of your home. They'll look at your insulation and your insulation factors; they'll look at your windows and doors, and your energy efficiency there; they'll look at your heating system; they'll look at your ventilation system -- and they'll give you a report. Not only will they give you a report, but you can apply for a $5,000 low-interest loan.

So if the audit says, "Your insulation is not up to standard and you really should look at reinsulating your home," you can take that $5,000 loan and use it for the purpose of reinsulating your home so that you have less leakage of warm air in the winter and less concern about dealing with really hot air on the outside in the summer. You could also use that low-interest loan to put in energy-efficient windows. As we know, a triple-pane window that's an energy-efficient design will allow you to keep cold air out in the winter and hot air out in the summer, all of which will reduce your heating consumption in the winter and your air-conditioning consumption in the summer.

You can use the low-interest loan to purchase high-efficiency appliances, and that's important. For example, if you have a refrigerator that is 10 years old or older, chances are it uses three to four times the amount of electricity as an up-to-date, energy-efficient refrigerator. Of course, the refrigerator is always on. It better be always on or you shouldn't be eating the food that's stored in the refrigerator. So if you can get an energy-efficient refrigerator, you can seriously reduce your electricity bill and save electricity. In Manitoba, you can actually use the Power Smart program to get a low-interest loan to purchase that energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer. Of course, part of the plan is that you have to turn over your old, inefficient refrigerator. You can't take it to the cottage and plug it in there or take it down to the basement and start using it as a beer fridge. The idea is to get these inefficient, older appliances out of the system. That's how you bring down electricity consumption.

That's what you could do in Manitoba, and do you know what? Manitoba doesn't have an electricity shortage; Manitoba actually has an electricity surplus. They're way ahead of the McGuinty government in Ontario.

But it's not just Manitoba. If you go to Quebec, there they call their strategy the Energy Wise strategy and it's very similar. You can have your home or your business or even a public building audited to see what you need to do to increase the energy efficiency of your building and lower your electricity or natural gas costs and your energy consumption. There, you can get an audit. It's paid for, but if the audit shows that you have an older home and the insulation is inadequate, you can get a low-interest loan to insulate your home. You can get a low-interest loan for energy-efficient windows and doors. You can get a low-interest loan to install a high-efficiency heating system. You can get a low-interest loan to purchase energy efficiency appliances. Then, whatever money you save on your electricity bill or your natural gas bill or your oil bill, you can use to pay back the low-interest loan.

The provinces to the west and east of us have actual practical strategies for people to reduce their electricity and natural gas consumption and do something good for the environment. There's even a mechanism whereby people can finance it without having to go into serious debt themselves or without having to come up with $5,000, $6,000 or $7,000 cash, which many people don't have.

Is there such a strategy here in Ontario? After all the press releases of the McGuinty government, after all the photo ops, after all the media spin talking about energy efficiency and energy conservation, is there such a practical, on-the-ground strategy by the McGuinty government in Ontario? No, nothing of the sort.


It's incredible. If you counted up the number of photo ops that the Premier and his ministers have held, if you counted up the number of press releases, if you counted up the number of gimmicks that they've launched, all of them talking about energy efficiency and about energy conservation, you would think that Ontario ought to have a practical, on-the-ground strategy that homeowners could use. But alas, after you cut through all the media spin, after you cut through all the photo ops and the gimmicks of the McGuinty government, there's nothing. There's nothing there for responsible people who want to reduce their electricity consumption and who want to reduce their natural gas consumption -- nothing. It's all completely phony. It's all about press releases and photo ops and gimmicks in an attempt to fool people, but when somebody actually wants to do something to reduce their energy consumption, there is no program and no plan on the ground by this government.

Now, there have been lots of recommendations given to the government. I want to quote a report from the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Environmental Law Association called Power for the Future: Towards a Sustainable Electricity System for Ontario. When I last raised this issue, the government said, "This report is very new." Well, this report has now been around since May 2004, and it's chock full of practical things that a government could do, things that it wouldn't take you six months to implement. It wouldn't even take you six weeks to implement it. You could announce the strategy today and start implementing it next week. I want to read some of these things, because I think the average person in Ontario ought to know about them: practical things that this government could have done and should have done but has failed to do.

Let me give you one example: "The provincial building code should be amended to require R2000, Canadian building improvement program (CBIP) or equivalent energy efficiency performance for all new buildings and building renovations by 2010." It's a simple thing: Improve the building code so that these things happen. Here we are into the third year of the McGuinty government. Have they passed legislation to improve the building code? No -- a simple, elementary thing like that.

It says, "The most energy-efficient technologies in all sectors and end uses should be labelled through the Energy Star program or, if not included in Energy Star, through a provincial labelling system." Is that true in Ontario? No. It's just a simple strategy of labelling, so that when people go to purchase a refrigerator, a freezer, a stove or other electrical appliances, they would know right away, "Gee, this is an energy-efficient one. This is what I should do if I care about the environment, and this is what I should do in order to reduce my electricity consumption." They haven't done that either.

Another point: "The Planning Act should be amended to permit municipalities to make energy efficiency design requirements a condition of planning and site approvals for new buildings." It doesn't say "consult." It doesn't say "maybe." It says "make energy efficiency design requirements a condition." Has this government done that? No, not at all.

It says the government should implement a demand-response incentive mechanism. Has this government done that on a province-wide basis, after entering into its third year of government? No, it hasn't done that either.

These are just practical things that would make sense in terms of the average Ontarian, in terms of helping them to reduce their electricity consumption. Three years into the McGuinty government, none of it has been done -- none of it.

Just to give you an example, one area where you see just an incredible waste of electricity, and this is particularly true in southern Ontario, is in apartment buildings that were built quick and cheap in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I've been in lots of those apartment buildings across this province. In fact, if you start in Windsor and drive up through Chatham and London on the 401, and maybe get off on the 403 and go through Brampton, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington and Mississauga, through Toronto, through Oshawa and into Durham, if you do that and you're counting up all the apartment buildings that were built cheap and had either no insulation or inadequate insulation, that have windows that are terribly inefficient -- in fact, if you sit or stand too close to the windows in the wintertime, you're at risk of pneumonia. Because electric heat was cheap and easy to install, they installed electric heat, even though environmentalists will tell you that electric heat is so inefficient that it's like cutting butter with a chainsaw. These are terribly inefficient buildings. In the winter, again, because most of them have electric heat, these buildings guzzle electricity. If you don't have any insulation to keep the cold air out, and you have leaky windows that allow the cold air to come in, then you guzzle electricity trying to keep the place warm. So they waste electricity in winter. In summer, because there's no insulation to keep hot air out, and the windows are leaky and they allow all the hot air in, they guzzle electricity for the purposes of air conditioning.

I think that a practical, reasonable person would ask, "Gee, doesn't the government have a strategy, a program, something practical to retrofit these buildings that guzzle electricity in winter and guzzle electricity in summer?" That's a natural, reasonable question to ask. In fact, though, the answer once again is no. After all the talk, after all the photo ops, after all the media spin, after all the gimmicks from the McGuinty government, no strategy, no practical program for retrofitting all of these apartment buildings that guzzle electricity in winter and guzzle electricity in summer, no program or plan whatsoever.

Again, I want to contrast Ontario with Quebec. Quebec, which does not have an electricity shortage, which sells electricity to Ontario and sells electricity to New England and the state of New York, this summer was retrofitting dozens of apartment buildings in the city of Montreal. New insulation was being put in, better insulation was being put in, energy-efficient windows were being put in, new high-efficiency heating systems were being put in and new energy-efficient appliances were being put in, all to reduce electricity consumption in those old, badly built, electrically heated apartment buildings.

So I ask, if Quebec can do it, if Quebec is doing it now, what is wrong with the McGuinty government? What happened to the McGuinty government? The only solution I can come up with is that the McGuinty government is so impressed with their photo ops, so impressed with their gimmicks and so impressed with their media spin that they don't believe they have to do anything practical or real on the energy efficiency and energy conservation front. They believe it's simply enough to utter the promises and hold the photo ops and they believe they can fool the public of Ontario. Let me tell you that tomorrow the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Environmental Law Association are coming out with a report which discloses just how empty, just how vacuous, just how visionless all of the McGuinty government spin about energy efficiency and energy conservation is. So I say to the McGuinty government, you can continue to hold your photo ops, you can continue to do your gimmicks, but people who know about energy efficiency and energy conservation are on to you. Pretty soon, you're going to be running and hiding on this file too. Let me say that the Pembina Institute knows that the real energy policy of this government is: go nuclear, go big and go private. That's the real energy policy of this government.


I just want to let people at home know, because I think people would want to know this, that the report Power for the Future: Towards A Sustainable Electricity System for Ontario, I understand, is available on the Web site of the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development, and I'm told that it's also available on the Canadian Environmental Law Association Web site. So people can go to those Web sites and actually get this report -- an excellent report, very detailed and very thoughtful, and thankfully, minus the gimmicks, the photo ops and the media spin exercises of the McGuinty government.

I just wanted to deal with some of the details of Bill 21. As I said, this is a government that's had almost two and a half years now to actually do something real and practical on the energy efficiency and energy conservation front. It hasn't done anything. As I point out, the Pembina Institute report is chock full of practical ideas that have been implemented elsewhere, or are being implemented elsewhere, that lead to real, practical, beneficial results. This is a report that's been available to the McGuinty government for over the last year and a half, yet they've done nothing. The other part of this that I want to focus on is that although schedule A of Bill 21 is called the Energy Conservation Leadership Act, ironically, it fails to lead Ontario toward any meaningful reforms in terms of energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Again, I want to refer to the Pembina report. The single largest area for potential energy efficiency gains that the Pembina Institute identified was improvement to building shells -- heating, ventilation and air conditioning -- in the residential, commercial and institutional sector, with potential savings of 30,000 gigawatt hours per year. But this does require an updating of the Ontario building code. Does this bill require the Ontario building code to be improved and reformed? Does this bill implement these progressive changes to the Ontario building code? No, it doesn't. Even this bill doesn't do it. What Ontarians need are real reforms to the Ontario building code for new structures and for renovations that will keep the heat inside in the winter and the heat outside in the summer. Did this bill do anything for that? No.

In conjunction with Ontario building code reforms, Ontarians would benefit from being able to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes through a program like the Power Smart residential loan program in Manitoba. Does this legislation finally provide that? No. There's nothing here to help Ontarians upgrade their energy efficiency -- not the energy efficiency of their homes, and no programs to fund the energy efficiency upgrades in multi-residential buildings and apartment buildings.

When it comes to making appliances more energy efficient, requiring a higher number of appliances to meet Energy Star standards, what does this legislation say? Nothing. Once again, the McGuinty government is missing in action on updating energy efficiency standards under the Energy Efficiency Act. Again, lots of spin, lots of photo ops, lots of gimmicks, but when you actually read the legislation, nothing again.

Why has the McGuinty government fallen down on energy conservation and efficiency? Why, into the third year of the McGuinty government, have we seen nothing that has any substance to it, nothing that will make a meaningful, practical difference? I think the problem goes back to Bill 100, the first piece of electricity legislation introduced by this government, the so-called Electricity Restructuring Act. You don't have to take my word on that; the government doesn't have to take my word on that fact. They can refer to the 2004-05 annual report of the government's own Environmental Commissioner. This is what he says: "For conservation to predominate, the Ontario Power Authority should be structured to report to the Chief Energy Conservation Officer, rather than vice versa." It says, "Also concerning conservation, the Electricity Restructuring Act amendments were structured to allow, but not require, that transmitters and distributors offer energy conservation services. Strong legislation or financial incentives are needed to bring about energy conservation." That's what the Environmental Commissioner said.

I look at this act. Does it establish the energy conservation officer as the driving force? No. This act continues the same bad direction that was put in place under the Electricity Restructuring Act. The so-called conservation officer is merely a minion in the Ontario Power Authority. The Ontario Power Authority is out there going nuclear, going big and going expensive. The Ontario Power Authority is out there signing natural gas contracts that are also going to be big and expensive. The Ontario Power Authority is out there talking about purchasing this power and purchasing that power, and their conservation officer is just a minion. That's why I say that the real energy policy of the McGuinty government isn't about conservation and energy efficiency, it is about go nuclear, go big and go private, and the energy conservation officer is just a mere minion in that empire.

Are there incentives? Are there the kinds of incentives that the Environmental Commissioner calls for, incentives for people to get a low-interest loan so they can properly insulate their home, financial incentives so people can get a low-interest loan to put in those energy-efficient windows? Is there a financial incentive so that somebody can take out that inefficient electric heat that they've got and put in very high-efficiency natural gas? Is any of that included in this bill? No, none. Even the things that the Environmental Commissioner called for are not part of this bill.

What's in this bill? What's it really all about? As I said, it's really about so-called smart meters. That's the only place where there's some kind of financial incentive: around smart meters. What it says is that you'll pay for the smart meter on your hydro bill over a number of months and a number of years. But that then brings into question the debate: How effective are smart meters? I remember when the government first started promoting it, they said, "Oh, you know, it's effective in India and it's effective in China." Well, we've done a little checking, and there's no such thing. Once again, the McGuinty government: long on rhetoric, nothing on delivery.

We checked in California, because California actually did some pilot projects on smart meters. California, after they had been taken advantage of by Enron and the Enron clones, implemented a pilot project with smart meters. They estimated at the time -- they were hoping at the time -- that smart meters would allow them to reduce electricity consumption by about 500 megawatts. Three years later, when they did an audit, do you know what they found? Smart meters only reduced consumption by about 31 megawatts. In other words, the smart meters were very expensive, and what they got in terms of actual practical results that reduce electricity consumption was very disappointing. We actually have to have a real debate about these smart meters.


I just want to point out to people at home where I think the fallacy is. The McGuinty government is saying, "You know what? Putting these smart meters in place and charging people very high prices for the use electricity during the day and lower prices for the use of electricity at night is really going to make a difference in consumption."

I'm probably like most other working people in this province. I'm out of the house by about 8 o'clock in the morning, before peak electricity usage hits. What little breakfast we cook, what little use of electrical appliances in the morning, we actually use before peak time, and then we come here to work. I have very little control over electricity usage in this building -- very little control over it. I may use my computer. But the fact that the heating system here is terribly inefficient, I don't have much control over that. The fact that the electrical system is ancient, I don't have much control over that. The fact that the insulation system is terrible, I don't have any control over that. The fact that the windows are terribly inefficient, I don't have any control over that. So that smart meter that's going to be installed in my house isn't going to make a lot of difference in terms of the morning or what happens during the day.

Like a lot of working families, when the member for Nickel Belt and I go home in the evening, by the time you get home, get the kids settled, I expect you're looking at, gee, 6:30 in the evening and peak electricity usage is already coming down then. You eat your supper, you get the homework done with the kids, you get the kids put to bed, and it's then you start thinking you better wash the dishes, do the laundry, do some of these things, but by then peak electricity usage has already passed. So I already do things.

Most working Ontarians, in terms of their working lives, in terms of how much electricity they use in their homes, are already using most of their electricity at non-peak hours. So from the perspective of the average working person in Ontario, I don't think this is going to make a big difference in terms of reducing electricity consumption. But I will tell you this: It will certainly drive up the hydro bill and it will drive up the hydro bill substantially, not only because you have to pay for these so-called smart meters, but something the government isn't admitting is that not only will you have to have smart meters but you're going to have to have the information technology networks installed to support smart meters. That's going to be very expensive, and that will also fall on the hydro bill. So just the smart meter concept is going to be very expensive for people, yet, as they showed in California, the delivered results are very disappointing.

But even more so, if the problem in most homes, most apartment buildings and most commercial buildings in southern Ontario is that they were built cheap and quick, with not enough insulation, a lack of energy efficient windows and doors and inefficient electric heat, smart meters aren't going to do anything about that. Once again, the McGuinty government will be trying to address a structural problem with another gimmick. The gimmick, in this case, is called a smart meter, but what really needs to happen is a massive retrofit strategy.

What I had hoped we would be debating here today, what I had hoped we would see was a practical, on-the-ground strategy which would show how the government was going to elicit pension funds like the teachers' pension fund, the hydro employees' pension fund or the hospital workers' pension fund; how the government was going to provide a financial guarantee for those pension funds to come in and loan their money to homeowners and apartment owners and municipalities and commercial building owners so they could do those retrofits. Then, having done the retrofits and lowered their natural gas bills and electricity bills substantially, they would pay that loan back over six, seven or eight years. That would supply an income stream for the pension funds. They would be happy. Consumers would be happy because they would actually be using less electricity, less natural gas and less heating oil all day. The environment would be happy because we wouldn't be building more of those big, expensive nuclear plants with their nuclear waste that's very toxic and has to be stored for thousands of years.

That's what I hoped we'd be debating here, but instead, what we get from the McGuinty government, once again, is another gimmick.

I want to go on just a bit further. There is another problem with smart meters, and I want to cite the practical example of the city of London. London, in southwestern Ontario has pointed out that the government's plan for smart meters will actually increase costs significantly for that municipality. In London, as in many other municipalities, the electricity meter reader who is there now doesn't just read the electricity meter; he or she also reads the water meter. So if the city of London now has to take over reading 93,500 water meters because the McGuinty government has come up with this not-so-smart idea of smart meters for electricity, the cost to London is $6 million -- double the $3 million it currently spends. How much is an additional $3 million for them? It's almost 1% of their tax rate, and a very significant amount of money for the city and for the property taxpayers in the city.

What London is really saying is, "You know what? We don't think the McGuinty government has thought out all the implications of these so-called smart meters. We don't think the McGuinty government has done the a, b, c, d, e, f, g of looking at all the implications and all the costs." They are saying, "What is the benefit? Consumers are going to be paying $6, $7, $8 a month more on their hydro bill for years for these smart meters, and we, the city, are going to be paying out $3 million more. Where is the return? Where is the sense in this?" That's the problem. That's the issue here.

I want to read some of the technical aspects of the bill. Schedule A, the so-called Energy Conservation Leadership Act -- I've already said that it's very vague and that there's no leadership and no vision. It doesn't require that barriers to energy conservation -- goods, services and technologies -- be removed; it says the government may remove them. It doesn't require that there be a full-fledged plan for energy conservation put in place by municipalities and other public bodies; it basically says they may or they may not. I think that is part of the problem here. There is no real plan. It is very much a lot of public relations fluff, with no clear direction, no clear program, no strategy for implementation, no incentives, none of the things that have worked successfully elsewhere.

I just want to go back to the strategy I was outlining earlier, where I pointed out that what we should be debating here today is an actual practical plan whereby the government would put in place, through using pension funds and other resources, a fund that would finance energy efficiency for people in their homes, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, hockey rinks, swimming pools, auditoriums, commercial buildings. There ought to be a fund established and there ought to be practical mechanisms whereby the average person can access that fund, know how much they're going to save in terms of energy consumption, know how much they're going to save on their hydro bill and their natural gas bill or their heating oil bill, know how much they'll have to pay on their hydro bill, and for how long, in order to pay back the incentive. That's what I was really hoping we'd see. But again, no plan.


What I was also hoping to see was a practical plan by the government to ensure that we have enough plumbers, enough insulation experts, enough carpenters and enough electricians in place to start to do this work. I was hoping that we would actually see the beginning of the targeting of these kinds of energy efficiency strategies, because the kinds of energy efficiency strategies I'm talking about you can actually target around the province. So if it's Toronto that you are worried about, or the greater Toronto area, which apparently doesn't have enough electricity going forward to avoid the threat of chronic brownouts or blackouts, that's where you would target your energy efficiency strategy first. That's where you would target your loans. That's where you would target your workforce. That's where you would target your financing mechanism. I was really hoping that we'd be getting down to that kind of nuts-and-bolts debate and discussion here. But again, gimmicks; again, photo ops; again, more media spin -- but no substance.

I'm beginning to think that when someone writes the history of the McGuinty government, maybe a very short-lived history, it will be, "This is a story about a government that held lots of photo ops, held lots of press conferences, had all kinds of gimmicks, made all kinds of promises, but when it came the day when delivery was supposed to happen, nothing was there. The promises were broken, the gimmicks were just that, the media spin was empty and the photo ops were phony." That's where I think we're headed on this.

So I would urge the government: You are now into the third year of your mandate. It's time to put some meat on the bones. It's time not only to have legislation but to have meaningful legislation with implementation strategies, with practical programs, financing, incentive, rules and criteria so that people know what they're dealing with. It's not happening.

Just for a minute, I want to address the issue of industrial energy efficiency, because there are big opportunities here in terms of industrial energy efficiency. One of the things the government has tried to say -- they've come up with a forest sector competitiveness strategy. It's bizarre, because since the government first announced it -- they announced a dribble of it in June, and everyone in the forest sector laughed and said, "No, no. Your offer of loan guarantees doesn't interest us. We already have debt levels, and your telling us you will help us to take on more debt is a non-starter." In fact, people in the forest sector actually laughed when they heard that. Then later on, in September, after the first piece was a failure, the government added the fancy name of forest sector competitiveness strategy, and said, "There's going to be money here to do this and do that, and there's going to be a plan for industrial cogeneration."

Let me tell you where that's at. The government said in February 2005 -- we're almost into February 2006 -- that they were going to name and provide the funding for an office of the cogeneration facilitator and that this person would be someone like the energy conservation commissioner. That was the promise they made last February. So here we are now, into December of 2005, and do we have a cogeneration facilitator? No? Do we have an office of the cogeneration facilitator? No.

Forest companies who are worried about sustaining hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that they've made in their plants, who are worried about sustaining 700 or 800 workers in their mill and whole communities, have come forward to the government and said, "OK, you want to talk about biomass; you want to talk about using wood waste," and they've asked practical questions. You see, forest companies -- most of the timber comes from crown land -- pay stumpage fees in order to access that timber. They've asked the government a very practical question. They've said, "We pay stumpage fees. Do our stumpage fees include the wood waste?" For a long time, they couldn't get an answer on that. They couldn't get an answer to an elementary question. You've got ministers out there boasting about biomass, and the Minister of Energy is out there boasting about a cogeneration facilitator. You'd think that, before they went out there and made these announcements, they would have thought about that elementary thing. But companies couldn't get an answer. That's very important. If you're already paying $40 million or $50 million for the timber that is usable as wood fibre and you have to pay another $10 million or $20 million for the branches and the tops of trees, otherwise known as wood waste, then boy, that starts to make cogeneration expensive.

They asked another question. They asked the government, "If it's not included, if we have to pay additional stumpage fees to get the waste wood, do we have a prior claim on it? Because we're managing the forest and we've already paid the stumpage fees for the usable timber, do we have first priority on the wood waste?" It would help too, if they knew they had first priority, because they would then be able to do some planning. They asked that question; they asked it over and over. Despite all the government's announcements and press releases and media hype, they couldn't get an answer on that one either.

These are companies that can't afford to purchase electricity in Ontario any more because the McGuinty government has driven the price of electricity so high. They're looking at ways for cogeneration. They are promised a cogeneration facilitator; that doesn't happen. They ask some very elementary questions about wood waste; the government can't answer them.

Of course, one of the things they're worried about is this: If the wood waste is there for everybody to bid on, and company A wants it, company B wants it and company C wants it and nobody has priority, you can see very quickly how even wood waste, wood that's left in the bush, can be bid up very high in price and can then become too expensive.

Why do I raise these issues? Because forest companies are coming to me, saying, "We have to make decisions here. We've got decisions that will cost us $100 million, $150 million, $200 million, which means the difference between 800 people having a job and 800 people not having a job, which means the difference between a community having an economy and not having an economy, and we can't get answers from the McGuinty government, which has been out there promising a cogeneration facilitator, promising a cogeneration strategy, telling us that biomass is the way to go. We can't get any practical answers that would allow us to plan."

I say, where's the McGuinty government's plan for industrial cogeneration? The answer: Nobody knows. The cogeneration facilitator that was promised in February: He or she doesn't exist. The practical rules on biomass, wood waste: That doesn't exist. The issue of how all this is going to go; is there going to be a transition -- let me tell you what's important about transition. The interesting thing about this government and its cogeneration strategy is, it's not much different from the cogeneration strategy that surfaced under the previous Peterson government. The Peterson government went to paper mills and pulp mills and said, "Build natural gas plants as part of your paper mills. You can use some of the natural gas, burn natural gas, to produce electricity, but you can also use it to produce steam for your mill, and steam is used for drying the paper." Companies bought into this. Some of them built fairly hefty natural gas plants.


But now the electricity is too expensive for these mills to purchase. We saw that today in Cornwall with the announcement of the layoff of another 500 workers; we saw it in Ottawa with the announcement of the layoff of 200 workers; we saw it two weeks ago at Cascades in Thunder Bay with the announcement of a total of 525 workers laid off; we saw it at Norampac in Red Rock with the announcement of over 200 workers laid off; and we saw it in Dryden with the announcement of 40 workers laid off.

Electricity is now too expensive under the McGuinty policy of driving electricity through the roof, in terms of price, so they can't afford to buy electricity to run their mills. They're interested in looking at cogeneration. But some of these mills that have been using natural gas need a transition strategy, where they can continue to use natural gas while they build a setup that will burn bark and wood waste. They've gone to the McGuinty government, saying, "Will you negotiate a power purchase agreement with us so that we can continue to run the natural gas cogen for a couple of years while we build the new wood waste burner?"

You would think that a government that's out there with lots of gimmicks and lots of media spin promoting wood waste would have thought that through. But do you know what companies have found when they've come to talk to the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Natural Resources about that issue? What they've found is that the Minister of Energy looks at them and says, "Oh, I never thought of that," and the Minister of Natural Resources looks at them and says, "Oh, I never thought of that," and then they go to the Premier's office to talk to the officials on high and they run into a bunch of people there who say, "Oh, I never thought of that."

What's clear is that on this front as well there isn't a plan, there isn't a strategy, so we see mill after mill announcing that they're closing, laying off thousands of workers, taking hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity out of communities that in many cases are one-industry towns. Where's the industrial cogeneration strategy? It isn't there.

What's the net result for industry? The net result is this: We're losing tens of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs. Not only does the McGuinty government not have anything to help these companies and communities, but the McGuinty government is the source of the problem. The McGuinty government is making the otherwise difficult business challenges, the economic challenges of these companies -- these paper mills, pulp mills, factories -- more difficult.

That's where we're at. I was hoping that here, today, we would see the nuts, the bolts, the meat in the sandwich, the body of an industrial energy efficiency strategy. I was hoping we would see the nuts and bolts of an industrial cogeneration strategy. Nothing. People who know far more about it than I do, who ask the practical questions, get nothing as well.

I thought we would see an energy efficiency strategy for all those huge office towers down on Bay Street that often leave their lights on all day long and all night long, no matter how sunny it is or how dark it is at night, when you don't need the lights on. Do I hear a strategy? Nothing. I thought we would see and hear an energy efficiency strategy for the tens of thousands of hockey rinks across Ontario that, frankly, use a lot of electricity. Anything here? Nothing. What about the thousands of swimming pools and community auditoriums? Anything here? Nothing.

We are into the third year of the McGuinty government. Provinces and states all around us have industrial cogeneration strategies and industrial energy efficiency strategies. They have commercial energy efficiency strategies. They have institutional energy efficiency strategies. They have multi-residential energy efficiency strategies. They have residential energy efficiency and conservation strategies. They have practical things that people can do. They have loan funds and incentive funds. They have collected the workforce necessary to implement this.All of this is happening around Ontario as we speak, and what's the McGuinty government doing? Holding more photo ops, more gimmicks, more press conferences that are empty, more promises that are never fulfilled. That's what's happening under the McGuinty government.

I say to the backbenchers -- and there are a few of them here -- you should be raising this. You should be raising this with the Minister of Energy. You should be raising it with the Minister of the Environment. Time is starting to run short. People are losing their jobs. People can't pay their hydro bill. You still don't have an effective strategy to keep the lights on. That's becoming more evident every day. You should be raising these questions with your ministers. You should be saying to them, "What's the plan? What's the implementation strategy? Where's the financing? Where's the incentive fund? Where's the program to let people know and help them get involved?"

Time's running short, folks, and this is going to become more critical. We have a cold winter; this will be a problem. We have another hot summer; this will be a big problem. Time's running out. Where's the effective energy efficiency strategy? Where's the conservation strategy? You sure don't see it in this bill.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr. Mario Sergio (York West): We are dealing today with only one very small portion of a very comprehensive plan that the government has brought forward in the last couple of years, and it is the most comprehensive plan we have seen from a government in the last 50 years. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker? If previous governments had done just a small portion of what we are doing today, we wouldn't be in the situation that we are today. With all due respect to the member from Kenora-Rainy River, who says, "What?" and "Where?" -- it's funny, because he spent one hour speaking on exactly some of the things that this government is doing now.

This particular bill which we are debating is the Energy Conservation Leadership Act. It's only a very small part of trying to control the cost, the affordability and the provision of energy here in Ontario. Had not only the previous Conservative government but also the former NDP government signed a contract with the Manitobans -- that was 15 years ago, by the way -- today we would have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs, if they had had the foresight to sign that particular contract instead of cancelling it. Today we are picking up the pieces from the former governments and doing what we are supposed to do.

Instead, in the past, they had the idea of "Switch on now and pay later." For 40 years we have been paying, and now we are paying for their mistakes. This government, for the first time, not only has this wonderful energy conservation program, but also is providing energy that is clean and sufficient for the people and the consumers in Ontario.

Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): I welcome the opportunity to make a few brief comments.

I think it's important for people to understand that smart meters in fact could be really dumb meters. We've looked at and talked about the fact that each of these meters is going to cost an individual resident approximately $8 a month. The way in which they have been promoted is that there are changes during the 24-hour cycle in the demand for electric power, and you will be able to tell what that demand is during that 24-hour cycle. The assumption is that you're going to not only pay for the smart meter, but you're also going to buy appliances that will have the ability to go on during the periods of less demand. It would be in that period of less demand that you would then be able to create some efficiencies.


There are a couple of things left out of that explanation. One is, of course, that household use represents about one third of the power use of the province. Even if we were all to make these kinds of investments and assume some nocturnal habits, we'd still be looking at the potential for a relatively small part of the whole electrical demand. The other thing is that the question of price is dependent entirely on demand. If we were to change the time at which demand grew greater, obviously, the price would go up at the same time. So I think you can tell with very little examination of this that they really are dumb meters.

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): It's a delight for me to get a few comments on the record after listening very carefully to the leader of the New Democratic Party, the member from Kenora-Rainy River. I do note that when he was the right-hand man in the government of Mr. Rae from 1990-95, electricity rates went up by some 40%. Other NDP cancellations during that august period of time: Manitoba, 1,250 megawatts of power; Mattagami, 384 megawatts of power; and the Beck tunnel, 200 megawatts of power. I look forward to being back in Peterborough tomorrow, when I meet my good friends at the CAW who work at the GE nuclear products division in Peterborough, Ontario -- 500 employees making $27.50 per hour. I'll tell them clearly where the NDP would have the fate of those jobs resting.

Just a couple of comments from the Ontario Energy Association, with the introduction of Bill 21: "The legislation proposes to remove barriers and take advantage of opportunities for conservation and energy efficiency, and highlights an important leadership role for public sector organizations. The legislation also provides the framework for the implementation of smart meter technology across the province.... By committing to install smart meters in 800,000 homes by 2007, the government is providing consumers with the necessary tools to respond to the changing energy-cost environment."

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association: "North American Insulation Manufacturers Association Canada is supportive of the Ontario government's progressive measures to make energy conservation a top priority. Energy efficiency initiatives such as increased levels of insulations through enhanced building codes and home energy labelling are critical steps that need to be taken in order to protect our finite and valuable resources. There is no doubt that energy conservation remains one of Ontario's greatest untapped and readily available resources in our ongoing efforts to protect our environment for future generations."

That's what Bill 21 is all about.

Mr. Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): I recall my friend Bud Wildman, the former member for Algoma, on occasion would rise in this House and say, "I've been here a long time." I remember that vividly. I have to start my remarks, unfortunately, by saying that I've been here for a long time, and I remember when I was first elected to the Legislature in 1990. The first bill that I participated in a committee on in terms of extensive public hearings was Bill 118, the amendments to the Power Corporation Act. I know the member for Kenora-Rainy River will remember that piece of legislation. That was a very significant undertaking by the New Democratic Party government at that time. I recall some of the provisions of it.

I recall the New Democrats coming to office in 1990, and one of the first energy issues they were faced with was the 25-year demand-supply plan that the outgoing Liberal government had left behind. I believe it recommended the building of a significant number of nuclear generating facilities. Of course, that was dead on arrival with the new government. They felt that that was not necessarily in the public interest. We went into a recession shortly thereafter, and the demand-supply projections that Ontario Hydro had brought forward at that time were -- because of the downturn in the economy, the electricity was not needed. So the new generating capacity was not built. I think today, 15 years later, that unfortunately we are still paying the price for the fact that sufficient generating capacity was not built in the early 1990s while the New Democrats were in office.

I also recall Brian Charlton, the MPP for one of the Hamilton ridings, after he was re-elected to the Legislature in 1990, talking about expensive demand-shifting programs like free refrigerators and some of these things. I know that the New Democrats wanted to bring in extensive programs to reduce electricity demand but were unsuccessful in doing so.

The Acting Speaker: The leader of the third party has two minutes in which to respond.

Mr. Hampton: I'm pleased to be able to respond to some folks here. First of all, I just want to remind Liberals -- and it's very painful for Liberals to be reminded of this -- that they were the people who told Ontarians that Darlington nuclear station was only going to cost about $4.7 billion to build. It was built on your watch, and when the bill came in, it was $15 billion -- not a cost overrun of 100%, not a cost overrun of double, but a cost overrun of three times. And do you know what? Because you didn't exercise control over Darlington, it resulted in an increase in electricity rates of 40%. That was your doing. They were the Peterson Liberals, and some of them are still here. You saddled the people of Ontario with a 40% increase in their hydro bill in the early 1990s because you didn't exercise control over the cost of building Darlington.

I just want to say something about energy efficiency. It's interesting to read Hansard. When the NDP government wanted to implement energy-efficiency strategies in 1992 and 1993, do you know who was the most strident opponent? He used to say, "Ontario can't afford energy efficiency. Ontario can't afford energy conservation." Do you know who that was? Some guy named Dalton McGuinty said, "Ontario can't afford energy efficiency. Ontario can't afford energy conservation." So I say to the Liberal members here, go back and read your own Hansards. It's not very flattering.

Let me say this to my Conservative friend: In the early 1990s, when we suspended the nuclear plan, we had supply of 30,000 megawatts and demand not even equalling 20,000 megawatts. We were drowning in electricity supply. You guys should have implemented energy efficiency when you came to power.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Phil McNeely (Ottawa-Orléans): I have to start off by saying that I haven't been here a long time, but I think we've just heard history being rewritten on who caused the high energy prices during the third party's reign.

I'm pleased to stand here today and speak to this extremely important bill, An Act to enact the Energy Conservation Leadership Act, 2005 and to amend the Electricity Act, 1998, the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 and the Conservation Authorities Act. This is really important legislation, and it's enabling legislation. It will let us do a lot of things.

Before I get into a discussion of the bill, I'd just like to talk about what's going on in Montreal today. We had the third day of the climate change conference, an extremely important event for Canada, for the world, and obviously for our children, with over 10,000 delegates in Montreal from 180 countries. This conference is very important. It's unfortunate that two parties in the federal government weren't there to allow it go ahead and have an election later on in the year. Our political scene in Ottawa has overtaken the media. As a result, I read the Globe and Mail this morning and there wasn't one mention of this great conference.

Meeting the Kyoto objectives will be assisted significantly by the McGuinty government's decision to close our coal-fired generation. I'd just like to mention how great a decision this is. These are real emission reductions, within the Kyoto commitment. Our province produces 40% of the country's gross domestic product and only 28% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Yet Ontario is making the big commitment to replacing coal with clean and renewable fuels, and they will reduce emissions 30 megatonnes, which represents more than 10% of Canada's overall Kyoto targets.


It's so important. I know the other parties in this House have not supported the discontinuation of the coal generation in our province, but it's so important to Ontarians, it's so important to Canadians. It's so important to show that leadership in North America, where another country is not showing that leadership. Ontario is, and I'm very proud of our government's decision -- 10% of our Kyoto objectives in just one move. This was a courageous move by our government and the right decision.

One of the very important things that we've done as a government: We've appointed Ontario's first Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Peter Love. I had the privilege of meeting him on Monday. I'm very impressed with his background, I'm impressed with his ideas and I'm impressed with his leadership. We're going to see that that move alone is going to take us down the road a long way in advancing conservation in Ontario.

Our conservation challenge reflects the important goal of building and supporting a conservation culture in all sections of Ontario's economy, and a cornerstone of Ontario's long-term electricity future. Ontario has set the target to reduce peak electricity by 5% by 2007, and we will do that. Peter Love, our Chief Energy Conservation Officer, has thrown out the challenge for us to reduce our energy consumption by 10% as individuals. That challenge is something that all Ontarians, I'm sure, will be picking up.

I read the Toronto Star this morning, and David Olive has written this: "Energy policy: Canadians are energy hogs, leading most lists of per capita energy consumption among industrial nations." Those aren't my words; that's what is being said in the press. It does reflect that we are a northern country, but I also think it reflects that we have not been doing as much as we can for conservation.

This legislation, which is enabling legislation, will help us put in place many things. It will decrease energy. One of the most important: It will provide the Minister of Energy with regulatory authority to wipe out barriers to enable conservation. Just a few of these possibilities: simple things like wiping out the prohibition against clotheslines in new subdivisions. That's a small thing -- but very large things, far-reaching things, like requiring all homes to have an EnerGuide rating upon sale. That is major. That means that when you go to buy a car, it will tell you how many litres per 100 kilometres that this car will use, so you know whether you're getting a gas guzzler or an efficient car. That will be the same for housing, and that will be very important. When people buy a house, 10 or 20 times as much as a car don't know, down the road, what the energy costs are going to be. This legislation will permit us to put in place requirements that when you buy a new home, you know whether you're buying something that is very inefficient or something that is a real conservation home. That is very important to us.

We have in Ontario and through the rest of the country many homes that were built in the last 30 years. New ones are much more energy efficient than the old ones, of course. It just shows what you can do with the old homes. This comes out of, again, the conservation leader that we have put in place: 28% of the heat loss in a home is from ventilation, but if we increase the airtightness, we can save 10% on that. Windows -- 26% of the heat loss; we can bring that down by 7%, so it will be a 19% loss. Basements -- 24%; it's getting to be more important to cover the basements in the summertime. Of course, the basements may provide some cooling. Main walls -- 17% of the loss; the energy savings on that could be 6%. Ceilings -- 5%; we could take that down by 2%. Overall, 40% of the energy costs of running a home could be saved through proper technology and more efficient homes. That's one of the directions we can go in and that's the direction we are going to go in. When you are buying a home, you are going to know the EnerGuide rating and you're going to be able to make your decision on not only your costs today but your costs going forward, which is extremely important.

Smart metering will bring our energy system into the 21st century. We heard from the leader of the third party that smart metering wasn't the way to go. But it will allow us to see what energy we are using. It will allow us to make those decisions and, with the new appliances, to put off the use of those appliances until the off-peak hours. So reducing that peak is going to be extremely important, and the costs of those meters are going to come back to us many times.

The enabling legislation is going to let us do many things, but I think one of the most important will be establishing the requirement that persons selling or leasing a home provide prospective purchasers or lessees with information related to the property's energy use. We have not had that in the past, and that is extremely important.

So in many ways this has taken us that step forward. It's not the end of the line, because the building code is going to be modified in order to reach those objectives we have for energy conservation. As we go ahead with the different steps that we've seen in the past, our government is taking this province forward, taking the people forward, with the support of people, to plan for the future, to reduce energy use, to meet our objectives for Kyoto. Fifty per cent of energy savings that we can do as a people relate to our buildings; fifty per cent of our energy objectives for Kyoto relate to our buildings. So we have to have better buildings, and our building code can be modified to do that.

I'm very pleased to see this legislation going forward. I think it's the right legislation, it's the right vision that we have for energy conservation in this province, and I'm very pleased to support this legislation.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr. Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe): Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak in support of the bill, because Bill 21 on conservation is a very important bill in order to create a culture which we are missing in this province.

I was listening to the third party leader talking about his initiatives and criticizing this bill. I was wondering, when he was in government, what he implemented, what he was talking about. I guess he was missing in action.

Hon. Mike Colle (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration): He bought a rain forest in Puerto Rico. That's all he did.

Mr. Ramal: That's what he did. I read his book; there are a lot of good things in that book, but nothing was implemented.

Also, I was listening to the honourable member from the Conservative Party when she was talking about dumb smart meters instead of smart meters. I don't know why she has a lot of opposition to that technology, the smart technology which is going to be implemented in Ontario. When we talk about a smart meter, it's a very important initiative. The meter we have right now installed in Ontario is technology which is 100 years of age. We have to update ourselves. We have to go with the technology, because it is very important. I believe our minister and our government are on track in order to create that culture of conservation, because it is needed badly.

I listened to the member from Waterloo-Wellington when he was talking about when he was first elected to government. He outlined his position very, very well. The Leader of the Opposition, the government of Ontario back then -- how much they talked about conservation, how much they talked about Hydro, and never implemented anything.

It's about time that we create that culture. It's about time that we have a government and a minister committed to the future of this province. That's why I'm supporting this bill, and I hope everyone in this House goes with the technology, invests more in the future of this province, because it's very important.


Mr. Barrett: I find it a little agonizing watching this government attempting to wrestle with a dwindling supply of energy, of expensive energy, the only jurisdiction in North America that is actually reducing the supply of electricity in its jurisdiction. As I watch this government twisting in the wind, if you will, I question whether they understand the connection. They talk about the connection of energy supply going hand in hand with conservation, but I really wonder if they understand in a very practical way what conservation is all about.

Greenpeace Canada's energy coordinator, David Martin, highlights similar concerns, and I quote: "Smart meters are not a substitute for real conservation programs."

I should talk about one real conservation program, a program that was supported by the previous government, and that was the Energy Star program. We launched what was referred to as the Energy Star rebate program in Ontario in November 2002. This was part of a very practical, common sense approach to assist people to lower their hydro bills. There was an 8% PST rebate for all Energy Star appliances. That would be dishwashers, clothes dryers, refrigerators and freezers. I bought a new freezer at that time and I did not have to pay that 8% PST. When you use an Energy Star qualified appliance -- dishwasher or freezer -- an average consumer would accrue a saving of $165 a year. That's conservation.

Mr. Bisson: I just find it so interesting that my good friend the member from Ottawa-Orléans took exception to the speech made by my leader, Howard Hampton, the leader of the New Democratic Party. Everybody knows that when it comes to energy issues Howard is the authority. He's the guy, quite frankly, who has it figured out. You listen to the media scrums out there. Whenever there's an issue having to do with hydro, they go to Howard. Why? Because he knows what he is talking about.

I find it so funny that a Liberal caucus with a big majority is afraid of little old us. Like, we're only seven right now. We've got to have a by-election to get another member over here, and they're worried about what Howard Hampton has to say about energy. When you see people starting to throw rocks the other way, it normally means they're kind of worried about something, and I think that's rather interesting.

As my leader, Howard Hampton, said, the reality is that there are some things this government could be doing right away, quite easily, to move on energy efficiency. Granted, there's some stuff they're going to do that, with time, is probably going to result in a positive direction on the energy conservation side, but the point Howard was making was simply this: There are things this government could be doing that would be very inexpensive, that they would be able to do now to put Ontario on the right track when it comes to energy conservation.

He talked about the whole issue of the building code and making sure the building code is updated.

Mr. Patten: That's next.

Mr. Bisson: The government member says, "That's next week." You've been here for almost three years now. It's like, my God, that's not a very complicated thing to do. You take a look --


Mr. Bisson: Well, two and a half years. You take a look at all the apartment buildings and all the office buildings built here in the city of Toronto and a lot of them are very poorly insulated, and there are a number of things that can be done that would lead to efficiency and being able to save electricity, which would take some of the pressure off that we have on the supply side.

I find it rather interesting. I look forward to more Liberal comments about my wonderful leader, Howard Hampton.

Mr. Leal: I listened carefully to the very articulate comments by the member from Ottawa-Orléans. There's a gentleman who put the case extremely well --

Interjection: He's been around a long time.

Mr. Leal: And he will be around for a long time. I hope the good citizens of Ottawa and Peterborough were tuned in when the member from Ottawa-Orléans was delivering his speech about what Bill 21 is all about and the building blocks of Bill 21. He talked extremely well about building a conservation culture in Ontario, something I believe Ontarians will be picking up on as we move forward. He talked about the benefits of smart metering, where you invest a dollar in a smart meter and get $1.50 in return. He talked about the great work that Peter Love is instituting as the new conservation czar for the province of Ontario, and his good work that will result in the reduction of electricity use in Ontario.

My friend from Ottawa-Orléans also noted that if everybody in Ontario took their old light bulbs out and installed the new, compact fluorescent bulbs, that would save one coal plant in Ontario. Those are the kinds of key initiatives that this bill is all about. I couldn't think of a better man, a professional engineer, a guy who knows the facts about conservation, the facts about generating electricity in Ontario: my friend and colleague from Ottawa-Orléans.

When I listened to the member from Kenora-Rainy River, the only thing I heard was that those 500 people who work at the GE nuclear products division in Peterborough, those CAW workers who now earn $27.50 with benefits, and there's also a plant in my friend's riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke -- that he would get rid of all those workers in Ontario: gone with the stroke of a pen because he doesn't support those kind of things.

The Acting Speaker: The member from Ottawa-Orléans has two minutes in which to respond.

Mr. McNeely: I'd like to thank the member from London-Fanshawe and the member from Halton. The member from Timmins-James Bay may have made the best pitch yet for getting into the front seat here beside me; we don't quite know that yet. And I thank the member from Peterborough very much for all those nice words.

We heard today about all the evils of getting rid of the coal-generated energy in our province, and that neanderthal thinking -- I just refer to those eight or 10 years that that party was in power as the era of the lost generation, and I think they're still there now. They're not with it today. We must move forward and plan for the future. This bill has all the ingredients to --


Mr. McNeely: It's two years, sir; we've been in power for two years. But these steps have to be taken at the right pace. This is enabling legislation that lets a lot more things be done.

I was very encouraged by what I heard when I spoke to Mr. Love, when I spoke to the Minister of Energy and when I spoke to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: that we are moving in the right direction. The building code is the next stage to implement some of the things we want to do. We're going to get this province on the right track. We are in a much better position than we were two years ago. We can't do anything that we were left with: no investment in energy generation for seven or eight years by the former government. We're taking over, we're getting that generation in place, and this province will be much better because we have legislation that points us in the right direction. We're going to know how to save. Ontarians are going to get behind us. Ontarians are going to make sure that they achieve a 10% energy reduction, and they'll be able to do that because they'll know how their energy is being used: We'll have smart meters in our homes.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I am pleased to speak to Bill 21; my first opportunity to do a one-hour leadoff. I stood down my lead last week because I was up visiting Atikokan and Thunder Bay, and I'll touch on that a little later.

Mr. Patten: Don't drink too much water.

Mr. Yakabuski: OK. That's a good idea. You don't know what I've got installed in my plumbing system, though, Richard. Don't worry about it.

This bill is entitled An Act to enact the Energy Conservation Leadership Act, 2005 and to amend the Electricity Act, 1998, the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 and the Conservation Authorities Act. The big story around this bill is conservation. I don't think that the minister has self-titled -- I wouldn't say she's that vain -- but she somehow has gained the title as the queen of conservation. She feels very good about this bill that she has brought forward and wants to get it passed through the House as soon as possible. But in the bill itself, of course, there is almost nothing. The bill is an enabling bill that allows the government to do a number of things, and we'll get back to that as well.


One thing that I've heard talked about -- I only got here a few minutes ago, so I did miss some of the good debate that must have been going on with the leader of the third party, which also must have gotten under the skin of the government, which would lead me to believe that it must have been some good stuff. So I'm sorry I missed that. Anyhow, they were talking about conservation and then they were talking about coal plants and nuclear plants. We're going to get into that as well, because we do have a fair bit of time today.

First, I do want to talk a little bit about conservation. This government talks a lot about conservation, but you really have to ask yourself how much support or impetus they have actually given to conservation here in the province of Ontario. There are some things out there that could be described as low-hanging fruit, and the government has done little or nothing to encourage people to take advantage of that. I'm going to talk about our own situation here a little bit.

In the last couple of years, my wife and I made the decision that we were going to try to reduce our energy consumption in our home. Having a couple of teenage children, I'm sure that anybody who is in that position knows that that's not the easiest thing to do at times. I don't say anything disparaging about our two children left at home, Emily and Lucas, because of course they're absolutely wonderful and we love them dearly, but they do tend to be a little careless at times with regard to recognizing that a switch that goes up can also go down, or "On goes off" type of thing. We have our issues with that, but we did want to take the steps that we could.

One thing we did was to lower the temperature of our hot water heater. That's a very important thing. Sometimes people have their hot water heaters running higher than is necessary and that is a significant issue with regard to their consumption, because of course in a standard 40-gallon hot water heater, if it's electric -- and in our case it is electric -- there are 3,500 watts of power in that heater. It's dual 3,500 watts that cycle on and off independently, so there is a lot of power used in order to heat your water. Of course, a dryer is one of the biggest users of electricity in anyone's home.

The first thing we did was to purchase energy-efficient appliances: a new washer, a new dryer and a new refrigerator. Now, the drier was not eligible, even though it's the latest technology and high-efficiency. It's still a huge consumer of power because of the very nature of what it does: It dries clothes by creating a lot of heat. But I must say, there is nobody out there who is more reluctant to use a clothes dryer than my wife, Vicky. Even in the dead of winter she's out there hanging clothes on the line because she does not believe in turning on that dryer unless it is absolutely necessary. Socks and underwear is about all of what we dry in our dryer. Of course, the clothes that are dried on the line are so much fresher and the smell is so much sweeter. When you put those bed sheets back on the bed, and they've been dried on the line, it's like you're hopping into a cloud. The freshness of the air is invigorating. We'll leave it at that.


Mr. Yakabuski: Richard wants more. I'm sorry, that's as far as it goes, my friend.

The clothes dried on the line are so superior in their fragrance and everything else, and you've saved the power by doing so.

Then we thought, "We've got to do something more." So we purchased new windows for the house. We did half of them in 2004, and we've done half of them this year. My house has 24 windows it in, so we did half one year and half the next year. The house was built in 1960, so the windows were 44 and 45 years old. It was time to replace them, because they were not doing us any favours with regard to the amount of energy we were consuming in the home. So that's new windows.

We ensured that there was R20 insulation in the attic. In fact, we've got R40; there's R40 insulation in the attic.

Then, this fall, we purchased a new heating system, a brand new high-efficiency oil furnace. It is going to reduce not only our consumption of furnace oil, but also, because it's a high-efficiency blower, it's going to reduce dramatically the amount of electricity. What people don't understand sometimes is that the blower system on your forced-air furnace uses a lot of electricity. So we've done that.

We've also taken out our old heat-pump air conditioning system, and we're replacing it in the spring. There's no sense buying the air conditioning in October. You might as well wait till the spring. So we've done that.

The other thing we've done is, there's not an incandescent light in our house. There's not one, I should say, except in the hall, which is on a rheostat, a dimmer switch. I understand that I can get a fluorescent bulb now that can be dimmed, so I'm going to look after that. That will be my next job. Working here every day, I haven't had time to get out to the store to get one, but that is on my list; I can assure you of that. So if that bulb is changed, we won't have an incandescent bulb in the house. We don't even have incandescent bulbs in the garage or the sheds in behind. They're all compact fluorescents. So we've reduced the amount of electricity that we use to light our home and to light the buildings around the home. All of these kinds of things that we have done are going to add to the energy efficiency of our home.

Now, here comes a very important point: None of that was assisted in any way except the appliances, because they were bought before this government cancelled the sales tax rebate program on Energy Star appliances. They cancelled that last September, I believe, and they have brought nothing out since to replace it. Think about that: Since September 2004, there has been no incentive to the people of the province of Ontario to purchase an energy-efficient appliance; none whatsoever. We did that, got the sales tax rebate. We purchased before this current government -- the conservation government, the energy-efficient government, the one that's going to solve all our energy needs -- cancelled the very program that would remove some of those wasteful, high-electricity-usage appliances from service and replace them with energy-efficient appliances. That's something we did under the program that had been brought in by the previous government, the Progressive Conservative government, and continued for a while under this government -- because they didn't cancel everything right away, but anything that made sense they tried to cancel as soon as possible. All of these things that we've done to reduce the energy consumption in our home, as I said, with the exception of the appliances, has been done without any help whatsoever from this government; none whatsoever.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a wealthy man. But I can tell you, I have never been in a position -- I'm concerned about my hydro bill and I'm always unhappy when I see the hydro bill -- where I couldn't pay the hydro bill. Obviously, we're in a position where we could make these enhancements to our home, not only for our own level of personal comfort and enjoyment, but to save electricity and to reduce our electricity costs.


However, with the absence of a program, I have people in my riding who could benefit from doing these kinds of things to their home -- they could reduce their energy consumption the same way that Vicky and I have reduced our energy consumption -- but you know what? They can't afford it. That's the reality: There are people who can't afford it. Not only can they not afford to do these kinds of enhancements, but some of them can't afford to pay their hydro bill. I can't tell you how many times -- and I can only go back to October 2003; that's when I was elected -- we have had people contact our office, my constituency office in particular, worried sick because they couldn't pay their hydro bill and were at risk of having their hydro cut off. Those people aren't going to be going out and investing in new Energy Star appliances. They're not going to be changing the air conditioning or the furnace or new windows. They can't make ends meet in Dalton McGuinty's Ontario, and they can't pay the hydro bill. We don't have a program in this province that looks at that because, you see, the people who can least afford to make these enhancement are the ones who are most affected by high hydro rates.

I want to take my hat off to my staff in my constituency office: Andrew Simms, Susan Fynn and Laura Lapinski, who do such a tremendous job of assisting the people in my constituency, in my riding, not only with these problems, but with every other kind of problem that comes our way. As a member of this House, you can well imagine what happens in our constituency office, which is not unlike other constituency offices in this province. I want to thank them in particular, and also my staff here at Queen's Park: Mary-Frances Dulny, my executive assistant, and Joan Stearns, my legislative assistant.


The Acting Speaker: While you're taking a sip of water, I counted nine separate discussions going on. I think the member needs to be heard. It is his first one-hour leadoff speech, and he would appreciate, I think, being heard.

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I am not deterred by that number; however, I am somewhat shocked. I would have thought that not only all of the people in the House, but those who might be in their offices or in the caucus rooms would have come down here simply on the basis that they wanted to catch this live, and that they would be captivated completely and totally by this address and would not want to miss a single word. I see the member from Huron-Bruce has reaffixed her attention on myself. I hardly expect those eyes will leave me for the rest of this hour.

Now, where was I? I said I'd be undeterred, but I didn't say that I wouldn't lose my spot.

Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest): You were thanking your staff.

Mr. Yakabuski: Yes, thank you very much, Lorenzo. I want to thank my staff for the great work they do in assisting me, not only in my role as a member of provincial Parliament, but also as energy critic here for the Progressive Conservative Party.

Mr. Leal: Oh, you're the energy critic now?

Mr. Yakabuski: Yes.

What do we do about conservation programs in the province of Ontario that would lead to these things happening in more homes than just mine? We don't have some of the programs they have in other provinces, and this is when I really have to ask myself about the commitment. When I see members on the other side of the House answer questions, Mr. Speaker -- you and I know because we don't sit far away from each other, and I know I can't involve you in this conversation -- I don't know about you, but I would like to have a running count as to how many times they use the words, "We're committed. I want the people of Ontario to know that we are committed." You hear those words over and over again, but you have to ask yourself, how committed are they to energy conservation when they have nothing in place well over two years into their mandate? In fact, the only thing they have done is to remove Energy Star appliances from the conservation picture.

Other provinces: I've got to tell you, I was in a meeting with some stakeholders, and I don't have some of my papers here, but they were talking about the program in B.C. and how their energy conservation plan has resulted in $1 billion of power saved. They have reduced the need for power by $1 billion. They've actually been able to cancel two hydro projects because of their conservation measures, because they have been so much more proactive and so much more aggressive than this government here. That's British Columbia.

In provinces like Manitoba and Quebec, they also have energy audits where they will come in, look at your house and tell you what you need. Then they will assist you in making those changes so that your House is more energy efficient than it would have been previously. They'll help you with that.

When this government talks about spending money, they are spending a whack of money bringing in new generation. They are working with bankrupt or soon-to-be-bankrupt companies. You wonder where that's going to take us, and that's a good question. I know the energy minister today got a telephone call from the CEO of the partner of Calpine. That should be really reassuring to the people of Ontario, that the CEO of the partnering company with the company that is about to go bankrupt, according to analysts, has phoned to reassure her. I can only imagine how many people were reassured by calls from Bernie Ebbers a couple of years ago, telling them that everything was going to be fine.

When a company is in trouble, I would expect that the CEO, anybody involved with companies surrounding that company, is going to be very quick to say things like, "Oh, not to worry, we've got it well under control. Everything is going to be fine. The energy minister is exactly right. We're going to have everything going ahead as scheduled." But we know differently. In the real world, actually, somewhere, there may have been instances where the CEO of a company has actually misled people. That may have happened.

So I'm not overly reassured, and I don't think the people of Ontario are overly reassured with the minister's response to those queries today, both by myself and by the leader of the third party, who has great concerns, as we do, about the solvency of companies this government has sort of hopped into bed with, because what has happened is that they are desperate. They have an energy policy that has forced them into a corner. And when you're nervous and you're desperate and you're scared -- you know that old saying, "Haste makes waste"? That's an old one. My mother used to tell me that, and she was very right. My mother was a very wise woman. This is what has happened with this government. My mother was a very wise woman and kept us, tried to keep us -- I was going to say kept us, but let's just say tried to keep us -- on the straight and narrow, and that was wonderful. I was very fortunate in that regard, to have such guidance in my life.


Mr. Leal: Your father was a great member too.

Mr. Yakabuski: Yes, he was. Thank you very much. The member from Peterborough alludes to my father's record in this House. I'm very proud of my father's record in this House and the fact that he made it possible for me to be here in this position today.

Mr. Leal: Tell us about Conway. He was a great member too.

Mr. Yakabuski: I don't want to get too far off track, but the member for Peterborough says, "Tell us about Conway." Of course, "Conway" refers to my cousin Sean Conway, who was the member for my riding before I was the member for my riding.

Mrs. Carol Mitchell (Huron-Bruce): I didn't know that, John.

Mr. Yakabuski: I'll bet you did. Keep listening closely and you'll learn a few other things.

I remember talking to Sean Conway back in 2002. It was at a Remembrance Day service at the Legion in Barry's Bay. The people on the other side of the House, particularly those who were here prior to 2002, will remember that at that time, Sean Conway was the energy critic. How interesting that I'm now the energy critic for the opposition, as he was the energy critic for the opposition. I remember talking to Sean that day. It was after Sean had announced that he was not going to run again. We were talking about energy and nuclear energy and he said, "I've got to tell you one thing, John" -- here's a guy who was 28 years in this House, serving his constituents in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke or Renfrew North or whatever; he had different riding names -- "You just wouldn't believe how complicated that energy business is." Well, I can tell you, having been the energy critic for only a few short months now, how absolutely correct he was. I hope we continue to investigate and learn things as they go on and as the industry itself evolves, because it's going to be constantly changing even as we speak.

So there: I can't give you the history of Conway's 28 years here because it would be too long, just as I can't give you the history of my dad's 24 years, but I'm quite thankful and proud that I'm following them here in this great Legislature.

Back to conservation: There are so many things we could be doing to help people in the conservation field. I know this bill enables the government to do some things, but what the heck have they been doing for two years? For God's sake, what have they been doing to help people for the last two years? Nothing, and that's the shame of it. Because they've been so fixated on all of this other stuff they've had to bring in -- legislation about gummy bears and sushi and pit bulls and all that kind of stuff -- they haven't done their job on the conservation file. So these are some things that they could help with tremendously.

But as we go forward in the energy field, in the energy sector here, I hope this government does something positive with regard to conservation, but even in respect to that, we're still going to see significant and severe price increases for hydroelectricity in this province under this regime. Much of it is going to be due to their failure to recognize the reality and their failure to open their eyes to what is out there and available to them with regard to clean coal technology.

It's kind of ironic: The federal minister of energy -- I think it's John McCallum -- was at a breakfast last Friday. I was supposed to go to that breakfast but couldn't because I was engaged in my riding. As you know, I have a long drive to my riding on Thursday nights.

Mr. Chudleigh: How long is it?

Mr. Yakabuski: It's a long drive; it's well in excess of 300 kilometres. I was going back Thursday night because I had engagements in my riding on Friday, and I couldn't do that breakfast.

The federal minister of energy was talking about how committed the federal government was to investing in -- now listen carefully. Listen carefully.


Mr. Yakabuski: Did you want me to wait a minute? I don't want you to miss this.

The Minister of Energy was talking about how important it was, and how committed -- that's a word that you Liberals over there use a lot -- the federal government was to investing in clean coal technology.


Mr. Yakabuski: Yes. And how they were going to be assisting Alberta, which is investing in clean coal technology. Do you know what that means? That means lower-cost power and cleaner air for those jurisdictions: clean coal technology.

This government continues to hold on to the position that they're going to shut down coal-fired generation in this province by 2007.

Interjection: By 2009.

Mr. Yakabuski: Oh, sorry; correction. They changed their mind on that. They moved it to 2009 because they already realized they were out of line. They didn't know what they were doing. They made a commitment -- again that word "commitment" -- that they couldn't fulfill, and then they had to backpedal on it.

The Premier was just in China -- of course, that's one of the economies that Canada is competing with -- and he made the proclamation, when he got off the train or the plane -- he might as well have gone on a train. How about a slow boat to China? That would have been a good place to put him.

Anyway, he got off the plane and he made the proclamation, in this sanctimonious way, "I'm absolutely certain now that we are right in our coal shutdown policy." By getting off the plane in China, somehow he had some kind of lightning bolt or an epiphany strike him that reinforced what he wanted to do. But when he gets home, the reality is different.

They are building over 100,000 megawatts of coal power in China: within the last couple of years, under construction and to be developed within the next couple of years, over 100,000 megawatts of coal power in China. Do you know where they're building coal power? They're building it in Germany and Denmark -- whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Those are the places that are the world leaders in capturing and harnessing the wind. But why are they investing in coal? Because they've invested in clean coal technology.

What has this government done? It has sat there and wiggled and jiggled like a wiggle worm and done nothing to clean up our existing coal plants.

What's going to happen in 2007 and 2009 when they're not able to complete their "project, " when they're not able to shut down those generators like they said they would? But remember, that's just a Liberal promise. You pages over there, don't take any Liberal promises too seriously. They're not going to be able to shut down those plants. Where will we be? We will be in a position where we've actually burned the coal plants for four years without investing a nickel in making them clean.

What have we done to enhance and improve the quality of air in the province of Ontario in four years under this government? We will have done nothing. So they're really worried. Then, when you see things like Calpine probably going bankrupt, it throws a real wrench into their plans to proceed and fulfill their commitment.


What are they doing in Germany and Denmark? Germany, by the way, gets about 15% of its power from wind. It's one of the leading nations in the world; Denmark is the leading nation. But you see, for every megawatt of wind they've got, they also have -- probably not on a one-to-one basis but pretty close, because we can only depend on wind to operate at about 25% to 30% efficiency. The windmill here, down at the waterfront in Toronto, operates at about 25%; at the max, you're going to get about 30%. So for every megawatt of wind that they've got on the ground, they've got to have pretty much an equal amount of spinning reserve that they can dispatch at the call of the operator, because you can't depend on the wind. You can't say, "In three hours, we'd like 150 megawatts from your wind farm." There is a little problem if the wind doesn't co-operate. The good Lord controls the wind, but OPG can control the coal plant. So If they want to dispatch 150 megawatts and the wind doesn't blow, they're going to get squat. If you're depending on that wind to blow at one particular time or another, you could be in trouble. You will be in trouble unless you've got something that you can dispatch to make up for that shortfall.

Germany and Denmark have invested in clean coal technology. We always talk about them as being the ones most committed to wind. Well, they recognize the limitations of wind. We recognize the importance of wind. I want to make one thing abundantly clear: We should be making every investment we can in renewables in this province. Our party believes in investment in renewables, but we can't spread the silly notion that this government wants to spread: that somehow they're going to be able to solve the energy needs of this province on renewables alone. We support renewables: Any kind of energy that you can get without burning anything is good energy -- damned good energy, in my mind. It's good for the province and it's great for the environment. We support that 100%. But we have to be abundantly clear as to the limitations of that kind of technology.

As I've said, we support investment in renewables, but we don't want to confuse people with what the actual numbers are. You see, the minister talks about 9,000 megawatts. She always says, "We've brought on 9,000 megawatts." What kind of bunk is that? You haven't brought something on until it's actually spewing out power and I can turn on my lamp based on that commitment of power in the lines. They're talking about it, they're thinking about it, they even may have made some kind of an agreement with somebody -- maybe with a bankrupt company, who knows -- but it isn't ready yet.

When she speaks about that -- and I want to caution the member from Peterborough. I believe that he's a former teacher, right?

Mr. Leal: No.

Mr. Yakabuski: No? I'm sorry; I apologize. But I know you're smart and you're good at math. I know you're good at math.

You see, when the minister talks about 975 megawatts, like she did when she made the announcement last week, we've got to do the math. When you're investing 975 megawatts in wind renewables, you've got to do a little something that we took in about grade 3 or 4, and that's called division. You've got to divide it by three, at the best, and you've got to bring that down to about 325 megawatts, and that is the absolute best. It's more likely about 280 megawatts that you could actually consider to be working out of that amount of power. So, 975 megawatts, guys. Don't try and fool the people, and stop trying to kid yourselves. I think it's very important that you recognize that those things are not exactly right.

I want to read some things in letters from other people. Maybe we'll get to them. We will, I'm sure, have plenty of time for that. Sometimes you kind of lose where you are, because these people who are listening so intently they throw you off your train of thought sometimes.

We're still on that coal. I don't want to spend all of my time --

Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): It's those members who are interrupting.

Mr. Yakabuski: Oh.

I certainly want to make it clear that we have taken every opportunity to try to get this government to reconsider some of the mistakes they've got in their coal policy and, if not invest, at least investigate what is out there.


Mr. Yakabuski: We have to be aware. The member for Peterborough says something about the United States. Well, let's not kid ourselves, folks. The United States built five new coal plants in our airshed last year. There are at least 15 currently under construction.


Mr. Yakabuski: Well, they're going to invest in clean coal technology. They're investing in clean coal technology, but the existing plants, you're right, are dirty. Even if we shut down our five coal plants, where do you think the air is coming from, folks? Less than 10% of the coal, the effects of coal in our airshed, comes out of Ontario. That's the Ministry of the Environment's own numbers: 10% of the SOx in our atmosphere from coal comes out of Canadian coal plants; the rest of it comes from the Americans. We have to ask ourselves what we're going to accomplish here. What we are losing the opportunity on is four years of cleaning up coal. We could clean up every coal plant in this province, every unit of every coal plant, for about $1.3 billion. Take those numbers and think about what we've invested or what we're investing already in other forms of energy generation in exchange for that.

Let's talk for a minute about smart meters. Again, this bill is enabling legislation with regard to smart meters, which doesn't tell us a whole heck of a lot about smart meters. But there's a lot of concern out there with regard to smart meters and what they will and will not accomplish, and what the cost may or may not be. The ministry says they think it's going to cost about a billion dollars. Some people say it could cost as high as $4 billion. Tom Adams of Energy Probe says it could add as much as $8 a month to the average person's electricity bill. What are we actually going to get out of it? We're going to get a variable rate structure starting next year, May 1. We're going to be in a situation where, if you're using power, if you've got one of these so-called smart meters -- but they're not two-way meters or anything else -- they're just going to tell you that this is what you're burning and it's within this time frame. If you're burning power between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., you're going to pay 6.4 cents a kilowatt hour. If you're between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., you're going to pay 9.3 cents a kilowatt hour. If you're between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., you're going to be back to 6.4, and between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., you're going to pay 2.9 cents a kilowatt hour, if you've got a smart meter installed in your home.

What are we going to actually accomplish? Are we just going to move, shift the load from one point of the day to the other so that some people can maybe affect their own energy usage at one time of day or another? If we're talking about conservation, are we actually going to reduce the amount of energy we use? In fairness, we will reduce the amount of energy we need at peak times, if that works. Do we really want to create a situation where people are running down to the basement or up to the laundry room, wherever it may be, at 4 or 3 or 2 in the morning to put clothes in the dryer, and then have to sit there with the clothes, because it is very inadvisable to put clothes in the dryer, turn it on and then go back to bed? It's not very good. Clothes dryers are one of the prime causes of fires. They create a lot of heat and can actually be one of the reasons why fires happen in a home. So you don't put your clothes in a dryer and then go back to bed. What kind of quality of life is that if we have people who feel they've got to rush down there, throw the clothes in the dryer and then sit up and watch them?


If they are talking about two-way meters, they might accomplish a little more in the way that they can feed information back and forth and we're actually on timed intervals. The other thing is that if we had everybody on -- you see, we had a program, the previous government had a plan, that they were going to put smart meters in every new home that was built --

Mr. Leal: Oh, so you had a plan for smart meters too?

Mr. Yakabuski: That's right, and actually the fact that people would then be able to voluntarily buy into that -- this is not going to be voluntary. It's going to be forced on everybody. So could you envision -- I'm just thinking of a retail business now, or the mall -- a hot, hot July like July 13 of this year, where we hit an all-time high of 26,160 megawatts of power used in the province of Ontario: What have we got? We've got people flocking from their homes, flocking from their apartments, and they're all going to the mall. Do you know why? Because it's air-conditioned. They can't afford to run the air conditioning at home because they can't pay the high cost of power as a result of the policies of this government. So they're flocking to the mall, and then of course the retailers are going to have to have their air conditioning pumped up to keep the temperature down. The cost is going to be doubly hard to bear for those establishments, but they're not going to have any choice but to keep those temperatures down for the comfort of the customers.

The experiments and the history of smart meters in other jurisdictions should cause people to ask themselves whether or not we should be making this kind of massive commitment -- again, that's the word: commitment -- to this kind of across-the-board, absolute -- and right now, we don't know that they're going to be smart meters. The things being bandied about, or the proposals being bandied about on them, could mean that they're going to be dumb meters that don't do the job a real metering system does. If they are going to be that, we have to question how much energy, and whether the savings will even approach what the additional cost of the meter is.

As I said, Tom Adams has speculated that it could go as high as $8 a month. For those people I was talking about before who cannot afford the hydro bills today, at five cents a kilowatt hour, up to 5.8 if it goes over the 750 kilowatt hours or the 1,000, now the ceiling -- if they can't afford those bills now, can they afford another $8 and can they afford the rates they're going to be paying under this government because of their energy policies?

I want to go back a little bit to what they're doing in Germany and Denmark with regard to biomass, cogen and even tri-gen, and that is what they're doing to reduce the CO2 emissions in coal, because the technology is there to eliminate 98% of the NOx and 96% of the SOx in coal. This is what the government talked about. But do you know what? They're not talking so much about NOx and SOx now, because they know that NOx and SOx are beatable, and can be beat. So now they're talking about CO2. But if you bring in biomass, cogen and even tri-gen, where you're burning wood pellets and other agricultural biomass with the coal, you can reduce that Co2 level to as good as natural gas. Natural gas has Co2; let's not kid ourselves. Natural gas will emit about 40% of the Co2 that coal emits, simply because there is less carbon in natural gas than there is in coal.

So we have ways of mitigating the effect of burning coal by burning it together with carbon-neutral biomass and reducing the emissions in that way. But this government is not interested. They would rather simply proceed the way they've been proceeding: blinders on. Just like a horse going down the side of the road, the blinders are on because the operator of the carriage doesn't want it to see the traffic and panic. But that's exactly what this government is doing with regard to their energy policy: They're panicking.

Let's talk a little bit about nuclear.

Mrs. Mitchell: OK.

Mr. Yakabuski: I hear the member from Huron-Bruce has awakened. Hello, again.

I know she's very pleased with the announcement recently. I believe that plant is in your riding. Is that correct?

Mrs. Mitchell: Yes.

Mr. Yakabuski: We're very supportive of that. We're very supportive of nuclear. We believe that the government should be moving in the direction of new-build nuclear as well, because we have to ensure that we have the baseload capacity in Ontario. If we don't have baseload capacity, we're going to be in big trouble. What this government is doing with regard to investing and calling investments in other technologies true megawatts is not correct. We want to ensure that, as older plants are decommissioned, we are in a position to ensure that the lights will stay on in Ontario and that the manufacturers who need that power so badly will have that power available to them.

But we also have to remember that nuclear has its limitations. It has its issues with regard to the management of waste, which we have to ensure we're dealing with, but it is also a baseload power, plain and simple. We can't use it as a peaking power because of the nature of nuclear, as you know. Compare peaking power, like a coal plant, to the accelerator on your car: When you need a little more, you accelerate, and if you need a little less, you pull back on that accelerator. With a nuclear plant, as we know, it's the pedal to the metal. Put a block on it and forget about it. You're running it full out. So it is a baseload power, not a peaking power, and we have to ensure that we have baseload capacity in Ontario.

We have to ensure that we have that peaking capacity too, and it appears to me that under this government's regime we're not going to have that peaking capacity under their present timetable if they go ahead with their ill-conceived decision to refuse to invest in the right technologies.

I want to read a couple of things about smart meters. Many people have opinions on smart meters and, in fairness, I say that a number of people are very much in favour of smart meters. But I want to read a couple of things here.

This is from the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. I was up in Thunder Bay last week, and also in Atikokan. I must say that the decisions of this government to convert the Thunder Bay plant to natural gas and to close the Atikokan plant are absolutely dumb. Those decisions are dumb.


First of all, converting an existing coal plant to natural gas is in no way going to make that plant efficient. It's not designed to be converted to natural gas and then have the same kind of efficiency you would have from a new combined-cycle natural gas plant. It's not designed that way. By simply converting it to a different type of fuel, you're not going to get the efficiencies.

One of the reasons that they claim natural gas is better than coal is because of the efficiency at which you can burn it. You can get about 58% efficiency out of a natural gas power plant, and you can't get as high an efficiency out of a coal plant. Do you know where you get the most efficiency out of natural gas? Right in that furnace in your own home; you can burn it at 95% efficiency. That's where you should be primarily burning natural gas. If you want to be the best in the environment, burn it where it burns most efficiently.

Up in Thunder Bay, that's what they are planning on doing. Converting that plant to natural gas is going to be inefficient and is going to mean expensive power.

But even more so, in Atikokan there's a community that this government has simply washed its hands of. I know that the finance minister made a trip up there this week for pre-budget consultations -- we know what a sham that is -- in Atikokan. Two years ago when he was energy minister he took his parliamentary assistant up there, who is now the energy minister, Ms. Cansfield, and they toured the Atikokan plant. They talked about how they were not going to let this community suffer. What have they done? They appointed some people to study it, but what have they actually done? What can they do to replace the kinds of economic activity and economic input that are going to be taken out of that community if they close down the plant in Atikokan? This community is going to be devastated. Their tax base is going to be down by up to 20%. Some of the best jobs in the community will be gone.

It's questionable whether the CN will keep the train running there, because 6,500 cars a year to that community are going to be gone, and another 6,500 to Thunder Bay, plus the cars that transfer the fly ash out of there. Why would CN keep it open if they've got no reason to, even though they've said -- kind of iffy -- "We don't plan to close it down"? They're a business too.

When the Minister of Natural Resources was up in Atikokan, he commented that he'd like to see that plant converted to biomass. I would like to hear the Minister of Natural Resources stand up in this House, and stand up at his cabinet table, and demand from his colleagues, "If you don't convert that plant to biomass or something, I'm going to resign my seat." Then he'd really be standing up for the people in the north. However, it appears that they have one thing to say here and another thing to say there.


Mr. Yakabuski: Hard to believe.

In two years they've done nothing to assist this community. I talked to people on the street in Atikokan. I stopped in at some stores. They are so worried and feel that hope is lost. What else are they going to do? What else is coming to Atikokan?

It was our government that built the plant in Atikokan to save a community that had been decimated because of the fact that the mines had shut down. This government is doing nothing to replace that, and that is regrettable, but it's not unusual for them to turn their backs on people. They've turned their backs on people everywhere in rural Ontario, including my riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.


Mr. Yakabuski: I was just getting to that editorial from the Thunder Bay Chronicle. I am going to do that right now.

"Are Smart Meters Really a Smart Idea?

"Hydro One customers will soon have to start setting the alarm clock to do the dishes at 1 a.m., and get up again at 4 a.m. to turn on the clothes dryer.

"Energy Minister Donna Cansfield has introduced legislation to replace Ontario's 4.5 million electricity meters by so-called `smart' meters by 2010 at a cost of $1 billion...." They're using her figure, which is probably way low. Is one company going to get this contract to replace these smart meters? Are they going to be in a position to fulfill these kinds of commitments: 4.5 million electricity meters? Unbelievable.

"The new meters, which will allow utilities to charge consumers based on the time of day they use their power, is a key part of the power-starved province...." There's the key. Listen carefully over there: "power-starved province."

Their reaction to being power-starved: "Let's cut our capacity by another 20%."

"While advocates of electricity conservation applaud the plan, will it work and is it realistic?

"It's definitely going to add costs to your already inflated hydro bill and require some major changes in lifestyle if any savings are to be realized."

We have to talk about lifestyle. We have built, particularly under other governments, a thriving economy that has given people wonderful lifestyles in Ontario, and this government wants you to trade them in for a smart meter. You have to really ask yourself, when you've worked so hard to enjoy the fruits of your labour, if now you're going to be spending your time checking the meter at 2 in the morning. But that's this government for you.

I do want to wrap up because, as I look at the clock, heavens to Betsy, I'm running out of time. It is certainly a pleasure for me to do this first lead, and I'm hoping, with some of the ideas that a number of my colleagues have imparted already, that this government will take a long, hard look at what it's doing.

As I said from the start, you're not going to get a bigger supporter of conservation than yours truly, John Yakabuski, right here. I've articulated what we have done in our own home to reduce our energy consumption. We've done this without any help from this government. If this government is truly serious about conservation, they'll enact regulations through this legislation as quickly as possible to ensure -- you know, we even have these energy-efficient light bulbs I'm telling you about.

Mr. Leal: Did you sell them in your hardware store?

Mr. Yakabuski: You're darn right I did.

What do we do to help people get them? We charge sales tax. If you want to get an energy-efficient light bulb in every socket in this province, at least remove the tax on energy-efficient light bulbs. They can't seem to see through it. You see, this government is so addicted to taxes that they can't even remove them from light bulbs. I wish the lightswould soon go on.

The Acting Speaker: The time being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10.

The House adjourned at 1759.