38th Parliament, 2nd Session



Wednesday 17 May 2006 Mercredi 17 mai 2006






















































The House met at 1330.




Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Victoria-Brock): Yesterday, the Coalition of Ontario Pharmacy was here at Queen's Park to sound the alarm about Bill 102. The coalition, of which 80% of Ontario pharmacies are members, warns that the McGuinty Liberals' drug reforms will wreak havoc on Ontario's community pharmacies despite a proposed payment plan for cognitive services. Pharmacies in Ontario, and ultimately Ontarians, are going to lose as a result of these reforms. These reforms mean Ontarians are once again being made to pay more and get less.

The coalition warns that as a result of these reforms and the government's refusal to adequately reimburse pharmacists for the cost of their services, as many as 300 pharmacies in Ontario will close. They warn that the ones that do stay open will be forced to lay off staff and they'll be forced to reduce their hours of operation. Due to staff layoffs, pharmacists will have less time to answer medication-related questions, meaning that Ontarians will have to go to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms for answers. Pharmacists will actually lose money if they stock expensive drugs for conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

My office has been inundated with letters from pharmacists in my riding who have written to express their concerns with this government's ill-thought-out plan to reform the drug system in Ontario. I heard from a Kash Eshkour, a pharmacist at the Kinmount Pharmacy. He says that your plan will ultimately "compromise the sustainability and viability of a community pharmacy." I heard from Ramesh Chotai, a pharmacist in Coboconk. He has been in business for 26 years, and he's concerned about the viability of his business if you ram the bill through the Legislature. I also heard from Amin Shivji, a pharmacist from Haliburton, who says, "A pharmacy driven out of business because it is unable to afford to dispense --

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


Mr. Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth): The Premier talks about making Ontario a North American leader in conservation and efficiency, and it's evident by his speeches that he has adopted that as a slogan. But it's also evident from his actions that he is going to be marginalizing conservation and efficiency, that it's going to be a sideshow in his approach to energy in this province.

He is not showing the leadership of investing in a suite of conservation and efficiency programs that have been successfully employed in other jurisdictions to reduce energy use. In Manitoba and Quebec, our neighbours, they have well-established programs to retrofit residential homes to make them more energy efficient.

Quebec, to date, has been topping off the rebates to homeowners who have renovated their homes through having an energy audit. The federal Tories just recently cut this successful program in their budget. Quebec, according to federal officials, has indicated that it will continue the funding of this program at the provincial level.

In contrast, here in Ontario there has just been silence.

I propose that the Premier follow the lead of his Liberal cousins in Quebec and, instead of engaging in a hollow spin war with the federal Tories on this program, that he bring that EnerGuide program back into Ontario and put us on the path to becoming a leader in conservation and sustainable energy.


Ms. Monique M. Smith (Nipissing): It's a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to honour the 100th anniversary of the Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner. This is a significant milestone.

The roots of the office reach back to the early days of mining in this province and to a flurry of staking activity in Cobalt, Ontario. When silver was discovered in Cobalt just after the turn of the last century, the government of James Whitney was required to deal with escalating public demand to stake-claiming.

In 1905, a mining convention was held in this very building. A whole range of proposed mining regulations came forward from delegates and many found their way into the Mines Act of 1906. One regulation in particular would stand out: the appointment of a Mining Commissioner to decide disputes. Over the years, as changes were made to mining and other development legislation, the roles, responsibilities and title of the commissioner changed. In 1973, the Mining Commissioner became the Mining and Lands Commissioner.

Since 1973, the commissioner's jurisdiction has expanded beyond the Mining Act and now also includes matters related to the Conservation Authorities Act; the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act; the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act; the Assessment Act; and the Aggregate Resources Act. These are all acts and programs administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

In dealing with issues referred to it for consideration, the office continues to use progressive case management and alternative dispute resolution measures.

Throughout the 100-year history we have had only seven commissioners, and the province has been well served by the able public servants who have filled that important role, including our current commissioner, Linda Kamerman, and her able staff.

The Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner has played a vital role in providing continuity and stability for mining exploration and development in our resource-rich province --

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


Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton): Inconsistent, aggressive and excessive -- that is how the rural people of Nepean-Carleton, eastern Ontario and throughout this entire province feel about the Smitherman scheme to control jams, jellies and pies sold at our local roadside food stands and farmers' markets.

They are worried about the new regulations and what they will spell for church suppers like those in North Gower, Greely and Richmond. They fear next on the attack list in our rural institutions will be church picnics, school bake sales and hockey team fundraisers.

They are justifiably concerned that this is another attempt by this Liberal government and its urban attitude to attack the rural way of life, rural customs and everything that is wholesome in our rural communities. They think the Smitherman scheme is really a solution looking for a problem.

While we all agree that there is a need for food safety, Councillor Glenn Brooks in my riding accurately states: "The devil is in the details. Basically, all prepared foods must be prepared within the food premises as approved by health inspectors." But he reminds us: "No problem, except there are many situations in which the quantity of food cannot be prepared on-site. Therein lies a serious problem ... many large church suppers will not be able to meet the fullness of the legislation."

I'd like to remind the minister that made-in-downtown-Toronto policies don't work in small-town and rural Ontario. Like Councillor Brooks says, "Conflict between rural culture and tradition and a myriad of regulations, old and new and yet to be, is creating an ever-increasing irritant. Eventually, the decision-makers' know-best attitude will stifle community initiative." He believes it is unacceptable.


Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne (Don Valley West): I rise in the House today to recognize the National Day Against Homophobia. Initially created by a group in Montreal called Fondation Émergence, it was first recognized by the National Assembly of Quebec in 2003. This year, the city of Toronto has added its name to the list of supporters of this important day.

In its fourth year, the National Day Against Homophobia will be highlighting the need to end homophobia in our work environments. A recent survey conducted by Léger Marketing showed that over 60% of respondents believe that if gays and lesbians reveal their sexual orientation in the workplace it could be harmful to their professional career. Over half of Canadians surveyed feel that for people who openly state being gay or lesbian, it is difficult to gain acceptance by management and colleagues, as well as by clients with whom they do business.


We have come a long way in Canada in accepting gays, lesbians and transgendered people as equals in our communities, but we clearly have a way to go yet. We're still dealing with the reality in Canada that rates of teen suicide are two to three times higher among gay and lesbian youth than among the rest of the population. Young same-sex couples still have to worry about finding a sympathetic neighbourhood and school. Our children from small rural communities still leave their homes to seek out the safety of the big city. Middle-aged teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, construction workers, police officers, firefighters, politicians, journalists, athletes, and people from all walks of life still live in the closet for fear of judgment by their co-workers and fear of limitation of their careers.

When this is no longer a reality, we will no longer need a National Day Against Homophobia. Sadly, until that time, we need this day and the awareness it brings.


Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): Over the past year, Ontarians have learned that their Attorney General has developed a habit of inserting himself into the court process when he decides it suits his purposes.

First there was the Homolka fiasco, where the Attorney General ignored the desperate advice from victims' families to put forward the strongest possible case at the first hearing. Instead of doing that, the AG did media interviews about his outrage when his own shortcomings were exposed.

Then it was his plan to gut the justice system and interfere by directing police to lay fewer charges and crowns to not oppose bail or seek custodial sentences. This duplicity and political interference was overruled by the Premier, which I confess is probably the only time Ontarians were legitimately grateful for his presence.

Recently, we know the Attorney General was involved in the Russo case, where the gross inadequacy of victims' compensation under this government was laid bare for all to see, thanks to a plea bargain that gave thugs a sentencing benefit for doing what this AG and his government have failed to do for victims.

Now we learn from legal experts that Min Chen, the heartless killer of Cecilia Zhang, may not even be deported back to China once he is eligible for parole because of his future rights here in Canada. The reason for these injustices is of course because the AG-led crown's office appears never to have sought an agreement during plea bargain negotiations to accept deportation following completion of his sentence. This leaves open the possibility of fighting deportation on the grounds of double jeopardy and applying for refugee status.

We can only hope the Premier will do all Ontarians a favour and replace this publicity pit bull before he does more damage --

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


Mrs. Carol Mitchell (Huron-Bruce): Last Thursday in Wiarton, I made a very important announcement on behalf of Minister Pupatello at the Institute for Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies. The Bluewater District School Board and the Bluewater Education Foundation officially transferred the land to a trust to ensure that the facility will continue to be used for educational purposes, guaranteeing that the site will not be sold or used for other purposes.

This outdoor education site will allow children in the area and surrounding communities the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of an outdoor education. I would like to thank the Bluewater Education Foundation for their continuous efforts to ensure this site remained open. The success of the efforts was certainly seen at the recent sod-turning to construct a brand new kitchen, dining hall and dormitories. I wish them all the best with their future plans.

This is a very important education centre for all the people within the province of Ontario. To recognize our natural heritage is something that we from the riding of Huron-Bruce have supported and continue to support. This was a wonderful day, and I want to thank all the volunteers who have put so much work into getting this site to where it is today.


Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): I would like to read portions of a letter sent to the Peterborough Examiner and signed by no fewer than 19 health care providers working at Riverview Manor in Peterborough. It is written in response to a letter written by Joanne Hill and referred to in the House by the MPP for Niagara Centre. The staff of this very reputable long-term-care facility were so outraged by Ms. Hill's letter that there's not enough time to read their letter in its entirety, but I do have copies should my esteemed colleagues want one.

"Ms. Hill has no right to speak on behalf of the care that we the employees provide to our residents.... We treat each of the residents as if they were our parents or grandparents; they are our family.

"Joanne comments on being understaffed; we have better staffing now than we have had in over five years or longer....

"Comments made by Ms. Hill regarding `not taking residents to the bathroom' are completely false; why would we do such a thing.... Failure to toilet a resident or provide care would be considered abuse/neglect of duty.

"Comments regarding our residents not being washed in the ... morning -- again, not true; our residents are provided a morning and an evening sponge bath....

"Comments regarding `skipping the wash if residents looked fairly clean' are unfounded....

"Ms. Hill describes caring for up to 15 residents at one time; this does not occur at Riverview, nor has it. Our current ratio of PSWs to residents is approximately 9:1....

"Ms. Hill's comment regarding `what goes on behind closed doors' is basically rubbish. If care doors in the home are closed, we are providing care.

"Ms. Hill commented that `baby powder is used to mask smell, due to lack of care.' First of all we do not use powder in our home and secondly our home does not smell; you cannot mask odour with baby powder.

We are proud of the care that we provide to our residents and the cleanliness of our home...."

This letter was signed by 19 members of the --

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Members' statements?


Mr. David Orazietti (Sault Ste. Marie): It seems we're going to spend a bit of time today correcting the record.

This past Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie, my community reaffirmed its belief in the universal public health care system. This is a fundamental Canadian value shared by our government and confirmed by our Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act, one of the first pieces of legislation our government passed.

Sault Area Hospital, like all other hospitals we are building across Ontario, will be 100% publicly owned, publicly operated and publicly accountable. Our hospitals will not be Conservative P3s, which allowed for private ownership.

Yesterday in the Legislature, the leader of the NDP continued his campaign of misinformation with the Ontario Health Coalition, by suggesting that our hospital is being privatized and claiming that we'll be diverting health care funding away from patients and into corporate profits. Irresponsible comments like these continue to spread fear in the community, to the point where people think their OHIP is at stake.

A few weeks ago in the Sault Star, an individual said, "I have had to undergo five operations on my leg. If I had to pay for them myself I could not afford it."

All Ontarians will be able to continue to use their health cards as they always have to receive medical care.

Our record in Sault Ste. Marie is fairly clear. We're moving forward with the alternative financing and procurement strategy in order to use the resources of the private sector under the purview of public hospital boards to get back on track with building our new hospitals across the province. The irresponsible approach of the NDP will not protect us from --

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



The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): I beg to inform the House that today the Clerk received the report on intended appointments dated May 17, 2006, of the standing committee on government agencies. Pursuant to standing order 106(e)9, the report is deemed to be adopted by the House.


Mr. Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe): I beg leave to present a report from the standing committee on social policy and move its adoption.

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

Bill 78, An Act to amend the Education Act, the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996 and certain other statutes relating to education / Projet de loi 78, Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'éducation, la Loi de 1996 sur l'Ordre des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario et certaines autres lois se rapportant à l'éducation.

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

The bill is therefore ordered for third reading.



Ms. Scott moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 115, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to improve air quality by reducing truck emissions / Projet de loi 115, Loi modifiant le Code de la route pour améliorer la qualité de l'air en réduisant les émissions de camions.

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

The member may wish to make a brief explanation.

Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Victoria-Brock): The bill amends the Highway Traffic Act by requiring a person repairing or maintaining a motor vehicle manufactured after 1995, and having a weight exceeding 11,000 kilograms, to have a speed limiter set at a maximum speed 105 kilometres per hour when the person releases the vehicle to another person.

Also, the driver or person responsible for the operation of such a motor vehicle is required to have the speed limiter set at a maximum speed of 105 kilometres per hour.

It is an offence to contravene those two requirements. A person is deemed to have contravened the requirement for drivers and operators if the driver is convicted of a speeding offence for driving the motor vehicle at a speed greater than 105 kilometres per hour.



Mr. Klees moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 116, An Act to proclaim Better Hearing and Speech Month / Projet de loi 116, Loi proclamant le Mois de la correction des troubles de l'audition et du langage.

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

The Member may wish to make a brief explanation.

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): In presenting this bill for first reading, I want to acknowledge the initiative of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. I want to welcome to the House today Ms. Beth Anne Kenny, executive director, Mr. Ronnie Grant, audiologist, and Ms. Rhonda Jacobson, the project manager, who are in the west members' gallery today.

I want to acknowledge specifically the advocacy of Ms. Rhonda Jacobson, who spent a great deal of time educating me about this issue and is largely responsible for this bill being before the House today.

The association has been working hard to raise awareness of communication and swallowing disorders that affect approximately one in 10 adults and up to 20% of children. Awareness is crucial to ensure that those afflicted with these disorders get the treatment they need. Early detection and treatment are vital for improving the quality of life for persons who suffer from these disorders and for allowing those persons to survive.

It is imperative, therefore, that we increase public awareness of hearing and speech disorders by proclaiming the month of May in each year as Better Hearing and Speech Month. By passing this bill, the members of this Legislature will be making a significant contribution to increasing that awareness.


Mr. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would just like to acknowledge the parents of Gemma, one of the pages, and they are Jane French, who is one of the founding members of Doors Open Toronto, happening May 27 and 28, and Andrew Johnson, the father, who is a fellow Harbordite.

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): Also on a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would like to recognize the tremendous work of my page from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke's Palmer Rapids Public School, Morgan Brodofske, and how proud everyone is of the job she has done in the Legislature.

I would also like to recognize John and Helen Leeflang, the parents of page Elliott from North Elmsley Public School in Lanark, who have joined us in the members' east gallery today.

Mr. Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I want the House to join me in welcoming my staff from the community office in London, Steve Roloson, who is here with us today to listen to the debate between both sides.



Hon. Joseph Cordiano (Minister of Economic Development and Trade): Before I begin, I should point out to the member for Trinity-Spadina that my wife is a fellow Harbordite, to put in a plug for her too.

It's a pleasure to have this opportunity to inform this House and the people of this great province of another important success story that will create more jobs, more prosperity and more opportunities for Ontario workers and their families. Yesterday, Honda Canada announced that it is set to expand its presence here by building a new, fully integrated powertrain facility in Alliston, adjacent to the company's two successful Ontario auto assembly facilities. The project represents Honda's first foray into powertrain production in Canada. It's the most recent major win for our province in an unprecedented line of automotive wins. Honda will create 340 new, high-value jobs, jobs that the people of Ontario can rely on to build a prosperous life for themselves and for their families. It is another strong show of confidence in Ontario's vibrant and innovative auto sector, and it's another strong show of confidence in Ontario's skilled and talented workforce. It reinforces the fact that we are now the key automotive manufacturing centre in North America.

Honda's announcement follows our announcement last week with Linamar Corp. Linamar, a global auto parts supplier, is creating 3,000 new jobs in the Guelph area as the company implements its economic growth strategy. Just a few weeks earlier, we joined Toyotetsu, a major parts supplier to Toyota, to announce the company's decision to bring its first Canadian operation to Ontario. Toyotetsu will invest $50 million for a new components plant in the town of Simcoe, creating 250 jobs at start-up.

These vital job-creating investments have occurred in the past weeks. In these past two years, we've attracted over $7 billion in new automotive investments. Specifically, Ontario's $500-million automotive investment strategy has leveraged more than $5.4 billion in new investments at Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and parts makers Nemak and Linamar, and the list goes on. We've attracted close to an additional $1.4 billion from the new Toyota plant in Woodstock and through the Navistar investments in Chatham and Windsor.

What this all means is that clearly there's a great deal of confidence out there in Ontario's auto sector. Our manufacturers are weathering the storm of a high dollar and a highly competitive global marketplace. As Dennis DesRosier, a leading automotive industry analyst, said this week, Ontario's automotive investments are well spent. It's not just the big assembly plants that are creating the most jobs. DesRosier writes that there will be many more parts jobs -- three to one, in fact -- than assembly jobs, and that Ontario will get our fair share.

Our government is committed to making sure our people get the best opportunities out there, and that's why we're proud to work in partnership with Honda. Ontario's investments will help the company bring this highly efficient and innovative facility to life by investing in public infrastructure. We know very well that manufacturers in Ontario are facing some very real, very tough challenges, but our automotive investment plans are clearly working. We're attracting huge new investments, and we're creating thousands of high-value jobs across this anchor industry, and we're doing much more to attract and keep investment here in the province. We're modernizing our roads, bridges, highways, tunnels and public transit. We're building a knowledge-driven workforce by making strategic investments in post-secondary education and research and development. We've introduced a jobs and skills renewal strategy and invested in training and apprenticeship tax credits. The capital tax will be eliminated, if we're on target, by 2010. Finally, we're re-establishing Ontario's presence on the international stage and working hard to promote Ontario exporters and expand their opportunities in new markets around the globe.

We're helping Ontario companies meet today's challenges so that businesses can continue creating prosperity and spreading wealth to workers, families and communities right across our great province. We're doing this for families who rely on a strong auto industry for jobs and opportunities.



Hon. Jim Watson (Minister of Health Promotion): In 14 days, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act comes into force. It will ban smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places throughout Ontario.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act will further protect youth in our province by strengthening laws on tobacco sales to minors and by restricting the enticing promotional displays erected by tobacco companies to lure a new generation of addicts.

I want to take a moment to congratulate the over 800 high school students I was with yesterday in Ottawa, with my colleague from Ottawa-Orléans, for the Exposé awards for anti-tobacco initiatives and, in particular, a constituent of mine. A grade 12 student at Merivale High School, Stephen Bickram, was one of the award winners for his poster design.

Un récent sondage indique que 90 % des Ontariens préfèrent un environnement sans fumée. Dans ce contexte, je crois que les mesures de protection de la santé que nous avons enchâssées dans cette nouvelle loi vont obtenir l'appui massif de la population.

At the same time, our government recognizes that in order to ensure the safety of Ontario families, we need to be firm in the enforcement of the legislation. That's why I'm pleased to announce that our government is investing an additional $5.5 million this year in enforcing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

I'm proud to note that this investment means the government is now funding 100% of the cost of tobacco control inspection and enforcement by each of the province's 36 public health units. This is yet another example of the McGuinty government uploading costs from the municipality, as opposed to the previous government, which had a track record of downloading costs to municipalities. It also covers the cost for enforcement training and the development of a new electronic tobacco inspection system aimed at creating province-wide standards.

Across the province, communities have different enforcement needs, depending on local factors such as existing municipal bylaws, economic drivers, demographics and compliance history. To help the public health units meet the challenge of ensuring compliance in the regions, our government has allotted enforcement funding with built-in flexibility so that regions can maximize their enforcement efforts.

We're also providing very helpful information on our website and in person, through the public health units. Plain-language fact sheets on all aspects of the smoke-free Ontario law are available on our website and can be downloaded at www.mhp.gov.on.ca. The ministry staff have also travelled to various regions of the province offering seminars and helpful bilateral meetings with all 36 public health units.

I'm proud to say, on behalf of families in Windsor and Essex, we're providing $350,000, for instance, in enforcement funding to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Grâce à ce financement, tous les résidents de Windsor-Essex pourront bientôt mieux respirer et profiter des mesures de protection de la santé auxquelles ils ont droit.

Cet investissement aidera l'Ontario à réduire la consommation de tabac de 20 % dans la province par rapport au niveau enregistré en 2003. Cela représente 3,2 milliards de cigarettes qui ne seront pas fumées en 2007, ainsi que la prévention de milliers de décès évitables.

The Toronto Public Health unit, where I was today, has the challenge of ensuring compliance in Ontario's most populous and diverse centre. The $1.3 million we're investing in a smoke-free Toronto will safeguard the health of families and help bring consistency and more worker protection to Toronto's thriving hospitality industry.

I'm confident that Toronto's restaurant and bar owners will continue to flourish under the new legislation, and I have been encouraged by the level of dialogue between my ministry and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.

As a former mayor of Ottawa, I can tell you that the no-smoking bylaw in that city had no negative long-term impact on licensed restaurants and bar sales nor on unlicensed restaurant sales. When municipalities such as Ottawa and New York City have gone smoke-free, non-smokers dine out more frequently and there is no net loss to the industry. In fact, in a study one year after the New York example, bar receipts increased by approximately 8.7%.

Notre stratégie anti-tabac de l'Ontario est l'une des stratégies de lutte au tabagisme les plus complètes en Amérique du Nord.

This has happened all over the province. My colleague from Thornhill, Mario Racco, was one of the first city councillors, for instance, to introduce a bylaw in Vaughan. That was the kind of leadership back several years ago that we are hoping to emulate with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

The McGuinty government is proud to be on the side of Ontarians who care about their health and support decisive action against the leading cause of death and disease in our province. Smoking, sadly, in this province will kill 16,000 people prematurely. The investment we're making in compliance will ensure futures for our youth, their families, our communities and our province. Merci beaucoup.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Statements by the ministry? Responses?

Ms. Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Victoria-Brock): In response to the Minister of Health Promotion, we certainly appreciate the efforts to decrease smoking and limit exposure to second-hand smoke. I agree with things that will encourage young people not to smoke, and I'm glad to see that you're helping municipalities with the cost of enforcing your rule. But I have some concerns with the legislation that will impact businesses, such as those that have invested millions in designated ventilated smoking rooms, to comply with the municipal legislation. These business people have acted in good faith. They complied with the bylaws put in place by the democratically elected local governments. Will you help them pay off the cost of their smoking rooms?

I'm also concerned about work for residents in long-term care centres. In the legislation, you say that a ventilated smoking room can be made available for residents of long-term care, but that they must be able to get themselves in and out of the room without assistance, and staff must not be required to enter the room. What if someone can't get themselves in and out of the room without assistance, and what if they need medical help in the room?

So we support the efforts to decrease smoking and decrease exposure to second-hand smoke, but at the same time we believe that we should be helping those business people whose livelihoods will be negatively impacted. This includes tobacco farmers and convenience store owners. These people's businesses rely on a legal product. We know that tobacco is dangerous, but it is a legal product. We all know that you have not produced a plan to help the Ontario business people make this transition to producing or selling other products. So I ask you, where's your plan to help tobacco farmers and convenience store owners? Your goal is good, but you have to have a plan to achieve this.


Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): Certainly it is a good-news announcement today for the auto sector. I'd like to pay tribute to the hard-working members of the auto sector in Ontario, and indeed in Allison specifically. It's a success for Ontario and has been for many years. I would say, to use a popular expression today, we are on the side of all employees in Ontario. You may recall that expression you've been popularizing.

Let's look at the history. Let's not pat ourselves on the back too quickly, Minister. What you should recall is that the work that was done by the previous Conservative government in their announcement in the automotive action plan -- some of your members don't recall because they don't understand -- $625 million. The minister would like to take full credit for it. It takes time for these investments to be realized in the marketplace -- a good understanding of the sector done by Jim Flaherty as the Minister of Innovation as well.

But let's look at what the policy really is. We consented that nobody in Ontario should be left behind in the economy of Ontario. That's our policy. One sector by one sector is not specifically the right kind of policy. Look at their policies on gridlock. Look at their policies on energy prices. The border issues at Windsor are going to slow down this sector, there's work to be done there, but to be competitive in the tax structure is something where the McGuinty government takes first prize. They are the least competitive sector. If you look not just at the health tax but at the headlines yesterday in the Toronto Star: "Auto Industry Faces Rocky Road, Report Says"; this is the Conference Board of Canada report. Here's another one: "Cost Cuts in Business in Trouble in Ontario." This is by the CD Howe and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. They say you're simply not tax-competitive.

If you don't listen to the industry experts, Minister, you're doomed to fail, and that's exactly what you've done to many people of Ontario. How about the 65,000 people in other parts of Ontario, in other sectors of Ontario? Those families have no paycheque. Minister, your plan is about 25% complete. Think of all the people of Ontario and the dismal job you're doing on almost every front. You should be apologizing here and acknowledging the work that was done to become tax-competitive under the Harris and and Eves government.

I can say to you that 340 jobs in Honda is good news, but it's hardly a first step on a long, rocky road, as testified by the CME, the Conference Board of Canada, as well as Michael Grimaldi, president of General Motors. Read his Canadian auto parts speech on September 11.

You've got a long way to go, Minister. Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back.


Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): Thank God for Honda for the people of Alliston, because if it was up to the McGuinty government, they might suffer the fate of other communities across Ontario, which have seen thousands of job losses in the automotive sector.

We know, for example, that while Alliston is going to be getting a new automotive assembly plant for engines, which is good news for that community, other communities across this province have lost engine plants in the Ford and GM chains, and the loss of jobs offset by the creation of these new ones is not going to do anything to mitigate the job losses we've had up to now. Also, this is not to talk about the losses we've had in the auto parts manufacturing sector, which are frankly quite alarming at the rate we are losing them.

I just say to the minister that there is a big part of this province that was forgotten in all this. If you take a look at the job losses across northern Ontario with regard to forestry, thousands of jobs have been lost and communities have lost their entire employer. For example, Smooth Rock Falls, Opasatika, Kenora and others have been devastated by the McGuinty government's attempt to do nothing when it comes to assisting those communities.

I say that this is nothing more than Dalton McGuinty getting ready for the next election and looking for some good news.


Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): In response to the statement made by the Minister of Health Promotion, I want to start where he ends, which is the last paragraph of his statement. It says, "Smoking still causes 16,000 deaths each year in Ontario. The investment we are making in compliance will ensure brighter futures for our youth...."

The best thing the Liberal government could have done to ensure a brighter future for youth would have been to keep the Liberal election promise, which was to ban countertop and behind-the-counter retail displays of tobacco products, not in 2008, which is what Bill 164 says now, but by May 31, 2006, when the rest of Ontario will go smoke-free.

The committee that dealt with Bill 164 heard repeatedly from health care providers, from health care agencies, from public health units and, most importantly, from youth themselves who urged the government to ban countertop and behind-the-counter retail displays of tobacco products. Here's what some of the youth had to say.

This is Tanya Wagner, who represented the Whitby Youth Council:

"Tobacco advertising and promotion increase smoking and the number of youth who start smoking. A ban on such advertising and promotion would decrease smoking among adults and youth. That would be a ... good thing....

"But recently I was thinking about why I smoked in the first place.... I smoked du Maurier and sometimes Players. And I noticed the other day that those two brands were the most noticeable behind the counter of my local store. I think that I am living proof that tobacco advertising affects teens. This is why I wanted to talk to you about it today, and ask that you ban retail displays of cigarettes, including power walls."

This is what Olivia Puckrin and Caylie Gilmore, students from Port Perry, had to say:

"You probably know that tobacco companies aren't allowed to advertise their products. But, still ... every kid I know can name about five different brands of cigarettes. How is that?

"Well, it is no mystery. Every time we go into a store, cigarettes are there. Cigarettes are displayed on the counter, behind the counter and even in the counter. We recently learned that the tobacco industry pays stores $88 million a year to do it. This advertising not only tempts adults,... but it makes cigarettes look like a normal product. But no other product will kill you if you use it as the manufacturer intends. So how can this be normal?"

Finally, a presentation by Brian Dallaway of Wide Awake: Generation Against Tobacco:

"While we applaud the proposed legislation for reducing advertising in retail stores, the language of the act does not prohibit power walls. We would like to see the province capitalize on this opportunity to eliminate this form of advertising which is targeted at children and youth."

The fact of the matter is that the amendments that were made to Bill 164 continue to allow retail stores to display individual cigarette packages behind the counter, on the counter and in the counter: 100, 200, 250 packages of cigarettes. There is no limit on where and how many individual cigarette packages can still be on display for young people. So this form of advertising is going to continue to tempt young people to start smoking, and we know that 60% of tobacco purchases are impulse purchases, so that gives us all an idea of the magnitude of the problem that continues. That's why, on behalf of New Democrats, I moved an amendment to ban countertop-and-behind retail displays of tobacco products by May 31, 2006, and the Liberal members on the committee voted that down.

Now we know that thousands and thousands and thousands of young people between 2006 and 2008 will continue to be influenced, will continue to start to smoke and will continue to be the cancer statistics 20 years from now.



Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener-Waterloo): My question is for the Premier. Yesterday, the Coalition of Ontario Pharmacy, a grassroots organization which represents about 80%, a huge majority, of Ontario's pharmacies, held a press conference here at Queen's Park. They are very concerned about Bill 102. They are concerned that as a result of this legislation, pharmacies can lose about $150,000 per store in revenues. That's a lot of money for these small businesses. They also say that as a result of your bill, as many as 300 pharmacies, primarily in rural and northern Ontario, could close. I ask you: Is it your plan to close 10% of Ontario's pharmacies?

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

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): No, to the extraordinary contrary. In the United States, the purpose or role of pharmacy has been really just to commoditize the role. They've become pill shovellers. What we have worked towards, after a request that's been on the books for 17 years from the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, is to acknowledge all of the capacity of pharmacists for the role that they can play as front-line health care providers. That's why an essential and important element of our legislation, if supported by the House, would see us be able to move forward and begin to reward those pharmacists for the work they do as front-line health care providers, and that's through $50 million of cognitive services fees.

This speaks to our understanding and vision, aligned with the Ontario Pharmacists' Association of pharmacists who are engaged on the front line and assisting patients. We believe pharmacists have that role to play, and accordingly, that's what our proposals are about.

Mrs. Witmer: To the Premier again: I would indicate to you that a letter was sent to you this morning from Allan Rajesky, a pharmacist representing the coalition. I want to quote from the letter:

"We are concerned by your government's position on community pharmacy as it was explained to me and several of my colleagues by the director of your government's Drug System Secretariat.

"During the meeting, your director admitted that the government expects some pharmacies to close as a consequence of Bill 102. He said that there are currently too many pharmacies in the province."

Premier, how many community pharmacies does your government expect to close as a result of the funding cuts that are being proposed in this bill?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: None. The question that was asked -- and anyone would have answered it the same way -- is that government can offer no guarantee that every independent business operation that's out there shall remain into the future.

I had my opportunity on Saturday night at the Ontario Pharmacists' Association convention -- this is, of course, the organization that's primarily the voice for pharmacists in the province of Ontario -- to make mention of the fact that as a film processor, as someone who was involved in the business of film processing, I lost considerable market share to pharmacies themselves who ventured into that line of work.

So Mr. Fraser was merely speaking to the point that government cannot, of course, guarantee the operation of any pharmacy. However, in my speech, I worked very, very clearly to indicate all of those areas where increased revenue flows to pharmacists, in addition to the cognitive fee, a 7% increase --

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


Mrs. Witmer: To the Premier again: It's obvious that the pharmacists, the 80% who have joined the coalition, the voice of pharmacy in this province, didn't believe your minister on the weekend and obviously are concerned about the rapid progression of this bill through the Legislature. We are hearing that not only are we going to see a loss of 300 pharmacies, but the ones that are going to be staying open are also going to have to, as a result of an economic study that they've done, reduce hours of operation, lay off staff and increase wait times for the filling of prescriptions. Again, Ontarians in your Ontario are going to be paying more for health and getting less.

I ask you, Premier: How many pharmacies does your government believe it's necessary to cut at this time?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: I already answered the question to the honourable member, but her credibility on subjects like this is of course limited by the fact that she was part of a political party that promised to the people of Ontario that no hospital would be closed and then they closed 28 of them. So we have to take with a grain of salt the nature of those questions coming from the honourable member opposite.

Fundamentally, we believe that we have the capacity in the province of Ontario to get better value for the dollars that we're spending so that we can enhance access for Ontarians to more innovative drug products. We sent a clear demonstration through our proposals of our capacity to create much more timely mechanisms. Fundamental to our initiative is the belief that the government of Ontario's investment in pharmaceutical product can result in the patients of Ontario receiving greater access to drugs. This is a fundamental improvement in terms of health care benefits to the people of Ontario.

The Speaker: New question.

Mrs. Witmer: My question again is to the Premier. I'm sorry that the Premier doesn't see this as an issue of great importance to all residents. I'm sorry, this legislation has totally failed to take into account the impact that it's going to have on Ontario's families. This is proof that you are not on the side of Ontarians or pharmacists in the province of Ontario. Your reforms, such as the reduction in the markup and the dollar cap on markups, mean that pharmacists are actually going to lose money if they stock and dispense expensive drugs used to treat diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS and MS. This is going to hit people in rural and northern Ontario particularly hard. The coalition warns us that there simply will not be enough drugs for all Ontarians.

I ask you, Premier, what contingency plans does your government have to make sure that families in this province have access to pharmacists?

Hon. Mr. McGuinty: To the Minister of Health.

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Here's some of what patient groups had to say about our proposed legislation:

"The drug system changes will greatly benefit patients in the province. Patients, particularly those living with a chronic disease like diabetes, will have better access to the drugs they need and they will now have a say in the decisions being made on drug funding." Karen Philp, national director, Canadian Diabetes Association.

The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada: "Ontario appears to have set a new standard for access to drugs, one that other provinces can emulate. Today, cancer patients have renewed confidence that they have been heard and their needs will be addressed."

I have more, but those quotes underscore our fundamental belief that here in the province of Ontario, the second-highest per capita funder of a public drug system, and yet results that many patients find inadequate to their needs -- we believe we can do a better job for them. That's why they are standing in support of this initiative. And of course, with respect to the concerns raised by pharmacists, we take them seriously, and that's why we are so engaged --

The Speaker: Thank you.

Mrs. Witmer: Despite the rhetoric from the minister, I would remind him that although he lined up lots of people to speak in favour of the bill, they have now had an opportunity to analyze, and I'll tell you, they are meeting with me today, tomorrow and the next day because they are concerned.

You are trying to push this bill through the Legislature. You introduced a very draconian allocation motion. You don't want anybody to know what's really in the bill. You talk about cognitive fees and everything else. What does that mean to a pharmacist who doesn't have a job? Furthermore, this bill doesn't give money to pharmacists. That's all something that you promised, and we know what this government does with promises. They break them, each and every time.

I would say to you, you are not on the side of people in the province of Ontario. I want to ask you again, how many pharmacies are going to close in this province and how many people and are going to be hurt by your reforms?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Before the honourable member stands in her place and proposes to take on the voice of patients in Ontario, maybe she should stand and fess up to the reality, which is that the patients of Ontario received no greater degree of misinformation than from that party when they were in office. The commitment to keep hospitals open when they closed 28 is remembered well in community after community across Ontario.

Here is what Dennis Morris of the Best Medicines Coalition said: "Overall what is happening is really good news from a patient perspective. It's absolutely terrific in terms of patient involvement. Finally we'll be putting patients back in the public policy."

I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the patients rather than the stakeholders are what's got them all upset, because they can't stand to see the patients satisfied.

Mrs. Witmer: Those are old quotes. I would suggest to the minister right now that we are starting to hear from patient groups and we are certainly hearing from pharmacists. In fact, there are very few people in this province who are happy with Bill 102 since they've had a chance to analyze what is actually in the bill.

I would say to you, what is going to happen to people in underserviced communities if these pharmacies close, as they are projected to do? In fact, I would like to remind you that under your watch, the number of underserviced communities has increased from 126 to 135. That's what is on your website today. There are 900 pharmacies and 1,800 pharmacists in those underserviced communities. They are crucial to patients in those areas. What are you going to do for people in those communities that are underserviced, like Uxbridge, Harrow, Goderich, Forest, Grimsby etc?

The Speaker: The question has been asked.

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: The first thing that I'm going to do, that our government is going to do, in response to the needs of people in underserviced communities is not do what you did, which is that for the first four years that you had the privilege of being the government of Ontario, you turned your back on the recognition that that party, while in government, shrank the size of our medical schools. The first thing we are doing is enhancing our medical schools to the tune of 23%. We have worked vigorously on this initiative with a view towards small rural communities. In fact, inside government we used the Tweed standard. We said, "How will this play out with respect to Tweed?"

The honourable member doesn't get one point. She doesn't understand fundamentally the opportunity that is presented for pharmacists in Ontario, that they will lead the land and they will lead North America in the financial recognition of the brainpower they have and the capacity they have to influence the patients of Ontario. They can't stand the good news for patients, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. After last summer's widespread electricity shortage warnings, voltage reductions and electricity brownouts, working families are concerned and want to know, will our hospitals and nursing homes be able to respond to electricity brownouts or blackouts without patient health being put at risk? They want to know what plans are in place to deal with electricity brownout or blackout.

New Democrats asked your government for these plans some time ago. You refused to make them public. When Environment Canada is warning that this will be a hot summer where electricity brownout and blackout can happen, what is your justification for your information blackout?

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

Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Energy): I thank the member for the question. The Independent Electricity System Operator has indicated that for this coming year we have sufficient supply onside. In fact, we have added significantly, 700 megawatts of new supply, in addition to upgrading our transmission and our transmission stations. They have indicated that we are in good shape.

In the event that something unforeseen should occur, the Independent Electricity System Operator has an emergency plan they put in place. They work with the businesses, they work with the industry, and they actually reduce the peak load in that industry's electricity demand. That system is in place on an emergency basis and on a contract basis, and they have in place a forward market that they are working for this summer to deal with imports from the United States. The system is well in hand with the Independent Electricity System Operator, and they have indicated, as I said, that for this summer the plans are well in place.


Mr. Hampton: Premier, last summer you told folks that plans were well in place, yet brownouts and blackouts happened. In fact, rolling brownouts were fairly frequent. People are seeking basic information: Will hospitals be informed of voltage reductions? Will hospitals have time to respond such that patient health won't be at risk?

We asked for the plans. You refused to make them public. So we filed a freedom of information request, asking for the plans, and your response was that only cabinet ministers are allowed to see the plans.

Premier, my question is this: Why is it that Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet are allowed to see Ontario's brownout or blackout response plans but hospitals, nursing homes and just concerned Ontarians aren't allowed to know what those plans are and whether or not they're adequate?

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: I guess the member had forgotten he asked this question some time ago, so I'll repeat that the Independent Electricity System Operator actually contacts the hospitals when they're doing their voltage requirements. All hospitals have standby generation; it's diesel. As a matter of fact, I stood in this House just a few days ago and indicated that Toronto Hydro has been working with a number of these organizations, some of which are hospitals, to deal with peak voltage demand reduction by putting on their standby generators. So there are plans in place, both with Toronto Hydro and with the Independent Electricity System Operator on an emergency basis and on a going-forward basis to deal with peak reduction, if required. I reiterate, the Independent Electricity System Operator has indicated that for the coming year we have put sufficient transmission and supply generation in place to deal with any potential outages.

Mr. Hampton: That was exactly the same answer you gave people last year. But what happened last summer? Well, at Kingston General Hospital a brownout happened, in the Kingston area. It put patients at risk. It knocked out cancer radiation machines, it knocked out X-ray machines and it sent temperatures in the operating room up to 38 degrees Celsius. So your plan didn't work very well last year.

Premier, you've made a lot of noise about making our hydroelectricity system more open and transparent, making it open to freedom of information, but now who's blocking the information? The McGuinty government. It's the McGuinty government that doesn't want hospitals, nursing homes and the general public to know what the plan is and whether or not the plan is adequate. Premier, ordinary people across Ontario want to know that patients in hospitals and nursing homes will not be put at risk if there's an electricity brownout or blackout --

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

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: I will reiterate: We do have a plan. We're planning to keep the lights on. Those lights will stay on, because we do have an emergency response in place.

Let me tell you what we've done. There's 500 megawatts of demand response -- demand management programs -- right across this province: up to 100 megawatts of conservation for low-income and social housing; 100 megawatts for appliance reduction; 150 megawatts in the residential sector; and an additional 150 megawatts in the commercial building sector.

We are working with BOMA, the association of business and management operators for large businesses. We are working with hospitals in the MUSH sector, called greening the hospitals. We are working with Toronto Hydro, an additional 300 megawatts of demand response, in addition to the 250, of which you saw the potential for 137 that occurred here last week, downtown in Toronto. We have those plans in place. They are there for you to see. They are there for him to participate --

The Speaker: Thank you. New question.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): To the Premier: I guess the gist of the story is that the McGuinty government that was going to make our electricity system transparent now wants to hide the details from the people of Ontario.

Premier, working families in Ontario's forest sector communities are very concerned about the softwood lumber sellout that you say is such a good deal. Working families in those communities realize that allowing the United States to keep a billion dollars of Canadian softwood lumber duties is a sellout, that allowing new export charges is a sellout, that allowing new quotas is a sellout that's going to shut mills and kill jobs.

Today, the Ontario Forest Industry Association and the Ontario lumber manufacturers' trade group, representing 98% of softwood lumber producers in the province, are going to court to challenge this deal that you say is so good. My question is, will the McGuinty government intervene on the side of those workers and those mills to get a better deal?

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

Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): I'd like to inform the member that, as he knows, what was agreed upon by the two countries -- the United States and Canada -- about three weeks ago now, was a framework agreement.

Since then the two countries, with input from the provinces -- our team has been in Ottawa all this time working with our federal negotiators to finalize the agreement with the United States. In that, we continue to fight for Ontario industry to make sure the agreement will serve the Ontario industry well, and that we have a sustainable forest industry in northern Ontario.

Mr. Hampton: Here's the reality: The deal that the McGuinty government said just a few weeks ago was such a good deal is now the very deal that softwood lumber producers in Ontario are going to court in Canada and the United States to oppose, because they see it as a raw deal and they know they deserve better.

You've been all across the north telling people this is a wonderful deal. My question to the Premier is, will the McGuinty government go to court and intervene with these Ontario softwood lumber producers? Are you on their side, or are you on the side of a softwood lumber deal that is a sellout for Ontario workers?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to court. We are not going to intervene in this. If the member had paid attention on the day the two countries made the announcement, the American industry did file an extraordinary challenge on that day, not knowing if this deal would be finalized or not. This is a suit in the American courts to counter that. So that is going on, and our industry has a legitimate right to do that. Obviously, it also puts pressure on the negotiating process to make sure that Canada gets the best deal it can.

Our government does stand behind this deal, and I think a lot of the evidence is that we're starting to see our companies in the north wanting to ramp up and making plans to consolidate with other industries so we have sustainable jobs in the north.

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

Mr. Hampton: Minister, I don't call Ontario's softwood lumber companies going to court in the United States and going to court in Canada to overcome, to do away with, your softwood lumber deal, ramping up. If anything, they know that you have sold them out.

These are communities that have already lost thousands of jobs thanks to the McGuinty government. These are communities that see that what you've done is essentially say to the United States, "You can dictate to Ontario, and you can dictate to Ontario's softwood lumber producers."

I simply ask again, is the McGuinty government going to continue to defend this sellout deal that's going to kill thousands more jobs in northern Ontario, or are you going to get on the side of those Ontario communities and those Ontario workers who have already suffered too much, thanks to the McGuinty government?


Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Ontario continues to work with the other provinces and the federal government to work out the very best final deal that we can. But we accept and feel that the framework agreement that was reached between the two countries will sustain our industry. In fact, the example we had last week, when Buchanan Forest Products announced their purchase of Neenah Paper in Terrace Bay. The pulp and paper industry there has had a tough time surviving and has been in a strike situation. Ken Buchanan feels that with the money he's going to get returned to him -- his money -- from the United States, he can now buy that pulp and paper industry and with his vertical integration have a great market for his chips, ramp up jobs in his sawmills and create jobs right across northwestern Ontario.


Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): My question is for the Minister of Energy. Minister, you said earlier in response to the leader of the third party that you have a plan to keep the lights on in Ontario. Well, there are a lot of people planning to win a lottery, and I'm not betting on either one of them.

The chamber of commerce is very worried about your energy policy and the future of business in this province under your energy policy. The chamber, which represents 57,000 businesses in this province, has been continually telling you that your plan will not work. They've issued press releases admonishing you to retract your ill-conceived policy to shut down 20% of our generating capacity. Will you do as they say in their latest recommendation and invest in clean coal technology so that in fact the lights will go on, and we will do our environment a favour by stopping the burning of dirty coal in --

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

Hon. Donna H. Cansfield (Minister of Energy): I thank the member for his question. When he can prove there is clean coal technology, he can walk across this aisle. There is cleaner coal, but there is no such thing as clean coal. Even the Power Workers are now starting to say "cleaner" coal technology.

I was actually with the chamber of commerce and had a conversation with them. One of the things we resolved to do was to work together on behalf of the people and businesses in Ontario to deal with the challenges that face us within the energy sector. We had a resoundingly good, solid meeting together to find resolutions and solutions that meet both our needs.

It was an exciting morning for me to be able to have that interaction with the chamber of commerce. I look forward to that continuing conversation with them as we meet with the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, as we continue to meet with retailers, as we continue to meet with manufacturers, as we continue to meet with residential consumers, as we continue to meet --

The Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Yakabuski: I'm not sure if you're defining "clean" or "spotless," but there are no clean cars in this world either. We're not shutting them down.

Minister, you've gone to court to force United States's plants to install cleaner coal technology. I'm wondering when you're going to sue your own plants to install that technology, because if you don't think advantages are there and improvements can be made, then why are you going to court to force others to do exactly that?

You are dirtying our air, but you are absolutely ensuring that if you follow this policy, the lights will go off. We need assurances in this province. Some 57,000 businesses have to know that when your policy is enacted, they'll have power, and under your policy they're assured that they won't, to the point that they're adopting resolutions at their annual meetings to tell you what you can't seem to figure out for yourself, that you are ensuring darkness in this province --

The Speaker: Thank you.

Hon. Mrs. Cansfield: We are going to keep the lights on for the people of Ontario and we are going to do it by working together with the people of Ontario to make that happen. That really is the difference. We have a plan; they didn't. It's like the other members: They didn't like coal, now they like coal. They didn't like nuclear -- well, now they might or they might not. They never liked wind. "Some will die, but what the heck, we'll just continue on anyway."

The fact of the matter is, there is a plan in place. The challenge is, you just don't happen to like it. There are only four kinds: endopipe, gasification, zero emissions, which doesn't exist, and supercritical or fluidization. You and I both know there is no such thing as clean coal.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Premier. Today, the individuals responsible for the death of the little boy, Jeffrey Baldwin, will be sentenced. Yesterday, I told you of an eight-year-old boy from Durham whose grandparents had to struggle against the children's aid society and the group home where he'd been placed. Every day, we hear from families across Ontario who cannot get independent reviews of children's aid society decisions. Nearly every other province in Canada provides for independent review of children's aid societies, except the McGuinty government in Ontario. We know staff at children's aid societies are overworked and overloaded. Premier, why is the McGuinty government denying children in Ontario and their families an independent review of the activities of children's aid societies?

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): The leader of the third party asked this question yesterday, and I will repeat my response. Bill 210 was introduced by the McGuinty government to strengthen accountability on the part of children's aid societies and to provide better protection for children in care. In fact, our commitment is that any child in the care of our child well-being and protection system will be better off because we have been involved in their lives. That does not mean that everything is perfect. It means that we are working very hard to ensure that this is indeed the case. Now, through Bill 210, we provided an independent third-party body, with the responsibility for complaints and the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over that body.

Mr. Hampton: It's interesting, because your response yesterday brought this letter from Ontario's Ombudsman. This is what he says: "Upon review of Hansard yesterday, I noted reference to my jurisdiction over the Child and Family Services Review Board, under Bill 210." He then goes on to say, "An Ombudsman investigation is not an appeal of the board's decision, and would not involve an investigation of the underlying complaints about children's aid societies. These would continue to remain immune from independent investigative oversight."

It seems that the Ombudsman says that the McGuinty government has it wrong, that you are not providing for independent oversight, and that, in fact, you have stacked the cards against parents and against kids who simply want to ensure that children's aid societies are not a power unto themselves.

I ask the Premier again: Why do you continue with this charade? Why do you continue to oppose independent oversight by the Ombudsman into children's aid society decisions?

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: The Ombudsman has independent oversight jurisdiction over the Child and Family Services Review Board, and I am sure that the Ombudsman of this province -- and I know of his commitment, which we share, to kids -- I know that the Ombudsman would not be writing to the leader of the third party if he is in fact trying to impact policy-making by this government. I have a very constructive, very positive working relationship with the Ombudsman. I am sure that if the Ombudsman has had any difficulty with what I am doing, I will hear from him directly.


Mr. John Milloy (Kitchener Centre): My question is also for the Minister of Children and Youth Services. As the minister knows from representations made by all MPPs from my area, KidsAbility, the children's treatment centre in Waterloo-Wellington, serves children and youth with special needs, including children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. They provide physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy as core services.

Despite the miracles that are performed every day at KidsAbility, like many other children's treatment centres across Ontario, its services have been hampered by long waiting lists for its services.


The minister made a significant announcement last week with respect to Ontario's children's treatment centres. I want to ask the minister, what will this announcement mean for children and families seeking services through a CTC in general, and KidsAbility specifically?

Hon. Mary Anne V. Chambers (Minister of Children and Youth Services): I want to thank the member, my colleague from Kitchener Centre, for his tenacious, relentless, committed advocacy on behalf of children and youth.

Interjection: He's a new father.

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: Yes, and he is a new father; I know that. But even before that, he has been on my case, as they say. Thank you.

Interjection: In a good way.

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: In a very positive way.

I'm really pleased that KidsAbility is one of 19 children's treatment centres that will be benefiting from our government's $10-million commitment to improved services to kids with special needs. Across the children's treatment centres, this represents a 17% increase in funding, and for KidsAbility, it's a 21% increase. It will allow KidsAbility to serve 475 additional kids this year, with an increase in budget of $946,000 starting this year.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Supplementary, the member for Guelph-Wellington.

Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph-Wellington): This is wonderful news for my community, which is also served by KidsAbility. But we all know that more money isn't the only answer. There need to be measures in place --


The Speaker: Order. I'm having difficulty hearing the member from Guelph-Wellington.


The Speaker: The Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The member for Guelph-Wellington.

Mrs. Sandals: Thank you.

We all know that more money isn't the only answer. There need to be measures in place to ensure this investment produces results for the children and families who need support.

Minister, in order for this investment to provide the greatest results province-wide, we also want to ensure that this funding is distributed in a fair manner. Could you please share how the allocation level for each children's treatment centre was determined, and how we are working with the CTCs to ensure this additional investment does the most it can to help children and families with special needs?

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: I thank my colleague from Guelph-Wellington, another very strong advocate for kids. There are other members of this Legislature who have supported the children's treatment centres, even though not all of them voted for this budget. I'm not really sure what to make of that confusion.

We have been working really closely with the Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services. I want to express my appreciation to them for helping us to determine how best to allocate those dollars to ensure maximum service, maximum impact for children, across this province. We will continue to work with them to ensure that they have the human resource planning capacity and that the standards for the variety of services they provide are in fact exactly what our kids need.


Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): My question today is for the Minister of Transportation. At a press conference in the media studio here at Queen's Park this morning, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada released their Opportunities for Progress report. The report indicates there is much more that we as legislators can do to protect our citizens from impaired drivers. For example, yesterday the government of Manitoba began the process of saving more lives. Manitoba will increase the zero blood alcohol limit for novice drivers under the graduated driver licensing program from three years to five years, along with several other recommendations that are included in the report.

Minister, could you please tell the House what you have done since coming to power in 2003 to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads and to protect the citizens of Ontario?

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): We welcome the report from MADD Canada. They have shown real leadership in this field for many years. It is clear that drinking and driving is unacceptable, that drinking and driving don't mix. That's why we have the toughest measures for drinking and driving, not only in Canada but in North America. That includes an immediate 90-day driver's licence suspension, a mandatory back-on-track program, a vehicle impoundment program and ignition interlock. We not only have the toughest measures but we enforce them regularly as well. As a result of that, we are the safest region in terms of safety not only in Canada but in North America. I can go even further. Based on fatalities, we have the safest record compared to other regions.

I am looking forward to giving you more information in the supplementary question on how our record compares to the other regions.

Mr. Dunlop: Under the Mike Harris government, Ontario ranked --


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Stop the clock. Order. The Minister of Health, order.

The member for Simcoe North.

Mr. Dunlop: Under the Mike Harris government, Ontario ranked number one in Canada in the fight against impaired driving. For example, Premier Harris and Ministers Klees and Sterling strongly supported my private member's bill on the mandatory ignition interlock, the first legislation of its kind in Canada. Since McGuinty has come to power, MADD Canada indicates that Ontario is slipping badly. We now are far behind Manitoba. In MADD Canada's report card, to be released this fall, they expect that we will slip further down the scale as other provinces continue to make improvements.

Impaired driving fatalities in Ontario are increasing. There is no better example than the death of a young police officer last weekend. The McGuinty government is great at banning pit bulls and you love to regulate the sale of homemade pies at farmers' markets and fall fairs. Why are you not on the side of young drivers and why are you not on the side of MADD Canada? Minister, will you stand in this House today and confirm that you will implement the recommendations of MADD Canada's Opportunities for Progress report and return Ontario to be Canada's leader in the fight against drinking and driving?

Hon. Mr. Takhar: I am very pleased to answer the question. Let me say that results speak louder than words: (1) We have the safest roads in North America; (2) if we look at the accidents happening because of alcohol, we have the lowest in North America; (3) in fatalities happening because of alcohol-related incidents, we've got the lowest in North America.

We've got a very, very good record, but that doesn't mean we won't do more. What we have done is this, talking about young people: We have restricted the number of passengers that novice drivers can carry between 12 midnight and 5 a.m. in the morning. We have embarked on a very aggressive education and enforcement program. I can give you the numbers. There have been 5,800 lifetime suspensions; 176,000 almost lost their driving privileges --

The Speaker: Thank you. New question.


Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a question for the Minister of Health. In the last election, your party promised to provide an additional $6,000 in care for every resident in long-term-care homes. This is a copy of a Liberal campaign brochure, which reads, "Why Seniors Can't Trust the Harris-Eves Government: The Ontario Liberal Plan for Change." It says, "Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals have a plan to deliver positive change for seniors." Point number 5 says specifically, "Invest in better nursing home care, providing an additional $6,000 in care for every resident."

Minister, at a time when you had a $3-billion windfall in the last budget, why haven't you delivered on this promise to residents in long-term-care homes?


Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): Substantially, we have. The reality is, for residents in long-term-care homes in the province of Ontario in the days since our government has come to office, not only have they seen the benefits of a $740-million investment, but they've seen 2,334 additional people working on the front lines of health care and delivering the care to them.

In addition to that, we've increased the comfort allowance -- something that hadn't happened in a couple of decades. We froze the co-pay, completing a commitment that we made to roll back the increases that the previous government had brought forward. We brought forward new capacity through our 1-800 info line to be able to ensure that any concerns that are raised in a long-term-care home are appropriately and very promptly responded to.

We have more work to do on this file, and I'm pleased to say, through the leadership that has come forward from the honourable member from Nipissing, we have a tremendous opportunity through new legislation to frame the future. I repeat to the honourable member: The piece of paper that she's waving around certainly is not something that came out of the Liberal Party platform in the last election. That much is clear.

Ms. Martel: There's a copy of their brochure, and I've even brought a copy for the minister's benefit today, since he tried to say earlier this week that it wasn't true.

Families and residents in long-term-care homes don't see a change. This is what Donna Rubin had to say, who represents the not-for-profit long-term-care homes in the province, on March 23, 2006: "We're disappointed and, quite frankly, very frustrated. With the province recording higher-than-anticipated tax revenues, we expected the government to make good on its commitment to revolutionize long-term care." Over the last three budgets, the amount of annual funding going directly to care has only increased by about $2,000, not $6,000.

Here's what Karen Sullivan of the Ontario Long Term Care Association had to say on April 3, 2006: "It is clear that both families and residents strongly disagree with any perception that government has addressed long-term-care service levels and that, for them, this is an issue of care, respect and dignity." Minister, your party made a specific promise in the last election to provide an additional $6,000 of care per resident in every long-term-care home. Why haven't you kept that promise?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: I'm pleased to remind the honourable member that she's not --


Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Yes, that's right. The honourable member may be waving around a random piece of paper; she's certainly not waving around a piece of paper from the Liberal Party campaign platform. I've been clear in saying that, and I'll continue to say it, because I know that I have the facts with me on this.

I want to offer a quote to the honourable member. This comes from close to home for her. This is from the administrator of the Extendicare Falconbridge facility: "I'm just tickled pink we can put that money to good use." The administrator went on to say, "With this extra funding, we'll be able to improve that much more."

Unlike the honourable member's fundamental pessimism, which fuels her every activity in this place, I've had the opportunity, as other members have, to visit long-term-care homes in their own areas, and what I encourage honourable members to do -- we have 618 long-term-care homes and, accordingly, people who have concerns about the quality of service that's being provided there are encouraged to call the 1-800 action line. It's up and running, it's effective, it's responsive and it very promptly addresses circumstances that might be occurring. I encourage the honourable member to --

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


Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): My question is for the Minister of Transportation. Minister, after waiting decades, I'm happy to see that our government is taking specific action on highway traffic congestion or gridlock, as it's known. Over the years, I've watched traffic increase as I drive back and forth to my riding of Brant on the QEW. As you know, I'm not alone, and I sit in traffic along the QEW and look around at the frustrated commuters. At times, we've come to a dead stop and do a stop-start crawl along that particular road, and we all know that we need to take a look at alternatives to cars, but realistically, because of our geography, we will still not be a carless society.

Minister, I know you made an announcement yesterday about the improvements of our highway system around the lakes. On behalf of all commuters, I'd like to hear what our government's plans are for the upgrading of the QEW. Minister, if I might, for the sake of safety, I suggest you seriously consider a compass sign on the QEW for westbound travelers before we hit Ford Drive and we stop sitting. Could you cut down on the congestion by letting us know when and where to get off the QEW --

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

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): I want to thank the member from Brant for asking this question. The congestion is of great concern to our government, and that's why we are making considerable investment and showing real leadership on this issue.

Yesterday, I announced a $1.4-billion investment in our highways that will make sure we can expand the capacity of our highways, do the rehab of our highways and do the environmental assessment necessary to move ahead to make some progress on the congestion issues.

But we do need a balanced approach to handle the congestion issue, and that's why we are making another $1.2-billion investment under the Move Ontario program, which will see three major projects going into the GTA area. Starting with the QEW, we plan to add another lane on both sides. But before we do that, we need to expand our bridges, both for Bronte Road and also for Sixteen Mile Creek --

The Speaker: Thank you, Minister. Supplementary?

Mrs. Linda Jeffrey (Brampton Centre): Minister, I had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking ceremony this week on phase 2 of the Highway 410 extension in Brampton. My community is really grateful for this good news. This project has been in the works for 15 years. As Mayor Susan Fennell said, "Actions speak louder than words." She said, "I don't have a lot of respect for people who make announcements and take pictures. If you're not about to do something for the city of Brampton, we'll get somebody who will." Our government's total investment in this project will be $150 million.

On Monday, the media wanted to know whether the ministry would be in a position to open the highway when the construction on phase 2 is complete. Minister, will my community have to wait until all three phases are complete before we can provide relief to commuters in Peel?

Hon. Mr. Takhar: I want to thank the member from Brampton Centre for asking this question. I was very pleased to have her and the other member from Brampton join me on Monday to make this very important announcement on Highway 410.

The second phase of the 410 is going ahead. We have already issued the contract for $50 million, and the second phase should be completed by October of next year. Then we should be able to open phase 1 and phase 2.

Under the current agreement that we have with the municipalities, all three phases needed to be completed, but the chair of the region of Peel said that the council will be very receptive to opening phase 2 and moving ahead with that.

Hon. James J. Bradley (Minister of Tourism, minister responsible for seniors, Government House Leader): What about Highway 406?

Hon. Mr. Takhar: That is already done.


Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): My question is for the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Yesterday in this House, you told us that Bill 210 will give the Ombudsman the final say on appeals about children in the custody of the CAS that go to the Child and Family Services Review Board. You said he will have jurisdiction over their decisions. Yet the Ombudsman has also written to me just today, telling me that "Bill 210 does not introduce meaningful oversight of children's aid societies." His powers would be "limited to considering whether the board acted in accordance with administrative fairness principles during its procedures."

Protecting children requires more than appeals about administrative issues. Why will you not give the Ombudsman the powers he asked for to investigate underlying problems inside children's aids societies?

Hon. Mary Anne V. Chambers (Minister of Children and Youth Services): Bill 210 went through a very thorough process. In fact, as part of second reading, there was significant debate and actually significant amendments that I think have served to strengthen this bill in the interests of children in care. I do know that both the opposition and the third party participated in these debates, participated as members of the standing committee and had full briefings on everything to do with Bill 210. Bill 210 went through third reading and was approved in this Legislature, as per the proper process. What we are doing will provide better protection for kids in care.

Mrs. Munro: Just in the last few weeks the Ombudsman wrote a report about the inequities and the problems of the property tax system. Why do you not believe that the Ombudsman should have at least the same investigative powers to protect children at risk as he does to protect property taxpayers?


Hon. Mrs. Chambers: As Minister of Children and Youth Services, it goes well beyond my imagination to compare kids to property taxes. What I can assure you is that this government is determined to ensure that children in the care of our child well-being and protection system will be better off, not through any kind of political plays but through good, solid policies and enforcement.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): New question; the member for Timmins-James Bay.

Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): Interesting answer. She never accepted any of the amendments that dealt with this at committee.



Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): Anyway, my question is for the Premier, especially for the Premier. Last election, you were categorical in your support of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario staying in public hands. Like us, you were opposed to the notion of privatizing the LCBO, but you went one step further. You said during the election that you would stop the expansion of agency stores across the province of Ontario. Now we learn this week that some 20 new agency stores are going to be established in Ontario --


Mr. Bisson: And the government applauds? They're applauding the breaking of their own promise. What an interesting question.

Anyway, this expansion is not in small areas where there are no LCBO outlets available. These are in communities where you've already got LCBO stores, places like Long Beach, North Augusta, Rockton, Oil Springs and others. Premier, why are you breaking your promise from the last election and expanding agency stores, contrary to that promise?

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

Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): Back in August, we engaged OPSEU in a process of negotiation around the new collective agreement for the LCBO. During that negotiation, we were very clear with the bargaining agent that this was something we intended to pursue and in fact specific language was put into the contract to allow this. But I should tell you that the appropriate provisions to protect the employees -- the 20 agency stores will provide rural economic development in this province, and that's very good news for small-town Ontario -- will also ensure that there are no layoffs, that there will be protections for the employees at existing LCBO stores. This is good not only for small-town Ontario but this is good for the treasury of Ontario, good for the LCBO. This is a win-win-win for everybody concerned.

Mr. Bisson: How can you say that when the win-win during the election was not to privatize the LCBO and to stop the incursion of agency stores across Ontario? These agency stores being opened aren't out in the middle of a highway somewhere where there isn't already an existing LCBO store. We're talking about communities that already have LCBO stores where you're allowing agency stores to be put in existence less than a kilometre away from the existing ones.

I say to you again -- a very simple question: If you were opposed to the expansion of agency stores during the last election, why are you now breaking your promise and allowing this expansion to go on? It's nothing but privatization by the back door.

Hon. Mr. Caplan: I take exception to what the member said. No agency store will be in a location where there is another LCBO store. In fact, the specific language in the contract we have signed with the bargaining agent, OPSEU in this case, has a specific provision for a distance requirement from other LCBO stores.

The agency store program has been around since 1962. There's nothing new about this. There are 172 agency stores. I've got to tell you, this is welcome news for small-town Ontario, to see much-needed economic development at a time when we are seeing wonderful expansion right across the province. This is a reasonable policy. This is one that was supported by the New Democrats when they were in government. There is great excitement and anticipation that LCBO outlets, in a limited capacity, will be coming to small-town rural Ontario. We're thrilled with the reception that we're getting so far, and there will be --

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


Ms. Deborah Matthews (London North Centre): My question's for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Each year, approximately 125,000 immigrants choose to make Ontario their home and over 70% of the adult newcomers have post-secondary education or training. Their value to Ontario is immeasurable.

Though the majority of newcomers choose to settle within the GTA, settlement in other regions of the province is growing. The city of London, for example, saw a 36% increase in newcomer settlement between 2002 and 2004. It's important to our future that this number continues to grow.

Minister, I understand your ministry is working hard with municipalities to market cities throughout Ontario to prospective immigrants. One such initiative provided $200,000 from your ministry to help London promote itself to newcomers through the new website ontarioimmigration.ca. How will this help London and how will this help prospective newcomers?

Hon. Mike Colle (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration): I'd like to thank the member for London North Centre for the question. This investment in London of $200,000 means that London will be one of the new regional immigration gateways, like Sudbury, like Windsor, like Ottawa. We're saying to new immigrants all over the world, "You can do this now through the website, internationally. You can choose to live in London, invest in London." Immigrant investors and families going to London or Sudbury will be great for Ontario, great for the communities. This investment of $200,000 in those cities will make them more appealing, more marketable. This is the future.

Ms. Matthews: Minister, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, TRIEC, is a multi-stakeholder council that comprises employers, labour and all three levels of government. The council is an excellent program that partners local business, occupational organizations and the three levels of government with newcomers. It provides opportunities to enable individuals to quickly apply their skills, education and experience in Toronto. Given the success of TRIEC in Toronto, does the government have any plans to expand similar programs in other municipalities across Ontario to encourage the regional economic gateways for the success of our newcomers?

Hon. Mr. Colle: The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council is a partnership between employers, between government, and between newcomers where they get opportunities to work in industries in the greater Toronto area. It has worked so well that we are now going to expand this immigration gateway concept into areas all across Ontario. We're going to do it in Ottawa, for example. Kitchener-Waterloo wants to be a gateway for newcomers and immigrants. Also, we've got great uptake from the Niagara region.

For many years, people looked upon immigration as a challenge only. But now they realize that inviting immigrants means you're inviting prosperity, inviting innovation, inviting new expansion in culture, in start-up businesses. So this investment by the government of Ontario in these new immigration gateways is really an investment in economic growth in cities like London, Sudbury, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton. Mayor DeCicco of London is excited. Mayor --

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Order. Minister, would you sit down, please?



Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): I have a petition relating to Better Speech, Language and Hearing Month. It reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over one million Ontarians of all ages suffer from communication disorders relating to speech, language and/or hearing; and

"Whereas there is a growing need for awareness of the profound developmental, economic and social consequences that communication disorders have on people and their families; and

"Whereas persons with communication problems require access to the professional services of audiologists and speech-language pathologists who provide treatments to improve and enhance quality of life; and

"Whereas effective treatment of communication disorders benefits all of society by allowing otherwise disadvantaged persons to achieve their academic and vocational potentials; and

"Whereas investments in treatments for communication disorders pay economic dividends in reduced reliance on other social services,

"We, the undersigned, in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to proclaim the month of May as Better Speech, Language and Hearing Month."

As I had the privilege of introducing that bill earlier today, I'm pleased to affix my signature and support this petition.



Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a petition that has been sent to me by Larch Street Kids, a child care centre in Sudbury, and it reads as follows:

"Whereas hard-working Ontario families need affordable, accessible, licensed and regulated quality child care for their young children;

"Whereas child care is under threat in Ontario with the possible cancellation of funding agreements with the provinces for child care by the federal Conservative government under Stephen Harper and the failure of the McGuinty Liberal government to put the additional provincial investments into child care, as promised in the 2003 Ontario election campaign;

"Whereas Ontario needs a strong, made-in-Ontario, not-for-profit child care system with or without federal dollars;

"Whereas the province of Quebec is much more able to provide and preserve child care in the face of cancelled federal funding because it has a significant, strong and sustained base of provincial government funding;

"Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to immediately begin investing the $300 million to create child care spaces for 330,000 children as promised in the 2003 election campaign."

I agree with the petitioners. I have affixed my signature to this.


Mr. David Zimmer (Willowdale): I'm pleased to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Willowdale relating to the changing of an OMB decision on the Churchill-Basswood townhouse development. It reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the people of Willowdale have indicated that they wish to live in safe, pollution-free neighbourhoods unencumbered by hasty and unplanned development; and

"Whereas the people of the Churchill-Basswood" neighbourhood "fear this development will trap their ... detached homes between a high-density redevelopment area to the east and multi-unit housing to the west;

"We petition the Legislature of Ontario to unilaterally reverse this decision and restore the balance in our neighbourhoods."

This petition is 16 pages. I support it, I'm pleased to attach my signature and I give it with page Connor.


Mr. Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas, according to the Department of National Defence, there are over 30,000 serving military personnel who call Ontario home; and

"Whereas, according to the most recent census data, there are more than 1.6 million senior citizens over the age of 65 living in Ontario; and

"Whereas the PC Party of Ontario plans on eliminating this illegitimate tax for all Ontarians after it forms the government in 2007; and

"Whereas, as an interim measure, this illegitimate health tax should be removed from those who protect Canada and those who have built Ontario;

"We, the undersigned, call on the government of Ontario to immediately eliminate the province's illegitimate health tax, beginning with serving military personnel and senior citizens."

I affix my signature, as I agree with this petition, along with all the constituents who have signed, many from Oxford county and around Ontario.


Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): I have a petition that reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over one million Ontarians of all ages suffer from communication disorders relating to speech, language and/or hearing; and

"Whereas there is a growing need for awareness of the profound developmental, economic and social consequences that communication disorders have on people and their families; and

"Whereas persons with communication problems require access to the professional services of audiologists and speech-language pathologists who provide treatments to improve and enhance quality of life; and

"Whereas effective treatment of communication disorders benefits all of society by allowing otherwise disadvantaged persons to achieve their academic and vocational potentials; and

"Whereas investments in treatments for communication disorders pay economic dividends in reduced reliance on other social services,

"We, the undersigned, in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to proclaim the month of May as Better Speech, Language and Hearing Month."

I'm in agreement and will affix my signature thereto.


Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): I have a petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario of Ontario, and I'd like to thank Sonny Sansone from Scarborough for collecting the signatures on it. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the health and well-being of all Ontario citizens is of the utmost concern for everyone in the province;

"Whereas to date there is little to no marking on prescription drug bottles in Ontario stating clearly when the drug has past its primary date of use, possibly leading to harmful effects on the health of Ontario citizens;

"We, the undersigned, therefore petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to request that it is made mandatory for the expiration date of prescription drugs to be clearly placed on all prescription drug bottles and containers, as it is for foods products, ensuring that no one accidentally uses them past that date, causing unnecessary and preventable harm."

It's a good idea. I'm pleased to support it, to sign it and to ask page Connor to carry it.


Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas, according to the Department of National Defence, there are over 30,000 serving military personnel who call Ontario home; and

"Whereas, according to the most recent census data, there are more than 1.6 million senior citizens over the age of 65 living in Ontario; and

"Whereas the PC Party of Ontario plans on eliminating this illegitimate tax for all Ontarians after it forms the government in 2007; and

"Whereas as an interim measure, this illegitimate health tax should be removed from those who protect Canada and those who have built Ontario;

"We, the undersigned, call on the government of Ontario to immediately eliminate the province's illegitimate health tax, beginning with serving military personnel and senior citizens."

Since I support this petition, I'll affix my signature.


Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over one million Ontarians of all ages suffer from communication disorders relating to speech, language and/or hearing; and

"Whereas there is a growing need for awareness of the profound developmental, economic and social consequences that communication disorders have on people and their families; and

"Whereas persons with communication problems require access to the professional services of audiologists and speech-language pathologists who provide treatments to improve and enhance quality of life; and

"Whereas effective treatment of communication disorders benefits all of society by allowing otherwise disadvantaged persons to achieve their academic and vocational potentials; and

"Whereas investments in treatments for communication disorders pay economic dividends in reduced reliance on other social services,

"We, the undersigned, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to proclaim the month of May as Better Speech, Language and Hearing Month."

I do so as a former principal who understands the need.


Mrs. Christine Elliott (Whitby-Ajax): A petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas, according to the Department of National Defence, there are over 30,000 serving military personnel who call Ontario home; and

"Whereas, according to the most recent census data, there are more than 1.6 million senior citizens over the age of 65 living in Ontario; and

"Whereas the PC Party of Ontario plans on eliminating this illegitimate tax for all Ontarians after it forms the government in 2007; and

"Whereas, as an interim measure, this illegitimate health tax should be removed from those who protect Canada and those who have built Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, call on the government of Ontario to immediately eliminate the province's illegitimate health tax, beginning with serving military personnel and senior citizens."

I'm pleased to affix my signature in support of this petition.


Mr. Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): "To the Parliament of Ontario and the Minister of Government Services:

"Whereas identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in North America;

"Whereas confidential and private information is being stolen on a regular basis, affecting literally thousands of people;

"Whereas the cost of this crime exceeds billions of dollars;

"Whereas countless hours are wasted to restore one's good credit rating;

"We, the undersigned, demand that Bill 38, which passed the second reading unanimously in ... Ontario ... be brought before committee and that the following issues be included for consideration and debate:

"(1) All consumer reports should be provided in a truncated ... form, protecting our vital private information such as SIN and credit card numbers.

"(2) Should a credit bureau discover that there has been a breach of consumer information, the agency should immediately inform the victimized consumer.

"(3) Credit bureaus should only report inquiries resulting out of actual applications for credit and for no other reasons.

"(4) Credit bureaus should investigate any complaints within 30 days and correct or automatically delete any information found unconfirmed or inaccurate."

Since I agree 100%with this petition, I am delighted to sign it.



Mr. Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas over one million Ontarians of all ages suffer from communication disorders relating to speech, language and/or hearing; and

"Whereas there is a growing need for awareness of the profound developmental, economic and social consequences that communication disorders have on people and their families; and

"Whereas persons with communication problems require access to the professional services of audiologists and speech language pathologists who provide treatments to improve and enhance quality of life; and

"Whereas effective treatment of communication disorders benefits all of society by allowing otherwise disadvantaged persons to achieve their academic and vocational potentials; and

"Whereas investments in treatments for communication disorders pay economic dividends in reduced reliance on other social services;

"We, the undersigned, in conjunction with the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to proclaim the month of May as Better Speech, Language and Hearing Month."

I support this petition as well.


Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest): I have a petition that's addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, prepared by Sonny Sansone, a community activist, at 10 Gordonridge. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the McGuinty government in the last budget committed itself to providing the best possible benefits to single-parent families in Ontario by increasing single-parent family benefits by 15.7% over the 2003-2004 levels;

"Whereas the expenditure on at-risk youth and families will be increased to a total of $10.3 billion;

"Whereas there still remains no coherent universal child care system in Ontario for working families;

"Whereas Ontario needs to move toward a system that is better planned, coordinated and accountable for all;

"We, the undersigned, therefore applaud the McGuinty government for its initiatives at making the lives of Ontario's families better and ask that they continue to make it the best possible for all families in Ontario."

I agree with this petition, affix my signature to it and give it to page Kelsey, here with me today.


Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): I'm pleased to present a petition from 3,747 taxpayers across Ontario, gathered by the Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull Terrier Club, among others. I commend Sandra Alway for all her work. It reads as follows:


"The new amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act are not effective solutions to the problem of dog attacks; and

"The problem of dog attacks is best dealt with through a comprehensive program of education, training and legislation encouraging responsible ownership of all breeds;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to amend the Dog Owners' Liability Act by removing the breed-specific sections and adding Courtney's Law, in honour of Courtney Trempe. This law would protect citizens from all dog attacks, regardless of breed, by targeting a dog's previous inappropriate behaviour and the owner's inability to properly train, contain and socialize their dog.

"We respectfully request that the assembly create a dangerous dog registry to accurately record dog bites across the province and to properly track offending dogs.

"We also request that the assembly financially support a province-wide dog bite prevention program aimed at dog owners...."

I sign in support of this petition.


Mr. Tony Ruprecht (Davenport): I have a petition that was given to me by Connie Lamanna and Claude Bergeron. They're both from the St. Clair West Revitalization Committee. The petition reads as follows:

"Whereas GO Transit is presently planning to tunnel an area just south of St. Clair Avenue West and west of Old Weston Road, making it easier for GO trains to pass a major rail crossing;

"Whereas TTC is presently planning a TTC right-of-way along all of St. Clair Avenue West, including the bottleneck caused by the dilapidated St. Clair-Old Weston Road bridge;

"Whereas this bridge (underpass) will be: (1) too narrow ... (2) it is not safe ... and (3) it creates a divide, a no man's land, between Old Weston Road and Keele Street....

"Therefore we, the undersigned, demand that GO Transit extend the tunnel beyond St. Clair Avenue West so that trains will pass under St. Clair Avenue West, thus eliminating this eyesore of a bridge with its high banks and blank walls. Instead it will create a dynamic, revitalized community enhanced by a beautiful continuous cityscape with easy traffic flow."

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the time to present this petition to you.



Resuming the debate adjourned on May 15, 2006, on the motion for second reading of Bill 109, An Act to revise the law governing residential tenancies / Projet de loi 109, Loi révisant le droit régissant la location à usage d'habitation.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Pursuant to the order of the House dated May 16, 2006, I am now required to put the question.

On May 9, Mr. Gerretsen moved second reading of Bill 109, An Act to revise the law governing residential tenancies. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those if favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1535 to 1545.

The Speaker: All those in favour will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Arthurs, Wayne

Bartolucci, Rick

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bradley, James J.

Broten, Laurel C.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Colle, Mike

Cordiano, Joseph

Craitor, Kim

Delaney, Bob

Di Cocco, Caroline

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Hoy, Pat

Jeffrey, Linda

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marsales, Judy

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Milloy, John

Mitchell, Carol

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Orazietti, David

Patten, Richard

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Ruprecht, Tony

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Arnott, Ted

Bisson, Gilles

Dunlop, Garfield

Elliott, Christine

Hampton, Howard

Hardeman, Ernie

Hudak, Tim

Klees, Frank

Kormos, Peter

MacLeod, Lisa

Marchese, Rosario

Martel, Shelley

Martiniuk, Gerry

Miller, Norm

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Prue, Michael

Runciman, Robert W.

Scott, Laurie

Tabuns, Peter

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 54; the nays are 23.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Pursuant to the order of the House dated May 16, this bill is referred to the standing committee on general government.



Resuming the debate adjourned on May 15, 2006, on the motion for second reading of Bill 43, An Act to protect existing and future sources of drinking water and to make complementary and other amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 43, Loi visant à protéger les sources existantes et futures d'eau potable et à apporter des modifications complémentaires et autres à d'autres lois.

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Order. There are too many conversations going on in here. Could we take them outside, please?

Further debate?

Mr. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): I'm happy to have 10 minutes to speak to this bill. It's not much. I'm happy to welcome the citizens of Ontario who are watching this political channel. We're on live. It's 10 to 4 and it's May 17, so you know the time.

We are pleased to see that the government finally introduced its long-overdue source protection legislation into the House. By way of history, the government first posted a draft bill for the Clean Water Act on the Environmental Bill of Rights in June 2004. At that time, the Minister of the Environment stated that her intent was to have legislation in the House by the end of the year. She then promised source water protection legislation by the spring of 2005. So here it is, a year later, and we're just getting our first opportunity to debate the proposed legislation.

This history is important because every day individuals, municipal councils, conservation authorities and the provincial government make decisions that impact the sources of our drinking water. You will recall that Justice Dennis O'Connor recognized this importance when he introduced the idea that source water protection plans be developed for all watersheds in Ontario because, in his words, "Watersheds are an ecologically practical unit for managing water. This is the level at which impacts to water resources are integrated, and individual impacts that might not be significant in and of themselves combine to create cumulative stresses that may become evident.... "

This is important, I tell you, as a bill. I remind you that we are very concerned about this government and this bill and its history around many of the promises this government has made in the past.

You might recall the Oak Ridges moraine and the broken promise around that. We'll recall that one of the McGuinty government's first broken promises was the failure to stop the development of 6,600 houses slated for development on the Oak Ridges moraine, the same moraine that is crucial to the protection of the headwaters of 35 GTA river systems, many flowing into Lake Ontario, and the drinking water of 250,000 GTA residents.

This is just one example showing that protecting source waters has not been a priority for the McGuinty government right from the start.

Recall as well the big pipe. Just last week the McGuinty government said it would allow York region's big pipe trunk sewer project to cut across the Oak Ridges moraine, which now forms part of the government's greenbelt. Despite alternative routes for the big pipe, the McGuinty government decided to contravene the spirit of the Oak Ridges moraine act, keep their developer friends happy and run the big pipe right through the moraine.

By refusing to stop the big pipe and require a full environmental assessment of its environmental impacts, despite calls from the city of Toronto and Ontario's Environmental Commissioner to do so, the McGuinty government showed its true colours on source water protection. Developers and urban sprawl take precedence over protecting our source water. It's difficult to take claims about protecting source water seriously from a government that fails to keep its promises with respect to development on the Oak Ridges moraine, and then allows one of the largest dewaterings in Canadian history to occur without a full environmental assessment. On the ground, streams and wells have dried up, 120 wells to date. So much for protecting drinking water.

Recall the promise that Monsieur McGuinty made, and I've got to rush through them, because there's so much to say on this bill and so little time. Here's one of McGuinty's quotes, so important to me as it relates to this bill, and he made this promise in 2003:

"We will stop allowing companies to raid our precious water supplies.

"Companies that want to take oil from the ground or trees from the forest have to pay for that privilege. The quantity of resource they can extract or harvest is regulated in line with provincial needs and environmental protection.

"But when companies want to bottle our water or export it as part of other products, the Harris-Eves government gives it to them free and without any consideration of the impact on local aquifers.

"One company alone wants to ship more water out of Ontario annually in the form of industrial slurry than the entire country exports in all beverages.

"We will end this reckless giveaway. Before we issue a single new water-taking permit, we will review Ontario's groundwater supplies. Once we are sure we have enough for ourselves, we will make water-bottling companies and others who mix water with their exports pay for this precious resource."

There's not one mention of this, yet another broken promise, in this bill. Companies will be able to draw water out of our ground and ship it to wherever they want, make money, as much as they want, and we as a province say, "We are not going to charge you for any of it." People say, "Ah, we don't want to deal with this, because we're commodifying water," but we are commodifying water. They're taking the water out of our ground, and we're saying we're not going to charge them for it. McGuinty said that would never happen under his watch, and now we've got a bill in this House that says nothing about whether or not we're going to charge the companies that suck the water out of our earth. They make money, and we say it's okay; we're not going to charge them a cent. God bless, and God bless for yet another broken promise from Monsieur McGuinty on this file.

What about the Great Lakes? By the way, as a Torontonian, our source water comes from there, and what does this government say about this bill and about the Great Lakes? Here's what it says. John, for your benefit, here's what it says: "The minister may establish one or more advisory committees to provide advice ... on any matter relating to the use of the Great Lakes as a source of drinking water." Great comfort to me and to Torontonians. "The minister may" also "direct a source protection authority to prepare ... a report ... on the use of the Great Lakes as a source of drinking water." Is that what you mean, John, by, "It's there"?

Then it says that the minister may require targets in terms of water quantity or quality be set for the source protection areas emptying into the Great Lakes. If targets are set, the minister may require source protection authorities to prepare a report recommending how targets can be achieved. What's in this bill about source protection of water of the Great Lakes that I drink from, when this government, through this bill, says it may do this, may do that, may do another thing, and it doesn't oblige them to do anything? I wait for the Liberals to tell me what it can do, what it's doing, what's there in the bill that protects -- Johnny, I'm waiting for you.

On the whole issue of municipalities, municipalities are going to get stuck with a bill decentralizing control over the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of SPPs, which could prove problematic, we argue, and in many instances in which provincially underfunded municipalities have to choose between protecting future impacts on source water or new development and an increased tax base, they will choose the latter. Municipalities are going to get stuck with the bill, and the government doesn't say whether or not they're going to help them out. This will be another dumping of yet another responsibility for municipalities to protect our water supply, and there's nothing here that's going to reassure me or the municipalities that this is going to happen.

We are going to make sure that this bill, when it gets to committee, is going to have the appropriate amendments that it needs to get me to support it, because I tell you, as of this moment, this bill is so porous that Mr. Marchese doesn't want to support it. We will be seeking amendments at committee to strengthen the Clean Water Act so as to ensure our source waters have a high degree of integrated protection, human health is properly safeguarded, and long-term funding is provided to ensure the proper administration and renewal of source water protection planning over time.

That's what we are going to demand in committee. If we do not get the amendments that we are going to force in committee, then I will tell you this: This bill that we've been expecting, this water bill that would protect source water, is not much to be proud of -- a typical Liberal bill that gives so little. We will be fighting for stronger amendments, and we'll see whether the government is going to approve them or disapprove them in committee.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. John Milloy): It's time for questions and comments.

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): I just want to put on the record that four weeks ago I met with the Christian Farmers, along with -- I'm sorry; I can't remember the riding names at the moment -- Simcoe North, Garfield Dunlop, and Joe Tascona for Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford. They're very concerned, as are many other farmers. Again, two weeks ago in my riding I met with a cross-section of farmers representing various commodity groups from the farming sector. It's the cost that's associated with this. I'm a former Minister of the Environment, and a number of these things we were going to bring forward during Ernie Eves's time as Premier, but we were having the fight in cabinet in terms of finding the dollars to support our farm community.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, we're probably in the second worst, if not the worst, farm financial crisis right now in the province. The viability of the family farm is very much [Failure of sound system]. Farmers simply can't afford a number of things that are in this piece of legislation, so I don't want to support it at this time. I'm with Mr. Marchese in terms of feeling we need to see a program come forward to support our farming community, because this bill is extremely onerous in terms of source water protection. It may put some farmers out of business. I have one farmer who's on well number five in the town of New Tecumseth, and depending on how far away the source water protection, how big an area around it is defined in terms of spreading pesticides and manure and that, he actually may not be able to farm, because his well is on the corner of four fields, and if it goes 300 metres this way or 100 metres that way, he's pretty well out of farming, which is kind of an unusual circumstance, I know.

Anyway, before the government comes forward with the regulations and implementation of this legislation, it's extremely important that they come forward with a program to make this affordable for our farming community. That's in addition to the risk management program and other program supports that the farmers are asking for now. So I ask the government to be cautious and to be courteous to our farming community in this regard.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions and comments? The member for Perth-Middlesex.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Perth-Middlesex): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and my, you look fine in that chair, sir, for your first time.

I just want to say briefly -- because I think this debate is to the point where we need to get this bill to committee, and I think we all agree to that. But I say to the member for Simcoe-Grey, one of your colleagues, the member from Haldimand-Norfolk, I think bandied about some $7-billion number that this was going to cost. As a former Minister of the Environment, if you'd like to table anything with our government as to what you think the actual cost is, I'd be quite interested to see that, sir, since you seem to know about that. Your government, you said, struggled with that number.

I say to my friend from Trinity-Spadina, we look forward to meeting with you in committee, sir. You made great comments about science. This bill is based on science. It's based on consultation. It's based on the fact that the bill cannot happen unless it is based on science or we will not get the buy-in from all of the people. But what we do know is that all of the people in this province expect to have clean drinking water. That is our criterion. I say to you that I believe that, working together in committee, this bill will be one that all members of this House will be proud to support on third and final reading.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions and comments? Seeing none, the member has two minutes to respond.

Mr. Marchese: At the moment, member from Perth-Middlesex, we are glad you introduced this bill. I'm not very proud of it yet. We'll look at the amendments that we will introduce and hopefully the amendments you will introduce and then we will tell you whether or not we're going to be proud of the bill, but at the moment it's a very weak, porous bill.

The member from Simcoe-Grey raises concerns that are of interest to us too, to see how they are going to be addressed. Like municipalities, farmers are concerned about the costs imposed by the source protection plan on affected landowners and would like to see a fund to offset new costs of compliance. Is that a reasonable request? We should reflect on that.

With regard to inspectors, farm organizations want all inspectors entering farms to comply with all biosafety protocols of the property owner. This becomes even more crucial as diseases like the bird flu threaten agriculture as well as human life. These are concerns that we need to address.

As well, we need to address that we have no idea how the source water protection committees -- the 16 members, all told -- are going to be selected. Like so many other aspects of this bill, it is left to regulation who these people are. How they're going to be appointed will significantly impact on the quality of source water protection plans and, potentially, water quality within the watershed. These are important concerns that we will raise that need to be dealt with in committee.

I tell you, unless we strengthen the language around the whole idea of how we protect source water from the Great Lakes, people like me are going to be very unhappy. "The minister may establish" advisory committees. "The minister may direct a source protection authority" to prepare a report on the use of the Great Lakes. It's not good enough.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Ms. Jennifer F. Mossop (Stoney Creek): I rise to contribute to this debate on clean water, probably one of the most important things that we can debate in this Legislature, quite frankly. We talk about a lot of things in this chamber, things that affect many people all over this province, but rarely do we talk about something as important as clean water and clean air. If you don't have clean water and you don't have clean air, you have nothing; you have absolutely nothing. So this is probably one of the most important discussions we that can have.

When I ran for election in 2003, it was in a province that had changed quite a bit, and it had changed so drastically that people had lost faith in their drinking water supply. They would turn on their kitchen tap and look at the water coming out of that tap with skepticism, with tremendous concern and even with fear. That was in the province of Ontario, in Canada, not a Third World country. That is the atmosphere that was surrounding the population of Ontario at that time. So to be discussing clean water, to be bringing forth measures that are taking a more thorough and cohesive approach to making sure that we have clean water in this province, and making sure that it dovetails with other initiatives that we are taking, with our spills bill and with other initiatives coming out of our environment ministry -- I'm pointing over here to our parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment, John Wilkinson, who spoke just a moment ago, who I know has been working very hard on all these initiatives.

I just can't think of anything more important. As I say, without clean air and clean water, we have nothing. That is what we need as a species to survive on this planet. It is absolutely basic; it is essential. So we can talk about great schools, hospitals and economic development -- we can talk about all these things -- but without clean air and clean water, we have nothing to talk about.

I am very supportive of this initiative, of this bill. Because it dovetails in with a number of other things, it does not come completely on its own. We have been working with the Nutrient Management Act and also the spills bill. This is something that is very good for local communities to protect their intake of water, especially if we're looking at places around the Great Lakes.

For many years, as a journalist I worked in the Niagara area when there was a lot of concern with what was pouring into the Niagara River -- poisons that were coming into the Niagara River from the other side of the border and also just from sewage systems that were not properly repaired -- and how we were able to monitor the quality and the safety of that water supply that's supplying several million people just on this side of the border, not to mention the other side of the border as well.

We've also backed this up with a number of initiatives in terms of financial support for this. We think that your local communities are actually the people who are going to have to be working on this. They are the ones who need to have control and support for this, so we have provided quite a bit of financial support. We've committed $67 million to fund the source water protection research by conservation authorities and municipalities.


Conservation authorities were doing a lot of very good work a long time ago. They lost the ability to do that because their budgets were gutted under the previous government, but they actually were doing some tremendous work around our source water. I'm glad to see that they are back in the business of doing that. They should be doing that, and that's great.

We also announced almost $10 million in grants for municipalities to conduct scientific studies to support source water protection efforts. That's tremendously important. These grants also build on more than $12.5 million previously provided to enable conservation authorities and municipalities all across the province to build capacity and to develop initial water budgets. We're doing this in stages, and we're building on it. The municipalities will have tools they need to develop and implement local plans to protect the sources of the water their residents drink, and the result will be cleaner, safer water supplies all throughout this province. This hugely important.

We need to ensure that the legislation we propose supports the viability and the prosperity of all people in Ontario, and that's what it is trying to do. It is a very visionary piece. It takes a global look at what we're doing. As I say, there is nothing more important that we could be talking about in this chamber than our clean water and clean air. I am very proud that this government has come forward with a comprehensive plan, this being part of it, to protect our environment, because that is what will sustain us as a species. We have to have clean air. We have to have clean water.

I'm very proud and will be supporting this bill as it moves through the House under the shepherding of the Minister of the Environment, and the parliamentary assistant also, John Wilkinson.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Seeing no questions and comments, further debate? The member from Erie-Lincoln.


Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): Thank you very kindly.


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Hudak: I have a few comments to share on Bill 43 this afternoon; I've had a chance to address some of these issues before. I'm going to comment a little bit on the bill itself, and comment on an important local issue related to Bill 43.

First and foremost, let me commend the hard work of our critic for the environment. Laurie Scott has done an outstanding job in bringing this issue to the fore, in asking questions, in statements here in the Legislature, helping caucus members in the PC caucus understand the implications of Bill 43.

I think in a general sense all of us here in the assembly support the objective of clean water. How can you vote against clean water or apple pie?

Hon. David Caplan (Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Deputy Government House Leader): We'll see.

Mr. Hudak: Don't tell me the apple pie bill is coming next. You have the Clean Water Act, you have the I love Toronto act, and next you're going to have the motherhood and apple pie act.

We are very concerned and look forward to an opportunity in committee to taking a better look at how the Ministry of the Environment plans on implementing Bill 43. I think a fair critique of the approach of the government to date is that it fails to indicate where the financial resources are going to come from to support the mandate under Bill 43. That's in two senses: first, to municipalities -- how are municipalities going to be able to afford a number of these projects? I'll get to one specifically in my riding momentarily -- second, to the farmers and other rural landowners. They may face a substantial burden upon them. It's already in many commodities a crisis time in agriculture.

My colleague from Simcoe-Grey spoke very well earlier about the importance of supporting farmers who will have significant obligations under this act. He met with the Christian farmers of Ontario; certainly, they have strong representation in the riding of Erie-Lincoln as well. I know the OFA has made some very strong comments regarding their concerns on Bill 43's implementation. As I said earlier, they support the concept of clean water, obviously, but have great concern about the approach of the McGuinty government to date on this issue. The last time I had a chance to speak to this bill, I did actually discuss an article in Better Farming. Albert Witteveen, who is a councillor in the township of West Lincoln, in which I reside -- Albert is an intelligent, hardworking individual, a municipal councillor and farmer, and he has been the president of the OFA North -- has had some very interesting comments, as has John Kikkert, whom I quoted from last time around.

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): He likes the Homestead Act too.

Mr. Hudak: I think sensible, reasonable individuals do.

But let me get on to some particular concerns about this. From time to time, I do like to track the record of the McGuinty government's ability to keep its own promises. I will say to my colleague the hardworking parliamentary assistant --

Mr. Wilkinson: You don't have 10 minutes on Bill 43, do you?

Mr. Hudak: Oh, yes, this is about Bill 43 -- absolutely. What they say on page 14 of the Liberal Party platform -- we did find a copy; it was buried under some of those houses on the Oak Ridges moraine. We dug it up, we found a copy of the Liberal Party platform, and page 14, as we shook the dust off, said:

"We will implement every recommendation of the Walkerton inquiry.

"We will fast-track provincial financial support for rural communities to improve their water and sewer infrastructure."

With respect to the Walkerton inquiry -- what they mean specifically there is the O'Connor report -- there are still a number of recommendations that have not been followed through on by this government related to Bill 43, specifically recommendations 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the O'Connor report. I know my colleague will be working hard to ensure that that promise will be kept. We will be watching to ensure that they actually do keep this promise. We heard about another one today, with respect to agency stores -- another broken Dalton McGuinty promise. Let's hope there aren't two in the same day.

I want to say that the previous government, in bringing forth legislation such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, helped to implement more than 50 of Justice O'Connor's recommendations following his investigation of Walkerton. I think the Ministry of the Environment now claims it is up to 60. So I guess there have been 10 additional recommendations implemented, but it certainly is falling well short of Dalton McGuinty's campaign promise to implement them in their entirety.

I do want to also call the attention of my friend and colleague the member from Perth-Middlesex and parliamentary assistant to the fact that Bill 175, which was passed in 2002, has yet to be proclaimed. I know they're hard at work on regulations with respect to safe drinking water. Hopefully they will be in the public domain shortly and we will see that bill proclaimed. I find it passing strange that in opposition Dalton McGuinty made much of this bill and said that he embraced it. But now, almost four years later, we have not seen that bill reach the proclamation stage. I would strongly encourage my colleagues opposite to do so.

The other point I wanted to bring -- I know my colleague the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal brought forward the Swain report back in July 2005; Watertight was the name of it. Swain lead that expert panel to look at a number of proposals surrounding the investment financing, pricing, organization and governance of the province's water and waste water systems. I have no doubt that my colleague and friend the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal has been pushing very hard at the cabinet table to come to some decisions on Swain's Watertight report, whether they will embrace it in its entirety, aspects of it, what have you. I know that municipalities, farm organizations, groups like the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association and others would like to know exactly what the minister is going to do with respect to the Swain report. I could make a bad joke here and say that perhaps they've put it in a watertight safe and tossed it to the bottom of Lake Ontario, that that's what's happened with the Swain report. I suggest, though, that's just a very bad pun and in fact the minister is working diligently on advancing that. But I do want to say to him one last time that we're anxious to hear how you're actually going to reply to the Swain report from July 2005. If the government is truly committed to clean water, I would expect both of those things to move a lot more quickly than they have to date; we'd have some clear answers on Swain and we'd see proclamation of Bill 175.


In the remainder of my comments, I do want to concentrate on a particularly important project in my riding, which is the Wainfleet water and sewer project. It's been mentioned by myself in the assembly on a number of occasions. I thank the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, who met the with Mayor Gord Harry and medical officer of health Robin Williams from Niagara to discuss this project.

Hon. Mr. Caplan: Ian Neville.

Mr. Hudak: Ian Neville as well has shown strong leadership in the region.

Unfortunately, we've had two sets of non-answers through the COMRIF program. I don't think we're holding out much hope for round 3, given how much money is left in the till, so to speak, and the value of the project. I certainly encourage the minister and his colleagues opposite to support the project. It is needed and is simply unaffordable to Wainfleet residents on their own, or the region of Niagara for that matter. I know that not much money is left for the third round.

I want to say that I would like to see that money spent for this project, but we need to be realistic: The funds remaining may not match up with the need in the Wainfleet area, and if not, then I would ask the minister, the Minister of the Environment and the parliamentary assistant to kindly work with the region of Niagara. Mayor Gord Harry from Wainfleet has shown very strong leadership on this to try to find a plan B.

There was $7 million set aside from the previous PC government's SuperBuild program. Sadly, it was not matched by the federal government. I do hope that that money will still be invested in this project and that we'll see further funds from this provincial government and from the federal government, but if the system cannot be funded en masse, the least we could do is try to address it in some fashion. Mayor Harry, for example, has suggested the sewage side and Mayor Rigby of St. Catharines has said the same: As a priority, you've got to sever the project.

I appreciate my colleagues' attention to this matter to date and encourage them to help out the people of Wainfleet in addressing this important need.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Further debate?

Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): I've been looking forward to this all week. I was up at night; I was getting my speech ready. I wrote a speech: It was two hours long, but we're not going to have enough time because we're down to 10-minute speeches.

First of all, I want to start this particular presentation on this bill by saying that a little earlier, as the member from Erie-Lincoln was speaking, there was a little bit of an omen. There was thunder and lightning outside, and I swear to God, sitting there with the minister of infrastructure, the guy with all the money who's trying to fund Moosonee and trying to fund problems in the city of Timmins -- we heard and we swear that we saw lightning hit the lightning rod on the Parliament Building as the member from Erie-Lincoln was speaking. It was a sign from the heavens --

Mr. Marchese: Eerie.

Mr. Bisson: It was very eerie, I must say --

Mr. Marchese: From the member for Erie.

Mr. Bisson: -- to the member from Erie, that at that particular time lightning struck, as you spoke. You're one of the few members I've known in my 16 years here who can say that, as you gave your speech, lightning struck the Parliament Building of Ontario.

I want to put a couple of things on the record in this particular debate, because I want people to clearly understand what this bill does and doesn't do. We, as New Democrats, have always, always taken the position that we need to have source water protection. For that, we support the government to a degree. I just want to state very clearly to what degree we don't support the government, because we don't think that this bill goes to the degree that it needs to in order to protect source water.

Most of you will remember my good colleague Marilyn Churley when she was here. She was our minister in our government but also our critic on the environment, and was a very strong advocate on the issue of source water protection. In co-operation with her colleagues in our caucus, people within the party, our caucus staff and stakeholders in the province, she developed and introduced in this Legislature a number of times source water protection legislation that would have gone to the degree of making sure that we protect all source water. That's the point I want to make in this particular debate.

This legislation starts off in the right direction; I'm going to give the government a little bit of credit.


Mr. Bisson: No applause; hang on. I don't want to be in one of your leaflets saying I support Liberals. I just say it doesn't go to the degree it needs to to protect all water.

Now, what does the bill do? The bill deals mostly with what, I guess in layman's terms, you can say is well water. It deals mostly with protecting water that is drawn from wells and such. That is a good thing. I'm not sure that it goes to the degree it needs to in that area. But it doesn't deal with where much of the province draws its drinking water. For example, we don't deal with the Great Lakes in this legislation, something that, quite frankly, seems to me like a simple oversight or a catastrophic oversight, depending on which way you look at it, because many communities in Ontario draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes. If we're going to talk about source water protection, we need to talk about all sources and not just some sources. That's one of the points I want to make in this debate.

I would say to the government that we will give qualified support to this bill. We're going to allow the bill to go to second reading and we will give you qualified support in the sense that we need to make sure, when this bill gets to committee, that we're able to make the amendments necessary to make sure we protect all source water. For example, we have some serious concerns about how narrow the scope of this bill is as it applies to protecting other sources of water. It doesn't deal, as I said in my opening comments, with all particular sources.

We're also concerned about the lack of protection for the Great Lakes, as I talked about. I'm just looking at my note to make sure I didn't forget anything. Colin, our NDP researcher, would be very cross with me. If I walk out of this Legislature and I don't read all his notes, Colin, our good researcher in the NDP, is going to say that I forgot. So, Colin, I want to make sure you know that I'm reading your note.


Mr. Bisson: I never read speeches. That's why Colin gets cross with me, because I don't believe in reading speeches. I find it breaks the rhythm of what you're trying to do. But I think I covered the point.

The point I want to make is simply this: While we go to committee, we need to make sure that we give people who are more knowledgeable about source water protection than you and I an opportunity to come before committee. At that committee, we're looking forward to the recommendations made by those people who are experts, who can come before us and say what source water protection legislation should look like.

We're saying, as New Democrats, we are totally in favour of source water protection. In fact, we have championed this issue for a number of years. We acknowledge that the government has taken a baby step forward -- and I say it's a baby step; it's not a giant step, it's a baby one -- of protecting some of our source water as it deals with wells. But it doesn't deal with much of the source water that is drawn from areas, such as the Great Lakes and others, that need to be protected to make sure we safeguard water for all Ontarians, not just for some Ontarians.

As you well know, I represent a part of the province, unfortunately, that has had a lot of experience with bad water as far as source water protection. A good example of that is what happened in Kashechewan. There was a situation where that community draws its water from a creek that dumps into the Albany River, but the sewage lagoon is just upstream on the creek and leaking and sieving into the water, contaminating the water that was drawn into the water plant. That kind of situation needs to be protected in this legislation, so that we look at those effects.

We say to ourselves, "Does it make sense for the federal or provincial government" -- whoever might be responsible; more times than not it's the province -- "to design a sewage lagoon plant that is upstream on the same source as the water that is being drawn in the community for drinking water?" I think the answer should be no. That's why I've always argued that the federal government should get out of the business of water, because certainly when you look at Kashechewan and other examples, they've had an abysmal record when it comes to making sure that water in First Nations as it's drawn and treated is safe.

If we look at the communities in the NAN territory, over 60% of the communities are under boil-water advisories. You can't drink the water. In some cases, such as Kashechewan, it made people terribly ill. I will say in this Legislature, I think people have died -- seriously. The problem is that often there are no autopsies done when young people die, or in some cases when elderly people or sick people who have other conditions die -- when, as a complication to their original illness, drinking water that might have caused the death is a secondary cause of death. Part of the problem in many of our First Nations communities is there's not an automatic autopsy. I would think it's not much of a stretch to say that the water in those communities has led to deaths in those communities. I want to make sure in this Legislature and in this legislation that we capture all source water so that we put all Ontarians in the same boat; we make sure that we protect source water, because that's one of the fundamentals. You have to know as an Ontario citizen that when you go to the tap and draw water from the tap, you can drink it and you're not going to die or get sick. That's something that I think we can all agree on in this Legislature, no matter what party it is. We want to make sure, in a non-partisan way, that we deal with this issue effectively to make sure that all Ontarians who draw water from the tap know and have the security of knowing that the water they're going to drink or cook with or wash with is not going to cause them ill effect or death, as was the case in Walkerton.


So I say to my friends on the government side and I say to the parliamentary assistant, who stole my intern -- I want to say I'm not holding any grudges. It was your turn. I'm all for sharing, but Mark was really good, and I would have liked to have kept him in my office a little longer, because he was very big on source water protection, as you well know. I just say to my good friend Mr. Wilkinson, who is the parliamentary assistant, we will give you conditional support at second reading because we believe this is an important issue to deal with. Then, at committee, we want the amendments necessary to make sure that we cover off source water protection at all areas, not just when we talk about wells and others.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable member for his comments. Questions and comments? Further debate?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton): I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill. Protecting our water supply is vital to everyone. This is a very noble piece of legislation.

I would like to read into the record a few comments and questions from some of my constituents. As you know, I have a large rural component to my riding, and some of the farmers and landowners have some questions. I'd like to put them into the record today, so hopefully at committee these issues or questions and concerns can be addressed.

My good friend Marlene Black, who is a farmer in Nepean-Carleton and lives in Goulbourn township, has a series of comments. She's afraid that this bill further restricts what a rural landowner and farmer can and cannot do. She's concerned that there's not a lot of detail on what the restrictions will be and how they will be implemented. She also has an interesting concern:

"The bill takes priority over other bills and acts. The Greenbelt Act also takes precedence over other bills." So she would like to know which takes priority over what. "It does state that if there is a conflict, then the most severe regulation will prevail." She finds this a little odd and a strange way to enact legislation, namely, that whatever is the most severe will prevail. "The concern here is that complying with one set of regulations, and then being forced through a more restrictive act to remedy and meet the more stringent criterion is time-consuming, costly and ... duplicative.

"Although the details are not known, the fact that there are fees, fees and more fees, is very clear," she says. "For many farmers and rural landowners the financial lemon has been oversqueezed. It is time that the beneficiaries of the legislation paid for the costs of the legislation, rather than the usual minority `stakeholder' who is negatively affected."

She doesn't know "the specific regulations that will result from the act; however there is every possibility that there may be farm restrictions" -- I'd like to know from members opposite if indeed that's going to be the case -- "in certain, yet to be determined areas, which will limit or curtail farming." As you know, in Nepean-Carleton, that's very important to many of my residents.

"There must be fair compensation for this curtailment. Again, the act and regulations are put in place for the benefit of all Ontarians, hence all Ontarians must compensate for the loss of property enjoyment, loss of income, loss of farming capability that may likely occur." So we'd be interested in seeing some results there.

Further on, on the compensation issue:

"The principle of just compensation must be agreed to now and respected by the government as it takes away more rights from the main stakeholder who will bear the cost of the restrictions. When the detailed regulations are implemented the amounts of compensation and those to be compensated must be just."

Just a quick comment from her on the public process: She believes that the timing for the public input has been short. As I understand it, there will be hearings. We look forward, hopefully, to inviting you to Nepean-Carleton --


Ms. MacLeod: Two and a half years? Well, I've not even been here two and a half months, so consider this input from Nepean-Carleton. We'd like to invite you to talk about the Clean Water Act in Nepean-Carleton, if you'd like to come.

We would like to see the public input process expanded.

We're concerned in Nepean-Carleton that the act seems to give some bureaucrats a little bit more power, and that's a legitimate concern from some of my residents. So I just submit this to you today.

There's a concern here for untreated sewage into the lakes. There is no mention in the act regarding water quality of one of the prime sources of southern Ontario drinking water, namely the lakes. We're concerned with cities dumping untreated or ill-treated sewage into the lakes at various times. There is no accountability anywhere in the act. So we'd like to see that looked at.

I have just one more concern over normal farm practices. There are conflicts at this time between normal farm practices and acceptability of normal farm practices by towns, cities and urban people. There have been bylaws enunciated by various urban councils that limit or eliminate certain normal farm practices, and Bill 43's enforcement, directed by municipalities, will allow the restriction of normal farm practices under the guise of source water protection. When this is done, there must be just and satisfactory compensation for the restriction of normal farm practices.

As I move to a close, I would just like these questions, concerns and comments from residents in Nepean-Carleton to be answered during the committee stage. That's all I have to say. Thank you very much.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? Further debate? If there is no further debate, are we ready for the question?

Ms. Broten has moved second reading of Bill 43, An Act to protect existing and future sources of drinking water and to make complementary and other amendments to other Acts. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour say "aye."

All those opposed say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The chief government whip has handed me a note: "Pursuant to standing order 28(h), I request that the vote on the motion by Minister Broten for second reading of Bill 43, An Act to protect existing and future sources of drinking water and to make complementary and other amendments to other Acts, be deferred until deferred votes, May 18, 2006."

Hon. Mr. Caplan: I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker: The deputy House leader has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

This House stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1638.