1991-92 BUDGET




















Monday 19 August 1991

1991-92 budget

Windsor and District Labour Council

University of Windsor Students' Administrative Council

Canadian Auto Workers

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

AIDS Committee of Windsor

Gordon Chrisjohn

Unemployed Help Centre

Roland Marentette

Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce

National Farmers Union

Margaret Rousseau

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 543

Third World Resource Centre

Windsor West Citizens' Organization

CAW Community Development Group

Windsor Women's Incentive Centre

Ian Gartshore



Chair: Hansen, Ron (Lincoln NDP)

Vice-Chair: Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford NDP)

Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre NDP)

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk NDP)

Kwinter, Monte (Wilson Heights L)

Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt L)

Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC)

Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West PC)

Sullivan, Barbara (Halton Centre L)

Ward, Brad (Brantford NDP)

Ward, Margery (Don Mills NDP)

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West NDP)


Carr, Gary (Oakville South PC) for Mr Sterling

Lessard, Wayne (Windsor-Walkerville NDP) for Mr Wiseman

McLean, Allan K (Simcoe East PC) for Mr Stockwell

Sola, John (Mississauga East L) for Mr Phillips

Also taking part:

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich NDP)

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent NDP)

Clerk: Decker, Todd

Staff: Rampersad, David, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 0900 in the Hilton International, Windsor.

1991-92 BUDGET

Resuming consideration of the 1991-92 provincial budget.

The Chair: I would like to bring this committee to order. This will be the beginning of our third week of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review hearings.


The Chair: This morning we are starting off in Windsor. What I would like to do is welcome the first group to appear before us, which is the Windsor and District Labour Council. You will have one half-hour for your presentation and question period. After your presentation, allow some time if you can for a question and answer period from the three parties, which will be divided equally. We will be starting off with the official opposition, going to the third party, then over to the government and rotating with each group coming in. Please identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard and begin.

Mr McLean: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I am wondering if we have a quorum here. It is important that a quorum be present at these meetings. I do not think we should be totally ignored by the NDP. I know they want to hear this presentation.

The Chair: I just saw Mr Sutherland and Mr Jamison walk in and walk back out again. We will recess for a minute or two.

Mr McLean: I think they should be here.

The Chair: Since I see a quorum, we will be begin.

Mr Parent: I would like first of all to introduce my colleagues here with me this morning. Ken Lewenza is the first vice-president of Local 444, Canadian Auto Workers. Nick LaPosta is the secretary-treasurer of the Windsor and District Labour Council, as well as secretary-treasurer of Local 195 of the CAW. My name is Gary Parent. I am the president of the labour council and also financial secretary of Local 444, CAW.

I would like to welcome the committee to Windsor and thank the government for the opportunity to make a submission on behalf of the labour community of Windsor and surrounding areas. We have, in affiliated members to the labour council, over 42,000 members. We have seen in this country a recession that has not been experienced since the Depression of the 1930s.

The number of manufacturing jobs lost in Ontario has escalated to over 97,000 last year, compared to the drop of 76,000 in 1981 and 1982. The difference now is that the majority of the job losses we are experiencing are lost for ever. In Windsor we have witnessed the closure of plant after plant, and if this committee wants proof of this, it should take a recess from these hearings and go out and take a firsthand look at what the federal government's economic policies have done to our community and many more communities across this country.

I would like to stray from my text right now and have Brother LaPosta give you an example of the flavour of the job loss we are experiencing here in our community.

Mr LaPosta: The following is a partial list of Local 195 units that have most recently closed their doors. These jobs have left this area for ever:

Arnold Manufacturing representing 100 people; Brant Castings, 57; Charles Laue, 20 more people; Advanced Gibson, 30 more people; Freedland Industries, 78 more people; Windsor Machine, 40 more people; Reflex, 90 people; International Playing Card, 30 people; International Robotic, 8 people; Newcor Canada, 30 people; Sheller-Globe, 419 people; Welles Corp, 180 people; Wickes Bumper, 320 people; Fruehauf, 13 people, and most recently Kelsey Hayes, 450 people, but at its peak it was well over 1,000 good, high-paying jobs here in the city of Windsor.

This is the type of devastation we have had to face here in the city.

Mr Parent: While you are out and about, the other thing you should take notice of is the number of small retail businesses that have also been closed. The reality of it is there has been a drastic increase in those types of closures as well.

As a matter of interest, on my way driving here this morning I took a look at our downtown area, on another street, Pelissier, which is one over from Ouellette Avenue, and I counted 24 small businesses that have gone out of business. This is another example of what is happening in this community and, I would imagine, other communities as you travel across this province, and what is happening in the real world.

During this current recession, business and personal bankruptcies in Ontario have soared, with business alone experiencing an increase of 73% in 1990 compared to 1989. Surely this indicates a major downturn in our economy, and implications for the future are considerable in terms of levels of employment, living standards and much-needed social services.

Having previously explained the problems many people have experienced, we must look at how the federal government has responded. Further cutbacks on program spending will cost the people of Ontario over $1.6 billion this year alone. In Windsor, these cuts have meant people drawing UIC for a much shorter period of time, thus an escalation in our welfare rolls in both the city and the county, with no decline in sight. And yes, the municipal-provincial taxpayer will have to pick up this slack.

Other areas affected by the reductions of transfer payments from the federal government are health and education. In Windsor, this strengthens our concerns over whether more schools will have to close or whether our much-needed health services, such as a cardiac care unit, will ever become a reality for us in this community. A further concern to us would be the death of the medicare system as a national program enjoyed equally by all Canadians.

One must look at what the federal government is now planning to do by negotiating a North American free trade agreement. Has there not already been enough damage done to Canadians by the US-Canada free trade agreement? As Nick just alluded to, those are some of the results of the current US-Canada free trade agreement and some of the casualties.

As the previous Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, Allan Pilkey, stated, the FTA has not worked for the people of Ontario, and we have proof of that, as we have just outlined. We fail to see how the extension of a deal to Mexico can possibly be of any benefit to our industries and our workers.

When one looks at Windsor, is it not evident that we are suffering enough? I guess not, because our federal government has put in place a new tax, the GST. We invite this task force to ask the retail business community of Windsor how this tax has affected it. Better yet, we invite them, as I suggested earlier, to go and look first hand at the empty storefronts that have become commonplace in our community since this regressive tax was implemented.


There has been an outcry from this provincial government's opposition parties for a balanced budget. Let's just examine what a balanced budget would do for Windsor.

First, people would be faced with a 14% overall provincial tax hike which would be sucked up by the government instead of buying goods and services and maintaining jobs in this community.

Health spending in Windsor would be cut by $33.8 million, which of course would then mean more loss of hospital beds and, in turn, nurses' jobs would be lost. Just what we need in this community -- more unemployment.

Education spending would have to be cut by approximately $18.2 million, which would mean more schools or classroom closures, which would put teachers out of work, not to say the devastation that would take place in this community and surrounding communities as it relates to disrupting students, having students going from one end of the county to another. It is just absolutely ludicrous.

Then we look at social services spending, which would be cut by approximately $14.3 million, and we ask, is the city of Windsor able to pick up this slack? We all know of course that the answer to this question is no. We dare say these issues would not be readily addressed by these same objectors to this government's new provincial budget.

The ultimate question that has to be asked of those demanding a balanced budget is, how many classrooms and hospitals would close? How many kids and families would be cut off welfare? How would they raise taxes to provide needed services for Windsor and our surrounding communities?

Contrary to the federal government's economic policies of cutting programs during this recession, we in the labour community of Windsor applaud this provincial government's courage to fight the recession by sustaining and creating 70,000 jobs; by creating the $700-million anti-recession program whose total expenditure, when combined with the contributions of local government and agencies, will exceed $900 million, and maintaining our health care and education systems despite cutbacks from the federal Tory government in the form of transfer payments.

We see this government putting spending power in the hands of the people of Ontario by not imposing the PST on the GST, instead of taking it away like the federal Tories have done.

When we look at the $215-million social assistance reform package designed to provide benefits for those who are in the greatest need, we need only ask our social service commissioner here in Windsor, who we feel would agree that this package will provide further relief to our already burdened municipality and ultimately the overburdened city of Windsor taxpayers.

Also, by providing tax relief for the poorest of Ontarians by initiating the largest enrichment in the history of the Ontario tax reduction program, in the amount of $50 million, the number of low-income earners whose Ontario income tax will be eliminated or reduced will increase to 700,000 for the 1991 tax year.

This government has also shown a positive attitude by allocating an additional $12 million for new shelter beds and enhanced services for those who are victims of domestic violence. In addition, there has been an increase of more than $8 million to expand and enhance services to women and children who are victims of sexual assault, which we feel has been escalated in both instances during this current recession because of the economic climate we find ourselves in.

This government has also shown it is addressing the needs of the province by supporting an additional 10,000 non-profit housing units at a cost of approximately $150 million. We in Windsor and surrounding areas certainly can relate to the need of such housing and are eternally grateful for the present projects which are currently under construction and in the planning stages.

The business community of this province has criticized the budget because of its deficit. We would like to add that we do not like deficits either, but as we asked earlier in our presentation, what service funding would they like cut to help offset this deficit: funding for schools; funding for hospitals; funding for community care for seniors; funding for training of our unemployed; funding for our increased social service case loads and needs? We do not believe they would choose any of the above.

We also believe it has to be stated that if none of the things proposed under this budget occurred and everything remained status quo, the reality is that the deficit would have increased to over $8 billion anyway. This Ontario government has, in our opinion, received a bum rap for this budget, and we ask this task force to talk to the people from the closed Kelsey Hayes plant, the closed Wickes Bumper workers, the closed Sheller-Globe plant workers in Kingsville, the Wayne Bus workers, and the list goes on and on. Ask them whether in fact they would want a balanced budget or whether they would rather have money in their pockets to feed their families and money put towards retraining so they can be better prepared to go to work when this economy gets on its feet. Obviously we feel their answers would be the latter.

In our view, this budget is taking a major step in the right direction by investing in the people of Windsor and the rest of Ontario and, in essence, laying the foundation for sustainable prosperity in the 1990s. We say to the business community of Windsor and this province, "Don't fear the new direction this Ontario government is taking, but rather join with it to lead this country in economic growth in 1992 and for the betterment of all in this province." We tend to believe it is well worth investing in.

Mr Lewenza: I would just like to add that obviously CAW Local 444 put in for submissions, but because of the number of people who put in for submissions and time restraints, it was not appropriate for us to have an official hearing or an official time to be allocated. We have obviously left it up to the president of our union to talk on behalf of the CAW, but unfortunately we did spend quite a considerable time putting a brief together in case we were selected. With the Chair's indulgence, I would like at least to give you the brief for your reading and hopefully, if you need something done or written in terms of questions, you could certainly direct it to our local union. Thank you.

The Chair: Yes, thank you. They will be distributed among the members.

Mrs Sullivan: I appreciate your being with us today and submitting a brief to the committee. One of the things that is very clear, of course, in the Windsor area is the devastation from closed plants, some of them short-term, some long-term, lots of layoffs and so on. One of the things we do not see in this budget is long-term job creation or efforts that will attract the investment to create those long-term jobs in the longer term. I am interested that the labour council has been so euphoric about the budget when in fact those very significant details are lacking. I wonder if you could comment on that.

Mr Parent: If one looks at the budget totally, I think they have done that by the retraining dollars they are putting in place. I think they are looking. Also, there were grants available to businesses that are suffering and having some difficulty sustaining a viable climate of operation. So I think they have done that.

What you have to do first, if you are looking at getting the economy going, is to put the confidence back in the business community. I believe the confidence is there, first of all, by the people having the money in their pockets who are going to keep this economy going. You cannot do it by cutting back the spending power of the people of Ontario. I think they are doing that in this budget and the long-term effects will be well received. When one looks at some of the economic advisers who are coming out in favour of this budget --

Mrs Sullivan: Who are they again? They are those you like to quote from usually, are they not?

Mr Kwinter: No, they have all been warned not to use that name any more.

Mr Parent: Anyway, I believe there is confidence in this province and that this government has had the courage to look forward for Ontario and get this economy going. You cannot do it by cutting services; you cannot do it by cutting programs that are necessary for the people of Ontario or the rest of this country, for that matter. The federal government certainly has done a good job of trying to dissuade people from really putting forward economic growth to this country.


Mr Kwinter: Thank you very much for your presentation. I was really taken with the comment that the opposition parties were calling for a balanced budget. I do not think anyone has ever called for a balanced budget. As you said, there is no way. How could you have a balanced budget given the economic situation? The revenues are declining and the kick-in automatic welfare payments are going up. What the complaints have been about is not even so much the deficit this year. We understand we are in a tough time. Where most of the criticism is coming from is that over the life of this government it is projecting deficits in the $8-billion range every year, so that by the time its mandate is over -- from the time it took office to the time it finished -- it will have doubled the provincial debt. That is a problem, because that is deferred taxation. Someone is going to have to pay for it. That is the concern that has been expressed by a lot of people.

The other thing I would really like to get your comments on, because I find it very strange, is that in all of these programs that have been announced -- the $700 million anti-recession program, the program to help manufacturers -- I would say at this point in time that less than 10% of it has been allocated. When I said to the minister in the House, "There's no money in the budget for MITT for this program," he said, "We don't need it this year because we're going to spend this whole year just taking a look at who needs it." So by the time this money comes around, we will be into a recovery program.

The Prime Minister has already declared the recession over. I do not believe that. On the other hand, we have a situation where there are tough times now and all we are getting are promises of programs that will be put into place. But at the present time very little of that money has been spent. I would like to get your comments as to how that is going to affect Windsor today, where there really is a problem, and we appreciate the problem.

Mr Parent: I guess these hearings are part and parcel maybe of why some of these programs have not been implemented. If the budget would have got approval in the Legislature when it should have had approval, I believe maybe some of these programs would have been on their way. Quite frankly, maybe some of the tie-up is a bureaucracy we are now tied into, when we look at the hearings we are taking part in today.

I think also when you look at the training programs we are talking about, there are programs that have been started in a community such as Windsor. First of all, you have to assess what the needs are in this community. When you look at the plant closures Brother LaPosta named off to you, the makeup of that workforce is predominantly, first of all, of ethnic origin, so you have to look at what their needs are. Obviously, possibly in all probability, the most important need for them is basic literacy skills that have to be looked at. You are looking at an older workforce that has been affected by these plant closures, so you have to look at what their particular needs are in this community.

If we are looking at some long-term future for these people who have been affected through these plant closures, you have to assess what their needs are. I do not have any problem with the way the government is handling it as far as what it is doing up to this point, because we have to accept responsibility for our future, unlike past governments of this province and of this country where they would throw money at Band-Aid approaches, as far as we are concerned, in trying to give people a false sense of security.

I think this government is looking at trying to put what you are asking for, really, and what the other person asked for earlier I think you are looking for long-term gains for this community and other communities by first assessing the needs and what the needs are in each community. You have to find out what the needs are. You cannot just throw money out at Band-Aid approaches and hope everything is going to come out in the recovery. I am not as optimistic as the Prime Minister of this country that everything is going to be hunky-dory in a very short period of time.

Like I say, Windsor historically has always continuously felt any downturn in the economy first. We are usually the first to come out of the recovery, but the recovery is not as blatant and is not as forthcoming as some people want to express it is, because it is not there. Look at our unemployment rate in this community --

The Chair: Mr Parent, I have to cut you off. We have to go on to the next party. The official opposition has run out of its time. Sorry I have to do that.

Mr Parent: That is fine.

Mr McLean: I believe gas went up by 1.7 cents July 1, the gas guzzler tax went into effect August 1, cigarettes and booze went up the night the budget was introduced. Could you tell me when you think the budget was or should have been approved? You said it has not been approved. Why are all these taxes in place?

Mr Parent: Obviously there are certain parts of the budget that had immediate implementation. I am talking about the longer-term projects that have been outlined in the budget.

Mr McLean: Could you name me one that is not approved because of the budget?

Mr Parent: Some of the training dollars are still not forthcoming, obviously waiting for the conclusion of these hearings to make sure everything is okay, as far as I know.

If I can make a comment about the price of gas, the gas guzzler tax, tax on cigarettes and tax on the alcohol, as you alluded to, working people in this province obviously do not like to see taxes go up. But at the same time, if they see some results of where their tax dollars are going, if they see the results of how the taxes are helping people in Ontario, I do not think there is a problem with the people of Ontario accepting those types of increases.

Where the problem comes in, if they see these taxes rising, no results, no programs implemented and no programs put forward to help this province get going, then that is when the people of Ontario will be more upset than they currently are.

Mr McLean: The basic question was that the budget was not approved, and it has been approved because of these hearings. I am here to tell you it is approved. The budgetary process is in place and will be proceeding through the normal channels.

You mentioned in your brief the retail business community. It is unfortunate that in this whole list we got I do not see anybody here from the retail business community appearing before us. I think that is a shame, because we should be listening to those people out there to find out what the retail business community's problems really are.

I do not know what I can say. You spoke about a balanced budget. Mr Kwinter asked a question I was going to ask, so I will pass to my colleague.

Mr Carr: I am pleased to be in Windsor here. Thank you very much for your presentation. It was very well done and interesting.

You talked about some of the things with the federal government. I had a poll in front of me that was commissioned and that talked about the government introducing new laws to increase government spending during the last federal budget. The question was asked, "Do you agree or disagree strongly that the Ontario government should pass a similar law?" and 77% of the people who voted for the NDP said there should be some controls on spending.

I was just wondering what your thoughts were when such a large proportion of the people feel there should be some spending control and yet you say there should not be. How do you jibe that with the statistics here?

Mr Parent: Obviously people do not want to see a government that is frivolously spending money. But when you look at what is being proposed in the budget, as far as their spending, I do not think it is frivolous spending. As we say in our brief, we think they are spending money on the people of Ontario and to get the economy in the province going. I do not think, quite frankly, they view this as frivolous spending.

Mr Carr: Some things have been pointed out, and you may have read about them last week. The chairman of TVOntario has nine TVs in his office, he has a chauffeur who is paid $51,000 and they spent $2,000 to send a Japanese businessman to Cleveland to watch the Blue Jays games, and things like the Minister of Community and Social Services, Mrs Akande, spending $54,000 for a new carpet in her office. There are areas where spending can be controlled and I think they are saying they want controls.

When I look here you people are saying, "We have to spend all this money." Do you not believe there is any area in this budget where we can be controlled? And if we want to be constructive, is there anything you can see, some areas where we can control spending, to offer in a constructive manner to the people on this committee? Are there any areas you see where we can control spending?

Mr Parent: Not knowing the intricacies of the bureaucracies in the Legislature of Ontario, I cannot really comment as far as where I would see who gets carpet and who does not get carpet. As a citizen of Ontario and in the community of Windsor, I can see where the need is of spending money to help people pull themselves out of this recession we find ourselves in and the economic climate we find ourselves in. That is where this money from the government in the province should be spent, and I believe in this budget that is exactly where the money is coming from and going to, to help the people in Ontario.


Mr Jamison: Thank you for your presentation this morning and for taking the time and making the effort to appear in front of the committee. I have been sitting in these hearings for two weeks now, and most of the detractors from the budget really are saying one thing to the government. They are saying: "You have spent too much. We would like to see a lower level of deficit." At the same time, I have had a very difficult time having people who ridicule the budget explain clearly where these cuts that they are talking about should be made.

There was $1.5 billion in new spending; $700,000 of that was the anti-recession fund that has gone to work in every community, including Windsor. It is interesting that you would talk in your presentation about the effects on the small business community in Windsor. I want to give you an example and I want you to answer as best you can: If we had taken the same position as the federal government and had actually frozen transfer payments to the municipalities, how would that have impacted here in this community as far as municipal taxes are concerned -- probably services? How do you feel that would have impacted if this government had taken the same position as the federal government and frozen transfer payments to the municipalities in particular?

Mr Parent: It would have been absolutely further devastation for our community. When one looks at the moneys that were put in for the infrastructure that was also part and parcel of trying to keep the economy going, and if those moneys were not there, we would see that we would not have the sewers; we would not have, thus, construction jobs to provide those sewers. We would have further layoffs within the construction industry. If one looks at the affordable housing area, as we alluded to in our brief, that again puts construction people back to work. I mean, you cannot have an economy going in a community like Windsor if there is not some help from the senior levels of government, both provincially and federally. Unfortunately, the federal government has not been there. The provincial government, thank God, in its latest budget at least, believes that Ontario municipalities do deserve some help and it has provided that, in our opinion, in this budget. We thank you for that. I mean, $700,000; I wish it was $700 million.

Mr Jamison: It is $700 million. I may have misquoted, but it is $700 million. That is right.

Mr Parent: And that is what we need. We need money in this province to keep the economy going and to get it going.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, but the takeoff is not nearly that high.

Mr Parent: We cannot do it if we are going to reduce payments to the municipalities from the senior levels of government, like I say. We only hope that sooner or later the federal government changes in this country so that we can have a government that is responding to the needs of Canada as a whole and to the rest of the provinces that are in need of the money in the form of transfer payments.

The Chair: We have run out of time for the government. I would like to thank the Windsor and District Labour Council for its presentation.


The Chair: The next group is from the University of Windsor Students' Administrative Council. Would they come forward, please.

You have one half-hour for your verbal presentation. Leave some time at the end for oral questions from the three parties and, if you would not mind, identify who you are for Hansard. Welcome to this committee.

Mr Papa: Thank you. My name is Nino Papa. I am the president of the students' administrative council at the University of Windsor. Along with me this morning is Dr Paul Cassano, the senior vice-president of the University of Windsor. I will jump right into my presentation this morning.

It is with great honour I take this opportunity to speak on behalf of the students of the University of Windsor and students across Ontario.

In reading the press and watching news broadcasts, I have found that this budget, more than many others, has been scrutinized. This, of course, is due in no small part to the fact that this is Ontario's first-ever New Democratic budget. This also should be welcomed by all bureaucrats and citizens for two main reasons: Not only does it show that there is a vested interest in government actions by the people of Ontario, it also shows the great cruciality of this budget. It is a strong fact that this budget, because of the seriousness of this recession, will have implications on this and future governments' fiscal and economic policies.

This budget has endured great criticism. This criticism has come in areas ranging from, of course, the deficit to the funding of programs and not cutting their services. I plan to touch base with many areas included in the budget in my presentation today, but because of the lengthy contents of it, I will concentrate on the areas that are of importance to all Ontarians and that are directly related to my current situation as a student and resident of Windsor.

First, allow me to address the recession and how this government is taking initiatives to fight what I am sure all communities from business to labour are fed up with.

As of April 1990, Ontario has faced its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In the past year 236,000 jobs were lost. Almost half of these jobs were in the high-paying manufacturing sector. As a matter of fact, the loss of manufacturing jobs in this recession is almost equal to the total job loss of the 1981-82 recession in itself. A scary realization for all Ontarians is that many of these jobs are now lost forever. Partial or complete plant closures contributed 65% of permanent layoffs. Needless to say, Windsor was especially hard hit due to its large dependency on the manufacturing plants that make up a large portion of its employment capabilities.

On a more severe scale, 59% of layoffs in the first five months of this year were for the same reasons. These statistics are in severe contrast to those in 1982, where only 24% of permanent layoffs were due to partial or full plant closures, the remainder due to companies temporarily cutting their workforce.

This recession has, without a doubt, been more unfair to Ontario than any other province in Canada; 52% of all jobs lost in Canada were in Ontario. Again, this was extremely detrimental to our community because 60% of all manufacturing jobs lost in Canada were in Ontario. This can only contribute to cross-border shopping and poor revenue incomes for business people in Windsor.

We must also look at this recession and be compassionate towards members of our business community. The severity of this recession has caused a 73% increase in business bankruptcies in 1990. Personal bankruptcies were up a staggering 83% in 1990 over the previous year. It is these statistics that caused a $1.4-billion cost increase to social assistance. This beast that we all face and must deal with called the recession will cause as many bankruptcies in the first two thirds of 1991 as Ontario businesses faced in all of 1990. It comes as no surprise to any of us here today when I say this recession has had its day in the sun and now it is time to put an end to it.

James Frank, chief economist and vice-president of the Conference Board of Canada, said the Ontario budget should be praised and that it is a confidence builder that will help Canada emerge from this recession.

I share the sentiments of so many who say this government took the right course in fighting the recession. The government's anti-recession program is a step in the right direction for many reasons. This program includes the creation of jobs for the maintenance of many areas that I strongly feel have been neglected by all political parties and governments. As Ontarians we should welcome with open arms the 14,000 jobs that this program will create in 1990 and 1991 in such tough times. These jobs are intended for the maintenance and improvement of facilities in the public sector, such as hospitals, schools and the very needy colleges and universities. This is a commitment made by this government and its first-ever budget that we, as the citizens of Ontario, can hold it accountable for. This $940-million program should come to municipalities throughout the province with great acceptance as it is a direct investment in their economies.

In choosing to fight the recession, I am sure you are all aware that it is inevitable that the deficit is increased. It also means that by not cutting back on schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, municipalities and social services, approximately 70,000 jobs will not be lost in Ontario that would have been lost with a zero deficit.


Two initiatives taken by this government to fight the recession are very crucial to a large sector of citizens of Windsor and Essex county. Due to plant closures, many employees in Windsor have suffered the crunch of having to compensate their situation and create an income. Mentioned previously, bankruptcies have never been higher in Ontario. Through the employee wage protection plan, workers are guaranteed vacation pay, termination pay and severance pay for such situations.

It seems as though many of us take the importance of farmers for granted. Not only must they accommodate the situation granted to them by Mother Nature as far as floods and droughts are concerned, but they also face what many others are rapidly growing very tired of: government underfunding of programs. In my own opinion, it is reassuring to see that this government has kept farmers in mind by providing $97 million in financial support, $50 million of which will be in interest rate relief.

Essex county entails large numbers of farmers including areas such as Kingsville, Leamington, Harrow and Amherstburg to name a few. It is vital that these ever-important people begin to be recognized by governments of all parties.

It seems to be a plan of this government to contribute to the already existing number of non-profit housing facilities in Ontario. This contribution will be to the tune of 10,000 new non-profit and co-op housing units, which will create some 20,000 short-term jobs. I stress the "short-term." It concerns me that when these units are completed, these employees revert back to social assistance. This government needs to find alternatives to these short-term solutions that will inevitably have long-term ramifications.

The Treasurer of Ontario, Floyd Laughren, stated: "As a New Democratic government we have a choice to make; to fight the recession or to fight the deficit. This year we decided to fight the recession and are proud of that choice." This is also a choice which I feel the people of Ontario can be proud of. It clearly illustrates the type of leadership that is desperately needed at this point in our province's existence.

Not only do I feel compelled to speak on the $9.7-billion deficit, I also welcome the challenge of speaking on such a sensitive issue that affects every human being and community in our province. Needless to say, this has been the largest criticism of the budget. Let's look at it in perspective. Not only was the government working with an already existing $2.5-billion deficit, it was faced with, again, Ontario's worst recession since the great one. This forces any government to manage taxpayers' money with more compassion, which should be done even in the best of times. In reality, most of the deficit is automatically incurred by the recession, namely the increase in spending on social services, the non-cutting of education, health care and the decrease in government revenues due to high unemployment. Ontario will pay $3.6 billion for established programs financing, which includes health and post-secondary education, in 1991-92 alone, due in large part to the federal government's cutbacks in such programs. As more people relied on social assistance last year, government revenues fell. Welfare costs have doubled in the last three years. I would like to ask those who do not appreciate the welfare system what should be cut first, the more than 50% of people on welfare who are single mothers? Or do we cut the 42% that goes directly to the province's future, our children? Without this deficit, what would the Treasurer's pen slash first? Would it be schools, hospitals or community care for seniors?

Not only does this deficit have a protective element for already existing programs, it also absorbs the introduction of new programs that are direly needed in Ontario. Some $28 million will go to the municipalities for such programs as the 3Rs. This will encourage a quality recycling program throughout our province and ensure that our planet is in its best possible condition for our subsequent generations. And $20 million will go to stopping wife abuse and sexual assault, something that is becoming more and more prevalent on university campuses across the country.

In my opinion, the only way sexual discrimination will be minimized is by creating programs that entail men and women working together to face this brutal problem. As it stands, Canada is at the bottom of the list when the list concerns wage comparisons between men and women. Is it possible that we, as a nation, still have such a long way to go? I am glad that finally a government at least made an attempt to cure this problem by allotting $155 million to pay equity, ensuring that 420,000 well-deserving women are paid fairly.

These are the types of things that must be dealt with so that we in Ontario have a more fair and just society that all walks of life will be able to take advantage of. It is, however, the duty of Ontarians to pressure this and future governments to allocate these moneys to the proper areas so that all communities will benefit. To the people of Ontario: Whether it be an NDP, Liberal or Conservative government, let us not let them forget that it is us they are accountable to, and we hold them responsible for their actions.

It is time to realize that voters who are directly related to the post-secondary education facet of government funding need to be directly recognized, for they are future builders. These women and men are librarians, administrators, custodians, researchers, and most importantly, students. Although $1.7 billion of the $6.3-billion spending increase will go to health care and the education system, the decrease in funding to post-secondary education has proven drastic.

More educators are being put on unemployment lists and students are suffering as a result of overcrowded classrooms and not being able to enrol in required courses. This seriously erodes the quality of education a student is paying awesome amounts of money for. This is all coming at a bad time. Because of high rates of unemployment, more people are returning to college or university to enhance their skill levels. It is blatant the universities have become a less prioritized item of governments. Not only is this represented in the federal government's cutbacks in transfer payments, but also in the decline of its share of provincial budgetary expenditures from 1977-78 to 1991-92.

There is something definitely wrong when, since 1978, the provincial government has not accepted the advice on funding given by the Ontario Council on University Affairs, which is not only an advisory board to the government, but also a board that taxpayers fund to be in existence. It should be used to the fullest capacity.

I have enclosed a couple of graphs and figures in my presentation today, but unfortunately I did not make enough copies for all the task force to see, so maybe I could distribute the ones I have.

The Chair: I would appreciate it if you would give it to the clerk there, and we will make copies for all members of the committee.

Mr Papa: Figure 1 and table 1 of my presentation will show that government spending has decreased from 5.92% in 1977-78 to 4.09% in 1991-92. This past year alone saw a government decrease of 0.23%, or in other terms a loss of nearly $108 million. More than $870 million has been the cost to universities in operating grants a year since 1977-78.

Another issue I wanted to address today was that provincial governments' expenditures have consistently grown faster than government grants to universities. This is simply unfair for students, who are trying nothing more than to better themselves.

I have also included figure 2 and table 2 which show that although grants to universities have increased some 8%, total provincial budgetary expenditure was to rise a projected 13.4% in 1991-92. I also must remind everyone that tuition is up 8%. Government expenditures have increased a third faster than grants given to universities.

Other public sectors have had increases in support for each individual they serve; for example, correctional institutions. These rates have all been higher than the rate of inflation. After the inflation rate, hospitals spent 38% more each day per patient in 1988-89 than in 1977-78. Universities, on the other hand, spent 14% less each day for each full-time student enrolled in 1988-89 than in 1977-78.

I do not feel any government deserves to be praised when the issue is post-secondary education. It is a sector of government funding that has taken its share of abuse, and unfortunately the ones losing the most are not the investors in this sector but the province itself, for not investing in its future.

If this trend is to continue, then the article published in last week's Windsor Star, entitled simply "Universities Élitist?" will become cold, hard fact. Let us not forget that a university is a place where a person has the opportunity to interact with all denominations, races, nationalities, beliefs and philosophies, which is an education in itself.

I have heard the old cliché, "You've got to help yourself before anyone will help you," many times. The students of the University of Windsor have helped themselves. Not only is a $1-million contribution from alumni hoped for, but the current student body has committed to financing $10 million of a $14-million expansion to our university centre. These are clear-cut examples that the University of Windsor students are pulling their end of the line. It is time that it gets reciprocated.

It is my deepest concern that this budget brings not only economic stability to our province but also high levels of employment to our community, Windsor. I am also concerned that a person be able to obtain a quality education if so desired. Most important, however, I hope this budget is the beginning of a restructuring process that will create an economy that is representative of all and allows the benefits of such an economy to be shared equally by all citizens of Ontario.

Once again, thank you for allowing me this great opportunity to express my concerns not only as a resident of Ontario but also as a student representative.

Dr Cassano: I would like to thank the committee through its Chair for the opportunity to enter some observations on the importance of the home university to this community. I am confident that the Ontario universities' case for enhanced funding and the documentation concerning historical university underfunding in this province have been fairly riveted into the memory traces of committee members by sister institutions.

I forget who it first was who made the slippery slope comment, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the whole world isn't out to get you." Let me recast and say just because my observations here today do not bear on the underfunding issue does not mean that the University of Windsor is not underfunded. But I want to take a different tack.

Four years ago we decided to patriate our faculty of education, located at a four-and-a-half kilometre remove, to the main campus. Our faculty of business was bursting at the seams, so we decided to construct a new business building and move the education faculty to the vacated business building, or old business building, as it has become known. This move is taking place even as we speak. As it turned out, the province could only see its way clear to paying approximately one half of the $18.9-million figure required to construct the new building. We had to raise the other half in the private sector. We prepared the summary I am about to give in order to appeal to the business sense of the corporate community and in order to highlight the considerable economic impact of our university on its community.


The University of Windsor was established more than a century ago to meet the educational needs of Windsor-Essex county residents. Founded in 1857 as Assumption College, then nurtured by the Basilian Fathers from 1870 to 1963, the university has produced more than 50,000 alumni, the vast majority of whom live in Windsor and Essex county.

Today the university offers its 15,426 students the opportunity to study at an internationally recognized university that offers more than 124 undergraduate and 45 graduate degrees, including such professional areas as business, nursing, engineering, law and the sciences. At the same time, the university has maintained its historical legacy by offering a large number of programs in the arts and humanities. Nearly 700 faculty members offer instruction and research, 528 full-time and 149 part-time.

The university granted 2,885 degrees in 1990-91, 2,556 at the undergraduate level and 329 at the graduate level. A large percentage of the university's graduates are part-time students drawn from the community at large.

Professors annually attract $7.2 million in research grants. In 1990-91 the University of Windsor's professors had over 1,000 research grants on file, approximating a value of $7.2 million. The academic staff conducts world-class research for a number of major international organizations and companies, as well as assorted Canadian and non-Canadian government agencies.

University facilities provide a focal point for the community. The university's 125-acre main campus on the banks of the Detroit River provides a focal point for the community. Its 41 buildings are home to the university's 27 academic departments, six schools, four libraries, and athletic facilities, providing Windsor and Essex county with an academic city containing almost three million square feet of space for teaching, research, cultural events and athletics.

Thousands of jobs depend on the university's activities. As Windsor's fourth-largest employer, only after the Big Three, with a staff of 1,636, the University of Windsor plays a major role in the region's economy. Out of the university's total 1990-91 expenditure of $126.5 million, 71%, or $89.8 million, went to salaries and benefits for faculty and staff. The balance of approximately $36.7 million was spent on goods and services. Analysis using methods developed by the American Council of Education reveals that the university is responsible for injecting $97.3 million a year into the local economy. This represents the combined local spending of the university ($16.2 million), employees ($48.7 million), students ($31.3 million) and student associations ($1.1 million).

Economists use a term known as the multiplier effect to describe how a certain policy or expenditure can create economic growth. In a local context, the multiplier effect means that the University of Windsor's spending boosts the Windsor-Essex county area's overall rate of economic activity, creating a total of $207 million of spending in local businesses and the equivalent of 4,597 jobs.

Quite apart from its economic impact, the university offers a variety of important services to the community. Its library collections, which house 1.4 million volumes, are open to the public and provide an invaluable source of reference material for residents of Windsor and Essex county. The university also provides research, consultation, information and translation services that have been widely used by area businesses, as has its Canada Employment Centre.

The university provides arts and entertainment. From film showings to theatrical presentations, from art exhibitions to public concerts and lectures, the university acts as a link between the community at large and the world of the arts.

Last, the university promotes sports and athletics. Its recreational facilities and sports medicine clinic are open to the public.

The university's faculty members serve as advisers to governments and international agencies, including NATO, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and others. University scientists have made advances against such diseases as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. The university's physics department has an international reputation in atomic and molecular physics and graduate studies and research.

A key ingredient in the university's rising status has been its belief in the importance of establishing contacts with institutions around the world. The university's faculty of business administration, for example, has international projects ongoing in China, Indonesia, France, the Philippines, Kuwait and Singapore.

Serving the community: The university has also adapted itself to the needs of the city's industrial base through its innovative swing shift program, which makes university courses accessible to rotating shift workers.

The university offers a large number of programs away from its main campus, a service that has been used by thousands of students to date. It annually offers 50 courses in Sarnia, 77 in Chatham and 12 in Wallaceburg. There are a number of courses offered to Windsor students and to students from all over the country who wish to study in Europe, including a very large and successful program in Nice, France.

Professor Gary Becker, an internationally renowned sociologist at the University of Chicago, has written that the sum total of an individual's knowledge should be counted as an economic asset inasmuch as one can readily quantify its impact on his or her earning power This principle, known as the theory of human capital, is traditionally used by economists to explore the economic effects of training and education.

The university's economic impact is therefore far greater than the sum of its expenditures. Any calculation of the University of Windsor's economic effects must take into account the value of human capital that is produced. If one assumes that a university graduate will have an average lifetime earnings advantage of $8,400 per annum and that he or she will work for 40 years, then without even taking inflation into account, a university degree increases its holder's earning power by $336,000. Many of the university's graduates are in the upper-income brackets of computer-related businesses, management, law, engineering or other professions with much higher lifetime wage differentials.

Approximately 60% of the university's 50,000 graduates live in the Windsor-Essex county area. In terms of human capital theory, the university's graduates represent considerable additional lifetime income for the region.

But universities do far more than conduct research and educate their students. They provide a centre for community life. From film showings to theatrical presentations, from art exhibitions presented by faculty and students alike to public concerts and musical series, the university acts as a link between the community at large and the world of the arts. During the school year thousands of Windsor and Essex county residents attend athletic events, symposia and other special events at the St Denis Athletic and Community Centre at the university.

The university also provides research, consultation, information and translation services that have been widely used by area businesses, as has its Canada Employment Centre. La Maison Française, for example, is a bicultural and bilingual community resource on the campus of the University of Windsor providing expert technical and general translation services for the residents of Windsor and Essex county.

The community has also been culturally enriched by the presence of a number of noted authors on campus. For example, W. O. Mitchell, who first gained national acclaim with his novel Who Has Seen the Wind?, was writer in residence from 1978 to 1987. As well, Joyce Carol Oates, one of North America's most acclaimed authors, wrote several of her novels and short stories while she was a professor of creative writing in the department of English.

I have not detailed the further economic impact of the university's capital expansion projects, which are ongoing, on the economic life of the community. I think it fair to observe that this community would be much diminished by the University of Windsor's contraction or zero growth, since the university is a major cultural, educational and economic force in this area.

The Chair: Thank you. Your presentation was very informative. We have one minute for each one of the three political parties. Could you ask the question quickly so you can get an answer from the presenters, with a short preamble.

Mr McLean: Thank you for your brief and the statistics you give. It is very enlightening. The 8% increase in student fees: There was a commitment in the last election that they would be frozen; now there is an 8% increase. What is your opinion with regard to that? The other question I have is, you said the farmers got $97 million in help. When does that take effect?

Mr Papa: To address your question about the 8% increase, I said in my presentation that it is simply unfair to do something like that to students who are trying nothing more than to better themselves. As far as the issue of the $97 million with farmers is concerned, I do not know when it is to take effect. In researching my presentation today, I came across the information and I thought it was important because there is a large portion of Essex county residents who are farmers.

Mr McLean: The important issue here is that if it had been brought in this year, it would have got effected this year, but it was not.


Mr Dadamo: On behalf of our delegation here, we thank you very much, Mr Papa. I had made several presentations as far as money is concerned to the University of Windsor in the last year. It has indeed been a pleasure to have given several million dollars on behalf of our government.

As a young individual and as president of the student council at the University of Windsor, in contacts that you have with your colleagues on a daily basis, I am sure, and some of the dialogue that you have had also, what kind of avenues should the government be looking at as far as setting aside some money is concerned? What kind of avenues are you looking at to better education?

Mr Papa: I mentioned previously that other sectors of public funding have enjoyed increases in funding per individual they represent. I am not saying these areas should not be a priority of government; I am simply saying that I think it is time education also becomes a priority of governments.

The Chair: I would like to thank you for your presentation. The official opposition have no questions.

Mr Kwinter: I did not say that.

The Chair: Oh, okay.

Mr Kwinter: There's just not enough time to ask them.

The Chair: It was a very well detailed brief, and I believe that is the reason there were no questions on it there. I would like to thank you for your attendance here at the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review.

Mr Sutherland: Before we continue, Mr McLean's question to the presenter talked about the $97 million for farmers and wanted to know when that money is out. I just wanted, for the record, to let people know I have been talking to some farmers in my riding who have actually received their cheques already for the interest rate relief, so some of that money is out in the farmers' hands.


The Chair: The next presenter is from the Canadian Auto Workers, Mr Bob White. I would like to welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review. You have one half-hour. In that period of time, leave some time at the end for questions and answers from the three parties. If you would identify yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard, you can begin immediately.

Mr White: I appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning. With me are Frank McAnally, who is the president of Local 200 in Windsor and also a member of our national executive board, and Sym Gill, who is a member of our staff in the research department. We have a number of other local union people who are here with us this morning as well.

We will read the statement. I think we will probably be about 15 minutes, and it should leave another 15 minutes for some questions.

Budgets are about choices. They are statements about priorities and direction, about who will benefit and who will pay. They occur in a particular context, which sets some limits on what can and cannot be done.

The economic context: The economic context of the Ontario budget was the deepest recession since the Great Depression. More than a quarter of a million jobs were lost during this recession, almost doubling the numbers unemployed, leading to an explosion of welfare cases and accelerating growth in the dependence on food banks in this, Canada's wealthiest province.

An especially frightening aspect of the recession was the parallels to what had occurred in the United States in the early 1980s. At that time, the high US dollar and the deep recession devastated American manufacturing. Today, however, it is our dollar that is overvalued, and more than three quarters of the lost jobs have been in manufacturing. Some 200,000 jobs, almost one manufacturing job in five, have been lost. Ontario's job losses in manufacturing have been proportionately higher than those that occurred in the United States in 1981 and 1982, and compared to any past recessions, a very much higher percentage of the jobs being lost have been permanent jobs; ie, as you have heard earlier today, jobs lost through workplace closures rather than lost due to cyclical changes.

The fear was and remains that the development of the rust belt in the United States a decade ago may now be spreading into Canada.

The political context: The political context of the budget was that the 1990s began with a reversal of trends during the 1980s. A left-of-centre government had been elected in Ontario with a mandate and a commitment to do things differently.

Political analysts will debate why the NDP government was elected. One critical factor was, I believe, a reaction to the increasingly close ties between governments and the business élite and the resulting impact on the rest of us. People were asking, "Who speaks for us?" In Ontario, this was expressed in a mini-revolt and the election of an NDP government.

The hostility of the business sector was there well before the budget. The attacks on the budget by the Business Council on National Issues, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, the chambers of commerce and others were articulated in terms of the deficit. There is good reason, however, to argue that their real concern was that the government was daring to move in a different direction than the federal Tories and other provincial governments.

In previous times, this government's response to the collapsing economy and the resulting suffering would have been described as relatively mild. In this period, however, where business arrogance had grown through having things very much their own way, the refusal of the NDP government to toe the line was viewed as a challenge, a suggestion that there might be an alternative to the Tory business agenda. This threat, much of business seemed to be saying, had to be stamped out.

The budget and the deficit: Contrary to the misleading information put out by the Liberals during the election campaign, the new government inherited an almost $3-billion deficit rather than a balanced budget. The consequent expansion of this deficit can be broken down into three categories.

The most important piece is the collapse of revenues due to the collapse of the economy. Even with some of the tax increases, government revenue actually fell during the recession, something that had not occurred in recent memory. This was compounded by the $1.6-billion reduction in the federal government's transfer payments. Second, and even without considering any improvements in social assistance, the rising welfare case load caused by the economic collapse added another $1.4 billion to the deficit. These two factors, along with other normal, ongoing increases in spending such as those for education, health, roads and so on would have led to a deficit of about $8 billion even without any new initiatives.

The third factor, which accounts for the rest of the $9.7-billion deficit, was new government initiatives in areas like social assistance, the wage protection fund, pay equity, support for research and development and the expansion of municipal projects in communities like Windsor.

A group of 59 economists, primarily university professors, recently responded to the budget's critics and argued that in the context of what is happening in the province, and relative to the federal government's approach, "The Ontario budget is much to be preferred, and is the one which should be pursued in concert by both levels of government."

Earlier, as was mentioned, the Conference Board of Canada's chief economist -- somebody I do not usually like to quote -- had stated that if Ontario had taken measures to keep the deficit at last year's level, "We could easily have ended up with a much longer recession."

Budgets and choices: It is ironic that so much of the focus in Ontario and Canada has been on the deficit, when in the United States even right-wing and establishment economists are talking less about the large deficit in the US and more about the more fundamental issues of where the money goes and who pays.

Business in Ontario cannot hide behind the deficit. If they want to reduce the budget, they have to tell us what taxes they would like to see increased and which programs cut. If the Treasurer were to announce that in the name of balancing the budget he was introducing a new emergency tax on business and the wealthy, I do not quite expect he would wake up the next morning to find he had become a hero among the well-to-do.

Where does business stand on tax reform?

Do they want more of the health care costs shifted to the private sector, thereby reducing the government deficit?

Is business arguing that we should spend less on education? Whatever reforms our educational system might need, it is difficult to imagine that investing less is consistent with the improvements that are necessary.

Are they arguing for cutbacks in research assistance?

Are they suggesting that collective agreements signed in good faith should be ripped up, as other provinces have done?

Do they deny that our physical infrastructure needs to be maintained? Americans are now generally feeling and lamenting the real costs of the Reagan years with the underinvestment in the nation's cities, environment and transportation system.

Do they think we should aggravate the recession and the shortage of affordable housing by cutting back on housing?

Does business think it was a mistake for the government to maintain some 70,000 jobs by refusing to take money out of the economy at this time, or for it to advance needed municipal and other projects to create 14,000 desperately needed jobs?

Is business saying that individuals laid off because of Ottawa's insane monetary policies, the goods and services tax and the Canada-US free trade agreement, and then confronted by cuts in unemployment insurance that force them on to welfare, should be denied welfare cheques? Do they consider it overly generous to provide workers who face workplace closures with some guarantees that they will at least get what they are contractually owed?


Future budgets: I would like to raise before this committee a number of issues regarding future budgets.

The first one is consultation. The expansion of the tax on fuel-inefficient vehicles highlights a concern we have with improving budget consultations. We were not consulted about this tax, nor was the industry, and the tax, in its original form, did not seem to make anyone happy. To the credit of the government, it was flexible enough to modify that tax when the constituencies reached a consensus that was consistent with the government's intentions. In the interim, however, there was a great deal of perhaps unnecessary aggravation. I am not sure of the answer, but there must be some more open and accessible mechanism for involving people in the budgetary process without undermining any legitimate concerns there might be with confidentiality.

The social agenda: As we emphasized earlier, the social initiatives taken in this budget were relatively modest. The budget indicated directions rather than comprehensively addressing reform, and future budgets will have to focus on completing the government's mandate on expanding child care, welfare reform, training, worker adjustment, more substantial commitments to co-op housing, assistance to the disabled and on addressing the environmental crisis. There are also, of course, a number of social issues of particular concern to the labour movement, like anti-scab legislation and other labour reforms, that are not budgetary items.

Social programs must be paid for. Although the deficit was absolutely appropriate for the times, expanded programs require more tax revenue. Yet there does seem to a tax weariness among the population. Does this undermine the government's future programs?

I think not, as long as the issue is put in the broader context. Canadians are generally prepared to pay higher taxes if the benefit of the tax is clear and if the tax load is equitable. For example, polls have made it clear that Canadians would accept a green tax if the revenue was in fact targeted to the environment, and they accept taxation to maintain a viable health system.

Support for social programs could therefore be sustained by actively mobilizing support for these programs, as has been the case for the environment; economic growth and rising real wages to ease the tax burden on otherwise stagnating incomes; including progressive tax reform alongside any expansion of services; eliminating the waste in government, which also undermines the credibility of legitimate programs, through a task force that includes public sector workers. Here, savings could be used to provide expanded services.

Economic development: The budget dealt with the immediate crisis facing Ontario. There were some useful signals regarding economic policy and some supportive investments in infrastructure, but there was no comprehensive economic strategy.

The development of such a strategy does not have to wait for future budgets, though ultimately it will mean major financial investments. Such a strategy would have to address fundamental trade issues -- managed trade versus free trade -- would have to focus on sectoral strategies, and would have to create funding sources for the policy.

One government proposal for accumulating the necessary funds is through worker-financed venture funds. We want to get a clearer sense of what the government has in mind here, but at this point we are not enamoured of a solution that depends on workers, who are already seeing their incomes squeezed, to transform the economy by investing money they do not have in ventures that bankers and capitalists find too risky.

In discussing provincial industrial strategies, it is critical to address the relationship with the federal government.

The policies that Ottawa has been pursuing are undermining and will continue to undermine anything the province can do.

The issue, I want to emphasize, is not whether the province should have more power to pursue its agenda. We are committed to the vital importance of a strong leading role at the national level. The issue, rather, is the direction Ottawa has chosen. The solution is not the devolution of power to the provinces, but to reverse the destructive policies of the federal government.

Let me conclude. The election did not radically change the nature of power in this province, but the electorate has spoken and the rules have been changed. Business can ignore the new reality and simply work to defeat or sabotage this government, risking that its input will likewise be ignored, or it can attempt to develop a working relationship to address the economic needs of the province.

The problems in our provincial economy were there long before anyone contemplated the NDP would become the government. The well-known weaknesses in our economic structure, such as low levels of research, development and training, are failures of past policies and past and current business practices. The issue today is, what does business have to offer in the way of ideas to reverse this weakness?

What are the positive interventions governments can make to strengthen the economic base? Is there a need for financial assistance or new institutions to provide technical and marketing expertise? Can business itself, with government help, develop partnerships among groups of firms to do research, develop new products or work on specific components and subsystems? Is there a role for an import replacement office to audit companies in order to assess the potential to buy domestically what is currently being imported and then to find firms or groups of firms that can work to satisfy these opportunities?

This particular budget was only one element of the provincial changes the election of an NDP government will bring. The debates over direction and the pace of change will continue, but it is not good enough, and certainly not constructive, for business and its spokespersons to simply call for less rights for working people, more rights for corporations and cuts in our social standards.

For the labour movement, the starting principle is that the solutions of the society's elite are neither the best nor the only possible direction open to us. We have experienced the false promises and the harsh realities of the Conservative business agenda at home and this direction has been similarly exposed as a failed solution to improving the quality of life in the UK and the United States.

The great strength and potential of democracy is that other alternatives can be developed. As the process of change continues, the labour movement is determined to play an independent but aggressive and positive leadership role in helping to develop alternatives and shape the kind of society Ontario can become.

Mr Jamison: Thank you, Mr White, for taking the time to make the presentation to the committee. I found it very interesting. I would like to touch on a topic you broached in your submission, one that has bothered me up to this point, and again, it is one where the detractors of the budget are indicating that this government should have cut back in the time of recession. I would like your opinion on that. Furthermore, since you have talked to a wide and diverse range of people in the position that you hold, I wonder if, in talking to any of the business community, they have indicated to you where they would have cut back.

Mr White: I think what we have going on in Ontario today is a debate about whether or not the economic policy this government has adopted in a time of recession is the correct one, or whether the economic policy of slash and cut is the correct one. I think it is a fair debate. We come down on the side that thinks the economic policy as indicated by this budget is in fact the correct one. When you have a program of high interest rates, high dollar, massive job losses and free trade, and unemployment insurance cutbacks and welfare case load increases in the community, you cannot throw those people to the wolves and say, "It's survival of the fittest time." You have to have some kind of monetary and fiscal policy, as well as compassionate speeches, which a lot of business people have, but you have to put something there.

A lot of the business community I notice are lining up for large grants for failing businesses, and saying to the government of Ontario: "We need some help to get us through this time. We need some help because our business needs modernization. We need some help because of the downturn in the economy." It seems to me that those arguments are just as properly made by people on welfare, unemployment insurance, etc, "We need help." Therefore, I think the direction is the correct direction for the government to take. I do not think it is a wrong debate to have, but it is the correct direction.

As I point out in our presentation -- we will not have time to pursue it -- if you look at the economies that have pursued this sort of cutting at times of great economic difficulties, you will find a vast widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. You will find a lot of people who are struggling through our society, and I think the government has the correct approach.

I think Mr Kwinter said to an earlier presenter, "There's no indication that you're going to turn this around." There are some figures that say, if the economic recovery takes place, you are back to almost a $3-billion deficit, which is where you were when you took over, so I think this is the correct approach. When you have the GST and all these other things, when you have massive unemployment, what do you say to people, "Survive by yourselves; there is no help coming"? I think this is the direction to go.

Mr Sutherland: Mr White, thank you for being here and giving some positive suggestions on what can be done. I wanted to focus specifically on the CAW. Could you give us some estimate of exactly how many CAW members have lost their jobs in the last three years?

Mr White: We are certainly talking well into the thousands because of the significant restructuring going on in the auto industry, caused by free trade and the move to Mexico. You are seeing an enormous change in the auto parts sector. It has just been devastated in Ontario; we have lost thousands and thousands of jobs. In Windsor, the Chatham area, the Metro Toronto area, it is auto, but it is all over the place. There is no question our country has gone through a recession; we are going through a massive restructuring which is really part of an economic policy. For our Prime Minister to announce the recession is over -- there are a lot of people who do not see much difference today, quite frankly.


Mr Sutherland: In terms of your members, are we talking about members who are losing their homes, that type of thing?

Mr White: Of course, because of the fact that a lot of auto parts companies, etc, are concentrated in communities in Ontario: places like Collingwood where people have moved from auto parts jobs that were not high-paying, but paying $10, $12 an hour, and now are trying to find jobs in restaurants or motels at less than minimum wage or whatever. Those people cannot keep their families together. I think the incidence of family violence, the increase in health care costs, people losing their homes -- we talk a lot about business bankruptcies, but personal bankruptcies and workers losing their homes have been on the increase dramatically in the last two years.

Mr Hayes: I have talked to presidents of corporations that have closed in Ontario and moved out. The argument they have given me was that free trade, high interest rates, the inflated Canadian dollar and the GST on top of that, were the issues that kept them uncompetitive. You deal with a lot of different corporations. Are you getting this same message?

Mr White: There is no question that a lot of the jobs we have lost in Ontario are because of free trade, the high dollar, high interest rates. The high Canadian dollar wiped out about 20% competitive advantage for a lot of the Canadian manufacturing sector. No businessmen have ever told me they were leaving Canada because of the deficit or leaving Ontario because of the deficit. In fact, they are leaving because the economic policies of high interest rates and a high Canadian dollar have wiped out an enormous competitive advantage to them here. I think that is fairly obvious for anybody to see.

When you introduce free trade with a giant, that is bad enough, but then you tie people's hands behind their backs. You even have people like my good friend John Crispo going to the Conservative convention in Toronto and saying, "What we did is shoot ourselves in the foot after free trade because of the economic policies we brought into place in this country." I guess what the Ontario government is trying to do is plug some loopholes, put a finger in the dike. But businesses are not moving because of the deficit.

Mr Kwinter: Mr White, I always enjoy listening to you and I want to thank you for coming. I have a couple of observations about your comments and then I would like to ask you a question. I find there is an absolute anti-business bias to all your remarks. I think everybody would admit that all the wisdom does not rest on one side. Labour has made some mistakes too. Any objective observer looking at Algoma and de Havilland would see that labour played a role in those problems.

On page 3, you say the new government inherited a $3-billion deficit. There seems to be a lapse in memory that when the government took over, it was six months into that fiscal period, so it had half the responsibility. The election was in September; the fiscal period ends March 31. When they found the books and the quarterly report in October, there was a $750-million shortfall. Decisions were made -- and you are now trying to pull out one of them, on the SkyDome, to write that off. There was a decision to write down the UTDC exposure, and the government made a conscious decision.

The Treasurer appeared before our committee and I asked him what the deficit was going to be. He said it was going to be $2.5 billion. About five weeks later he stood in the House and he said it was now going to be $3.5 billion. That was the government's decision, it was not the previous government's decision, and I think you do everybody a disservice by saying it inherited that deficit. There is no question that there were systemic problems that created it, but it was a government decision to do that.

The other thing I would like to talk about is the gas guzzler tax. You state on page 6 that it was consistent with the government's intention, that it made an adjustment. The intention and the rationale -- I was the one who raised it on day one. I have to say in all modesty that I was the one who pushed the government to do something about that gas guzzler tax. You were in favour of the budget, and it was only after your members started to give you some flak that you put pressure on the government to change it. That tax was hailed as an environmental issue and that is why it was there. When they restructured it, it became a tax revenue measure, because they put the tax on virtually every single car in Ontario, with very few exceptions.

Those are just some of the comments, but there is one question that I would love to get your response to. I attended the World Economic Forum in Davos and I was on a panel with the American undersecretary of commerce and the chief of staff of the President of Mexico, discussing the North American free trade agreement. The chief of staff of Mexico, Mr Cordoba, stated that by the year 2000 they would be building 4.5 million cars a year in Mexico. I met with the president of General Motors and he tells me he has four engine plants, one in St Catharines, two in the United States and one in Mexico. The most productive, most efficient and highest quality engine they turn out is being turned out in Mexico.


Mr Kwinter: This is his statement. Do not give me a tough time. I am telling you what he told me. I am just asking for your comment. How do you and the auto workers respond to that? I am not being judgemental, I am just repeating what he told me. I am not saying I believe it or I do not believe it. I just want to get your response.

Mr White: Let me try to deal with some of the comments you made. First of all, let me put the de Havilland thing in perspective. I just talked to somebody who is in de Havilland. Boeing will tell you that 80% of de Havilland's problems have nothing to do with labour, they have to do with the organization and management. I cannot speak to Algoma.

Our brief is not anti-business. The reaction of the business community to this government and to this budget has been terrible. It has been vitriolic, it has been unnecessary and terrible, and I for one in this province am not going to sit quietly and take no position on that. Quite frankly, it has much more to do with stopping an agenda. We are not anti-business. I deal with business people every day of my life, but I am going to speak up on behalf of working people whether the business community likes it or not. It does not matter to me, quite frankly.

You raise the SkyDome issue. What you ignore is that your government signed cheques for up to $565 million to go into the SkyDome. You talk about fiscal planning and budgetary restraint. We are trying to solve the problem. When you talk about UTDC, those are things we talked about. When a business is in trouble, people have made those kinds of decisions. So those things are bound to happen. We are not talking about being anti-business. We sit down and work out business decisions all the time. Chrysler Corp in the United States has made a decision to invest most of its North American car production in the Bramalea plant. They have decided they will put three shifts on in the Windsor plant when necessary to build mini-vans, the best mini-vans they build in the world. Those were decisions made by business people whom we deal with every day.

Let me get to your question about the North American auto industry. One of our great concerns, of course, is that under the Canada-US free trade agreement, we gave up an important part of the North American auto industry in terms of protection for Canada by giving up the Canadian content requirement. Now we are into a North American content deal.

Of course, the concern for us in the future is that Mexico is a place to which the next wave of auto investment can go. It is not just a question of quality, it is a question of cost structures in Mexico, and we have to be concerned about that. But what is our government doing today? It is saying the auto pact is not going to be on the table, when in fact we know it is. You are not going to sit down and work out a free trade agreement with Mexico without discussing autos. I had a meeting with the President of Mexico when he was in Ottawa. He asked for a meeting with me and I went and met with him. So our concern is how we address this auto thing within the Canada-US-Mexico discussions. It seems to me the best way we have to get at it, but nobody seems to be listening, is to get back to some kind of requirement for Canada in terms of investment and content for the United States and for Mexico.

The facts are that those kinds of discussions are on and businesses are making those kinds of decisions. I do not think it is good enough just for business to say, "We're going to take our employment from Canada and put it into Mexico because we can make more money." Where is the commitment of the business community to this country? It is not happening in Germany. The West Germans are not taking investment out of West Germany and putting into East Germany, they are putting investment into East Germany and keeping the jobs in West Germany as well.

Mr Carr: I want to say, just off the bat, that I think even though all three parties would disagree with you on some issues, there is a tremendous amount of respect for you personally. I want to thank you for coming here. In fact, I agree, I think the Liberals were bad managers as well, so we are agreed on one thing.

I had our friends in legislative research -- independent, I might add, because they do not work for any of the three political parties -- put together a cost of what the deficit will be. As you know, at the end of the mandate we will be spending about $7.8 billion just on interest alone. That is not for health care, the environment or any of these other programs; it is just to pay the interest. That works out to be $583 million a month, $134 million a week, $19 million a day, or $800,000 per hour. In fact, I have five minutes to talk to you here in my questioning, and during that period of time the interest on the provincial debt alone will be $65,000, which is more than your average worker makes, and in the amount of time it takes -- this is a one-minute sand clock -- we will spend $13,000 just on the interest alone.

I was wondering what your feeling is with the average person out there, who says that is a total waste of money to pay just interest on the debt alone of $13,000 a minute.


Mr White: You cannot ask a person, "What would you think of spending $13,000 a minute on interest?" Ask him what is the alternative. With great respect, the best you can do is make an argument on the difference between to what the deficit would have been if they had done nothing and what they did in terms of the extra programs. So you have that down to about $1.3 billion.

A lot depends on interest rates. When the Tories were running around this country talking about a deficit, they kept backing up John Crow on interest rates and the deficit was going higher because of interest rates. A great deal depends on the interest rate, and you have to look at what it is going to be in terms of economic recovery.

What I do not understand is business communities making major long-term investments and going out on a limb with the hope of getting a return. If you take the aerospace industry, for example, that Mr Kwinter raised, Boeing will make an investment of probably a billion dollars or more investment to get in place a 747, much more than a billion dollars, and go into debt to get it. It will take 10 years to get the return on that because it takes a long time to get that into production and start to sell the planes and start to get them back. That is how the business community does it every day. Some of them fail. The Dofasco investment in Sault Ste Marie where they wiped off $800 million -- they are the same business people who are lecturing the Ontario government about fiscal responsibility.

You have to put the deficit into perspective. If you say to people "Is this bad?" they might say yes. You say: "Is it better to cut back on health care costs? Is it better to cut back on welfare?" They will say "No, there has to be some other choices." So I guess the question is, what are the choices?

Mr Carr: We all are aware of the interest rates, because in fact in the early 1980s I had to renew my mortgage when Mr Trudeau was in power -- 21%. Many people lost their homes there, and people like even Robert Campeau, who has gone out on a limb, knows about interest rates and what happens when you overextend yourself. What we are saying is the government did the same thing.

My next question relates to the commitment made by the government. I guess a lot of people would say if the government said it was going to do this last year in the middle of the election campaign -- I have the Agenda for People, where it talks about what it was going to spend in terms of money and what it said to the people, notwithstanding the fact that it got only 38% and 25% of the people who actually were eligible to vote. But people say, "They won the election, they can do whatever they want." But their costs, they said, were going to be net $1.8 billion over two years. Then we ended up, of course, that over two years we are going to have an $18-billion deficit.

What do you say to people who said, "If you were going to do this last year at this time, you should have had the political courage to say that you were going to do it"? Really all that you did was say one thing during an election campaign and then, whammo, we ended up with an $18-billion deficit instead of the $1.842 billion that you said in the Agenda for People, which I have in front of me here. What do you say to people who say you should have told us last year at this time that this is what you were going to do to us?

Mr White: You have to put in perspective what they inherited, with great respect to Mr Kwinter, as to what the economy looked like and what the numbers were. The government has to defend itself, and I guess that is what it is attempting to do in terms of what its program is. I think the Treasurer of Ontario has been very up front in terms of what the problems are. He did not try to hide the deficit like some other governments have done. He said, "This is what the problem is and this is what we are trying to solve." I guess the people in the next election will make the determination as to whether this is the appropriate way to go or not.

The Chair: I would like to thank you, Mr White, for your presentation.


The Chair: Would the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, Mike Walsh, come forward. I would like to welcome you here to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, and the budget review. You are from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and you have one half-hour to make your presentation. At the end of your presentation, within that one half-hour, try to save some time for questions and answers. If you would identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Walsh: My name is Mike Walsh, and I am the president of District 1, Windsor, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation. With me is Tom Henderson, the district treasurer of the same organization. Tom is going to begin our presentation, and we will certainly be within the time limits and hopefully leave plenty of time for questions.

Mr Henderson: Sixty years ago the cold-hearted policies of Prime Minister Bennett in Canada and President Hoover in the United States squeezed the poor and less fortunate, all in the name of fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately for most of us, the government of Canada has copied a page from their book. But on behalf of the members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation in Windsor, we applaud the Treasurer of Ontario for taking a different path from the federal Tories and other provincial governments by not slashing back in these times of recession.

We are aware that criticism of any provincial budget is an integral part of the political process, but both the Environics and Insight Canada polls taken since last September indicate public support for social spending. We believe that a fair test of any society is how it treats its most unfortunate citizens, and we are troubled by what happens when the federal government decides to walk away from the support programs.

The Ontario government has dared to be different by striking a balance between fiscal responsibility and caring for people. By cutting payments to hospitals and other agencies, the NDP would have shown the same meanness of spirit that the feds aptly demonstrated when they trimmed back $1.6 billion over two years in transfer payments to the province of Ontario.

With regard to downloading of costs on municipalities and counties, needless to say our federation has always been opposed to it. Previous provincial governments have unfortunately made this a common practice. This budget, however, increased provincial grants to school boards and our own Windsor Board of Education did very well as a result of the increased grants. Locally, the education mill rate was pegged at 3.8% for public school ratepayers, which was the lowest in many years. The higher grants provided improvements to school buildings and school grounds and we are happy to report that no classrooms or programs were closed because of lack of money.

However, we would ask the government certain things. The first recommendation is that we realize that costs go up when efficiency goes down. In a 1985 Decima poll, 78% of Ontario residents supported unified school boards between separate and public. These unified school boards, we think, offer a solution to costly duplication of services which a double school system brings with it.


Mr Walsh: Education costs are borne primarily by local taxation. In 1975 the province of Ontario paid 60% of the actual costs of education. By 1986 the provincial share had fallen to 34% and has been dropping ever since. The government should restore the provincial share to the 1975 levels. This budget does not restore to the 60% level, last achieved in 1975.

The 1986 Macdonald Commission on the Financing of Elementary and Secondary Education reported to the last government that we recommend a higher rate of provincial support, such as a co-ordinated move towards 60% of the approved costs in the near future. Macdonald also recommended that provincial grant ceilings should be set at a realistic level, keeping pace with inflation, and "additional provincial grants should accompany any upward adjustment in the ceilings." We still wait for the full implementation of this recommendation.

Macdonald did recommend the pooling of commercial and industrial assessments and this is being implemented, but his suggestion that coterminous boards develop co-operative service units has seen little development. The OSSTF's proposal of a unified umbrella board promises to save Ontario taxpayers millions of dollars if it is implemented. The savings would come from reduced administration costs and reduced capital requirements. We suggest that this be vigorously pursued in the future.

It is clear in Windsor that the government's anti-recession capital grants, which have meant $2.5 million to the Windsor public board, will bring direct benefit to a large number of Windsor schools. The money is to be used for roofing a number of school buildings, both elementary and secondary, and replacement of furnaces and the like. These improvements will also have spin-offs for local construction companies and their employees. As you all know, Windsor's economy is in very poor shape and any help is clearly needed.

We also applaud the allocation of funds for pay equity. We represent a group of English-as-a-second-language instructors employed by the Windsor board. They are almost exclusively women. They are trained as teachers. They work as full-time teachers, but they are paid, for full-time work, between $16,000 and $18,000 a year. We are hopeful that this group will directly benefit from pay equity adjustments.

We are certain of wide public support for the budget's anti-recession strategy, an effort that will strengthen our province over the long term. If some critics are too narrow-minded to see the far-reaching dividends of this approach, then the government will have to carry on despite their opposition and threats.

Mrs Sullivan: I was interested in your brief, and I know there have been some issues on the philosophical side of the delivery of education that are problematic. But I want to go back to the time when the Minister of Education, having come out of the election campaign with a promise of 60% operating transfers to local levels, came before our committee and indicated that the promise she had made publicly for 60% operating included teachers' pensions. It included all capital, it included ceilings on expenditure and it included operating. I want to know if that was your understanding of what the New Democratic Party's promise was in relationship to 60% of funding.

Mr Walsh: Our understanding of return to 60% funding did not include payments for teacher pensions because those payments were not included in the original 60% rate in 1975. So to this point, that promise has not been achieved.

Mrs Sullivan: The operating transfers have decreased.

Mr Walsh: That is not information I have, but it may be so. When we compare the response of this government to the funding of education with the responses of every other provincial government in the country, we can only get a sense of relief that it has not implemented the kinds of savagery on education budgets that the other provinces have.

In our presentation to you, I think I made it clear that we still believe that a 60% level of funding is something that ought to be achieved because that should be borne by the provincial level of government and a smaller proportion should be on the backs of the local taxpayers. But at least this budget has led in Windsor to a mill rate increase of 3.8%, as my colleague indicated.

We have a group of trustees on our board who are part of the tax revolt group and it is pretty hard for them to get excited about that measure of increase, which is below the level of inflation. I think this is to the credit of the government in the grants that have come forward to our board.

In the long term, however, I would like to say again, the 60% level is something that we hope this government lives up to its promise on over the term of this government, perhaps in happier economic times a year or two down the road.

Mrs Sullivan: And that 60% is not to include teachers' pension funding.

Mr Walsh: That is correct.

Mr Sola: I would like to go back to what Bob White had to say in the previous delegation, because your presentation seemed to be similar to his. He stated budgets are about choices, about who will benefit and who will pay. It seems to me this budget has avoided the choices, because they have pinpointed who will benefit and they have allocated the benefits, but they have ignored the other side of the equation about who will pay.

You have yourself mentioned in your statement that there is an anti-tax group here, a tax-fighting group. That is one thing I have noticed both during the election and especially since, that taxation seems to be the number one priority of practically every member of the public in my riding at most of the functions I attend. How do you address that, the fact that the people who pay the tab have been ignored by this budget?

Mr Walsh: In reference to the tax revolt at the board level, I think it is reflective of anger at the amount that is paid by local taxpayers through home ownership and through paying rates on businesses and properties. I think this needs to be addressed and I think I commented on that on the last question.

As far as the tax revolt generally is concerned, it would be my suggestion to you that the thing that struck the nerve on taxes more than anything else is the GST. The GST has just sent people into orbit. I have heard a number of people talk about Americans coming over to Windsor and picking up the bill for their being in a restaurant. They usually want to pay their 15% gratuity, unlike many of us Canadians, then on top of that is the provincial sales tax and on top of that is the GST. They just make statements like, "We're not coming here again." It is amazing the number of conversations just this week among friends I have heard this from. I think it is the GST that has really caused a lot of the anger you see out there on taxes.

It is quite clear that at some point in the future all of us are going to have to pay for any deficits that are rung up now. But I think Mr White answered the question very lucidly and clearly when he said that any major corporation makes major investments on the basis that at some point in the future it is going to reap the rewards from that. Going into a deficit now at a time when the economy is in deep recession -- what else can a responsible government do?

Mr McLean: In your remarks with regard to the extra funding for the separate school system, I believe you indicated it would be better with one school system. Would I be correct in saying that you had kind of intimated that in your remarks?

Mr Walsh: Actually, you reflect on my personal belief, but that is not the position we are putting forward. We are putting forward the concept of an umbrella unified school board where you would still have elected separate school trustees, elected public school trustees, but you would not have the sort of situation we have in Ontario now where we have an administration structure for each of those school boards. We have support services for those school boards, transport services for those school boards.


Mr McLean: Under the British North America Act and under the Constitution that we have here in Canada today, that Constitution says there shall be two fully funded school systems, a Roman Catholic system and a Protestant school system. How do you expect the government of Ontario or anywhere in Canada to change its funding system when that is in the Constitution?

Mr Walsh: We are not asking for the Constitution to be breached and we are not asking for the separate schools not to be funded. Those decisions were made in the wisdom of the electorate and it was an all-party decision, so we are not asking for that to change. All we are suggesting to the government is that there is a good deal of duplication and waste because there is not more co-ordination of the activities of school boards. All taxpayers, I believe, would support efforts made in that direction without breaching the British North America Act.

I do not think it is a Protestant school system, is it?

Mr McLean: That is what the Constitution reads.

The 60% funding for schools, which has been mentioned earlier, was a commitment that was made. As a matter of fact, a year ago today the Agenda for People was published and it became a public document where they were berating the Liberals for not keeping their promise of 60%. Today, I understand that the percentage has gone down even from what it was when they took power. What are you saying to the government today with regard to the funding?

Mr Walsh: I thought I was pretty clear in my presentation and in response to an earlier question when I said we still expect this government to honour its commitment to the 60% level, and in the definitions we discussed when MPP Sullivan was questioning me. We expect that commitment to the 60% level to be lived up to during the life of this government. We understand that in the present economic climate they have probably done as well as we could have expected, and we thank them for not cutting it back even further, but over the long term, we want to see 60% lived up to.

Mr McLean: Last Thursday the OSSTF in Toronto made a presentation to us. They indicated very strongly they support the budget and they blame business for not paying its fair share. Do you have those same views?

Mr Walsh: I was not privy to the remarks they made in that regard. I think the whole tax system does need to be looked at. I would not want to be sharing that sentiment without seeing very clearly what it is that they said, so the answer, I guess, is no at this point.

Mr McLean: That is your own personal observation.

Mr Walsh: Yes.

Mr Dadamo: Mr Walsh and Mr Henderson, thank you for appearing before the committee here this morning in Windsor. I want to make a couple of observations, then I will lead us into the question I want to ask either one of you.

First of all, the Prime Minister of this country has designed a grant scheme to withhold about $1.8 billion in transfer payments to Ontario, and most of that money, we know, was earmarked towards education and health. The social programs have to continue. We obviously have had to go to the taxpayers of the province to make up that $1.8 billion.

I also want to say that the past Liberal government left this province in a virtual fiscal mess. They said there was a surplus during the election last year; we found, of course, a massive deficit.

What I would like to ask is, how can this current government best help your organization to fulfil your mandate?

Mr Walsh: In relation to the cutback in the transfer payments from the federal government, actually it has grown. In our presentation it was only $1.6 billion, you said $1.8 billion, but whichever, it is a major cutback in support for the social fabric of our society. I think I made and my colleague made remarks which covered that.

I would say at this point in time the government has not lived up to its 60% promise, but we understand that it has not because of the circumstances that it has been placed in, circumstances that clearly were not foreseen by the present government or by the Liberal government prior to this, because certainly during the election the Liberals were indicating that the province was in surplus, and it did turn around very dramatically, too dramatically for your government to have had any impact on it. Speaking for our organization, I would say the budget does as well as we could have expected in the present economic circumstances.

Mr B. Ward: I am pleased to see that you support the direction our government is taking. We have been up north, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, and we have heard from a broad cross-section of the communities in the north. By and large, I have to say there is strong support for the direction our government is taking, particularly with this budget. Whether they are social groups, whether they are environmental groups, whether they are small business people, whether they are educational groups, across the board there is strong support for the direction we are taking. However, there are some critics for this budget.

Mrs Sullivan: Come on, come on.

Mr B. Ward: Primarily the critics are attacking the deficit and are suggesting that we should be cutting back on our social programs, on our educational standards, on our commitment to providing quality education for the people of Ontario --

Mrs Sullivan: You have all heard those arguments. Point of order, Mr Chairman.

Mr B. Ward: How do you answer that criticism that we should be cutting our educational standards, our educational system, which is the prosperity through the future?

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Sullivan.

Mrs Sullivan: I have a point of order, Mr Chairman: The member is providing information to witnesses and to the public here that in fact does not reflect much of what we have heard through the province in our hearings so far. I think that, to be fair, if we are going to proceed in these hearings, which in fact have been less than successful throughout our tour, we should at least be honest with the people who are appearing before us.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Sullivan, that is not a point of order. Mr Ward, your question?

Mr B. Ward: My question is, what answer would you have to the critics who would like to see a more balanced budget? In fact to achieve that balanced budget, suggestions have been made to cut our education standards and the quality of education which is supplied in this province that we tried to maintain during these tough economic times.

Mrs Sullivan: Point of order, Mr Chairman: Not one person has made those suggestions.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Sullivan, that is not a point of order, that is a point of information. Mr Ward, you have asked your question. Could we have a response from the presenters, please.

Mr Walsh: Clearly, one of the things that seems to be at the top of the public agenda, it is in the media all the time, is the competitiveness of the Ontario, indeed the Canadian economy with respect to the rest of the world. We hear a lot about a lot of pressure to become a much lower-wage economy so that we can become competitive with the Mexicans and so on and so forth.

I suggest to you that is a model your government should indeed resist, and I believe in this budget has resisted, because the approach we should be following is one that I think is modelled better by some of the Western European countries, which is to remain high-wage economies for the people working in those countries and to have economic success on the basis of a competitiveness which is driven by technology and by higher productivity. The only way I know that you can achieve that is through investment in education. There is no better investment. There is no better way to spend your money.

I think at the same time that we need to be careful. We can spend a lot of money on education and not become more competitive and not get leadership in technology, so we need to spend carefully and we need to evaluate closely how we are spending the money, but there is no better investment.

The Chair: I would like to thank you for your presentation and for appearing before this committee.


The Chair: The next presenter is the AIDS Committee of Windsor. Please come forward. I welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review. I see that you have a presentation. You have a total of one half-hour for your presentation. In that half-hour, try to keep some time for questions and answers of the three parties here. If you would identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard, you can begin your presentation.

Mr Lough: My name is Steve Lough. I am the executive director of the AIDS Committee of Windsor.

From the viewpoint of the community-based AIDS education and support movement, the 1991 Ontario budget is a progressive response to the challenges facing this province. This period of serious recession and the epidemic of HIV infection necessitate increased, well-planned government spending to avoid stalling the important developments in our society.

As I see it, there are basically two options open to a government if it wants to cut its spending: it can cut spending in corporate or capital support, or it can cut spending in social support. As we are told every day, competition is fierce. Capital today is international, and it moves quickly if it finds a better home. So if a government does not want to scare away capital, it can only cut social programs. Unfortunately, cutting spending on social support is the simple solution, and, like all simple solutions, it is near-sighted and doomed in the long term to failure.

The central elements of a community-based response to AIDS are the building of individual self-esteem and the creation of co-operative and comprehensive structures rooted in the communities affected. Individual self-esteem is a prerequisite to an individual avoiding risky behaviours and taking responsibility for his own health. Government programs of legal, health and social support are vital to the creation of an environment in which people have their value as a human being recognized and supported by the major structures around them.

Cost-efficient and effective health care and social programs can only be achieved through comprehensive and co-ordinated action. It is the role of the government to provide the resources and facilitate that co-ordination. If the government follows through with its commitment, as stated in the budget, to build partnerships, the answers to the problem of burgeoning health and social service costs will be found in the community by the people who are directly affected and involved.

The fact that the government chose to fight the recession rather than fight the deficit with its 1991 budget is a progressive move that will, in the long term, save lives and bring a higher quality of life to the citizens of Ontario. The result will only be cost-efficient and effective if the community is supported in developing the programs that are necessary.

To expand a little bit on the importance of individual self-esteem in terms of primary prevention of HIV infection, in the 10 years since the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus -- HIV -- several strategies for stopping the spread of HIV have been advocated and attempted around the world. Legal sanctions, quarantine, mandatory testing and restrictions on immigration have all been proven to be ineffective and costly responses. They have been ineffective because they have attacked and blamed the communities affected by this pandemic rather than working with them. Even national advertising campaigns have not been cost-efficient because they are remote and do not involve people directly in taking responsibility for their behaviour and assisting them in changing that behaviour. Behaviour change is the only way that the spread of HIV can be reduced.

Experts now agree that education must be targeted and must involve the group the program is attempting to reach. Those communities that have been hit first and the hardest by HIV infection in North America have been social outcasts: the gay community and injection drug users. The community of people with haemophilia too suffers from fear of rejection and the resultant secrecy. Social and legal support for these individuals and the development of their communities is necessary if we hope to gain their involvement in prevention efforts to stop the spread of HIV. If one does not belong to a socially and legally recognized and respected community, it is unlikely that the person will see society's prevention messages as legitimate. If, however, he is accepted legally, supported socially and invited to add his expertise and involvement to the issue, behaviour change is more likely.

It is also recognized that there is a hierarchy of needs for an individual. One is not likely to change years of learned behaviour in sexual expression, substance use or social interaction if basic needs for food, shelter and employment have not been met, nor can one successfully overcome years of social and economic abandonment if the world around one does not support that struggle. Civil rights, social assistance programs and low-cost housing are prerequisites to successful AIDS education. These programs have a direct impact on HIV prevention programs. The social environment must be there for prevention messages to be integrated into people's behaviour.

Secondary AIDS prevention: We now know that not all people who are HIV-positive go on to develop AIDS, and those who do progress to AIDS at different rates and in different circumstances. A key to preventing the onset of AIDS after HIV infection is, again, behaviour change. Changes in lifestyle, such as nutrition, exercise and stress reduction are resulting in growing numbers of people living with AIDS/HIV infection. Access to experimental drugs and complementary therapies are also vital to this process.

Again, though, we run into the wall of economic poverty and social abandonment. Social assistance levels are too low for an individual to even afford nutritional supplements, let alone decent housing and complementary therapies. Active involvement of individuals in taking control of their health is impeded by the demands of everyday life with no discretionary income. How can one confidently investigate and evaluate new treatments that are government-funded when the rent is not paid and there is little food in the house? Even good nutrition costs more. How can one participate in the alternatives to what is now government-supported? Where does the self-confidence come from to challenge the established hierarchical medical system that now exists?

Again, discrimination and lack of legal and social recognition for the communities most affected by HIV/AIDS is impeding the successful management of AIDS/HIV infection. In Windsor, as in many other cities across Canada, gay-bashing is increasing, with little or no response from governments and their law enforcement agencies. All people with AIDS/HIV infection suffer indirectly from the lack of social, legal and political support for these minorities. The advantages of early detection of HIV infection and intervention with preventive therapy for AIDS are lost in many cases because individuals will not come forward for fear of disclosure and social and economic ostracism.

Leadership in implementing strategies for the management of AIDS/HIV infection have come from the community groups across the continent who have worked together. Combination drug therapy, the importance of complementary therapies and reform of drug trial and approval structures have all come from the communities most affected by AIDS/HIV. These and other improvements have repercussions for progress on many health and social issues.

In conclusion, how can the government overcome this myriad of forces operating in Ontario? The answer is in building community. The government, as the ultimate representative of the community of Ontario, has a responsibility in this process. Recognition and support for initiatives that come out of a community affected by an issue are the key to solving problems in that area of the community. It is now increasingly recognized that the government cannot carry out community-based programs. It must provide the resources and co-ordination to ensure that all affected parties are involved in initiating and implementing programs.

Two years ago in Windsor a group of affected local organizations submitted a proposal for an AIDS/HIV outpatient clinic. The previous government sat on that application for a year without any further consultation. Then when the ministry did begin negotiations, the primary question was, "What is the role of this committee who submitted the proposal?" For some time they did not recognize that a coalition of the involved communities would build a better clinic than medical experts in one institution alone. The present government, to its credit, recognized and funded the clinic. This is the first and, I believe, only AIDS/HIV clinic in the country that has the active participation of all the major stakeholders in the community.


Now there is the possibility of co-ordinated and comprehensive programs of care and support with maximum volunteer contribution and no duplication of service. Should the government slash its spending in support of community initiatives such as this, an important opportunity to develop an alternative to the present health care structure would be lost, and it would be a long time before it could enlist the support and co-operation of the community to build effective alternative programs.

A successful response to AIDS and HIV infection must address education, counselling, practical support, research, drug approval and funding, social assistance, housing, civil rights, drug addiction, violence, acute and chronic care, complementary therapies and hospice services. The community-based AIDS/HIV movement has proposed innovative and comprehensive strategies but does not have the resources or the power to implement these without government approval and support. If the standing committee is concerned about the deficit, I suggest you look to the community for the answer and not abandon the community by taking the simple path and cutting programs.

I apologize for some of the typos in the presentation.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for that presentation. One of the concerns that has been voiced is that presently -- and I think that is an indication about what the perception is out there and I mentioned it earlier -- about 77% of the people, close to 80% if you include the people who voted for all three parties, believe there is a tremendous amount of waste in government, in particular when it comes to the health care field. There has been talk of some of the abuses. You may know that the former Health minister, Evelyn Gigantes, had to resign when she mentioned somebody's name, and that person was spending, I believe the figure was, $438,000 for drug treatment, close to half a million dollars.

As you well know, the health care field has been the biggest-growing expenditure over the last few years. Do you believe there are areas where we can control spending in the health care field? If so, maybe you can just give us an indication of some of the areas where you would like to see us, for the want of a better word, spending a little bit smarter.

Mr Lough: As I said in my presentation, I think a little more effective use of the dollars could come from consultation and involvement of the communities. To use an example that came up earlier this year at the national conference on AIDS, which was the first national conference in three years, I attended a workshop on clinical trials and to my horror found out that they were still arguing over open arms to clinical trials.

Approximately two years ago there was a meeting held in London where the researchers and institutions had apparently agreed to try open arms to clinical trials. By the way, for those of you who do not know, open arms to clinical trials means an individual can have access to an experimental drug outside of the restrictions of a clinical trial, and very many experimental drugs are only available through clinical trials.

The same old argument was being made that if people were allowed the drug outside of a clinical trial, then the trial researchers would not be able to recruit the number of people who were necessary to carry out the strictly scientific clinical trial. Well, this had been proven false. In Toronto, a clinical trial was organized where the community was involved, where the people were given full information, where their representative organizations were involved in the design of the trial and there was an open arm. They had more recruits than they could use.

Yet these other trials that are going on do not have that kind of community involvement and therefore are not even fulfilling as effectively their original scientific mandate because they are not able to recruit as many people, nor do they get input from the people directly affected in the design of the clinical trial.

I do not have a simple answer as to what you could cut from the budget and what you could not, but I think you will find that if the principle of community involvement is instituted across the board, then the cheaper alternatives will present themselves. I use that as one example.

Mr Carr: As you know, in fact it is in these polls too that people in Ontario, which is the highest-taxed province in Canada and the highest-taxed jurisdiction in North America, are saying: "We're overtaxed, and that includes all taxes. That includes municipal, provincial sales tax and federal GST." People are saying, "We're fed up with taxes at all levels and from all politicians." Then we have had a lot of groups coming through and saying, "We need more money for our particular group," and so on. Of course, that is a difficulty.

You have the average Joe out there who says, and I agree with him, "These deficits just mean that somewhere down the road I'm going to have to pay more taxes, and already I'm paying too much taxes versus the rest of the country and the rest of North America." What do you say to those people when you come before a committee and say, "We need more money"? How do you alleviate some of the fears of the people out there who are saying, "Your cause is very worthwhile" -- and I think most of them who come here definitely are -- "but there is no money out there for us to give as taxpayers"?

Mr Lough: I look at it in two ways. What I am seeing from the polls that are being conducted is that people like the medicare system we have. They strongly support that. The majority of people strongly support the medicare system we have and so any serious cuts to that are not going to meet with the approval of the population.

In terms of taxes, I go back to my basic university economics. I personally believe in Keynesian economics as opposed to the monetarist policies that have been instituted in the last decade. So it does not in the least bother me, as a taxpayer, that we have a deficit during a time of serious recession. That makes sense. That is what the whole Keynesian theory was based on, that you spend in the time of a recession and then you recoup that loss in periods of recovery.

What I am concerned about is that if cuts are made now in areas such as health care, where some cost-effective alternatives are being developed, then the opportunity for those alternatives to be instituted in the future is lost. We will be another 10 years and into another recession before those alternatives are recognized again, and again we will not have any money to institute them. So I think it is important to stick with the process that is developing in the community, the alternatives to the expensive health care that we have now. More cost-efficient alternatives are being built in the community. We will cut those programs at our peril. When we get to the good times we will not have the community base nor the alternatives that we have tried to implement.

Mr Sutherland: Thank you for being here. I believe you are going to be the only AIDS committee group we are going to be hearing from during these budget hearings and I think it is important that we do hear from the AIDS committees dealing with this issue.

It seemed to me the message you wanted to get across is that not only in terms of dealing with AIDS services but in health care services in general, you see the government's role becoming more of a provider of resources and a facilitator, and that the community-based organizations actually will be the ones operating. That is what you are seeing as a future model and, if I gather from your comments correctly, a model that should already be in process, that it be the model for delivery of certain services and certain health care services.

Mr Lough: Yes, I think some examples are already occurring, both within the AIDS movement and in other organizations as well. Community-based alternatives have presented themselves and they are less expensive that a fully government-operated program. What I fear is that cuts generally mean that the organizations outside of government are the first to be cut. We see that at the municipal level. Recently, the city's budget support to outside groups was dropped substantially. I worry that the Ontario government would have to go the same route.


Mr Sutherland: I was wondering if you could give us some sense, from your perspective as the executive director of the local AIDS committee, of how you feel the provincial government is doing on the issue of AIDS -- I am not speaking so much in terms of ours versus the last but in the generic sense of provincial government -- and what advice you might give the committee in terms of recommendations for the next budget in dealing with the issue of AIDS.

Mr Lough: I think the announcement a few months ago by the Minister of Health to institute anonymous testing was a very important initiative. The community-based movement has been saying for a long time that people are only going to come forward under anonymous testing. We know that as well as anyone here in Windsor, because anonymous testing is available in Detroit and people go there in large numbers for testing. Therefore, our statistics mean virtually nothing in terms of HIV infection in this area.

One thing I would like to see the provincial government do, and this is something it inherited from the previous government again, has to do with the Ontario AIDS Advisory Committee. There is no representation of people with HIV on the Ontario AIDS Advisory Committee. When it was originally set up by the Minister of Health under the Liberal government, there were only three community-based representatives out of 16 or 18 people involved in the committee. I do not think this is adequate community representation. If we want to build alternatives to health care, the people who are building the alternatives in the community have to be represented. That would be one piece of advice, for what it is worth, that I would pass on to the present government.

In terms of the next budget, I think moving ahead with social assistance reform is important. Some changes in social assistance that would allow people with HIV infection to work and claim some kind of social assistance would be a lot more practical. Right now, people with HIV infection are forced really to go on disability benefits because the process is so complicated and lengthy to get on to benefits that they cannot afford not to be on benefits. If they were to go to work and face periods of illness, because HIV disease is a very up-and-down syndrome, are feeling well working and a period of illness comes along, bang, they are out of work and it is months before they can then get back on adequate social assistance. So I think some reform of social assistance is necessary as well.

Mrs Sullivan: I wonder if you could just describe for the committee something more of your own operation. How much do you receive in capital funding and in operating funding from the province on an annual basis, and how many people do you serve?

Mr Lough: In the last year we received $7,000 in capital funding. In operating funding we received $201,000. The province funds four staff people. With that money we get a little from the federal government and the Ontario Trillium Foundation and some private sector fund-raising.

We have a broad range of education and support service programs, including a speakers' bureau, a resource centre and a resource database of treatment information and AIDS education and prevention materials. We have information tables at various events, go out to the schools and such and various community groups, speaking about the issue. We have support service programs and a buddy system, which is common among a lot of community-based groups, to match volunteers with people with HIV for practical and emotional support. We have emergency financial assistance that is funded exclusively from private donations. We also have support groups for people with HIV and for care givers. We have a seminar program for health care workers and research mailings out to physicians who are treating people with HIV that contain the latest treatment information. We have also a series of seminars for people with HIV infection on how to handle the issues that arise in HIV infection.

Mrs Sullivan: Is there a group home in Windsor for AIDS patients?

Mr Lough: We did have a house, in co-operation with the Windsor Housing Authority, which we had to close, mainly due to lack of funding for staff.

Mrs Sullivan: I want to really move on, because one of the things the government has done in terms of health care is to move very strongly away from the long-term care proposals which were on the table and which were being implemented by the previous government. It seems to me the long-term care aspect for AIDS patient is a singularly important part of caring for your own clients. I wonder what emphasis you put on insisting that the government move back into that long-term care program so that there is an integrated approach to long-term care for people, no matter what their illness is.

Mr Lough: Well, I am no fan of the long-term care process that was instituted here in Windsor and Essex county. I agree with you that long-term care is an essential element of support for people with HIV and a proper response to the disease. We had a proposal in to the long-term care committee. The process was very secretive. It was not consultative and had no element of negotiation involved. I can say the community-based AIDS education and support program of the Ministry of Health was miles ahead of the long-term care initiative, which was supposed to put things back in the hands of the community, as I understand it.

With both the federal and provincial programs, it has been a very interactive process. We have worked with the ministry people, we have negotiated, we have developed programs together. That long-term care initiative was not carried out that way at all, so I am not surprised the new government has put that on hold.

Mrs Sullivan: The long-term care program was to integrate community-based care in an attempt to move people out of the institutional base and to deliver services in their homes. That has been completely put on hold.

Mr Lough: As I was saying, I do not disagree with the principle of the long-term care initiative, but the way it was being carried out, I believe, needed to be put on hold. I do not think it was an effective or fair process.

The Chair: I would like to thank you for appearing before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review.



The Chair: I am going to call on Gordon Chrisjohn. I would like to welcome you here to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review. You will have one half-hour for your presentation and you could leave some time at the end of your presentation for questions and answers which will be divided equally among the three parties. For the purposes of Hansard, would you please identify yourself. You may begin your presentation.

Mr Chrisjohn: Good morning. My name is Gordon Chrisjohn. I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to express my opinions on the Ontario government's economic policies. As a member of the aboriginal community, I would like to elaborate on that. I am a native community development worker here for the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre of Windsor, but I am not here in that capacity. I am here as a member of the aboriginal community. I am here as a member of Oneida first nation, not as a representative of any organization or any political body.

The present recession is hitting hard at most sectors of Ontario, and when the entire province is involved with those kinds of hardships, aboriginal people, to say the least, are not exempt. Whether they have remained on the reserves or come to urban areas, they cannot help but be affected by unemployment, business closings and inflation.

Speaking only as a person living in this part of the world, I find that the more abstract issues of economic theory have far less meaning to the people with whom I have been speaking, aboriginal or otherwise, than the problems of facing daily life in these hard economic times. As such, I find it difficult to embrace policies which are long-term in nature and are directed at the economy itself rather than the people. Herein lies the controversy between federal economic policies and those of the present government of Ontario.

The federal government has instituted a number of measures which have had a dread impact on the daily lives of the average Canadian. Free trade and the GST seem to be the policies most often singled out as the culprits for businesses relocating to the United States, a downturn in tourism, high prices at the store and unemployment. However, we are told by the federal government that these will prove in the long term to be good for the economy. The government does not say that these policies will be bad in the short term for the people.

The NDP government, I believe, recognizes that hard times for the people will be the short-term result of such policies and has created people programs to bring Ontario through an inevitable crunch. I was disappointed therefore to hear federal criticism of the NDP for not doing its part to reduce spending and lower Ontario's deficit. Without such action, the people of Ontario would be suffering even worse effects from the federal policies. It is as if it were intended all along that the people suffer while the abstract economy improves. I disagree with sacrificing people as part of economic policy.

In the area of economic policy for aboriginal people, the NDP has shown leadership, sensitivity and a determination not to let momentum be lost. The province and aboriginal peoples have been moving rapidly towards a political understanding of mutual respect over the last few months. It is important that this ground gained not be lost through any reluctance on the part of the province to make its support tangible. Real political progress must be reflected in real social progress. As such, old programs must be continued and new programs implemented to cement our new understanding.

The NDP budget demonstrates that aboriginal people have not been forgotten, not been sacrificed to economic expediency. For instance, the budget for the native affairs secretariat has been expanded -- in fact, more than doubled. This expansion reflects a commitment to ongoing talks in the area of aboriginal self-government and the resolution of outstanding land issues. There are a number of other initiatives through the Ministry of Citizenship which are creating community infrastructure capital projects. I will not dwell on these except to say that the benefits of job creation and community development are obvious products of these initiatives.

The budget also includes $1.15 million for aboriginal education projects. I note with interest that this program includes both on-reserve and off-reserve projects. Past practice has been to view self-government and institutions of self-government from a purely on-reserve perspective. In this case, not only does the announcement reflect the more open view, it attaches a sizeable amount of money for implementation. Off-reserve institutions have been struggling in the formative process. I can foresee that this funding can be utilized to make these institutions a reality.

The anti-recession program has created a number of aboriginal-directed initiatives. With the Ministry of the Solicitor General, I am aware of funding to create jobs and promote aboriginal awareness. In concert with local police authorities, aboriginal institutions can arrange awareness training, adapt educational material, conduct liaison and promote recruitment.

Within the Ministry of Health, opportunities are to be created to promote community and agency interaction. While these positions are only temporary, their effects will be further-reaching. Employment will be created within the aboriginal communities, and during these times even short-term work is highly valued. The tasks accomplished will have impacts in the social fabric of those communities.

In conclusion, I do not wish it to be taken that aboriginal people are receiving special treatment. I am aware, though only marginally, that employment initiatives are being implemented within the greater community as well. It is simply that in my daily contact with aboriginal communities, I am made more aware of what the NDP is doing regarding those communities. I believe that social programming for aboriginal people, and in fact all people, cannot be reduced during a time when fiscal policy is diminishing the people's capacity to provide for themselves.

Mr B. Ward: The gist of your brief is, you are here as an individual, however you have perceived the budget to be heading in the proper direction as far as dealing with the native population is concerned.

Mr Chrisjohn: Yes. In fact, I would say that from my contact with a number of communities -- and I should point out also that I come from an aboriginal community. I am living in Windsor and I have relatives who have roots in another urban community as well, and they all seem to endorse the NDP policy as far as aboriginal people are concerned.

Mr B. Ward: It is very hard to project how things would be, but if these initiatives had not taken place in this budget, could you perhaps discuss what you perceive would be happening without these initiatives?

Mr Chrisjohn: To be as frank and honest as I can, I suspect that there would be more situations -- and I do not want to be alarmist here -- along the lines of Oka. I believe the people have been quite dissatisfied for some time. They have heard different governments, Ontario governments, federal governments, that have made promises and have not backed up those promises, that have instead dangled apples in front of our faces, and when we decided to bite at them, they withdrew them and simply kept their promises as castles in the air.

There is a great deal of cynicism rampant within the aboriginal community about governments that behave in that way. A concrete example would be the way the aboriginal people are entertaining the idea of the national task force commission to look into aboriginal affairs. In the past, during the Meech Lake Accord, it was dangled in front of them as a prize -- "If you agree to this, then you will have this commission" -- and at that time the feeling was that it was a good idea. "If it was a good idea before, it will be a good idea later. Let's not have our participation in the Meech Lake accord coloured by this potentiality." Then when it was turned down, the same initiative was withdrawn, perhaps as a punishment for not going along with the Meech Lake accord.

As we have seen, the federal government has seen the overall wisdom of such a thing, and Meech Lake accord yes or Meech Lake accord no, it has decided it is time for such a commission. This was our attitude during that time. We are cynical about promises that are not going to be kept.

I have to say in all frankness, the aboriginal people with whom I have been talking endorse the NDP's proposals and they see real results and the real effects of those policies as a "window of opportunity," I believe is what they said. They realize that federal and provincial politics are written in water and the next government may not have the same obligations or feelings towards those policies. But for the present they believe that what the NDP is talking about in these areas is real and that the gains that can be made in association with and in co-operation with both the federal and provincial governments now are real.

Mr Lessard: I want to thank you for coming here today and making your presentation. I know you are not speaking on behalf of the Can-Am Indian centre, but that is a centre you play a role in, and I know that centre itself plays an important role in the Windsor community, to provide information and education for aboriginal Canadians.

In your brief you mentioned initiatives the federal government has introduced that have, in your words, had a "dread impact" on the daily lives of average Canadians, and you mention a couple of examples and the impact those have. I wonder if you could tell us whether these policies have had an impact on the aboriginal community. What sort of impact have those policies had?


Mr Chrisjohn: As I have also said, it is the same sort of impact as on the people at large, where we find our demographics, on-reserve and off-reserve, are the same. Within the cities our unemployment is always a little bit higher, our health is always a little bit worse, those sorts of things. We seem to mimic the society at large but exaggerate the negative aspects of what is going on within the communities.

As a concrete example, we often do inventories of community resources and resource people. As you know, Windsor had been a very stable economic community for a long time, and just recently it has had the highest unemployment within the province and there is a great deal of upheaval within the Windsor community at large. We did an inventory -- this is something that would seem would have no relation whatsoever to economies and such -- on people within the community speaking aboriginal languages who could be called to hospitals and who could perhaps even teach to our children within our own L'il Eagles program and such the aboriginal languages.

We have this resource that is only two years old and the hard economic times have upset our stable population to the point where 60% of those people are no longer in the community. As you say, could I tie that to the GST? Probably not. I do not have those kinds of skills in the area of analysing economic policy. But something has changed in the way the population is being made up in Windsor, and it has been over the last two years, and our people are moving around. I would suggest, knowing that aboriginal people have known for a long time the wisdom of migrating habits, that you go where the fish are plentiful and you go where the game is plentiful.

In Windsor the employment opportunities are not plentiful, and they have moved on elsewhere looking for where the employment has gone. I can draw that analogy and I can make that implication, but I cannot exactly prove that through economic means. We have some knowledge that some of the people did move to find jobs elsewhere; that is a fact.

Mrs Sullivan: We have had some very poignant testimony before the committee from Chief Gordon Peters, among others, who spoke about the capacity of land that the aboriginal people were seeking in terms of negotiations with the province, treaty rights, and of the lack of capacity in both human and financial resources in terms of coming to terms with the implementation of any agreements which have been signed. He made it very clear that at this point in time there has been no impact of this signing of the agreement, that the steps have yet to be taken indeed in all of the agreements that have been signed.

We are particularly interested, of course, in the economic development future for aboriginals. That is one of the things I would like you to speak of in terms of co-operative community development and so on.

The other thing is, we have also had a very passionate presentation from the Metis community, whose members say they have been left out of all initiatives this government has put forward in terms of aboriginal affairs and indeed that they will not benefit from one of the initiatives included in the budget. I wonder if you could comment on those two areas.

Mr Chrisjohn: Only slightly can I comment on those areas, because they involve both political issues as well as looking at them from a macro scale. I am working simply within this one community. You note in one part of my presentation I talked about my knowledge of capital projects, but I did not want to go and dwell on them to any degree, simply because no community with which I have had contact has had those. Those have been at Akwesasne, and other areas as well. I did not really want to pretend to any expertise in that kind of area.

As far as what the economic policy impact is within the friendship centre and the communities that I know of, yes, you are right in that we have not accessed these programs as yet. I got a couple of submissions in and we will see how they turn out as well. We find there are dollars attached to that and for the first time they are saying, "Here's the paperwork you have to do in order to get at that." That step has been missing from other promises and other programs. We find we are going to benefit if we can bring some of these things within the Windsor community. I have had instructions from my board of directors to pursue that.

I have only been temporarily here in Windsor for five or six months now, but in the past at other boards of directors with whom I have worked and other councils of chiefs, I have been told to ignore those kinds of things, because they do not believe there is anything behind that; that is a public relations ploy, or what they are looking for will benefit them much more than it will benefit the aboriginal community. They will be able to make a check in the box that, "Yes, we did some consultation," or, "Yes, we did some native awareness training." They find that the way these new programs are designed, they will have some impact on our community and will be of benefit. I guess that is about all I could say in that regard.

Mrs Sullivan: Do you have any comments on the Metis question?

Mr Chrisjohn: I also am aware that the Metis have their own political organization to speak for them. A friendship centre, such as I represent, is accessed not only by the Indian community but the Metis and Inuit communities as well. We also, we believe, provide service to the non-Indian community. We think what we do is beneficial to everyone, plus our programs can be accessed by anybody who comes through the door, non-Indian as well.

As an example, we get referrals from the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission for people with learning disabilities because of our BEST program; that is, basic education starts today. We have one-on-one tutoring in skills upgrades which these people can access for free -- let's say at no cost -- through our programs, for which they do not qualify within other government programs. They do not have the language skills or they do not fit the right category, whereas ours are so open that we have people without English skills coming in to learn computers. As they are also improving their English skills, they will be able to access the pre-entry programs for universities and colleges. Those kinds of things are what we have available.

It seems to me that within the friendship centres, if we institute some of these new programs, they will have access to them as well and they will also derive benefits from them. Other than that, I would not argue with any of the statements made by any of the representatives of their political organizations. I feel they would know far more about their membership than I could anecdotally.

Mr McLean: Thank you for appearing here this morning, Mr Chrisjohn. I have enjoyed your presentation. I have a couple of questions. You indicate in your presentation that the budget for the native affairs secretariat has been expanded. Do you know how much it has been expanded by?

Mr Chrisjohn: Yes. Actually, I had a list of that. It is almost by three. Let me take a look at that.

Mr Carr: From $6 million to $23 million.

Mr Chrisjohn: To $23 million; it is from almost $7 million to $23 million. That is just in the operational area. In the capital expenditure area there is another $21 million.

Mr McLean: I see you are well versed on it, and that is great. Can you give me your view on how you feel self-government should work?

Mr Chrisjohn: This is a good one because I am also working and living off-reserve and I think, as I have said in the past, policies have been directed more with on-reserve in mind. I would particularly like to talk about off-reserve government. It seems to me that --

Mr McLean: Is there a difference between off-reserve self-government and on-reserve self-government?

Mr Chrisjohn: We should diminish any concept of the difference between that. I think the people on reserve have had the benefit of the recognition by the crown, whether it is in Upper Canada or the federal crown or the provincial crown. They understand the reserve system because they have instituted it as an administrative structure. But when you consider that we have first nations with more than one aboriginal nation living there -- the Ojibway and Potawatami living at Walpole Island and at Saugeen -- the idea that an urban community with different aboriginal nations making up its membership should not also be considered for self-government as an aboriginal group does not seem completely logical.

It seems there is so much that is true about the urban group that is also true about the reserve group that it is conceivable they could both maintain their institutions of self-government, not necessarily through a chief and council, but perhaps through boards of directors or almost -- and I hate to say the word -- in a municipal-like fashion. The same kinds of ways as other sovereign provinces -- I almost said sovereign cities -- but with recognition of some of their right to self-government, very much like the municipal style of government. It could be a style for the cities as well.

Mr McLean: So you are saying the reserve self-government would be more important than the off-reserve self-government.

Mr Chrisjohn: It has been considered more important right now by the crown and the agents of the crown, but I do not consider that would be the case. Such concepts should be considered co-equal in the future.

Mr McLean: Is there any draft or suggestions in writing of how the native community has some points it would like to see in any agreement with regard to self-government?

Mr Chrisjohn: In the area of off-reserve, which I really feel I should be responding to, we are virtually maintaining many of the structures of self-government. Administratively we are moving into the areas of education. For aboriginal people within the cities we have been the number one social service provider. So in some respects we are used to doing things that way.

To go the next step and ensure we have some capacity to not only provide the service but direct it, I think, is a logical extension of where we are going in the area of service delivery within the urban communities.

Mr McLean: The political understanding, a mutual respect over the last few months, the agreement that was signed, what effect does that have on what is taking place here in Windsor in your community?

Mr Chrisjohn: Actually, that is one of the reasons I would like to stress the urban community. I think that agreement is a good agreement in principle, but it does -- let's not say "exclude" -- it does not include urban organizations where it really ought to. I have been asking for that document to be forwarded to me. They simply could not get it to me in time for me to speak authoritatively about it here.

My own provincial organization has not provided me with analysis in time to speak about it here, except to say it is more reserve-directed and more of the older mentality and that anything we can do to try to expand the thinking of people into the areas of urban self-government institutions should be done at every opportunity, and here is an opportunity.

The Chair: I thank you for appearing before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs on the budget review. This committee will recess until 1 pm.

The committee recessed at 1154.


The committee resumed at 1304.

The Chair: We will resume our hearings on the budget review for the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. A few members are going to be coming in maybe about halfway through the presentation.


The Chair: Would you state your name before you start? You are from the Unemployed Help Centre. I would like to welcome you.

Ms Pons: Thank you. My name is Pamela Pons and I am the executive director of the Unemployed Help Centre here in Windsor. We had scheduled for this afternoon a client who has been a recipient of our food bank. It is with great distress that I advise you she is unable to attend. At this point she is waiting for our local children's aid society to come to her family's rescue. They presently have three children. Her husband has been a victim of a plant closure and unfortunately, with the changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act, he has run out of unemployment insurance benefits. They are hoping the children's aid will take care of their children since they are unable to do so with UI benefits. I still am pleased to be here this afternoon before the committee to comment on the budget as it relates to the unemployed and the underemployed workers whom we service here at the help centre in Windsor.

For some, memory serves us only too well as we recall Windsor's worst recession since the depression of the 1930s. In the late 1970s and the early 1980s the auto industry plant closures, severe cutbacks, indefinite layoffs and business bankruptcies caused the unemployment rate to escalate far beyond 26%. Thousands of workers who had once held secure jobs were now faced with the cold reality of standing in long unemployment lines. Financial difficulties led to the foreclosure of thousands of homes, which subsequently contributed to the increased number of family breakdowns, drug and alcohol abuse and suicides. Multitudes of dispirited community members made a westward exodus in search of a second chance, while their families were left behind waiting for news of employment. Still others gambled and chose to stay behind, looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a job.

The centre's ideology has been to assist in the re-employment process of the disadvantaged. In doing so, we continue to evaluate and investigate services provided to the long-term unemployed. Indeed, because of the expertise in developing new employment strategies and counselling techniques, the help centre in Windsor has itself become a model for other centres across the country.

One of the programs instituted by the help centre was in 1988, when we opened our food bank. This contains not only the services of a food bank, wherein we distribute food to other food service providers, we at the centre are also a food service provider. In this cause, we recently received a grant of $13,000 from the province to aid us in our administration of the food bank and the food service program. We would like to thank the provincial government for being the first government to aid us in this endeavour. Our annual budget to fund these two programs is in excess of $75,000

We understand that the funding provided to us is one of many items that are responsible for the current provincial deficit. I would, however, be remiss in my responsibilities as director of the Unemployed Help Centre if I failed to make a plea for additional moneys. While this government has been the first to recognize the need, the value and the life support we provide to our clients, the job is not yet done; $13,000 is only a small portion of those moneys that we need to keep that program in place. We must continue to depend on our community for the balance of our support, a community which at this point is very hard pressed to continue to make that missing link between of our costs and the moneys we have available. We urge the government to respond to this need.

In support of our community's continuous and generous financial contributions, we also respectfully request a change in the provincial taxes. Unfortunately, this request would not decrease the deficit; it would add to it. However, it would be a recognition of charitable giving. Unlike the federal government, which has systematically destroyed the tax deduction for those who aid groups such as ourselves, as non-profit charitable organizations we ask the province to institute an additional Ontario tax credit similar to the workings and benefits of the political tax credit system.


I am also here today to speak to you about the effects of plant closures. These victims are part of the cause of Ontario's deficit. No longer are the victims able to continue to pay tax dollars. They are the same people who are in need of services this province can and should provide. To name a few of those victims: A&P in Windsor, 156 victims; Ford Motor Co, 1,228 victims; General Motors, Windsor, 255 victims; Brant Castings, 114 victims; Clay-Mill, 150 victims; Dominion Forge, 200 victims and our list goes on, unfortunately.

Our community and the surrounding area have been torn apart by plant closures and downsizings. Since 1990, in the latter part of the year and onwards, our agency has had occasion to meet with the provincial government through the Ministry of Labour. Our plea to that ministry has been to come to the aid of our community and allow us an opportunity to service those very victims. The only way to service them is to continue to provide them with counselling services and retraining. We went to the province, we expressed our case and as a result were the recipient of a pilot project which provided to the Unemployed Help Centre some $200,000. Such a pilot case was also repeated in three other areas in this province: London, Kitchener and Cambridge.

While this is a terrific expense and is again another factor in the deficit, those funds have not gone far enough. We need to increase the dollars that are going to service the victims of this recession, and it is not beyond the capacity of the province. We know we have a deficit, but the only way to get workers back to work is to re-educate them and continue to provide them with services. If we fail to do that very important task, we fail the people in this province. I would urge you to bring a message back to the government that these are not small issues. While there is recognition of the damages of closures, we need to increase services to them.

The federal government has destroyed many of the programs our unemployed need to fall back on. We know unemployment insurance benefits last a far shorter period than they ought to and that the insurance system was ripped apart. To recognize that it was ripped apart is not enough. We need to continue to provide those services and if it causes a continual deficit of the province, then the province needs to take that challenge. We need to take on the federal government, despite the recent rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada. We need not allow the feds to continue to put a cap on the Canada assistance plan. Those dollars were sent to the government in good faith and they must respond to the needs of our workers.

I urge you to bring back the message to the government that while there is an appreciation for some of the efforts that are made, there is truly a recognition that there is a deficit. The only way to bring our people out of it is to continue that deficit until this recession starts to ease the pain in this area. Thank you.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for a fine presentation. As you are probably aware, education is a provincial responsibility. It has been, going back to the British North America Act. One of the concerns I have is that if you take somebody who is on social assistance right now, whether it is a single mother or somebody who has lost his job in a factory, an older male who is close to retirement age -- there are those who have said that in this budget there has not been any money directed towards helping those people through apprenticeship, retraining or skills development programs, and that really the long-term solution to the problem is to give people the skills and training that are needed. A lot of people have said this budget did not do it; it did not put any money into those areas.

I was wondering if you could comment on what you would like to see in the area of skills and education and the whole retraining thrust. What would you like to see the provincial government do?

Ms Pons: In terms of education and basic skills, those who claim that this budget did nothing are uninformed persons. We received a phone call on Friday that, through the Ministry of Education, Windsor and Essex has its first verbal approval of a grant that was submitted. This grant will allow this area to look at the basic skills needs of workers, and that will be through the educational process. There will be a staff of four who will co-ordinate and do assessments on workers. Through that endeavour there is what both the school board and the college system have claimed to be very recognizable financial support to put additional classes into place.

But those are the worker-centred, not traditional, educational processes. They may not have worked for workers in the past. This is a new way to look at it, and we in Windsor are very excited with the types of programming that we will be able to put into place as a result of this new initiative. It was spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour.

Mr Carr: You are right, a tremendous amount of people throughout the provinces are losing their jobs. One of the occupations where you do not lose your job is in the public sector, if you work for the Ontario government. There have been those who have said that every company has to look at making itself more efficient and cutting costs, but when it comes to the government, they are not like individuals and businesses who have to watch their pennies and so on; they can spend because they can add it to the deficit.

One thought was that if we restricted the increases to everybody, and there are I guess 90,000-odd civil servants in this province, we would be looking at a saving of around $1 billion, and that is with a "B" not an "M" as in "million." I just wondered if you would comment on that. What would you say to those people in the public sector who are getting wage increases of 6% when you have so many people who are unemployed? What would you do with it?

Ms Pons: I certainly would not want unemployed workers to be seen as taking away something from another set of workers. In any set of contract negotiations or at any time of an annual wage increase, someone is certainly not going to say, "Yes, I will take concessions, but I want the money to come from another business." That simply is not feasible. For those who are getting wage increases, we applaud that. The cost of living has gone up in Ontario, and for the government to make a statement and say, "We do not believe in a wage increase," where other corporations have their workers asking for the same, would certainly not be a clear message.

Mr Carr: One of the concerns that has been voiced out there is where the government is spending money. There are a tremendous amount of areas where there can be some cuts made. I do not know if you were here earlier today, but we talked about some of them, whether it be wage restraints for the workers, the $54,000 spent for new carpeting for the minister, the $1,500 that the Ministry of Community and Social Services workers were going to spend to go to the SkyDome. There is a perception out there that the government can find the money internally. I was just wondering what your thoughts were, whether you believe that, or whether you think the Ontario government is run so efficiently that there cannot be any money found anywhere else in all these massive programs that we have. Maybe you would like to comment.

Ms Pons: Any ship can be made somewhat leaner. However, I am not going to comment in regard to some spending that took place. I do not know the details of the carpeting you mentioned. Perhaps it was due to be replaced 10 years ago and was not. So, without having full details, I think it is not fair to make comments on that.


Ms M. Ward: Thank you for your presentation. The current recession is recognized by most as having begun last April, which is over a year ago now. Given the changes in unemployment insurance over the last few years, do you think that you have in Windsor a large number of people who will be forced on to the welfare rolls when unemployment insurance runs out?

Ms Pons: It is the unfortunate prediction of our local Canada Employment Centre that come the first week in September we will have the displeasure of having 300 to 500 people fall off unemployment insurance benefits every week.

Ms M. Ward: And I understand that Windsor, according to the information I have, will receive about $21.6 million in grants and funding under the anti-recession projects. Certainly this must have helped to keep people off the unemployment rolls and subsequently off the welfare rolls also. What do you think would be the effect here if that funding were not in place, not just the anti-recession funding but also the increased grants and help for municipalities? Could you comment on what you think your situation would be if that had not been done?

Ms Pons: I do not think I would want to face a city in that condition. We have suffered terribly from this recession. One of our difficulties is that Windsor is going through a different type of unemployment than we have in the past. In the past it was cyclical, we went through our downturns, other municipalities followed behind in the types of suffering we had. While we were the first into the recession, we were also the first out. This time it is structural. Those plants are not here for our workers to go back to, so it will be very difficult, and we face a significant challenge in trying to diversify this local economy so that there are jobs for our workers to go to.

Ms M. Ward: You commented about the new unemployed and foreclosures on family homes and so on. This is a group of people who have not been in that situation before; if they are forced on to welfare when their unemployment insurance runs out, it would be a totally new experience for them. Is that what you were speaking of in your presentation?

Ms Pons: For many the idea of going on to unemployment insurance was devastating for the family. However, to be faced with the reality that one may have to face the roll of social services is extremely difficult.

Mr B. Ward: A quick question: I admire your courage. You are on the front lines, I guess, experiencing the recession first hand with the people coming in and using the services of the Unemployed Help Centre. I think some people do not appreciate the extreme hardship that is out there for working people, whether it is in Windsor or my community of Brantford or anywhere else in Ontario. What would you say to the critics of the budget who suggest that we should be cutting back on our social programs at the time of extreme hardship? What would you say to them?

Ms Pons: I would suggest that cutting back on expenses is not the answer. In fact, it is our position that those expenses should be increased.

Mr B. Ward: And that those critics perhaps should come and visit the Unemployed Help Centre to see first hand what is going on in the community with working people?

Ms Pons: We have had such critics visit our office, and I dare say their position had changed dramatically from the point before they walked in that door until the point at which they exited. People unfortunately have a misconception that people are unemployed because they want to be unemployed. There are very few people in that category, although to say there are none is also a grave mistake; there are people who make that choice. But I would suggest strongly that the expenses are increased and that in order to bring people back to work we have to face additional expenditures. That is the message I would like to see brought back.

Mr B. Ward: That is good to hear, because I anticipate a delegation further down the list that will be suggesting that the deficit should be cut back. Perhaps an invitation could be extended to them to visit the help centre.

Ms Pons: Consider it so extended.

The Chair: I would like to thank you for attending our budget review hearings.

If it is agreeable with the committee, I would call for a recess until 1:30, when the next group comes in, which will give the opportunity for the official opposition to be here. They said they would be here at 1:30.

The committee recessed at 1326.



The Chair: We will resume our hearings. The next participant is Roland Marentette. You will have 15 minutes to make your presentation. Try to leave some time at the end of your presentation for questions from the three parties.

Mr Marentette: I have a very short presentation, so there will be a lot of time. The portion of the Ontario budget that I would like to comment on deals with the area concerning the environment. So that you understand why this area is of specific concern to me, I would like to enlighten you as to my involvement locally in this issue.

Since 1987 I have been very active in Windsor and Essex county on transboundary air pollution problems, the Fermi II nuclear plant issue, reforestation projects, a member of the binational advisory committee for the Detroit River remedial action plan and involved in the elementary and secondary schools, working with students and teachers on environmental concerns. Lately, I have also been involved as a volunteer with the Essex waste management committee in its master composting program. As you can see, the emphasis has always been on personal involvement and, most importantly, public outreach.

I must say that I was particularly pleased to see this budget directing Ontario Hydro to implement a more comprehensive conservation program. The Canadian consumer has long been identified as one of the greatest wasters of energy in the world, and to build new generating stations for anticipated future demand without first exploring the impact of research and development and new energy-saving products and public education in wise energy use is simply irresponsible and would in fact be encouraging this type of wastefulness.

The other area is the increased funding for the municipal 3R programs, which I find is also very important. In Essex county, the recycling program has seen an 85% participation level. The expansion to include apartment buildings has not yet been achieved because of lack of funding. The hazardous household pickup days is another successful program that has seen an increase in participation every year. According to the Essex waste management committee, this one program alone costs over $200,000 to run. The master composting program I mentioned previously is a new volunteer project and is designed to get the public more involved. Without an increase in funding for these activities you would be discouraging any progress that we have made and also undermining the little confidence that people seem to have that governments are committed to the environment.

The awareness and concern of the people of Ontario is reflected in poll after poll and I think, rightfully so, they are looking for leadership and responsibility on behalf of the government. I know it would have been very tempting to fall into the trap that other governments have and use the recession as an excuse to neglect that responsibility. I therefore must applaud this government for its continued support for these initiatives and look to this as a sign of commitment on this very important issue.

Mr B. Ward: There is some discussion or thought that, by paying attention to the environment, it may make businesses uncompetitive because of the added cost. But in fact, through recycling and becoming aware of what waste is being disposed of from a corporate standpoint, savings could be implemented. Do you agree with that thought, that by becoming more environmentally aware of the policies and direction that society seems to be taking, corporations have an opportunity to save money and become more competitive?

Mr Marentette: I will give you an example of a corporation that implemented a very good recycling program -- it changed processes -- and that is 3M Corp. They saved over $500 million globally just by changing processes and getting involved with recycling programs.

Mr B. Ward: So that could be a selling point for convincing businesses to pay more attention to the environment.

Mr Marentette: Exactly. I work for Chrysler Corp. As a person who works on the line, I could probably identify four parts we deal with that could be sent back to the supplier to be reused. It would be saving Chrysler the problem of having to pay somebody to take the waste out; also the supplier would not have to buy the replacement part. You would not only be saving money at Chrysler Corp, but also for the suppliers. I think it is a worthwhile venture for them.

Mr Sutherland: Picking up on Mr Ward's point about how it can help business to be environmentally friendly, I want to ask your opinion as to how a government should be responding to environmental issues among the corporate sector; that is a), do you feel we should be doing it from an incentive standpoint, or b), should we be doing it from the hammer standpoint, in terms of legislation forcing the private sector to come forward on environmental issues?

Mr Marentette: I think you will always have some industries that will not deal with it, but you have a lot of industries out there. If you used the carrot-and-stick approach, when they can get involved in a program without being seen as the bad person, without damage to their image, they are going to see the advantage of what it will do in reinforcing our feelings towards them, because some people are very critical of industry and in some cases, that is necessary.

I think it is warranted because some out there, regardless of what type of program the government puts in, do not want to take any part in it. They see this as an area the government should not get involved in because it is a power thing with them: "It's my business, I should run it the way I feel regardless of the cost." We are at the point of saying now, when it comes to the environment, "Listen, if you can't deal with it, is your only purpose in being in business just to provide profit at any cost, or do you have a social responsibility that impacts on a community, affecting everybody's quality of life?"

Obviously, you cannot portray a corporate image as: "I'm a nice person, therefore I'm there to provide this." There are going to be some problems with some corporations. But I think the carrot and stick have to be used first. I do not see any problem with that. It is like my son. Obviously, he has to see an advantage to himself, but if he does not, I am not afraid to come down with the hammer. Not literally.


Mr McLean: I have a couple of questions for you and I hope you are up on this, because I am looking for some answers. It has to do with waste management and a lot of municipalities in this province. Their sewerage systems are loaded to capacity. I do not know about this community, whether they are letting it out into the river or not, but I know in Toronto, an hour after a rainfall they close the beaches down because of the pollution. It is mainly coming from the sewerage systems that are not up to date and are overloaded. I am wondering what is happening here in this community. I know from the contractors who are paid to haul the sludge away that the farmers are now, in some cases, not accepting it. There is no place for it to go. Are you up on this aspect of waste management and what do you see as the solution to the problem?

Mr Marentette: Are you talking about the sludge composting programs? Windsor had a very good program at one time. Unfortunately, they did not fund it to the extent of a proper ventilation system for the air mixture and everything else like that, which would have eliminated a lot of the odours. So the people in the community who lived around that area complained mainly about the odour. But from what I understand, the compost that came out of it was very useful. I know there was some concern about the heavy metals that accumulated in some of the sludge so instead of using it on farmers' fields, they were in fact using it in the city parks and for fill in that type of area where they did not have to worry about producing a crop. But it is a viable operation. I have a lot of confidence in it. That is why I am also involved in this home composting program because I think there is a lot of misunderstanding out there.

Mr McLean: When I was coming to Windsor this morning I noticed a big hill and I presumed it is a hill of garbage. Is that where the disposal site is for this area?

Mr Marentette: It must be what they refer to as Maidstone mountain. Yes, that is our current landfill in Maidstone.

Mr McLean: How many years will it be good for?

Mr Marentette: I believe it is going to be extended until 1995.

Mr McLean: Has there been a ministry order on it to extend the time?

Mr Marentette: I think there has been. I am not sure.

Mr Carr: You may have been here earlier when we talked about this. It is one year ago today that the Agenda for People was written, August 18, 1990. On page 7 it says, "The New Democrats would pass the safe drinking water act right away...." It was interesting that they put in the "right away" portion. We are now coming up on, I guess, 10 1/2, almost 11 months. They were sworn in October 1. Are you concerned that the New Democratic government has not passed the safe drinking water act right away like it said it would?

Mr Marentette: I think it is like everything else. I guess, when you are a new government, you have to start looking at putting a program in place and making sure that it is going to work. Just to put a program in place to say you have a program, without consultation, I do not think is the proper way to do it.


The Chair: The next group is the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce. You have half an hour and would you please leave some time at the end for the question and answer period. If you would identify yourselves for Hansard.

Mr Roberts: My name is Stephen Roberts and I am the president of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce. If it is of assistance to you, I do have a copy of the text of what I will be saying. There should be about 15 copies here. I will just get a glass of water.

Interjection: Are you sure it's water?

Mr Roberts: I hope it is water.

Background: The province of Ontario, for the last few years, has been operating with minimum deficits, and in some years, surpluses. However, by the third quarter of the 1990 fiscal year it became apparent that the recession was causing tremendous harm to the economy and that a substantial deficit was being projected. In the last year, Ontario has lost approximately 250,000 jobs, at a rate of close to 700 a day. Two thirds of all the jobless workers in Canada come from Ontario, the province which generates 40% of Canada's economic production.

Facing this economic background, on Monday April 29, 1991, Premier Bob Rae and Treasurer Floyd Laughren announced the new budget for the province of Ontario. This free-spending pair immediately entered the record books with far and away the largest deficit ever recorded by a province in the history of Canada, at $9.7 billion. Unfortunately, at the same time they mortgaged the province, they may have caused irreparable harm to future generations who will have to pay for these excesses. The new deficit will be nearly triple the last highest deficit in Ontario's history, which was $3.18 billion in the 1982-83 fiscal period. The provincial debt, in one stroke, will be increased by one third to a total of $51.7 billion. This is more than $5,000 for every person in Ontario. In addition, the Premier and the Treasurer are forecasting high deficits for the remainder of their term in office, which will substantially increase the provincial debt in Ontario.

Although revenues are expected to decline during the 1991-92 fiscal period, the government has proposed to increase spending by 13.4% over last year. With the exception of a program to provide loans and loan guarantees to small- and medium-size businesses having financing problems during the recession, and increasing investment in research and development in new technologies, the initiatives and money being spent in the budget are not directed towards business or adding any incentives for investment in Ontario, or to increasing the competitiveness of business in Ontario.

The budget contains numerous tax increases, and a number of them have been directed at businesses; for example, the removal of the small-business deduction. In addition, taxes on cigarettes, gas and alcohol were significantly increased. The Treasurer has added 48 cents to each pack of cigarettes and 1.7 cents to each litre of gas, with another 1.7 cents due next year. The rate of tax for gas-guzzling automobiles applicable on new purchases was doubled and a greater number of vehicles were included under this tax. This was done without consultation with the automotive industry or labour representatives and resulted in widespread criticism which forced changes to be made.

These tax increases will only further reduce the disposable income available to consumers who are already either not spending their money or spending it across the border. The government totally ignored the devastating economic hardships being incurred by border communities and made no mention whatsoever of any measures to combat cross-border shopping. In fact, to the contrary, the substantial increases in taxes on gas and cigarettes will only further increase this problem.


Concerns: 1. The substantial increase in the deficit to unprecedented high levels will only lead to further increases in taxes. In addition, the burden of carrying this debt will be passed on to future generations, which will affect significantly the social programs and other benefits that the government has been able to provide and that should be provided in the future.

2. Increased government spending will also add to inflation and lead to higher interest rates and an elevated Canadian dollar. This has the effect of hurting businesses in Ontario and reducing the province's ability to come out of the recession. The current government in Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada which has not introduced a program to control spending.

3. The increase in taxes will reduce consumers' disposable income, which will further reduce their spending habits. Consumers are already struggling with high consumer loan and mortgage rates and there will now be additional costs incurred in purchasing cigarettes, gasoline and alcohol.

As a result, businesses will continue to see their ability to compete being eroded and there will be a further loss of jobs in Ontario.

4. If the current pace of government borrowing continues unabated, more and more of our tax dollars will be spent paying interest costs. In addition, this problem will be compounded as the government is called upon in the future to fulfil the needs of our aging baby-boom generation or as new problems arise, such as the need for environmental protection.

5. The budget did not contain any initiatives to attract business investment and new jobs in Ontario. Furthermore, the budget was lacking in new initiatives to assist in the training and retraining of Ontario workers.

6. The budget contained nothing to combat cross-border shopping and to reverse the damage being sustained by businesses and border communities. In particular, the budget contained no assistance with respect to the reduction of gasoline taxes in border communities and, in fact, increased taxes. This will further fuel -- no pun intended -- cross-border shopping.

7. The Treasurer also announced that the provincial Fair Tax Commission should expedite its review of a minimum corporate tax and a tax on real estate speculation, and appears committed to follow through with these additional taxes against businesses. The proposed announcements, along with other proposed legislation by the government, do not send out promising messages to anyone interested in investing in Ontario and will have a detrimental effect on existing businesses in Ontario.

8. The government is committed to high deficits throughout its term and appears very willing to continue its current spending levels. This will only result in further tax increases and substantial borrowing and interest costs.

Our recommendations: 1. The government should immediately reconsider its decision to increase substantially the deficit and debt in this province.

2. The government should immediately reconsider and consult with business and other interested parties to determine effective initiatives to stimulate investment and the creation of new businesses and jobs in Ontario.

3. The government should immediately reconsider its position regarding the substantial increase in gasoline and cigarette taxes, and in particular should immediately consult with business and other interested parties to determine an appropriate method to allow for the reduction of gasoline taxes in border communities.

4. The government should immediately reconsider its decision to substantially increase its spending levels and immediately consult with business and other interested parties to determine a program to control spending and reduce expenditures.

5. The government should immediately reconsider its position to announce further tax increases, including a minimum corporate tax, and should consult with business and other interested parties to determine alternative initiatives to raise the revenue necessary to balance the budget.

6. The government should seriously consider its decision to maintain high deficits for the remainder of its term in office and should consult again with business and other interested parties to determine the serious consequences to the province and its economy of maintaining high spending levels and increasing taxes, as same will impact upon its ability to attract investment and to maintain its competitiveness.

As a concluding statement, we at the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce strongly believe that the government's decision to increase the deficit to $9.7 billion and to further increase the total debt for the province is wrong. We feel that continuing on this course of action with continuous high deficit levels will put the province further and further into debt, thereby increasing substantially the amount of interest being spent to sustain these debt levels. As a result, less and less money will be available to fund the basic programs and initiatives necessary to sustain the current standard of living in Ontario.

It is up to all of us to take action and tighten our belts whether we are from business, special interest groups or individuals. If not, we are creating an unacceptable burden for our children. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to use our resources more wisely and conservatively.

The business community is more than willing to consult with government to discuss these issues and ideas. We feel strongly that our goals are the same and that we should work together on this issue. Only if we all expect a little less today can we guarantee a bright future for our children tomorrow.

Mr Kwinter: Thank you very much, Mr Roberts. Could you give me, very briefly, a profile of the membership of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce? Who are you?

Mr Roberts: Our membership contains approximately 1,000 to 1,200 businesses in the community. We extend beyond the city of Windsor and include most of Essex county. Our membership is primarily -- I would say 70% to 75% -- small businesses with under 10 employees. The remainder would be components of the larger corporations that have head offices in Windsor and in the area.

Mr Kwinter: Thank you. The reason I asked you that question is that earlier today one of the government members suggested there was widespread support for this budget, and he included small business. I just wanted to make sure -- I knew, but I just wanted to get into the record -- that you represent primarily small business.

Mr Roberts: Correct.

Mr Kwinter: Do you subscribe to their feeling that small business is supporting this budget?

Mr Roberts: Not wholeheartedly, no. I think the only portion of the budget which would have been of benefit to small businesses would be the financial assistance and loan guarantees being proposed for those small businesses that were undergoing hard times. I think, all in all, especially in border communities such as Windsor, the effect of this budget is going to be devastating. In terms of the comments that I made about gasoline and cigarette taxes being increased, basically, those increases act as a loss-leader for many consumers in Windsor to head across the border to fill up their tanks with gasoline or to buy their cigarettes, which then leads to other purchases. If you are not a gasoline station, or a corner store selling cigarettes, that does not necessarily mean your business would not be affected. There will be many other small businesses that are affected.

The recent figures that we have now for Windsor and this area, in terms of the amount of revenue that is being lost across the border, are now close to $200 million, based upon the small border collections that came across the bridge and the tunnel. This is not something that we can ignore any longer. I realize that a lot of the problems are not necessarily incumbent upon the government of the province to resolve. Our position is that it is no longer the time for finger-pointing between federal and provincial and municipal levels; it is time for all of us to work together to try to come up with some positive solutions to this problem.

Mr Sola: On page 2 of your brief, you state that "the budget was lacking in new initiatives to assist in the training and retraining of Ontario workers." Most of the delegations we heard this morning seemed to have the opposite point of view -- that there were initiatives for education and retraining of workers. There seems to be a clash between your point of view and theirs. Could you specify what you see lacking or what you would like to see in the budget to initiate this sort of training?

Mr Roberts: Again, I think perhaps the operative word is "new" initiatives. I believe some of the money allocated in the budget was for initiatives that had already been ongoing. Of particular concern, I think, to a lot of small businesses are local programs. Again, and I do not want to keep harping on the issue, but of course one that affects the hearts of us in Windsor is cross-border shopping.

What we were hopeful of was perhaps announcements in the area of retraining. Service is one of the areas that people are complaining about being lacking in Ontario and that may affect our competitiveness. Perhaps we should have programs available for educational purposes, to retrain service sector people in those areas.

It has always been the position of the chamber, and I think in any well-meaning community, that your success in business and your success in operating basically comes down to your labour force. I think we in Essex county have a strong labour force and one that is generally well respected in terms of training and abilities. But there is still a need for an improvement in programs in that area, to help some areas of their economy to diversify into new areas.


Mrs Sullivan: The Treasurer of Ontario, in this budget and just recently, has indicated that the province will start labour-sponsored venture capital funds, where people who work in a company can invest risk capital in the development of that operation. This morning, the CAW, when Bob White was here, indicated that they are very sceptical of that kind of an approach to investing in the future of business. I wonder what your view would be of the labour-sponsored venture capital plans?

Mr Roberts: I have to admit that I am not familiar with the program or the details. I would probably need to have a little better idea of what was involved. Am I to understand that the employees of the corporation would be advanced funds to take it over for themselves?

Mrs Sullivan: No, they would receive a tax credit -- I think up to $1,500 annually -- for investing in an equity position in the company.

Mr Roberts: I would need to hear more about the program, but generally I do not see a problem with that. It is a common business theory that when you can get your employees involved in the company, that can help increase your productivity. Productivity appears to be on the decrease in Canada. To the extent that the labour force could become involved in an equity investment with a company, it may be a good idea. Again, the details of the program would have to be made known.

Mr McLean: Mr Roberts, I would like to know if you are here today representing the hotel and motel industry, the construction industry, the real estate industry. Are you representing tourism here today?

Mr Roberts: Inasmuch as we have members of the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce from all those areas that you mentioned, I would have to say, yes. I am not here as a particular advocate for any one of those groups. But to the extent that the chamber of commerce advocates the ideals of our membership, and those groups are represented, I would have to answer, yes.

Mr McLean: We have had a great deal of discussion with regard to working with business and industry in order to get the economy rolling again. I cannot understand, for the life of me, why the Essex development commission, or the construction industry, or the tenants' associations, would not be making representations to this committee.

Mr Roberts: The development commission in Essex county would probably rely on an organization like the Chamber of Commerce to make representations. This is not to say that they would not benefit by being here today, but perhaps they are relying upon us to represent their interests. The other groups that you mentioned, I would have to agree with you. It would not hurt for them to be here to emphasize those particular portions of the budget that relate to their particular industries.

Mr McLean: We are not hearing anything from tourism. I would like to know what is happening with tourism in this town. I would like to know what is happening with the construction industry. What is going on? I mean, there is not one of them on this sheet, and I am, at the least, disappointed that we are not dealing with those very people.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think it was the Canadian Federation of Independent Business when they put their surveys out -- and as you know they do it very democratically where every member gets to vote on something and send the reply back -- they said that the number one concern that business has is taxes, even ahead of the cost of financing. Number two was actually government regulation, but number one was taxes.

The big concern that a lot of people have with this deficit is that it will mean there will be no opportunity for tax relief as a result. In fact, a lot of economists are predicting, for example, that the provincial sales tax will have to go up to pay for it. What a lot of people are concerned about is that there will not be any opportunity for tax relief, in spite of the fact that we are now the most heavily taxed province in Canada and jurisdiction in North America. Is one of your concerns with the deficit just the fact that there will not be any opportunity to reduce any taxes for any of the small businesses in the future?

Mr Roberts: Definitely. It always follows, certainly, on the heels of creating deficits that you somehow have to come up with the revenues to accommodate those deficits, and to raise the necessary funds to pay for the interest. It does certainly negate the possibility of having further tax reductions. It is our position that rather than having higher taxes, efforts should be more creatively spent on reducing expenditures in ways that would enable the government to maintain those basic social programs that are part of the fabric of life we have come to enjoy in this province and this country. At the same time, they should allow for the balancing of budgets so that we do not lend ourselves to borrowing at the expense of future generations.

We do not need to have any more taxes. There are enough tax problems for potential investment in this province. And there are other taxes in the last few years that have been passed on to business -- the employer health tax and others; I do not need to mention them -- that have already added to the fixed expenses of businesses. To add a minimum corporate tax and other taxes is only going to compound these problems.

Mr Carr: This morning I outlined the cost of the deficit. You might not have been here. I had the fine people in legislative research prepare data. They, of course, are independent, and they used the actual government figures from the Treasury people. The interest on the provincial debt alone in 1994-95 will be $19 million a day, or about $800,000 an hour and $13,000 a minute. By my calculation -- we have been here since 9 o'clock this morning and it is now a little bit after two -- we are looking at about $4 million spent, not to pay for hospitals, health care, education, environmental programs, but just to pay the interest on the provincial debt.

This morning Mr White said that amount was acceptable to him. I think even David Christopherson, when he spoke about it in the Legislature, said it was like getting a mortgage on your home, although I do not go out and get a mortgage on a home in Rosedale if I cannot afford it. But the perception is that this is an acceptable amount of debt, vis-à-vis the revenues and so on. As a business person who is used to taking a look at debt, do you think the amount of debt we are looking at could be considered reasonable?

Mr Roberts: Not at all. I am actually very glad that you provided these figures. I have figures for Canada as a whole, and they are totally shocking.

Mr Carr: Anybody who wants them can have them.

Mr Roberts: This is amazing as well. As we know, when you are operating a business, or whether it is your own personal finances, if in one particular year you happen to spend more than you raise, your banker might let you get away with it. But try doing it two, three, four, five years in a row. The country as a whole has been doing it for 22 consecutive years, and that is not a very good record. It is not a record which I would like to see this province follow, because as I stated, this province generates 40% of the economic production for the country. If we start to bankrupt this province, it is only going to lead to the eventual bankruptcy of the whole country. It is totally unacceptable.

Again, I do not want my harsh comments to be taken as simply a criticism. I think the business community and the Ontario and Canadian chambers of commerce are very, very interested in being involved in the consultive process. We want to be a part of your discussions. That is why we are here today. We want to be able to work towards solutions that are needed to balance our budget. It has been accomplished before. We need to stimulate investment in this province to be able to raise the revenues to balance.

Mr Lessard: I want to welcome you to the committee, Mr Roberts. I can tell that you have benefited greatly from a good University of Windsor education.

Mr Roberts: Exactly.

Mr Carr: Did you guys go together?

Mr Lessard: Yes, a former fellow classmate. You seem to be a very strong proponent of the balanced-budget philosophy. You understand as well the difficulties of projecting these sorts of things into the future. I wonder what you thought of the last Liberal budget, because they seemed to think they were going to have a balanced budget last year. Did you think that was all right?

Mr Roberts: They projected a balanced budget but unfortunately the province and the country entered into a recession. Those are factors which we cannot always predict accurately. Certainly in the third quarter of 1990 the recession became a public fact, an economic fact, though I think many of us realized we were well into a recession before that. Then is the time you grab hold of your financial statements and your expenditures and begin to take a real good look at them. It is not the time when, instead of maintaining yourself in a $3-billion deficit, you triple it and go into a $9-billion deficit.


Mr Lessard: Just carrying on with the programs and policies of the previous government, we would have ended up with a deficit of $8 billion, according to the information I have. We would have had to take some pretty drastic measures to reduce that. You are a strong proponent that the government should consult business, so let's consider that we are here today to do that. What sort of suggestions do you have for places where those sorts of drastic cuts could be made?

Mr Roberts: It is certainly not my place to sit down, at this time anyway, with your complete list of expenditures and start slashing.

Mr B. Ward: If you could.

Mr Roberts: If I could --

Mr Carr: Freeze civil servants?

Mr Roberts: It is like any business -- and we are certainly not suggesting the government has to be operated exactly like a business -- you would have to have all the facts and figures in front of you with regard to the amounts being spent on particular programs. I am not going to say to you that certain social programs should be slashed. I think it is a matter of sitting down and looking at the whole picture. It is like the city of Windsor has done. It is like our boards of education have done. It is like many public organizations have had to do. You realize there are problems in terms of raising revenues and that it is a matter of taking a creative look at what you have and reducing those expenditures.

Mr Christopherson: Mr Roberts, I thank you for your presentation. The responses and presentations we hear from the chambers are always very interesting and articulate.

I think you used the words -- I jotted them down as you spoke them -- "shocking" and "amazing" when listening to Mr Carr's statistics. I would suggest to you that some of those tactics really amount to nothing more than scaremongering. The reality is that our deficit will take about 12%, 12 cents of every revenue dollar, compared to the feds, who are now paying 34 cents. We are not suggesting that is the right thing to do, and neither are we trivializing our deficit. But we are saying what we have done is very manageable. It is very much in control, and from where we sit, very necessary.

I think it is also important to note that in last week's papers it was being suggested that the Tory deficit for this year, rather than being $30 billion, is now possibly going to be as high as $40 billion. This means the miscalculation by the feds is greater than our entire deficit. I would also point out that the projections so far made in our budget are almost dead on. Now it is still early in the game, and I acknowledge that, but they are accurate and they are dead on. I think that says a lot about who has a real good sense of fiscal management and who does not. Because it is the NDP, there is this sense that somehow it is disaster looming. We would argue quite the opposite.

In your presentation on page 1, it talks about tax increases only further reducing disposable income. The very first piece of legislation this government put forward in the Legislature was to prevent the provincial sales tax from being put on top of the GST. That kept a half-billion dollars in the pockets of consumers. It is a tax that we felt was not appropriate at a time of recession. So the case you are arguing is exactly what we did. Yet there are very few people who are acknowledging a tax move that benefited a lot of working people.

My question to you is in regard to the opposite approach that one would have to take if you did not go down the road we did. In other words, you would have to take the Mulroney-Wilson approach to budget setting and priority setting. Rather than, as Mr Carr has suggested, purchasing a home in Rosedale, the mortgage, quite frankly, was taken out to try and provide for affordable housing in many cases and to provide some basic needs and to put food on the table for an awful lot of people who are hurting very, very much through this recession.

I would ask you, what if we had gone the route that would have put us into a balanced budget and had looked at the necessary cuts and slashes, though there is not that much fat in the system, as much as some might like to argue? What would you say to the construction workers who still would not be employed as a result of the recession because there would not be the anti-recession money?

And to the employees who lost wages because the plant closed and their wages were not protected? And to the municipalities who told us, if they had not gotten the money from us that they did, property taxes -- an expensive item for small business -- would have gone up? And the disabled?

You mentioned the burden on future generations "which will affect significantly the social programs and other benefits," and then your last statement talks about "only if we could expect a little less today can we guarantee a bright future for our children tomorrow." We have disabled groups coming in and telling us they were told they had to wait in good times; now they are being told they have to wait in bad times. How do we answer those people if we are not there to help them now?

Mr Roberts: If I may, I want to address some of the comments you made and I will answer your question at the end. I am glad you were able to identify how many cents of each revenue dollar you are projecting will be going towards interest costs. It is interesting to know that 12 years ago Canada was only paying 12 cents of every revenue dollar towards interest costs too, but we have now tripled that in the intervening period.

Second, with regard to the miscalculations which the Conservative government has made, I am sitting here just optimistically hoping that your fiscal responsibility is correct, because indeed if you have erred at all in the calculations you have made and that $9.7-billion deficit is going to be tripled or doubled as a result of not having accurately forecast the revenues you are anticipating, then we are very deeply in trouble, and that 12 cents is going to be escalating as well.

With regard to your decision to add the PST before the GST, I thank you for that and I am sure a lot of consumers thank you for that as well. However, if we were to have embarked upon the road of harmonizing the collection of the PST with the GST, we would have probably seen both of them drop a point or two.

Finally, you asked what we are going to say to these construction workers, these employees who are looking for their wage protection, as well as the disabled groups. My question to you is, what are we going to say to those people in five years? What are we going to say to them in 10 years when we are spending 30 cents and 40 cents of each revenue dollar towards paying for the interest costs of the benefits we are giving to them today? That is the question.

I would like to spend every cent I make or even spend two or three times what I make, but what am I going to hand to my child in a generation from now? That is the problem. I am just asking you simply to look forward, look ahead. I am not stating that there are not certain social programs that you have --

The Chair: Your time has run out. I would like to thank you for appearing before the committee with your comments and presentation.



The Chair: Could we have the National Farmers Union, Mr Pearce. If you would identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard, you have one half-hour totally for your presentation and question and answer period.

Mr P. Pearce: My name is Perry Pearce. My assistant today is my wife. I think she handed out a rough outline of what we are going to speak on today. It will be quite brief. I guess I perform better in a question-and-answer atmosphere than by preaching. We will get started with the printed text.

As a farmer and a National Farmers Union member I thank you for this opportunity to voice our opinion. This is a situation seldom heard any more in this so-called democratic society. The NFU is an organization which represents farm families across Canada. Our policies address the means of becoming a viable sector in Canada and include long-term plans. As farmers we have been faced with many obstacles and, more recently, the free trade deal, GST and the recession. These obstacles have not only affected farmers but the average Canadian. We have all lost jobs and income.

As a taxpayer, I am pleased that the Ontario government has decided to address the problems of its citizens and the effects of the recession. We realized that a deficit was not a situation a new government wished to begin with and that tough decisions needed to be made. With regard to agriculture, it is encouraging to note that the initial allocation has been increased by about 14%. The provincial budget has recognized the urgent need at the farm gate and the importance of agriculture, which is the second-largest industry in Ontario.

The pre-budget announcement of the $50 million for the farm interest assistance program greatly assisted those in need. Historically, it has been a problem, with April-announced budgets, for the farm community to react in a situation where we have already spent possibly some of our money and are going to the field a week or two after the budget. So these pre-announcements were a real benefit. I really appreciate that.

The high interest rates which this program was directed at are the result of the federal Conservative agenda. This summer the FCC rates, which is the Farm Credit Corp, are 0.5% higher than bank rates. The bank rate on borrowed money has not followed the Bank of Canada's downturn in interest rates either. Therefore the province, in my opinion, is the only group with a clear plan to assist farmers with this problem. It will enable them to make projections for their farm cash flows. We hope the program continues until the province introduces a complete farm finance package for Ontario farm families.

With regard to the gross revenue insurance program -- or, as we call it in the industry, GRIP -- $40-million allocation, the NFU recognizes the tough decision which was made regarding this program. We did not agree with the federal agenda, the third line of defence proposed, as it still falls short and does not address the problem of stable and fair cost of production. Already other farm groups and commodity boards which agreed with the federal proposal are confused and have concerns that they may have been misled. This concern was previously pointed out by the NFU and recognized by the Ontario government. In the future, we believe this program must address the cost of production and may need stronger fund support. Having been forced into this program, we appreciate the Ontario budget allocation of $40 million pending a better program.

We understand the Ontario government currently has a task force on fair taxation. We applaud this move and hope they will recognize the unfairness of the farm tax reduction program. Ministers from several departments need to address the reason for this program and recognize that it is not a subsidy to the farmer but an unfair education tax which needs to come from somewhere else besides farm families' pockets and perhaps the Education ministry.

Research needs to be addressed by this government. When allocating funds, our ministers need to be concerned that our tax dollars are being used to enhance agriculture for grass-roots farm families and not for the benefit or profit of the corporate sector. We do strongly urge the need for more on-farm research without corporate intervention. The agricultural economy needs a rebuilding phase, and this should be emphasized. The environment has been given an overall budget increase as well and this is appreciated. Again, on the farm side, research has to be done on the farm so that as responsible farmers we can co-operate with any decisions or findings.

The NFU, which has been in existence as a national organization for 20 years, has much to offer this government and we hope that through co-operation we can work together to build a better Ontario.

Mr McLean: How would you like to see the farm tax rebate restructured?

Mr P. Pearce: Presently it is a burden on the people who own the land. Maybe that was fine when land owners were wealthy people of society, but it needs to come off the land and it needs to be a fair tax across the entire society. Whether it is eliminated completely, as an education tax on the land, and is moved to a different arena of assessment, whether it is on housing or whatever, I am not really sure, other than the fact that it is an unfair tax presently. I would like to see some different sectors of the government sit down and discuss where we can obtain this. I know it is a tough one to iron out.

Mrs J. Pearce: Maybe I can add a point. Right now we are having to fork out money which we do not have to pay this unfair land tax. What happens is it goes to the local government and then the provincial government, in turn, refunds it to us. There is just an unnecessary step there. It would be a great help if the government paid it directly to the municipality.

Mr McLean: The question I wanted to ask was, what is the policy of your organization with regard to the tax? Do you have a policy?

Mr P. Pearce: Yes.

Mr McLean: What is the policy?

Mr P. Pearce: It is an unfair tax. If you want to examine history, members of the National Farmers Union started this whole procedure because our membership refused to pay our tax at one time. We were threatened with jail terms because we were not going to pay our land tax, and the government of the day brought in the farm tax rebate, with a promise that it would reform it. That promise has been going on ever since. So I guess we have great hope that a new government may have new ideas on how to solve this problem instead of just postponing it.

Mr McLean: Thank you, but you have not answered my question. The question was, what policy does your organization have to restructure it?

Mr P. Pearce: What solution?

Mr McLean: Have you got a restructured policy? I am a farmer, so I know a little bit about it, but I do not know of anybody who has come forth with a policy. Do they want just to pay on their house? Do they just want to take the education tax off? Do they want to continue to pay in and get 75% back? Does your organization have a policy that would solve it? That is what I am asking.

Mr P. Pearce: The direct answer is no, because the minute you start changing it, it is going to be a burden to somebody else. We would like to consult all sectors, instead of just saying, "Well, look, I don't want to pay it; you pay it." That is not a very fair system. We would like to see it go through a consulting process. Whether this task force on fair taxation addresses it, I do not know. We will see in the results.

Mr McLean: There was a commitment made in the Agenda for People in regard to tax rebate for farmers. Have you seen that? The government would bring in a policy that would help small business, would help the farmers through these tough economic times with an interest rebate.

Mr P. Pearce: Have we seen the results of it? No.

Mr McLean: The other question I have is, the $97 million that was programmed to help crop subsidies, which was announced in June some time, I believe, what year is that for?

Mr P. Pearce: I am not sure because part of that is GRIP, which is 1992.

Mr McLean: That is right.

Mr P. Pearce: But there is talk of an initial payment in 1991, so to a certain extent we are robbing Peter to pay Paul under that scenario, which the farm community has trouble with because we are going to need that money in 1992 also.

Mr McLean: But we need it in 1991, and we are not getting it in 1991.

Mr P. Pearce: Yes.

Mr McLean: That is the problem.

Mr Carr: I noticed that pages 2 and 3 of the Agenda for People talked about relief for farmers. The relief for farmers that was promised last year during the election campaign has not come through -- the interest rates they promised at government borrowing rates and so on. As I look at the amount spent last year in terms of agriculture and food in absolute terms and the amount that has been spent this year, it is one of the few areas that has not had a big increase. I assume, then, that as a result of that you are not pleased with the amount that is being spent for farmers in this province. Is that correct?

Mr P. Pearce: We have mixed feelings. We greatly appreciate the interest reduction, but we also realize the problem is not a provincial-based problem. It is a problem of passing the buck under that scenario. The GRIP, once again, is a federal agenda that the province has been made part of. Yes, we would like a cash bail-out, but so would everybody else in Ontario who is having financial troubles. As farmers and as taxpayers, we realize that it is not an open chequebook, so we appreciate what we got. We would always like more, but the reality is, is it there?


Mr Sutherland: I was just wondering if you could give this committee a little sense of what the farmers are going through here in Essex and Kent county. There have been reports on the news, and certainly those of us who drove down here, even on the 401, could see how the corn crops, certainly on this side of Chatham, are very hard hit. Is the problem as severe here in Essex as well?

Mr P. Pearce: The Essex county region, I would say, is probably the hardest hit area of Ontario, maybe Canada, from what I hear. On my particular farm -- those who are familiar with farming practices can appreciate this -- I received an eight-inch rain at the end of May; seven and a half of it just washed right away and down the ditch and was gone, and it makes the soil about as hard as this floor; and then no rain until last week. There are some crops that should be destroyed because there is nothing there. There are crops that will be half a yield. Some of the irrigated crops may get close to being 80%, but the bills keep coming in.

We need this problem addressed. The farm community is in the process of discussion right now of how to address it, which avenue, which is healthy, because sometimes the farm community does not always get together and discuss these things. All I can say to this committee is that there will be something coming, a proposal from Essex county. Be open-minded with it and be quick about it. In the past, with the 1988 drought program, it was too little too late. By the time we received the money, we had already spent that money in interest for carrying the extra cost, so I would rather have $1 now than $5 next year.

Mr Sutherland: You mentioned the GRIP program. The sense we have been getting from some farmers and people there is that they are still going to remain open-minded, with a wait-and-see attitude on GRIP and the net income stabilization account; but what we need is some type of bridging until payments come on GRIP and NISA. Is that your sense of what needs to be done, or do you feel that GRIP and NISA are not going to work in the long run?

Mr P. Pearce: The National Farmers Union has serious concerns with GRIP, because it does not address cost of production. The way we like to think about it is as an open-ended subsidy, which is always a dangerous tactic, because if it is a healthy program today, do you increase production? And in the future it becomes an unhealthy program because it is just overloaded.

The GRIP program is written for 1992 as far as income coming back is concerned. So what do you do for 1990 and 1991? Right now I am living on the profits of 1990, which were very slim. The feds had claimed during the discussion that they would take care of us. Well, they are not, and that is a problem.

What the province can do, I have mixed feelings. Sure I would like a nice big cheque, but if you write a very rich program for 1991, that sort of belittles the GRIP program, because farmers will say, "Why should I join GRIP when these guys are going to bail me out anyway in tough times?"

Mrs Sullivan: I have just been reviewing the list of 15-year average prices for corn, soya beans and wheat. What we are looking at for corn, in 1991 dollars, the 15-year average price is $167. This year the price is estimated to be about $90. For soya beans, the 15-year average is $387 versus $207 for this year.

Mr P. Pearce: Yes.

Mrs Sullivan: Wheat, $202 versus $75 for this year. Given those pressures on your product prices, given the interest rate pressures and the requirements for capital expansion, whether it is for environmental matters where you have to put new capital investment into your operations or whether it is for other initiatives, do you not find it outstanding that the government has not yet turned and looked at the realities of farming right now and agreed already and given farmers an indication that there would be advanced interim payments coming forward to carry them through this fall?

Mr P. Pearce: The 15-year average prices I think barely meet cost of production. If you look around Ontario farms today, there are very few with new equipment, new paint and new toys in the machine shed. So obviously we are way below.

An interim payment would be nice. In fact, I think a lot of people are just simply accepting that it will be there, because if it is not, those GRIP cheques are going to bounce like rubber balloons, the ones that were issued post-dated for November 1. I hope this government hears me loud and clear on this point. Those cheques will not fly without an interim payment before then. That leaves us in a spot where in the first year the program is not going to work. Yes, we need an interim payment badly.

The problem is, if you structure that interim payment to borrow from 1992, what are you going to do in 1992? It is not a simple answer. If it was, I guess we would all be hollering for the same thing. Really, what we need is a flow of money to address the problem of 1990 and 1991 commodity prices, whether that is federal jurisdiction or provincial. I guess the NFU position is that much of it is federal jurisdiction where the federal government has done a very good job of washing its hands of responsibility for resource industries, whether it is farming, mining, forestry, whatever.

Mrs Sullivan: I think there is a substantial responsibility at the provincial level. The province has certainly signed to participate in the GRIP and the NISA programs for next year, not for this year. Many other provinces signed for this year. Producers could have paid in and received an output this year. But there are also other stabilization programs and there are other things that the province can do, including ensuring that the entire $50-million interest rate reduction is disbursed, including ensuring that the beginning farmer assistance program continues so the young farmers are not affected. They have cancelled that. I just --

Mr P. Pearce: If I may interrupt for a second, we were not extremely happy with the beginning farmer program.

Mrs Sullivan: A lot of people were not happy with it, but now it has been totally cancelled and that money is not going out to the farmers. It is not going back to young people who are starting out. There has been no indication that interim payments are going to come forward under grain stabilization plans. There has been no indication that the producer premium is going to be waived this year under Ontario programs.

Mr P. Pearce: The province has announced an interim payment under the provincial grain stabilization.

Mrs Sullivan: Not for this year.

Mr P. Pearce: Within a week, a week and a half ago. At least, I was notified of an interim payment and it has been in the farm papers about interim payment. I agree it does not amount to much, but at this stage I will take whatever cheque I can get. The problem we had with the beginning farm program was we were assisting young farmers to get in. In the meantime we were assisting farmers beside them to get out, existing farmers. It was a double standard.

Mr Kwinter: Throughout your presentation you talk about cost of production. How is that going to relate to things like GATT and free trade? Do you see that coming along as a problem?


Mr P. Pearce: No, I do not, because the Americans clearly do not see it as a problem.

Mr Kwinter: You mean they do not see it in doing it for their farmers?

Mr P. Pearce: Exactly. What is fair for them should be fair for us.

Mr Kwinter: And what about GATT?

Mr P. Pearce: Up until this morning I was not sure whether GATT was going to survive; and after this morning, with what is going on in Russia, I do not know where it is going, because the whole issue of GATT centres around the European common market. If eastern Europe opens up, does the European common market still need the so-called world trade, which really is US-based trade? Do they need it? I do not know. They may walk right away from the GATT table. In the meantime, we have sat here twiddling our thumbs worrying about GATT and have done very little. So I am very confused over GATT.

Mr McLean: I really appreciate your being here today. It is nice to have a point of view from the farm. It always bothered me that people are prepared to pay $150 a ton to get rid of their garbage and are hesitant to pay the farmer for what he produces and what he works for, and it always bugs me.

The Vice-Chair: We would like to thank you very much, Mr Pearce, and Mrs Pearce -- sorry, I did not catch your first name.

Mrs J. Pearce: Julie.

The Vice-Chair: -- for coming forward and making your presentation today. We will take a short recess before our next presentation.

The committee recessed at 1442.



The Chair: You will have 15 minutes for your presentation, and would you leave some time at the end of your presentation for a question-and-answer period?

Ms Rousseau: My name is Margaret Rousseau, and I welcome the legislative committee to Windsor. I am particularly pleased to be included as a speaker and I am delighted, as an employment equity activist, to be able to express my views on the Ontario budget. I would also like to thank the Conservative caucus for the number of letters that I received inviting me to speak today.

Mr B. Ward: What's this?

Ms Rousseau: I am very pleased to be doing that, and I thought I would just add that.

Mr Carr: We always want to hear from the people.

Ms Rousseau: The shape that my brief will take will be one of viewing this budget with respect to how women, visible minorities, aboriginal persons and the disabled have fared. The many problems faced by the groups I have mentioned are rooted in the historical discrimination that being a member of these four groups has engendered. The ongoing battle for fairness and equity has been lessened by a major victory. This victory was the election of a majority New Democratic government in Ontario. This was the beginning of many victories, from the fairness and equity expressed in the throne speech to the fairness and equity expressed in the government's first budget presented by the Honourable Floyd Laughren.

To term the throne speech and the first New Democratic budget victories, we must look at the battle as a whole. The present Tory federal government has waged a war of privatization, competitiveness, taxation, free trade and general budget chicanery, all of this at the expense of working people across this country. All of the provinces have been affected, none more severely than Ontario.

The federal Tories in the past nine years have committed a number of violations of the public trust. The Tory agenda as seen through the eyes of women, for example, has seen the Tories reneging on their promise for a national child care system; has witnessed the Tories regaling themselves for the half-cent reduction in the wage gap as a major victory; has seen thousands of women's jobs in the textile, electronics and food processing industries free-traded away. Women have witnessed the Tories' decrease in 1990-91: $1.6 million, a full 15% of the women's program budget of the Secretary of State of Canada. The previous year's budget, 1989-90, was cut 15.3%, to the tune of $2 million.

The Tory government illustrates its concern for 52% of the Canadian population with funding of a mere 75 cents per woman in moneys to be used for battered women's shelters, aboriginal women's centres and minority women's centres. Compare the total budget of the women's program spending with the $14.2 million spent promoting the universally reviled goods and services tax. An even better illustration of Tory concern for women's issues is to compare the $9.4-million budget to the Tory government's loan of $17 million for strip club development. That alone, simply put, shows the low regard the Tory caucus holds for women's issues.

The Tories' headlong pursuit of a trilateral free trade deal with Mexico is indicative of the corporate agenda of a corporate government, not a government concerned with its constituents.

We know that in a market economy resources are unequally distributed. We also know that it is the role of a responsible government to redistribute those resources to assist those less advantaged so that they may participate fully in society. The present federal government has shown no such responsibility. Through inflated interest rates, job losses due to the free trade deal, cutbacks to the Canada assistance program and a proposed freeze on established programs financing, the federal government has left the Ontario New Democrats no alternative but to bridge the gap created by the Tory made-in-Canada recession.

When one looks closely at how the Ontario budget is crafted, one cannot miss how fairness and equity is carefully threaded throughout its fabric. Beginning with the anti-recession plan, $700 million is being kept in circulation in Ontario by the creation and continuation of projects to keep Ontarians working. The creation of the $215-million social assistance reform package provides those hardest hit by the recession an opportunity to re-enter the workforce, increasing participation in the Ontario economy.

This budget provides tax relief for the poorest segment of Ontario's society through the Ontario tax reduction program. This will further raise the quality of life for the working poor, single-parent-led families, visible minorities and the disabled, those most affected by inequitable tax levies.

The budget provides $125 million to transfer agencies so that they may provide more equitable working environments for women through pay equity raises. This, along with the creation of 5,000 child care spaces, will allow more women and working-poor parents to continue to contribute to Ontario's economy. Add to this the $20 million, a full one-third increase in budgeting for women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, which signals clearly to myself and others the provincial government's concern for its constituents.

One must address the $72 million allocated for 1990-91 in answer to aboriginal Ontarians' demand for the equality formerly denied them. These moneys will be well spent to raise aboriginal people to their rightful place in this province. Add the $7.5 million proposed for the anti-racism strategy to be implemented province-wide. This campaign comes at a point most critical to Ontario's visible-minority citizens. History has shown that racism rises during times of recession, despite the federal government saying that times are improving for working people. When one totals up expenditures proposed, one is left to consider that, yes, the Ontario New Democrats are a responsible government in this market economy.

In conclusion, I thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to applaud the Ontario New Democrats for a courageous and humane budget. However, I would be remiss in not commenting on the roles of the opposition and third parties in the budgetary discussions. To the opposition and otherwise, the tactic of likening the macroeconomics of running a province to the microeconomics of running a household is one that wears poorly on the working people of Ontario. This scare tactic is not one of democratic truthfulness but smacks of autocratic zeal.

The courage and leadership shown by the provincial government in investing in all of its people, not just a select few, bodes well for the future of Ontario and of Canada. John Maynard Keynes, in the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, stated: "Of the maxims of orthodox finance, none surely is more antisocial than the fetish of liquidity. It forgets that there is no such thing as liquidity of investment for the community as a whole."

Mr B. Ward: Thank you for your presentation. Did I hear you say at the beginning that Mike Harris invited you to attend?

Ms Rousseau: He was one of the individuals. That letter I happen to have left in my file at work, but I have a letter here from Leo Jordan, MPP. He ends the letter: "Today the government agreed to have public hearings across the province. Please plan to attend the one in your area."

Mr B. Ward: I am sure they are appreciative of your presentation in support of the budget. My question is, we have had some concern from business people that they cannot absorb costs to remain competitive. How do you answer those people when the issues of employment equity and pay equity come into discussion and they feel those are costs they cannot absorb? How do you answer that?

Ms Rousseau: Very simply. I am faced with this quite often in my job when I have managers tell me, "This is awfully expensive." I think it is a time in this country when one has to consider that it is an awful shame that fairness has a cost. If it has a cost, that leads me to believe that perhaps that cost is incurred to ameliorate some past problem. Very often that is the way employment equity in this country has been dealt with. They have just simply thrown money at it, whereas in this province we have seen that employment equity legislation is proposed. There has been an equity commissioner appointed. We have seen those sorts of things speed up, so they are going to put some teeth in that, rather than just simply decide where corporations file what I refer to as a flight plan for the next three years in regard to equity.

Mr Carr: I talked this morning about a poll which asked people basically if they would like to see any new laws limiting the increase in government spending. During that poll they asked people who they voted for last time, the NDP, Conservatives or Liberals, and overwhelmingly, 80% of the people, said they would like to see some type of controls put in place.

You may have heard about some of the spending that has gone on -- $438,000 to send that one chap down to drug rehabilitation in the United States; the TVOntario chairman has nine TVs in his office, he has a chauffeur at $51,000; all these things that are coming out. Very specifically, do you feel there are any areas in the government where we can reduce spending, or do you believe the government, as we sit here today, is running efficiently?

Ms Rousseau: I can easily see one: these budget hearings at the Conservatives' insistence. I believe they are costing the province $250,000. That would have been a ready clip right there. Apart from that one, I would have to spend some time looking at it.

Mr Carr: I sit on the Sunday shopping committee going around the province. The Premier and the Solicitor General have said, "We are not changing anything anyway," and this budget probably will not change. I think I was there the day 4,000 people were yelling at Floyd Laughren on June 20 and he said, "We're not going to change it anyway." But at least the people will have had an opportunity. The clerk informs me we have more submissions to this hearing than we have to any others.

My next question would be this --

The Chair: I am sorry, Mr Carr, we have run out of time.



The Chair: Laura Moore, please. I guess we have your brief here. You will have 15 minutes for your total presentation. Try to keep some time at the end so each party has a chance to ask one question.

Ms Moore: The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 543, welcomes this opportunity to offer our comments on the provincial budget. It is encouraging to see that this government is putting forth a true effort to address the needs and concerns of the people of Ontario.

Our local union is comprised of four bargaining units and represents over 1,200 members employed in both the public sector and the private sector. Our largest unit is the city of Windsor municipal inside workers covering a wide range of jobs including clerical, technical, recreational, maintenance, health care, child care and social workers. We also represent workers of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, the Windsor Occupational Health Information Service and the ABC Day Nursery, which is the largest private day care centre in Windsor.

Due to the nature of our work, the vast majority of our members are women. Therefore, the focus of this brief will be on the effects of the provincial budget on the women of Ontario.

Ontario has been struggling through the current recession with enormous plant closures, bankruptcies, high interest rates, job loss and unemployment. The federal government has played a major role in the creation of this recession. The Canada-US free trade agreement is directly responsible for the loss of thousands of jobs, as plants and factories close their doors and relocate their businesses across the border. Despite the obvious damage to Canada's economy, the Mulroney government has failed to learn from its mistakes and is at it again, integrating Mexico into a free trade agreement.

The GST is yet another Tory-made factor in the current recession. Combined with the artificially high Canadian dollar, consumer spending power has been drastically reduced. The retail industry, especially in a border community such as Windsor, is suffering the consequences. Jobs are continuing to be lost daily with the ripple effects of permanent job loss devastating to the entire economy.

The recent Supreme Court ruling with respect to the 5% capping of the Canada assistance plan is yet another Tory attack on Canadians. Mulroney's deficit-reducing strategy is merely a pass-the-buck scam. The federal government stands to save over $2 billion a year while Ontario stands to lose $1 billion in 1991 and 1992.

Despite the actions of the federal government, the provincial government has not abandoned the people of Ontario. The Ontario government's courageous attempt to fight the recession with increased spending is applauded. Spending money now is critical to stimulating economic growth and is a positive step in the right direction. This budget clearly indicates the government of Ontario's intention to fight the recession head-on. The willingness of the government to accept a $9.7-billion deficit resulting from this budget is evidence of its courage and its conviction to protect the interests of working people and the majority of Ontario citizens in a time of economic hardship.

As a largely public sector union, CUPE Local 543 is pleased to note that the budget did not introduce any overt forms of public sector wage controls. In recent years, we have been barely maintaining our wage adjustments comparable to the rate of inflation. Year after year, little by little, we tend to lose purchasing power. Fiscal restraint should not be at the expense of public service workers and Ontario should be proud to be one of the few provinces in Canada not imposing cuts to the living standards of its employees.

As the majority of Local 543 members are women, we were particularly delighted with the program funding and initiatives announced in the budget pertaining to equality. Increased funding to address the issue of violence against women will enhance and expand the services and shelters available to women and children who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Improvements to the tax system will benefit low-income families, many of which have single mothers. The development of 35,000 units of co-operative and non-profit housing will provide affordable homes for families on low and moderate incomes.

Employment equity initiatives and the appointment of a commissioner to conduct consultations on proposed employment equity legislation is encouraging. We appreciate having been given the opportunity to have input on the development of this much-needed legislation.

When the Pay Equity Act was first introduced it excluded hundreds of thousands of women from the right to equal pay for work of equal value. With the proposed amendments to the act, 420,000 of those originally excluded will soon benefit from pay equity.

With the proposed amendments to the act, women in all-female workplaces will be able to use proxy comparisons or proportionate value comparison to achieve pay equity. What does this mean to our members locally? It means our undervalued day care workers at the ABC Day Nursery, which is an all-female workplace, will soon be able to use proxy comparisons to address the systemic discrimination their occupation has suffered from day one.

Although the proposed amendments are not yet law, we were successful in using the proportionate value comparison method for our female workers at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. During our recent negotiations it was argued by the employer that there were no pay inequities simply because there were no comparable male job classes. However, after the proposed amendments were introduced, we utilized its potential to convince our employer that the pay inequities must be addressed. We settled our pay equity plan using proportionate value comparisons within the bargaining unit, which resulted in 89% of our female members receiving wage increases ranging anywhere from nine cents to $4.79 an hour.

Although we were fortunate to achieve success using the proposed amendments as a bargaining tool, a draft bill must be brought forward immediately to address the hundreds of thousands of women still patiently waiting to receive the wages they deserve. This draft bill is critical to the women of this province and we cannot wait patiently much longer.

The $100 million allocated in the budget to assist public sector employers with the cost of pay equity adjustments will help to secure the jobs held by those women. The threat of contracting out our jobs to avoid paying our members what they are truly worth has become a very real threat. The funding will lighten the burden on municipalities and public sector employers but, more important, will provide a sense of security for women in the workplace.

The government should be commended for its commitment of funding for the Pay Equity Clinic, which will assist unorganized women in achieving their rights to pay equity. To ensure compliance with the act, the Equal Pay Coalition lobbied for enforcement improvements. A recent Globe and Mail advertisement for 13 pay equity review officers is proof that the provincial government is listening to the voices of the women of Ontario.

In conclusion, I would like to say that equal pay for work of equal value is a fundamental right that all women in all workplaces should be entitled to. The provincial budget commitments are exactly that -- commitments. It is obvious that this government is truly committed to equality by putting its money where its mouth is.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. In the province today, businesses, households, everybody is under pressure to do more with less and trying to be more efficient, to cut back here, to work in different areas. What do you say to those people in the private sector who say public sector employees should do their bit in terms of taking less in pay? What do you say to those people who are saying, "We have to take 3% this year," or the Algoma workers who have to take pay cuts? What do you say to those people who are saying, "Why can't the public service do it?"

Ms Moore: I say to them that the bag of milk they pay $2.99 for at A&P is the same bag of milk we have to pay $2.99 for. If it is costing them that much and it is costing us that much, then we must maintain the same rate of inflation to survive. I do not believe public service employees should have to carry the burden of a recession strictly because we work for the public.


Mr Carr: I guess some people would say if we did not spend as much money, for example, on the public service increases we might be able to offer tax relief to seniors, single women or whatever. It is not as if that money gets turned back. In these times people are saying obviously the goal of every union is to try to get more for their workers, but in this day and age the money saved could be put back to help those who are less fortunate. You do not see that as being an area we could have looked at, taken the $1 billion and frozen it or even put it at 2% for the Ontario public service, and then given that $1 billion back to some of these disadvantaged, to help the Algomas? You do not see that as being an option they could have looked at?

Ms Moore: No, I do not believe the option should at any time be on the backs of public service workers. I believe we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other worker and we should not expect private sector workers to take cuts in their salaries for us to be able to afford a brand new car, for instance. I do not think it should be expected of any worker to suffer in the time of a recession, or at any time for that matter.

Mr Sutherland: I notice your local represents a lot of municipal employees, day care workers and most of the city of Windsor employees. I am wondering what you feel the impact would have been on your membership if the government had decided to provide a 0% increase in transfer payments to the municipalities, and more specifically to the municipality of Windsor?

Ms Moore: Most definitely that would have meant major job losses for Local 543. We went through a very gruelling budget session with our local council in April and part of that was because of the increased costs of social services and welfare. It was the first time we realized that our jobs were at stake because of the lack of funding coming down from the federal government and the provincial government. Had we not received the moneys, we would have had some major job losses in the public sector which in essence would hurt the entire community of Windsor.

Mr Sutherland: Were there any job losses as a result of the final budgeting process?

Ms Moore: We lost no full-time positions, but we had some major cutbacks in what we would consider to be seasonable help. Because of that, the city has become less -- how do I say it -- the quality of the upkeep of the city has dwindled.


The Chair: The next group is the Third World Resource Centre. For the purposes of Hansard, would you please identify yourselves? You have 15 minutes.

Mr Dei: My name is George Dei and I represent the Third World Resource Centre, but I am also here as an academic, a concerned citizen and obviously as a person of colour.

Mr Handsor: My name is Warren Handsor. I am with Windsor West Citizens' Organization. George and I came up today together. I will be speaking right after George.

Mr Dei: I am not an economist and I would like to leave the figures and statistics to my friend. Actually, without any stretch of the imagination, I think what we see here in this budget is an attempt to make some rare increases in government spending to back up a commitment to a fair and just society. As a critical social scientist -- I am also a sociologist and anthropologist -- I am particularly concerned with the social issues and implications of poverty. I think it is very refreshing to note that we see a provincial budget that does not attempt to blame the poor for their problems as if poverty is an independent variable.

Obviously, in the midst of the worst recession in 50 years, what you see here is a government that is trying to fight the recession, rather than fight the deficit, through things like the increases in social spending and the attempt to minimize some of the tax burden for the poor. We can read into this an attempt by the government actually to know that the poor are the hardest hit in terms of economic recession. To me it makes no sense, really, trying to fight a recession or the deficit on the backs of the poor.

There are a number of studies which have been conducted in our country which basically point to the fact that our society would like to see some more spending in the area of education. I am more interested in talking about the question of pay, employment equity in education, and also the question of education as a stability in some of our post-secondary institutions.

A recent study which was done by OISE, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, made the point that Canadians would like to see some increased spending in education at all levels -- secondary, post-secondary, community and so forth -- and I think there should be an attempt to make these increases very real so as to benefit those who are the hardest hit in our community. Sometimes we hear, "Where are we to find all these increases?" I would say that, in finding these increases, there must be a fair distribution of resources and also an attempt must be made to trim some of the fringe benefits of the most powerful of our society rather than try to fight or make some increases on the backs of the poor who, incidentally, are the hardest hit by some of these unfortunate situations.

To focus on the question of education and the budget as it affects somebody like a person of colour, in the question of employment equity and education: We have seen over the years that some colleagues, especially some of the minority colleagues, have been leaving and going across the border because there has been no attempt made to get them into the system. What we see here in this budget is an attempt to remove some of the systemic barriers in the three areas of recruitment, retention and promotion of minorities into the educational system.

In the past, basically we had the focus on recruitment. You get people recruited into the system. Sometimes they hold one- or two-year positions, on contract basis, and then they have to leave. I think this is beginning to change. I have been teaching at the University of Windsor for the past three years, on contract. Unfortunately, I did not get a tenured job at the University of Toronto this year. My situation is not unique. It has been the story of most minorities I have come into contact with. Sometimes we are employed on contract basis just to hold positions for a year and then we have to be let loose, without any attempt made to retain us into the system.

What is happening with the affirmative action programs which have been initiated because of the budget increases is helping not only minorities, in terms of visible minorities, but also women. I work at the University of Windsor. We do have women who are entering the university and faculties and this is a good sign not only for the stability of this country, but also in terms of questions of race relations. I teach students at university who come up to me after lectures and tell me, "George, you don't know how happy we are to see a face like yours here," and I think this is something we cannot dismiss. People are really asking for some measures to be taken to become part of the system, not only to be empowered, but to feel they are part of the system and not to be alienated in terms of their working or the financing of the system.

The question of education as a stability: I think what we see also in this budget is an attempt to open new doors for minorities by addressing some of the issues and concerns in the area of education. I think there is a recent surge in the area of anti-racist education, and if you look at some of the campuses, universities and colleges, there has been an attempt made to create these anti-racist education positions, and the attempt here is basically to address some of the issues which have to do with race and racism in education. I mentioned the position I have just got at the University of Toronto, which is basically in the area of anti-racist education. There is no doubt that this has come because of the funding provided by the government in order to promote these areas in our educational system.

The main point I want to stress is that when we talk of the poor and the problems of the poor, I think there is no room for any partisan discourse or debate in terms of providing money for the poor or improving upon the predicament of the poor. It makes no sense to me, really, in a recession, to attempt to change social assistance. I think, given the finding that the poor are the hardest hit by a recession, the attempt should be made really to make significant increases -- not only in giving them tax breaks, but also providing programs and structures which will make them feel they are part and parcel of the system we are all part of.


I would like to conclude with a couple of things I think maybe can still addressed in future discourses. First, I think we all recognize a need to ensure that the minority populations we have are not marginalized in the system. But it raises a challenge, and that is, how do we ensure diversity in our schools at the same time when we have cutbacks on the part of the government? You cannot have diversity and cutbacks at the same time. If you are very sincere about promoting diversity on the campuses and in the colleges, then I think there must be increased funding. There must be a way to find the funds to provide for the diversity.

Last, I think strategies also must be in place to encourage educational funding from the private sector. The private sector tends to benefit from educated graduates, and the government must try to come to some sort of agreement with the private sector to make them contribute fairly in sharing some of the burden. I do not see any attempt being made to address the question of high dropout rates in our schools. We do not know anything about the problems in the high schools. It is just happening in the universities. In the second year some of the students drop out. The reason they drop out is not because they do not like school; it is because they feel very alienated in the system. There are no strategies in place to make them part and parcel of the system. I think we need to address these issues. Thank you for inviting me here.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation. I have concerns that I have heard from the average working people, of families that are out there. I think in this day and age people know that deficits are tied to taxes, and we all know we are in the most heavily taxed province in all of Canada. One of the concerns people have is that when they see these large deficits, they say, "I know it not only means there's not going to be any opportunity for tax relief, but there also will probably be increases." I am talking now about the average person. Hopefully there will be the programs to help some of the poor and the seniors and so on, but the average man or woman working out there is saying, "Aha, all this deficit means is that somewhere down the road I'm going to pay higher taxes and I'm going to be the one to get it." What do you say to those people who are fearful about tax increases as a result?

Mr Dei: Yes, I think we need to give the appearance that the success of this country really depends on our stability. I think our country needs to be stable. To get that stability, it may come to a point where there has to be an attempt made to make certain increases. Whether it is in the form of taxes, my only objection, really, is that the tax has to be very fair and that those who can afford, those who have the means or those who benefit the most from the system are made to contribute their fair share.

Mr Lessard: You seem to focus a great deal of your presentation on education. That is an area where there have been some increases reflected in this budget. However, there is some criticism saying, "How do you measure the payback on these increased contributions to education?" Even if we do get a payback, it is going to be so long-term that maybe we should take a second look at those sorts of expenditures. Could you address that concern?

Mr Dei: I think the question of payback in education is something you cannot measure in the short term, as is rightly pointed out. I think those who raise that objection do so because they want to see what we call quick-fix solutions. Like I said, I think education provides many benefits to our society. Whether we are administrators, educators, workers or single mothers or parents, we need to get the message across that we cannot measure the success or benefits of education in terms of just dollars and cents or what we see before us. It needs to take time to mature. It needs to take time to let yourself be first throughout the system. We need to get this message across to people.

When the public gets this message, it likes to respond. Like I said in my presentation, more and more studies are showing that people are prepared to pay for education. They have some question as to where the money is going and whether the money is going to the right people, the people who need the money the most.

Mr Sutherland: There not being a lot of tenured positions available is pretty commonplace in the post-secondary education system, but I think it brings up another important point in terms of how employment equity really is tied into a healthy economy. It is only in a healthy economy where you have people changing jobs a great deal and where you can start to make your workplaces more reflective of your community. Particularly when you are talking about the public sector, of course, we need a healthy economy so we can have more resources to have some more tenured positions coming in. That is going to be our real challenge in the next few years. We will have legislation, but in order to make it work effectively we have to get the economy going so positions are opening up all the time.


Mr Handsor: Members of the finance review committee, I would like to thank you for inviting me to speak today on the government's 1991 budget on behalf of the economically disadvantaged in Windsor, as the budget relates to them.

It is my intention to highlight a few of the items within the budget, namely housing, employment equity and the social services review reforms. I would like to point out that although I will only be focusing on these three specific areas within the budget, it is very clear that the budget, like all budgets, provincial and federal, has an impact on every one of us. If only we can make aware that segment of the population that is only too often left in silence, whether it is because of race, gender, physical disability, place of origin or socioeconomic disposition, that political leverage wills economic leverage within our society and that you must draw from your peers to stake out your rightful position within society where, in the process of change, greater equity is achieved for all of society.

The allocations in the budget in regard to housing, employment equity and social services reforms are provided to bring about greater equity to visible minorities, where the taxpayer is asked to view these expenditures as an investment in the economic growth of Ontario. The minister responsible for the budget, in his opening remarks on greater equity, states, "Our social programs help give people the confidence to meet the challenges of economic change and participate fully in our economy."

Throughout my argument in support of the expenditures allocated to these three areas, I will be attempting to point out that there are real needs for these particular expenditures. However, unless in the delivery of those social programs efforts are made to contract and empower that segment of the population the government hopes to affect, then it would be unrealistic for the government to expect taxpayers to perceive those expenditures as an investment. Within the process of producing the social goods and services, that same segment of the population is not made responsible for value added to that product. In my support for expenditures in these particular areas there did not appear to be any real commitment to developing concrete linkages between the various ministries and the social agencies where their primary responsibility is delivery in order to avoid duplication of services.

I also have some difficulty with the notion that government on one hand is recognizing the importance to merge social and economic policy, but in retrospect does very little in terms of these expenditures to begin a process of consultation with the private sector to develop new and innovative ways to improve the social welfare system in Ontario to make it economically sound and viable.

The first item I would like to look at is affordable housing. As a community worker and advocate for decent and affordable housing, this is welcome news for the many families who find themselves having to live in substandard housing where they have conditions of overcrowding and poor services in the private sector. This is particularly true for single dwellers who find themselves locked out of the private housing market due to high rents and discriminatory practices where alternatively they are having to turn to motels, boarding houses and in some cases rest homes to meet their daily shelter needs.


I think it is fair to say that Windsor is beginning to see an affordable housing market develop as a result of the progressive housing strategy that has taken place in the province over the last few years. But there is still an inadequacy in the supply, and the level of need is still there. I think we need to move in that direction. We are making good progress in that area.

However, I do feel that as a result of the increase in the number of units being built, there seem to be more adequate regulatory procedures that should be adopted, such as a consolidated waiting list. We know there is a need out there but we want to make sure we know who are the people who are looking for housing. A consolidated list means that when non-profits put their housing up, or co-ops, and we are subsidizing that housing, we do not have person number one on two different lists. We want to consolidate those lists so that the system becomes a lot more efficient and we are able to identify who the homeless are or who are those who are really in need of housing.

That is one thing I certainly would like to see come in. I know the previous government was looking at bringing in a consolidated waiting list. We in Windsor are still waiting for that consolidated list to happen. I think it is long overdue.

Another sector of the social housing program which is beginning to get some attention, but certainly not enough when you consider the amount of dollars being put in the system annually, is the current state of the public housing stock. I have been involved with CMHC in the consultation process when it was beginning to review the public housing stock within the province. We need to see some real changes there. We are talking, on one hand, of building more social housing, but we have major problems in one segment of that social housing, which is public housing, and the problems have not been addressed. We really need to begin to address those problems.

There are a lot of things you can do with that particular housing stock. One of the ideas tossed around is that maybe the government should look at turning the property over to non-profits and co-ops. We are not getting enough action out of the federal government or the provincial government in this matter.

Where I live, which is the west side of Windsor, I am involved in the redevelopment of a particular project. We seem to be pushing residents to deal with just the physical aspect of that project and not with the social and the other problems that are very inherent within it. This housing is all geared to income. There is no mixing whatsoever. There are some real problems. The residents in that area are very much up to the challenge of addressing that problem, yet it has fallen on deaf ears because all they want us to deal with is the physical. If you are going to deal with the physical, you might just as well go ahead and make the decision on your own and forget about consulting with the people who live there.

I also remember in the last government the honourable John Sweeney, when he was the Minister of Housing, had strong feelings that we begin looking at home ownership rather than just looking at subsidized housing. I strongly support that. I think we should begin to look at more home ownership, whether through co-ops or through looking at how we can make housing more affordable so people can own homes, especially for the working poor who have no vision of ever owning a home. We should seriously look at that.

CMHC is also looking at the possibility of decreasing the down payment. Where we are now at 90% financing, we may go to 95%. I think that is a move in the right direction so that we can get people into owning their own home. In that respect, they are seriously looking at home ownership for the working poor as a viable option to subsidized housing.

Another point I would like to make is with respect to employment equity. Visible minorities require real job opportunities that pay decent wages and provide a greater degree of job security in the primary labour market in both the private and public sector. Many of the target groups are underemployed in secondary services and manufacturing industries which have very low standards and poor wages.

In the public sector it is very difficult to break in at the entry level due to restrictive recruitment policies and procedures. You find yourself applying for an entry-level position and waiting two to three months for a first interview at which time, if you are lucky, you are placed in a pool or short-listed, and then it could take one to two years before you ever get called. At that point, you would have to determine whether it would be worth the risk of leaving your current position regardless of the working conditions you are in when you know full well that your government position may only be part-time or temporary at best.

Many people are frustrated with the public service hiring and recruitment procedures. The employment of a commissioner to review and make recommendations is long overdue and will be welcomed by all of us who have had similar experiences with the system.

I would like to speak a little bit on the social assistance reforms, where $250 million is going to be put into that system. Before I begin to comment, though, on the social assistance review measures that the government intends to implement based on the Transitions recommendations coming out of the Thomson report back in 1988, I would like to take a moment just to congratulate the advisory group on new social assistance legislation for its report Back on Track. I was very much impressed with the report and the actions taken to get the recommendations made in the Transitions report up and moving. I further recommend it for reading to anyone who feels that our welfare system needs an overhaul.

I would also like to add that after all my years of having to rely on the welfare system, and in later years working with the staff of the Ministry of Community and Social Services office here in Windsor, I can tell you that they work under a great deal of stress. They have very difficult time lines they are trying to meet and extreme pressure from within and outside the bureaucracy. Given that, it still remains one of the most pleasant and caring ministries in its work that I have ever come across.

I would like to address the issue of delivery of service. There are several actions being recommended by the advisory group, from setting up pilot projects in self-declaration of individual need to the direct deposit of benefits into a bank account for the client. There are too many issues here to go into at great length, but it is worth pointing out that all the actions being recommended are designed in such a way as to provide greater self-worth for the client and to make the system more time-saving and efficient. In this way less time is spent on the eligibility question and more time is spent in getting the client job-ready, equipping the client with adequate skills and training in order to re-enter the labour market. The one concern I would have is the way we attempt to purchase jobs through short-term contracts where after six months to a year on the job the client ends up back on the welfare system.

The other issue is the issue of empowerment. One of the key recommendations under the issue of empowerment of welfare recipients is setting up a council of consumers and the establishment of self-help groups. It is my view that these two recommendations are fundamental to the reform of the social welfare system as we know it today. I certainly share the view of the advisory group when it says, "People who are receiving social assistance...and those who have received it in the past have a special perspective on the system." The council of consumers would function in an advisory capacity to the provincial government.

The funding of neighbourhood self-help groups is a long time coming. There are several local groups in Windsor, such as the Windsor West Citizens' Organization, which work in promoting community and creating self-worth among those people through greater participation. The supports to employment program is a very good program. Many people who are on assistance are getting involved in STEP. It is beginning to work. People are talking about it. It is very positive and that is one of the key work incentives being highlighted in the Back on Track program. Thank you.

Mr Lessard: Thank you very much, Mr Handsor, for your presentation. You certainly touched on a broad range of issues in your presentation. I just want to focus on one area, with respect to the Social Assistance Review Committee reform recommendations. We have heard a lot of criticism with respect to the budget and our policies generally, especially from Diane Francis, who writes for the Financial Post. I am sure you are probably familiar with some of the things she had to say with respect to social assistance benefits in Ontario. Her arguments are that we need to tighten it up, that it is too easy to get social assistance: Why work unless you can make over a certain amount of money, the system is rife with fraud and we really need to make some changes because people are taking advantage of it. You seem to have a good sense of the social assistance system. What is your sense of it? Do you think there are a lot of people who are ripping off the system and that we need to make some drastic changes?

Mr Handsor: I do not think there are any more people ripping off that system than those ripping off the tax system when you pay your income tax, or the banking system, the political system or any other system. I am sure there are, and I do not think they should be targeting in on the welfare system as a place where people are ripping off. I do not see that as a major concern.


Ms M. Ward: I just wondered about your organization. Obviously you are involved in advocacy work and so on. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about your organization.

Mr Handsor: We certainly work a lot with people on assistance and the working poor. We work on a lot of initiatives in getting people to build a lot of self-confidence within themselves. We also look at the various services that people have access to and, if those services are not there, we try to make those services available for our membership. Most people who are within our organization are poor people -- working people on assistance, people with disabilities, black, you name it. There are a lot of landed immigrants within our organization. We work together trying to resolve some of the problems we have, trying to work on some new initiatives so that we can maybe look at possibly enterprising types of situations where they can get involved and become a lot more assertive about who they are. Certainly, the majority of our membership comes from public housing and we are always dabbling in the concerns with respect to housing and how we can make that system a lot better.

Ms M. Ward: And the people themselves on these social services are actively involved.

Mr Handsor: Certainly, yes.

Ms M. Ward: That is very encouraging.

Mr B. Ward: I have a quick question on your views on housing and the availability of home ownership for lower-income people. You stated that the ability for them to purchase a home should be examined by all levels of government, I am assuming. Was that intention meant for existing public housing stock or were you looking at new homes, new housing construction to be made available as much as possible, or a combination of both?

Mr Handsor: I think a combination would be great. There is a lot of stock, the stock is there, and they are really looking at ways to make that system work. That housing was built back when they were building massive housing and just putting it there. Communities evolve out of that particular stock and you have to really begin to redesign how those communities operate. You seriously should be looking at that stock, but it also requires some combination with some new stock as well. A combination of both would be great, but I think seriously looking at that stock needs to be addressed and needs to be addressed now. With our project here in Windsor, we are still waiting to hear back from CMHC as to whether or not it is going to come on stream and get involved with that process. We need CMHC. They certainly are, as you know, owners of that property as well, with the province, and all the responsibility should not be on the province.

Mrs Sullivan: I was very interested in your presentation. You had some very interesting points to make and I think many of them made us think about agencies operating in our own communities that are facing similar problems and have reached similar conclusions. I am interested in looking at the social assistance dollar figures. Over the past, I think, three years they have quadrupled. In the past two years they have gone from $2.5 billion to $5 billion. Is there a better way? Would a guaranteed annual income be a better way?

Mr Handsor: I am not sure. I will be quite honest with you. I do not know at this point whether I can answer your question. I know the system is getting costly and I think we need to do some serious reviewing of that system and look at some alternatives. So a guaranteed income could be one of the other possible alternatives that we should be looking at, but at this point I could not give you a yes or no.

Mrs Sullivan: Are you seeing STEP kicking in at all in your area?

Mr Handsor: Certainly.

Mrs Sullivan: Could you describe whether that is working.

Mr Handsor: It is working because a lot of people are getting into STEP. You see the numbers; the percentages are going up. I know just from my own personal experience when I came on to STEP, when I was on assistance, my benefits cut in half to where eventually they were not there any more. A lot of people are getting into that program; it is very beneficial. What is nice about it is that a lot of social agencies are bringing a lot of people on to STEP and they are finding good, solid jobs. So, it is working; STEP is a very good program.

Mrs Sullivan: How are you finding the availability of training for people who are entering STEP?

Mr Handsor: I am not seeing much training other than through the colleges and universities. Many of the people who are going into STEP, you understand, have a level of high school education, some of them post-secondary. In terms of education and training, many of them have chosen to go back to school, get some upgrading and do some training through the universities and colleges, and then they are able to get into STEP.

As for any direct training going on, I am not sure of any really progressive training taking place in the social services other than maybe some work activity programs; and you are getting some semi-skills there, which are working pretty good. But I think the real impact is when the recipient himself takes on that responsibility. I can tell you it is wrong for anyone to think that is not possible. Many of them are taking the responsibility very seriously, and they have similar concerns to most Canadians.

Mrs Sullivan: Your comments on public housing, I thought, were very interesting. Certainly in my community we see people who are involved in public housing for a short or for a longer period of time now, because of some enlightened management, who are becoming involved with the management of the projects themselves and with community organizations that are tackling not only the financial side but also the social side of public housing developments. Do you have any of that happening here?

Mr Handsor: Right now we are in the process, as I said. The local housing authorities are beginning to look seriously at residents and tenants -- we like to consider ourselves as residents -- at what type of involvement they had. But we have not had anything concrete in terms of management. If I am answering your question correctly, there is nothing concrete yet. We are working in consultation, but it seems that every time we start dealing with the more social and management issues we are sidetracked and we are asked to pull back and just get into the physical. So, there is some resistance there to allowing tenants to get too involved, which I find very discouraging because I think that is where the real solutions lie, with the residents.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for the fine presentation. One of the concerns that has been voiced with regard to housing is that for a variety of reasons over the last little while the private sector has been pushed out of housing, and as a result the government has had to jump in. If you look at the amount that is spent on housing, that is one of the big increases and why some of the deficits have risen, because the private sector has jumped out. People need homes, so the government jumped in.

When you look at it on a per-unit basis, the cost of so-called non-profit housing is virtually double what it is when the private sector puts them in. I was just wondering how you see us controlling costs in the non-profit housing area. Any suggestions that you can see in that area?

Mr Handsor: If you are talking about construction costs, I certainly could not answer that. I think the real cost saving you are going to see is in maintenance of the nonprofit co-ops and any kind of housing. I think you can see some real savings if you involve the residents living in the areas. These people are very capable of taking care of their own properties. I think the philosophy behind the co-ops is certainly that. They are seeing a cost saving in terms of maintenance and management with respect to working to keep costs down. I think we are seeing that being done in the co-ops and non-profits.


Mr Carr: I was talking about the actual building costs, but another area that is of concern, of course, is the dramatic increase in the social assistance cost. A lot of people, after the last recession, thought we would see it go down as the economy picked up, because I think from 1985 all the way through to this current recession, Canada had the strongest growth of all the industrialized nations with the exception of Japan. So the figuring was that we would see a decrease in social assistance. That did not happen. In fact, what happened is it stayed the same and there is more coming in.

There is a strong feeling that what you have to do to get people off social assistance is give them the training and retraining and apprenticeship programs. I think you said that is what most people want. I think everybody believes that, and most people when you talk to them they say, "We do not want social assistance, because even on that I cannot survive with my two kids," or whatever it may be. "I want to have a productive, high-paying job, but I do not have the skills" for whatever reason.

My feeling is that what this government has to do in the long term is really put an emphasis on education and retraining. My personal feeling is that the skills we give people will in the future be in direct proportion to the standard of living we have, if we give them good skills now. Wayne, I think, has just been promoted to parliamentary assistant for colleges and universities and has a vested interest. I was wondering if you could see a better way of making sure that we give the people, first of all, the training they want, the training they need that will then get them off social assistance, which is what they want. Are there any hard, concrete steps that you can see the government implementing to help do that?

Mr Handsor: Again, I am speaking in very general terms, but I think they talked about empowerment, and I talked about empowerment, I talked about contracting. It is very important that you determine what people's needs are in terms of what they see they need. Once they can identify with what the skills are that they want, there is a matching process that has to work, too, and I also think that we need to work stronger, better with the private sector. I think we need more of that. We need matching up a lot better, we need to identify. If we are talking about economic growth, we have to look at really early indicators, and say: "Well, that's where the skills should be going. These are the industries that are opening up. These are the growth industries."

You could start acquiring some of these skills, then we could start looking at moving into those industries rather than wasting your time on skills that would become redundant two or three years down the road. I think we just have to work closely together with the private sector and look at ways of identifying those growth industries and where the jobs are going to be. I think that will certainly help in that respect.

Mr Carr: Some of the people in my region say that the ideal situation was where you would go into somebody's home, sit down with them and assess their needs, look at whether they needed life-training skills, all the skills that were necessary. They say to me now that they are a little bit concerned because, of course, they are not doing the in-home visits. We put these programs in place but the numbers are such that they cannot do it. It is great in theory but now they are cutting off one of the sources where they would take the time for these in-home visits. It is a nice philosophy, but the reality on the front lines is that it is not happening; too many people are just getting a quick runthrough; they are getting the money and pushing them out.

Like most MPPs, during this period when I have tried to call the Halton region, I have found we are getting calls in our offices because people cannot get through. I mean, they are that backed up. I see that in the long term we really have not done anything. That is why we need the co-operation of people like you who can say, "This is what needs to be done," because quite frankly what they are saying is that by taking away home visits they do not get the time to spend that they need to really assess. Maybe you could just comment.

Mr Handsor: There seems to be some misinterpretation of home visits. First, you have income maintenance workers. They do home visits. They do not spend the time. They are in there to deal with the eligibility question. I think some of the recommendations that are made in Back on Track talk about speeding up the qualification part of it, and dealing with the skills and the real development of that individual. More focus is done on that, and it should not be the same person. I know from Transitions and the SARC report they talked about that. But I think you are going to find a lot of innovative ways on how you can get around a lot of those home visits which do different things to different people.


The Chair: We will now move on to the CAW Community Development Group, Marcel Lefebvre, executive director. You have 15 minutes for your presentation.

Mr Lefebvre: My name is Marcel Lefebvre. I would like to thank this committee for the opportunity to present the views of the organization which I belong to. I know it has been a long day and hopefully the information I give you will cut down the time as much as possible.

I am here representing the CAW Community Development Group. We are a non-profit resource group working with the government and private industry to provide safe, affordable rental housing communities for the people of this province. Our organization has been developing housing for the people in Ontario for the last five years. At the end of this year we will have constructed over 500 nonprofit and co-operative housing units across this province. We will have completed over 1,000 units by the end of 1992 and at least 1,500 units by the end of 1993.

As you can see, the majority of our development work and expansion of our resource group began under the previous provincial government; and fortunately for the people of Ontario it is being continued by the current government. The CAW Community Development Group is a member of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, of which I am the president, the Co-operative Housing Association of Ontario and the Ontario Nonprofit Housing Association. We have two branch offices which are located in Mississauga and Windsor.

The recent state of housing report demonstrated that the need for affordable housing has increased over the past decade. There are currently over 100,000 households on waiting lists for non-profit and co-operative housing. The report established that there are over 477,000 Ontario households in need of affordable rental housing. This only includes households that are currently paying in excess of 30% of their income towards rent. We see no reason for this trend to change unless drastic measures are taken.

Many communities like Windsor have been extremely hard hit with layoffs and plant closures. As a result, it is increasingly more difficult for people in this community to afford decent accommodation in the community in which they live. Our organization alone has waiting lists of 2,341 people for the county of Essex and 433 units for the Chatham area. These include singles, families and seniors seeking affordable housing.

We understand that most government sectors are requesting continued or increased funding. However, it must be understood that affordable housing is a basic need required by all people of Ontario, a basic need which is being threatened. If we wish to see our economy get back on its feet, people need the security of an affordable home environment from which to operate.

Due to this government's commitment to housing, the Homes Now program and the deadlines established during the previous government have been extended, and we will be able to construct the following units over the next year: Ser-Rise, 50 units for singles; John Moynahan co-op, 66 units for families; Ryegate co-op, which is in the town of Tecumseh, 50 units; Mariner's in Leamington, 50 units; Labourview in Chatham, 45 units; Union Village in Brampton, 137 units; Dan Benedict co-op in Mississauga, 147 units; Oaklands in the town of Oakville, 137 units; Glen Oaks co-op, 140 units in Oakville; and 37 units in Barrie.

This government has also made a commitment to build 10,000 new units per year across Ontario. This will greatly benefit all communities as they struggle in these hard times. Please note that even this amount of units will not solve the drastic need before us, but it is a positive start. It clearly demonstrates the current government's appreciation of this problem in our changing economy.

As an aside, I would like to mention the indirect benefit to the construction industry of over 22,000-plus person-years of employment which will be created by this new housing program. We support the current government's position that building housing and increasing work to the construction industry will help Ontario get out of this recession. Our resource group alone will have created more than 3,700 person-years of employment between 1986 and 1993.

As the president of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, I have seen clearly the federal government's position on housing. I would like to speak briefly to the problems arising on the national scene with respect to housing and how it affects us here in Ontario.


Since 1986, the federal government has been backing out of housing, announcing, as an example, 5,000 co-op units per year in 1986, and this year only 1,500 units across the country. They also have reduced their commitment to the federal-provincial program by 30% in the last two years. It is easy to see by this that the federal government is leaving the responsibility for housing up to the provinces. Ontario has understood this challenge and has increased its commitment to housing.

Another victim of decreased or sporadic unit allocation by the federal government is the collapse of the resource group network across the country. Without consistent allocation or funding, many resource groups have ceased to exist. The impact of job loss on local communities is only one of the many consequences, for it takes years to set up the proper infrastructure necessary to build quality affordable housing. If the resource groups have to re-establish themselves, many smaller communities will suffer, even if new programs are announced.

The Ontario government has demonstrated its commitment during these difficult times and, as a direct result, a system will be in place to deliver new programs and build housing as our economy improves.

I just want to say -- and I know it is not in the points you have here, but I tried to write it down because people asked for it so that you would have research -- that I am very proud to be living in Ontario. Being the president of a national organization, when I see that in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and so on they get four units of non-profit housing for a whole year, it really makes you feel that we put a human touch into it. I could not put that in the words that I wanted to say. A month ago I was in Newfoundland and I saw these people really having a need. Seeing what we are doing in Ontario -- never mind the jobs, never mind all those other things that we are all here to talk about, but talk about human beings and not numbers and you start seeing that the things we are doing in Ontario are the right direction.

I know some of the questions you will ask and I will try to answer them as honestly as I can. But think of people who really do not have any place to stay. That is the really important part. I could have spoken about many other issues, being on municipal council, but I did not want to do that.

I would like to close by stating that our organization is in full support of the current provincial government's budget. We feel that their commitment to the people of Ontario, in particular to developing affordable rental housing, will only serve to strengthen our economy over the coming year.

Mr Carr: One of the concerns that has been voiced is that we have put more money into non-profit housing over the last little while than the previous government, and the lists have gotten bigger. As you know, there is some concern that there is a lot of profit in non-profit, and when you build them, the cost per unit is $1,800 versus $800 when the private sector has done it. I was wondering, not necessarily your organization but as president of the national or the Ontario non-profit housing association, could you just comment on why it is that people are saying that when we build non-profit it costs twice as much as when the private sector does it? Maybe you could just comment on that.

Mr Lefebvre: We can go through some of the statistics of what is more expensive. If you look at your maximum unit price when you are developing a co-op or a nonprofit -- as an example, in Windsor, I will be very specific because we are talking about here -- when you show that you can develop a two-bedroom town house for $82,000 the private sector says, "Look, when we factor in what we think we should be getting as a return, we cannot build them." It is a fallacy some people may have about affordability, that it costs more being a non-profit than a profit to build. From my experience, I have not seen that. I understand what you are saying about the cost factor, saying that it keeps escalating.

I am not going to say that is not a factor, but I have been working very hard in the last year with the federal and also now the provincial government, even the Liberal government that was in place before, but now the New Democratic Party -- into bringing an index-linked mortgage program that I hope the people here will take into consideration. It is called the index-linked mortgage program where we can use the pensions that we have in Ontario to reduce the cost, because it is tied to inflation, and we can build many more units with a much smaller amount to be invested into it.

Mr Jamison: I really want to talk about this particular budget and the increased number of houses, co-op and affordable houses that are being built. The effect of that, in the midst of a recession, we have heard from various construction groups, that in fact it has turned their employment situation around somewhat and actually created employment.

The other point that was brought out, especially given the time that we are in, by those construction unions and construction companies that have presented in front of us, was that the opportunity to build at this point, in the co-op housing area, is better than it ever was because during a recession builders are not working at their 100% level. Have you any comments to make on that?

Mr Lefebvre: You are absolutely right. We have gone from where, two years ago, we found it very difficult to come under the 100% maximum unit price, now some of our developments, because they took the initiative to bring it forward, are at 89% of maximum unit price 1992, and it makes a considerable difference. Just an example, in Oakville, we would never have been able to develop both of those developments because those parcels of land were out of reach for anyone to get, and we were able to acquire the land because you had made that decision at this time.


The Chair: The next group is the Windsor Women's Incentive Centre. You have one half-hour for a presentation. In that half-hour, leave some time at the end for a question-and-answer period. Identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mrs Greene-Potomski: I am Janet Greene-Potomski of the Windsor Women's Incentive Centre. I am the executive director. I will not nearly take the time that is allotted; that should be refreshing.

Please allow me to congratulate this government on its courageous approach to the Ontario budget. Rarely is it easy to prove justification for such investment in hope and compassion. This government has demonstrated intent in implementing policy for which it was elected by mandating services and programs, effecting equitable employment practices and grass-root inputs to existing services.

The Windsor Women's Incentive Centre, otherwise known as WIC is a feminist, non-profit, charitable organization which has been servicing women in Windsor and Essex county for 10 years. Our mandate is to promote and enhance the status of women and many of the ways that we effect this mandate is through skills training, research, counselling and outreach. The outreach takes various forms including referral and intra-agency collaborative work. WIC participates in committee work with a variety of agencies that provide general services to our community and sometimes agencies which provide only very specific services to very specific women in our community. Because WIC is the only agency in Windsor and Essex county that serves women as a broad-based constituency, our expertise and knowledge is requested to share the needed information and perspective that we hold.

Our funding from government sources is directed to us on a special project basis only. Federally, we have received skill training moneys from Employment and Immigration Canada for teenaged women and adult women who are in danger of dropping out of high school. We also received moneys from the Secretary of State for research. Provincially, we have received companion moneys for research projects from the Ontario women's directorate.

Although the funding received from these sources is well used and certainly helpful in effecting our services, they are special project moneys only and are available to us for use during a prescribed time only. For instance, during our last skills training project, 50% of the money granted paid participant allowances and dependant care allowances. The balance of those moneys paid for training costs and overhead costs directly related to the project only.

During our last fiscal year, provincially, we received $10,000 from the Ontario women's directorate as companion moneys to Secretary of State moneys which amounted to $15,000. This was to conduct research on the feminization of poverty. The research actually cost $40,737. WIC absorbed the shortfall of $15,737 and we did this through fund-raising, donations and membership fees. Provincially, we received 25% of the funding needed for the project only.

However, last year, our operating expenses, including skills training, research counselling and workshops amounted to $252,074. The contribution provincially amounted to only 4% of our entire operating expenditure for the year. We lived and we grew. However, our major source of money comes from the community and our American neighbours, through bingos. In 1991, we grossed $47,410 through bingo revenue. The actual net moneys from these bingos represented only $23,300. Thus $24,110 went back into city and provincial coffers through bingo licences and bingo hall rental costs.

My point is that although the provincial budget has reflected a genuine commitment to women, many of the provincial funding constraints presently in place -- they have been in place for years, even before this government -- have little positive effect on the actual services to our constituency.

Since the time this government was formed, our agency has directed inquiries to a variety of ministries hoping to access equitable and efficient funding. However, moneys available are for apprenticeship programs or short-term workshop programs. Our research, and research conducted by the mayor's committee of Windsor, shows consistently that women need more if they are to participate in our society equitably.

Often, women are hindered by their lack of knowledge of options. Many cannot access information because of their address, financial circumstances and energy drain from depression. Of your client base, 80% are in receipt of social assistance. Those who live in a particular geared-to-income housing project in Windsor cannot have our only daily newspaper delivered to their homes because the newspaper has a policy of not delivering to that neighbourhood.

Our only mainstream television station has been diluted to a point that local community advocacy or opportunities are not covered. Rarely do these clients have the money to subscribe to cable television. Thus, again local coverage is unavailable to them. Case workers within the city and provincial social assistance programs are overworked and presently many are being trained on the job. Thus clients do not have the opportunity to work with their case workers to effect positive changes in their lifestyles.

This agency wants to go to these clients at their home bases to share information about not only WIC, but other agencies and services that may serve their specific needs more specifically. We want to, but we cannot. Women who contact us or who are referred to us have a variety of needs that they cannot necessarily have met through specific apprenticeship training programs or occasional workshops. Some want employment training or job referral. However, we find that many women have chosen to be full-time care givers and homemakers and want assistance to make that unpaid career choice as fulfilling as possible for them and their families. They want to learn how to be assertive -- increase their self-esteem, connect and advocate with schools, city administration, MPs and MPPs, learn about job opportunities, access dependant care and transportation. They want knowledge and the empowerment that knowledge would give them to make appropriate choices.

WIC could facilitate this efficiently with appropriate funding. We could prepare women to enter into paid employment training programs offered by other agencies and educational institutions, providing them not only with a training-ready or employment-ready woman, but also our community with a stronger guarantee on its investment.

Certainly the benefits of the provincial budget will affect many women in Windsor and Essex county. However, we must still work to make sure that those changes will reach them. New moneys for child care spaces have been directed to this area, for example, by the province. However, they are inaccessible until our own city council lifts a freeze on such spending. That is our problem here in Windsor, which hopefully will be remedied in November.

The provincial budget does and will help women. The government indeed has worked hard to effect compassionate spending during a most critical time. Now, as the budget proves its positive investment, I am certain that the women of our community who have yet to reap these benefits through pay equity, employment equity, child care assistance and social housing will, as this government continues to develop its social agenda. Thank you.

Mr McLean: On page 2, you say, "Last year our operating expenses, including skills training...." What type of skills training was to take place?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: Our mandate is to offer as much non-traditional skills training as possible. During the last fiscal year we offered two programs. One was to train women as quality technicians using statistical process control methods in manufacturing industries. The second project was office machine repair, to repair copiers, fax machines, etc. Also included within the skills training is our teenage program where we offer them paid summer employment at a variety of industries around town.

Mr McLean: Do you work in conjunction with the Ministry of Community and Social Services at all?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: We do, through a friendly correspondence. However, we receive no funding from them at all.

Mr McLean: So really, the only grants that you get are what you have indicated in your brief: the $10,000 from the Ontario women's directorate. The Secretary of State, $15,000, and $10,000 from the province, was it?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: It was $10,000 from the Ontario women's directorate.

Mr McLean: What is your budget?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: Last year it was $252,000 in expenditures. It is very difficult to ascertain what our operating budget will be from year to year because we receive no operational funding. To keep the doors open and the two staff people and extraneous bills, it would come to just under $100,000 a year. However, if we are to conduct other programs, then we have to propose funding proposals for those.

Mr McLean: I commend you for what you are doing.

Mr Christopherson: Mrs Potomski, I want to thank you very much for an articulate, comprehensive presentation. I have a very direct question. The vast majority of the moneys that we have spent in this budget, particularly that part of the deficit that was discretionary -- it was not much, but those parts that were -- we feel are an investment in Ontarians and an investment in the future of this province. Could you first of all advise this committee whether you agree with that, and if you do, in your own words, why you believe investments such as the money that is provided to WIC is indeed an investment in the future of this province?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: I see it as an investment and I see it as a really good starting point and a really good approach to building up equity in terms of not only our real dollars here in the province, but also equity in terms of the results. The best way to invest in a community of people is to invest in that hope, and their education. I truly believe, not only through my airy-fairy believing, but also in terms of research and what I have come to learn in my years of being with WIC, that you do get paid back. The community does get paid back from that investment. You get paid back in real dollars, if that is the bottom line. You get paid back in a better community of people. So I see this as really the only way to go.


Mr Christopherson: Attached to that, could I ask what would have been the result if we had not maintained the funding and indeed had cut back in your funding, that share of your revenue that we provide?

Did you want the floor, Mrs Sullivan?

Mrs Sullivan: I think there could be a clarification. The OWD provided WIC with a --

[Failure of sound system]

The Chair: Is Hansard having problems? Go on.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you. My question to you was, if that portion of your budget which is provided by the province was not provided because we took the tack, the Mulroney tack, to cut back on programs like this, how would that set back the goals that you have? Again, what would the impact be on this province and our future if indeed we went down that road?

Mrs Greene-Potomski: The impact on WIC would be, quite frankly, minimal, because it only showed a 4% contribution.

If I may also respond to something Mrs Sullivan said, that one of the constraints of OWD funding is that there is a cap on it and you may not overlap any projects or any funding; if the project you are working on will take a year, you may not propose to the OWD for future moneys for a different project. So there is a very definite limit on that.

The impact of not directing the moneys from OWD or social assistance, etc, that would benefit women would be absolutely devastating. You have to keep in mind that women make up 52% of our population. Women are the most adversely affected by recessions, by job layoffs, by plant closures, by housing inaccessibility, by child care inaccessibility, transportation inaccessibility, etc, not only because of our historical stance in society, but also because we are the last hired, the first fired. That is just a fact. So yes, it would be really, really bad if you had not decided to invest that kind of money into this budget. But I must also say that is a really good start and it is not something that we should rest on.

Mr Kwinter: I would just like to get some clarification. In your brief you state that these women are particularly disadvantaged because they live in an area where they do not get home newspapers delivered and they do not get access to community-based television.

Mrs Greene-Potomski: Correct.

Mr Kwinter: How are they disadvantaged? The point I am getting at is that it would seem to me there are lots of people who either choose not to watch it or do not get community-based television and do not get the newspapers delivered to their doors, and I am just curious to know why that has such a severe impact, in your opinion.

Mrs Greene-Potomski: The one community I am thinking of in particular is a very impoverished community, so coupling financial circumstances along with the depression that comes along with that, the defence that is set up is, "We don't get the information that we need and they don't care about us." Other middle-class people can have the choice to turn off their TVs or not subscribe to cable TV or not subscribe to the daily newspaper. These people do not even have that choice. Not having that choice reduces their ability to go out and access anything that might change their lifestyle. It is a we-against-them type of mentality that, quite frankly, is quite understandable. They do not have the opportunity even just to send a neighbourhood kid down to the corner store to pick up the paper. They may not even have the 48 cents it now takes to purchase a paper six days a week. If the information is not made available to them as easily as possible, from their perspective, they will not take the opportunity to go outside their community to find it. They do not have the energy. They do not even know how to do it.

The Chair: The next one on the agenda is Ian Gartshore. Is he here? How about we recess for 10 minutes.

The committee recessed at 1627.



The Chair: We will resume our hearings on the budget review. Our next presenter is Ian Gartshore. You will have 15 minutes for your total presentation. If you can, keep a little time in that 15 minutes for questions and answers.

Mr Gartshore: I think I will certainly be able to stay within the 15 minutes, because my presentation is really very brief. I thank you for the opportunity to speak before you this afternoon. I would imagine that you have been here for a period of time and you must be ready for a break.

When any level of government, at least one that is responsible to the public, is preparing a budget, there are, at least to my way of thinking, two major considerations that have to be made: the financial costs, both long- and short-term, and the social costs, both long- and short-term. It seems to me that balancing the budget means not just balancing the financial income with the expenditures, but also balancing the financial costs with the social costs.

We all know people who have been affected by cutbacks, recessions and downturns in the economy. I give some examples here. Fred loses his job of 34 years and is unable to find another one before his retirement in three years. Susan, a single parent, loses her sole income. Several families are forced to move to another city in search of a job, losing the down payments on their homes in the process. Families are broken up. A husband and wife are unable to see each other since they are forced to take extra jobs to make ends meet. Harry loses all his self-esteem after being unable to find work for two years. Lucy, after receiving two degrees that held promise for a good job at the time, graduates and can only find a waitressing job -- and I am not putting down waitressing here, by the way. She is unable to repay her student loan. These are only a few examples of what happens in bad economic times.

At this point, my question is, why does the question of economics seem to take priority over the lives of such people? Is there no way of measuring the human cost resulting from budgetary decisions? Surely we have the cart before the horse here. What would money be worth if it were not for human beings?

This reminds me of the story about a man who, through no fault of his own, found himself wandering through a barren desert looking for signs of civilization, or at least of water. After a period of time he grew very weak and thirsty. Suddenly he came across a campsite that had obviously been quickly abandoned. Hurriedly he dug through the few bags that lay strewn around the site in the hope that some water might have been left behind. Only one bag contained something. Disgusted, he threw it down. "All it is," he muttered to himself, "is a bag of gold." With this, he lay down to die.

Obviously gold is a very valuable commodity, and yet, like money, it has worth only to human beings. Human life is more important than money, not the other way around. Although it is important to carefully spend money -- and I believe this very sincerely -- human life is more important. Thus, budgets must balance the human cost with the financial cost.

My second point is to raise the question, in light of the foregoing, of how much governments are actually able to do, especially provincial governments. How much power do governments really have in determining the future course of a country or a province? It seems to me that over the last ten years, the more "free-enterprise," shall we call it, model of economics has shifted some power away from governments. More and more decisions, decisions that affect the lives of ordinary people, seem to be made by the powers that be, whatever they may be. As we enter an era of megacorporations that easily move capital from one hemisphere to another, that decide where jobs will be, that decide what the economic viability of a given area will be, governments will be less able to make real decisions on behalf of those who elected them.

Over and over again I am hearing people say that it does not matter who one votes for; the same things seem to happen regardless. They say it makes no difference who is in power since decisions are being made without any real concern for the voting public. Although this hearing, in itself, is an indication that the present provincial government is trying to improve the situation, maybe such people are still right. Maybe the biggest decisions are being made beyond the reach of local governments. Maybe certain things are partly beyond the control of the decision-makers. For instance, this government is obviously not to blame for the deficit it inherited. It is not to blame for things such as free trade, the loss of manufacturing industries -- at least maybe not until recently -- and the recession. It is not to blame for government cutbacks either, I might add. Neither is this government able to bring to an end the innumerable federal taxes we all face.

Given the limited scope within which a budget is able to move, the need to help promote business as well as keeping the human costs in mind, what can be done? I believe the only thing that can be done is what this government has done. Nobody likes deficit budgets, but then nobody likes facing the huge dislocation that thousands, if not millions, of people would face if the budget were truly balanced this year, at least in the economic situation that we presently face.

I believe that society is no stronger than its weakest link. If we can work together and take care of each other, we will collectively be stronger. I believe this is what this budget is attempting to do, so I endorse the end to which it is aiming.

Ms M. Ward: On your second page, when you are talking about the free-enterprise model of economics shifting power away from government, I think that would tend to emphasize the point that government is more needed as a counterbalance to those powers. People tend to think of government as something outside of themselves. I do not look at it that way. I think the government is, or should be, the people. Not everyone agrees that it is, but I think it is our responsibility to see that it is the people.

I think that as we go further along to where we have a world economy, we might be seen as powerless, and that our government has a greater responsibility to counterbalance those tides and to protect the people. Do you have any comments on that?

Mr Gartshore: Ideally, of course, the government is the people. I agree with that. In a democratic system that should be the case. I realize that it is far more complicated than that simple statement would lead us to believe. It seems to me that governments and businesses can work very well together, governments as representatives of the people who are affected by business decisions. Sometimes I think even businesses are able to represent people better than governments, even though it should not always necessarily be that way.

But overall I would say I am slightly fearful of this movement towards larger and larger corporations, corporations that are now transnational, that cross many, many borders, corporations that do not have any one particular government to report to or any body of people at all. I know one of the fears that we in the western world have of communism is that it is a very centrally controlled type of economy. Yet it seems to me, as corporations become larger and larger, that to some degree -- not certainly to the same degree, but to some degree -- there is the possibility that economies will become controlled by a small number of corporations or whatever.

Ms M. Ward: What I am asking, really, is whether you think the responsibility of government is increasing -- the responsibility to protect its citizens and to be their advocate, really, to protect their interests with this move to global economies?

Mr Gartshore: That was what I was leading immediately to. It seems to me, then, that governments need to do several things. One is to make sure the corporations do not become too large -- one big example in the United States was the breaking up of Bell -- so that nothing gets too large and out of control. Governments need to monitor corporations. Another example is the environmental movement. Governments need to make sure that corporations are abiding by regulations, etc, protecting people in that way.

Yes, I believe governments do need to be responsible to the voters and to make sure that corporations are living ethically and being responsible to the people they are supposedly serving.

Mr Carr: Thank you very much for your presentation and for coming before the committee. The question I have relates to dealings with the public. As you know, we got into this recession last year, April or thereabouts. One of the concerns a lot of people have is that the present government did not let the people know what was going to transpire, how they were going to increase some of the spending --

Mr Gartshore: The federal government?

Mr Carr: No, the provincial government that got elected last summer. When they made the Agenda for People, they did not say they were going to put in the spending. In fact, when they costed it out, with fairly detailed costing -- they broke down all the programs, the 60% financing -- and they said to everyone, "But the best thing about it is it is only going to cost us $1.2 billion over two years to fund all these programs." That is not including, for example, the 60% funding that they have not even touched. They said, "all these wonderful programs, and it is only going to cost that much."

One of the concerns out there is the cynicism of the public. They are saying that politicians make all these promises; they know when they get in they are going to do that, but they do not make those promises at election time because they know if they said they would run up the deficit, people would not vote for them. That is one of the concerns I have, because as you know, what this last government did was to build a coalition. There are about 20% of the people who are NDP, who always vote NDP. Where they won the last election was when they got the swing vote -- those who vote Liberal, Conservative, whatever. It was these people who jumped on, not knowing this was going to happen.

What do you say to those people who now are faced with the deficit, and who a year ago were not told that it was going to be run up? How do you think those people feel?

Mr Sutherland: Are we rewriting history again?

Mr Carr: You actually got Conservative votes last time, guys.

Ms M. Ward: Did you ever stop to analyse why?

Mr Gartshore: I do not know the psychology of people and why they voted the way they voted and how informed they were in their vote. I cannot address that, if that is what your question is.

The Chair: I would like to thank you for coming to the committee and presenting your views. I think this committee has to thank the citizens of Windsor and area for the presentations they have made to this committee. They have been very informative and I would say very enthusiastic presentations, plus observers who have been sitting in the audience today. I think this is the largest group that we have had, with observers seeing what our government is doing and the opposition's part in this particular government at this time. As I say, I have to thank the people of Windsor here.

If it is the committee's wish, we adjourn until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in London for the ongoing hearings.

The committee adjourned at 1655.