Tuesday 5 February 1991

Pre-budget consultations

Afternoon sitting



Chair: Wiseman, Jim (Durham West NDP)

Vice-Chair: Hansen, Ron (Lincoln 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)

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford NDP)

Ward, Brad (Brantford NDP)

Ward, Margery (Don Mills NDP)

Substitution: Elston, Murray J. (Bruce L) for Mr Kwinter

Clerk: Decker, Todd


Anderson, Anne, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

Rampersad, David, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1014 in committee room 2.


The Chair: We can begin. I think we have a sufficient all-party representation here. If I remember correctly, we had struggled to page 4. We had finished page 4, complete. Do we have any reconsidered changes or comments?

Mr Elston: Are we heading back to page 2? Are we picking up all the stuff that was left off or are we going to go the end?

Mr Christopherson: No, we will not be heading back. We will just keep pushing ahead for today.

Mr Stockwell: So, are we on page 5?

The Chair: We are about to start page 5. Is that right, Chris?

Mr Stockwell: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: We have "Forecasts" on the bottom of page 4. We are okay on the first paragraph at the top of the page, Mr Chair.

The Chair: So we are at the top of page 5, "The general theme." Is that satisfactory with everybody?

Mr Christopherson: First paragraph on 5 is okay with us.

The Chair: Okay, second paragraph.

Mr Phillips: Does that mean 1991 or 1992?

Mr Rampersad: Sorry, that is 1991. That is a mistake.

The Chair: I am glad to see Mr Phillips is alert this morning. Any other problems with paragraph 2?

Mr Christopherson: The "should" in the second-last line. We were more comfortable with "may."

The Chair: "Sales tax, should boost output." You want to change "should" to "may"? Anybody have any problems with changing "should" to "may"? All right. Can we write off paragraph 2 as being completed? Paragraph 3.

Mr Christopherson: Two things. It says "the inflation rates are likely to rise," and yet we heard from a number of people who said that there virtually would not be any inflation of any significance because of the recession. We were a little confused by that. Then we were not comfortable with saying "substantially in 1992." Again, we did not think there was that much confidence out there. We are more comfortable with "somewhat."

Ms M. Ward: There appears to me to be a contradiction too between that and the next paragraph on inflation rates, because they are saying "likely to rise" and the last paragraph mentions a "reduction in inflation rate" in the second line.

The Chair: Yes, I see that.

Ms M. Ward: So, while you are speaking of that point, I thought you might consider this one at the same time.

The Chair: What you are saying is, you cannot have it both ways, paragraphs 3 and 4. Should we have that whole section reworked, and how would we want it reworked? The forecasters were projecting a flat inflation rate at the very minimum. Towards the end of 1991 they were expecting an increase in employment or a flattening out and a gradual beginning of the upturn of the economy.

Mr Rampersad: But we did have signs of it declining during the year.

The Chair: Then if the third paragraph refers to Ontario, maybe it should say "in Ontario" and the next one should say "in Canada as a whole" somehow. I think we need to make that distinction there. Okay?

Mr Christopherson: Rework those two paragraphs and then after they are redrafted we will take a look at them fresh. When would we get the first draft of some of the changes we have talked about, or are we waiting to go through the whole document? Second, how will they appear? What is the format?

Ms Anderson: It is up to the committee how you want to do it, whether you get it on a piecemeal basis or whether you go through the whole draft once and then you get a whole revised draft back. That is up to you. How you get it, the way we usually do it is something called red-lining, where you get a version that will look like this, which has Xs through bits that have been taken out and underlining on bits which have been inserted.

Mr Christopherson: I see. If possible, if we could get chunks of it as they are done -- I realize there is only so much that can be humanly done, but I think it would make it easier for us to keep the flow going -- as quickly as possible.

That is it for us on that page, Mr Chair, obviously.

Mr Elston: I know that we all know "83 and 84 cents" is against the US dollar, but perhaps for completeness it could be added.


The Chair: This is Table 1: Ontario Economic Outlook (A Comparison of Forecasts -- to follow). This is the table that will go in at that point. Has anybody any questions or problems about the insertion of this table at that point?

Mr Christopherson: No, just a question. I am trying to think. We had talked over here about forecasters and how accurate they had been. It is a good reference point. There was Informetrica. Is that how you say the name of the company? Were there any other forecasters that came in? No? They are here. Could they be added? Could Mike's projections, if they are available, be added?

Ms Anderson: They did not actually have any numbers, very much. They had graphs.

Mr Rampersad: Whatever numbers he mentioned were Canadian as opposed to Ontario. These are Ontario numbers.

Mr Christopherson: Okay. That is fine.

Mr Phillips: He is a smart forecaster.

Mr Christopherson: Yes. I was going to say he forecasts often and vaguely.

The Chair: It would be interesting to compare these projections with the projections for the last time they made projections.

Mr Christopherson: At first glance I thought that is what it was. It would be nice to go back five years and get a sense of those numbers.

Mrs Sullivan: I wonder if in this section it might be useful to look at a report that is out from Statistics Canada today. Actually, it was released yesterday. We have not had this kind of testimony before the committee, but we may want to include a caveat in the report. Basically their most recent economic indicator shows a serious decline. Your chief of current analysis says the recession is broadening and deepening and he is quoted as saying, "I cannot see a recovery in any of the major sectors."

The Chair: You have me at a disadvantage; I have not read that this morning.

Mrs Sullivan: We can get material from Statscan relating to this report. It was released yesterday. They are clearly showing a greater concern than the economists who appeared before the committee. We may want to include that kind of information as a caveat because they are working with the latest leading-indicator changes from the end of November.

The Chair: Can we get those numbers?

Ms Anderson: We will try to get the material.

The Chair: Can we get a copy for everybody in the committee, of all the numbers, not just what is in the newspapers?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, I would think that, sure, the researchers could get it directly from the people at Statscan. These are national figures, but it may be worth while to include them.

The Chair: There might be a breakdown.

Mr Christopherson: You may want to look at actually incorporating some of that into the body because of the importance of the information and the profile of the presenters. We may want to look at actually incorporating some of that in the body because of its importance and who it is coming from.

Mr Elston: I understand that but we may not want to. If you start doing it, next week there may be something else you may want.

Mr Christopherson: We would only go until Thursday.

Mr Elston: I understand that, but none of us has really taken a look at it. It is nice to have that as a caveat just to draw people's attention to the Statscan material, but it is a little hard to include it in a report when you have not really been able to sift and digest it. Do you know what I mean? We can say we have put our material together without the assistance of this, "but please note for a more current analysis the Statscan material which was released" whenever.

Mr Christopherson: I think it is a point well taken, but let me ask a question. Do we still have the native group coming in?

The Chair: They have not responded and I would assume at this point that it is no, since they will be meeting the Treasurer on Thursday. However, I have also heard from Mr Elston that if they did want to come, we should perhaps listen to them, and that of course would be decided here.

Mr Christopherson: I guess the point I was getting at was, even as late as yesterday morning we were still receiving submissions and acknowledged that some of that material could indeed be in the body of the report. I was looking at this in the same light, given the fact that it is coming from Statscan, that is all.

Mrs Sullivan: I think my point was just that it would be useful to note that there are other indicators that are changing things over time. These are national figures. They are not specific to Ontario, nor do they release the breakdown for Ontario. Just on that page, it might be useful, as a caveat, to say there are other changes that are being seen. I do not think it should be a very big thing. We have not had any interviews with Statscan, we have not reviewed its material, and it would be unusual to include any further data in the report, but I think that just to say that this report has been issued.

Mr Christopherson: At the very least I think that should happen. I would just suggest that maybe, from where we come, we may reserve the right to look at whether we think it should be in the body or maybe make it part of our observations.

Mr Elston: What I do not understand is, where do you come from? I do not understand how you can ask us to include very much material in the body of the report when we have not seen the thing. I think Mrs Sullivan has rightly brought to our attention that there are other things being put out even as we make our report. How can you ask the committee to include some material in the body of the report from that when we have not seen it yet or had the time to analyse it? I think if there is a caveat, that is enough.

Mr Christopherson: I did not suggest that all of the report had to be included, or a heavy analysis, but much of our deliberation has been how deep, how wide, how long in terms of the recession, and if there is information there that is merely conclusive and being reported by Statscan, then there may be a value in our at least referencing that information in the body as part of the text somewhere. I am just suggesting maybe that is something we should at least reserve the right to look at. I have not had the benefit of seeing the information either, but it may be that a sentence or two would be appropriate and that the committee would have a high comfort level on that.

The Chair: We have had a request from the press for a copy of this document as we are working on it now. They are here. The question is, do we share it with them in its current state, or how do we want to deal with this?

Mr Stockwell: Sure, give it to them. Since we are in public, you have to give them a copy.

Mr Elston: Let's give them a copy and then go in camera. You have learned our provincial secrets, take it back.

The Chair: Not only that, let's change everything.

Mr Stockwell: You missed a story yesterday, a thorough, conclusive -- that was the story of the day.

The Chair: Can we say page 5 is done and move to page 6? I have this nature about me, I like to move along. On page 6, are there any changes, comments?

Mr Christopherson: Other than the heading, we have no major concerns, unless other members from even our caucus have something they have noticed after that. I have nothing to present on our behalf other than the heading change.

Mrs Sullivan: What is your problem with the heading?

Mr Christopherson: We were suggesting dropping "answers in," leaving "partnership" and just adding an "s," "partnerships."

Mrs Sullivan: Is this a new secret NDP word?

Mr Christopherson: Nothing is a secret, Barbara. It is an NDP government.

Mr B. Ward: Open and honest.

The Chair: This is the first time these committee hearings have been done publicly.

Mrs Sullivan: Pardon me? I object to that, because in fact the committee has always operated in public. It is unusual for a committee report to be prepared in camera. I object to the fact that you have indicated that this is the first time the committee hearings have been done in public. They have been done in public since they were initiated in the last government.

The Chair: Then your information is different from mine. Shall we continue? Anything else on that page?

Mr Christopherson: No, we are okay.

Mr Stockwell: How about "Partnership in Answers"?

The Chair: Can we write that page off? Are we happy with that page? Page 7. No problems with page 7?

Mr Christopherson: No.

The Chair: Page 8?


Mr Christopherson: Third paragraph, second sentence, the phrase "despite the overall surplus." We have some difficulty with that. In reading it, it could be implied that there is a surplus of non-profit and co-operative housing or affordable housing, so we felt more comfortable just removing that, so it would read, "The committee also heard from a number of non-profit and co-operative housing groups that there is a continued need for affordable housing."

Ms Anderson: I put that in initially because in the first paragraph it talks about there being a large inventory of housing. It was just to explain that the need is for affordable, as opposed to being a shortage in general. But I think it probably can just come out.

Mr Christopherson: It was a little hazy.

The Chair: What is the consensus there? "Despite the overall surplus" comes out, and just leave the sentences the way they are.

Mr Christopherson: Yes.

The Chair: Does anybody have any questions or problems with that?

Mr Elston: I am a little slower on this because I did not hear the presentations, but can I hear the reason for "the overall surplus" again?

Ms Anderson: In the middle of the first paragraph, it talks about evidence that was here that there is a large inventory of housing at the present in the province, yet you go down to the third one and you are saying there is a need for more housing. I just wanted to show that you had realized there was a connection.

The Chair: Can we say page 8 is done?

Mr Phillips: A little thing on the interprovincial migration: My recollection was that the immigration numbers were probably at a 10-year high into the province. I realize this is interprovincial migration, but I would not mind if the drafters took a look at the total migration. The implication of this is that we are losing more people out of the province than are coming in, and I do not personally believe that.

The Chair: Is not the projection for the greater Toronto area to grow at 250,000 a year for the next 10 years?

Mr Phillips: It is just a small point. What they are saying is that more people left the province to go to other provinces. That may be the case, but I think there was a record number of immigrants who came into the province last year, at least a 10-year number.

The Chair: We will check that.

Mrs Sullivan: I am looking at the final paragraph on page 8, where we have basically a summation of some of the initiatives that have been brought to us from the outside. There are two I do not see here, one of them being a proposal that I think came from the Ontario Home Builders' Association, but it may be in Toronto, relating to a new home ownership incentive; the other relating to proposals from at least two co-operative housing groups talking about the need for the availability of changing existing apartment buildings into co-operatives. They were presented as alternatives as much as some of these other things were, and came from at least a couple of groups that appeared before us. I have not checked this back from this paper, but they were there as recommendations.

The Chair: Is it not on the top of page 9?

Mrs Sullivan: I am not sure, but if we are going to be listing alternatives and recommendations that were placed before us --

The Chair: "Subsidies towards the financing of nonprofit rent-geared-to-income housing; facilitating the conversion of existing units to non-profit; opening up the bids for construction of non-profit housing to the private sector." Top of page 9.

Mrs Sullivan: You have that. Sorry I missed it. There was also another one with a recommendation for new incentives for home ownership.

Ms Anderson: I mentioned that briefly in the housing section at the end, where there has actually been some overlap, but it could come forward into that one.

Mrs Sullivan: Where do you have that?

Ms Anderson: The conversion one is at the top of page 9. Under "Social Issues," there is a short section on housing, on page 16, in which there is some duplication with the section on construction. At the bottom of that, there is the suggestion for expanding the home ownership plan. I think in many ways those two sections could easily be combined.

The Chair: Are we happy with page 8?

Mr Christopherson: Yes, with that one change.

The Chair: Page 9? Are we happy with the first two paragraphs? Okay, let's move to "Education."

Mrs Sullivan: I think there should be some clarification of the figures in the first paragraph, given the testimony of the Minister of Education before the committee. I wonder if the writers could reformulate the description here. "At present, the province funds 45.4% of total expenditure (including capital and pensions)," 41% of total operating expenditure, 59.6% of capital, pensions and approved expenditures. I think these figures are confusing enough. The minister spoke to the committee in a way that was quite definitive and I think it is important that this should be further delineated, and maybe the researchers can do --

Ms Anderson: You to want to expand in order to just define it better?

Mrs Sullivan: For instance, "total approved expenditure" or "total expenditures to a cap": "At present, the province funds 45.4% of total operating expenditure." Maybe that does it.

Mr Christopherson: What is being suggested?

Mrs Sullivan: Just the addition of the word "operating."

Mr Christopherson: Where?

Mrs Sullivan: In "45.4% of total operating expenditure."

Mr Christopherson: It is not, though. That is the difference between the two, is it not?

Mr Stockwell: No, it is operating, plus capital and pensions, and then just operating.

Mrs Sullivan: "Total operating expenditure." That clarifies it.

Mr Christopherson: Wait a minute, though. I am not at variance with what is being suggested. I think that might muck it up even more. "At present, the province funds 45.4% of total expenditure (including capital and pensions) and 41.5% of operating expenditure." Maybe if it said "operating expenditure" alone, if you wanted to clarify it, but the way you are adding it in I think maybe just makes it a little more unclear.

Mr Stockwell: Why do you not say "total operating expenditure, plus capital and pensions, and 41.5% of operating expenditure." Put "plus" instead of "including" and that clears it up.

Mr Christopherson: I disagree, but I do not want to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Mr Phillips: Actually, what she says is technically right. I think we have not seen the end of this, because I think you are going to see sort of a bit of a fire storm eventually coming at you, but that will be fine.

The Chair: Do you mean the paragraph will be fine?

Mr Phillips: Yes, because I do not think there is any confusion out there about what was meant. It is just how you may try to interpret it in the future. My question is in the bottom paragraph.

The Chair; Could I ask you to wait until we finish that paragraph, and then we will do yours? You will be next.

Mr Phillips: I would think it is technically correct to say, "the province funds 45.4% of total operating expenditure (including capital and pensions)." That is technically correct.

Mr Stockwell: They are separate. You have operating, you have capital and you have pensions, so you can say, "of total operating expenditure (plus capital and pensions)" and then you have "41.5% of direct operating expenditure," just operating.


Mr Christopherson: Actually, you could lead in by using the "41.5% of operating expenditure only, and 45.4% of total expenditure (including capital and pensions)." I think it is fairly clear then that you are saying the operating plus those two. The problem is that you are using the inclusive clause first, and then narrowing it down to a single definition in the second part of the sentence, which is probably what is confusing it.

Mr Stockwell: Fine. Reverse it. Let's go.

Ms Anderson: We will redraft it and bring it back to you.

Mr Phillips: My comment is on the last sentence. I would prefer to say, "However, some groups suggest care must be taken to ensure..." The reason I say that is that I would think teachers never anticipated that the new government's proposal to increase funding for education was designed solely to reduce property taxes. If you want another fire storm, I just do not want to attach myself to that conclusion. I would say, "Some groups suggest care must be taken," because I tell you, you have enough problems on your hands.

Mr Stockwell: I would rather be more specific in who is disagreeing. I think it is the Minister of Education and everybody else. There is no disagreement among the people who came in and made their deputations to us. The only disagreement lay with the Minister of Education's interpretation.

The Chair: I do not know if we need to worry about who is agreeing with whom. We have the recommendations to make.

Mr Stockwell: It adds to your recommendation or gives you a certain degree of base to make the point that it is everyone disagreeing with one person rather than implying there is some kind of split. There is no split. Everyone sees it as 60% of operating, except the Minister of Education.

Mr Christopherson: That is not the issue.

Mr Stockwell: I think it is the issue. I think it is very important to point that out.

Mr Christopherson: No, no, it is the last sentence that is being focused on right now. All that is talking about is whether there will be a relative reduction in property tax. I think an important point has been made by Mr Phillips that we word it -- how was it again? -- "Some groups suggested," rather than saying, "However." I think, from where we sit, that makes a great deal of sense.

Having said that, if you now want to raise the other issue, that is fine, but it is really not part of this sentence.

Mr Stockwell: I will raise it as a separate issue.

Mr Christopherson: Just to get this one done.

Mr Stockwell: But I would like to include it in that paragraph before we go into the explanation.

The Chair: Let's deal with the sentence and then deal with that. "The committee heard from groups that care must be taken..."

Mr Phillips: It was, "However, some groups suggest care... "

Mr B. Ward: Yesterday, we as a committee gave directions to staff that when we rewrite this, they be more specific as to which group said what or which groups of organizations said what. I think this is another example, that not all groups said this. Some did.

Ms Anderson: You say if three groups have said it, I just pick one, then?

Mr B. Ward: Use your judgement.

The Chair: You could put in a bracket, the way I think the other was, OSSTF or whatever.

Mr B. Ward: I do not think that is really necessary. I think we clarified that yesterday and gave direction. I was just using this as another example for the need for that direction to be followed as we do our final draft.

The Chair: Shall we deal with Mr Stockwell's comments now?

Mr Stockwell: As I said, I do not think we should leave the impression that there is a debate out there with two sides lining up. There is one side, which is the Minister of Education, and the other side is everybody else.

Mr B. Ward: Not everybody.

Mr Stockwell: Well, everyone who came before this committee.

Mr Sutherland: Not on this specific issue. The "60% of what?" I believe came up when either Mrs Sullivan or Mr Phillips asked a question of some of the representatives: "Sixty per cent of what?" It is the same reference to the discrepancy Mr Phillips and Mrs Sullivan seem to have with the minister over whether, when the commitment was made in the campaign, it included pensions or not, capital and pensions. The "60% of what?" is not directly related to that, so it is not coming up in the same context of the disagreement they seem to be having with the minister. It is not every group against that.

The Chair: If I remember the response Mrs Boyd gave to Drummond White's question, it was that in fact it was very much her concern that the funding increases reflect a corresponding decrease in the burden on property taxes.

Mrs Sullivan: Did she say that?

The Chair: Yes, she said that. The gist of that conversation was that the province may give a great deal more money to education, the mill rate may go down in education, but it may be swallowed up with an increase in mill rate from municipal taxes so that the municipal taxpayer has a net zero improved position, and did not want to see it swallowed up. That, if I remember correctly, is the gist of that.

Mr Phillips: The minister said some things that are going to get you guys in a lot of trouble, but that is your problem. She said the 60% funding included pensions and capital, while the teachers the next day said, "You'd better clarify that or you've lost your credibility with us." The minister said there would be ceilings put on spending, and you saw the response of school boards. I do not remember the minister saying there must be a proportional decline in property tax. If she did, that also would be very interesting to the teachers of the province, because that will not be their interpretation of the election commitments.

I tend to agree with Mr Stockwell, actually. I do not think there was any confusion at all among the trustee groups or teacher groups about what is in and out of the 60%, because this is their rallying cry.

Mr Sutherland: I think the question is 60% of not what is included, but coming to a definition of what 100% is, even if you have certain elements in there.

Mr Stockwell: I think the point we are trying to make is that there is no discussion here, that there is not disagreement. There is a disagreement. What I am trying to point out to you is that we are giving the impression that there is a disagreement out there and there are so many people on this side and so many on that side. All I want to do is clarify that the ones who made deputations to us were very clear. They knew exactly what they were talking about. They were talking about 60% of operating, and the Minister of Education was disagreeing with everybody else. Rather than leaving it in there that there is some disagreement out there, there is not. There is the Minister of Education's version and everybody else's.

Mr Sutherland: But that in itself, until you agree upon a 100% figure, whether you include those things or not --

Mr Stockwell: Everyone is agreed on the 100% except the Minister of Education.

Mr Christopherson: But this language does not negate anything you are saying, it does not negate anything we are comfortable with. As a committee report on the issue, we agree with the researchers that this clearly reflects what is going on. Our suggestion would be that if you disagree with that to the point where there should be a delineation between who is disagreeing, then I think that could be done under observations, either the committee's or your own. But we are quite comfortable with this, and I think this is fair language.

Mr Stockwell: Could we not include, "A part of the argument lies in deciding `60% of what?' The Minister of Education's interpretation is..." and then "pensions and capital included, and everyone else's is..."

Mr Christopherson: No.

Mr Stockwell: No?

Mr Christopherson: I am just saying we are not comfortable with that. If you wish to go with that language in any dissenting position that is obviously your right, but we are not comfortable with it.

Mr Stockwell: You are suggesting that that in fact was not the case, or you just do not like the language?

Mr Christopherson: I said we are more comfortable with what is right here in front of us in draft form and are supportive of this.

Mr Stockwell: I understand that. I am asking you about what I suggested. Are you telling me that that in fact did not happen, that those were not the deputations we heard? I am very clear that that is what they told us, and I am trying to write a report that reflects --

Mr B. Ward: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: All discussion is supposed to go through the Chair, and it is obvious that we have a cross debate here.

Mr Stockwell: I am speaking through the Chair, Mr. Chairman.

Mr Christopherson: Clearly, the answer is that we are very comfortable with the language that is here.


The Chair: Could I just clarify what exactly Mrs Boyd said? It is right here. It says:

"Let me be very frank. You cannot, and that is why we are saying that under this particular funding system we cannot have the assurance that if we increase our funding that will necessarily mean that local boards drop their mill rate, nor can we be sure that if local boards were to drop their mill rate for the education portion of the taxes that the municipalities would not step in and take up the slack. That has happened in the past. This is a real issue around surety and certainty, around being sure that whatever moves we make will translate into property tax savings for home owners. Frankly, under the current system, the way it is, there is no way for the provincial Ministry of Education to ensure that this is going to happen. We can try to exert lots of public pressure and lots of moral suasion on local school boards around the way in which they raise taxes and hope that that rolls over into the municipal area, but quite frankly our experience in the past has been, and there was one particular point in time that a lot of school boards amalgamated...." So her comment there, I do not know how you want to use that but that is exactly what she said.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you.

The Chair: Are there any other comments on page 9?

Mr Stockwell: I do not get agreement on that, then.

The Chair: I have not heard agreement.

Mrs Sullivan: Do you have that Hansard?

The Chair: That is just a rough draft; it is not a complete copy. Any other comments on page 9? Seeing none, page 10. Are we happy with page 10?

Mr Phillips: I think one of the key observations for many groups was a worry that the tax commission would be two or three years in reporting, and they were concerned at it being seen as something that delays some of the reforms they wanted. Certainly I found that with the educational community, saying they would not find it very comforting if that were used as a vehicle for holding back. So I would think one of the observations should be that somewhere, particularly under education, that in the meantime property tax needs relief. That is the idea I am trying to get at. Virtually all of the groups said, "We cannot wait for the Fair Tax Commission, or whatever it is going to be called, to report before we see some relief on our funding requirements."

I would think that a paragraph on page 10, before we get to "Committee's observations and recommendations," should be that while the Fair Tax Commission is seen as a useful vehicle for attacking the long-term problem in the next two to three years, the property taxpayer still needs relief from the educational burden. That was what I got out of them.

The Chair: I do not know how much of that really was a clear position presented or whether it is more of an observation from a partisan point of view. There was a mix of people who came forward, some of whom felt that many aspects of the Fair Tax Commission were legitimate in terms of the time that will be taken to look at things. Others felt that because of its priority, it should be set aside and some things addressed immediately, but to suggest that it was a clear position that property tax specifically was something that should be addressed immediately in terms of relief, personally I do not recall that.

Mr Phillips: Maybe we are going to have to go through all the briefs because that was clear signal I got from them, saying, "Listen, don't use the Fair Tax Commission as a delaying tactic for us."

The Chair: Yes, but there were also dearly positions taken by a number of groups that said they recognized the complexity of things. AMO came forward and said that in terms of property tax and municipal cost-sharing, it was interested in the relationship as much as anything else and put a figure merely of, I believe, an inflation rate to tide them over. They called it a transition. We are in a transition time.

Mr Phillips: I am on "Education: Elementary and Secondary." I am thinking back to the school boards and the teachers' groups, and my clear recollection was, from their comments, "Be careful of delay on this important matter," using the Fair Tax Commission as something that will delay it.

The Chair: Have you any specific recommendations of wording and then we can debate that and decide whether it goes in or not?

Mr Phillips: I do not want to word-split the thing, but a broad form is, at the bottom of that second paragraph "In the meantime there was general consensus from the groups that while the Fair Tax Commission's work goes on, the property tax will still need relief over the next 24 months ."

Mr Christopherson: I do not know that there was general consensus. I am trying to be fair. I am just sensing a little bit of partisanship in terms of suggesting that it is going to be used as a delaying tactic. That is not our position at all. Obviously it is a question of things will move as quickly as they can, but some of the complexities involve time. Then, to go further, the Treasurer has said if there are recommendations that the commission is comfortable with making more quickly, before its final report, by all means, he would encourage that.

I am just not as comfortable that what you are suggesting is entirely non-partisan and merely reflective of what came forward. I think we would be prepared to look at anything the researchers wanted to bring forward, especially if it identified a particular group that wanted that, but I think, starting to get into general consensus and over concerns about deliberate delaying, or delaying, I think that is a little problematic for us.

Mr Phillips: What I am saying is that the groups said they cannot wait for the Fair Tax Commission's report before they have relief.

The Chair: Can we leave it, then, that if the researchers can find a specific group that said that, it would be included at this point and attributed to it as its comment, but in the absence of not being able to find it, it not be included?

Mrs Sullivan: You might find it in the Ontario Public School Boards' Association presentation and in the AMO one. It seems to me it was raised by both of those groups.

The Chair: Then if we can find that, is there a consensus that if the comments can be attributed to a specific group, it can be included?

Mr Christopherson: No. What I suggested was that we be prepared to look at anything the researchers would like to bring back and we would ask that if that is being done, having it attributed would help. We are not agreeing to anything ahead of time until we have something in front of us.

The Chair: Can we move along, then, and come back to that?

Mr Christopherson: Yes, during the draft.

Mr Elston: Just an observation: I used to do a fair bit of this work. I have not done very much committee work recently, as you might have expected. When Mr Christopherson indicated that when there was sort of a negative implication from some testimony from some of the groups, at least felt to have been expressed by Mr Phillips, that to have it included in this report somehow made it a partisan-type of an application, that is not the way this place used to work.

If there is bad stuff to be said in a report, it should be said, because it really then encapsulates what people have come forward in public to say. Just because we asked to have some material placed in the report does not make it partisan, but it does make it complete. I am not here to help sanitize the report or anything, if that is what you are suggesting. I do not know that you were, but it is a bit of a dangerous type of a statement. Just because somebody said negative things, and you have to go through negative things in government, you cannot remove them all from the report. I just wanted to remind people --

Mr Christopherson: No, that is fine. I would be prepared to stand by exactly what was said in the Hansard, but if my memory serves me right, part of the language used was that there was a general consensus and then incorporated in that thought was that they did not want the tax commission to be used as a delaying tactic. I think what I was trying to say was, without identifying a specific group and exactly what it said, my concern was with generalized comments like a general consensus and then pointing to possibly using the commission as a delaying tactic or as a delay. I had some problem with that just going in as language we would draft. I think I did say that if something comes back and shows who it was attributed to, then by all means, let us take a look at it.

I would also point out that there have been other clauses, I think, already in the report that we have approved and supported that are less than supportive of positions we have taken or will take. I appreciate your concerns and I think we are being consistent with the objective desires of the committee.


The Chair: Can we leave it at that then, that we will see the researchers bring it back? Next is "Colleges and Universities."

Mr Sutherland: There seemed to be a lack of reference to OSAP and I thought there were some mentions of OSAP and maybe some changes to that by some of the presentations. I was just wondering if we could have some reference to that added.

Mr Christopherson: That is actually page 11.

Mrs Sullivan: I concur with that. I am concerned about the use of the 10% figure in the bottom paragraph of the colleges section. In the Trump written brief and in questioning, what they said was that they need a 12% funding increase to finance the enrolment increase. They have used 10% to say that only a 10% increase could accommodate an enrolment carryover from the previous year. They are anticipating that enrolment will be added to by another 3% and they are asking for the additional 3%.

What they say is, "After a careful review of the present situation, it is our considered judgement that only a 12% funding increase will permit us to adequately finance the enrolment increase (3%) within the system and to handle a modest growth projected for fall 1991 first-year registrations and also handle employment and pay equity initiatives."

I think the wording should change to indicate the 12%. This is technically correct; in other words, they are saying they cannot accept a 3% increase that they know is coming, but they are saying to accommodate that increase they need 12%.

The Chair: Do we have any problems with that? Can we accept that?

Mr Christopherson: Was it just the percentage change then? Is that the only change?

The Chair: I think you wanted a rewording of the whole next sentence.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, I would reword the last sentence.

Mr Christopherson: Could we have a look at proposed wording from the researchers?

The Chair: Could you read what you are suggesting? That comes straight from Chris Trump.

Mrs Sullivan: I am not suggesting the words, but you could say, "The committee heard that"

The Chair: Could we add whom we heard that from?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, "from the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology that a 12% funding increase will be required to adequately finance enrolment increase within the system," and you could go directly to the text on that point, but rather than use the 10% figure, which is not what they were arguing for, they were arguing for a 12% increase.

Mr Christopherson: If it is attributed and the 12% is the figure that they use in the report, we do not have a problem with it.

The Chair: That was page 11. Are we happy with page 10, the bottom part of page 10 on "Colleges and Universities"? Now, are we happy with page 11?

Mr Christopherson: Yes. It is just that again, with the referencing in the second paragraph, we would like to see if we could reference to the student groups and OCUFA in that paragraph, specifically where they are in agreement. Correct?

The Chair: Yes. Their numbers were pretty close to being the same.

Mr Christopherson: We would just like to see that in there.

The Chair: Okay. "Business and Labour," bottom of page 11. Page 12?

Mr B. Ward: I think if you look at the second paragraph on page 12, I am not quite sure and I doubt if anyone else in this committee is quite sure which groups made these observations or statements in their delegations to this committee, so I think that should be as an example, with the research staff identifying which groups of the business sector made these comments or suggestions.

I can recall asking the auto parts manufacturers whether they would be willing to work in co-operation with labour in developing a sectoral agreement on skills development. I think that perhaps could be mentioned, if not in that second paragraph then in the last paragraph, which more or less addresses the need for skills training in our province. I think the researcher will take note of that. It is a fair observation.

Mr Christopherson: Perhaps we can finish the discussion on what is already here and then I have a couple of paragraphs to suggest for inclusion.

The Chair: I do not know how we want to deal with this, but Mr Elston did raise the point that this would be read as, "Ontario in the past has been an attractive location." Is that okay the way it sits from the point of view of the kind of message we want to send if somebody in New York reads it?

Mr B. Ward: Perhaps that comment or observation was made by a group, but we should be identifying which group because if you look at that paragraph in particular, "in the past," and then it refers almost that under the Liberal government in fact our competitiveness has been eroded because of whatever reason. I do not entirely agree with that and I do not think the Liberals would either.

I think we should be looking at who made these statements. I think it was our job to sit and listen and then make recommendations based on what we heard. Whether we agree unanimously or not is another story. But as long as the research and the development of this section can identify which sectors of business or labour made the statements, that would make it a lot easier for anyone who is trying to read this report and follow the recommendations that will come forth.

The Chair: I think Mr Sterling would be very interested in the comment, "Recent tax changes in Ontario and neighbouring jurisdictions have reduced Ontario's advantages." I would think he would want to see that, see the numbers on that to see if that is an accurate statement to be made. I am just throwing that out as something to comment on.

Mrs Sullivan: I think there is a perception in the business community that came before the committee that tax changes are the significant factor in competitive comparisons. The sense of discussions as they were going through was that in fact there are other measures that have to be included in those comparisons, including things like cost of fringe benefits and so on and health care costs.

I concur; I do not like the wording in this area. I would take out the words "in the past" just to start out in that paragraph, but there certainly is a question about the tax advantages in Ontario now when taken alone without some of the other aspects included. What the writers may want to do is to say that presenters have noticed that tax changes which have occurred -- first of all, put it in other jurisdictions in addition to Ontario; that changes the emphasis -- may have reduced Ontario's advantages. But I think to isolate the tax increases alone, but also talk about fringe, if you leave tax changes in Ontario then that is not quite what we should be looking at, or maybe somehow the committee ought to be including that there are other things as well to talk about on Ontario's competitive position.

Some presenters, including the auto parts sector, indicated it was not only the tax and the fringe, it was our productivity that was reducing our competitive nature. I do not like limiting it just to tax changes or to taxation.


The Chair: If I remember correctly, they also commented, though, that there were positive advantages. When Mr Phillips talked about the cost of the medical plans in the United States as compared to Ontario --

Mrs Sullivan: That is exactly the point I am making.

The Chair: -- there was a huge advantage for southern Ontario as opposed to the neighbouring state. With the concurrence of the committee and Mrs Sullivan, is that something else that maybe we should include there?

Mrs Sullivan: That is the precise point I am making. The tax changes I do not think were accepted in our questioning as the only thing that reduced competitive advantages. Just take out the sentence maybe.

Mr Elston: If I could interrupt for a second, why could you just not reconstruct this to indicate that Ontario's continuing competitive position in the North American economy will be dependent upon taxation measures, competition from other jurisdictions in North America, both from a social and wage point of view, and the continuing need for provision of skilled labour? Why can we not make that paragraph say that? That would wrap up everybody's concerns about taxes, jobs and competition from other jurisdictions.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, that is good.

Mr Elston: That does not say we have lost anything, it does not say we have gained anything, but that those are key-item suggestions.

Mr Stockwell: I certainly do not want to send any messages to people in New York who would apparently have concerns about some wording that we are using, but I think we have to be careful not to create a marketing puff piece here. Yes, there are very good points to what Mr Elston has said, but what did the people say when they came in? They said that Ontario in the past has been an attractive location; we are losing our competitive edge due to a series of things, but number one on the hit parade was taxes. Practically all of them talked about it and the cost.

I agree with what the committee is suggesting, but I think we have to be careful we are not putting together a marketing puff piece here. The facts are I think written quite well: "Ontario in the past has been an attractive location in which business can invest due to factors such as its educated" etc, "but recent tax changes in Ontario and neighbouring jurisdictions reduced Ontario's advantages." I think that is very clear. That is what they said.

Although in our conclusions we can draw some other points into the debate that maybe were not brought forward, these are the things that people brought to this committee. I think we should be sure that we outline those. Otherwise, why do we not just go away and write a nice little fluff piece?

Mr B. Ward: Let me make a suggestion to speed things along because I do not think we are going to be able to reach consensus as a committee on how this paragraph should look. I would suggest that in particular that sentence dealing with the auto sector, which really talks about skills, should be included in the bottom paragraph rather than in the section about taxation. If they could rewrite that paragraph, taking into consideration the comments that were made, I think we will not have any concerns as a committee, provided that the research in the draft of the paragraph includes which group said what, so that it is not really a committee statement but it is what we have heard, and relates what we have heard to the groups that made these comments. I think if they do that it could address everyone's concerns in such a manner that we could reach a consensus on how this particular section should read in our final report.

Mr Elston: Not to deal with what Mr Ward has just indicated, I want to join issue with Mr Stockwell. If Mr Stockwell wishes to leave this thing about Ontario in the past having been an attractive location, I think it ought to be clear that it is still an attractive location even today. There may be some erosion of competitive advantage, and if that is the case, I think we ought to include a couple of clauses in this particular paragraph which underline or underscore the federal government's determination to erode the auto pact and the negotiations through free trade, which have placed us in a very, very bad position in the North American economy.

If he prefers to leave this at the basis of taxation, that would likewise be writing a bit of a fluff piece and in fact be perhaps some kind of a daisy in his hairpiece, but it would not be a particularly good piece of information to lead the people of Ontario to believe we did not understand the consequences of that particular assault on Ontario and Canadian integrity.

Mr Stockwell: I do not want to get into a long debate.

Mrs Sullivan: But I will.

Mr Stockwell: But I will. If someone had come in and said that, then I think that should be in the text. If we are discussing that and that is the issue and those issues were brought forward by one or two or three people, then it should be there. I am not here to pick and choose what I want to put in here. Frankly, I did not hear it, but if in fact you can find somewhere where somebody said exactly what Mr Elston has just told us, then fine, include it.

All I am saying is, people said this, groups said this. They came forward and mentioned these things. If you want to dig through and try to find exactly what Mr Elston said, be my guest, but do not put it in there just because you feel threatened by what people have said. As you said, we are not here to change the facts. We are not here to not put things in that are not acceptable by our standards. We are here to report on what the deputants put to us. If you find something that people said, then throw it in, but I know for a fact that people said this paragraph.

The Chair: I would like to say that yes, we are here to report on what the deputations said to us, but I think we are also here, as we have already done this morning, to include, where possible, information that perhaps was not given to us here. That is what we have done with Statistics Canada.

Mr Stockwell: Is that not under "observations and recommendations"?

Mr B. Ward: Mr Chairman, again just to speed things along, I think we concur with all the comments that have been made. We do not want to fabricate any of the information that we receive, but as long as we identify which groups made the statements, the comments that would be included in this report on this specific issue of taxation, I do not think we would have any concerns.

The problem with the wording is that we really do not know who said it. If you read it in its present context, it appears the committee is making the statements and that is something we want to avoid, because we want to include what groups have told us. If the research can take us back and identify which groups made the statements and include as much as possible on the issue of taxation, because it is a very important component of our province, if those circumstances are taken into account, everyone on the committee can agree with what the research comes back with and then we can move on.

The Chair: Okay, so here are the instructions that I understand from the committee, to take out that section on the auto sector, put it in the last paragraph, find the specific groups who made those comments and include it in that paragraph; or failing to find those groups who specifically said that, to reword this paragraph to reflect what Mrs Sullivan, Mr Elston and you have said with respect to the continuing state of the Ontario competitiveness.

Mr Phillips: I am just going by memory on what I heard about the challenges economically, this is pure memory, but number one was the high Canadian dollar; number two was the high interest rates; number three, to me, was just a more general environmental concern about debt or deficits. Taxes, I honest to gosh cannot remember. I honestly do not remember. I am trying to cast my mind to that even being in the top four or five. Can anybody? I cannot remember.

Mr Hansen: I think it was the health tax. That was the only one I heard as a tax. It came out because I think it was the parts manufacturers had come to the point where they would like to put a ceiling on a wage of $30,000 because in the auto industry -- I think I asked the question -- their concern was that there is a lot of overtime when they are rolling, so that increased their cost when they are very busy. If people make over $30,000, they are still paying a health tax. They felt it should be capped at $30,000.


Mrs Sullivan: I think the concerns that were raised included a number of areas. They included tax harmonization on the GST, a tax issue but not taxes. They included, particularly in the auto sector, low-wage-rate states. The corporate income tax was raised as a concern but as only one. The regulatory environment was raised on several occasions. Pay equity and occupational health and safety were raised by several people. Then the needs that were raised included research and development, skilled workers and so on. It seemed to me that taxes were not the overriding issue that was raised as people brought forward concerns about keeping Ontario in a competitive environment.

There was considerable discussion, for instance, about the cost of health care with some of the business groups as a comparative factor against their American counterparts. I vividly recall, partly because of being involved in some of the questions, the discussions relating to the cost here being about 2% or less than 2% and the American cost being well over 8%. Those are factual things that I think the research people can find.

The Chair: Let me have this correct. You would like to see that reflected in this paragraph?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes. I would like to see a more encompassing list of pressures. There is clear concern about the continuing competitiveness of the Ontario economy. I would like to see a more delineated list of those, and not just emphasis on the corporate income tax.

Mr B. Ward: Identify which groups made the statements wherever possible.

The Chair: Can we leave that with the researchers now? Is there any clarification? Can we move along from this page or is there more?

Mr Christopherson: Once we have finished with what was here, we have two paragraphs we would like to suggest for inclusion. I will read it for the record, and if there is no problem then the researchers can incorporate it. If not, then I will maybe just give it to the researchers in any event and have it included for proposal that way. I will read it, Mr Chair. It is brief. It would constitute paragraphs 2 and 3 on page 12, so it would push everything down by that many.

First: "The Ontario Federation of Labour, OFL, has given the committee an indication of the structural dimension of the recession. The recession which is currently under way in Ontario has a much more significant structural component than did the previous recession of 1981-82. The layoff indicator points to a much higher proportion of job losses attributable to permanent and complete plant closures. The OFL believes that addressing the restructuring problem in this province will require the establishment of active labour market adjustment programs."

Second: "In the longer term, the OFL has impressed upon the committee the need for the government to direct its attention to reducing the vulnerability of the Ontario economy to the recession. The increased reliance on credit by both families and businesses often leads to a significant slowdown as an erosion of confidence is followed by the reduction of debt. In addition, the Swedish model of reserve funds is suggested by the OFL as an important counter cyclical device, as it allows companies to set aside funds for an approved counter cyclical purpose without incurring a tax liability."

Mr Stockwell: Do you agree with that?

Mr Christopherson: You will know when we talk about our positions and recommendations. All we are doing is suggesting that this reflects what they said, and we would like to see it incorporated in the body.

Mr Stockwell: A reserve account with no tax liability?

Mr Elston: Rather than debating America, which you can do later if you wish, it would be unusual, would it not, for us to excerpt the position of a particular presenter and include it in the body of the report, which is really what you have done with those two paragraphs, without doing equal time to other presenters?

Mr Christopherson: No. By way of background and being totally frank, what we saw in the last paragraph of this section, which appears on page 13, talked about the CFL, the Canadian Federation of Labour, and its proposal in rather clear detail. We did not want to leave the impression that it was the only position brought forward by labour, since we all paid careful attention to Mr Wilson's presentation. In fact, there was a rather lively debate as I recall on the first day, and this is our suggestion as to how the OFL's comments be reflected in the report. That is what it is meant to be, and we are certainly open to comments on that.

Mrs Sullivan: Mr Chairman, I just counted up, and I have forgotten the total, but it seemed to me that there were 79 or 80 groups and organizations that have sent materials in to us. In many cases, the OFL conclusions were in concurrence with those that were presented by other economic groups and so on and by business in terms of the need for changes in approaches for skills management. There was nothing that was out of the ordinary in terms of the rest of this document, and to devote two entire paragraphs of the document to the views of one organization and individual who came before us, it seems to me, is out of the question.

Mr Jamison: The heading of this section is "Business and Labour," and I think we have a fairly good cross-section. The OFL is the representative of the vast majority of organized workers in this province.

Mrs Sullivan: Which is 20% of the workforce.

Mr Jamison: If we are going to pay credence to the CFL, which some people would confuse in an abbreviated form as being another organization, I would suggest that the main organization be considered in the point of view, specifically under the heading that we are using here, "Business and Labour." I think it is very unfortunate not to have the Ontario Federation of Labour's point of view delineated within this section, and I see no problem with that whatsoever.

Mr Christopherson: I think Mr Jamison has very clearly outlined exactly the way we feel about it. It is a business and labour section. All through this, there are business and bankers and economists. This is the one area where labour has an opportunity, and so far there is only one paragraph, a good paragraph that should be there, that talks about the proposal of the CFL. All we were suggesting is that the OFL presents the other half, if you will, or the other part of the labour perspective, and this is the one place where it has a chance to appear. So in total you have three paragraphs dedicated to labour's position, and I do not think that is an unreasonable position for this committee to take vis-à-vis the entire report.

Mr Phillips: Later on we will look at the wording, because I suspect we are going to have more areas where we may not be able to reach total agreement before we are finished with this.

The Chair: Okay. I thought we would go in at page 13. Are we satisfied with the section on "Business and Labour" with the instructions to the researchers to write back and come back with it? Can we move along now to "Agriculture."

Mr Christopherson: Just a second. There may be something on that page to revisit; we can do it on a revision, though. That is fine.

The Chair: Is there any problem with "Agriculture"?

Mr Sutherland: Yes. Specifically in the last paragraph on that page where it says, "high interest rates, debt burdens, volatile commodity prices," I would like to change the word "volatile" to "low." I think they have stagnated for quite a while rather than fluctuated.

The Chair: Is there any problem with changing it to "low"? Fine.


Mr Christopherson: Also, the clause second from the bottom, the clause that begins, after comma, "the system of supply management which has an impact on the ability of the industry to meet changing consumer demand." Again, it is not attributed and would appear to be a position of this committee, and we are not entirely comfortable with that and would like either it to be attributed or have it withdrawn.

Mr Elston: But it is true, is it not?

Mr Sutherland: It is what?

Mr Elston: I am saying maybe it is true. Supply management, I mean, that is what it is designed to do, to deal with consumer demand for product. I do not understand what is so sensitive about it. I am not exactly sure.

Mr Sutherland: The implication there implies that there is no adaptability within the supply management system and I think there is some adaptability of the commodity groups and the producers who are involved with supply management to make adaptation to differing consumer demands.

Mr Stockwell: No, it is not saying that at all. What it is suggesting is that supply management has an impact on the ability for change. I do not think anyone would argue that. Even you would agree that supply management has an impact on the ability for change.

Mr Sutherland: Even though the word "strong" is not there, the implication is that you are saying it has a strong impact.

Mr Stockwell: No, it does not say "strong;" it says "impact."

Mr Sutherland: I realize that, but I think it is automatically implied when you are using the word "impact" here that it would be a strong impact and I tend to disagree on that.

Mr Elston: Perhaps, Mr Chairman, if we could just kind of give it a clearer, more positive context, would that assist Mr Sutherland and everybody else?

Mr Sutherland: If that can be done, yes.

Mr Elston: Supply management is designed in fact to work towards what the needs of the consuming public are supposed to be and it is supposed to be mobile enough to meet changing requests and things. If it does not quite say that or if it does not mean that, perhaps it can be made a little more clear.

Mr Sutherland: If it can be clarified, anyway, to reflect that, that would be super.

The Chair: If I read this correctly, the problem is not in the comment so much as in the context in which it is located.

Mr Sutherland: Yes.

The Chair: There seem to be negatives all around it, which would imply negativeness to that. If I read you correctly, you see supply management as a positive and would like to see it somewhere else in a positive context. Is that correct?

Mr Sutherland: Yes, that would certainly help the situation. If we can get some clarification back at some point from the research staff on that, that would be great.

The Chair: Is that okay?

Ms Anderson: I am sorry, I am not quite clear.

The Chair: We want to put a positive spin to it.

Ms Anderson: You want to move it somewhere else?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Rampersad: It is to be moved or do we change the wording?

The Chair: Change the wording or move it.

Mr Elston: The whole paragraph, if I understand Mr

Sutherland's problem, the whole context of that paragraph is, "The farm sector is in difficulty for a variety of reasons," including the supply management issue, which is why it reads that way to Kimble and I do not disagree with his assumption that we should not be perhaps quite so negative in this report.

Mr B. Ward: Mr Chairman, I concur with Mr Elston in the sense that if you read the whole paragraph, all those components -- in fact, in the last sentence there is, all these components "have hindered the ability of the industry to adjust to increasingly difficult economic circumstances." I really do not think supply management should be reflected in that matter, and should in fact be pulled out of there and perhaps slotted in somewhere else or clarified so that there is understanding from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. It is my understanding that it is in favour of the supply management concept and that the report should reflect that support as far as the OFA is concerned.

The Chair: Okay. Page 14. Are there any comments on page 14?

Mr Sutherland: Yes. Actually midway down, again dealing with the issue of supply management, it indicates, "The sectors of the industry under the supply management system are likely to experience the greatest difficulty." I am not sure -- if my memory is correct, and we only, I believe, had the OFA in from that area -- whether it had indicated that or not. I was just wondering if we could find out. If they indicated that, fair enough. Otherwise, I think it is another statement that we should be conscious about, because my understanding is that when you look in comparison, supply management areas are better off than those areas that are not under supply management.

Mr B. Ward: A question, Mr Chairman. I cannot recall the entire brief of the OFA, but did it not touch on subsidies by foreign governments to its sectors as part of the reason? I cannot recall if that was included or not. If in fact it was included in the brief, that should be touched on as well.

Mr Jamison: The presenter also talked about how the United States representatives were able to cloud their subsidies a little better than we are able to through our supply management system and subsidies and so forth and expressed that it was a concern. Their concern was clearly revolving around GATI and the international scene. Rather than those subsidies being looked at, the United States, for example, was finding ingenious ways of having subsidies come to their farmers. That really presents a problem, even in the context of realizing what is and what is not a subsidy between the two. That in itself was a major concern about the competitiveness between the two countries, and of course on top of that there was the GATT situation, where you have two major agricultural powers pretty well doing economic battle with one another over that very issue. Those issues, I think, should be well defined, because over and above what we do as far as our own management, they weigh very heavily on the final outcome as to whether or not our agricultural sector really becomes healthier than it is today.

The Chair: If I read you, are you asking for an expanded section here to take into consideration those comments?

Mr Elston: Why do you not just put a short word? You can put a paragraph on GATT and you could put a paragraph on free trade, if you want, but why not include the foreign subsidy problem under that paragraph that we just removed, the supply management?

Mr Jamison: This struggle going on concerning GATT between the United States and the European Community is one that has direct spinoffs, again related to the free trade issue and agriculture and what kind of produce is coming in and really undervaluing or undercutting our own farm-gate price. There is a relationship there to what is happening, and I think if we are going to do justice to this section, we should really describe that in a very understandable way. It is nice to make the statements, but I think the OFA was very concerned about that particular issue on the long-term effects specifically on agriculture, and I would just like it better defined.


The Chair: Are those instructions to the researchers sufficient to go back and to broaden this area a little bit to take into concern the GATT, the foreign subsidies and the subsidies war and all that sort of stuff that is going on?

Mr Hansen: I think the other area we are talking about, the system of supply management, we cannot here in Canada crank down when we have already gone ahead and when we do have an overabundance, let's say, in the United States or other countries. They wind up shipping in here a month or two earlier or a week or two earlier, and this is what has caused the low commodity prices. When our product does come on line, this is what has affected it. We are running the right system of supply management here, but the foreign countries are actually interfering in our supply management. Is that not what you are saying, Mr Elston? It is something that has to be shown.

Mr Elston: It has to be at least delineated. It depends on how long you want the report to be, how far you want to explain subsidies. I will tell you, once you start dangling little bits and pieces about subsidies, you start having people shoot little arrows at you, because you have not fully explained that in Europe it is this way and in the United States it is that way. It is better to highlight it as a difficulty, unless you want to prepare a separate paper on it some other time. Anne's job of explaining the subsidy issue succinctly and dearly in one paragraph is going to be difficult, because it cannot be done.

Mr Jamison: It is very important to show a connection, I think, between the various issues out there that we are dealing with on an international basis and also their connection to other things that have happened, concerning free trade for example. When you have a GATT situation and a GATT war going on in agriculture and then you have a free trade agreement, you have a nightmarish kind of situation there and I think that should be described.

Mr Sutherland: Provided it is referenced in the report. The issue of defining subsidies is really what needs to be in there. Somehow that has got to be --

Mr Elston: That is creating turmoil.

Mr Sutherland: That is an issue. Yes, creating turmoil, and defining it from different countries.

The Chair: Okay. Page 14.

Mrs Sullivan: I want to move to the last paragraph where I think there are some difficulties, on the bottom of page 14 and the beginning of page 15. First of all, the farm credit policy ought not to be similar to the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program, OFFIRR. In fact, what they are looking for is something that is similar to Saskatchewan and Alberta initiatives. As well, the recommendation was for additional initiatives with the federal government on the Farm Credit Corp. So that definitely has to be changed; that is an inaccuracy. The other words that have to be changed there are "financial assistance," because the credit program is not necessarily a financial assistance; it can be planning, etc.

I am not certain that we had any indication, because the Minister of Agriculture and Food was not here, that the government might implement a stopgap program similar to OFFIRR. That was certainly a recommendation of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture though, so I think that sentence should be changed. In the third sentence, at the same time, what we should say is not "federal support" but "tripartite stabilization programs such as GRIP and NISA will provide medium- and longer-term assistance."

Mr B. Ward: Are you suggesting that the first sentence on page 15 be removed?

Mrs Sullivan: We had no information before the committee relating to that, and I would think that what should be included is that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has recommended a program similar to OFFIRR for a one year period and in fact they wanted particular targeting of that program.

Mr B. Ward: Then you are suggesting that be modified as well?

Mrs Sullivan: It has to be, yes. It is inaccurate the way it is here.

Mr Rampersad: The Minister of Agriculture and Food made a statement. He was quoted in the Windsor Star a few days ago as saying that the government is likely to implement a short one-year program similar to OFFIRR.

Mr B. Ward: But we never heard that.

Mr Elston: I do not think it really matters. If he said that and was quoted in the Windsor paper, make a note of it and throw it in.

The Chair: Just footnote it.

Mr Elston: If he has already said it, are we going to quibble over that?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, but I think we have to underline that the recommendation was there for that kind of a program from the OFA. That was certainly a major part of their recommendations to us.

Mr Elston: You can put, "and by newspaper reports, it appears the minister will recommend that," or something.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, I think that would be fine.

The Chair: Just footnote it. The thing is footnote, right? Footnote your sources.

Mr Rampersad: If you want footnotes, we can give you about 100 pages. I can give you footnotes on every statement.

The Chair: Are we comfortable with those two paragraphs now? Are we comfortable with the second paragraph on page 15? Are we happy? Can we move on to "Social Issues"?

Mr Elston: I wonder, just before we do move, because the food processing industry itself is critical to the other half of that -- I mean you can provide a lot of support for the first part of our presentation, but without the second part you certainly erode the need for the farming community here. The processors move to the US and access product from there. I wonder if we maybe should not do something to underscore the negative effect that it has on a number of communities when these operations actually cease.

Somehow my concern in my 10 years here has been that the trend has been to kind of shove agriculture off to one corner, isolate it and say, "Ain't it too bad, but it really doesn't affect us that much," without understanding the effect that there is from a social point of view on whole communities, for instance, in Essex-Kent, and even in the peninsula, of course, Simcoe county.

For me it needs to be fleshed out a wee bit that there is a significant community problem associated with the loss of this industry. It is not like you just are not producing ketchup in Leamington any more. There is more to it. I wish that we could integrate agriculture back into the mainstream of consideration, if I could. We did some stuff and worked on it, but it is difficult because it is easy to push it off when people do not think about stuff --

The Chair: Out of sight, out of mind.

Mr Elston: -- like that being part of a production facility with real men and women working the lines.

The Chair: Yes. One of the problems that we are actually facing here is that we did not have any food processors to give us a presentation.

Mr Elston: Nobody came to talk to us. Can we then just make an observation that they were not represented?

The Chair: That is what my suggestion was going to be.

Mr Elston: Okay, that is fine. I am sorry.

The Chair: But we should make a comment that we are sorry that we did not have this information available.

Mr Elston: I do not want to attribute blame for anybody not appearing, but perhaps we should have expressed the wish that we had been able to more fully examine the implications of a downturn in food processing in Ontario. I just think it is too important to skip by.

The Chair: I think there is probably general concurrence on that.

Mr Jamison: I think it is a major consideration. We may not have had any presenters on that, but I do not think there is anyone in this room who does not realize that the processing industry itself is in serious decline in Ontario. Restructuring again, all the issues that we talked and talked about prior to and the effect on rural communities and as far as employment is concerned, is dramatic. I would like to make specific reference to that part of the industry, being directly related to agriculture, and how it affects the ability of the farmer or the grower to really market his product. Maybe it will grow just as well, but if the processor is not there, it is kind of a fruitless effort.

Mr Hansen: One thing is that it is lowering farm income even to farmers who are winding up -- let's say, growing peaches. There is not that canning crop left because that was always extra money that they got depending on the price of peaches, or let's say apples, or whatever the case may be. It has limited farm income quite a bit on the second-grade canning level, so it has been very costly in our area.

Mr Elston: Perhaps, Mr Chairman, if we need some quotable quotes, I am prepared to become a witness and put in front of the committee a few lines if you want us to include quotable quotes.

The Chair: Maybe the committee could handle it this way, we could put in this paragraph indicating that there is evidence that there is restructuring in the food processing and a great deal of concern in that this is one of the issues that we did not have enough representation on.

Mr Elston: You might still refer it to the attention of the Treasurer. Maybe in one of our recommendations or observations we could do that. Maybe I am skipping ahead of myself, but at least as long as we note it so that we do not look like we totally neglected that side of it.

The Chair: We might be able to get a consensus on a recommendation in that area.

Mr Christopherson: That is in line with what Mr Phillips mentioned before regarding public transit, which there was very little mention of, pulp and paper, mines, environment and police. He suggested and we supported the idea that we might find a means of incorporating that into the report so that it was not left out, even though we did not get a substantial amount of presentations on that. I think this is just akin with that and is an excellent idea that does not distort our findings and our recommendations to the Treasurer.

The Chair: If I read you correctly then -- you can correct me if I am wrong -- what you are saying is that we should indicate to the Treasurer that we did not get deputations in this area, but these are still important areas to be considered. "Social Issues."

Mr Christopherson: Before we start on "Social Issues," could I suggest that we look at breaking because that is going to take a fair while, I suspect, and it is a few minutes before the lunch hour.

The Chair: I am putty in your hands, if it is the will of the committee.

Mr Christopherson: Let me push my luck then and confirm that it is 2 o'clock that we are returning, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Yes, it is. I would like to nail down the break time for this afternoon at this point as well. What would be the break time? From 2 to 4, or 3:45?

Mr Christopherson: I think what we may want to do is leave it flexible only to the extent that we do have a limitation. We have Thursday and it all has to be done by then. If we get bogged down this afternoon and lose two hours, we may regret having set a time. I do not mind setting a target, but I would not want to set the adjournment time now. We may need it. We may want it this afternoon. It is either that or the possibility of starting who knows when Thursday morning or staying till who knows when Wednesday night, which would probably louse up agendas much more than staying until 5 or so tonight, if we had to.

Mrs Sullivan: Will we have proposals from you on your recommendations? Did you not say you were going to bring some?

Mr Christopherson: Yes, we have some. If we get through the report and we are prepared to start to look at some, yes, we are in that position. If you are in a position to respond to some of them, then we can focus on those. We are going to caucus again.

The Chair: I declare this meeting adjourned until 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed at 1154.


The committee resumed at 1407 in committee room 2.

The Chair: I guess we are ready to begin the afternoon session. We are on page 15, looking at "Income Adequacy" under "Social Issues."

Mr Christopherson: I have a couple of points. This is another area where we would ask the researchers if they could contribute some of the comments, again for clarity's sake. I will leave that as an overall request for this section and for the balance, quite frankly.

I would also mention to our colleagues from the other two parties that in line with Mr Phillips's suggestion of "Other Matters," we would like to also suggest that we have a subheading under "Social Issues" of "Poverty" and another one under "The Disabled Community." Further -- I do not think this will come under "Social Issues," although it may -- another heading we would like to have considered is "Native Issues," in light of the submission received and the importance of it in today's context.

Those are our comments vis-à-vis "Social Issues," the first part.

Ms Anderson: May I ask how you would see the "Poverty" section differing from "Income Adequacy"?

Mr Phillips: That is a good question.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, it is a really good question. It is an issue that sort of came up, and I think we now know which side was right in the internal discussion. I will try not to gloat.

Mr Elston: You should not have to try too hard.

Mr Christopherson: Maybe a title change, and if there are any other aspects of the submissions that could be put in. Obviously, without being overly technical, we would like to beef that up a little if we could.

Mr Elston: More tactics?

Mr Christopherson: What did you have for lunch, Murray? Where have you been? You come back after lunch and you are all wound up. You are very troublesome and mischief-making.

The Chair: Murray went down and spent some time with the people in the tents.

Mr Phillips: The last sentence on page 15, "A whole package of welfare reforms, including" etc -- I wonder if there is not a better way of saying that. It seemed to me that there was a consistency in the groups that suggested the continuation of the implementation of the Social Assistance Review Committee report. Somebody from outside reading this would wonder if this is not kind of a whole new idea suddenly coming at us, while it seemed to me that almost all three parties were of a mind on SARC. That was a theme I got out of the various groups that came before us, that they were suggesting we continue with the implementation of SARC.

I wonder if saying that is not a better way than that sentence, "A whole package of welfare reforms," just something along the lines that there seemed to be a consistency in the presentations recommending the continuation of the implementation of the SARC report.

Mr Stockwell: We are firmly behind you on that.

Mr Elston: Yes, quite a long way behind us.

The Chair: It is going to be a long afternoon.

Mr Stockwell: Why do we not just kick Murray out right now?

Mr Elston: I was told the morning session was much too staid and too formal. I just wanted to add a little life to it.

The Chair: What you are trying to do is get more oxygen to the brain cells, is that it?

Do we have any questions or comments on Mr Phillips's recommendation that this section be rewritten to reflect more of what the groups were saying about SARC?

Mr Phillips: Just the final sentence. It kind of looks as if there was a smorgasbord of ideas coming at us, with no consistency, whereas I felt there was a consistency, which said there had been a big study done on reform of the social programs in Ontario, called the SARC report, and there seemed to be consensus around the continuation of the implementation of it, I thought.

Mr Christopherson: We would not have a problem with taking a look at a redraft on that.

Mrs Sullivan: In the same paragraph: I think the implication in this paragraph is that people who have inadequate income to meet requirements of living are all unemployed, and there was some consistency in documentation that came before us about the working poor and people who have reached a point, either through the supports to employment program or going back to work, where other tangible needs have to be addressed, including child care, part of which is covered, but also including a continuation of some social assistance benefits.

I do not think that is reflected in here at all. It came in a number of the presentations before us. Perhaps the research people and the drafters could just shape it to indicate that the poverty issue is not one that is only for the unemployed.

The Chair: That we are talking about the working poor as well.

Ms M. Ward: Some of those concerns you are mentioning, are they not addressed in the first paragraph on page 16?

Mrs Sullivan: I do not think adequately.

The Chair: That one representation really went through a whole lot of things that presented roadblocks of a systemic nature as opposed to a straight welfare payment nature, and those systemic things could be included. Is that what you are asking for?

Mrs Sullivan: Plus the dollars as well. It follows right along in terms of social assistance. But some of the other issues I think were a very clear part. There was one that was a particularly dramatic presentation, but it was included in several presentations.

The Chair: We have the recommendation to have a couple of the headings changed and that section broadened to reflect those comments you just made. Are there any other changes to that section on "Social Issues"? Can we go on to "Housing," then?

Mr Elston: I just want to make another observation about the construction of the report, if I may, before we go any further. It has nothing to do with the things you did not hear or the things you did hear, but just a juxtaposition of the "Agriculture" section prior to this, as though it were more business as usual prior to getting into the real social issues of the time, if you know what I mean. There are social assets to this agricultural thing, where you can see the demise of a whole community lifestyle or series of communities in our province. I do not like the idea of saying this is a social issue, income adequacy for people in a different part of the province, while the rest of this is somehow business as usual.

Perhaps there was not an idea that you wanted to segregate this into an agricultural-business type of stuff, and then "Income Adequacy" or "Poverty," which are more seen to be items of an urban nature, but which, from my point of view, afflict rural Ontario as deeply or probably even more so as we go through more restructuring.

I find it difficult to isolate the agriculture question from the "Social Issues" section, if you know what I mean. You have a few paragraphs here and there are some more things to be brought forward, I understand that. But it is a whole social calamity that we are about to deal with in the agricultural sector. I do not know how you fix it, but I think it has to be remarked upon so that people do not believe there is not some sort of social element we are going to be wrestling with over the next few years.

The Chair: Can I maybe offer a suggestion here? Under the table of contents, agriculture does have its own heading. When we get the sections back on agriculture, if they do not deal adequately with the point of view that you are expressing, then maybe we could look at it at that time and beef it up.

I sense that there is a great deal of sympathy cross party here for what you are saying.

Mr Jamison: Just a clarification: My understanding of what you are saying, Murray, is that because farm incomes have dropped so much, there is usually a secondary income on a great number of farms, and with the recession that income disappears and the impact or the poverty that exists at that point is to try to keep that viable.

Mr Elston: Mine is a more basic concern even than that, because when you deal with agriculture in Ontario, there is not only a financial or fiscal framework, which is what we talked about, basically, in this prior section, but there is a whole cultural and then social side about which we say nothing. What we have basically said is, "Okay, the agricultural thing is all fiscal," or at least it could be read this way, that it is all fiscal, and then we go on to what we determine to be "Social Issues."

There is nothing more social-issue oriented than the demise of several small communities all around rural Ontario. The dislocation and family problems that develop as a result of that certainly are as big a concern from a social issue standpoint as from the fiscal, which we really isolated ourselves on during this report.

It is an old bias that I have had for some time. I just do not like the idea of thinking that we can deal with agriculture by throwing a few more dollars after a farm support program, and not deal with a whole series of other social issues which are equally affecting rural and urban Ontario. It is a much broader one than you were identifying.

Mr Christopherson: Mr Chair, I think you were correct when you acknowledged that there was a fair bit of cross-party support. Earlier, Mr Elston referred to the fact that agriculture historically has not been considered part of the manufacturing system, that it has always been something separate, and now raises the issue of social services not tying into it and the cultural aspect of agriculture, and I think there is a fair bit of agreement on our side with that.

You have said that in the redrafting of "Agriculture," if it is not there -- and I suspect if we do not give direction it will not be. I would suggest that we are very supportive of asking the researchers to include those, for lack of a better term, linking sentences, linking paragraphs that will at least acknowledge that we see those connections and we would like to see those connections worked on and some attention paid to them.

Mr Elston: Perhaps in the preamble or introduction, we could acknowledge that while there are various sections that isolate particular topics of interest, we recognize crossover features, and perhaps highlight agriculture as one where, although we may focus on fiscal matters or financial matters, there are cultural and social problems of pretty great degree which must be met relatively quickly if we are going to sustain several of our communities. I guess we around here represent a good number of those small communities.


Mr Christopherson: Without getting into timetables at this stage, because that may indeed be part of observations and recommendations and some departure points for us, I think we can agree on the importance of it and the linkages. The researchers should feel comfortable that we are asking that those concepts be incorporated into the draft.

The Chair: We can come back and deal with that more when we have the next draft of this.

"Housing." Is everybody okay?


Mr Christopherson: We are fine on all of page 17.

Mr Stockwell: I have a question on paragraph 2, page 17, on the immigrants. Are we trying to relate the groups that came in, are we going to put in brackets or whatever which group said this, attribute certain sections in here? I was curious which agencies came forward that said it was "a cost-effective way of integrating immigrants into the community," and finally, "the funds available from the federal and provincial governments have been insufficient." I would just like to see who made those deputations, because I think we are taking it here as a fact. I am not saying it is not a fact, but I do not know it to be a fact or not to be a fact.

The Chair: "Women's Interval and Transition Houses."

Mrs Sullivan: The second last line: After "provide the" I would put "increased." I would also add "second stage housing."

The Chair: So you want to have "to provide increased services to abused women and their children." And you would also like an additional comment here about second-stage housing.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: Second-stage housing goes where?

The Chair: Right after that.

Mrs Sullivan: At the end, as one of the --

Mr Christopherson: "Additional staffing, pay equity and second-stage housing"?

Mrs Sullivan: Fine.

Mr Christopherson: We are okay on that.

The Chair: "Health."

Mr Christopherson: We are comfortable with what is here. We would like to see some additions. What we would like to do is offer to the researchers some direction.

The first one is on emphasis, a paragraph or two on the importance of the management of the health care system vis-à-vis the costs, the dollars, that this is something that needs to be focused on.

Second, we would like to see also an expansion on the community care issue. There is some here. We would like to see more, if we could, taken from the submissions that were made, with a particular look at the question of the analysis of costs. We did not look at the research material, but we suspect an acknowledgement that there still needs to be further analysis of what those costs are. Are the cost savings as great as some people think? Is it going to be revenue neutral? Will it cost more? Where are we in that determination, and should this apply to all sectors? Is it automatic that community care is the best way to go in all cases? Just something on that. Then lastly --

The Chair: Just a minute. Are you asking there for maybe whatever information is available on specific sector analysis? Just what exactly are you looking for there?

Mr Jamison: We are not looking at the picture overall, as far as communities are concerned. We are looking at the effectiveness of what services would be more cost-effective at the community level, more available, the availability and those kinds of things. We are just saying a closer scrutiny. The whole theme is how we can better administer the health care system in the province and better -- maybe not administer, but fund and really track the funding. As far as community-based services are concerned, are we talking about the overall availability of service? Should we break those down and see which would be more effectively community based?

Ms M. Ward: I just wanted to add that our reason for this request was the sentence there, "Community-based care might lead to reduced costs over the medium term." The medium term is something that is not very self-explanatory, and also the word "might" leaves some questions and we would like any explanations or further detail that we could get about that.

Mr Christopherson: There may indeed be a need, objectively speaking, for a reference to the fact that those potential cost savings have not been determined. If you recall, I asked those questions of at least one of the delegations and it does seem as if it is unclear. Originally there were great savings in community care. Then there was the suggestion it was fairly even, and now there is some suggestion it may cost more. All we are looking for is, in the submissions, was there a clear position, or should we be saying that has not yet been determined and perhaps that is something that needs to be identified?

Mr Stockwell: I do not think there are any savings at all, and even leading them down the garden path that there might be savings is misleading. I would just as soon just strike it.

Mr Christopherson: But that is the difference. There are those groups that still maintain that there are significant savings to be made. This is where Mr Jamison is saying in certain areas there may be greater savings than others in terms of institutional care and other health care that can be provided at the community level. We are just saying it has not yet been determined.

Mr Stockwell: It sounds like an observation or a conclusion, recommendation.

The Chair: We are just a little out of order here.

Mr Stockwell: Sorry.

The Chair: Mrs Sullivan was next.

Mrs Sullivan: I had a couple of comments, one of them relating to the three areas on management vis-à-vis costs. Mr Christopherson has asked for an additional paragraph relating to that. It seems to me that there are a number of management questions that come up, including capping services and so on, that I would not want to see included in an introductory paragraph. If his party wants to bring forward recommendations relating to management, then so be it.

Similarly, if you go back through the whole move from deinstitutionalization, a major rationale for that move was not cost-saving, nor has it been anticipated that there would be a lesser portion of the provincial budget dedicated to health care. It was the delivery that was being changed. If you want to ask for instance, for a cost analysis of a change in approach, that should be your recommendation, unless I am hearing you totally incorrectly.


Mr Christopherson: Let me respond in the hope of clarifying, and I remain open to comments back, of course. We are looking at this in the same vein that your colleague Mr Elston suggested, that if something really was said and it is relevant, then we ought to say it in here. We are not trying to make an observation or a recommendation from something that was not there, or if we are, we will state that very clearly. We are asking the researchers only to look where management of the system was referenced. To our recollection -- and again, we did not go through the submissions -- I acknowledge that in our discussions. We are asking the researchers if they would do that for us and where there was reference made -- and we believe there was -- then we would like to see something on that.

The other thing with the example of deinstitutionalization, first of all, I do not know that I agree with what was said, because I know a fair bit about that issue. But second we are not looking again to have any kind of work done in terms of direction. We will make those recommendations in the appropriate place. But what we do want is the basis in this report. We see it as a big issue and all we want to do is ask at this stage that anything that was said about that issue be reflected in the report and attributed.

Mr Phillips: On community-based care, if I am not mistaken, it is kind of the cornerstone of the health direction that the new government wants to take. I think that Operation Critical -- I think that was the big health report -- called for the doubling of community-based spending by the new government. So as I say, I think that is the direction it is heading. I am not sure what wording we are looking at here, but I think the future is being based on that.

My question was back in the top paragraph. I would like the researchers just to check the numbers on the per cent on hospitals and others. I believe the number that I am familiar with is that the hospitals are 46% of the health budget and I would just like to make sure those numbers are correct.

The Chair: Do you have any source of those numbers?

Mr Phillips: The ministry's estimates are one source and the minister's annual report is the other; just different numbers than I recall.

The Chair: While they are looking for that, are there any other questions or suggestions for the health section?

Mr Christopherson: There is one more from our position. We would like to see an expansion on the presentation that the nurses made and would just leave the request at that and ask the researchers perhaps to do a paragraph on that presentation. That is page 18 for us.

The Chair: Are there any other considerations or things that we should be considering putting into this part of the brief? If I do not see any hands, then I assume that we can now give direction to the --

Mr Sutherland: Sorry. Just on that, we are making reference at the beginning of this report about the issues that Mr Phillips brought up and the ones that Mr Christopherson added. Even though we did not receive presentations, there is something to the effect that they are still relevant and important and need to be addressed. Or are we just coming through with specific recommendations on those areas later? Was that the direction you were looking at?

The Chair: You are looking for an indication in some preamble, are you not, about mining, natural resources, policing?

Mr Sutherland: Yes.

Ms Anderson: Do you want to have that in an introduction to the whole report?

Mr Sutherland: If it is referenced to the fact that the committee felt that there were issues, even though they were not addressed.

Mr Christopherson: Yes. Again, we would remain open to hear how big a problem that is for you. We agreed with the suggestion by Mr Phillips that some of those things should be included. In fact, we added a couple of our own. My colleague Mr Sutherland is suggesting that perhaps we may be able to show that in the report through a separate section acknowledging areas where we may not have had a lot of submissions, indeed maybe none, but we think there ought to be at least a reference to those things in this report. It just ties in with what Mr Phillips and our caucus felt was important.

Mr Stockwell: What do you want them to write?

Mr Christopherson: That is why I couched it by saying I know it could be problematic for the researchers.

Mr Sutherland: I think if you go back and look at some of the past reports -- in fact, I thought I had seen in a couple of the ones from either two years ago -- they reference them and just make note of --

Ms Anderson: Sometimes they have had a paragraph or two, just a heading called "Pre-budget Consultation Process," and the committee has talked about it is sorry it has not heard from certain sectors and it is sorry it has not heard from people outside Toronto and things like that. That is just a whole separate section, a sort of preamble at the beginning of the whole report.

Mr Christopherson: If you could give us your best shot as to how that might be covered and we will take a look at how far that goes to meeting the needs that have been expressed by both parties.

Mr Phillips: Just a couple of other things. One is that there were a number of information requests through the process that we had. I can recall asking the Treasury people the very first day for some information around credit implications of borrowing and what kind of premium we would pay as a result of no longer borrowing from the teachers' pension. They indicated that they would get back to us. I think my colleague Mrs Sullivan also had a number of requests as well and I am wondering when we are expecting those answers.

The Chair: I had not heard back. I will have Mr Decker run that down.

Mr Phillips: I guess the other observation I would make is the challenge we are going to have. I think we have a lot of the prognosis on the spending side here, but one of our challenges is just the revenue side. I know the Treasurer says that it is too unpredictable to predict, but I think that is going to be a challenge for us as we work our way through this thing here. I am not sure how we work our way out of it, but I think it is going to be challenging to give the advice he is looking for, because I think virtually all of these things are on the expenditure side and very few of them are on the revenue side. I just make that observation. I do not know how the final report will look, but that is to be in.

Mr Christopherson: If I could just follow up on that, Mr Chair, I am curious and I ask in total innocence -- I know that you do not buy that, Murray -- how normally is that sort of thing reflected in a report like this? That is why you make recommendations saying that the government should do this or it is requested to do that. Understanding that the final decisions are left in the hands of the cabinet on the budget, how normally would revenue issues be in a report like this? Are one of the two opposition parties proposing new taxes to generate revenue?

Mr Phillips: No, but your Treasurer has given us the economic forecast. He has in place all of his taxes. I guess we had half-expected him to say, "If the economy unfolds as we estimate it will and there are no new taxes, this is what we will have to work with on the revenue side," because he is asking for advice on the expenditure side from people who are giving us advice in a series of specific areas. But I am quite disappointed that we do not have some feeling of what we are looking at on the revenue side.

Mr Christopherson: If I might, I do not think anybody needs a crystal ball to confirm the fact that we are looking at a deficit in fiscal 1991-92, so the real question for us is, how much of a deficit are we looking at? What priorities are such that we feel they should be given consideration, not regardless of the deficit but in spite of the fact that there is a deficit? Or as in the case of Mr Stockwell, are there going to be recommendations in perhaps the opposite direction, that you should not make any expenditures when there is going to be a deficit?

Mr Phillips: But the crystal ball on the deficit has to be revenue minus expenditures. Presumably the only way you know the deficit is by subtracting one from the other. You are very close to the Treasurer, you talk to him on an hourly basis. What revenue might he be looking at?


Mr Stockwell: I agree with Mr Phillips. I think it is a joke to try to go through this, make a sandwich with one piece of bread. There is no question, if you are going to do a serious review of the budget, if you are going to prepare a budget and you are going to analyse recommendations, it is absolutely absurd to suggest you can do it without the revenue projections. Now, I know you are the open and accessible and free-thinking group that you thought you were when you got elected, but even those back room Liberals last term, last year, supplied this committee with preliminary revenue projections. They did it. I cannot understand why --


Mr Stockwell: Just look for them. I found them.

I cannot understand why you cannot give us preliminary projections. Mr Chairman, I suggest we send a strongly worded message to the Treasurer saying:

"I know you have them. You are telling us you are going to have a bigger deficit next year than the year before. You must have some kind of revenue projections to say just that. If you want some serious recommendations that can be made to the Treasurer in the sense of working together, you have to give us some kind of idea what the revenues are going to be."

We are going to go through this whole charade, and no one will know what to recommend because we do not know how big the deficit will be. We do not know what your projections for revenue will be. We do not know where we can see growth and where we are not going to see growth, and we will sit around here navel-gazing.

I would prefer right now that this committee go on record unanimously requesting the Treasurer to supply this committee with what I consider to be a very reasonable request, preliminary revenue projections. The Liberals did it. The open, accessible, up front and frontier-thinking NDP, I am certain, can do the same as the Liberals did last time.

Mr Jamison: That is an awkward thing to do, basically on this basis, that the Treasurer told us, informed us of a windfall of some $900 and some odd million that came back from the federal government that really he had no ability to account. That is a substantial amount of money. I do not believe he can do that within the accuracy Mr Stockwell is talking about.

Mr Elston: Along that line the whole point of budgeting is that they do that. In fact they not only do that once a year in preparation for a budget, but they do that on a monthly basis so that they can figure out whether or not their revenues are living up to what the projections are. In fact the whole process starts -- at least, it did when we were over there -- by about August or September when the preliminary estimates are made for the whole year on the basis of revenues and the strength or weakness of the economy.

Treasury has a whole unit that does nothing but, or at least has a number of people who do nothing but speculate on the future earning ability of the revenue sources for the Treasurer. That likewise is done through the people at the Ministry of Revenue who are charged with keeping the Treasury people informed so that they can make in-year course adjustments if that is necessary. So even though there is this $900 million that comes up because of some kind of reconciliation of personal income tax accounts and other things from the federal authorities, that should not stop us from asking for those revenue sources.

I might also indicate, by the way, that I would like to express some concern, because what we are seeing this year is similar to what we saw at one point when Larry Grossman was Treasurer. We have had floated out in the public now, at least from two sources that I have seen, the incredible numbers of $6 billion -- I had heard originally -- to $9 billion in deficit. I see in the Globe and Mail this morning that the number has shrunk from $6 billion to $8 billion in terms of deficit, with the idea being that the bad, bad tough message is going out there, "Ain't it going to be just awful," and then some smaller number may arrive as the deficit figure.

I believe that at this stage in our fiscal year, and in preparation for the budget which will be brought in, I guess, in May or April, Floyd has already, with his colleagues at Treasury, recommended to the Premier, and in fact the policy and priorities board of cabinet or whatever it is called now has already determined, what the target deficit number will be. Unless you start with that target number, then you cannot possibly start to clarify where you are going to move with all of the other decisions around which we are being asked to make recommendations.

Even as we sit here, Floyd Laughren and the Treasury department have already told the Premier, his advisers and the policy and priorities group in cabinet, exactly what their best guess is with respect to revenue and what their best guess is in terms of consumption of dollars on the expenditure side.

For us to ask for a little bit of guidance -- we are not asking to the last penny -- if he cannot provide us with some kind of guidance, he is not telling us everything they are doing. So I think we should be able to have some of that. I like the idea that this be shared with us to help us, because to be quite honest this whole process is not going to be very helpful if we try to go in and say, "There are a lot areas you should address," and then he says, "By the way, we've decided to balance the budget this year, so we're going to actually cut back expenditures."

I cannot imagine him doing that, but it is a scenario that is possible. Until we know, how do we know what our recommendations ought to be so that we do not look like a bunch of goof balls?

Mr Christopherson: I do not think there is any guarantee that we will not look like a bunch of goof balls. I do not think anybody can provide that guarantee. But let me say this, we are now two days from completion of this committee's work. The Treasurer was just here, as Mr Jamison has said, less than four working days ago and all of these questions were put to him by, I guess it would have been your predecessor on the committee last week, Mr Stockwell. Mr Sterling and everybody had their run at the Treasurer in terms of asking him for information and hearing his answers, not us carrying his message. You heard at first hand his answers to those questions and to those requests. You got the answers. They are there in Hansard to be seen, and obviously we are not going to be comfortable at this stage of the game with suddenly sending off a message from this committee demanding this, that or the other thing when indeed he was just here to answer those questions.

I think it is a bit of a red herring to raise at this point. The time to do it was when the Treasurer was here. We said very little. If you check Hansard, you will see that we did not take up a lot of the time. We made sure that the opposition members had 95% of the time available for access to the Treasurer. You asked your questions. You got the answers as best you are going to get from him. Whether that is satisfactory or complete or not is up to you, but you got his answers. I think that has answered those questions for the deliberations of this committee, for the duration of this committee sitting. We are not prepared, obviously, to play any kind of games at all, at all, at all.

Mr Elston: I am sorry; I was not playing games. I just told you about the process.

The Chair: Let him finish. Then we have three other people.

Mr Christopherson: We are not prepared to play any kind of games at all about sending letters to the Treasurer demanding, when indeed he has just been here. If he had not been here or had refused or if this was while he was still sitting there, actions taking place -- now a number of working days have gone by and it has not been raised, and I have some real concerns about the legitimacy of the sincerity in asking these kinds of questions and making these kinds of requests.

Mr Phillips: There is actually nothing new.

Mr Stockwell: On a point of order, Mr Chair: There are questions of the speaker or do you go to the next speaker under this process?

The Chair: We go to the next speaker.

Mr Stockwell: Okay.

Mr Phillips: Do you want to ask the speaker a question?

Mr Stockwell: Yes, I did, but it is okay. Go ahead.

Mr Phillips: I think we have been trying from the outset to find some revenue estimates. I think you all know about the $2.5-billion deficit. I have predicted from the outset that revenues would be higher. The federal government publishes its numbers all the time. It is no secret that they already have their third-quarter numbers out. It is not a windfall. It is, in my opinion, a predictable number. I said that three months ago and indeed it has come true.

All I am saying is that in the end it is going to be difficult for us. I think, by your own admission, you said, "It doesn't take a crystal ball to know there is a deficit." The only way you can get to a deficit, I repeat, is you subtract the revenue from the expenditures. We are going to be talking about expenditures as -- that is not a bad expression; I may use it -- one slice of the sandwich. That is all I am saying. It is going to be difficult for us. I realize the Treasurer is saying he does not want to give us the numbers, although I agree with my colleague that every single ministry already is working on next year's budget. There is zero question about that. They have been given their direction and there has been a target expenditure estimate set.

We will proceed with this. We have no authority to demand the revenue numbers, or at least, we will not get the revenue numbers. It just makes it difficult. I do not imagine you at the Hamilton city council or regional council ever went through an exercise without having some idea of what your revenue is going to be.


Mrs Sullivan: Certainly I am very familiar with the process relating to budget determinations and concur with my colleague that in fact those decisions have been made. The Treasurer indicated that he was not going to share them with us. They certainly would have been discussed around the table with Treasury officials and targets would have been set. We have had some indication, through announcements, of what the pressures on the expenditure side of the budget will be, and without an indication of what the range of targets is, in the absence of specific decisions that the Treasurer will have to hold unto himself until the final week or whenever the budget deadline is usually the week prior is when the final locked-in decision is made -- there are targets.

We would like to know what the Treasurer's targets are and how he sees the elements changing. The previous Treasurer shared that information with the committee and indicated that within a targeted area, the target over a period of time was to reduce the budget to a balanced situation, and he did so and he indicated that he wanted to operate in the 1990 budget end at a balanced situation, given no changes in economic scenarios.

If, for example, the Treasurer is looking to increase a budget deficit and sees a validity in making changes that will increase the budget deficit for the next year within a targeted framework, then it is valid that we can look at some of the recommendations that have been brought before us and say, "Indeed, within the context of recovery and reflation, these are recommendations that make sense for the Treasurer to include in that budget." We do not have to follow the Treasurer's plans. This is an independent committee, but within that budget-setting scenario it is useful for us and in fact important to us to at least have the framework on which his decisions are going to be made.

I speak in support. We have certainly had indications from announcements of pressures on the expenditure side. The pressures on the revenue side are very important to us if this committee is going to have any sense of validity.

The Chair: I just interject at this point. I have been informed that in fact what you are asking for is for the 1991-92 budget year. Is that correct, that you want those notes?

Mrs Sullivan: That is why we are sitting here.

The Chair: And that in fact those numbers have not been given to previous finance committees.

Mrs Sullivan: At least the targeted range was, at least the direction of the budget was.

Mr Stockwell: Who told you that, Mr Chairman? Last year the Liberals provided the range, the parameters they were going to use.

Interjection: Where is that? Could I just have where that was referenced in the report?

Mr Stockwell: I have got it downstairs. I am not sure that the book -- I picked it out and there it was; those numbers were in there.

The Chair: I will pursue this from the point of view of finding out exactly the correct interpretation of this information and will report back to you at the next meeting tomorrow morning. Did you want to make a comment?

Mr Stockwell: I have one last comment. I take great exception to the comments made by a government member with respect to the legitimacy of the request. I think there is great legitimacy to the request. I think, if you are going to look at a budget, you need both sides of the equation, and for you to sit there and suggest that this is politically motivated by some stretch, that we are in fact looking to embarrass the government or, I do not know, spill the beans on the budget, is absolutely insane and I take great exception to that comment.

You are the open and accessible government. You are the people who were going to give us all this openness and fair play. It is dear the only time it is open is if you are a member of the NDP. To suggest for a moment that requesting -- get this, requesting -- revenue projection parameters, guidelines, is in fact going to, as your Treasurer sat there and suggested, outline the 1991-92 fiscal budget, is a joke, an absolute joke.

For us to sit here going through this charade -- what do we have here? We have got throne speech 2. We are talking about whether partnership should go before answers. That is how in-depth we are getting into this budget discussion. I take exception to your comment that there is no legitimacy to it and it is politically motivated. Baloney. You sat on Hamilton council. Tell me one budget you ever did where you did not have revenue projections when you set your budget. Don't be so stupid.

Mr B. Ward: Mr Chairman, he should withdraw those last two words.

The Chair: The last part of your comment, sir, is not appropriate language.

Mr Stockwell: "Don't be so stupid"?

The Chair: Yes, it is not appropriate language.

Mr Stockwell: I am not implying that he is stupid. I withdraw that. But it certainly riles me when he is suggesting that there is no legitimacy to our request. That is unreasonable.

The Chair: I am going to exercise my powers of the Chair. We can rattle around this debate for the rest of the day and, if that is what the committee wishes to do, that is fine. I will bend to the wishes of the committee. However, I would suggest that at this time we have exactly two days and somewhat to consider our recommendations and I think we can do some good work between now and then, in the absence of these numbers which we may or may not get and which I would suggest at this time it is highly unlikely that we will get. I would like to proceed with the next part of this process and get on with the recommendations.

Mr Christopherson: At the risk of being overruled by you, and I stand by any ruling you make, I think I am entitled to at least state for clarification purposes that it is not the issue I am talking about, but the timing of it. These positions and arguments were put forward prior to the Treasurer's coming before the committee. That was the purpose in his coming before the committee. Those questions were put before him. That was last Wednesday at noon. This is now 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the following Tuesday. To suddenly raise this as a crisis issue, that we cannot continue without this information now, is why I am suggesting, in my opinion, that it is political in nature and not as legitimate as it is being put forward to be, not as if it was put at the time that the Treasurer was here. That is for the clarification.

Mr Stockwell: You are assuming the answers the Treasurer gave us are legitimate answers.

The Chair: I would like that to be the last word, Mr Stockwell, please. I would like to move along because we have a lot of work to do yet and I am sure there is lots of time. Are we all ready to do some more work now? Okay, let us move to the next section, and that is to start considering the recommendations that will go into the report.

Mr Elston: I would just like to draw your attention, before you get on with the recommendations, Mr Chairman, that we did not go back to page 2 and some of the other pages that we were to have reports back from the NDP caucus on some of the variations to be considered. I think there were some lines on page 2, for instance, that I remember and a couple of others on those first three pages that you were going to chat about, I think.

The Chair: We have a revised version of the draft. Is it the wish of the committee to have it circulated now?

Ms Anderson: The first section.

Mr Elston: But does that also include the things that you were going to talk about?

Mr Christopherson: No.

Mr Elston: So we might as well hear what you have decided about some of those options.

Mr Christopherson: I can have those for tomorrow. I do not have them for this afternoon.

Mr Elston: Okay, fine.

The Chair: Where do we begin in this part of the process? I need some direction here.

Mr Stockwell: The government is going to supply us with its recommendations, I think, at this point.


The Chair: If I remember correctly, we were all going to supply each other with all of our recommendations at this point. I think that would be useful in terms of being able to move through it quickly in terms of finding out where the consensuses are. Who is going to go first?

Mr Phillips: I think our understanding was the government would lay out its recommendations.

Mr Stockwell: That is what I thought.

Mr Phillips: In the final analysis, if I add the numbers up, we might as well start with where we are going to end.

Mr Stockwell: You could even read into their recommendations too, probably, some of the revenue projections and maybe adjust ours.

Mr Christopherson: Please do that, Chris. I want you to stay up all night calculating that for me, please. We would appreciate that.

Mr Stockwell: Honestly, I thought the government was going to supply them first.

Mr Christopherson: Again, not having gone through this or anything like it here, since all of us are new, and if the other parties are not comfortable with this process, we are prepared to entertain another way of doing it. What we thought we would do this afternoon is present some of the recommendations that we feel were probably the least contentious, that had the best possibility for support.

We, like you I am sure, have looked at previous reports and liked the areas where unanimity was shown and thought that that really carried some weight. We had hoped to find as much of that kind of ground as possible, so our suggestion today was to run through a number of the issues, not in any particular order, mind you, because the report had not yet been finalized in terms of the headings and where the groupings might fall and we ran into a problem. If you just want to take a patchwork of recommendations that we think everybody is comfortable with, we think that might be a good way to start.

Mr Phillips: What about the title?

Mr Christopherson: "NDP Caucus Recommendations." Do you like that?


Mr Christopherson: Either not enough oil or too much, eh? All right. Again, I do not have a lot of rhyme or reason to them at this point, so here goes. As you can see, I am trying to couch this 16 ways from Sunday. "To enable disabled people to speak on their own behalf, enhanced funding should be provided to advocacy and self-help groups."

Mrs Sullivan: Is this in isolation or is it going to have other recommendations? I do not think we can go that way, just sort of a sentence that sits there.

The Chair: It should go where it says "Committee's Observations." Do we have any idea where we --

Mr Christopherson: Not at this point because as I explained there is such a lack of preparedness just in terms of getting the process right. Our preference was to come in and say, "Okay, at the end of this section where we have observations and recommendations, here is what we have got as a package." Unfortunately, because the final draft is not done and we were all suggesting new headings, we did not know exactly where it would break down. So the best I have for you is just what I started to do: a whole host of recommendations. We have quite a number of them, but they are like that. They kind of stand alone. They are not attached anywhere.

Mr Elston: So basically what you are going to do --

Mr Christopherson: I mean, we can hold off --

Mr Elston: -- if you wanted, you could actually go through this paper and just signify for our purposes where your caucus had sort of provided your own endorsement, and then we could think about the construction of these tomorrow when we get our next draft. If you just want to enumerate them that way, that is fine, but otherwise the sections of recommendations and observations may not be too cogent, and it is very difficult to construct a report around those things if you are just going to sort of say, like, well --

The Chair: There is a possibility, it appears, that if the committee was to go through these, the researchers then can take them and plug them in where they --

Interjection: Well, I do not know about that.

The Chair: For example, I was just informed that on page 16 is where the report talks about handicapped, physically disabled, and you put in the committee's observations and recommendations.

Mr Elston: This is sort of bingo-card report-writing.

Mr Christopherson: I think you will appreciate now why I was less than confident when I began reading them out to you. I am really not comfortable. I would prefer, and I think we would, giving you a package in each --

Mr Elston: They are all leaving you, David.

Mr Christopherson: I think we would be more comfortable coming back to you and giving it to you in those package forms. We do not have it right now. We have done a number of the pieces but we are not ready to do that.

The Chair: Am I hearing that we should adjourn until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock, at which point you will come back with the package?

Mr Christopherson: Yes. The only thing is, again, I cannot tell you that we are going to be completely done, because we have not seen the draft yet. We do not know how many headings there are and where they will fit.

Ms Anderson: The headings will be the same as the ones that are in the table of contents, plus the disabled community and native affairs.

Mr Christopherson: I do not want to make a commitment we cannot keep. Tomorrow afternoon?

The Chair: I think we should start in the morning.

Interjection: I do not think we will be in a position tomorrow morning.

Mr Christopherson: I am prepared to say at this point we should have at least a quarter of the recommendations to go through tomorrow morning, given that we have two days to do this in.

Mr Elston: Mr Chair, just to help out here, we do not want to make anybody think we are going to hold you to having the whole package available for tomorrow. I think that we should meet tomorrow even if it is just brief. If we find out that we cannot do it, we should come back here, take a look at the new draft and the material. You can give us what you have been able to put together and we can deal with that, and as soon as we cannot do anything more, we will take a break and work at it some more. We are not asking you to come up and do the impossible; just best efforts is fine.

Mr Christopherson: Nuts and bolts and honesty. We are not scheduled to meet again till tomorrow at noon, so in terms of taking the next step beyond what I have here --

The Chair: No. I would suggest then that this is found time, that you go do it now. If we are adjourning now, then this is found time. I suggest you go do it now.

Mr Christopherson: We have only got an hour, because we have got people who have a 4 o'clock commitment. The toughest thing has been finding time to caucus on these things, not that you need to hear our woes.

The Chair: Join the club.

Mr B. Ward: We will break and tomorrow morning we will do the best we can, right?

Mr Christopherson: Yes. How is that? We will come back and we will give you the best shot we have got.

Mr Phillips: I was hoping for a little more, but I guess that is all we have got.

Mr Christopherson: As we tell everybody else, do not judge us on what happens in the first six months; judge us at the end of the four years.

Mrs Sullivan: Six months? It feels like six years.

The Chair: I can assure you that is the way we felt about your first six months as well. Okay, tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock return.

The committee adjourned at 1509.