Thursday 16 January 1992

Rent Control Act 1991, Bill 121 / Loi de 1991 sur le contrôle des loyers, projet de loi 121


Chair / Président(e): Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président(e): McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)

Abel, Donald (Wentworth North/-Nord ND)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Marchese, Rosario (Fort York ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Turnbull, David (York Mills PC)

Winninger, David (London South/-Sud NDP)

Substitution(s) / Membre(s) remplaçant(s):

Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L) for Mr McClelland

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND) for Mr Winninger

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre/-Centre ND) for Mr Bisson

Ward, Brad (Brantford ND) for Mr Marchese

Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L) for Mrs Y. O'Neill

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes: White, Drummond (Durham Centre/-Centre ND)

Clerk / Greffier: Deller, Deborah

Staff / Personnel: Baldwin, Elizabeth, Legislative Counsel

The committee met at 1021 in room room 151.


Resuming consideration of Bill 121, An Act to revise the Law related to Residential Rent Regulation / Projet de loi 121, Loi révisant les lois relatives à la réglementation des loyers d'habitation.

The Chair: The standing committee on general government will come to order. The business of the committee is to continue the clause-by-clause consideration of section 14.1, a Conservative motion. Mr Turnbull had the floor when we adjourned yesterday at 5 pm.

Mr Turnbull: It is quite obvious that the government does not want to listen to any of the discussion we have. There has not been a single item that they have accepted from us. There have been constant interjections. Therefore, I have no intention of continuing with this line of questioning.

The Chair: Further questions or comments on section 14.1?

Mr Ruprecht: I must have missed something.

Mr B. Ward: Welcome to the committee, Tony.

Mr Ruprecht: But this is a very exciting committee.

The Chair: Welcome, Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Owens: In terms of some of the questions that were asked by Mr Turnbull and his colleague yesterday with respect to the numbers of bankruptcies that landlords have suffered, I just wonder if while the parliamentary assistant and the staff are doing the research, they could also take a look at the number of economic evictions that have taken place over the same time periods and perhaps take a look at the case load of the community legal clinics across the province to find out about economic evictions. I do not think it is a one-part question. I do not think you can ask the first question, about landlord bankruptcies, without following that logic through and also asking about the tenants.

The Chair: Further questions or comments to section 14.1? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee that Mrs Marland's motion to add section 14.1 carry? All those in favour? All those opposed?

As we have a tie vote, the Chairman must cast the deciding vote. I am told precedent says the Chairman cannot kill debate on the issue and must keep the issue alive. Therefore, the Chairman should vote, according to convention, in favour of the amendment.

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Shall section 14, in its entirety, as amended, carry?

Section 14, as amended, agreed to.

Section 17:

The Chair: So that committee members understand the process, we will be dealing with sections 17 and 18 and then reverting to subsection 13(3), which was stood down. Do I have questions or comments on subsection 17(1)?

Ms Harrington: Subsection 15(1) provides for a landlord to base an above-guideline increase application on capital expenditures incurred to a rental unit if there is tenant consent. Tenant consent must occur, on a form to be prescribed, and the tenant must have first been informed in writing of the particulars of the capital expenditure. Note, a technical amendment has been made to subsection 17(1) to replace the words "carried out" with the words "incurred" to provide consistency with subsection 15(1). This amendment clarifies that before any type of capital expenditure is passed through into a rent increase it must have been incurred. This will prevent projected capital expenditures from being passed through.

Ms Poole: It has always been the intent of either this legislation or the previous legislation under the Liberal government that capital expenditures should actually be made, else they should not be claimed and there should be no cost pass-through. Since this is merely a technical amendment clarifying the wording, the Liberal caucus will be supporting both the intent and the wording of this amendment.

The Chair: Excuse me, is 17(1) an amendment? Oh, the wording change is the amendment.

Ms Harrington: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you. Further questions, comments to 17(1)? If not, is it the pleasure of the committee that subsection 17(1) carry? Carried.

Mrs Marland: You only took the vote. You said, "Is 17(1) carried?"

The Chair: Shall 17(1) carry? I did not hear "no." I asked if there would be further questions or comments.

Mrs Marland: No, I do not have any other questions, but I wanted to register my vote against it.

The Chair: But I did not hear a "no." If you wish a recorded vote, you have to indicate to the Chair.

Clerk of the Committee: That is just his first question, "Shall it carry?"

Mrs Marland: You have just said, "Shall it carry?"

The Chair: And it has carried because no one said "no."

Mrs Marland: I am saying "no," Mr Chairman.

Mr Morrow: In light of that, can we have 20 minutes?

The Chair: We have had a request for 20 minutes. The committee will reconvene at 10 to 11.

The committee recessed at 1030.


The Chair: The committee will reconvene. The question before the committee is, all in favour of subsection 17(1) as printed will so signify. Opposed? Carried.

Ms Harrington: Subsections 17(2) and 17(3) set out the treatment for capital expenditures that were subject to an advance determination order to which tenants consented at that time. If the capital expenditure is substantially the same, any cost variances shall be considered by the rent officer. A previous tenant's consent to an advance determination application is sufficient if there is a change in tenancy; that is, consent from the new tenant is not required.

Note that there is a technical amendment which has been made to subsection 17(3) to substitute for the phrase "the tenant is not required to consent to the application under this section" the phrase "consent of the tenant to the application under this section is not required." This is to make it clear that consent by the tenant in an advance determination constitutes consent for the purposes of the following application for the rent increase. Some had read it as meaning that the tenant's consent is not required to be given at all in these circumstances.

Ms Poole: I just want to ask a question of clarification. My understanding of what this amendment would do would be that if there is an application for an advance determination and a tenant consents to it and at some later point in time a new tenant comes in, the new tenant is not also required to consent. It is basically a technical amendment to ensure that the first tenant is required to consent but any subsequent tenants are not required to.

Ms Harrington: Yes, I believe you are right. Any further clarification?

Ms Parrish: I would just say that this is in subsection 17(3); it is not in subsection 17(2).

Ms Poole: Another point of clarification: The amendment I have before me is only to subsection 17(3). Is there another government amendment which is for both 17(2) and 17(3), or are you incorporating the 17(2) that is already printed in the act with the 17(3) that was submitted later?

Ms Harrington: The amendment is to 17(3).

Ms Poole: Thank you. That agrees with what I have in my -- I am sorry. You are only dealing with 17(2) right now.

Ms Harrington: I wanted to sort of do the two together. That is the way I have it.

Ms Poole: I am sorry, Mr Chair. I thought we were dealing with 17(2) and 17(3) together.

The Chair: We can do that if I have unanimous consent of the committee to deal with subsections 17(2) and 17(3) together, but I cannot do it unless I have the consent of the committee to do that. Do we have unanimous consent to do that? I do. That is fine. Further questions or comments?

Mr Turnbull: To the extent that it clarifies for the tenants a clause in this bill, we are very much in favour of it.

The Chair: Further questions, comments or amendments? Shall subsections 17(2) and 17(3) carry? Carried. Section 18.

Ms Poole: As a point of clarification: In my binder of amendments, I have a Conservative amendment for 17.1, which is a new section.

The Chair: A new section?

Ms Poole: Yes, section 17.1.

The Chair: Oh, section 17.1. Fine; I did not notice it. That is helpful.

Mr Turnbull moves that the bill be amended by adding the following section:

"17.1(1) The landlord may base an application on a specified capital expenditure that the landlord has carried out to the residential complex if at least 75% of the tenants of the residential complex who would be affected by the application consent in the prescribed form to the application in respect of this ground after being informed in writing by the landlord of the particulars applied for."

"(2) If there is an advance determination under section 29 respecting a capital expenditure to which this section applies and the work done or thing purchased is substantially the same as that anticipated in the advance determination, the rent officer shall consider any difference between the actual amount expended and the amount approved in the advance determination according to the prescribed rules.

"(3) If there is a finding in the advance determination that 75% of the tenants of the residential complex who would be affected by the application consented to the application for the advance determination, the consent of tenants is not required under this section even if some or all of the tenants have changed since the time of the advance determination."

Mr Turnbull: This essentially is a democracy clause that will allow tenants to approve major capital expenditures to the complex if 75% of the tenants approve and wish this.

Ms Poole: This amendment gets to the heart of the issue of tenant consent. Tenant consent is something I am very much in favour of in situations that are not as clear-cut as perhaps others. For instance, in this legislation there is a list of types of capital expenditures, types of major repairs that can be done and where the landlord can apply and get relief from rent review. However, there are other things that are not on that list; for instance, new fridges and stoves. This is a classic example where this was considered to be a capital expenditure under the previous legislation. However, if a landlord wanted to put in new fridges and stoves, this would not be considered to be a necessary capital expenditure under Bill 121 and the landlord could not go to rent review and get an allowance for it.

In many cases -- not in all but, I am certain, but in a substantial number of cases -- a landlord might say: "This is a very major expenditure for me. If I can't get revenues back in the form of a rent increase to compensate, then I'm not going to put in those new fridges and stoves." In that situation, the only way a tenant could get a new fridge and stove is if he went out and purchased them himself, which I do not think is the intent we want.

What the Conservative amendment would do in situations like this is allow for consent to be obtained from 75% of the tenants in the building, which is, as you can see, a substantial majority. If 75% of tenants agreed to it, then the landlord could put it through as a capital expenditure. Of course it would be subject to the same cap of 3% per year maximum as any other capital expenditure. In fact, in many cases for fridges and stoves it certainly would not be a 3% increase.

I think this is very worthy of looking at. I know some tenant representatives in the past have expressed concern about tenant consent because they were quite concerned about coercion. They were quite concerned that tenants might feel they were being intimidated or forced to agree to something they did not want. My experience with tenants is that some may well be in danger of intimidation. We have to ensure those tenants are protected, but more and more the majority of tenants now know their rights. They know that if a landlord tries to coerce them or intimidate them, that is not acceptable. Tenants have the protection of law.


I do not have the section right before me at the moment but later on in the legislation the Liberal Party has tabled an amendment which says that if a landlord uses coercion, intimidation or any type of force against a tenant, the landlord's application would be considered null and void. To me, that is a protection that would ensure that tenants are not subject to any type of intimidation, and at the same time allow tenants what they want in their particular building.

I guess it comes down to a matter of choice. I believe that if a large majority -- and I think we all agree 75% is a fairly significant majority -- of tenants want something in a building and the landlord is unable or unwilling to provide it unless there can be a rent increase, then surely the tenants should have that free choice. I think that is part of the democratic system.

What we must do is put in a provision to ensure that if they do make a choice, it is a free choice, so the Liberal Party will be supporting this particular amendment by the Conservatives. I hope the government will take a look at that and decide that tenants should be allowed free choice in what they have in their buildings.

Ms Harrington: I would like to respond.

The Chair: You may respond, if you wish, or we can go to Mrs Marland.

Ms Harrington: I think I do have to respond in this case, because what you have just been talking about is in fact what we have already passed in subsection 17(1). There is consent -- we have just agreed -- that if the tenants want new fridges or stoves, anything in their units, with consent, with the guideline plus the cap, that can be passed through. Now, the effect of the Progressive Conservative motion would be that this same consent would apply to the common areas.

Ms Poole: Yes. I stand corrected by the parliamentary assistant, because I used a poor example. What the government has proposed in this legislation is that if there is en suite work, work within the unit, the tenant can reach an agreement with the landlord.

Perhaps a better example might be a laundry room. There are buildings that do not have a laundry room and tenants do not have access to washers and dryers. The tenants have to go out to a laundromat. This is a common area. It is not en suite. In that particular instance, if the tenants wanted the washers and dryers and the laundry room put in and the landlord was willing to provide it, but only if he or she had a rent increase to cover the cost of it, then under this legislation the tenants would have no right to have the landlord put it in.

I apologize for giving an example that was not appropriate. The parliamentary assistant is quite right in that regard, but there are other examples in a building that might affect the common area.

Another example of a common area item might be that some apartment buildings do not have a place where people can sit down and wait for friends to come by. I know I have one building in my riding that has a high percentage of seniors and there is not really an adequate area for them to sit down and, as I say, wait for taxis and that type of thing. If a large proportion of tenants in the building wanted this type of little waiting-type room created in the lobby, again, they have no mechanism by which to encourage the landlord to do it, because if the landlord does not want to do it the landlord does not have to.

Something like a laundry room may be deemed slightly more necessary than something like a waiting room in a lobby, but there are two examples of situations where there is tenant consent. The basic principle stays the same. If a large majority of tenants want something, who are we to say they should not have a mechanism to get what they want in their buildings?

Mrs Marland: I am quite optimistic about the government members finally supporting one of the amendments of the two opposition parties.

Mr Mammoliti: We supported the last one.

Mrs Marland: I know there is one election promise the government members would not want to go back on and that is their commitment to and belief in democracy and fairness. If it really and truly believes in democracy, I think an amendment dealing with a 75% vote is something that will be quite acceptable to this government. This is the government which believes a 50% vote is enough to unionize a workplace. I am quite sure that if they are in favour of a 50% vote to unionize a workplace, they must be in favour of a 75% vote for the rights of tenants.

If we are dealing with the principle of 75% of tenants having the right to make a determination about their living environment, I think you would be hard pressed, if you were a government member of this committee, not to support this amendment. I do not think you can go through your ideology and philosophy the way you might go through a strawberry patch, picking out which ripe or unripe strawberries you wish to select for your basket.

That is not how it is in the real world. The real world is that if you are going to have any integrity on any amendment in this legislation, if you are going to have any personal integrity when you look in the mirror in the morning, you are going to have to vote the way you profess to be. If you believe on the one hand that a democratic vote is 50% on one subject, I do not know how you could vote against this amendment which deals with a democratic right by a vote of 75% of tenants in any given apartment building, town house complex or whatever the rental accommodation is.

The interesting thing about this motion of our PC caucus in the interest of tenants is that we are not asking for a simple majority. We have gone as high as 75%. When you know that there are many tenants who have wanted to do a number of things in their apartment buildings and there have been any number of improvements to their living environment in the ways that some of my other opposition colleagues have already addressed, whether it is furnishings or wall finishings, enhancements of any kind at all, maybe even just some major repairs that have not been eligible under other rent controls, these tenants, who are paying rent, should have some rights.

If the government is not willing to accept this amendment and does indeed vote against it, then it is voting against the right to this opportunity of 75% of the tenants in this province, because if 75% of the tenants in any given situation would like the opportunity this amendment provides for them and this government chooses not to even give them that opportunity, then obviously that will be the last we will have to listen to its diatribe and rhetoric about how much it cares about tenants. We will know in a few moments whether the government is committed to the wellbeing of tenants in this province.

We might as well realize that what is happening with section 17.1 is because of the other restrictions in the bill, which are going to be far more limiting on the maintenance and standards in rental accommodation, because of the punitive financial factors in Bill 121, than they have ever been before. We know that for people who choose to live in rental accommodation and people who have no other opportunity but to live in rental accommodation, because they are not able to afford the very steep step to get out of rental accommodation into home ownership, their living environments are going to be far different than they are today in Ontario; very sadly so, I might add.


I am quite optimistic that we will see the government members in this vote prove that they not only believe in the rights of workers with a 50% vote in favour of unionizing their workplace, but that they also believe in the rights of tenants, who may or may not belong to unions. So I am looking forward to this vote, Mr Chairman. When the time comes that you are through your speakers' list, I would of course request a recorded vote, because I think to have on record a government member who would vote against 75% of the tenants in this province will be a marvellous tool to campaign on in the next election.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. Of course you will remind me once the question is put.

Mrs Marland: Yes.

The Chair: Mr Daigeler and then Mr Turnbull.

Mr Daigeler: If I understood right, parliamentary assistant, if you would pay attention for a second, your point was that the government accepts these provisions as long as they are renovations to the units but not to the common areas. Could you explain for me why you are making that distinction?

Ms Harrington: Yes. We feel that the changes, as Ms Poole has mentioned, whether it is to the lobbies or common areas, work against the affordability of that housing stock. We feel the money from the tenants should go into the structural maintenance of the building. If the tenants consent to above-guideline increases for their own units, that is certainly democracy. That is what the tenants would wish. But I think you can appreciate what would happen within a building if you needed 75% of the tenants to consent to something, the type of possible coercion that might go on to get 75% of all the tenants to agree to have, say, a change in their lobby. We want that housing stock to be structurally sound, we want it to be affordable and we want to maintain it.

Mr Daigeler: I heard the explanation, but frankly I do not find it convincing at all. I find it quite inconsistent. You are saying that it is democracy and is all great if the tenants agree there should be renovations to their own units, but that it is no longer democracy if they also agree there should be changes and renovations to the common areas.

I live in an apartment building here in Toronto and I would be glad if there were some changes to the common areas, because there are some renovations needed. For me, the common areas are very much part of an apartment building and part and parcel of the unit I occupy in the building I am in. I fail to see any kind of logic that would accept democracy for a person's specific apartment unit, but no longer democracy when it comes to the hallways and the lobbies and all those other parts that make the environment in which we are living.

Ms Harrington: I would just like to point out that what we are talking about here is above-guideline amounts paid by the tenant. The landlord would hopefully be using his within-guideline rents to maintain and to do necessary repairs, whether lobby or whatever. We do not believe the individual tenants should have pass-throughs above the guideline for those things that are not in their units. I will leave it at that.

Mr Daigeler: Again, I can accept that the landlord would be encouraged to use the within-guideline increases to make renovations, but that would apply to the whole complex and not just to the common areas. I think the point the Conservative motion is putting forward is that if the tenants are in agreement, not just the majority but a two-thirds majority, in favour of certain renovations, then those provisions should be acceptable to the government as well. You have accepted that principle for a tenant's unit but you have not accepted it for the common areas. That is what I do not understand. That is where the lack of consistency and logic comes in.

Ms Harrington: Maybe I could respond with one more example. If you have a building where wealthier tenants want these upgrades to their building and other tenants cannot afford it, and in effect you would have to have a vote and see if you had 75%, those poorer tenants would be economically evicted from that building if the majority won and the above-guideline increases were passed along to everyone in the building. I think that is a fair scenario.

Mr Turnbull: As you saw, Mr Chairman, we called this a democracy clause. Democracy: What a hell of a concept. If 75% of the tenants -- I am not talking about 75% of the people who turn out to vote, but 75% of the tenants in a complex -- vote for something, the idea that you are going to get coercion with that is ludicrous.

The government, I may say, was elected by 23% of the eligible voters in the last election. If we do not call what all the rest of the citizens of Ontario are going through at the moment, with the horrible legislation, coercion, I do not know what it is. We have a government bringing in labour legislation where it wants to have 50% plus one and it says there is no coercion in that to unionize a company, yet we are suggesting that somehow the government knows best and there will be coercion with 75% of the actual units, not 75% of the people who come out to vote. I think this is paternalistic in the extreme.

In my riding I have some excellent tenant groups that work very hard to protect the tenants. They vigorously put forward their position. I am not going to suggest all areas have such good tenant groups as my area. They are very articulate and very thoughtful about what they do. I recognize you have to have a high number, otherwise there would be the potential for coercion, but at 75% it is absolutely stretching credulity to the thinnest web I can imagine to suggest you are going to get a landlord coercing 75% of the people. This undermines the whole concept of democracy.

If the government is not prepared with section 17.1 to accept that people can openly expect to have a landlord, in free consultation with them, agree to doing repairs or upgrades that they wish -- it has nothing to do with the government; the government should not be meddling in this. This is a government that is spending $1,500 per month in subsidies to non-profit housing, and yet people who are paying less than that are not allowed to upgrade their own buildings when they desire, in consultation with their landlords. It is unfair to the tenants. It is unfair to everybody who lives in rental accommodation that the government says it knows best. You should absolutely be ashamed of yourselves.

How can you reconcile the number of votes you got in the last election and your ability to govern with the number of votes that would be required in this case? It does not hold any water. I certainly intend, if this is voted down, to make a major issue of this when it gets into the House.


Mr Ruprecht: I would be very concerned that if this amendment is not supported you would certainly add to the deterioration, in many cases, of the common areas. The reason I say this is because I had the great pleasure of going with the former Premier of Ontario to --

Mrs Marland: What was his name?

Mr Ruprecht: Mr David Peterson, the former Premier of Ontario, in case you have already forgotten. I think you should know we went on a mission to Italy and we visited a city called Catanzaro, which is down in Calabria.

Mr Mammoliti: That is my home town. Pretty much; very close.

Mr Ruprecht: It is a very nice city. It is on a hill and it has many apartment buildings. The mayor of a smaller town outside Catanzaro, Fosato Serallta, lives in one of the apartment buildings in Catanzaro. We visited him.


The Chair: Can we have some order? I am trying to hear.

Mr Ruprecht: I think we are just enjoying ourselves. This is okay. There is no problem here because it fits right in with what I am really talking about. I can understand that the members of the NDP would certainly be very interested in this because they too might visit Catanzaro and see the problems they might create. To you, Mr Mammoliti, I say that you should probably talk to the members and have them visit so we can come to the same conclusions.

When we went to Catanzaro I visited the apartment of the mayor who lived outside of Catanzaro. I was totally shocked when I arrived at this apartment complex. The common area looked almost like a slum. I thought, how can a mayor of a small town outside Catanzaro live in a place that looks almost like a slum? The reason was quite obvious. Inside his apartment, as in probably all other apartments, it was really beautiful. They were immaculate. This was the case in this apartment complex.

The reason I am mentioning this is very simple. Without the support of the members of the NDP here today, you will be adding to a situation that is not unlike the situation of the mayor who lives in Catanzaro, where the common areas are a shamble and the inside units are simply immaculate and beautiful. I will simply say that I hope the members will have a change of heart and think about the story of our Italian trip so that you will totally understand what you are adding to in the conditions in the city of Toronto, and other places, I might add.

Mr Owens: That was a rather enlightening story. I would, however, like to draw our attention back a little bit closer to home, perhaps to some of the buildings that exist in Mr Ruprecht's riding where there are issues that go far beyond the condition of the common areas. While it is not appropriate to ask Mr Ruprecht questions, I would ask rhetorically, through the Chair, if the member thinks that even having 75% of the vote would get these common areas and the more pressing problems within these units fixed.

The members of the third party seem to think this amendment is the greatest thing since sliced bread in terms of tenant democracy, but they seem to neglect to mention, or perhaps think about, a couple of issues. The first issue that comes to mind is what happens to the people, the 25% or whatever number, who would vote against a repair -- a marble wall being put in the lobby or whatever -- because they cannot afford the increase. What happens to those people if that vote is carried? Are they forced to look for new, cheaper accommodation? I think the members of the third party have told us that these are also in short supply, so what do we do with these people?

I raised the issue around economic evictions at the beginning of the day, and while you could not trace this as an economic eviction, people would have to leave buildings simply because they would not be able to afford to pay the rent. The question is, where do these people go? I think that if the members of the third party were interested in introducing true tenant democracy in this province, they would perhaps take a look at supporting our minister and the co-op programs we are putting into place across this province, where there is true tenant democracy and tenants decide on their housing charges and participate in the maintenance, and their units are not left at the whim of a landlord.

It is unfortunate that the member for York Mills is not here at this point. I cannot understand in my mind, as a member for almost two years now and as a person who was involved in the community prior to my election, that he does not believe coercion would ever take place. I find that simply hard to imagine based on the complaints that have come to my office about various property managers. We are in the process now of working with one particular set of buildings in my riding, preparing a human rights complaint, but of course harassment would never take place. How does one monitor the votes? How does one ensure that the votes were carried out fairly and that people were not coerced? Again, members of the third party and the official opposition rant and rave about the size of the bureaucracy, but it is an absolutely horrendous thought to try and figure out how one would monitor various buildings each time they took a vote to affect repairs.

In closing, as I said just a moment ago, if members of the third party are so concerned about tenant democracy and want to ensure that tenants have a full say in their units, then instead of criticizing the government on its housing programs around co-ops, they should get on the bus and support the programs, because that is where true tenant democracy comes in. There is no coercion, things are done in an orderly fashion, money is set aside for repairs, repairs are done and we do not have to worry about monitoring systems.

Mrs Marland: It is really educational to hear an NDP government member talk about coercion of tenants when we are talking about 75%. I wonder how he feels about coercion of workers when, as I said earlier, they want to unionize a workplace with 50% of the votes in favour of unionized workplaces. Anyway, I know they are experts in coercion. I do not think the members present are probably members of unions; I doubt whether they are actually.

Mr Owens: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Can I request that the member withdraw that remark. Assigning motives and accusing members of Parliament of coercion is completely inappropriate. If she has facts on this issue, I would ask her to present those facts at this point or withdraw the remark.


The Chair: I am sorry, Mr Owens. Unfortunately, I was speaking with the parliamentary assistant and did not hear Mrs Marland's comment, but I would caution all members to be careful not to impute motives to any members of the Legislature.

Mrs Marland: Unfortunately, they jumped at the bit before they heard my full sentence. When they reread it in Hansard, they will realize that I said something other than they immediately reacted to. I will be happy to respond if they are still concerned after they read Hansard, but I do not think there is anything there they would want me to withdraw.

I would like, however, to ask the parliamentary assistant to explain her answer about the fact that she would be willing to have this amendment apply to inside the individual units, if that is what she said. If I misunderstood, perhaps she can explain it to me. How would you apply a 75% vote of tenants to inside their units?

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland, we have dealt with subsection 17(1) in which, I believe, it clearly states that if a tenant consents to capital expenditures within his unit, he can have above-guideline increases to pay for that.

Mrs Marland: How democratic do you think that is when that tenant moves out and now we have a new established benchmark for the rent on that unit? Are you saying then, to follow your line of support, that an individual tenant can approve individual capital improvements to his unit and therefore agree with the landlord to pay a higher rent to compensate for that work? Is that what you are saying?

Ms Harrington: Yes, I believe that is what subsection 17(1) says, if it is a capital expenditure like a fridge or a stove. We also have a costs no longer borne provision, which is not this section, so that when that is paid for, the rent then would be reduced accordingly.

Mrs Marland: Right. Does your bill limit that eligibility for capital improvements within the unit to appliances or could it apply to a realignment of walls or something structural in the unit?

Ms Harrington: The section does not limit.

Mrs Marland: It does not have any limitations?

Ms Harrington: That is correct.

Mrs Marland: So what you are saying is that if the tenant requests that work, agrees to pay the higher rent and then is transferred out of the area, requiring him to vacate the unit, then it is okay with you that the next tenant coming in pays a higher rent?

Ms Harrington: The tenant coming in would have the opportunity to find out what the rent is and make that decision before moving in as to whether he could afford it. I certainly appreciate the point you are making, that in this case where the tenant who agrees to this moves out, in this particular unit the rent does increase for a certain period of time. Yes, I think you cannot make everybody happy all the time. That is true.

Mrs Marland: Let's just deal with this, because you are saying that the rent increases for a certain period of time. Maybe we need to have Ms Parrish help us with this.

Ms Harrington: What is your question?

Mrs Marland: If the rent is increased because of a request for a capital improvement, are you saying that after the capital improvement is paid for, the rent is then decreased?

Ms Harrington: That is what I have said.

Mrs Marland: Is that so?

Ms Harrington: Would you like to comment?

Ms Parrish: Yes. That is what the costs no longer borne proposals say. I do not think you have actually voted on those provisions yet, but that is what they say.

Mrs Marland: I can understand, then, why it puts the rent structure in even greater jeopardy. You are agreeing not only to allow rent increases for eligible major capital improvements on a building to be applied through the costs no longer borne provision, you are now saying individuals can have improvements made to their individual units that can also set a new rent for that unit for a period of time, which I assume is three years. Is that right?

Ms Harrington: Is there a lid on it?

Ms Parrish: No.

Ms Harrington: No, there is not a lid. It is 3% above guideline. Mrs Marland, your position seems very inconsistent with what you and your colleague have just been espousing, that you would want this for the whole building, the common areas included, to be able to go up. Now you seem to be saying that you do not even want things within the unit to be --

Mrs Marland: Let's be very clear about this. I am not changing my position. I am trying to find the logic in your position. I am trying to understand the logic in your position. You are saying it is okay to do it unit by unit. I am trying to understand why it is okay to do it unit by unit through single units and yet it is not okay to support my amendment. I find this really interesting, because you are saying that if as an individual tenant I would like some capital improvements in my unit, I may apply for those as long as I am willing to pay for them.

I would like to know what the difference is if I am saying I would like some capital improvements outside my unit, but which are still part of my home, my living environment from the moment I step off the bus or out of my car and I am now on the property where I live, which is my home. I may like to have some well-kept lawns, some nicely landscaped gardens, and then when I get inside the building I may like some other things. What you are saying is: "No, you can't have those. That's not your right. It's not your right even if 75% of you want them. However, if you want to have improvements within your little individual unit, I can agree to that even though if you have to move now, the base rent set for that unit has now been escalated by the individual choice of one individual." I think this is absolutely unbelievable.

The rights of one that can affect one unit is okay for you and then the rent is then set. I am asking how long it is set for. I asked, "Is it two years or three years?" and you are saying there is no limit. So can I please have the answer?

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland, the answer is this: We believe the person can make the decision whether or not he himself wants to pay more, but cannot make the decision for others.

Mrs Marland: This is great. Okay, so now I have my unit and I am going to ask for some improvements. There is a contractual agreement between the landlord and me that I would like these improvements in my unit and I am willing to pay a higher rent for it. You are saying the contractual agreement is only between that current tenant and the landlord, so what happens when the tenant moves out? Is the landlord left with the bill and the rent reverts to a lower rent?

Ms Harrington: That was explained in the section we just voted on.


Mrs Marland: I am asking you to explain it to the people who are watching, who do not have the benefit of the section in front of you.

Ms Harrington: I did read it into the record about if the tenant moved out and a new tenant moved in.

Mrs Marland: Yes.

Ms Harrington: That is directly on the record.

Mrs Marland: Am I correct then that after a rent increase has been agreed to between the tenant and the landlord for a capital improvement within the unit, if that tenant moves out, the rent reverts back to the rate before the capital improvement?

Ms Harrington: No, Mrs Marland, it does not.

Mrs Marland: It does not. So I was right in the first place, which is that when the tenant --

Ms Harrington: I explained --

Mrs Marland: Well, tell me. They cannot both be right. When the tenant moves out, does the rent stay at the escalated cost?

Ms Harrington: I just said that, Mrs Marland.

Mrs Marland: All right. For how long can it stay at the escalated rate, until the capital improvement is paid for?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

Mrs Marland: How long may that be?

Ms Harrington: There are amortization tables that will be used, which have in fact been used for years. I think they will probably be updated as to the life of the improvement or the appliance or the windows, whatever it is.

Mrs Marland: Okay, I am right then that the new rent is set for ever or for -- I understand the tables to which you refer, but then how can you say it relates to the provision of the costs no longer borne? It does not if it is then part of the amortized rent over a period of time for the life of the improvement.

Ms Harrington: Once the time is up, with this legislation -- we have not passed that section yet -- the rent would decrease once the capital expenditure has been paid for. In the Residential Rent Regulation Act, that expenditure then would just continue and be added to the rent and increase every year with the percentage increase. We are saying that it is much fairer, once that cost has been paid for, to take it out of the base rent. That will be explained as we go through. We have a lot of other sections to deal with, but it does not directly apply at this --

Mrs Marland: In relation to the Conservative amendment that is on the floor now, it is very difficult to understand why the provision you have just described is fairer than this amendment, because you are allowing individual tenants to increase their rents, basically, are you not?

Ms Harrington: We are allowing individual tenants to agree to decide with their landlord if they would like improvements within their units, yes.

Mrs Marland: That is right. If you are interested in protecting the majority of tenants in this province -- would it be a fair assumption to say that the intention of your government is to protect the majority of tenants in this province?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

Mrs Marland: All right. If that is the case, then can you tell me how you would support a policy that allows the rich tenants to escalate the rents of individual units by their own individual choice?

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland, I think you are really trying to be a little obtuse here. Are you disagreeing with the intent of what we have just passed in subsection 17(1)? Is that what you are telling me? That is what I am hearing.

Mrs Marland: No, I am not being at all obtuse. I am simply saying that your government cannot on the one hand say that individual -- what you are saying I think is really ironic when you are trying to protect tenants. I would think, if you are trying to protect tenants, you are trying to protect present and future tenants. I think it is ironic that you are saying it is okay for individual tenants who can afford to pay higher rents on their individual units, based on their individual requests to their landlords to make changes to those individual units.

I find it really interesting because I am sure you also agree with the limitation where even if tenants want to make major -- obviously, because you are not going to support my amendment -- changes to their buildings, you think that is unjust, and yet you are giving individual tenants the right to increase the rent on their units. It is beyond me. If you get a whole lot of wealthy tenants who can afford major improvements and the improvements are made, then those rents are set for the life of whatever that improvement is, and in a blanket way you have agreed that on any number of units the rent may be increased to accommodate the wishes of the individual tenant.

On the one hand, you are saying you want to protect tenants and control rents. On the other hand, you are giving the individual rights for individual units' rents to be changed. We are very clear on that now and I thank you for the explanation. I think the public is going to be very interested, because what we are saying in this amendment is that if 75% of the tenants in a building are interested in improving their living environment, at least give them that opportunity.

What you are doing is saying that maybe if any percentage of the tenants in that building want to improve their own individual units and pay higher rents, they can, but there is no binding contract that they have to stay there for the life of the improvement. If you were to say to a tenant, "We think it's all right for that rent to be increased so much per month if you are going to be here four or five years," or whatever the life of the improvement is -- but you are not saying that. You are saying, "You can ask for what you like; if you can afford it and you can pay for it, you will get it," and the poor soul who, because there is no other rental accommodation, has to move into that higher rent unit after they move out is out of luck.

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland has been saying what we think tenants should pay for, but what the PC motion says is that the tenants can put up rents for other tenants, and that is what we do not agree with. The cap on this, as you know, Mrs Marland, is 3%, so there is control in the amount the rents would go up.

Mrs Marland: Well, excuse me. You are saying as well that they can put the rent up for other tenants, because as soon as they move out of that unit with an inflated rent, that is where the rent is. It is already up for the next tenant, so I am sorry --

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland does not agree that tenants should have that individual right. That is what she is saying.

Mrs Marland: What you are saying, Madam Parliamentary Assistant, is --

Ms Harrington: I know what I'm saying.

Mrs Marland: -- that individual tenants can set their rents and it does not matter whether those rents then become prohibitive and make more units inaccessible, because of their increased rents, to people who do not have the money to afford them. Obviously, when they ask for an increased rent because they can afford it and they want to improve their unit, that is where it is for the next tenant. So you have already established a higher rent and affected the market of affordable housing in this province by doing it. That is very interesting.

The Chair: If the committee will just allow me to ask a question of clarification relating to both subsection 17(1) and this proposal, section 17.1, am I to understand that both the 3% cap and the carry-forward of three years applies to this? I just want to understand.

Ms Parrish: The 3% cap applies, whether it is necessary capital without tenant consent or en suite capital. It always applies, and there is always a three-year period to pay for it: the first year plus two years carry-forward.


Mrs Marland: If there are three years to pay for it, are you saying the rent increase only applies for those three years?

Ms Parrish: No.

Mrs Marland: So why do you not protect the tenants from the increased rent after the item is paid for?

Ms Parrish: We do, once it is completely paid for. What happens is that when the amortized period runs out and the item is completely paid for, the capital allowance is taken out of the base rent. The three-year period allows the landlord to bring in costs over a longer period so that they gradually bring in to the full amount, but they may have 10 years to actually pay for this thing. In the case of an appliance, it might take 10 years to pay for it.

Mrs Marland: The rent is escalated for 10 years.

Ms Parrish: It is not escalated. At the end of the three-year period, it is fixed. In theory, they could get as much as 9%. They just get it over a longer period, above guideline. At that time, the rent is fixed, and then at the end of the period of time when the item is paid for, it is withdrawn from the base rent, because tenants should not be expected to pay for an item that is already paid for.

Mrs Marland: When I said if it is escalated -- maybe "escalate" is the wrong word. Is it increased at the beginning of the three years and decreased at the end of the life of the full payment? I am asking Ms Parrish.

Ms Parrish: I am afraid I have to defer to the Chair as to whether he will allow me to answer your question.

The Chair: I will permit the answer, but I have a supplementary to my own question.

Mrs Marland: I am sorry.

Ms Parrish: I apologize. The way it works is, suppose the landlord and the tenant have agreed they wish to have a new refrigerator. The cost of a new refrigerator -- let's just make it simple. We will say it is a $1,000 refrigerator and we say that after 10 years refrigerators die, so we say it has a 10-year amortization period. We then calculate the rent and we say that the tenant will pay off the full cost of this refrigerator over 10 years, and it is amortized just the way you do your mortgage.

What happens is you do this calculation. Like most lawyers, I am a lawyer because I am poor at math, so I do not know how that would work out, but let's just pretend it is $72 a month or something to pay for this refrigerator and that happens to be within the 3% cap. The tenant pays the $72 a month for 10 years and at the end of this 10-year period he has paid off the amortized cost of the refrigerator and the rent is reduced by $72.

That system would be the same whether it was a consent item, a refrigerator, or whether the tenant was paying for the underground parking garage or the elevator repair. It is the same system.

Mrs Marland: What is so interesting is that if the life of the refrigerator is 10 years and for 10 years they have paid an increased rent, at the end of 10 years they are still going to need another new refrigerator. This is absurd.

The Chair: We are going to discuss the costs no longer borne provisions later.

If, for example, as a tenant I worked out a deal with my landlord for increased rent for whatever and the agreement was the 3% would be passed on for three years, and then in the second year the landlord did capital repairs that were eligible for the 3% increase, or in fact there was an extraordinary 3% operating cost increase, how does that work?

Ms Parrish: The landlord would be unable to apply if he had taken the full amount of the increase. If he had taken the full 3%, then he would have used up, essentially, his ceiling and he would not be able to apply for another increase, so obviously tenants and landlords would have to think about whether they wanted this particular en suite repair. Bear in mind that landlords do not have to agree to this. This is consent on both sides. The landlord and tenant have to agree that they want to make an expenditure and the landlord has to decide, based on his or her long-term capital plan for the building, what he or she wishes to do.

Mr Mammoliti: The argument that Mrs Marland brings up in reference to tenants having 75%, in reality looks good and I am not going to say it does not. I am one for democracy, no question about it, obviously. But what Mrs Marland seems to forget is that it would not work. We touched a little bit on coercion. My colleague touched on coercion somewhat earlier. She talks a little bit about unions and how if we believe in unions, then we would believe in this sort of approach. Hearing that from somebody who knows pretty much squat about unions, I feel compelled to let her know why it would not work.

With a union, yes, there is the ability to vote and there is the democracy, but there is also a lot of frustration. There are a lot of individuals who need to know more about legislation and need to know that if it were not for some legislation, their votes would be more effective. I guess what I am saying here is that legislation should be implemented, education should be implemented and it should take its course, because with legislation comes education.

I am going to relate this to her argument by saying that with legislation and with our legislation, then comes education. I think it is the obligation of every one of us in this House to go back after the legislation is put through and let the tenants know their rights, let them know what the law says, and then maybe one day down the road some time we could implement something like the tenants voting on such a thing.

If this does not happen and if the course does not take its route, the coercion takes place. The landlord is then able to coerce the tenants. The landlord is able to because the tenants are not that educated in their rights. I see that every day in my riding. Tenants are not that educated when we talk about the legislation and when we talk about their rights. It is our obligation as members to do that. So I am not saying I disagree with the Conservative member on the idea. What I am saying is it is too early. We have to do our jobs first as members, educate the tenants first and let them know of their rights so they do not get coerced, and then do it.

There is a prime example in my riding. As you know, I love to give examples. The Sorbara buildings keep popping up in my riding, just a prime example of tenants who do not know their rights, who do not know their obligations and their rights as tenants. It is happening consistently, phone calls from that particular building saying: "What am I to do, Mr Mammoliti? The landlord is not telling me the truth."

Mr Chair, I see it is 12 o'clock. I would like to continue. There are only a couple of more minutes, I think, in what I would like to say. If you want me to continue, I will do that now.

The Chair: I think perhaps we could pick this up at 2 o'clock.

Mr Mammoliti: I was on a roll here, Mr Chair, but that is okay.

The Chair: I am sure you will pick right up.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, just before we adjourn, could you confirm how many voting members we have of the New Democratic socialist government? We have seven government members sitting here.

Mr Abel: Six voting members.

Mrs Marland: Thank you.

The Chair: The committee is adjourned.

The committee recessed at 1200.


The committee resumed at 1410.

The Chair: The standing committee on general government will come to order. At the completion of this morning's deliberations, Mr Mammoliti was speaking to section 17.1.

Mr Mammoliti: As you recall, Mr Chair, I spoke a little bit about some of the comments Mrs Marland made in reference to unions and tenants and how she feels it is related to section 17.1. I explained how essential it would be for us to educate the tenants and make sure they know their rights and what the legislation means, and to have appropriate legislation. For the first time, I believe, we are on the right track in terms of appropriate legislation for both landlords and tenants.

The past couple of hours have been pretty frustrating for me. I got a call from one of the tenants in my riding. I brought up this example a couple of days ago in reference to a building at Weston Road and Finch Avenue that has been neglected. Ironic as it may seem, a roof collapsed recently in the lobby. A pipe had burst. That happens in a lot of buildings, but the point in this particular case is that the landlord had gone and made the emergency repairs and left the lobby in a shambles. It has been like that for approximately 24 hours. It is unsafe from what I can gather. I have not had a chance to go there and actually visit the site, but my assistant has and she informs me she is a little concerned about it. As well, we had a major snowfall recently and the snowfall was quite heavy. Somebody slipped there yesterday and fell and was actually hurt because the snow had not been removed.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, you could relate this to section 17.1, please.

Mr Mammoliti: In reference to section 17.1, when a building such as this one has never really had maintenance provided, and it has accumulated to a degree where capital expenditure has to occur, the tenants would not have a choice but to vote yes for capital expenditures; 75% of them probably would. But the point is that they are forced to do it because of neglect, and that is how this ties in to 17.1. In this particular case, those tenants would not have a choice but to vote yes because of neglect -- years of neglect, I may add.

In the same building, the individual who has chosen to represent those tenants most recently and to work with my office has been threatened. From what I can gather, the superintendent is being questioned. They thought he was carrying a gun in the building.

Mrs Marland: I am going to raise a point of order, Mr Chairman. I am very reluctant to do this, because I know how antsy the member for Yorkview gets if I raise a point of order.

The Chair: The point of order, please.

Mrs Marland: I do not want to upset him, but frankly I would rather hear his Robin Hood story than for him to be so far off track. My point of order is that I do not think his discussing the examples he has given so far for this particular building of which he speaks is on my amendment.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. As you would know, the Chair has exercised a great deal of latitude in allowing members to speak to each individual clause and/or amendment, and Mr Mammoliti in my view has related to section 17.1 in his discussion, albeit he is stretching the point at times. You may continue, Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: Thank you, Mr Chair, but I think you would agree with me that at times it is important to stretch the point so that people can understand what the situation is actually like out there. In this case I do not think I am stretching the point, because in this particular case the tenants would not have a choice but to vote yes if this amendment goes through. I do not agree with that because the building has been neglected. Nothing has been done. They would have no choice but to vote yes for capital expenditures. I do not think it is their responsibility. I think it is the landlord's responsibility. Frankly, the points of order that keep coming up from Mrs Marland are out of order themselves, as far as I am concerned. I think she wants the song and dance, she wants the cameras on her at all times. Every time somebody else speaks, she interrupts -- rudely, I may add.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, it will work a lot better if we try not to impute motives to other members of the committee.

Mrs Marland: It is going to work much better next week when we are off camera, George. You will be able to stay away.


Mr Mammoliti: I will hold off on this one for a second, but in relation to what Mr Ruprecht was saying this morning, he had visited Italy and --

Mrs Marland: You pronounce the Italian names very easily.

Mr Mammoliti: -- he talked a little bit about slums and rent control, and he related rent control to slums. I want to just touch on that a little bit because I frankly cannot accept -- they keep bringing this up about slums and how rent control is going to bring in slums. I cannot understand for the life of me why this argument comes up, especially when it was his government that brought in rent review, a system that was supposed to be a haven for landlords, a beautiful way of making the profit they want and upgrading the buildings and making them a beautiful and better place to live.

I can point out a number of buildings such as the one I am referring to at Weston Road and Finch -- for instance, the Sorbara buildings in my riding -- that have taken advantage of rent review. People still consider these examples I am giving slums, so how can you relate rent control to slums when the system this individual was a part of, the rent review system --

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: It is rather unique to have a Conservative member defend a Liberal opposition member, but I think this member for the government is impugning the motives of a Liberal member who happens, by coincidence, to be running to be leader of that party. I think it is totally inappropriate for him to impugn the motives of Mr Sorbara or any relation of his in the management of buildings. Mr Mammoliti did this yesterday and he is way off the subject of section 17.1, which deals with 75% voting for improvements to buildings.

The Chair: I do not believe in this case it is a point of order, but Mr Mammoliti is getting awfully close to a point of order, so I suggest to him that as he makes his comments, he remember that impugning the motives of members of the Legislature is something we frown on.

Mr White: The Sorbara Group and Mr Greg Sorbara are totally different entities. Mr Sorbara does not have a direct interest, I am sure, in that group.

The Chair: It is not up to this committee to decide Mr Sorbara's interest in those buildings, although I believe you are correct.

Mr Mammoliti: I cannot understand why I am close to being out of order, Mr Chair, when I am relating Mr Sorbara's buildings to section 17.1 itself, in that, again -- I will say it for the second time -- the tenants would not have a choice but to vote yes if something should occur and if capital expenditures should arise, due to neglect. In my opinion there is a lot in those buildings that has occurred that is borderline neglect, so it does relate to section 17.1. I am going to have to disagree with you and say that I am not out of order at all. I am not even close to being out of order.

The arguments of both the Conservatives and the Liberals only prove to me that their only concern is that the landlords continue taking advantage of tenants and that if the landlords want the profit and want to make themselves richer, if they are rich, this should continue to happen and the tenants be neglected.


Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Yesterday, the parliamentary assistant drew to the attention of the Chair imputing motives by saying what another member was intending by his or her comments. This member is saying our arguments support a position of landlords making people rich etc. I suggest he is way out of line suggesting what our arguments support because of his own interpretation.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, would you continue carefully?

Mr Mammoliti: I will let the people at home determine what their arguments stand for and what they really want out of their term of office. The other day I was putting my little girl to sleep. Every night I am home, when I am there, I read her a little story. The other day I read her the story of the Three Little Pigs and I could not help relating this to section 17.1 --

The Chair: I am very interested in this.

Mrs Marland: Seventy-five per cent of the Three Little Pigs were doing what?

Mr Mammoliti: -- and how the past government and the government before that related to section 17.1, perhaps, and the Three Little Pigs. I believe that in a lot of cases I can honestly relate some of the landlords, even in my riding, to being the Big Bad Wolf in the Three Little Pigs story, and how they continually --

Mrs Marland: The Big Bad Wolf was not in the Three Little Pigs.

The Chair: Wrong story.

Mr Mammoliti: Who was the one that huffed and puffed, tell me?

The Chair: You are not going to create the Three Little Pigs story here.

Mrs Marland: George Mammoliti was the one who huffed and puffed.

Mr Mammoliti: It was the wolf. This huffing and puffing occurs by landlords wanting more and more money, and if the money does not come, if they do not get that extra buck they want, they will not do those repairs in your building. Those threats continue to happen. "If we do not get that money, we will huff and we will puff until that building falls apart." That, in my opinion, relates to the the Three Little Pigs pretty good, I would think. The first house, of course, was blown down because there was a lot of huffing and puffing and no work done to the first place.

The second place was made out of twigs. There was a lot of huffing and puffing and no work was done to the building. The third building was out of brick. Of course, the NDP being in power at the time prevented that wolf, that huffer and puffer, from blowing the house down. I would say those wolves will continue huffing and puffing even though -- I cannot help laughing.

Mr Daigeler: What about the pigs?

Mr Mammoliti: Even though these committee hearings continue, you are going to hear that huffing and puffing and I am proud to be a part of government that is like that brick house --

Mrs Marland: That huffs and puffs.

Mr Mammoliti: -- that will not allow somebody to blow it down because he want to neglect it. I can see by the laughter that people are having a good time.

Mrs Marland: Even in the translators' booth.

Mr Mammoliti: At times it is nice to laugh and have a good time, and I am glad I can do that, but if people think seriously about the example I just gave and about that little story, you can see why I thought of section 17.1 and why I thought of rent control as so important while I read that story to my little girl.

We talked a little bit about coercion this morning as well. Coercion exists even in the building I used as an example this morning and just now at Weston Road and Finch Avenue with the roof falling apart. The person who represents the tenants has been threatened by the superintendent, as I said before I was rudely interrupted. The police department is now looking at whether or not the superintendent has been carrying a gun and has been threatening the individuals who live in that unit. Is this going to happen if section 17.1 comes into play? Will guns be carried by superintendents to force 75% of the tenants to vote in favour of the landlord?

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Chair: There is a lawyer on your side of the room. I would suggest to the Chairman that Mr Mammoliti is treading very dangerously at the moment in terms of identifying a building and making a suggestion that a superintendent of that building is carrying a gun, which would be illegal. He is now making charges in his speech that not only do not relate to this amendment before us, but are also dangerously close to causing a problem for an individual who is not here to defend himself. I think it is totally inappropriate. He would be better to go back to talking about the Three Little Pigs, because at least then he is not hurting anybody except his own integrity, which makes him look like what we know he is.

The Chair: As Mr Mammoliti would know, all members of a committee enjoy, while they are sitting in committee, parliamentary immunity and things that might happen if you make a statement as a member outside of this room cannot happen in here because of parliamentary immunity. I would caution members, however, that they should try to avoid making any comment on any subject that would be different in here than it would be outside.

Mr Mammoliti: While Mrs Marland was speaking, I asked the lawyer for his opinion and the lawyer on this side told me not to listen to Mrs Marland, that she obviously does not know what she is talking about.

As I was saying, if section 17.1 is implemented and if this amendment goes through, as to this superintendent I am talking about who carries the gun, will this happen consistently? Will that coercion happen all over the place to get that 75% she is calling for? It only proves to me that my theory is right, that we should be educating first, that we should be legislating properly and that then maybe one day this amendment could happen.

I understand we have had a lot of debate on this and my colleagues on both this side and also on the other side are interested in voting. I would like to call the question at this time.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has moved that the question be now put.

Mrs Marland: Is it in order to call the question when you have already spoken to it?

The Chair: Yes, it is.

Mrs Marland: Even if there are other people on the list?

The Chair: Yes.

Mrs Marland: Even if it is not his amendment?

The Chair: It is in order.

Mrs Marland: No, it is not.

Mr Daigeler: Could I hear how many speakers are still on the list?

The Chair: I have to put the question, Mr Daigeler.

Shall Mr Mammoliti's motion that the question be now put carry? All in favour will say "aye." Opposed?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: I will now put the question on section 17.1.

Mr Daigeler: Could I have a 20-minute recess?

The Chair: The committee will adjourn until nine minutes till 3, when the vote will be taken.

The committee recessed at 1431.


Mrs Marland: Mr Chair, I asked for a recorded vote.

The Chair: A recorded vote: We are voting on section 17.1, on Mr Turnbull's motion.

The committee divided on Mr Turnbull's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 5

Daigeler, Marland, Poole, Ruprecht, Turnbull.

Nays -- 6

Abel, Harrington, Lessard, Mammoliti, Owens, White.

Mr Owens: Mr Chair, on a point of order: This morning I raised an issue. The member for Mississauga South had made remarks about the NDP government and particularly myself being experts at coercion. I have the Hansard here and these remarks are clearly indicated and I will read them for the record.

Mrs Marland: Would you tell me what page you are on?

Mr Owens: It is 1130-1.

Mrs Marland: Thank you.

Mr Owens: "It is really educational to hear an NDP government member talk about coercion of tenants when we are talking about 75%. I wonder how he feels about coercion of workers when they want to, as I said earlier, unionize a workplace with 50% votes in favour of unionized workplaces. Anyway, I know they are experts in coercion. I do not think the members present are probably members of unions. I doubt whether they are actually."

Mr Chair, I stated this morning that these remarks are inappropriate, and I would suggest again that the member withdraw those remarks.

Mr Mammoliti: Shame.

The Chair: Just give the Chair one moment to review it. As I recall, this morning I had not heard those comments we are talking about.

Mrs Marland: He wants me to withdraw them.

The Chair: Mr Owens, I will reserve my decision until I have had a chance to look at the Hansard a little more carefully.

Section 18:

The Chair: We will move on to subsection 18(1).

Ms Harrington: Subsection 18(1) allows the landlord to base an above-guideline increase application on new or additional services for a rental unit if there is tenant consent. Tenant consent must occur on a form to be prescribed and the tenant must have first been informed in writing of the particulars of the service. This goes along with the previous subsection we moved.

The Chair: Questions, comments or amendments to subsection 18(1)?

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, in my book I have clause 18(1)(b), which is a Conservative motion.

Mrs Marland: Yes, that is what I have too.

Ms Poole: Are we dealing with clause 18(1)(a) right now or subsection 18(1)?

The Chair: We are dealing with subsection 18(1), which is printed, I think, in the original legislation.

Ms Poole: Okay. So we are not dealing with the Conservative amendment 18(1)(b) then at the same time, just 18(1)?

The Chair: As a matter of fact, I do not have in my packet a copy of the Conservative amendment.

Ms Harrington: Can I share with you?

Ms Poole: I think that was a new Conservative motion about equalization of rents which is quite similar to the one the Liberal caucus had filed for section 22.1 at the beginning of the hearings. But it was a fairly new one, so you may not have it in your package.

The Chair: Ms Poole, I will accept comments to subsection 18(1) at the moment. We just had legislative counsel speaking with the Conservative caucus.

Mrs Marland: Yes, and unfortunately, because I was discussing the 18(1)(b) amendment of ours with the legislative counsel, I was not able to hear the comments from the Liberal critic.

The Chair: The Liberal critic just pointed out that we had an amendment from your caucus and she was wondering which one we were dealing with.

Mrs Marland: Yes, but I do not have a government amendment.

The Chair: There is no government amendment.

Mrs Marland: Oh, you are just reading it out of the act.

The Chair: She did not read it out of the act; she just gave an explanation for the section.

Mrs Marland: Of subsection 18(1) as printed in the bill?

The Chair: Yes.

Mrs Marland: I see. Thank you.

Ms Poole: This is just a point of clarification. I would ask the parliamentary assistant or Ms Parrish to ensure that I am correct in my interpretation of this section. This section says that if a landlord has a new service he or she is offering to the tenants, and if there is consent by the tenants, the landlord can make application for this. Is that the correct understanding of that?

Ms Harrington: I will ask Ms Parrish to clarify it. It is a very technical thing.

Ms Parrish: Yes, you are correct in your assessment. This is parallel to section 17 which allows for en suite capital. This is en suite services with tenant consent.

Ms Poole: Could you give us an example of some of the services you think might be included in this particular section?

Ms Parrish: Air conditioning services, security services such as an alarm bell or something of that kind, housekeeping services.

Ms Poole: I have no further questions. I think this is a good section of the act, to allow new services to be provided so that tenants can have the type of building they wish to reside in.

The Chair: No further questions, comments, amendments to subsection 18(1)? Shall subsection 18(1) carry? Carried.


Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, I would like to clarify my amendment, which would have been clause 18(1)(b), the amendment that is tabled with you. I am grateful to the legislative counsel who has pointed out that for what we are trying to accomplish with this amendment, it may not be appropriate to have the amendment placed in this section of the bill, so if I could have the concurrence of the committee, I would like to withdraw this amendment at this time and find a more appropriate place in the bill where it may be placed.

The Chair: You actually have not placed it, so that would be fine. Now we will move on to subsection 18(2).

Mrs Marland: All right.

Ms Harrington: May I deal with subsections 18(2) and (3) together?

The Chair: Would the committee entertain dealing with subsections 18(2) and (3) together?

Ms Harrington: It is similar to the way we dealt with subsections 17(2) and (3). In fact it is a parallel type. Subsections 18(2) and (3) --

The Chair: Just one moment until we decide whether it is agreed.

Ms Poole: I just want to check, Mr Chair, because subsection 18(3) is a government amendment, so I want to have an opportunity to read it before giving that consent.

We will consent to doing the two together.

The Chair: We have unanimous consent to deal with subsections 18(2) and (3) simultaneously.

Ms Harrington: Subsections 18(2) and (3) set out the treatment for services that were subject to an advance determination order to which tenants consented at the time. If the service is substantially the same, any cost variances shall be considered by the rent officer. A previous tenant's consent to an advance determination application is sufficient if there is a change in tenancy, ie, consent from the new tenant is not required. Ms Poole noted that in subsection (3) there was a technical amendment similar to the one in subsection 17(3). Are there any questions?

Ms Poole: The Liberal caucus will support these two sections. It really is just trying to reduce some of the bureaucracy involved in trying to get consent a second time and holding up the procedures when the consent of the first tenant has already been procured, so it would seem to me eminently logical that we accept this particular amendment and pass these clauses.

Mrs Marland: We are supporting this amendment of the government too, and we certainly look forward to having the government support some of our amendments.

The Chair: Shall subsections 18(2) and 18(3) carry? Carried.

Section 18, as amended, agreed to.

Section 13:

The Chair: Now the committee will note we are reverting to subsection 13(3), which was stood down until the completion of section 18. I will give members a moment to find it. As we know, there have been no amendments moved. We have two amendments before us, one from the Liberal caucus and one from the Conservative caucus. I ask that Ms Poole place the Liberal amendment.

Ms Poole: I obviously have a copy of the Liberal amendment, which is in our binder. On subsection 13(3) the Chair has both a Conservative and a Liberal amendment. Since the substance of 13(3) as proposed by the Conservative caucus is the same as that proposed by the Liberal caucus, and since it is the Conservative amendment, section 14.1, that passed this morning, the Liberal caucus will withdraw our subsection 13(3) so that the Conservatives may move their motion.

The Chair: I am just told by legislative counsel that they are not identical amendments. Maybe we could pause for a moment while we straighten this out.

Ms Poole: I do not withdraw the Liberal motion.

The Chair: Then it had better be placed, because it was never placed.

Ms Poole: I was trying to be nice to the Conservatives. Now they tell me they do not want me to withdraw the motion. That is what happens when you try to be nice to Conservatives. It really messes up their lives.

The Chair: Ms Poole moves that subsection 13(3) of the bill, as reprinted to show the amendments proposed by the minister, be amended by inserting after "14" in the second line "14.1."

Ms Poole: As you are aware, the Liberal caucus had proposed an amendment, section 14.1, to include interest rate changes in the legislation. The Conservative caucus had a very similar motion this morning which passed, while the Liberal one was defeated yesterday.

In view of this, the intention of our subsection 13(3) amendment still stands because it would include interest rate changes in the legislation. In fact we hope that under the circumstances the minister will revisit her decision not to allow tenants the right of interest reductions, relief from that, and that we will have both interest rate increases and interest rate decreases represented in the legislation. Including this subsection 13(3) simply brings it in line with the rest of the legislation we passed this morning. The government of course would want consistency in its legislation, so it of course will be supporting this particular amendment.

Ms Harrington: I would certainly like to clarify the situation. I think most people here in the room understand what happened. When this bill goes before committee of the whole House in the Legislature, it is fully the intention of this government and this ministry to change the section that was in fact passed this morning with regard to interest rate pass-throughs. Therefore, we will not be supporting this amendment, which deals with that section as a technicality.

Ms Poole: I am at a loss. I fail to understand, when the NDP government has a majority of members on this committee, why this morning it passed something which some three hours later it is now saying it is going to change in committee of the whole House. Perhaps the parliamentary assistant could clarify for us why the government did not vote this down this morning if it felt it was inappropriate.

Mr Abel: We tried. The Chair outnumbered us.

Ms Harrington: All the members of the government did vote with the intention of not allowing interest rate increases to go through. Unfortunately circumstances have it this way, but hopefully it will be corrected very soon.

Ms Poole: What you are saying is that even though the government has a majority of members on this committee it did not have enough foresight to have sufficient members to pass your resolution.

Ms Harrington: Unfortunately, once in a great while, the circumstance will occur.


Ms Poole: If the government is not going to support this particular amendment until such time as it may or may not be able to rectify it in committee of the whole House, it will have legislation that is inconsistent. I think it quite irresponsible to put us in that position, and to put the committee in that position where we are passing two sections of the legislation that are inconsistent. I would hope that the government would reconsider the matter and would consider supporting this amendment so that the legislation has consistency.

Ms Harrington: That is exactly why I have put on the record that it is fully our intention not to support above-guideline increases for interest rates, so that it is clear to everyone that this is, as you say, an inconsistency.

Mrs Marland: I think it is time we looked at what is going on here if what is happening is really the intention of the government. We are going to go through the exercise of three weeks of this committee meeting and, I may add, three weeks at this point, because we sat I would guess maybe seven weeks in November and December, so maybe we are looking at 10 weeks altogether, and we are looking at the expenditure of time, taxpayers' money on staff and the other backup resources that are needed to enable this committee to sit. We are looking at the total cost and investment of taxpayers for a committee process to take place.

We have one opposition amendment this morning, which happened to be ours, the PC amendment, that was passed. Now we are in the afternoon session and here we come with the great big heavy hammer that says: "It doesn't matter what happened this morning. We're going to fix you when we get you in the House, in committee of the whole." That is what the parliamentary assistant just said. "It does not matter what happened this morning. It is not going to make any difference at all, because it is our intention to fix it in committee of the whole House."

What point is there in our sitting here with our investment in time, as I have already said, at a tremendous cost to the taxpayers, for these hearings to be held, and the whole thing just becomes an absolute farce.

Why do we bother? There is no point. If the government has decided this is the bill it wants to deal with rent controls in this province, why do we not just adjourn the meetings and go ahead and say: "Okay, this is your bill. Take it or leave it." We have gone through a process this morning where we had a democratic vote and we happened to win one and now you are saying: "Don't worry about it. You only won it in committee. We will fix it in the other committee. We will call for that amendment to be reversed back to the position that we, the socialists in this province, want, that we, the socialists in this province, demand. We will fix it in committee of the whole House."

I am sorry. To sit here and be part of this exercise is an absolute exercise in futility and absurdity, let alone the cost to the taxpayers of this province. How can this socialist government sit here and be part of it and admit to us that this is the process? Why bother? If we have a bill that you have already decided -- I actually accused the minister of this two months ago, but I had hoped maybe there might be a little window of light where the possibility of our sitting here dealing, section by section, with these amendments might mean, that the government might respond to the concerns of the people out there, tenants and landlords, who do have concerns with this legislation, with the way it is drafted. The very fact that the government brings in over 130 amendments to its own bill proves that it did not think it was well drafted in the first place, so here we are trying to amend it, trying to make this poor piece of legislation something that might work.

We are approving amendments all the time, and now because there was one amendment that was approved that happened to be an opposition amendment, we are saying: "Ha, ha, don't worry. We'll fix you. We'll call this bill into committee of the whole House when the House reconvenes, and we will fix it. That was a mistake. We didn't have enough of our members here. It wasn't intended." If the intention is that we do not pass any of the opposition amendments, then you might as well tell us now. I am absolutely adamant about this. I think the Minister of Housing should come into this committee and say, "There are a couple that we'll accept, but we're not going to accept anything else," and cut out all this nonsense and gamesmanship.

I am sitting here, day after day, making my arguments from the point of view of the people I represent, tenants and landlords, people who have no choice but to live in rental accommodation in this province, whose rights are not protected by this bill, whose future accommodation and opportunity to live in decent rental accommodation will not happen as a result of this bill. To sit here and be part of this is deplorable. I have been in this Legislature for seven years. I have never sat on a committee where the government was so bald-faced about the fact that this was its agenda and this was the only stuff it would accept, the only amendments it would accept.

It is ironic. The government asked us if it could print its amendments in this bill, and we said, "If it means we can expedite a process, as long as we are going to debate all those amendments, fine." We agreed to it. I think what we should have done was agree to have everybody's amendments printed, so we could make an even better pantomime of this process than it already is. We should all be down at the Pantages Theatre, if this is the kind of performance we are going to be dealing with. If this is really the process that is before us at this tremendous expense to the taxpayers, that is where we should be. We might as well give them some real money's worth.

Here we are, back at section 13. With everything we do with the amendments with the rest of this bill, we are going to be looking at it and we are going to say, "Of course, it won't matter, because you did pass section 14.1 but of course we are going to change that when we get into committee of the whole House, so right now, although it is passed, it is not going to be passed." This is unbelievable.

I demand that the Minister of Housing come to this committee and once and for all tell us if there is any point in our sitting here, or is it this the bill, as printed, that they will accept and that is all? If it is, let's adjourn. If that is the bill and only those amendments that are printed in this bill -- I may point to over 100 amendments that I said a few moments ago, the over 100 amendments of the government to its own bill, because the bill was so poorly drafted in the first place -- if that is all the Minister of Housing is willing to accept, then she better come in here and tell us.

Ms Harrington: Mrs Marland, may I respond to that question? First, we have passed some of the opposition amendments and there are, coming up, some other opposition amendments that we are likely to support.

Mrs Marland: Are we saying this dance is even more elaborate than I had thought? Are we saying that of those amendments you have already so graciously passed, you are only selectively going to take some of them into committee of the whole House and reverse them?


Ms Harrington: No. I am saying there are further parts to the bill we are going to be looking at, as you know, and there are other amendments in our book here which are opposition amendments we are evaluating, have evaluated, and may be likely to support.

Mrs Marland: I think this is real gamesmanship, "We have evaluated. We might likely support."

The Chair: Mrs Marland, I think the committee is very interested in what you are saying because it relates to consistency throughout, but what I am most concerned with is that you direct your comments to subsection 13(3) in particular.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, I am directing my comments to 13(3), because it is relative to a response by the parliamentary assistant. My response is to what the parliamentary assistant just said in response to the Liberal critic. The parliamentary assistant said, "Oh, yes, but we are going to change that in committee of the whole." That is the basis of my comments, and if the parliamentary assistant is allowed to say, "We passed it this morning, but we are going to change it," I am certainly allowed to respond to her comment.

Ms Harrington: I would like to be open and clear to this committee and to the people of Ontario. That is why I stated it.

The Chair: Ms Harrington, Mrs Marland has the floor.

Mrs Marland: I am simply saying that when you have had our amendments for over two months, there is no way the ministry does not know which of our amendments it is going to support. Why bother? It is pointless, because even one that we won this morning in a democratic vote you are now going to reverse. It is totally meaningless.

Next Monday we will have the Premier of this province on television telling the people why we are in such a terrible situation because we are so short of money. In the meantime --

Mr Abel: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: Perhaps you could ask Mrs Marland to get down off her soapbox and speak on 13(3).

Mr Ruprecht: It is quite relevant.

Mr Abel: She has not spoken on 13(3) yet.

The Chair: Order. Mrs Marland has the floor.

Mrs Marland: It always hurts when you tell the truth. The parliamentary assistant is the one who said what the process was going to be, that a motion passed in this committee this morning is going to be reversed. I am simply saying that at a time when we have people in this province out of work, out of funds, out of housing and out of food, we are wasting money sitting here. I suggest that for all of us as members who claim per diems for this committee work, for the staff time of ministry, Hansard, legislative counsel, whoever else is involved in support staff for the operation of this committee, that it is a total waste of money. Why waste the money? Why waste the process? Why waste the time when you have no intention of even being honourable enough to uphold a motion passed this morning by this committee?

I do not understand why this sham has to continue. It has not happened on other committees with other legislation. We are in the middle of the deliberation -- when a motion has been upheld in a democratic vote -- and we are told: "It does not matter because we are going to change it in committee of the whole. We are going to get you back in the House and we are going to clean it up." If that is what is going to happen, we need to know it now and we might as well stop the process and the waste of money. This is an outrage.

I would like to know, through the parliamentary assistant, when the minister would be able to attend this committee. If she is in the building this afternoon, I would like to know whether she is able to come into this committee for 15 minutes and tell us what her intention is with the process of this bill, now that we know it does not matter what we pass or what we do not pass.

Ms Harrington: The minister is not available this afternoon, to my knowledge. She certainly wants to be in this committee and will be in this committee, I believe, every opportunity she can be, and she will be back, I am sure, very soon. But to my knowledge, she is not available this afternoon.

Mrs Marland: Do you know, without contacting her office, that she would not be available to come into the committee this afternoon in the next hour and a half?

Ms Harrington: That is correct. She is not available.

Mrs Marland: You know without calling her on this serious matter that she is not available?

Ms Harrington: That is what I just stated, yes.

The Chair: You have an answer, Mrs Marland. Can we proceed?

Mrs Marland: I think it is a waste of time proceeding. I would like someone on the minister's staff to go and make the phone call to see if she is available to come and resolve this serious matter.

Mr Abel: This is getting ridiculous.

Mrs Marland: Is that too much to ask?

The Chair: Well, it is --

Mrs Marland: I am not asking the Chair. There are enough ministry staff around here that I would think somebody could make that phone call and see if she would be able to come in, even though she was not planning to. I may tell you that the Minister of the Environment was able to reschedule a whole evening because of the inclement weather in order to be where she was supposed to be and where she was needed to be, so I would think we should give this Minister of Housing the opportunity to make the decision herself. I am simply asking that she be invited to attend this meeting this afternoon to give us the opportunity to ask her that question, and I would like someone on the staff to confirm whether she would be asked and invited to come this afternoon.

Ms Harrington: I think it may be helpful to explain where the minister is, which is not in this building but at the Premier's Council on Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice. If Mrs Marland wants to talk to the minister, she will be available at the next sitting of this committee, I believe.

Mrs Marland: If the minister is attending the Premier's Council on those matters, as outlined by the parliamentary assistant, and knowing that the minister has a chauffeur, I do not think it would very difficult for her to excuse herself to attend this meeting this afternoon for a short period of time.

Ms Harrington: The minister does not have a chauffeur.

The Chair: Can we move on, please?

Mr Turnbull: Do you call it a driver?

The Chair: We have had a response.

Ms Harrington: No, she does not.

The Chair: The member believes that response is unsatisfactory, but we have had a response.

Mr Turnbull: Chauffeurs and limos became cars and drivers; we know.

Mr Abel: She does not have one.

Mrs Marland: She does not have a chauffeur. Is that what they said?

Mr Abel: Talk about wasting time trying to throw your weight around.

Mr Mammoliti: It seems to me that Mrs Marland wants to continue this charade. That is why I think it is perhaps important for me to explain exactly what happened this morning from our point of view. It all comes down to a decision made by the Chair. Ms Poole related 13(3) to 14.1. She suggested that we pass 13(3) because we passed 14.1.

The Chair: I am not sure this is particularly relevant to 13(3).

Mr Mammoliti: It is not relevant, but Mrs Marland is asking for the minister to be here. She is going to continue this charade, from what I can gather, and I think it is important for us to deal with this and deal with it now so we do not waste any more time.

After Ms Poole recently asked us to consider passing 13(3) because of what happened this morning with 14.1, the parliamentary assistant, Ms Harrington, suggested a mistake was made this morning and it was going to be brought to committee of the whole House. It is going to be decided upon there, as the process calls for, the process she is calling a sham.

This morning, Mr Chair, we had to make a decision. We chose not to call a 20-minute recess because we figured the Chair had to rule status quo. Status quo, we believed at that time, I believed at that time, would be to go back to the section in the act. You chose to make that ruling, the status quo being Mrs Marland's amendment.


The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, I think you misunderstand at least slightly. The Chair has the right to vote any way he wishes.

Mr Mammoliti: Yes.

The Chair: The Chair was ruling according to precedent. The Chair was voting. I made no ruling whatever. I was merely voting.

Mr Mammoliti: Okay. Nevertheless, you made your ruling and we have to live by it. There is no question about it.

The Chair: I voted. I made no ruling.

Mr Mammoliti: You made your ruling. The point I am trying to make, Mr Chair, is that this side of the committee made a decision that was not that great and if somebody wants to blame somebody across there, they can point fingers at me. I am a rookie at this game and we learn by our mistakes. There was a mistake made here this morning on our part. If this could help Mrs Marland in her antics this afternoon, I hope it will.

You heard from our side of the House. We made a wrong decision this morning. We should have called a 20-minute recess. We tried to save time. We thought the status quo would be that of going back to the act itself. Okay? Now I hope that is done with and finished.

In terms of subsection 13(3), at this point I would like to hear a little more debate on it before I vote, so if Mrs Marland or if anybody else from the opposition would like to talk about subsection 13(3) and debate subsection 13(3), as we should, then I would be prepared to sit here and listen to it. But if she is going to rant and rave and ask for the minister to be called out of meetings, I cannot accept that.

Mr White: I would like to make a few points with regard to this process. First, I have been astounded throughout these hearings with the eagerness and willingness of the minister to be present, despite the very capable work of Ms Harrington as the parliamentary assistant.

The Chair: Perhaps we could get back to subsection 13(3).

Mr White: Mr Chair, certainly we have allowed some latitude in this regard. I believe I deserve the same latitude. The parliamentary assistant has indicated the direction in which we wish to proceed and that certainly allows the opposition members to make their statements in committee of the whole House, just as they are quite capable of opposing bills in committee of the whole House that have been through the committee process.

If Ms Marland suggests we are wasting money through committee debate, through the arduous process of finalizing legislation, perhaps democracy is a wasteful process, but I do not think so. We all invest a great deal in it and I would like, if possible, to return to subsection 13(3) and state that as far as I am concerned, a vote on this particular section can certainly be independent of a vote upon another section, just as the parliamentary assistant has suggested, and we can adjust in committee of the whole House in either direction. For those reasons, I would like to suggest that we as a committee follow the lead suggested by the parliamentary assistant.

Mr Ruprecht: The member should understand that Mrs Marland is raising a larger issue here and the issue, I think, is relevant; that is, if we are wasting our time in terms of voting and the parliamentary assistant, who in my view normally has always been very sensible -- I listen with great care to every word she says and she is normally reasonable -- tells us that the vote you and I have supposedly thought through is going to be overturned later on no matter what we do, no matter what the arguments were, then sitting here becomes almost irrelevant. Consequently, if I understand her point correctly, let the minister appear for a few minutes before this committee and let the minister indicate in which direction she wants to travel. If that is the case, then I think Mrs Marland should be supported and she should be here for a few minutes and tell us what she wants to do specifically, and we can carry on.

I do not know whether Mrs Marland would like to make a motion to that effect, to have the minister appear briefly, or whether she wants to adjourn. Obviously, it is up to her, but I think she should make it and then we should carry on one way or the other. I do not think she should be obstructionist, which I think she is not.

Mrs Marland: I wish to move adjournment of the committee until the minister can come and answer the question on the process.

Mr Owens: There is a motion already on the floor.

The Chair: We will recess for five minutes.

The committee recessed at 1537.


The Chair: Mrs Marland has moved the adjournment of the committee.

Mrs Marland: There is a condition: until the minister comes.

The Chair: There is no condition needed. You just moved adjournment.

An hon member: That makes two motions.

Mr Ruprecht: Let's be flexible a bit.

The Chair: There is no debate on this. You have moved adjournment.

Mrs Marland: Then why did we adjourn for five minutes to find out if my motion was in order?

The Chair: Those in favour of Mrs Marland's motion to adjourn will raise their right hand.

Mrs Marland: I am sorry. That was not my motion. My motion was that the committee adjourn until the minister could come and answer the important question on process. If it was a straight motion for adjournment, why did we have to wait five minutes to find out if it was legal? You can move a motion for adjournment at any time.

The Chair: That is what we are doing. Those in favour of Mrs Marland's motion to adjourn?

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, on a point of clarification --

The Chair: No.

Mr Abel: No, that is not debatable.

Ms Poole: I am not debating it.

The Chair: Those opposed?

Ms Poole: I just wanted to --

The Chair: It is lost.

Motion negatived.

The Chair: We will continue with our discussion of subsection 13(3).

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, do I have the floor?

The Chair: Yes you do.

Mrs Marland: May I ask you a question?

The Chair: If it relates to subsection 13(3) and what we are presently about.

Mrs Marland: I am in order to ask you, as the Chairman, a question on process.

The Chair: Yes, if that is what it is about.

Mrs Marland: I moved a motion in order that the minister could be in attendance at the committee. I recognize the minister cannot be at every sitting of this committee and I am ready to concede that, although there are ministers who attend all sittings of all committees their bills are going through. But I have conceded that this minister cannot be at all sittings of this committee. My purpose in moving an adjournment was so we could have the minister here. Mr Chairman, I am asking you where it is in the rules that I cannot move a motion of adjournment with a condition.

The Chair: Mr White wishes to speak to this.

Mr White: My understanding is that a motion to adjourn is a motion to adjourn. Mrs Marland did not put a motion forth to invite the minister, but rather a motion to adjourn, which was voted upon and defeated. We are now again on subsection 13(3). We have business in front of us. We have an important piece of legislation. I hope we can proceed with it.

The Chair: Further discussion of this point?

Mrs Marland: No. Did you have a response?

The Chair: Yes. What I heard was a motion for adjournment. We voted on the motion for adjournment.

Mrs Marland: Hansard will show what I said.

The Chair: That could be, but what I heard was a motion for adjournment, and we voted on that.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, a motion for adjournment is in order at any time. Could I ask why we adjourned for five minutes to find out if it was in order?

The Chair: Mrs Marland, would you continue with your discussion of subsection 13(3), please. Then Ms Poole.

Mrs Marland: Go ahead.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, I move that the committee adjourn until such time that the minister joins us to answer this very important question as to whether we are wasting our time, our energy and the taxpayers' dollars in debating this bill when the government has its mind made up.

The Chair: Ms Poole, that motion is not in order. There must be intervening business between adjournment motions.

Ms Poole: There was. She spoke.

The Chair: No, that would not qualify. Mrs Marland, you can continue your discussion of subsection 13(3), please.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, when Hansard shows what my motion was, are you going to then --

The Chair: I ruled, Mrs Marland. Will you continue with subsection 13(3).

Mrs Marland: Can I be clear, then? If we do more of this gamesmanship would you accept a motion of adjournment until the minister can attend?

Mr Abel: No, there has been no intervening business.

Mrs Marland: After we do some more business. Listen, Don, would you accept a motion for adjournment --

Mr Owens: She is out of order, Mr Chair.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, I will continue, if that is what you want, between motions.

The Chair: Yes, that is what I would appreciate.

Mrs Marland: I will go along with that game, but I want to clarify that if I --

Mr Owens: There is no deal-making with the Chair if he asks you to continue.

Mrs Marland: Mr Owens, would you please wait until I have finished.

Mr Mammoliti: On a point of order, Mr Chair: You have ruled. You have asked her to go back to subsection 13(3) and she is refusing. This only proves to me that she is looking to stall and these are tactics consistent with her motives in the past. Please rule.

The Chair: I have ruled. I have asked Mrs Marland to continue with subsection 13(3).


Mrs Marland: I think too it goes without saying that Mr Mammoliti is imputing motives, but we will not bother with that because he does not seem to be able to understand it.

Can I ask you, on a matter of process, if it would be in order at some time for you to accept a motion of adjournment for the purpose of the minister attending this committee?

The Chair: I have told you we cannot accept adjournment motions unless there is intervening business.

Mrs Marland: Okay, that is fine. So the fact that what I said was not heard before is nobody's fault at this point. He would accept it in the future.

Mr Turnbull: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Perhaps I am missing something here. Is it purely because you did not hear the aspect of waiting for the minister to attend that you ruled on only --

The Chair: I ruled, I thought, that Mrs Marland -- I understood Mrs Marland to be saying she wished to adjourn. That was it.

Mr Turnbull: Can we then get instant Hansard right away to --

The Chair: No. I have made a ruling. We will continue with subsection 13(3).

Mrs Marland: I am going to relinquish my opportunity to speak to subsection 13(3) until such time as the minister is be present to discuss the important matter of process and whether or not we are sitting here wasting thousands and thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money for a process that is an absolute sham, where there is no intention of the government to change its bill as printed at all.

The Chair: Thank you. Further questions or comments on subsection 13(3)?

Ms Poole: When you are looking at subsection 13(3), which should be passed in order to give consistency to what this committee passed this morning, section 14.1, you are looking at a much broader question, because if the government is now saying that notwithstanding the fact there have been over 200 amendments to this legislation tabled, it is not going to accept any opposition amendments, regardless of whether this committee has passed them or not, then why are we wasting our time here?

I am wondering why the minister did not take me up on my challenge to her back on the first day this committee sat, when I said to her: "We would like to know what the NDP government's intention is. We don't want to waste hundreds and hundreds of hours of our time debating over 200 amendments if the government has made up its mind that it is not going to change this legislation in any substantive way." I said to the minister, "Why don't you give us a list of the opposition amendments you are prepared to support and those that you are not, so we can stop wasting our time?"

My constituents expect me to be doing other things than sitting here arguing for six to eight hours at a time on an amendment the government has already pre-determined it is not going to accept. We have probably about 60 or 70 amendments left just from the Liberal caucus that we have not dealt with yet. Some of them are extremely important, about the appeals process and the automatic right for hearing and capital expenditures. We have all sorts of very substantive amendments we want to get to.

But if this government is going to tell us that this is all pro forma, that it does not matter what amendments we have here, that it is not going to be willing to accept them -- so far that is definitely the indication we have. I am quite dismayed that now the parliamentary assistant says that notwithstanding the fact this committee passed section 14.1 this morning, it is now not going to pass subsection 13(3), the section we are addressing right now, because it is going to change it back when we get to committee of the whole House. Why should we waste our time debating all these? I have better things to do.

I do not mind having a very honest and forthright debate about these important matters if it means it is going to have an impact on the government. The government has six members on this committee; the opposition has five, plus the Chair, who is an opposition member but does not vote, and it is very clear the government holds sway on this committee.

I have sat on this committee for over a year now. I think some of us deserve medals for doing it, because we are beginning to feel like we are batting our heads against a brick wall. I did not spend hundreds of hours putting together all these amendments for the Liberal caucus and come to committee and spend since October 31 debating them, to find to date that nothing except, I think, one fairly insubstantive amendment, which the government took over as its own amendment -- that is all we have got from it, and it is a waste of time.

We would like the minister to come and lay it on the table and tell us what she is prepared to look at and what she is not. Then we can go through the legislation and can look at the parts. If there are technical difficulties we want to draw to the minister's attention, fine, but otherwise, why are we wasting our time?

I cannot believe the NDP government is going to say we should pass a section that makes it inconsistent with another section that we passed this morning. Certainly, if we ask legislative counsel -- and maybe I will ask legislative counsel -- should we be passing a clause that is inconsistent with another part of the legislation that has already been passed?

Ms Baldwin: I think it might be better to address that question when the clerk returns.

Ms Poole: Okay. Perhaps we will wait a moment until the clerk returns and then she and the legislative counsel can confer.

Ms Harrington: Ms Poole, perhaps you would like me to try to clarify the government's position, because you have made some statements saying that you do not understand the direction.

Ms Poole: I think I quite well understand the direction. The direction is that if it is an opposition member's amendment it fails and if it is a government amendment it passes, unless you mess up and do not have enough members here to vote for it.

Mrs Marland: It fails even after it is passed.

Ms Poole: Even then it fails, because they declare they are going to change it in committee of the whole House, but it makes a mockery of the whole committee process. I have been on a lot of committees in the last four years and on many of them there has been quite a cooperative spirit. In the select committee on education there were four reports that were unanimous by an all-party committee because there was give and take and people were listening, but I am getting the impression that in dealing with these two pieces of legislation, Bill 4 and now Bill 121, the government has made up its mind and we are just wasting our time. If that is the case, I would like to find out.

Ms Harrington: I would like to indicate to you that I have stated earlier that there are lots of amendments, as you know, ahead of us. The government has considered them and there are some we are likely to support. I cannot name them all right now. I would say that we even have a PC motion that we just received this past week that we are very interested in and are having our staff look at. Hopefully it will be dealt with Monday or Tuesday. As you know, we have to get this bill through for the reasons we have put forward, but we are open to making it better. Certainly some of the amendments the opposition has come forward with will do that and that is why we are here.

I feel it is my job to make as clear as possible what happened this morning, not only for the opposition members so they will not be under any illusion about what happened this morning, but also for the public out there. I think it is a mark of this government that it is as open as possible and it says, yes, this did happen and says what its intentions are. That is why I did that.

Mrs Marland: It is a democratic vote. You are going to reverse a democratic vote.


Ms Harrington: I would like to address another point that you and Mrs Marland raised, and that is the time and expense of having staff, Hansard, television, legal counsel, and our ministry people here. It is just the way I was brought up or lived life I guess. I feel that at times the amount of time that is spent it really is a shame. I would like to sympathize with some of the feelings that were brought forward. We have a great responsibility on this committee to work very diligently together because we are talking about taxpayers' time and money.

I recall very vividly that the second Thursday in December we spent the afternoon in this room through until 6 o'clock. I caught the 7 o'clock bus home to Niagara Falls and all the way home I could not think of anything else except the proceedings of that afternoon. What a waste of time and money I felt it was. I really hope things will change. I know it does not happen overnight that people's attitudes change, but with the citizens of this country feeling that politicians do have to change, I think it has to come soon.

Ms Poole: In response to the comments of the parliamentary assistant, there have been times when I think many of us on this committee have been very frustrated about the amount of time wasted, about the amount of time spent on certain sections, but I think the parliamentary assistant should also realize that quite a bit of this has been due to utter frustration. We have, as I have mentioned, over 200 amendments to this legislation.

The Chair: Can we come back more directly to subsection 13(3)?

Ms Poole: I was just about to get to that. As has been evidenced by the parliamentary assistant's response to subsection 13(3) and the desire of the government not to pass it, sometimes this type of thing can be --

Mr White: You are presupposing a vote.

Ms Poole: I am not presupposing anything. The parliamentary assistant has already said the government members are not going to support subsection 13(3) because they are going to change section 14.1 when it comes to committee of the whole House. It is no presupposition that the government is going to vote against this unless the parliamentary assistant does not speak with the authority of the government, and I think she does.

Mr Mammoliti: You are exactly right.

Ms Poole: I thank Mr Mammoliti for saying this is true. The problem is you reach a point of frustration because you know that nothing is getting through, that nothing is being done. The government has to realize that if it wants the cooperation of the opposition, there has to be give. We have some very deep concerns that we have to express about certain sections of this legislation. Our constituents and the people of this province expect us to, and that is our job as opposition members.

Subsection 13(3) on the surface looks like a relatively minor amendment. All it does is ensure there is consistency with the rest of the act. Section 14.1 can survive without subsection 13(3) being passed, but it will be inconsistent. But you are not going to stop interest rate changes from being part of this legislation at this particular stage by voting against subsection 13(3).

Ms Harrington: I understand that.

Mr Mammoliti: So let's get on with subsection 13(3).

Ms Poole: So vote in favour of subsection 13(3) and then if at some later date the government, in its wisdom, deems it is unwilling to accept the interest rate changes, then at that stage you can make the necessary changes, but at least keep your legislation consistent as long as it is included in it.

Ms Harrington: A good try.

Ms Poole: "A good try," the parliamentary assistant says, but no cigar.

Mr Owens: Mr Chair, I hope you will allow me the same latitude to discuss subsection 13(3) as you allowed the member for Eglinton.

The Chair: I am not sure I allowed it.

Mr Owens: Perhaps you may like to go grab a coffee then or something. In terms of the inconsistency argument, I certainly agree with the member for Eglinton that there would be an inconsistency if this section were not passed. Perhaps to take care of that inconsistency the member for Mississauga South would consider reopening section 14.1 so that we could make the sections consistent.

In terms of the way we have addressed subsection 13(3) and many of the other sections over the last three days, I can say this has been an instructive process for me, coming in from a committee that handled a major piece of legislation over the last three months. I am quite surprised by the level of acrimony and the lack of cooperation that exists in this committee. In terms of dealing with subsection 13(3), when the minister does return to this committee, as I am sure she will, I think the message is going to be quite clear, that we need to move on through this piece of legislation, including voting on subsection 13(3) and perhaps taking a look at amendments.

I think it is a little bit presumptuous of the opposition to make comments that we have not supported and never will support amendments to this legislation. I think the parliamentary assistant has quite accurately pointed out that there are still a whole number of amendments to go through. I believe we have approximately 130 sections in this bill that need to be dealt with, so including subsection 13(3), we still have a lot of work to take care of. As I say, it is a bit presumptuous of the opposition to assume that simply because the government holds the majority on this committee, we will not support any of the amendments.

Ms Harrington has clearly indicated that an amendment is coming from the third party that the ministry staff are looking at quite closely. I am sure we will wait with interest to see if there is some way we can work it into the legislation, because we know this is not just a one-party system but a tripartite system. The only way these committees work is when we have cooperation from all parties.

In terms of how I would like to take a look at subsection 13(3), in order to remove that inconsistency should the government decide not to support this amendment, I think the members of the third party should consider reopening section 14.1. We certainly would not want that kind of inconsistency to appear in the legislation. We know it wreaks havoc in the lives of legislative counsel to have to respond to these kinds of inconsistencies, and with lawyers trying to interpret why we have passed two sections that are not consistent with each other.

I simply request, and of course in a rhetorical manner, that the member for Mississauga South consider reopening her amendment on section 14.1 so that subsection 13(3) and section 14.1 would then be in concert with each other.

Mr Turnbull: There is no doubt about it. It has already been mentioned both by Mrs Marland and Ms Poole that there is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' money going on here if the government has already decided it is going to ram through its amendments.

Ms Harrington: That is not what I said.

Mr Turnbull: It is quite obvious, when you say it was a mistake that the democratic process carried an amendment today. You referred to it as a mistake.

Ms Harrington: I did not.

Mr Turnbull: Yes, you did. Taxpayers should be fully aware that it is costing literally thousands of dollars each day that we go on. There are the salaries, the television crew, the translators and the hydro.

Mr Mammoliti: Reopen it.

Mr Turnbull: We have another member saying, "Reopen the one we did." If we reopen it then we reopen everything, including the government ones you have forced through so far.

Interjection: Don't be ridiculous.


Mr Turnbull: It is ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous. You think it is ridiculous when we are acting within the democratic process. The sooner the people of Ontario see that socialists do not believe in the democratic process, the better. We need an election because you people are absolutely out of control. You have a huge deficit because of your mismanagement, and now we have a fiscal crisis and you are wasting taxpayers' money.

Mr Mammoliti: Point of order, Mr Chair: I do not think the deficit is relevant to subsection 13(3).

Mr Turnbull: Wasting taxpayers' money is relevant to this whole conversation.

The Chair: I tend to agree that we should at least come back to a more direct discussion of subsection 13(3).

Mr Turnbull: Subsection 13(3) is a technical aspect put in to acknowledge the clause that was accepted this morning. To suggest it was somehow a mistake that the democratic process worked makes a sham out of these whole hearings. It is perfectly reasonable that we should require that the minister attend to tell us exactly what she is going to accept, if anything, of the opposition position.

Taxpayers should be absolutely foaming at the mouth over the fact that we are having this absolute waste of time, this circus, while we discuss this. The comments that have been made here today are quite ludicrous. We are told it was a mistake that it passed this morning. It was not a mistake; it was the democratic process, that same democratic process that with 23% of the electorate voted these clowns in as a government.

Mr Abel: No, it was 38%.

Mr Turnbull: No, it was 38.1% of the people who cast their vote. It was only 23% of the eligible voters who voted for you, less than a quarter of the people, and people are disgusted with you.

Mr Mammoliti: What does the past election have to do with subsection 13(3)? Mr Chair, I would say that is out of order.

Mrs Marland: At least the election was democratic.

Ms Poole: On a point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Yes, on the same point of order.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, the question was just asked as a point of order, "What does subsection 13(3) have to do with the election?" If it were not for the election, this government would not be in a position to defeat subsection 13(3).

The Chair: I would appreciate it if we could come back most directly to subsection 13(3). Members know the process of going through clause-by-clause. We stood down section 1, which is the proper place for us to place our philosophical arguments around the total bill. At that time, I would entertain wider arguments. I hope at this time we could restrict it as much as possible to subsection 13(3).

Mr Turnbull: I will conclude by saying that I am of the opinion that if they do not pass subsection 13(3), there will be an inconsistency, but it does not invalidate what we have passed this morning.

Ms Harrington: Mr Chair, may I as a point of order ask the legal counsel again if she could verify whether it is in fact inconsistent?

Ms Baldwin: I think we would still have a perfectly well functioning statute if subsection 13(3) were not amended and did not include section 14.1. It would be the case that section 14.1 would be treated differently than the other grounds for an increase above guideline for a landlord, in the sense that it would not be true for section 14.1 that a rent officer would not be allowed to consider a matter under section 14.1 if it is not specifically set out as a ground, but the statute would still be okay.

Mr Turnbull: But it would be inconsistent.

Mrs Marland: Maybe now that we are into this convoluted mode of dealing with motions and voting, and the democratic process is being thrown out the window by this government, perhaps somebody speaking for the government can explain to me what is going to happen with related clauses, sections and amendments to this bill, as we go through, that will change in committee of the whole House.

If we are going to operate this in an "I did not get you here but I will get you there" mentality, how do they plan to deal with the bill before third reading in committee of the whole House? Do they plan to go through the entire bill in committee of the whole House to make all the necessary cleanup amendments and changes so it focuses only on the position they wanted from the very beginning? If they were to lose other amendments in a legal democratic vote such as they lost this morning, where there is an interrelationship between those sections and other sections further in the bill -- perhaps the parliamentary assistant can explain.

Mr White: On a point of order, Mr Chair: The parliamentary assistant has been quite clear on subsection 13(3). She has given us some suggestions about this particular section. I am sure she will be equally clear in regard to other sections, but right now we are dealing with subsection 13(3) which she has been clear about.

Mrs Marland: Was that a point of order?

The Chair: If Mr White was saying the member should return more directly to subsection 13(3), then it probably was a point of order.

Mrs Marland: I am asking the parliamentary assistant, if subsection 13(3) were to pass, and the position of the government is that -- obviously this is another Liberal opposition motion and this morning's motion that passed happened to be a Conservative motion. If this motion on subsection 13(3) passes, are we into another box where after we vote in favour of the Liberal motion we get another handout from the government members that it does not matter because they are going to fix it in committee of the whole House? If he could answer that question, then I want to know the answer to the question about where sections relate to other sections, as subsection 13(3) does. Even though Mr White does not understand that, subsection 13(3) does relate to another section in the bill.

Mr White: Subsection 13(3) is a clarification.

Mrs Marland: I was not asking him. He does not understand.

Mr White: Other sections are not relevant.

The Chair: You may continue, Mrs Marland.

Mrs Marland: I would like to ask the minister what she will do in the process of this piece of legislation through this committee, where 13(3) gives us an example of a relationship with another section that has already been passed.

Ms Harrington: I would like to respond. When I first made my statement about this particular amendment, I really am sorry if I gave the impression that it did not matter, or if in any way I gave the impression that this could be done easily or lightly, because obviously that is not the way it should be handled. Your question about related parts of the legislation -- it is very lucky that we are at this point dealing with subsection 13(3) because this is the only related piece of the bill. For the rest, as I understand it, there would be no problem dealing with it, so I think your concern that we may be headed into other complications within the bill is not so. It is coincidental that we are going back to 13(3) and we can clarify that it was not the government's intention to have interest rate pass-throughs. We are not supporting 13(3). But you are saying that vote will cause other problems with other amendments or legislation and the answer is no.

Mrs Marland: The member for Eglinton asked a question of legislative counsel a few moments ago, when the clerk had to be out of the room, about what happens when this Liberal motion is dealt with. The legislative counsel said she would like to wait until the clerk came back in to answer that question. I wonder if she would like to answer that question.

Ms Baldwin: Some time after that question was asked, Mr Turnbull asked essentially the same question and I answered it. There would not be a problem. The provisions are not inconsistent in that sense.

Mrs Marland: Okay.

The Chair: Could we deal directly then with 13(3)? Further questions or comments on 13(3), Ms Poole's motion?


Mr Turnbull: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I have Mr Mammoliti saying, "Why don't we ask the janitors or somebody like this?" when we are asking legislative counsel, and saying that is a waste of taxpayers' money. Will you please instruct him why we have legislative counsel here?

The Chair: That is not a point of order. You are out of order, Mr Turnbull.

Ms Poole: So that we can get on with other business, and since there seems to be a strong feeling by the opposition that we would like the minister to address this matter on 13(3), could we have unanimous consent to stand it down till Monday when the minister is here?

The Chair: Do we have unanimous consent?

Mr Abel: No.

The Chair: No, we do not.

Ms Poole: Would that be the type of cooperation the government members are talking about, when they say no to what I think is a perfectly reasonable request by the opposition?

The Chair: You are to speak just to question 13(3). Further questions or comments?

Mrs Marland: I move adjournment of this committee until the minister is able to attend to answer the question on process.

The Chair: Under the definition of intervening business, there has been none take place. I cannot entertain that motion.

Mrs Marland: Could you give us the definition of intervening business?

The Chair: Intervening business would be something we would record in the minutes. Debate does not qualify as something that would be entered into the minutes. It would have to be a vote or something else that would be recorded by the clerk.

Mrs Marland: Recorded vote.

The Chair: We have had a request for a recorded vote on Ms Poole's motion on 13(3). All those in favour --

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, do you not ask the question at this stage whether we are going to have a vote on this particular matter?

The Chair: We are. Shall section --

Ms Poole: I request a 20-minute adjournment.

The Chair: Fine. Ms Poole has requested a 20-minute adjournment. We will vote at 4:45.

The committee recessed at 1623.


The Chair: The committee will come to order. All members please take their seats. We are about to take the vote on Ms Poole's motion to amend subsection 13(3). All those in favour of Ms Poole's motion will raise their hand.

Mr Ruprecht: Will you read the motion, please?

Clerk of the Committee: Ms Poole has moved that subsection 13(3) of the bill, as reprinted to show the amendments proposed by the minister, be amended by inserting after "14" in the second line "14.1."

The committee divided on Ms Poole's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 4

Marland, Poole, Ruprecht, Turnbull.

Nays -- 6

Abel, Harrington, Lessard, Mammoliti, Owens, White.

Mrs Marland: I move adjournment of this committee until the minister can attend to explain why we should continue this process of wasting taxpayers' money when the government has no intention of doing anything other than what is printed in its bill.

The Chair: The motion is in order. Mrs Marland, could you repeat that so the clerk can copy it down so there is no confusion about what the motion is.

Mrs Marland: Certainly. I move adjournment of this committee until the minister can attend to answer the question on process and whether it is worth the investment of taxpayers' dollars to continue the committee meetings when the government has no intention of recognizing democratically -- does the clerk have some difficulty with that, about the length?

The Chair: I think the clerk has fallen a little bit behind.

Mrs Marland: Is it the length?

Mr Ruprecht: I think you changed your motion from the first one.

The Chair: Mrs Marland, you are going to attempt this again?

Mrs Marland: Yes, I am going to shorten it to make it easier. The first part would be the same, that I move adjournment of the committee until the Minister of Housing -- I guess we have to say, do we? -- can attend this hearing, this committee meeting, to answer the questions I raised earlier about process, which are on record with Hansard, dealing with the wasting of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money.

The Chair: We will just wait for one moment while the clerk records the motion. Perhaps the clerk could read it back so that we all understand what the motion is.

Clerk of the Committee: Mrs Marland moves that the committee adjourn until the Minister of Housing can attend to answer questions raised earlier on the process dealing with the waste of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money.

Mrs Marland: Raised earlier on the process and the waste -- that is right.

The Chair: Mrs Marland --

Mrs Marland: I am sorry. I think I said that I raised it earlier and it is on record in Hansard, so if there is any question about what it was, it is the questions I was asking as on the record in Hansard.

The Chair: Fine. Mrs Marland, would you wish to speak to your motion?

Mr Abel: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Is this not a motion to adjourn?

The Chair: This is a substantive motion, Mr Abel. Because there are conditions attached, it is not seen as a procedural motion.

Mr Abel: So it is debatable. Thank you.

Mrs Marland: I think the concerns I elaborated on earlier this afternoon, as I have mentioned, are on record now in Hansard.

I have a very grave concern about what has gone on in this committee today. We had a democratic vote this morning, which the government lost. We learned this afternoon that it does not matter because that vote will be reversed in committee of the whole House in the Legislature, so I believe the whole exercise of these committee meetings taking place is an absolutely indefensible waste of taxpayers' dollars.

It is obvious that the government has its agenda to pass Bill 121 in its present form, which has been printed to include its amendments. They have obviously no interest in the democratic process by allowing a vote to take place and, if they lose it, letting the intent of that vote stand. They simply will reverse it at the next stage.

I am simply suggesting that if this is the minister's intention, she is the person to come to this committee and tell us that, and we might as well forget about this stage totally now and go right to the next stage, which is committee of the whole House, and save everybody's time, money and expenditure.

I think the committee starts at 2 o'clock on Monday. If the minister can come at the beginning of that meeting, we will be able to clarify whether this is just the useless exercise and the meaningless process that today has been and therefore it would be an exercise in futility for us to continue. That is the reason for my motion.

Mr White: I think the member opposite raises a number of very substantive points. I would like to take issue with several of them. First, the debate within this committee can occur without the minister's presence. The parliamentary assistant represents her very ably and it is, after all, not the minister who votes on specific items, on specific issues, but the committee members.

All committee members are quite capable of bringing forth their ideas and their thoughts on this issue. To suggest that it is the minister alone who does so, I think demeans the role of all our committee members. As I earlier indicated, this is a bill the minister is very dedicated to seeing passed. She has participated wholeheartedly in these discussions in the past and I am very impressed with that.

The specific issue the member brings up is really a twofold one, one of the whole question of votes and of process. This is after all a parliamentary process whereby, as the parliamentary assistant points out, the committee has the opportunity to vote on sections, to pass them back to the Legislature and for there then to be opportunity for the bill to be revisited.

If the members' rights to question bills that have been passed in committee were ever prejudiced in committee of the whole House, I think she would be one of the first to stand up to indicate that this was unsupportable. This is part of the parliamentary process. When bills return to committee of the whole House, there is an opportunity for members to debate them at that point and to debate those very clauses they are concerned about.

On the issue of democracy being a wasteful process, I have in my riding a number of people of east European background and I have been very impressed with how excited they are about the capacity for democracy their friends and their families now have in their homes and their homelands and their countries of origin, in such countries as Poland, Ukraine and some of the former Yugoslavian areas. For us to say that the democratic process, the parliamentary process, is a sham, a waste of time, simply because it requires money -- these processes are important, significant investments on the part of all of us -- I think would be a severe affront to those members in my riding who come from countries where they have never had the democratic process available to them.

Further, the process we have with this bill with some 130 sections, where we have presently just finished subsection 13(3), with a scant 117 to go --

Ms Poole: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Mr White has not been on the committee every day so he would perhaps not realize that we are going back to a section that was previously stood down, so we have actually accomplished all of 17.

The Chair: Thank you for the information.

Mr White: Instead of allowing us 117 sections to go, it allows us 112 sections to go.

I think the idea of adjourning this committee's process when there is so much of this bill, which is a very important bill for the tenants and landlords, for the very economy of this province, when we have 112 or 118 sections left to debate and to examine, I think is an affront to our process, and frankly a waste of the taxpayers' dollars, as we have several weeks set aside for this process. For that very reason, the point of adjourning this debate in the face of the immense task we have in front of us I think is very unfortunate.

The Chair: I have one speaker still on the list, but we are at 5 o'clock. I will permit it if it is to be brief. Otherwise, we will adjourn.

Ms Poole: It will be quite brief.

Mr White is quite right when he says that you do not always have to measure the cost when you are talking about democracy, but he is straying from the real point of what has been happening here. When you are talking about democracy, you are talking about an attempt to bring all opinions into the forum. You are talking about trying to represent the opinions of many people, not just one particular group, and you are trying to do a balance. That is what this committee has been trying to do.

The government has remained adamant that it is going to represent the one side only. In fact, I think many tenants are very dismayed by parts of this legislation, so the government is not even doing a good job of representing the one side.

When he talks about democracy and taxpayers' dollars, he is right. We do not always count the cost, but we have to make sure the committee hearings are run efficiently. I think you would get far more cooperation from the opposition if the government would give some signal that all the work we have done in preparation and all the viewpoints we represent across the province held some sway. To date, we have not received any signal in that regard.

Like I said, we feel we are batting our heads against a brick wall. If we seem frustrated and recalcitrant, that is why. Perhaps over the weekend the government members can do some thinking about what they can offer the opposition members in the spirit of cooperation, and perhaps the opposition members can come back next week and discuss with them a more efficient way to get through this legislation and yet fully cover the debate on all the sections. I too share the frustration with the length of time and sometimes the waste of time this is taking. I hope we all do a lot of reflecting over the weekend and come back to do the taxpayers' business more efficiently, more calmly and in a more non-partisan spirit next week.

Maybe I am asking for a miracle, but I will move we adjourn on that particular note, since we are going to adjourn anyway because it is 5 o'clock.

The Chair: We have a motion on the floor. Perhaps we can deal with it.

The committee divided on Mrs Marland's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes -- 4

Marland, Poole, Ruprecht, Turnbull.

Nays -- 6

Abel, Harrington, Lessard, Mammoliti, Owen, White.

The committee adjourned at 1704.