Wednesday 6 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)


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

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie NDP) for Mr Christopherson

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East NDP) for Mr B. Ward

Clerk: Decker, Todd


Anderson, Anne, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

Rampersad, David, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1012 in committee room 2.


The Chair: We are ready to begin the morning session. With reference to the inquiries about revenue projections for the coming year, the revenue projections that were available to the committee last year were found in what was called the grey book. They speculated on what revenue would be for this year as well. When I requested similar information from the Treasurer, he indicated that the grey book was not published; because of the expense, they decided not to publish it. However, I then pursued it and asked if there were numbers forthcoming on revenue projections and he indicated that is what they are currently doing and that they would attempt to try and put something together for us.

Mr Elston: That is also a big story. I know exactly what the process is in constructing a budget. I have been through several of them, and as much as some people here would like to say we maybe did not do as good a job as we should, I know damned well that those numbers are much firmer by this time of the year than what he has just told you. That is just one big pack of --

The Chair: You cannot use that word.

Mr Elston: -- bumf. It is not true; it is just not true.

The Chair: I think that according to the --

Mr Elston: If he had said to you, "I don't want the committee to have them because I just don't want to release them," he would be accurate and he would not be hanging you out to dry, saying that story to us, but when he tells you that, that they are just working on them, that is --

The Chair: I will tend to believe the Treasurer, given that in our standing orders --

Mr Elston: You can believe him, but I will tell you, I was through five of those things and if he has not got a whole pile of those estimates, starting at least as early as last August and coming forward and being refined --

The Chair: We do have the third-quarter figures.

Mrs Sullivan: We are talking about estimates for the next year.

Mr Elston: No, this is production of a budget for the next fiscal year. It is absolutely offensive.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chairman, we got into this discussion yesterday about the request. The request has been put forward. We have a response from the Treasurer.

Mr Elston: The response is a lie.

The Chair: Excuse me.

Mr Elston: That is the problem. If he had said, "I'm not going to share them," he would be accurate.

The Chair: Mr Elston, that is unacceptable language.

Mr Elston: It is not unacceptable. It is true.

The Chair: It is unacceptable language within the rules of parliamentary procedure to use that kind of language.

Mr Elston: Listen, I will withdraw the word, but I will tell you, he has given you a string of stuff that is not true.

Mr Sutherland: Excuse me, Mr Chairman, did I not have the floor here?

Mr Elston: He asked me to withdraw. I am withdrawing and I am explaining the fact that you guys have been fed a bunch of crap to come and put on the public record here that just is not true. It is offensive. He should have said, "I don't want you guys to know," and then he would be accurate.

The Chair: The assumption made in parliamentary procedure is that what we are told is the -- under the rules that has to be accepted.

Mr Elston: Listen, you guys are living two different lives, because I will tell you, we were faced on a daily basis in the Legislative Assembly with your leader calling Peterson a liar, with Floyd calling the Treasurer a liar and you went along with it.

The Chair: I find that --

Mr Elston: You got away with it and you do not like it when you guys have these stories now being brought back to tell you what in fact is taking place. Listen, it is not going to make a difference to our report because we cannot get the information, but it is not because it is not available. It is because he does not want to give it to us and I wish he would just say that. I am sorry; I will not say anything more.

Mr Sutherland: I was just going to say that I believe the members of the Liberal Party have stated their opinion on the issue and could we please move on to some of the business that we need to deal with.

The Chair: I would concur with that.

Mr Sterling: Mr Chairman, on your report from the Treasurer, I would like to ask a question. What is the expense that he is talking about here?

The Chair: Will you show me that book?

Mr Sterling: Is it printing that book you are talking about that is an excessive expense?

The Chair: Let me give you exactly what he indicated to me. It was that the amount of distribution the book achieved did not warrant the expense. It was a very, very limited distribution to a very few people who showed an interest in it and therefore they decided they would not publish it this year in order to --

Mr Sterling: Yesterday I sat in a committee. I went to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly because I am interested in the freedom of information issue. The New Democratic Party, over the last 10 years, has said that people should not have to pay for the production of information, that there should not be any fee associated with that. How does he match up what the New Democratic Party has said over the past 10 years on the production of information for the general public, not a legislative committee, not a committee that is charged with trying to give him advice on the budget? How does he match up the production when he can photocopy the information for us?

The Chair: I think your question to me on that issue is irrelevant. If you have a question, I think you should direct the question --

Mr Sterling: His answer is a joke. I agree with the member, Mr Elston. We are supposed to take the Treasurer's word, but when it stretches his credibility to the extent where he says he cannot produce a 60-page report because it is too expensive, that is a joke.

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Sterling, as Chairman of the committee I am merely relating the information to you that I received. If you have problems with the information, then I suggest you put it in writing to the Treasurer, who is more apt to give you the answers you are looking for.

Mr Elston: Ask him if it is too expensive for him to write back.

The Chair: To direct the comments to me that you are directing, I think they are out of order and I am going to rule them out of order and I am going to proceed with the hearings for this morning.

Mr Sterling: Why is it out of order?

The Chair: Because I have no place to answer the questions or to make comments on the comments that you are making, because I am not --

Mr Stockwell: It just makes you uninformed.

Mr Sterling: It is not out of order. We are in here to discuss the budget.

The Chair: Then I suggest we move along to that.

Mr Sterling: Are we not open to debate? Are things not open to debate?

The Chair: This is not a debate.

Mr Sterling: What are we doing here?

The Chair: This is not a debate on the pre-budget consultations.

Mr Stockwell: I think I was next, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: I hope you will refer your comments to the budget because we would like to get along to these pre-budgetary consultations.

Mr Elston: The budget includes revenue.

Mr Stockwell: That, I guess, is the difficulty. My point I made yesterday was very clear. It is very difficult to do a budget when all you get is the spending and you do not get the revenues. I was told they did not exist yesterday.


The Chair: And that is exactly what you told me --

Mr Stockwell: Can you let me finish, Mr Chairman?Thank you. I was told they did not exist. Now, apparently something exists, and now I am told today something exists but it is too expensive to photocopy --

The Chair: No, that is not it.

Mr Stockwell: -- because that is all I want, just 11 copies, one for each of us. In fact, why do you not give one per party and we will be charged with the responsibility of photocopying the information? I have no problem with that either.

I think what this committee should do, considering the difficulty in making recommendations on budget items, is request from the Treasury department or the Treasurer that we be supplied with a few copies of the information you have received and allow us to go back and photocopy that information.

The Chair: That request in fact has been made and I have received word that they are in fact trying to pull together the information you have asked for.

Mr Stockwell: That is great. Did they give you any time as to when they will have this together, since we only sit for another day?

The Chair: I have not received that information, no.

Mr Stockwell: Good. And the other thing is, when did they find it? Did they mention to you --

The Chair: They have not said they have found it.They said they are looking for it to pull it together.

Mr Stockwell: Oh, okay. Did in fact the previous government supply that information to the committee?

Mr Elston: That was the grey book.

The Chair: They were supplied in the grey book, and if you wish to have a look at that, there are projections for this year in this book as well.

Mr Stockwell: But they are slightly outdated.

The Chair: They are slightly out of date.

Mrs Sullivan: Slight change in government, too.

Mr Stockwell: It is kind of interesting -- open and accessible.

Mr Jamison: I think the comments from Mr Christopherson yesterday concerning the presence of the Treasurer here last Wednesday -- all of these questions should have been clarified certainly at the time; we were given at that point the time to do that. The questions were put to the Treasurer. The Treasurer answered those questions.

Mrs Sullivan: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: The questions were put and the answers were not provided.

Mr Stockwell: Accurate; exactly.

Mr Jamison: What has come forward is a concern on revenues. The Treasurer is trying, from my understanding of your comment, to put something together for the committee at this point.

The Chair: That is correct.

Mr Jamison: That is the information we have and I would say that we should continue on and go through some of the documents that have been given us this morning.

The Chair: Last comment, Mr Phillips.

Mr Phillips: My problem -- I am trying to be fair on the thing -- is that we are having a little bit of difficulty with credibility. I go back again to the document that the Treasurer had in October when he said, "Listen, we have a $2.5-billion deficit and it is a result of a $1-billion shortfall in revenue and a $1.5-billion increase in expenditures."

Then he predicted the corporate taxes were lower. This is the point I tried to raise with the Treasurer the other day. Published data from the feds said income tax is way up; sure enough, as I predicted in the House. You people should be careful with this too, because one of the things that you are going to find is the Treasurer will say, "We cannot do the things that you want to do, caucus, because we have this terrible $2.5-billion deficit left by the Liberals."

It is a bit of a fabrication; I will be honest with you. The revenues, as I predicted, are not $1 billion lower but $600 million lower, in spite of the fact we are now, six months later, in the worst recession ever. The revenues are not down $1 billion; they are down a maximum of $600 million. But, lo and behold, expenditures are creeping up everywhere in the budget here.

I am just saying that the Treasurer's estimates are causing a lot of us a lot of concern. I will not say that we have difficulty with how they were arrived at. The $2.5-billion deficit stays the same, but the composition is very different now. Actually Mr Stockwell was very specific with the Treasurer when he was here, and as Hansard will show, asking: How can we work? Where are the revenue estimates? Why can we not have them? The Treasurer, "Well, we are still working on them" and what not. Now we hear from you today that in fact they are in a book somewhere but it is too costly to reproduce the book.

The Chair: No, it is not exactly what I said. What I said was that the cost of the book was not justified in terms of the amount of circulation it was given, and that the up-to-date figures you are looking for they are now working on and attempting to get for us.

Mr Stockwell: It sounds like lot of what you just said.

Mr Phillips: The temperature has gone up in here, but it is just because the first document in October was, "Those dastardly Liberals left us with this awful financial situation." Well, now we find it is starting to shift a fair bit. For those of us who watch this sort of thing, we now are saying, "Well, remember the billion-dollar windfall." Coincidentally there was a windfall the previous year. One would have thought you would have watched out for another windfall, particularly when the federal government's own reports on the first six months showed personal income tax revenue up 24%; corporate revenue down somewhat. Corporate revenue down was incorporated in his October statement; income tax revenue up was not.

Mr Chairman, I am just having some difficulty wondering why those numbers may not be forthcoming. It is just going to make all of our tasks more difficult, because we are going to have to prepare a report on expenditures with no idea of what the revenues might be.

Mr Stockwell: Mr Chair, I would like a clarification. When will we be receiving this information?

The Chair: I was not given a time.

Mr Stockwell: So really we are still operating in the dark. We have no idea if we are ever going to get the revenue figures before this committee rises. Then I would move adjournment until we receive that information.

The Chair: Okay, then --

Mr Sterling: Mr Chair, I would like to speak in support of the motion in that it just seems to me that since we were supplied this kind of information by the previous government, the impediment to our getting this seems to be rather minor in that to photocopy 11 or 12 copies probably could be done by 2 o'clock this afternoon, or it may even be able to be done in an hour or and hour and a half, and we could have a copy of it. I would suggest that if the Treasurer is willing to co-operate, we can come back and make some reasonable recommendations to him on the basis of all the information.

Mr Sutherland: I would certainly like to speak against the motion. We have business to do. We have been working on the draft report and can continue to do that. I think the request has been put in. Your concerns have been noted. They are officially on Hansard. I think we should proceed with the report from there. If you go back and read the report last year, the 1990 report, in there the entire report -- while the figures might have been provided -- does not make reference to what the revenue figures are in determining their recommendations. So if that was the case then, why can that not be the case this year, if there are issues to be dealt with?

Mr Elston: Big deal.

Mr Stockwell: Give us some numbers, then.

Mrs Sullivan: There is a singular difference in the kinds of recommendations that are put forward.

The Chair: Are there any other people who would like to speak on this, in order?

Mr Stockwell: Is the number 6, 8, 68 --

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Stockwell. Seeing no further requests for speaking, I am calling the question. Those in favour of adjournment, please signify by raising your hand. Those opposed? Opposed wins.

Motion negatived.

The Chair: We will continue with the hearing.

Mr Stockwell: You are on your own fellows. Good luck.

The Chair: I think it was agreed yesterday that this morning we would continue with the draft version of the first part of the document, and this is the first revision that you have before you. I would like to work through that in a similar manner that we did before to clear up questions or wordings.

Mrs Sullivan: I wonder if that is the appropriate way to go. I think we were given an indication by the government party yesterday that it would be coming back with the recommendations. Going through the introductory document, it seems to me at this point in time when discussion on the recommendations from the government party have been promised for a day -- when we adjourned early yesterday, our expectation was that we would have those recommendations this morning to discuss them, and I think that is the way we should be going.


Mr Jamison: We have some recommendations available this morning, so I think it is important to try to make sure that the document itself reads the way we intended it to read. That is part of the process also. I can assure you that we do have recommendations available. We would like to quickly go over this document to make sure the appropriate changes that have been recommended have been made.

Mrs Sullivan: It seems to me that when a recommendation is put on to the floor as a recommendation that will go from a legislative body to the Treasurer of Ontario in relationship to the budget, the context around which those recommendations are made is very important. We have spent two days editing a context with nothing to fit in, in terms of what the specific recommendations are going to be.

I have never seen the process work like this in a committee before. It is very bizarre. I think it is time to get on to the recommendations. The editing of the introduction to those recommendations can take place latterly.

Mr Jamison: Does your caucus have recommendations also prepared at this point?

Mrs Sullivan: We have been given a commitment from the governing party that your recommendations would be put on the table so that we could have those to discuss.

Mr Jamison: We are working as a committee. That is my point. We have some recommendations to send forward. Does your caucus have any recommendations at this point?

Mrs Sullivan: Let's see your recommendations.

Mr Elston: Basically, if I might, we had been told by Mr Christopherson, who was I think sort of organizing the government caucus response to this, that he was going to put in front of us this morning what your caucus felt were places where there would be substantial agreement, that we could agree on some things, that we would agree on those areas and then we could perhaps start debating or discussing the areas around which there was going to be some real concern.

That being the case, we did not specifically decipher that item 1, item 2 or 3 and then list them as the areas we would bring forth. We thought we might as well wait for that matching, since Mr Christopherson has made it fairly clear that there are going to be certain areas in which the six of you, as representative of the government caucus, are going to want to press your advantage. That is the way this committee is structured and it will work that way.

It seemed rather a strange duplication, although we have our feelings about some of the recommendations, it would have seemed to be a very strange duplication of effort for us now to file our list with your list or whatever, when we have been told for the last couple of days that it was coming forward. I do not have and we do not have a particular list prepared, but we have talked about the areas in which we have a sense of direction and a need to go and we are prepared to comment in that line.

The Chair: Could I suggest at this point that we move through the document and whatever recommendations are available as we finish a section, we can include those recommendations?

Mr Elston: Except that they are not exclusive, as I take it, that these --

Mr Jamison: We have observations and recommendations available on a number of sections of the document. I felt that the document is not just the observations and recommendations, but it is also a document that is going to be read, as was pointed out very clearly by Mr Elston yesterday, by a wide-ranging number of people interested in the economic outlook of the province. I think it is important to ensure that it reads the way that we feel it should, and in the related form, I think that is part of the process.

The Chair: I am trying to find a compromise here.

Mr Elston: Let's be realistic about it, there are five -- there used to be six but one has disappeared -- government members and the three of us. If it is the will of the government caucus that we move to read this, let's not waste any more time. Let's just read it, because you control the committee. Let's just do it and let's not fight about it any more. It is a waste of time.

Mr Phillips: I think Hansard would show that yesterday we started on one recommendation and then the discussion was, "We must see the whole." I think everybody felt we would be better to see the whole package rather than debate each little one. I think Mr Christopherson said, "We are going to go away and we will give you a package." Then there was a debate, "What about your recommendations?" And I think the comment was, "Why don't we start as close to the end as we can, because knowing how these things work, that is probably where we will end up, so why don't we start with your recommendations?"

I think Hansard would show what we were expecting this morning was a package, maybe not 100% there but 85% there, to begin the debate on the kind of crucial stuff which will be the recommendations. That is what we expected.

The Chair: I believe Mr Elston said he would not expect the impossible. I think that was it.

Mr Elston: No, no, we did not expect them all.

Mr Sutherland: I would like to just move for a five-minute recess.

Mr Phillips: One thing I would not mind knowing is, what is the timetable when we will see those recommendations, so we have some idea.

The Chair: Let's have a five-minute recess and come back, and we should be able to enter it at that time.

The committee recessed at 1036.


The Chair: Okay, what have we decided?

Mr Hansen: We have a fair amount of recommendations to the standing committee here. We have them printed. We just felt, and I know the direction that I had from Mr Christopherson was that we go through the prebudget consultations, so that is why we are sort of following direction, but we would like to go through these recommendations, what we have prepared to date, and we will hand copies out to the other parties.

The Chair: Would you prefer to do them in the context of what is written, or do you want to just do the recommendations?

Mr Sutherland: They are presented in a way consistent with the way the draft report has been written, except these recommendations do not start at section 1. I believe they start at the section on finance and economics on page 16 of the draft report, but I think they should be able to follow in a fluent way as they are set out in the copies they are getting.

The Chair: Could I make a suggestion that we turn to page 16 of the report, that section, and deal with the recommendations on that section. Is that acceptable?

Mrs Sullivan: In the old draft?

The Chair: In the old draft? What is the topic then?

Ms Anderson: I think it would be page 20.

The Chair: Social issues, page 20.

Mr Sutherland: Yes, I think the page does change in the new draft.

The Chair: Could I say that we quickly read that section and then do the recommendations. Is that acceptable? Fine. Let us read through it.

Should we begin the discussion on this section? Are we prepared to begin the discussion on the recommendations for this section?

Mr Elston: Perhaps if we just had some informal chats back and forth on some of this wording. I am not prepared for "Legislation that reinforces poverty," thanks very much. You may think of us as Stone Age-type folks, but we are a little more advanced than that.

The Chair: Could I ask then, do we want to go off the record and just do this? Do I have consensus to go off the record to do this?

Mrs Sullivan: Why should we be off the record? Everything else has been on the record.

Mr Elston: I was just exchanging a view with Norm; I was not speaking to the committee.

The Chair: When you said that --

Mr Elston: If you are ready to go on dealing with the thing, that is fine, but I was not.

Mr Sutherland: He does not want to --

Mr Elston: I was just asking for an explanation. I did not think it made sense and I was just asking to talk about it. If you want it on the record or if you do not want it on the record, it does not matter to me. I just wanted clarification.

The Chair: This is completely up to the committee.

Mr Elston: Leave it all on the record then, and then you do not have to worry about it and people can clarify what they mean.

The Chair: Okay. We are still on the record, but these guys are just talking.

Mr Sutherland: I think what was missing was the part about "Legislation that reinforces poverty can be abolished." I think the abolition is --

Mrs Sullivan: The abolition?

Mr Sutherland: No, that "Poverty can be abolished by the following measures." I think that word kind of changes the context.

The Chair: Where are we?

Mr Elston: This thing right here that says, "Income adequacy is fundamental." Then it says, "Legislation that reinforces poverty by the following measures."


The Chair: What they should probably say is, "Legislation that impedes" --

Mr Sutherland: No, I think the wording should say,"Legislation that reinforces poverty should be abolished by the following measures."

The Chair: I am not sure you would want to say that.

Mr Elston: There is not any legislation that specifically says there ought to be poverty.

Mr Sutherland: No, sorry. I think maybe it is a question of where the emphasis is going in sentences. "Legislation that reinforces poverty should be abolished."

Mr Elston: Minimum wage is changed by regulation, so I mean --

The Chair: This next one says, "The government should improve STEP by enabling recipients to keep a greater percentage of the income they earn." Is that what you are referring to? That these kinds of caps should be raised and that people should be allowed to have more money from their income?

Mr Sutherland: I think it is just a question of getting the wording straightened out in that first one.

The Chair: That is a legislated thing, that you can make only so much money before you start having it deducted from your welfare.

Mr Elston: That is actually a regulation.

The Chair: Yes, that is a regulation that creates a problem. The wording is terrible, I agree with you, but maybe that is what they are trying to get at.

Mr Elston: Is this the guy responsible for this?

Mr Sutherland: I do not know --

Mr Elston: Name names.

Mr Sutherland: Why do we not just reword it as "the following legislation should be introduced."

Mr Elston: "Should be introduced"?

Mr Sutherland: Yes, replacing what is there. Okay?

Mr Elston: So we end up having: "Income adequacy is fundamental to welfare reform. Legislation should be introduced" --

The Chair: "That."

Mr Elston: -- "that should" --

The Chair: "That" should be "to." You have to change the wording, "to raise the minimum wage to" --

Mr Sutherland: No. "Legislation should be introduced that the minimum" -- oh, okay, sorry.

The Chair: I am trying to make it grammatically correct.

Mr Sutherland: That is right.

The Chair: My name is going to be on this, you know.

Mr Sutherland: That is right.

The Chair: As is yours.

Ms M. Ward: Why not just say "We recommend"?

The Chair: "Legislation should be introduced to raise the minimum wage and the government should be instructed to examine the two-tier delivery system for social services."

Mr Sutherland: Sounds good.

The Chair: Is there any debate on the intent of this recommendation?

Mr Elston: Probably not the intent, as long as we get it clear. What has happened here is that the people who have put the recommendations have tried to bullet-point them for ease of expression and have actually cut themselves off. They should have just done separate ones saying, "Income adequacy is fundamental to welfare reform and to dealing with the problem of poverty." and "To do this, the level of the minimum wage ought to be addressed."

Then they should go on to the second one, "The two-tier delivery system is an impediment to welfare reform," or whatever the committee wants to say, and then have a separate bullet for it. You are trying to do too much with the bullet points, that is all. Just write the sentences, it is much easier.

The Chair: Yes, this could be simplified in the language if you just said that the committee recommends that the minimum wage be raised and that the two-tier delivery system for social services should be examined, or some form like that. You do not really need to rationalize this part.

Mr Sutherland: "The committee therefore recommends that the minimum wage should be raised and the committee therefore recommends the examination of the two-tier delivery system for social services."

Mr Elston: I do not mind the thoughts that go behind that. The Social Assistance Review Committee was quite interested in the level of wage rate, but I am not quite prepared -- I guess we should go through the whole level of things because it does not look to me like there is enough onus being placed on government to clean up its act. They have talked a little bit about STEP here, they have talked about perhaps indexation, but they have not really done enough here for government.

For instance, as my colleague Mr Sutherland just said, what about a recommendation to eliminate a number of lower-income-earning Ontarians from paying income tax? Mr Nixon has consistently over the years kept raising the level and eliminated more people from the lower ends of the tax obligation scale in Ontario, even though the feds did not do it. I think we ought to see that trend in fact continuing. The package is not complete, and I do not want to say yes to the first until you know what the whole thing is going to look like. It is fine the way you express it but --

Mr Jamison: All right. We want your input and your discussion on it. If you have recommendations that you want to put forward to improve upon what we are saying here, we will certainly consider them.

The Chair: Two things. I think I am hearing a consensus that the philosophy of what the committee is trying to say is there and that what we are grappling for are words to express the actions. I have this attempt, "Regulation that reinforces poverty should be replaced by the introduction of legislation that raises the minimum wage and that allows for the examination of the two-tier social services system."

Mr Elston: Nice try, but --

Mrs Sullivan: Are you suggesting, Mr Chairman, that the number one paragraph on this page be followed by that? I am just not certain where you are going here.

The Chair: I am at the will of the committee. I assumed that since we were doing the committee's observations and recommendations, that paragraph would be included there and then, "Therefore, the committee recommends that." I believe that has been the format in the past. I think we agree on the philosophy. All we need to do is agree on the words. Mrs Sullivan.

Mrs Sullivan: If I could just talk about the kinds of practicalities of the recommendations and inclusion in the budget, it seems to me that what we are asking for in putting recommendations forward is that the Treasurer take these into account in defining and drafting and implementing the next budget, so the recommendation should be specific to that budgetary period.

If the questions, for instance, of income adequacy are the priority questions to be addressed, then surely the context in which those questions have to be put is the next phase of the SARC recommendations, which have been accepted by all political parties in the Legislature. The SARC report has been seen as a positive recommendation for change in that area, and perhaps given an introduction to the social issues area relating to poverty, the fundamental recommendation should be that the government should announce in this budget a timetable and funding for implementation of the next phase of SARC recommendations.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chairman, that recommendation is already there. It is down a little further.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, we take that and give it the priority.

Mr Sutherland: If you want to change the order of the recommendations --

Mrs Sullivan: Because all the other income adequacy recommendations fit into the next phase of SARC.


The Chair: Does anybody have any problem with moving that up and doing it the way Mrs Sullivan has suggested?

Mr Hansen: No problem there. Would you do that again so that the researchers can have it?

Mrs Sullivan: Okay, it would be, "The government should announce in this budget a timetable for implementation and funding of the next phase of the SARC recommendations."

Mr Sutherland: Sorry, I thought you were referring to the actual recommendation here which is, "The government should announce a timetable for the implementation of SARC recommendations."

Mrs Sullivan: What I am saying is, in the context of budgetary planning, funding is what the budget is about.

The Chair: The SARC report does have recommendations for funding in it. Do you see some fundamental difference between "The government should announce a timetable for the implementation of the SARC recommendations" and "The government should announce a timetable for the implementation of the SARC recommendations"?

Mr Sutherland: I think it is inherent in "implementation" that if you are going to implement it, you are going to have to provide the funding for it.

The Chair: Then why are we worrying about that wording?

Mr Sutherland: That is why I am wondering why we need that wording. "Implementation" implies that.

Mr Elston: Mr Chairman, just to help Mr Sutherland out, a big deal was made during the last election that too much had been passed to municipal governments perhaps to help fund some of these social reforms. In fact, I know a good number of your colleagues who may not have been quite as successful as you are, who tried to make those points very pointedly and said that even though we had announced the plans and expenditures, there was not enough money coming forward to do it all. We want to be very clear too. It needs to be consistent.

Mr Sutherland: I think that issue, though, was dealt with when we dealt with the issue of municipalities and I am not sure if it is in this group, but there will be recommendations coming forward about that whole issue related to provincial-municipal financing and different issues.

Mr Elston: Of course, you know something that we do not. That is why it is difficult for us to --

The Chair: I agree. As the Chairman --

Mr Sutherland: It is a separate issue, though, Mr Elston.

Mr Elston: Not from social reform.

The Chair: -- I am having a little difficulty. I would like to get this moved along and I do not see that there is a big problem with including funding. The SARC report does have recommendations for funding and if you are going to put in a timetable, the adding or deleting of that word is --

Mr Sutherland: What I suggest is that we agree on the concept of moving up that recommendation to the first, then maybe we can have a little more discussion early this afternoon about the exact wording of that recommendation.

The Chair: I guess we can; I am not saying we cannot. I believe my task is to try and move this along. I do not want to turn this into a semantics argument about where words should be and what words they should be. If the basic intent of the recommendation is agreed upon --

Mr Sutherland: Do we have consensus that we move that up and then the other recommendations here come after that?

The Chair: That is my line.

Mr Sutherland: Sorry, I was just trying to help facilitate the process, Mr Chairman.

Mr Elston: For the purposes of discussion and for putting this thing together, let us go ahead and assume that. My problem is this: You ask me to approve that and say a little later you disagree with the whole package, yet you approved of it before, why did you change your mind? Then I cannot feel comfortable with your assurance that my concern here will be dealt with because you are thinking about doing something in another package of items to come forward. Do you see what I mean? But for the purposes of discussion and construction, let us just move ahead.

The Chair: I agree with that and I also would say that once the whole report is put together we should try and have some time to revisit the whole thing just to make sure that it is in the context that everybody feels comfortable with. Would that satisfy you?

Mr Sutherland: Sure.

Mr Elston: Take a look at it at some future point.

Mr Phillips: Maybe I am changing the subject, but on the minimum wage now, have we dealt with that?

The Chair: I believe we have consensus to move that up, yes.

Mr Phillips: I think we probably all could agree that the minimum wage should be raised, because it is raised every year. But then if you get into a debate, "What did you mean? What did they mean?" I think the challenge here is that any analysis that I saw done says there is a major job impact if you take the minimum wage up.

I guess you have already announced what you are going to do with it, but if it just says the minimum wage should be raised, then when someone says, "What did you mean?" I think I mean what would be consistent with a reasonable economic impact study. What you will mean is the 60% of the industrial wage that you have committed to, I think. So if it is as vague as that and each of us can have our own interpretation of it, that is what I would be saying.

If the minimum wage should be raised and the implication is to your policy, then I would say there is no way we could agree to that, because we have put a different interpretation on the minimum wage and it is jobs, jobs, jobs.

So if that were to stay in and implied that it meant your 60%, I think we would have to be looking at something that says, "Consistent with ongoing economic analysis of the economic impact studies of the implications of the raises." I am saying if this stays in there as vague as that, I do not think anybody could argue, because I think when we were in, we took it up every year.

Mr Hansen: So you agree with the statement that the minimum wage should be raised?

Mr Phillips: Yes. Then if someone said, "What did the committee mean by that?" I would say the committee was silent on what we meant. If it meant that the committee agrees with the NDP policy, I would say we would not be supportive of it.

Mr Elston: We would have to say it was a majority view.

The Chair: What I am hearing is to leave it like that; no, not leave it like that. Mrs Sullivan, do you want it more clearly defined with, "The minimum wage should be raised"?

Mr Phillips: As long as you realize that our interpretation would be as it is done every year and consistent with economic analysis. If you say, "Well, we have our policy on that and that is what it meant," then we will be much more specific.

Mr Hansen: We agree with that.

Mr Elston: Could I just raise a question about the preamble, the sentence that talks about, "The committee is disturbed by the lack of adequate levels of social assistance benefits to those in need." The first clause of the next sentence, "Although the present economic reality may not allow for significant expenditure increases in many areas," whence does that come?

Is there some compromise of our sense that social assistance benefits are not quite right and so, as long as there is some economic uncertainty, we allow those to stay, or are we committed to the idea that was expressed in the first sentence? Can you just take that thing right out and say the committee feels that it must stress the importance of dealing with the overall structural causes of poverty, just eliminate the economic thing.

Mr Jamison: Not really.

Mr Elston: Why?

Mr Jamison: Because this committee has to recognize the time and space that we are in as far as the economics of the province are concerned. If we just ignore that altogether, we are not giving a picture at all of our thoughts.

Mr Elston: How can you make that judgement when we do not have anything that tells us what the real revenue forecasts are all about? We do not know yet what the --

Mr Jamison: I think the Treasurer made it fairly clear on Wednesday that it looked like we were going to be into deficit budgeting. That is a clear indication in itself.

Mr Elston: So as a caucus are you comfortable with the position that as long as the Treasurer says, "There is a deficit and I am not prepared to change the structural causes of poverty," you would stay at that?

Mr Jamison: It is a fact that you have to take into consideration when you are making your recommendations. These recommendations go forward and are based on the government's fiscal ability.

Mr Elston: So you would say this fiscal outlook is going to cause your caucus to withdraw from your commitment to changing the structure around poverty.

Mr Sutherland: That is not how I interpret what is there.

Mr Elston: That is what that sentence does for us.

Mr Sutherland: I think that is your interpretation. I would suggest that is not our interpretation.

Mr Elston: These are the first weasel words that allow you to soften up the readers of the report to the Treasurer backing away from your philosophical positions. That is why this sentence is in there. It allows you to soften up so Floyd can say, "Even the committee of the Legislature recognized I have some fiscal problems, so they didn't recommend I do anything right away."

Mr Sutherland: If you look at the last part of the sentence which says, "The committee feels it must stress the importance of dealing with the overall structural causes of poverty," to me that is a very strong commitment. That is not backing away from the issue.


Mr Elston: It would be even stronger if you just eliminated that first weasel-word clause.

Mr Sutherland: I do not think the term "weasel word" is appropriate in this case.

Mr Elston: That is what it allows.

The Chair: Under the rules, I do not think that is one of the forbidden words.

Mr Elston: Everybody understands what that means. You are trying to have it both ways by that sentence. Now, either you are committed to it or you are not. If you want this report to allow Floyd to back away from some of the stuff you campaigned on, that is okay, but you ought to say it directly.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Elston, you are proposing to eliminate all the way up to the comma. Is that what you are suggesting?

Mr Elston: Sure. Either you believe it or you do not. Then it is up to the Treasurer to make the decision.

Mr Sutherland: Leave it until later.

Mr Elston: Right? That is what SARC is all about, dealing with the underlying causes. How can we endorse SARC, which is supposed to deal with the structural nature of the poverty cases, and then say, "Although the economic reality may not allow"?

Mr Phillips: Maybe we should say the Ontario government has reacted to predictions of an economic slowdown by dropping its liberal pretence and showing its true conservative nature.

The Chair: I do not think we are going to get a consensus on that.

Mr Phillips: That is what he said last year. That is the NDP report from last year. I just thought maybe you would want to restate that.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chair, it would seem that there is a proposal put forward. May I suggest for the purpose of progressing here on some of the other recommendations that we come back to that this afternoon.

Mr Elston: Do you want it in or do you not? You can decide that now, can you not? What are you going to do with that?

Mr Jamison: It is a report on finance and economics. As far as I am concerned, that is a reality that we are now living.

Mrs Sullivan: Budget-making is making choices and one of the things that this whole area related to poverty has been addressing so far is the choice of addressing the inadequacies of incomes. If the committee in a consensus position believes that it must stress the importance of dealing with the overall structural causes of poverty, that is what should be there. That is what should be the lead-in, without words that in fact weaken that position.

Mr Sutherland: If you look at the last few words where it says "increases in many areas," that is just highlighting that we are in difficult economic times and some areas may not be getting what they say they want. Then if you continue on to see what it says, I think it is emphasizing the fact that this committee wants to deal with these issues of poverty.

Mr Elston: Listen, you guys are anticipating that Floyd is not going to go as quickly with SARC as some of the groups want to. That is what that whole thing is about. The people who helped you write this have that precisely in hand, because, listen, we know what happens. David has talked with Floyd; he is just a parliamentary assistant. You guys have been in touch at least with David, if not also with Floyd, and Floyd says: "Listen, we can't do everything we want to do. Soften this thing off so that I have some room for manoeuvring."

Mr Sutherland: That is Mr Elston's interpretation and I would suggest it is not everyone's interpretation.

Mrs Sullivan: In that case, and if that is not the case, then I do not see why the members of the committee cannot do what in fact appears to be the consensus. Leave out the weasel words and in fact include latterly the commitment to a recommendation from this committee that the Treasurer include the funding and the timetable for the next phase of SARC. That is the question. Those are the choices the Treasurer has to make. If we want to go ahead as a consensus of this committee with providing income adequacy, those are the next steps and those are the funding requirements.

Mr Sutherland: I think it was stated earlier that we would consider this and get back on that specific proposal put forward by the other members.

The Chair: I would like to point out that we are a day and a half from having this done, signed, sealed and delivered to the researchers. If we continue to put all these things off until later on, we will never get through this. I would really like to see, when this comes back this afternoon, that we know exactly where we are going with this and what is going to happen.

Mr Sutherland: We are well aware of the time constraints placed on this committee and the issue will be dealt with.

Mr Phillips: It may be helpful to the government, you may find it useful just to re-read your report from last year, because it kind of makes the case we are trying to make to you in terms of I think you were quite strong last year saying that, "The Liberal government is now spreading the message that 1990 will be a year of financial restraint," etc. We see some -- I guess a strong word would be "hypocrisy" -- in this thing.

The Chair: You cannot use that word; I know that.

Mr Phillips: Okay, "inconsistency."

The Chair: Mr Elston pointed that out to me.

Mr Elston: He did not actually use it; he just said he saw it. He was remarking that it was available for viewing.

The Chair: I saw that too. Can we move along on this to get consensus on the rest of the recommendations for this section?

Mr Elston: Basically I noticed that, as this was constructed, I read the whole thing as a package. I notice there is a repetition of about three or four ideas on the two pages. I do not know whether it was to make sure you did not miss them or if there was a particular style of construction that required you to repeat at least a couple of these. We have, "The government should improve STEP by enabling recipients to keep a greater percentage of the income they earn." That is on page 1. On page 2, "The government should improve STEP by enabling recipients to keep a greater percentage of the income they earn." I am not sure exactly what you want to do with that.

Mr Sutherland: I think that was just a question of, in the process of developing, a couple of recommendations came from different areas.

Mr Elston: Okay. Then, "The government should consider that income adequacy is essential to ensure welfare reform." Then it continues on the second page. If we speak only to the issue of implementing SARC, it speaks both to dealing with the institutionalized barriers to elimination of poverty and a whole series of other things. You can say the same thing by very simple words, or at least very simple sentences, rather than trying to construct something that is more complex than it needs to be.

Mr Sutherland: I think we will take under advisement your vast experience in these areas on helping with these committees.

Mr Elston: Oh, I have no experience in the last five years in helping with these committees. It just means that it becomes simpler. If we say, for instance, "SARC," what does that entail? Most of the people who are interested in this document -- Treasury, Comsoc people, Health, anybody who is interested in the advocacy field, people who are recipients, all those people -- even Conrad Black for different reasons, but still is interested -- and when you say move to the second stage to deal with those barriers, then that is understood at least and you do not have to repeat. You might want to do something. The STEP thing is an important issue I think in the sense that you are saying, "Change the way it's set up."

The Chair: Do we have a consensus on that one? Okay.

Mrs Sullivan: If we are sort of moving ahead on things that are here in terms of recommendations, I would certainly like to see added two committee recommendations. The recommendation from the committee that additional low-income earners be removed from income tax rolls, I think it is a continuation of a policy that has existed over a period of time and in fact provides equity and fairness to low-income earners. I think that should be a recommendation.

I am also quite sceptical about including as a recommendation from the committee the recommendation relating to the guaranteed loan plan. We have had one group that appeared before us that talked about its experiences through a privately funded, non-profit organization that had some success there. I am not sure that we would have a consensus as to whether that kind of a program ought to be taken over by government or whether we ought to expect the private sector to continue with those kinds of initiatives.

Second, whether --

The Chair: Could we deal with these just one at a time?

Mrs Sullivan: But it is in the same context.

The Chair: All right.

Mrs Sullivan: Second, the question of providing a guaranteed loan program, perhaps reviewing, but I would think that would be the least of the recommendations that ought to be included when we are addressing questions of income adequacy.

Mr Sutherland: Would you support the idea of just having some more examination of that type of system, the guaranteed loan program for business development?

Mrs Sullivan: It seems to me if the question is income adequacy, SARC and the income tax rolls have a far, far higher priority.

The Chair: There are two things there. One is the removal of or changing the income tax.

Mr Hansen: The bracket.

The Chair: The bracket. No problem with that?

Mr Hansen: No problem with that.

The Chair: Okay, we will include that. I have consensus on altering the income bracket. Could I have some wording on that? How would you want to word that on the income?

Mrs Sullivan: On income tax?

The Chair: Yes.

Mrs Sullivan: "The committee recommends that the Treasurer remove additional low-income earners from the income tax rolls following the pattern of the previous five years of budgeting."

The Chair: "Should remove"?

Mrs Sullivan: No, "remove."

The Chair: Okay, that has a consensus, so we are going to move along from that. The next one is the guaranteed loan. Do we have consensus on that? To remove it or leave it in? I thought we were leaving it in. Did I misunderstand?

Mr Elston: I certainly did. I thought Barbara was suggesting that it be out.

The Chair: I have missed something here. Could you review what you said about that?

Mrs Sullivan: I am not keen on it. I think in terms of income adequacy, it does not fit.

The Chair: Would you see this as being recommended somewhere else in the text?

Mrs Sullivan: As a budget initiative, no.

The Chair: Okay. Just from my own recollection, somebody made a presentation that she had difficulty cashing her cheques at banks or trust companies, that she did not have accounts or something, and somebody was investigating the possibility, some previous government, about having identification that would then require banks and trust companies to cash those cheques because they are government cheques.

Mr Hansen: The problem was that the cheque was coming out, it was dated the 30th and people were receiving them on the 27th or 28th. They would not cash them because they were actually dated ahead.

The Chair: They could go to the Money Mart people and cash them.

Mr Hansen: Yes. Actually, when it came down to it, the cheque was due on the 30th of the month and they had received it two days earlier in the mail.

The Chair: Do we want to make a recommendation around that? That is a systemic thing.

Mr Hansen: I have no recommendation on that. Whatever the cheque is dated at should be the date it is cashed. It is going to be up to whoever is sending the cheque out to date it back two days.

The Chair: One of the problems though, and I am just throwing this out for discussion, is that they had difficulty sometimes cashing the cheques even in the banks because they did not have the proper identification.

Mr Elston: Generally the person is supposed to cash a cheque at any financial institution. If you do not have an account or if the cheque is not drawn on your own branch, that is --

The Chair: Then they would go to the Money Mart and they would wind up having to pay a surcharge on that, a discount. Is that something this committee might want to recommend having something done about?

Mr Elston: To the Treasurer?

Mrs Sullivan: It is not a budget decision.

The Chair: No? Okay.

Mr Jamison: We would ask for a short recess, 10 minutes, at this point.

Mr Phillips: Did something happen we did not see there?

Mr Jamison: No, it did not. This is of course our initial draft and certainly it is there for discussion, But we have some concerns for the committee at this point and we would like 10 minutes to address them for the committee.

The Chair: Sure.

The committee recessed at 1125.


The Chair: Since we have had this break, where are we going now?

Mr Hansen: Do you think we could on to housing?

Mr Elston: I am quite agreeable. I did not know what we were about to hear, so I am happy to go wherever.

Mr Hansen: There was not anything unusual.

Mr Elston: I thought it was in relation to social material that you wanted to have a talk.

Mr Hansen: No. That is why it was so abrupt and quick.

Mr Sutherland: The points that you have brought up, we will come back to this afternoon and try to deal with them more specifically then.

The Chair: Housing. That is page 21 as well. We will take a minute to read the preamble.

Mrs Sullivan: I do not see any budget recommendations here. What I see are some comments, but in terms of budget recommendations to the Treasurer on which fiscal and financial decisions can be made, I do not see recommendations on which his decisions could be based. I would suggest that if the committee is to have legitimacy it ought to become far more specific, including perhaps reflecting the government party's promise to the people that it would construct 20,000 non-profit units a year and talk about some other aspects of the housing question which have been raised in this committee.

I also look in the housing documentation that the government party has raised suggesting 10.5% mortgages, a mortgage fund, availability and so on, other recommendations that came from groups from the non-profit and co-op communities that were very significant and right before the committee. All I see here is something that the Treasurer could make no decisions on. Antidiscrimination policies are not budgetary decisions, and I just do not understand. Once again, what I see here is the waffling.

Mr Sutherland: If I may, just before we continue, I believe the reason is -- and apologies for that -- if you remember when the draft report was being drawn and we were talking about the sections under housing, a great deal of those issues came under the topics of construction. Those recommendations for those areas will be coming forward when those recommendations under that area are brought to you this afternoon. Okay.

Mrs Sullivan: Then perhaps we should go on to another topic.

Mr Elston: Our committee should just sort of wait till this afternoon. We have only got another 10 minutes or so this morning. I mean, can we make progress with the next section? I looked over these things quickly yesterday. As you know, I am not as into these presentations as some of you, because I did not hear the presentations actually, so I looked at the recommendations. But for instance, housing was a $900,000 request basically from the Victorian Order of Nurses with respect to home-sharing programs operating under VON, and there is an amount for -- what is the name of the program? -- Let's Build Ontario or something. Those types of programs are fascinating for more than one reason. One is, of course, that it supplies housing, which we all want people to have. Second of all, there are jobs and other fiscal and economic advantages put forward as part of the rationale for their being in recommendations to the Treasurer.

It seems to me that it would be of some merit for us to maybe debate or at least talk about some of those types of programs, not saying we will do them all but to say, "Listen, Treasurer, there are at least a menu of items that have come forward that have merit because they include employment plus the development of housing."

Mr Sutherland: Maybe we should, and that is a possibility of doing that. We could probably get the next two topics done at least before we adjourn for lunch.

Mr Elston: Okay.


Mrs Sullivan: There is a section on disabled. I assume that is one of the topics we will be coming back to, or has that been included as the end of the social issues?

Mr Sutherland: I believe if you look on some of the things that you commented on that were in there twice, on page 2 of the document that was put forward, it does deal with some of the disabled issues.

Mrs Sullivan: What I am asking is if you intend to come back to those or if you feel that our discussion on social issues has covered that entire topic area.

Mr Sutherland: If you feel those recommendations are satisfactory, then I would suggest that we --

Mrs Sullivan: We have not had a discussion on those pages.

Mr Sutherland: Okay. So you would like to have some discussion on them.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes.

The Chair: Can we do these two observations and recommendations for the immigration? We can wrap this and we will have lunch and we will come back.

Mrs Sullivan: Once again, I do not see a recommendation here that would enable the Treasurer to respond in fiscal and financial terms, which are the context of budget making. It seems to me that if the committee is going to make recommendations relating to programs surrounding the integration of immigrants into the community, the recommendations relating to the budget have to be phrased in financial terms. Therefore, the kind of wording that ought to be here would include such things as, "The government of Ontario should pursue additional agreements with

Ottawa and fund in the next budget its own commitment to ensure the range of settlement services" and perhaps even put a commitment funding level in. Without the recommendations from the committee of financial involvement, there is no recommendation for budgetary action.

Mr Sutherland: I would disagree. What is stated there advised that if you are going to negotiate an agreement, I would suggest that is going to be a joint agreement between the province and the federal government and would imply that there would be funding from both parties. It would seem evident to me that that is implied in the statements there -- that if you are going to have an agreement, both parties are going to be part of that and both of them are going to have to pay the cost of that, and I think that is very clear in both those.

Mr Elston: I know that theoretically that is true. The practical workings of dealing with the federal authorities is that the Treasurer will not allocate money on the basis of perhaps coming to a successful conclusion and agreement with Ottawa. He will say to the people from Community and Social Services or whoever goes to negotiate: "You come back. You tell me what you have, because my friend Michael Wilson has told me they ain't got nothing in their budget for this year. It will have to be next year." So there is nothing there. He will just say: "Well, nice idea. We will both send those people away and I am not going to budget for it."

I think that what we have to be sure of right here is that we make a specific point, a recommendation -- we wrestled with this ourselves -- a specific recommendation to the Treasurer that this government pursue fiscal ways of assisting people who are coming to Ontario for the first time from other countries to settle, to find a home here, and to help them access services that they need.

I think that we cannot manage the Ottawa thing and we know what the pressures are in Ottawa in the sense of where we think they are going. We have to make the point to the Treasurer. Those people who come here as immigrants need our help and are required to be helped. I know that when we dealt with the immigrant settlement issue, Ottawa just said, "We don't care." In fact, Barbara McDougall, I think, even made it clear this fall again that she was not going to pay any part of the cost of settlement of immigrants. She was not going to pay for any of the education. Even though one of your ministers at the time, I guess that is Marion Boyd, said we should get some help from Ottawa, Barbara McDougall basically said, "Don't count on it."

If we are going to make a recommendation that there is help required, then maybe we should make that statement first and clearly indicate that it is our recommendation that something be done fiscally to assist the organizations provide settlement help for immigrants.

Mr Sutherland: So you would prefer something to the effect that the government of Ontario should ensure an adequate range of services.

Mr Elston: From a constitutional point of view, the federal people will say: "You have to make sure those people are settled here. They are landed immigrants. They have status which requires you to respond to the educational and social needs of these people."

The other problem, which is a real one -- you probably did not hear anything in terms of the presentations made -- was the hesitance that Ottawa has in granting the people who come here as refugees work permit status. That is a real problem that I know about from our own practical experience. I do not know if anybody talked about it here. I would be so bold as to recommend that the Treasurer in consultation with the Minister of Community and Social Services take upon themselves to ensure that work was available for immigrants, whether or not Ottawa allowed them to pursue work permits here. That is a big issue in terms of the consumption of social dollars in helping people who could work but who are prevented from working deal with their poverty issues.

We have wrestled with this with Ottawa for a while. I am prepared to be much more aggressive about it or I would prefer to be much more aggressive about it here because I know the inertia that is attached to this issue in federal-provincial relationships.

The Chair: We have three minutes left. Can we adjourn and come back this afternoon? What time would you like to be back? Two o'clock? Okay, we are adjourned till 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed at 1157.


The committee resumed at 1416 in committee room 2.

The Chair: Mr Christopherson, would you lead the way please?

Mr Christopherson: I do not know about that, but I will talk first.

I understand from my colleagues that this morning there were some changes made that were agreed to and there were other changes suggested by the opposition that were taken under advisement. In the reworked document that has been circulated with today's date and timed 1:30 pm, some of those changes have been incorporated. If I can, just to bring me up to speed, I believe the first paragraph is not a problem.

Mr Phillips: On the first page? Actually, it is a problem.

Mr Christopherson: Is it?

Mr Phillips: Yes. I think our concern was that although the present economic reality may not allow it -- we are in the area, I think, of poverty. I am not sure of the heading. Is it "Poverty" that this fits under? I cannot quite remember the report now.

Mrs Sullivan: Yes, we are.

Mr Phillips: I think you are signalling that in this area things that might have been said in the past -- and I have quoted last year's document, the minority report around how you reacted to government --

Mr Christopherson: I am glad to see you use at least one other document besides the one.

Mr Phillips: In any event, it kind of jumps off the page as -- "weasel" was the term used, particularly as this is the first time we have seen this phrase. "Hypocrisy" was the word we could not use, but it might be seen, relative to the previous words, as unusual. So I think we were suggesting that we simply say "disturbed by the lack of" and "the committee feels it must stress the importance of dealing with the overall structure and causes of poverty," and not single out poverty as an area where we are not prepared to make significant expenditure increases.

Mr Christopherson: That concern was brought to our collective attention. In an attempt to be as accommodating as possible, if there is a desire on your part and that of your colleagues that that particular clause appear somewhere else in the document --

Mrs Sullivan: How about never?

Mr Christopherson: No, I am saying that is our response to that. We are prepared to do that.

Mr Elston: Our desire was that it not appear, so how can you give us an option of choosing that?

Mr Christopherson: Because in terms of what we are prepared to accept in our position, that is what we are down to.

Mr Elston: Basically, then what you should be saying is that you are not prepared to have it removed. Do not say we have the option of putting it someplace else.

Mr Christopherson: Well, You do.

Mr Elston: That is not an option.

Mr Christopherson: That is your choice.

Mr Elston: David, that is not true. We said the thing should be removed.

Mrs Sullivan: Just to summarize the point of view of our caucus, we believe the introduction to this section of recommendations from the entire committee should begin with, "The committee feels it must stress the importance of dealing with the overall structural causes of poverty," and continue from there with specific wording. We are not prepared to have those particular words injected in this or other sections of the report.

Mr Christopherson: For the time being, then, that remains an unresolved issue.

The Chair: You can resolve it if it is a motion. Do you want it resolved?

Mr Christopherson: Well, I would like to keep us moving along in the areas of agreement as best we can. When it comes back to the hard rub and we have to do that, then so be it.

The Chair: Okay. Can we move along, then?

Mr Christopherson: I believe the only change along this line right now is that the recommendations have been realigned; the Social Assistance Review Committee one was brought to the top. I am not sure exactly how many of these were agreed, so I will just read them and we will see where we are:

"The committee therefore recommends that:

"the government should announce a timetable for implementation and funding of SARC recommendations."

I understand the request for the word "funding" came from the opposition and we were comfortable with that. We think that is indeed appropriate.

The Chair: Also, the committee this morning said the committee recommends that: "the Treasury remove additional low-income tax earners from income tax rolls, following the practices of the last five years." That was also one of the recommendations from this morning.

Mr Sutherland: I think that one still had some discussion, particularly about its wording.

Mr Christopherson: Next: "The government should consider indexation of social assistance rates to the consumer price index to ensure that rates reflect more adequately the true cost of living."

Hearing, nothing, the next point: "The government should improve STEP by enabling recipients to keep a greater percentage of the income they earn."

Next: "The province should push ahead in the CAP negotiations.

"The government should raise the minimum wage.

"The government should examine the two-tier delivery system for social services."

Mrs Sullivan: This particular point is one which was going to be left to a discussion of the municipal section of the budget. In our discussions this morning, it was specifically left out of discussions relating to poverty. It seems to me that it fits in here, but we did not address that particular issue. There are some matters that my caucus wants to put on the table in relation to that recommendation.

Mr Christopherson: I am unclear on that anyway. How are we considering your caucus's points, positions, in terms of process? What is proposed?

Mr Elston: We generally debate here. This is your first cut at stuff, and we have just been joining the debate on the items as they are raised. In fact, the ordering here came out of some of the discussions we had, I think, and are significant.

Mr Christopherson: So your input at that point represents your position, if you will, on these matters.

Mr Elston: Except, as I said earlier, that we had a real concern about the issue around funding. Kimble had rightly said that you were saying some things further down the track about municipal funding for social services programs. We said it was impossible for us, then, to agree completely on a particular item until we saw the other half of the equation, but that we are prepared, for the purposes of getting something down and in written form, to go ahead with it.

Mr Christopherson: Fair enough. Sure.

Mr Elston: As long as you understand that we are giving the checkmarks along the way on the basis that there may be something further coming and that the package may look much better than the whole, I think you will understand about our position.

Mr Christopherson: That is not a problem. It is a two-way street actually, because, quite frankly, especially as we are all new at this, we may want to revisit some of these ourselves in light of issues you raise, discussions here, before the package is finally approved. So I think we have a great deal of comfort there?

On this specific then, Barbara, what were you looking for? To have it pulled and reinserted in another area or a discussion on that?

Mrs Sullivan: My point was that because it was, in this morning's discussion, not talked about because it was felt by members of your caucus that it fit into a different place in the report, under the municipal section, we have not addressed this. Indeed, my initial reaction is that this is a weak recommendation. If a recommendation goes forward from the committee, it ought to be that the government should not simply "examine," but that the government should replace the two-tier delivery system and fund social assistance from the provincial base. That is the recommendation from the SARC committee and that is what we think would be appropriate to be included in the report, but we have not had that discussion.

Mr Christopherson: I am hearing from my colleagues around me that in light of that discussion, we do not have a problem pulling it from here, reinserting it in the proper municipal area, recognizing that there may still need to be a thorough discussion, on all our parts, around it. We will put that out for now with the intention of reinserting.

"The government should consider that income adequacy is essential to ensure welfare reform."

Mr Elston: I do not disagree with this, but it seems rather redundant -- does it not? -- bearing in mind that we are talking about the SARC project, if I can describe it as that, and it speaks to the issue of income adequacy, as well as other items, but certainly the income adequacy and systemic problems around poverty. I do not know that we need to repeat this as a recommendation. It does not take us any place further than what the SARC report or SARC project gives us.

Mr Christopherson: I think the only reason you see it as a separate issue is that for many years the whole issue of adequacy as the absolute first step was so important that we just did not want to drop it and say it is included somewhere.

Mr Elston: But that is SARC, that is the whole point around the first step in SARC, that we are concerned we had not gone far enough for a second step and all that. The first step was taken, as was required by the report, and it dealt with the initial problem of income adequacy, then the second stage was to deal more appropriately with the adequacy question. So I think this is pablum. Nobody disagrees with it, but why are we recommending it when the SARC report, which we are endorsing for the government's further implementation, says precisely that.

Mr Christopherson: We will take a look at it.

The Chair: Maybe you could take it up in a dissenting opinion attached to the first point.

Mr Elston: One of the things you do not want to do is end up having a whole series of worthless clauses in this thing. If it is something that goes without saying, do not bother saying it.

Mrs Sullivan: Mr Chairman, I apologize, because I am just grabbing my notes from the previous discussions, but our recommendation for the very first bullet point was more specific than the one that is here. This relates to the timetable and funding of SARC. Our recommendation was: "the government should announce in the 1991 budget a timetable for implementation of funding of the second phase of SARC recommendations." We have to be more specific on that recommendation, and we feel it speaks right to the integrity of introducing the next phase of SARC.

Mr Christopherson: Well, we hear your concerns and we will look at it again, but I am not sure how much more room we have for movement there.

Ms Sullivan: Could you explain that?

Mr Christopherson: Explain that?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: I said we would review it, consider what you have said, although I am not sure that we have a lot of room for change in our position.

Mrs Sullivan: I am not certain why. Could you explain why there would not be room for change?

Mr Christopherson: Because we feel that it is fairly clear right now, from our point of view.

Mr Elston: Meaning that you do not want to mention second-phase funding should be provided in the budget, I take it. At least if you had a timetable expressed. Is that no, you do not want to have it in, or no, that is not what you intend?

Mr Sutherland: No, that is not a correct interpretation.

Mr Elston: So as a caucus, you are in favour of second-phase funding?

Mr Christopherson: As a caucus, we are in support of what we have here in front of us right now.

Mr Elston: No, no, no. That is not the question. You are being highly evasive here. All I ask is this: Are you in favour --

Mr Christopherson: Well, I am not on the witness stand.

Mr Elston: -- of recommending second-phase funding in SARC? If you are in favour or it, tell us. If we are in favour of it as a group, then we should state it. If you are not prepared to go that far, just say you are not prepared to move to second-phase SARC funding.


Mr Christopherson: I have said very clearly twice, and I will say it a third time, that we have heard exactly what you have said and we will consider it in a caucus forum. I am not prepared to make any changes to this without having a chance to talk to my colleagues, so we will take a look at what you have said.

Mrs Sullivan: With respect, you have already caucused, and --

Mr Christopherson: Mr Chair, please, we are trying to be as co-operative as possible, and I can appreciate that the more experienced veterans may feel that we should move through these things a little quicker, but we are moving as quickly as we possibly can and trying to make the process --

Mr Elston: David, we are not trying to do that sort of thing at all. Where I get a little bit of frustration is that we were pressed to do second-phase funding of SARC and the Treasurer, Mr Nixon, had to say no, because we had some problems. We moved a little bit further, sort of little bit by little bit. We had people who came in and said second phase funding should be done, and the report of this committee last year was to the point of having certain things recommended that the Treasurer could not do. We were faulted for that, and that is fair game, but that did not prevent the majority Liberal composition of the committee going ahead and saying, "Listen, we believe that certain things ought to occur."

I know each of you people is in favour of second-phase funding. What is so difficult about us as a committee of the Legislature saying, "We think second-phase funding should be done"? It is up to the Treasurer and your executive council members to say, "Things aren't quite the way we want them to be, so we're not going to do what the committee recommends." It is not our job to do the executive council's business, and I know all of you are in favour of second-phase funding for SARC, so why do we not say it? It is not asking much.

Mr Christopherson: And I have said that we will take a look at what you are saying and we will get back to you. We are not giving a definitive answer, yes or no, in terms of the arguments you are making, Murray.

Mr Elston: Yes. Okay.

Mr Phillips: We use the throne speech and the Agenda for People as kind of the blueprint that we assume the province has to fund one way or the other. In the throne speech, it does say, "We pledge to continue the reform of the Ontario social assistance system." We are using that -- I am repeating myself -- as the blueprint that somehow or other this is what the government is going to do, and the finances of the province are going to have to accommodate it. That is all.

The Chair: Can we move along?

Mr Christopherson: Next: "The government should consider that income adequacy" -- pardon me, that is the one we were going to take a look at also. "The government should consider funding as a pilot project the Ontario SARC Network -- Corporate Strategies for a period of two years."

Mr Elston: The presentation, obviously, was highly persuasive, but it seems to me -- I raised this informally before the Chair came in -- that when you have choices to make with respect to funding, and your choices are providing assistance at various levels of adequacy and you are also asked to develop or to give money to the Ontario Social Assistance Review Committee Network -- Corporate Strategies, as you are all in favour of SARC anyway, why do you want this group outside of government forging ahead to spend government money when it could be applied to the STEP program or it could be applied some place else? Is this so integral to the government's planning that you would recommend that the Treasurer fund this particular item ahead of all other activities?

Again, I am sorry I did not hear the persuasiveness of their argument. It may be that it was so persuasive, but remember you have a lot of places where you are not going to move, and I am not sure that I, as one committee member, would endorse the particular funding of this item ahead of everything else.

Mr Christopherson: Okay. We will look at it.

Mrs Sullivan: So are you prepared to yank that?

Mr Christopherson: No. We are going to take a look at it. You have raised some interesting points and we will consider them.

Mr Elston: I understood it was privately funded before, and if it was privately funded before you do not necessarily want to replace that funding source.

Mr Christopherson: Next on the sheet: "The committee was impressed by the comprehensive nature of the submissions made on behalf of the disabled community. Support for the recommendations made by these groups is very strong.

"The recommendations made by the committee are as follows:

"Social assistance reforms should continue. Unless changes are made to the principles underlying the system, there will continue to be dramatic cost increases without corresponding benefits in the lives of individuals with liabilities.

"The government should consider extending the assistive devices program."

Mr Elston: On that point, just because there is a committee already in existence, it formally exists inside the assistive devices branch in the Ministry of Health and actually has members of the advocacy community involved in it as well. They are doing that actively now and have been, over the past -- well, for as long as I have been involved with it. I think they started in the days of the Conservatives when the assistive devices program was first funded.

Asking the government to consider extending is not very effective because each budget year the Minister of Health will come forward asking for more dollars in that regard. "Should consider extending" is not very persuasive to me, when they are already doing it. If there was no committee even looking at it and there was no possibility of extending, I would say fine, this is a good first step. But I know it is ongoing all the time because it is an existing program, has a history now and in fact I am sure --

Mr Christopherson: What would you prefer to say?

Mr Elston: I think if you were suggesting something as a committee and you found that there was a deficit of funding in a particular area of assistive devices, you might recommend, for instance, that the Treasurer consider funding X programs in which there was something that was a real problem in the community.

If, for instance, it was a staged program and you found that item A was only going to be available in seven years at the current rate of phasing or whatever, you might recommend that item A be funded immediately or be considered for funding this year out of phase or out of sync from what had been planned. That has to be very specific in these ones because you are not talking solely programs that are the responsibility of the Treasurer, but it is basically generated through requests for more funding from the ministry itself and he is not going to generate a request from a ministry on his own although he might be sympathetic if it generated that request. Do you understand what I mean?

Mr Christopherson: Oh, I hear what you are saying, yes. I understand fully.

Ms M. Ward: A question I would have is, are the appeals generally successful from the Ministry of Health for the funding?

Mr Elston: Yes, they have been progressively. I was there when we started out a fairly detailed phasing program. The phases tend to get extended now and again, but there have been progressive extensions over a period of years in line with what had been established as, in my day, a much shorter time frame but which has generally expanded. What the last one was I do not know. I think hearing devices were last added, and I could be out of time now, but they took longer to get in the field but they came. If there were some places that you felt we should be adding an assistive device coverage that is not now in, that would be more aggressive and probably more to the point for recommending to the Treasurer.

Mrs Sullivan: Just on the same point, I have a problem with this entire section. I will go back to some of the things that I was talking about this morning. The budget is the document that outlines the funding for the principles and priorities of a government within a given period of time to show how that government is going to carry issues forward. One of the things that I am concerned about with the recommendations that are coming forward is that they are very nebulous. They do not put the time frame or the priority that is being evidenced in other documentation that has come forward, whether it is the throne speech or An Agenda for People or whatever. The urgency that has been addressed in some of those other documents is not addressed here in any kind of a selective way.


We are not the Treasurer; this committee is not the Treasurer. The Treasurer can see from this committee the best advice that is coming forward relating to the implementation of the principles and ideology that have been expressed in other documents. Indeed there may be an objection from the opposition to the funding of those principles and ideology. That is something that the opposition has the freedom to do. But if we can come to terms with certain of those priorities and funding issues, then let's come to terms with them.

What I see here as I look at this section on the disabled is something that is really problematic, because when we look at the kinds of groups and agencies that came before us in terms of presentations that were made, they were speaking of many of the issues that have been discussed in the SARC report, that have developed as a result frankly of changes as new-methods of implementation of delivery programs have been identified, through changes in SARC. As new issues have been identified, they were clearly put before us.

So when I look at "The government should consider extending the assistive devices programs," that was not what we heard. It is not where I had the sense that there was a movement of committee opinion on. Extending the assistive devices program can mean anything from providing needles for diabetics to providing some of the things that were being talked about, like extending the programs that included clothing for people who had to use crutches.

Murray has already talked about the committee that exists that reviews the assistive devices funding and the inclusion or exclusion of facilities that are in it and services that are provided. But in making the recommendation, it seems to me that we should not be saying "should consider extending." We should be saying "should fund specific extension of the assistive devices programs in these areas." If those areas relate to programs that will assist the disabled to move into the employment community, those are things that were addressed that I felt that informally there was consensus on. If this thing is going to work, if the committee is to have a legitimacy, it should become far more precise.

I also look down to the home care issue in the same chapter and I see the word "spouse." It springs out. I have a lot of people in my constituency who are delivering home care to the disabled and it is not the spouse only who is delivering; it may be the son, the daughter, the son-in-law. Why are we limiting through a word a recommendation for funding -- remember this is a budget recommendation that we are making -- by limiting it to a spouse? If we are going to take this recommendation seriously, we have to address the family member.

You should know that in the last session of the Legislature there was a private member's bill on the floor of the Legislature -- as I recall, it was defeated -- on this very issue. Great debate surrounded it. I cannot remember -- perhaps the clerk could see where the votes came -- but there was certainly concern raised in that debate relating to the caps on the system, the policing of the system, taking advantage of the system if that home care to the disabled is in fact compensated through government. In my riding it is in a problem; in lots of other ridings it is a problem.

The question is, how does government come to terms and what do we request of the Treasurer in saying: "Will you fund X? Will you fund a pilot project? Will you fund an entire program? How are you going to limit it? What is the recommendation going to be that is not going to be so broad-brushed that it simply will not be touched?" I guess that is where I am coming from.

The other question in the last paragraph is, "The government should investigate the issue of overprescription of drugs to the disabled." This was a matter that was raised by a group. I concur that it is an issue but it is not a budgetary issue. It goes right back to questions relating to the direction of the health professionals in monitoring questions of prescriptive drug uses. I do not see this as a budgetary recommendation.

That is where I am coming from and I think my colleagues are coming from the same position. We want to see specific things and we will be prepared to support very specific measures when they are made specifically in relationship to the upcoming budget and when the recommendation relates to funding decisions that the Treasurer is going to have to come to terms with. Budgets are choices.

The Chair: Is there any comment? How are we proceeding?

Mr Christopherson: I think the last thing we touched on was assistive devices, and there was concern surrounding "should consider extending" and points raised there. I think that is where we left off.

Next: "While funding is an important issue, there may be cost savings if the possibilities for saving money without hurting individuals are explored. Disabled consumers should be consulted in a more meaningful fashion than the ministries of Health and Community and Social Services have done up to now."

Mr Elston: You know, of course, that is a bit of a partisan shot at the costs. You may not have thought of it in that sense, but that is what that is. We are the party that was in charge of Health and Community and Social Services. We did a fair bit of consulting, but that says, "No, you didn't do anything that was real," and I regret that. It may have been a bit of a slip, but I regret that I certainly am not able to join with you in supporting that. That is enough, of course, for us not to sign the report.

Mr Christopherson: I think that probably was part of Mr Stockwell's submission to us that came in late last night. No, I hear what you are saying and we will certainly take a serious look at that.

You raise an interesting point, though, one that I might just expand on. Let me just highlight this. When you talked about signing the document -- and again we have done the usual things and researched this and talked to people and checked the previous documents, etc, and I am just going to lay it out -- as I understand it, what will probably happen, and I truly ask you to clarify it for me if I am wrong, is that where there can be agreement by all the parties, it is so noted, recognizing the fact that, without the Tories here at all, that may be impossible, regardless of what your caucus and our caucus might agree on.

Other than that, the report itself, in a majority government situation, is usually not supported by the opposition parties and dissenting opinions and dissenting recommendations are part and parcel of the overall report. So please clarify that for me. When you talk about, "That may be enough for us not to sign," is it your intention?

Mr Elston: No, I basically said, "Listen, if that was in there, I certainly would not endorse it." It goes that far and it may have been more of a figure of speech. I understand how those reports are made and the fact that the chairman will present on behalf of the committee the result of it. But I just said, with respect to that, that you cannot reasonably --

Mr Christopherson: No, I hear that. I was getting to the signing of that in itself.

The Chair: Given that we have a lack of representation from the Conservative Party here, it looks as if, unless that changes, there will be no unanimous consent on anything.


Mr Christopherson: We are cognizant of that too. We want to be as fair as possible and make these things as comfortable for everybody as possible, but it really, really hinders us as the majority vote on committee when one of the parties has decided not to participate at this point for reasons it considers justified. I think that is part of the reality that you see as well as we do.

Moving on then to the next point, there was already a comment from Mrs Sullivan, but I will read it again to enter it into the record:

"In many families, a non-disabled spouse acts as both a care giver and a wage earner. A rate increase to lessen the strain on these families should be considered, if only because of the enormous costs spared the health care and social services system by the unpaid efforts of such couples."

There was a point made as to why it is just the spouse. That is one comment that I have heard and made note of.

Mr Elston: Perhaps what we could do is just change it quite quickly and say, "Many family members act as both the care giver and the wage earner for disabled family members." That clarifies it quite quickly, I think, and it probably covers most everything.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, that is fine.

Mr Elston: It is a minor change in terms of the words, but an important one.

Mr Christopherson: We will not get into the legal aspect of what is a family member. We will just leave it at that.

Mr Elston: I think it is fairly wide.

Mr Christopherson: I only know that it is an interesting point because of the unrelated family members bylaw and what happens at the local level, etc.

Anyway, next point: "The government should investigate the issue of overprescription of drugs for the disabled." The point from Mrs Sullivan has already been that her thought is that that is not a budgetary issue and I have made note of that. We will take a look at it.


"The social impact of housing on the people of Ontario is disturbing to the committee. It is the committee's request that housing be made a priority for the new government.

"Therefore, the committee recommends that:

"Housing policies and housing supply programs must be addressed from the perspective that housing is a right.

"Beginning in the 1991-92 fiscal year, the government should budget for a non-profit housing program to succeed the Homes Now program that would be the start of a continuing non-profit housing initiative.

"Ownership housing developed on government lands must initially be affordable and measures should be taken to safeguard the long-term affordability of such housing.

"The government should consider that increased nonprofit housing allocations will generate significant employment in the manufacturing and construction trades sectors. Moreover, building during a downturn will result in a larger number of units being constructed since costs are lower.

"Antidiscriminatory policy should be mandatory for the receipt of funds for non-profit housing projects. Affirmative action policy should be introduced to meet the housing needs of `disadvantaged' people."

New paragraph: "The committee is in full support of assisting newcomers in their --

Mr Elston: In relation to the housing section, I raised the issues around -- actually it is a point close to Mrs Sullivan's, but my point this morning was that when you take a look at all the series of recommendations that were brought forward in our list in this document prepared on 4 February or S February, there was a series of pages of fairly specific items that talk about, for instance, in one case, the 20,000 non-profit housing units which of course jibes with An Agenda for People

Then there are other programs -- Let's Build Ontario is one I mentioned this morning -- and perhaps we should be talking about specific items that talk about areas where there were opportunities in the housing area to affect more than just the supply of housing. For instance, it also affects the supply of jobs. My sense would be that if there is an advantage in our recommending anything on housing, we should try not only to advantage the supply of housing but also the supply of jobs and work for people in the province.

Mr Christopherson: I think that is there, Murray.

Mr Elston: You think it is here?

Mr Christopherson: I believe that is in the second-last point: "The government should consider increased" --

Mr Elston: Okay. I realize that it says something generally, but I just said, "Should we not consider some of the specific program recommendations that have come forward to us rather than just generally saying housing will provide employment?" I was just paraphrasing what I said this morning and not listening to what you had read as part of that.

There are so many recommendations. Can we stop our presentation to the Treasurer on the basis of three or four general observations? I guess that is really what I am saying. Is there not any specific recommendation that was brought forward to the committee that would merit interest from us? Because there is a lot of --

Mr Christopherson: We will take a look at that.

Mrs Sullivan: I want to go back to the same discussion, I suppose, that we had on the housing issues this morning, relating to what it seems to me is a fairly weak approach to the question of the provision of affordable housing, given inclusions in the throne speech, in ministerial statements and in the Agenda for People which included very specific commitments to the construction of 20,000 non-profit housing units a year, to 10.5% mortgages, to $1.4 billion in mortgage funds available at the government's long-term cost of borrowing. None of these recommendations, platforms, commitments, have been addressed in the material that we see before us from the government caucus.

Once again I see a lack of specific recommendations relating to the budget year that this committee should be putting before the Treasurer. It is the Treasurer's choice to determine whether or not the 20,000 units will be part of his budgetary program, but once again the budget document and the integrity of the budget document relate to the commitments that have been made. We do not see that kind of very specific recommendation included here in the recommendations of the government caucus.

Mr Christopherson: Next paragraph.

Mrs Sullivan: Could I just ask, are the government caucus and the parliamentary assistant prepared to come back with more of a specific recommendation?

Mr Christopherson: We are prepared to consider very seriously what you have said, and we will caucus on it so that all our members, as you would do, will have a chance to have some input into any changes that we might agree should be made. I think that really is fair. It is certainly sincere, and it is the only thing that I can do right now as our spokesperson without having a chance to go back to my colleagues. I am making notes; so are my colleagues. We are listening very carefully to what you are saying and will consider it and get back to you with a response.

Mr Phillips: On a slightly different matter, I assume that we will be dealing with infrastructure under another heading somewhere -- "Construction" or -- because I think a lot of housing people said infrastructure is related to housing. I assume that will come in another package of recommendations.

Mr Christopherson: We have more recommendations coming, so anything here does not mean that it is not being included. It just means we may not have that exact wording hammered out yet.

Mr Phillips: Fine. I just do not want to lose the opportunity because I think that was -- so it will be dealt with back under "Construction" or --

Mr Christopherson: I cannot specifically tell you something will or will not appear later, except to say to you that we have still got a fair distance to go, yes, and another document to present to you.

Mr Phillips: Okay, because that was a big part of the speech from the throne and the --


Mr Christopherson: Next paragraph: "The committee is in full support of assisting newcomers in their efforts to integrate into the community. After all" -- we had a wording change there that does not show -- "much of the history of this country" -- perhaps I could ask the Liberal caucus to note that. It is "much of the history."

Mr B. Ward: I do not think they heard.

Mr Christopherson: I am assuming they are hanging on our every word, as we are theirs.

"Therefore, the committee recommends that:

"The government of Ontario should re-examine its funding on settlement and language training services with an attempt at enhancing service.

"The government of Ontario should actively pursue an agreement with Ottawa to ensure that an adequate range of settlement services and language training is provided to newcomers to the province.

"As the province renegotiates the Ontario agreement on training, efforts should be made to explicitly advance the province's multicultural strategy. In addition, the agreement should recognize and enhance the role of nonprofit community-based organizations in the face of continuing privatization.

"The committee was moved by the presentations made on behalf of interval and transition houses. The crisis faced on a daily basis by these groups must be addressed immediately. To avoid action would mean jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of women in this province.

"The committee recommends that:

"The funding formula for interval and transition houses should be reviewed with an attempt to institute block funding.

"The committee was impressed by the presenters' attempts to deal with the issue of the growing costs of the provincial health care budget. The committee agrees that the competing demands on the health care budget call for more innovative and accountable management.

"Therefore, the committee recommends that:

"The government should increase its support to community-based models of health care service delivery.

"The government should initiate community discussion around the limitations of health care spending, such that direction is provided to politicians, health care professionals and other public decision-makers.

"The government should consider fairer compensation to nurses a priority.

"Some form of local project stimulation and support is needed in Ontario -- this fund could be administered through a coalition of partners and advisers in conjunction with the provincial government, or by a coalition -- a healthy communities network.

"The government should examine the role and benefits of the pharmaceutical industry in terms of its overall industrial strategy. It has a great deal to offer in terms of enhanced manufacturing ability, augmented R and D presence and international competitiveness."

Mr Phillips: It is more in the revised body of the paper that I am interested. The reason I raise it now is that I still have some concerns about the numbers that I would still like the staff to investigate. There is so much paper here; it is driving me nuts.

It started with the 55% of the Health budget, and I know I have -- it is page 23 of Revision 1. I am not sure you want to get into the text of the document today, but I just thought we should use the time between now and tomorrow to get the numbers. This is "Health," Revision 1, page 23 at the top. These are the Ministry of Treasury and Economics numbers. For 1989-90 it shows hospitals at 43% and this document shows 55%.

Ms Anderson: I took the numbers from Dr Barkin's presentation where he had 55%. I can see how we can reconcile that to the --

Mr Phillips: Will you? I would like to know that. In the document, it says, "There was general agreement among presenters that the health care system did not require a greater proportion of the provincial budget." I am not sure I heard that. Hospitals said they needed more money. Nurses said they needed more money.

The Chair: No, the nurses said they did not need any more money.

Mr Phillips: The nurses: I guess that is the other thing. I think the nurses said that their proportion of the budget was 25% and the hospitals said it was 40%. Can we go to the authority on this, the Ministry of Health, by tomorrow and get the right number? It seems really unusual to me to have two parties bargaining over billions of dollars and not knowing within 15% who is right. It is a recipe for conflict.

The reason I raise all this is because there is -- not in the recommendations -- an implication that there is lots of money in Health, that it is just redistributing it. So far I have talked to every participant in it. They may say it is redistributing it, but they need more and somebody else needs less. It is a vicious circle that one goes in and in the end I think you are going to find that everybody needs more, everybody wants more.

I would like for tomorrow a reconciliation from the Ministry of Treasury and Economics that says hospitals are 43% and the Ministry of Health that says hospitals are 55%. Who is right would be interesting.

Second, the Ontario Hospital Association says hospital nurses are, when you include fringe and salary, I think they said 40% of the budget and the Ontario Nurses' Association said 25% of the budget. That is important, at least to me, because of the preamble.

Mr Christopherson: Was there not a gap? They talked about $3 billion or $4 billion, a huge dollar figure that they said was really --

The Chair: And the numbers: They also cast aspersions on the number of people who the OHA says worked in the hospitals in the different categories of nursing and support staff, and they wondered where the -- it was somewhere in the neighbourhood -- the OHA said there was X number of people working and the nurses came back and said that is not possible.

Mr Phillips: I think, for this committee's sake, it would be very good to know what is the reality there.

The Chair: I will try my best to have those numbers for you tomorrow.

Mr Phillips: Remember I said, "Can we get the information that was promised to the committee?" The Ministry of Health said they could send us their estimates. Remember that? "We are working on it." The Hansard will show that.

Second, we had the questions of Treasury on the very first day and it said it would provide the answers to them. We are now 25 hours away from a final report, and I would really appreciate, personally, those data for tomorrow.

The Chair: We will continue to try to get it. It is an ongoing process with us. We are trying to get the information in. I would like to guarantee success. We will do our best.

Mr Christopherson: We are supportive of that. I would just say that we would offer our support for the

Chair that we really can get that information.

Mr Phillips: Does it not strike all of us as odd that the biggest single item on our budget is 34%, and we have one part of the government saying we have 55% and another part in this graph saying 43%?

Mr Christopherson: There are a lot of strange things you find when you get in the driver's seat.

The Chair: Remember, we are new here and we are finding a lot of things strange.

Mr Christopherson: The next paragraph:

"The committee is very concerned about the continuing problems facing the agricultural sector. The high interest rate policy of the federal government, combined with consistently low commodity prices throughout the 1980s, has forced more farmers out of business and placed an added burden on those who have managed to survive. The current situation provides little incentive for young farmers and is undermining the fabric of rural communities.

"The committee would like to stress the significant relationship between the $40-billion-a-year agricultural industry and the health of Ontario's economy as a whole.

"Therefore, the committee recommends:

"The government should fully understand that interest rate assistance is vital to farmers. The OFFIRR model provides a good starting point for a detailed discussion of the design of a financial assistance program.

"In the absence of core funding from the federal government and in the light of assistance programs instituted by other provinces, Ontario should explore a farm credit policy that ensures equitable access to affordable credit.

"The government should explore joint initiatives with the Farm Credit Corporation, provided that the federal government is prepared to make a financial commitment."

Mr Elston: You just talked yourself out of that one.

The Chair: Would you explain?

Mr Elston: Farm Credit has become the next thing to another chartered bank. Most people are just right out of business in terms of helping farmers the way they used to, and they now ask for application fees virtually.

The Chair: Farm Credit?

Mr Elston: Farm Credit. The federals really in a way did not do very much work on the farm credit end of things. They have a structure now that really has strayed a long way away from helping the farm owner who used to go to them as a last resort. They are virtually a chartered bank in a lot their lending practices. That is probably being a little bit harsh, but I tend to see that. I tend to feel that way about it when I see the change in mandate of Farm Credit.

"Provided that the federal government is prepared to make a financial commitment." It is a nowhere recommendation because you know darn well that the feds are on this path where they are just slashing everything. They are prepared to give up a whole series of farm support programs and farm organizational programs, including supply management, if it does them a budgetary service to do so. That is why they are bending over backwards to give away certain things in the GATT discussions if they can.


I am concerned. I guess you can put it in. It is not going to hurt to put it in, but it is not going to help anybody as soon as you put "provided that the federal government is prepared to make a financial commitment," because it is not. I think it is as simple as that.

Mr B. Ward: This federal government.

Mr Elston: Yes, the current federal government. You are not going to see a new one for another couple of years anyway, and I know what your preference would be, but that is not necessarily a sure thing these days. It may be that the federal authorities, in any event, will not be able to do stuff

Mrs Sullivan: That is also why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture recommendations were shaped the way they were, because it understands the way the Farm Credit Corp works and is looking for specific farm credit initiatives in Ontario, as are being done in the Saskatchewan and Alberta models, but it is looking for very specific commitments and funding initiatives in Ontario for Ontario. They were not looking for exploring joint initiatives related to the FCC.

Before we leave agriculture, I also have some concerns once again relating to the specific nature of the recommendation relating to the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program. It seems to me that the committee ought to be recommending that an interest rate reduction program be included in the next budget. That is where our recommendation should be. We have heard indications relating to the targeted nature, and those are decisions that the Treasury can make, but the OFFIRR model provided a good starting point for discussion. The crisis is now. There is an urgency on this issue. The interest rate problem is a symptom of the longer term farm credit problem. This is a matter that has to be looked at with some urgency in the next budget.

Mr Elston: Having said that about agriculture, can I slip back, just for a moment, to the health care section?

As I was rereading your second bullet point, "The government should initiate community discussion around the limitations of health care spending," I got the sense all of a sudden, as I read that for about the third or so time, that somehow it starts to make me think about rationing or things like that. I do not suspect that is what you intended, but if I read or misread that incorrectly myself, knowing where your organization, your party is on this, that sounds like discussion towards saying only so much is going to be available for people. I think that should be clarified.

I am not prepared to go into a rationing discussion, nor am I prepared to allow the officials at Treasury who might like to get into discussion around that, to think that this committee is suggesting rationing of health care should begin.

Mr Christopherson: No, I think I can say --

Mr Elston: Can you work on something that might be just a little bit clearer to make sure we get taken away from that misinterpretation?

Mr Christopherson: Along what lines?

Mr B. Ward: For clarification, could you define what you are interpreting as rationing?

Mr Elston: As soon as you start saying "community discussion around limitations of health care spending," some people have talked about implementing, and in fact they have implemented, some user fees. They talk about implementing user fees in Quebec as an effective way of limiting people's access to a health care dollar. I do not want -- at least I would not support the recommendation that we start talking about those sorts of measures. I will tell you, there are enough people who could read this that way to make it look like this committee was telling the Treasury, "You should look into having means by which people's access to the health dollar is restricted."

Mr B. Ward: By rationing, you are not saying that we only have so much but that we implement user fees? Is that what your party --

Mr Elston: That is just a variation on a theme of restricting people's access to health care. Right? People will make the argument -- a doctor, for instance, came to me not that long ago, again knowing my past history and everything, saying, "Well, if you just allowed us to charge those people $5 or $10 every time they came to us, that would keep them away from the office." Of course, if the government ever did that, then people would blame us for any problem if there was somebody who did not get enough health care, I think understandably.

This to me is so close to the subtle types of messages I got in letters from people during the extra-billing debate that I am perhaps more sensitive to the writing of this than others might be, but this could be seen to be a clear signal that the government wants to put an end to free or universal access to health care, and I do not think that is the message you want in this; certainly not one that I would endorse.

The Chair: Evelyn was very clear that that is not --

Mr Elston: I know.

Mr Christopherson: I think we are open to ensuring that you have the comfort level you are looking for, because I would not want you not to sign the document.

The Chair: Have you got a wording that you would like to see?

Mr Elston: If I understood exactly what you are trying to tell me here in this sentence, that the government could initiate community discussions around limitations of health care spending -- what do you mean there? Are you capping it? Are you just saying each person can have access up to a certain level or do they have to pay a fee? I know that you probably do not mean those, but what is it that you are trying to tell me?

Mr Hansen: On page 23, the second paragraph, I think this is where actually we have come up with this particular recommendation.

"There was general agreement among presenters that the health care system did not require a greater proportion of the provincial budget but that the money should be managed differently. The Ministry of Health indicated that they had instituted new steps for improved management of health care within the ministry and that better management practices are being instituted in the hospitals with, for example, a shift from in-hospital care to more day surgery."

Mr Elston: Of course, that has been happening over the last seven or eight years, not just with us. But that talks about proportion. Remember, when people talk about proportions, we are talking about maybe 34% of the budget as opposed to getting 40% of the budget or something, but they do not talk about the fact that it is limited to the current level. I think $15.5 billion is this current fiscal year's spending on health care. They do not mean to tell you, however, that they want this stopped at $15.5 billion from now on.

It is just the word "limitation." I read it in the more sensitive fashion than you do because when we were discussing the extra-billing issue, when we were going out and dealing with all of the dissenters -- and there were a number of them -- around that issue, every word that you used had a whole series of connotations that could get, in those days, me in trouble.

The Chair: Could you live with something or could the committee live with something --

Mr Hansen: Is there a word there you want in?

The Chair: -- like "Government should initiate community discussions around the maximization of -- "

Mr B. Ward: We will take it under advisement and talk about it tonight. We understand where Mr Elston is coming from.

Mr Phillips: Go back to point 3 on page 23. I think I would want to see the evidence of that. I think the Ministry of Health, when it came in, could not tell us what it wanted, so I do not think it would necessarily agree with that. The OHA would not agree with it. The doctors would not agree with it.

Mr Elston: This is the greater proportion.

Mr Phillips: Yes, with the statement "There was general agreement among presenters." The nurses I think suggested it, but until I get some idea of the numbers -- I just think it is on that basis, as you are pointing out, that you put that in, ie, that, "Well, money is not the question; it is divvying it up properly" -- I am having real difficulty in buying in to that.

As I say, if you remember when the minister was here, I was asking, "How much money do we need to accomplish your objectives?" "Well, we are working on that. We will try to give you estimates" and what not. So I think Mr Elston has his finger on a key issue. If, by agreeing to that wording, we are agreeing that the money is fine, it is just the allocation, I think we are going to be fooling ourselves, personally.

One other way out is, there is the Premier's Council on about three things -- health, wellbeing and social stuff -- and whether it should not be that this encourages that council to continue its discussions around the most effective use of the health care dollar, because that is really its mandate, I think, what is right there. So maybe under advisement you would consider that.


I think what the government members are looking for is some way to have broad consultation on how to allocate, how the dollars will be spent. I am just saying you have that vehicle in place now. It used to be called the Premier's Council on Health. It is now the Premier's Council on Health and a couple of other things. Rather than initiate community discussion around the limitation of the health care spending, it should continue its dialogue using the vehicle of "to ensure that health care spending" -- I do not like the word "limitation" because it assumes that, as I said before, there is enough money in the system already to meet the goals, and I think you are going to find -- I will be very surprised if you do not find -- in the next six months that is not going to be the case. To accomplish the goals you want, it is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to keep it at the 34% of your budget.

The Chair: So there are basically these two areas that we should revisit.

Mr Christopherson: I am sorry, I had to step out for just a moment. The areas to be revisited are in the draft or in the proposals we are going to make.

Mr Elston: Both.

The Chair: Both, page 23, second paragraph, and the second point.

Mr Christopherson: And the second bullet also? I am still unclear. Maybe my colleagues are a little clearer now, but I thought it was fairly straightforward. And that was the way it was left? Okay.

Mr Elston: You are not as concerned then as I am that the message be that we are suggesting a limit or a capping to health care spending? I mean, I am. I think maybe if you take it under advisement you can reconsider what we said, because that certainly is a long way away from the policy of your party. You have been a long time in favour of making sure that universal health care exists, and if you are concerned about a discussion in the community about limiting health care spending, that is a remarkable change of status for your organization.

Mr Christopherson: I think any expression of discussion in the province along the lines of the increasing health care costs is not to be considered surprising by anyone. I did not see this, in my mind, as being any kind of a bogeyman, but we have heard what you have said and we will take a look at it. If it needs to be clarified, we will.

Mr Elston: My experience, though, is that there are organizations that will say that this government's starting to look at limiting health care spending is a flag which will sound a rallying cry for a lot of people, when I do not think that is where you are at, or at least I would be doggone surprised if that is where you are at.

Mr Christopherson: We will take a look at it.

Mr Elston: Sometimes when you get to Treasury and you start talking the language that is talked internally in the Treasury organization, you quickly become hardened I guess to the words. But the community advocates in particular positions see those words and they hear them and they respond to them, and I do not think you need that struggle at the moment with everything else happening.

Mr Christopherson: Okay, let's be clear. There are many of us, although we are green provincial politicians, who have spent a good number of years on city and regional councils and understand the responsibility of pushing progressive legislation and still working with Treasury people in trying to have good budgets and be able to go to the people, so I am not quite as frightened about our virtue as you are.

Mr Elston: That is not what I was frightened about. Your virtue is the least of my worries. You look after your virtue; I will look after mine. It is just that I do not want this document to say something that is a long way away from where you know your organization is.

Mr Christopherson: I appreciate truly your concern for ensuring that we do not send out mixed messages.

The Chair: I think the last page here, where we --

Mr Christopherson: I think we have completed this document, as I understand it, because the last thing I have are a number of notes I took after listening to Mrs Sullivan. So what I would suggest, Mr Chair, with the time remaining, is that I think perhaps we could look at trying to tackle the draft that came back to us from the researchers.

It is our intention, I will tell the Liberal caucus, to have for it the balance of our first round of recommendations and, when that is completed, as much of the responses to what we have talked about today as we can have ready for the morning session, with every intention obviously of wrapping everything up by tomorrow afternoon. So if there is agreement, perhaps we could start looking at the report, having thanked the researchers for working around the clock to provide it to us.

Mrs Sullivan: Once again, I have to apologize, because I had to make a phone call to a constituent and missed discussion on the interval and transition houses. What I would like to suggest here is, once again, a firmer recommendation that the 1991 budget for interval and transition houses should include block provincial funding, with implementation in the 1991 fiscal year. It captures the intent of the recommendation but makes it more specific.

The Chair: Is there any discussion on that?

Mr Christopherson: Could you repeat the exact wording so that I have it right, please?

Mrs Sullivan: The 1991 budget for interval and transition houses should include block provincial funding, with implementation in the 1991 fiscal year.

Mr Elston: Is that 1991-92?

Mrs Sullivan: That is 1991-92.

Mr Christopherson: So you have backed up to that one then, is that right?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: We went by it once and I am just confirming that it was not something I missed the first time; it is something you revisited and are suggesting that change.

Mrs Sullivan: I was on the phone.

Mr Christopherson: Oh, I see. I sure hope the Tories do not come in and do that. We will be here until next Thursday.

Mr Elston: Trust me, I think they are not coming back. If it looks like they are coming back, I will stand at the door and talk to them.

Mr B. Ward: Were they here this morning?

Mr Elston: Briefly.

Mr Sutherland: We will fill you in.

Mr Christopherson: There has always been some thought that there might ultimately be two parties. I do not know if anybody thought it would be the Liberals blocking the Tories at the door, but it might be a different variation.

Mr Elston: Actually, we put that in the form of a recommendation.

Mr Christopherson: Mr Chair, the second draft, if you will, of the report itself on the pre-budget consultation process, first page: We are comfortable with that.

Mrs Sullivan: Sorry, can you just say that again? Oh, first page? You are comfortable with the whole thing?

Mr Christopherson: Yes.

Mrs Sullivan: Is that what you are saying?

Mr Christopherson: Yes, it is.

Mr Elston: I was concerned; it may be correct that there was a lack of expression of concern from other regions of the province -- that is, other than Toronto, but we did meet in Toronto -- and although we had the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, which is an umbrella group -- it speaks in general terms and things -- we say, "It places limitations on our ability." It is not stated as --


Mr Sutherland: Strongly?

Mr Elston: -- sympathetically to the other areas, I think, as I would like to see it done, because it looks as if there was a problem on those other areas' part, if you know what I mean. If we had gone to Thunder Bay, I am sure we would have had the northwest making presentations on northwestern Ontario's need. If we had been in eastern Ontario, there would have been a presentation more specifically from eastern Ontario, because I know those concerns are out there, and I guess I would just like them expressed that we regret that we were unable to hear more about the regional needs in the province perhaps. But I thought this pointed a finger a little bit at those people who did not bother coming to talk to us, if you know what I mean. I am sure it was not even intended that way, but that is how I read it.

Mr B. Ward: So soften that up?

Mr Elston: Yes, be a little more sympathetic to the fact that we are in Toronto.

Mrs Sullivan: Just on the same point, I too do not like that particular sentence, because one of the things that we have to recognize is that as the capital city of Ontario, a lot of the groups and associations who are the umbrella organizations representing a point of view locate here. While their physical address may be Toronto, Ontario, they will be representing people from Sarnia to Ottawa, etc.

Additionally, in the list of sectors and so on which we did not hear adequately from, the tourism sector is one that was identified in the Treasury documentation as a sector that is facing great change in this economic climate. We had one presenter from the amusement sector of that industry, and I think that tourism could also be listed as one where there were not adequate presentations to the committee to come to a judgement.

Mr Christopherson: I think the points are well taken regarding tourism. It is an important one. On the question of the greater Toronto area, I think certainly if that is the message one might get from that language, let's change it. But let's recognize too that we made an initial decision that we would put funding in the budget, I believe, if we so chose to travel to other parts of the province and, for whatever reason, we did not take up that option that we gave ourselves.

Mr Elston: I have no problem with the fact that we chose to sit here. Well, maybe I do and maybe I do not, but that is not the important thing. We sat here, and as a result we are not just quite as amenable to other people from other areas. Perhaps we could just take that whole section out and we could say, "The committee wishes to stress that although certain sectors and certain areas of the province were not represented at the hearings, we still continue to believe," and we can -- you know, show that we are not just a Toronto-only province.

Mr Christopherson: No, I think that the emphasis should be on the fact that we did not facilitate that in some fashion.

Mr Elston: I do not know that you necessarily have to do that. I just was trying to save the ire of somebody in northwestern Ontario reading this, for instance, saying, "Boy, those people have the audacity to say we did not come and talk to them." So I am not pointing fingers here, other than just to say let's take that first sentence or that "consequently, the lack of expression" sentence out, and just say, "The committee wishes to stress that although certain sectors and certain areas of the province were not here," and so on.

Mr Christopherson: Good. We can support if the researchers want to take a look at that.

Mr Elston: Sure, exactly right because I think that is quite clear.

Mr B. Ward: Add tourism, right?

Mr Elston: And then you can add tourism, sure.

Mr Christopherson: Yes. Good idea.

Mr Hansen: One thing, the subcommittee, when we did meet -- Mr Kwinter was actually your representative there.

The Chair: Mr Sterling was there for a little while.

Mr Hansen: He is not here today. But the thing is, we did discuss that on meeting in other parts of Ontario. We had an open mind that if anyone was wishing for us to meet in the north, we were willing to go there. So, it was not the point that Toronto was the only meeting point. I think that should be sort of expressed in the writings also.

Mrs Sullivan: Maybe you could just eliminate the second and third lines of that paragraph.

The Chair: We did have representation from Sault Ste Marie and from Ottawa in various groups, and Windsor, Niagara. We did have some representation, and maybe a phrase there: "While we did have some representation from areas outside of Toronto," we could just express the regret that we did not have -- or something.

Mr Hansen: The other thing is that the largest population is down in this area, too, representation-wise --

Mr Elston: There are all kinds of reasons. I do not want anybody to think we are ignoring them, that is all.

The Chair: I think I understand that what we are trying to say here is that we do not want them to think that we are ignoring them because we were not there, but that we do have sympathy for their concerns and we will be looking to meliorate them or to do what we can for them. Is that good enough?

Mr Elston: On the second page, at the end of the second line and going into the third, starting after "1991," I will just read: "and that there will be slow, steady rate of growth in" -- I presume that we should either keep in the "a" at the end of the second line, "a slow, steady rate of growth" or we should just say "there will be slow, steady growth in 1992."

So you are going to leave the "a" in, or should we take out "rate of growth"? The fewer words the better: "There will be slow, steady growth in 1992."

The Chair: That is right. We have to pay for this by the page.

Mr Elston: And by the word, when we translate it.

The Chair: Let's keep these words to a minimum.

Mr Christopherson: I think that is us for page 1.

The Chair: We are on page 2.

Mr Christopherson: And 2. Sorry, I confess to talking with my colleague about something coming up. On page 2, in the second paragraph, where it says "thus." We did not go into this in any great length, it was just red-flagged by one of our caucus. "Thus, Canadian manufacturing plants had laid off workers in the early 1980s while they reduced the size of their operations, at least temporarily. In the current recession..." Does it flow? I mean, taking the other part out, adding that sentence, and then reading from the top of the paragraph, does that still flow?

Mr Elston: Take out the first sentence, too, is what you are saying, basically? Say "Canadian industry is now undergoing a restructuring process."

The Chair: I think what you started to say there is that in the recession of the early 1980s there was some downsizing of their operations, but it was more of a temporary nature, whereas the current recession is undergoing a restructuring process resulting in a greater degree of permanent job losses.

Mr Christopherson: The thrust of the three sentences is fine. It was merely, when we looked at it, did it really flow properly and say what we wanted?

Ms M. Ward: Why not put the third sentence in place of the second sentence, just change them so that you are looking at the past and then you are going on to the current situation?

Ms Anderson: "Canadian manufacturing plants had laid off workers," then, "Canadian industry is now undergoing a restructuring process," then, "In the current recession."

The Chair: So it flows a little nicer.

Ms M. Ward: And take out "thus."

The Chair: I guess the main point there is the emphasis that this is a different kind of a recession with more permanent job losses.

Mr Elston: But if you reorder your sentences along that line, the "in the current recession" sentence also becomes a bit of a -- you will have to clean it up a bit.

The Chair: I need a point of clarification, whomever has a dictionary here. I do not know if there is a word "learnt." I think it is "learned."

Mr Rampersad: "Learnt" is correct.

The Chair: It is? "Learnt." I'll be darned.

Mrs Sullivan: How many kids did you fail?


The Chair: Are we on the record here? If you have ever graded papers, by the time you finish seeing how some of the words have been misspelled by so many students in the same way so many times --

Mr Elston: That is how you create new languages.

The Chair: I'll say. You really begin to question your own --

Mr Elston: The real reason why our system is in such bad shape is that it --

The Chair: I never failed anybody; they did it to themselves, self-destruction.

Okay, are we happy with page 2, with "learnt"? Have we all learnt something today?

Mr B. Ward: Staff is going to clean that first part up?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: The second paragraph on page 3: Getting back to Mrs Sullivan on the request for language at the end of the new first sentence regarding "expenditure decisions" and then a suggestion from, I think, Mr Phillips -- although I may be wrong there, perhaps it was your own further suggestion -- that it be "expenditure and revenue decisions." We have looked at it and considered it and we can live with the fact that "expenditure decisions" would rightfully be placed there. How is that, Murray? Are you shocked? When I tell you we will consider things, Mr Elston, we consider them.

However, the only thing we did have a concern about was that in terms of including the revenue decisions, and I think you were referring to revenue expenditures forfeited, ie, the GST -- we do not have a problem with that. I think it is legitimate in the body of the report to express that; that is a fair comment. However, we think that also there needs to be a recognition to separate that from the recognition that there is also reduced revenue overall that had nothing to do with decisions we took as a government or that the previous government took, but is a result of the recession. If we can find language that accommodates that fact, we are prepared to accommodate your fair request that "expenditure decisions" be noted.

Mr Phillips: Maybe one way of doing it is to articulate the $2.5 billion and just say it is a result of $600 million in reduced revenue because of the recession; $70 million in reduced revenue because of the GST decision --

Mr Christopherson: How much did you say?

Mr Phillips: I said $70 million. I think that is what --

Mrs Sullivan: It is $70 million in the current fiscal year.

Mr Phillips: Welfare costs, I think, are up $550 million, and then expenditure decisions of $1.2 billion.

Mr Christopherson: The problem is that I do not think it is that neat. I am not being argumentative --


Mr Christopherson: Hold on, hear me out, please. I do not think it is quite that neat, because you would also then have to include the windfall transfer that came in from the federal government. I mean, if we are going to be using actual figures in that sentence, which was not our intent, then we have to sit down and analyse everything that happened from the time that we started making decisions as a government to date. I just do not think it would be neat enough to be able to do that.

As I said earlier, we are prepared to accept the fact that expenditure decisions should be noted, and if you want to tie in the revenue decision, fair enough. But all we are asking is that there also be a recognition that part of the problem, a large part of the problem -- my words -- is the fact that overall revenue is down, regardless of any decisions.

Mr Phillips: But it is just the fact -- I am not arguing one way or another -- that there is a $2.5-billion deficit. Revenue is down $600 million over what we estimated as a result of the recession. It is $70 million as a result of the decision you made; $550 million in welfare costs; $1.2 billion spending decisions. That is all. It is just taking the Treasurer's report and articulating what the 2.5 is; it is not one way or the other.

Mr Christopherson: Reference the Treasurer's report if you want, but to start getting into dollars -- again, I am not saying what it would look like. The dollars are there, the figures are there. It is a matter of public record and your position on those is a matter of public record. But I just think that it starts to cloud up and muddle that sentence to the point where we lose the whole point.

The issue here is to show that we have a $2.5-billion deficit. It was drafted in such a way originally that you felt there was some responsibility on the part of government that ought to be noted. We are saying we agree with you. However, in fairness, also acknowledge that when you are talking about being short on revenue, it is not just our decision. In fact, that is the smallest piece. All we are saying is, can we find a way to do that? Otherwise we will just leave it stand.

Mr Phillips: I want to get on the record again. The windfall is not a windfall. The corporate taxes were down, the personal income taxes were up. That was clear, and clear that it was coming. We will never agree on that, I guess. I am relatively sensitive about it.

Mr Christopherson: Well, we have a problem.

Mr Elston: I do not think you have a problem. It was just that he was sensitive about it. That still does not prevent you from saying that revenue items -- you can separate the two if you wish. I do not know how you do it cleanly, but you can --

Mr Christopherson: But that is all I asked to do. If we do it by language, we have no problem. When we start getting into dollars -- it is not that it will make us look any worse or better; it is a matter of I really think it will cloud this up, so there is where we start to get into a problem.

The Chair: Mrs Sullivan has had her hand up. This debate is getting a little free-ranging. I would like to bring it back to some focus.

Mrs Sullivan: I wonder if, rather than just saying "and reduced revenues," we might want to say "and reduced tax revenues, and expenditure and revenue decisions," or be more specific and say, "reduced corporate and retail sales tax revenues" --

Mr Christopherson: Do the former again.

Mrs Sullivan: Simply "reduced tax revenues, and expenditure and revenue decisions."

Mr Christopherson: Fine, we can live with that.

Mr Phillips: In the end, I do not think there is a dispute on the facts, that is all. I am just taking the facts off the sheet. Now, you may not want me to say it here, but I will say it elsewhere.

Mr Christopherson: But that is not the point. You are misrepresenting my point when you do that. My point was exactly what we just agreed to, and the dollars you are talking about are there. There is nothing to be hidden by putting it in or taking it out. It is a matter of extending that sentence to the point where you just lose what it -- because really that is just a lead sentence, to set the stage. So you can take that position, but I would continue to disagree that that was our intention in not wanting to put the dollar figures in there.

The Chair: Since we have an agreement, can we move along? Are we happy with page 3?

Mr Christopherson: One more. There seemed to be a little confusion, after the language that was removed -- six sentences underneath where we were just discussing -- where it says, "Rates of increase in transfer payments to the provinces have been declining."

For some reason I had it noted as a problem, but it does not appear to be now that I look at it again.

Mr B. Ward: If I may, it is just that it is "reduced rates of increase in transfer payments," in the sentence before and then we repeat it again.

Mr Christopherson: That is right, thank you. I knew I wrote that down for a purpose: "as a result of reduced rates of increase in transfer payments." That is it, because I have a line that says "start." I was going to suggest that the new sentence after the language we have just crafted would begin with the word "provincial": "Provincial governments have had to find ways" or "Provincial governments, therefore, have had to find ways of meeting the shortfall." The preceding words are redundant.

The Chair: It will save translation costs. We are making this a one-page document. Are we happy with page 3? Moving along to page 4.


Mr Christopherson: We are okay on page 4.

The Chair: Are you happy with the last sentence on page 4?


Mr Christopherson: We will certainly doublecheck it, but I did not have it flagged.

Mr Phillips: It would not be acting in bad faith if tomorrow we came in and have looked at some detail, because we just got this, like you --

Mr Christopherson: I think we have already said it in terms of our proposals, and yours when you asked for a chance to go back.

Mr Phillips: Thank you.

Mr Elston: On the page 4 stuff, I have a bit of a problem with the overall of this, because in another place -- I am just looking for it quickly -- there is a clause that says this is a homegrown recession. Some place or other I have read that, yet the homegrown part of this thing is not stated either in the first paragraph on page 4 nor in the "Causes of the Recession" thing. Maybe it comes in later.

The Chair: Here it is. It is the first line on page 2: "Most forecasters agreed that the economy is in a recession that was principally homegrown."

Mr Elston: Yet we do not talk about the causes of the recession in the same way. "Numerous factors have converged to cause the downturn in economic activity including changes in the international economic and trading structures." Then we go on to talk about the American recession which makes us deeper.

The Chair: Would you feel more comfortable if a line was put in there saying that the primary cause of this recession are the homegrown interest rates or whatever and then --

Mr B. Ward: On the top of page 5, it begins to discuss that.

Mr Elston: I see, "responsible for the local recession." If I started reading, it just seems like I am putting that out of the way of the --

Mr B. Ward: Perhaps we should move that to right after "Causes of the recession," move that paragraph or word it in such a way that that has more importance, so that "The onset of the American recession" kind of comes in after our recession.

Mr Elston: Maybe if that was their first paragraph and then you went on to say other factors have come together, maybe that is the way we could clear up any misunderstandings.

The Chair: Does anybody have any other comments about moving that, pro or con?

I think that might be the solution there, to take out the second paragraph on page 4 and merge part of the idea from that with the last paragraph on page S the second paragraph.

Ms M. Ward: Actually the idea that is in paragraph 2 is basically in that last paragraph on page 5, is it not?

The Chair: We could even leave paragraph 2 out completely, I think.

Mrs Sullivan: Done.

The Chair: Why do we not take that second paragraph out? The second paragraph is basically removed.

Mrs Sullivan: Done.

Mr B. Ward: Wait a minute. It could be merged with the last paragraph on the page.

The Chair: Quite frankly, I would like to see it gone completely.

Mr B. Ward: Is there consensus that we want to focus primarily on what caused our recession in Ontario and Canada and the primary cause is that it is a made-in-Canada recession?

Mr Elston: I just suggested that perhaps we could start off by saying, "While numerous factors have converged," then repeat that whole sentence and then say "circumstances peculiar to Ontario." If we bring the two of those as one sentence together with that first paragraph on page 5, we have got it all there.

Mr B. Ward: While they are doing that, perhaps they could look at -- if you look at that very first paragraph on page 5, when you read it, it does not flow very naturally, so they may want to punch it up or adjust it so that it flows a bit more evenly.

Mrs Sullivan: Leave it all to drafters.

The Chair: Are there any other changes on page 5? I saw somebody flip a page. Does that mean we are on page 6?

Mrs Sullivan: I do not know if people want to talk about the first paragraph, but the second paragraph -- I raised that question as a result of a Globe article but I have since looked at the piece from Statistics Canada and in fact it does not do what the Globe said it did, so that sentence should probably come out.

The Chair: Okay.

Mr B. Ward: Which one is it?

The Chair: "Some observers, such as" --

Mrs Sullivan: "Some observers." That was an add and in fact the material does not reach that conclusion when you see it in the original.

Mr Christopherson: Did the researchers have a chance to look at it?

Mrs Sullivan: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: And you concur with that and you put this in anyway, or do agree that what you said is correct?

Mrs Sullivan: I said it. That was my ad.

The Chair: That was the add that we included yesterday.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, I realize that, but the researchers have said they have looked at the piece also. I am just asking which is it, that they agree with Mrs Sullivan that the piece did not say that or that they agree with what they put in, that it did say that.

The Chair: We told them to put it in. They do not have --

Mr B. Ward: Whether they agree with it or not.

The Chair: It is for us to put in or take out.

Mr Christopherson: I do not have the luxury of having seen it, so it is difficult for me to say. I would just like an objective --

Mr Rampersad: The article in the Globe and Mail came to the conclusion that the outlook was grim. The information that was put out by Statistics Canada listed figures for November. It did not actually give a commentary as such to say that the outlook is grim. This was the conclusion of the newspaper in question.

Mr Christopherson: But is it a legitimate conclusion?

Mr Rampersad: It is a legitimate conclusion, I suppose, if you look at the whole range of figures. We were only looking at one month's figures in this case.

The Chair: I read that article and I thought that somebody had taken a tad too much licence with the numbers to be repeated here. Remember, the repetition here gives it almost, for some people, the word of gospel.

Mr Elston: So it is safer to take it out.

The Chair: Take it out. Oops, I am not supposed to make comments like that.


Mr Elston: Actually, I do have a comment on the first sentence on page 6 as well: "uncertainty in Canada cannot fail to." I am not so keen on the negative sense of that. I do not know how to state it better. I would have said it yesterday if I could have, but I am not any more pleased with it today than I was yesterday.

The Chair: How about "might have"? We know that it is, but "might have" is a little mellower language.

Mr Elston: "Cannot fail" is fairly definite language.

Mr Rampersad: If you say, "In the long term, it is possible that constitutional uncertainty in Canada might have an adverse effect," you are hedging your bets twice.

Mr Elston: So you just say, "In the long term, constitutional uncertainty in Canada might have," what you suggest.

Mr Rampersad: If you add the phrase, "it is possible," you are just double-hedging your bets.

Mrs Sullivan: Is that not what we were all told in school, "Write tight"?


Mr Christopherson: I was not even here, neither were any of my colleagues. Shall we go down that road? I think we can live with either the changes proposed by Mr Elston in the first paragraph, or withdrawing either one. Mr Chair, we are comfortable with whatever you would like.

The Chair: Do we leave it in or take it out?

Mrs Sullivan: Leave it in.

The Chair: Then we will leave it in with the phraseology that -- now the clerk is getting in on this. He said, "In the long term, constitutional uncertainty is unquantifiable."

Mr Christopherson: If it pays more over there, Todd, you should think about transferring. There is a future there for you.

The Chair: Are we happy with page 6, or where are we going?

Mr Christopherson: One thing that was brought forward by one of our caucus was, in the second-to-last paragraph, second-to-last line, the word "Canadian." In that context, should that be "Ontario"?

The Chair: Okay, the first line is "Ontario."

Mr B. Ward: Everything else is "Ontario," and all of a sudden we have "Canada."

The Chair: So "may boost output in demand in the Ontario economy"? If Ontario starts to boom again, then presumably all of Canada will. Shall we replace it with "Ontario"? Is there any problem?

Mr Christopherson: It was our suggestion that if you read it, the word really should be "Ontario," unless there is a point we are missing.

Mrs Sullivan: Leave out the modifier.

The Chair: It can just be "boost output in demand in the economy in 1992."

Mr Christopherson: You folks are really good at that.

The Chair: Okay, page 6, are we all done?

Mr Christopherson: We are, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Mr Stockwell, Mr Owens, are we okay? Shall we move to page 7? Are we happy with that?

Ms M. Ward: I had a question about that chart.

The Chair: The chart on the back of page 7.

Ms M. Ward: It says "% change unless otherwise stated" but is that true? Basically what I am saying is under "Real growth" those look like actual percentages, and the same under "Unemployment rate." That is not change in unemployment rate, is it?

The Chair: No, those look like absolute employment rates.

Ms M. Ward: Yes, that is what I thought. So I just wondered if that heading up there was true.

Mr Rampersad: We will check that.

The Chair: "Real growth" is percentage change; "CPI" looks like it should be percentage change; "Unemployment rate" looks like it is absolute; "Employment" looks like a change and "Retail sales" looks like a change. The rest are absolutes.

The Chair: "Partnerships," page 8.

Mr Christopherson: Mr Chair, could I ask, in terms of timing, what we are looking at today? The usual hours for the committee were set to be 10 to 12, 2 to 4. We extended it to make time for submissions so that nobody got left off. Our caucus has a fair bit of work ahead of us still to give you what we committed to tomorrow, which is our last day.

However, I do not want to leave the impression that we are trying to cut short committee time or the opposition's opportunity to raise or discuss anything. I put that forward, Mr Chair, only to suggest that the more time we have today to caucus, the more finalized work we can present to you tomorrow, recognizing that we also have a caucus meeting scheduled for noon tomorrow, so we are utilizing every minute that we can.

Mr Elston: We can take another look at the draft here ourselves and we can go and talk about that and you can deal with your material and we can be prepared perhaps to have some specific suggestions, if we have any, that you could entertain.

Mr Christopherson: We have completed the work on this. There are a couple of things, but very minor. Basically, we are okay with what is here, with a few exceptions.

Mr Elston: You can go away and do your recommendations and then bring them back. We can go away with the remaining pages.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, and tomorrow what we will do is we will present to you in the morning the balance of our recommendations.

The Chair: Before we go, the writing team would like to have some indication as to what they should do with the recommendations that have already been discussed. I realize there are some with questions. Does the committee want the writing team to go back with the first draft and include the recommendations that have been done and bring back something tomorrow, including those to be looked at?

Mr B. Ward: Including ones that we have consensus on?

Mr Elston: I think that is almost necessary, if you are going to get into things --

The Chair: I think they should include the ones that we do not have consensus on and that we will see it within the context of the document and consensus can be arrived at tomorrow. Recognizing that this document is incomplete and that nobody has really given the final word on it, I would like to give them instructions to include what is here that is removing only what has been concretely remove. Is that okay?

Mr B. Ward: Just to clarify, what are they taking out of the recommendations? The ones that we have reached consensus on and putting in the outstanding items? What are you giving them direction to do?

Ms Anderson: I would say putting in almost all the ones that are on your list here, because I am not sure how many of them have actually reached agreement.

Mr B. Ward: Okay, so put all the recommendations in?

Ms Anderson: Then they can be removed tomorrow when we will change as necessary, but at least the draft will be in then.

Mr Rampersad: It is also useful for the typing staff to have this in in batches. Otherwise they will end up with vast amounts to be done.

The Chair: Also, the last draft is easier to produce than the first one because you push the button and print. Do I have a motion to adjourn and to reconvene at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning?

Mr Christopherson: So moved.

The committee adjourned at 1609.