Thursday 25 November 1993

Distribution of letter

Subcommittee report

Provincial Offences Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 47, Mr Pouliot / Loi de 1993 modifiant

des lois en ce qui concerne les infractions provinciales, projet de loi 47, M. Pouliot


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

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

*Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

*Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

*White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Offer, Steven (Mississauga North/-Nord L) for Mr Sorbara

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND) for Mr Mammoliti

Turnbull, David (York Mills PC) for Mr Arnott

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Brittan, Colin, director, integrated safety project, Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services

Burns, Ross, legal counsel, Ministry of Transportation

Fox, Larry, legal counsel, policy development division, Ministry of the Attorney General

Kormos, Peter (Welland-Thorold ND)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel:

Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

Yurkow, Russell, legislative counsel



The committee met at 1016 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The standing committee on general government will come to order. The business of the committee this morning is to deal with Bill 47, An Act to amend certain Acts in respect of the Administration of Justice. As committee members know, we're operating under an order of the House, which --

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): On a point of privilege, Mr Chair: I have to bring a very serious matter to this committee which I believe requires urgent attention by this committee. Yesterday, I believe the integrity of the committee process was breached by the release by the deputy Chair of this committee of a letter which was addressed to the Chairman of the committee, the deputy Chairman and the minister. It was a letter written by Mr Wright, the commissioner for protection of privacy legislation. He released that letter only to his own caucus, and a question ensued. The letter arrived, I believe, with the committee at 1:13 yesterday afternoon. As a consequence, I reluctantly have to request the removal of Mr Daigeler, the Vice-Chair of this committee, for this breach.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): I understand that in fact this is a significant matter and I appreciate the concern of the Conservative Party. In reviewing the letter, I checked as to how I actually received this letter. I can appreciate the concern of the Conservative Party. If a mistake was made, I apologize for this.

However, I would like to point out that the way this letter actually arrived at my desk is rather, frankly, by quite unusual circumstance, as you can see from the way this letter is addressed. It was faxed to the Chairman. It has my name on it as well. However, the room number is 1405, which is the clerk's number. So when this was faxed to me, when this arrived at my fax machine yesterday afternoon, I assumed that this was going to everybody else; that if it was faxed to me -- which is, frankly, highly unusual -- as it was faxed to two ministers as well, that this was a public document.

However, since it is a questionable matter, I certainly can understand the concern of the Conservative Party and I apologize for making it available only to my party rather than ensuring that in fact it had been, through the clerk, distributed to all members of the committee.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I wonder if I could ask -- I don't know if it's the clerk or the gentleman on the right, legislative counsel, whoever would respond. Certainly at the municipal level when correspondence is directed to a person in authority -- in this case, either the Chair or the Vice-Chair -- then the correspondence would have to flow through formal means to all members of a committee or to all members of a council. I wondered if someone could explain to me the proper process.

We have a piece of correspondence that has been directed to the Chair of this committee and also to the Vice-Chair of this particular committee, and there is no carbon copy to anybody other than the minister and the minister of government services, I guess it is, Mr Charlton and Mr Pouliot. But there's no general distribution of this, so it's obviously an official letter to those in authority on this particular committee. I wonder if somebody could explain to me what are the rules and regulations of how such pieces of correspondence are to be dealt with.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): I will certainly try to, Mr Johnson. The fax arrived in my office at 1305. As you notice, it is addressed to Mr Brown, the Chair of the committee. I have no authority to distribute this letter to the members of the committee without the authorization of the Chair, whom I called a number of times. I was not successful until a quarter to 5 last evening. I spoke to the Chair. I informed him of the letter and he gave me permission to distribute it immediately and I did that last night. Unfortunately, because of the lateness, I don't believe you have received it yet. That is why I brought it here this morning with me. But that is the process. I personally do not have the authority to distribute this letter. I did not give it to anyone and this is the only matter that arrived in my office.

Mr David Johnson: Perhaps I should clarify that I'm not questioning how the clerk has handled this, because the letter wasn't directed to the clerk in the first place. But it was directed to and was received by the Chair and the Vice-Chair, apparently, of this committee. What I'm asking is --

Clerk of the Committee: Could I correct you there, please? The letter arrived at the committee's office, which is where I reside. It did not arrive at Mr Michael Brown's office, in his own private office, but rather at the committee's office and addressed to the Chair.

Mr David Johnson: Okay, all right.

Mr Daigeler: It did arrive on my office's fax.

Mr David Johnson: So it arrived in the committee's office and it arrived on the fax of Mr Daigeler. As Vice-Chair, for example, and Mr Daigeler has spoken to this, what sort of rules and regulations govern how he deals with a piece of official correspondence of that nature? Can somebody advise me? Maybe it's to legal counsel; I don't know. It seems to me that, there must be a formal method for dealing with literature of this nature. What's happened is that before being brought to the attention of this committee, it was dealt with in the House, it was alluded to in the House. I doubt that's proper procedure. Can somebody comment on that?

Mr Russell Yurkow: From our office, that's a procedural matter that is not within our jurisdiction to comment on. We can only speak to the legal contents of the bill itself and not procedural matters.

Mr David Johnson: Can somebody comment to me with regard to the procedures that govern us here, whether they're House procedures or committee procedures? Surely, a piece of correspondence that's directed to a Chair of a committee should come to the committee before it's dealt with in the Legislature. Are there not such regulations?

Clerk of the Committee: I'm not aware of any, sir.

Mr David Johnson: Would that at least be the policy or the process that has been used in the past? Mr Chair, I just think it's wrong when we're having something like this before us and a piece of correspondence goes to the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the committee. It's directed to this particular committee, the standing committee on general government, and I, for one, would like to know what the processes are. I suspect there must be some rule or regulation that governs how these things are dealt with and I would ask the staff to do a little bit of research on this and let me know, because I think this matter should have been brought back here rather than being dealt with in the House. I'd appreciate other comments on that. I think the process has been abused.

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I share this concern. This letter was addressed to the Chair and the Vice-Chair of this standing committee and it would seem to me that the Chair and the Vice-Chair have the same obligation as the Speaker in the House to act on behalf of all members.

I didn't receive this communication and I believe that using it in a partisan way compromises this committee. I'm very disturbed by it, because this committee is supposed to function in a positive way to benefit all of our constituents. If one member of the committee, particularly the Vice-Chair or the Chair, is withholding information from the committee or misusing information, that puts the whole committee process into serious question. We need to address that, because personally I feel, and I think others feel, the committee process is far too important to be playing games with it.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): Mr Chairman, the letter is addressed to you, as Chair, "Mr Michael A. Brown, Chair." It's also addressed to Hans Daigeler as "Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on General Government" and, as Mr Johnson has indicated, with a copy to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Pouliot, and Mr Charlton, presumably in his capacity as House leader. This is a letter, when it's read, which is obviously written by Mr Wright in his capacity as commissioner on privacy to assist this committee in its deliberations with respect to photo-radar. It wasn't designed as research for the Liberal Party. Mr Conway, in his usual excellent way, asked a good question in the House yesterday, and that was the basis of this letter.

We're not talking about the merits of the question. We're talking about information that was presented by the commissioner to assist this committee in its deliberation and not to be used in a partisan manner, at least until perhaps after the committee has dealt with the letter or dealt with the subject. I suppose it's free for any member to do whatever he or she wishes with it, but technically, in my view, it's not even available to the public, it's not even available to other committee members.

I can share one experience where Mrs Marland, as Chair of agencies, whatever that committee's called, received some information with respect to the Workers' Compensation Board. That information she kept to herself until it was made available for the committee. She didn't even make it available to the members of the Progressive Conservative Party, although she certainly had the ability to do that. She kept it until all members of the committee saw it at the same time. I think it's rather unusual that the first time for all members to hear of this letter is when it's being read by Mr Conway or referred to by Mr Conway in support of a question during question period involving photo-radar.

The clerk of the committee has indicated that he knows of no such rules or laws that preclude Mr Daigeler from releasing this letter. However, there is tradition in this place, there is a certain decorum in this place by which, hopefully, material that's made available to -- we on this committee entrust you, Mr Chair, to do certain things on our behalf. We entrust the Vice-Chair to do certain things on our behalf. I think it's most improper. I think that trust has been -- I hate to use the word "violated," a strong word, but certainly the ability or the power that we gave the Vice-Chair has been abused.

Presumably during these deliberations on photo-radar this letter will be dealt with, notwithstanding the fact it's already been dealt with in the House. I am concerned with that, the conduct of a Vice-Chair using for partisan purposes a letter which should have been seen by members of this committee in our capacity as members of this committee in advance of our committee reaching this process.

I remind you, Mr Chair, that this letter is not directed to the Liberal Party of the province of Ontario. It's directed to you and to Mr Daigeler in your capacities as Chair and Vice-Chair, and my comments are not towards you because I don't think you were involved in this. But this letter is directed to the Chair and the Vice-Chair in your capacities as Chair and Vice-Chair.

I would like to hear some sort of comment from the clerk perhaps. He has indicated that there are no rules that preclude the Chair or Vice-Chair from doing this sort of thing, but surely there must be some sort of tradition. Perhaps I shouldn't be asking the clerk. Perhaps the clerk should be consulting with you or advising you. But I would like to know what the tradition in this place is. You have been in this place much longer than I and most members of this committee, but my understanding is that this sort of thing is not done in the tradition of this Legislature nor in this committee.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I think the explanation given to us by Mr Daigeler is understandable. I don't see any confidential stamp on the letter. My colleague assumed that it was available to all members of this committee, and I suppose this is why he brought it to the attention of not our House leader but our deputy leader.

I think Mr Daigeler's explanation is acceptable. I realize that the Tories are a little disturbed. I think what's really disturbing to the Conservatives is that it was raised in the House in the form of a question and they didn't have an opportunity to raise that very same question, because I'm sure they would have raised it. That's what's so ticklish to the third party. I think we should put aside our party colours and get on with the business at hand.

Mr Daigeler: As I indicated at the beginning of my remarks, I do see the seriousness of this matter. Frankly, in reviewing this matter, I wish I had consulted with the clerk to make sure that in fact this did go to all members of the committee.

As was indicated by the clerk himself, there is no practice. In fact I have, never received such a letter before, and therefore I simply assumed this was going to everybody else because it arrived on my fax.

It says, "Dear Mr Brown." It does have my name as Vice-Chair at the top here, and frankly this is highly unusual. I do acknowledge the fact that obviously the Chair and the Vice-Chair have to act in a non-partisan manner, and in reviewing this matter I concur with the views that have been expressed that as a matter of practice it would obviously be preferable to immediately make this available to all members of the committee. In that regard, I am apologizing and have apologized. It is up to the committee, of course, to deal with this matter as it wishes.

The Chair: Further discussion?

Mr Turnbull: Before I go further with my comments, I believe it would be appropriate perhaps if the Chair would respond to the questions that my colleague Mr Tilson put to you during his discourse.

The Chair: Mr Turnbull, I will be pleased to respond when in fact the Chair makes the ruling.

Mr Tilson: A point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: A point of order on a point of privilege?

Mr Tilson: Which one will I take? Just to clarify, I did ask you a question, and it went unanswered.

The Chair: I will try to do it today.

Mr Tilson: With respect, I would rather that the comment be made in advance of you making any ruling. In other words, for information purposes of this committee -- and I know the clerk has now had an opportunity to tell you his thoughts on the tradition of the province of Ontario, the Legislature and this committee on this topic -- I think, with respect, that should be given before you make any ruling on this point of order.

Clerk of the Committee: Regarding your question, Mr Tilson, as to our rules regarding the clerk's functions, with any material arriving on the clerk's desk that is to be dealt with by the committee, he is to contact the Chair and request instruction on how to proceed.

In this case, as soon as I received the letter, I contacted the Chair. He was in his riding. I had difficulty contacting him. I had to call him at home, and the only time I could speak to him regarding this letter was at quarter to 5. As soon as I informed him of the letter, he gave me authorization to deliver the letter to all the members of the committee. No one received a copy from my office. My understanding is that the Vice-Chair received a fax separate of the clerk.

The Chair: If I could be helpful here, Mr Tilson, you were requesting me to respond. It has been my practice and I believe the practice of chairs in this place for as long as I've been here, anyway, and I presume much longer than that, that the Chair act as a neutral party as he sits here, much the way the Speaker does in the Legislature.

When correspondence has come to my attention where it's been addressed to the committee or myself as Chair of the committee, I have made a practice of instructing the clerk, and the clerk can confirm this, and of authorizing the release to all members of the committee simultaneously of information that might be useful. I have not necessarily held it to the next committee meeting, because by doing that you preclude members from giving some thought to correspondence that would be before the committee. But my practice has been to authorize the release to all members of the committee simultaneously of any correspondence that the committee has received. If that's helpful, Mr Tilson, that's the practice I have followed.

I should point out that in this case the clerk was looking for instructions from the Chair, not from the Vice-Chair.

Further on the discussion? Mr Offer and then --

Mr Turnbull: Excuse me, I had another point.

The Chair: I'm sorry. I forgot that we were having a point of order on a point of privilege.

Mr Turnbull: No, no. I was joining the debate on this matter.

The Chair: But Mr Tilson was on a point of order. I just lost track.

Mr Turnbull: Yes. Essentially, much of what I wanted to say has already been said, but I have to take exception to what Mr Grandmaître said, that this was being made into a partisan issue. The facts are that the NDP as well as the Conservatives were denied access to this information.

Mr Daigeler is an experienced member of this Legislature. In fact, of all the members in this committee, the Liberals are the most extensively versed in the ways of the Legislature. The fact that a communication which essentially is privileged by common acceptance to a committee Chair or Vice-Chair until such time as it is either released to the whole committee or, alternatively, until there has been some discussion in the committee has been released by the Vice-Chair unfortunately brings me to the conclusion that the Vice-Chair has no choice but to resign. He has violated that trust.

I believe that perhaps Mr Daigeler, upon reconsideration of his position, may wish to tender his resignation. Failing that, I would propose that the motion go forward to a vote on the matter. I know Mr Daigeler to be an intelligent person who has experience of the legislative process and he is well aware of the fact that committees are supposed to be non-partisan. We all know that isn't the case. Nevertheless, when you start having the Chair or the Vice-Chair releasing information, that goes beyond the bounds of what has been the common practice in this assembly.

Mr Tilson has already made reference to the fact that Mrs Marland, several weeks ago, received correspondence from the Provincial Auditor with respect to the WCB and withheld that from the Conservative members until such time as she had been instructed by the committee as to what should be done, and then it was released simultaneously to all members of the committee. That is appropriate and that is evenhanded and that is part of the process that we must as legislators protect. Otherwise you might as well wind down the committees completely.


Mr Daigeler: Mr Chairman, could we have a recess for 20 minutes?

The Chair: We would need a motion to do that. We have Mr Offer and Mr Fletcher wishing to speak.

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): Obviously, much has been said about this. What I am hearing from the Chair and the clerk is that there are certain rules and regulations that the clerk must follow, and from the Chair I am hearing that as far as the Chair and the Vice-Chair are concerned, there is a practice, obviously, that is followed but nothing that is set down. The thing that went through my mind was that I didn't actually know that. This might be a matter that in principle should be sent to the Legislative Assembly committee with respect to reviewing the roles, responsibilities and procedure for Chairs and Vice-Chairs.

I say that because I think there is some room for that type of discussion, especially since individuals are now sending things by letter and by fax. I think we're all the recipient of letters and faxes all the time. We respond to them in the usual and normal course, and I think maybe we have to deal with that particular issue.

That's all I actually wanted to say on this motion because of the fact that I think there is some room, that matters of this kind in dealing with the roles, responsibilities and procedures of Chairs and Vice-Chairs maybe should be reviewed by the Legislative Assembly committee, which I think is the one that's most responsible for reviewing new things that come up.

Mr Daigeler: On a point of privilege, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Another point of privilege: Mr Daigeler.

Mr Daigeler: I wonder whether it's agreeable to the committee to provide me with an opportunity to reflect on this matter until this afternoon and we deal with the motion, if there is one on the floor, this afternoon.

The Chair: There actually is no motion on the floor. What I do have is a point of privilege by Mr Turnbull. Mr Fletcher has indicated that he wishes to speak next, but certainly the Chair is at the behest of the committee. If I have unanimous consent, we can defer further discussion of this matter until this afternoon, if someone would like to ask for that.

Mr Turnbull: Preparatory to that, I would like to make a motion that Mr Daigeler be removed from his post as Vice-Chair in view of this breach of confidentiality of material.

The Chair: I have to deal with the privilege part first, and I'm still hearing arguments regarding the privilege. Mr Fletcher; then we could entertain motions, if that's --

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): I'll wait for the motion. I'll speak to the motion if there is going to be a motion.

The Chair: This is an important and significant matter, and I think it behooves the Chair to listen to all arguments put forward by various members of the committee before I rule. Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. I don't believe Mr Daigeler meant any disrespect or any misuse of information. As far as I can see, I've been on committees with Mr Daigeler before and I don't think he's that kind of person.

But following on what Mr Offer was saying about perhaps how there should be some rules and regulations, I know that in certain circumstances when there is a breach, or a perceived breach, persons will step down from their position until all evidence has been heard and until they're either reconfirmed to sit back in that position or told not to sit back in that position.

Following what Mr Offer was saying, I think that is a good idea, but I do believe that at the present time with what has happened, since everyone did not have the information at the same time, since it was addressed to just two people and not members of the committee as is usually the practice when there is correspondence, it's to the Chairperson and members of the committee, I think it would be appropriate that Mr Daigeler remove himself as Vice-Chair until there are some regulations or some rules or what have you, some investigation and some determination as to exactly what information a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson can use and how they can use it and how it should be distributed.

I agree that there is a lot of information that does come our way through faxes, through letters. Many times I receive things in my office for committee purposes that are not addressed to me. They're addressed to the Chairperson of the committee and they usually say, "For the purposes of such-and-such a committee" on it.

I can see where there could be some misunderstanding as to whether or not this information had been sent to every committee member. I'm not sure whether Mr Daigeler should have gone around and made sure that every member had this information before he used it. I think we should have some determination from a body other than this committee.

The Chair: I have Mr Morrow, Mr Wessenger, Mr Johnson and Mr Tilson, I believe? Yes.

Mr Mark Morrow (Wentworth East): My understanding this morning is that Mr Daigeler apologized properly. He made a mistake, he recognized the mistake and the committee understands that he made a mistake. I really don't understand why we're going through all this.

We do have business to attend to and Mr Daigeler is obviously sorry for what he's done. I know I've had dealings with Mr Daigeler before and he's very honourable in what he does. I really don't see the need, after this debate is over, to put a motion forward to have him removed as Vice-Chair. He's done the honourable thing and apologized. I think that's all we need to hear.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I'm just going to reiterate the same position. I think it's clear a mistake was made here. Mr Daigeler, being an honourable gentleman, has recognized he made a mistake. I don't think the mistake is of such a serious nature to warrant his resignation or removal from the chair. I think an apology is sufficient in these circumstances. We have to recognize all of us make mistakes from time to time because of perceptions we have. If that perception is of a minor nature, which I consider it in this circumstance, we ought to accept an apology as being sufficient. I think we've all learned a lesson from this and perhaps it should be made clear to all chairs and vice-chairs what their obligations are. That would be the best way to deal with it, to make that clear to all chairs and vice-chairs so that we don't have other people, again because of mistaken perceptions, making a mistake.

Mr David Johnson: Mr Daigeler's name has come up, but this really isn't a personal issue; it's a process that needs to be clarified. The kind of proposal that Mr Offer has put forward and Mr Fletcher has added some words to outline I think perhaps a proper way to consider an issue that everybody acknowledges is very important to this committee and to the House in general. That process is to have the matter referred to a committee and have full discussion to establish the proper process for dealing with correspondence that comes in through formal means, correspondence to the Chair or Vice-Chair, and how that correspondence should be handled. Mr Fletcher has indicated that during processes of that nature, where there has been a particular instance that has raised the issue, then it would not be uncommon for the person involved to step aside while that process is going through.


Perhaps it's easy to minimize the impact when you look at the circumstances of one particular case, but it's so important that we establish a proper process. It's not just the ticklish situation because the Conservatives didn't get to ask the question. It deals with how correspondence comes to the elected members of this Legislature and it deals with how committees function and how committees get to receive information and deal with information and then make the decision in the manner in which the House has anticipated that the committees would be able to deal with that information and recommend actions back to the House.

It gets to the question of, are formal positions able to be used for political purposes or, as has been suggested, are those formal positions, Chair, Vice-Chair, for example, of a committee -- and the Chair's position is not in question here certainly, but --

Mr Daigeler: On a point of privilege, Mr Chairman: If I could just clarify, I certainly agree with Mr Tilson that the position of Chair or Vice-Chair should not be used for partisan purposes. I am simply making the point that I was under the understanding, because this says, "Dear Mr Brown," it was faxed to room 1405, which is the clerk's office, and it was faxed to my office as well, that this was now a public document and not any more a document that was simply confidential up until that point.

I certainly agree with Mr Tilson that any correspondence that is officially brought to the Chair or Vice-Chair should not be used in a partisan manner.

Mr David Johnson: I really don't wish to get into an argument here about this and that. I think this is a matter that really should be discussed, because if there aren't rules and regulations -- certainly, as Mr Tilson alluded to, there's a tradition and a history, and I think they can be converted into rules and regulations so that we do know how to deal with them. The letter was sent specifically to the Chair and the Vice-Chair and it's pretty clear on the bottom that the carbon copies have not gone to the members of the Legislature but have just gone to two specific people in very senior positions and not to the members of the Legislature in general.

But the main issue here that this raises and that perhaps goes beyond this particular case again involves how official correspondence directed to a person in authority, whether it's the Chair or the Vice-Chair, is formally dealt with. I think it's necessary to clarify that and nip anything in the bud. Mr Offer, I think, has indicated that faxes are very common now, that the kind of environment that we live in as elected representatives is changing quickly, and I think it's important to establish those kinds of ground rules.

If they are not, then it lays open the possibility, and I'm not saying that's what happened in this particular case, that information could be used by someone in authority as a Vice-Chairman or a Chairman for political purposes, for press releases, for press conferences, before the committee has a chance to get the material, before members of the House in general have a chance to get the material.

It was used in question period; it could be used indeed to withhold information or suppress information that could be embarrassing. I'm looking down the road and, I'm sure, beyond what was ever intended in this particular case, but these kinds of things can happen unless there are pretty clear rules and regulations.

I think all of us around here today have expressed, without exception, that that shouldn't be the case, that in a position of Chair or Vice-Chair, when information comes, it should be used for nonpartisan purposes. It should be focused back to this committee. I think what's being suggested by a few people around here is that the way to do that and set up that process is to have a committee consider it. Mr Daigeler may choose to step down while this consideration is going on. That seems to be quite a reasonable way to go.

Mr Tilson: I hope Mr Daigeler doesn't think this is a personal attack on him; it certainly isn't. I think all members of this committee respect Mr Daigeler and the work he does. We may not agree philosophically with what he does, but we respect him. That's not the issue.

In my short career in this place, and that applies to pretty well everyone in this room, I've never seen this happen. Material comes to chairs of committees, vice-Chairs of committees -- the process could be exaggerated even further. If we as a committee accept this, what's to preclude a Chair, whether it be a Conservative Chair, a New Democratic Chair, a Liberal Chair, from withholding information for a period of time for whatever purpose, for political purposes? It might be that a Chair who may be a member of the government may receive information that could be embarrassing to the government of the day and may choose simply not to inform the other members of the committee. That is a concern as well.

I do get back to the history of this place and the traditions of this place. I've never seen it happen. I've never heard of it happening, this type of thing where a person, in the capacity as Chair or Vice-Chair, receives information which, whether it embarrasses the government or whether it's critical of the government or whether it's used for political purposes, is taken for that purpose and given to their party for political purposes in the House.

A mistake was made. We've all said a mistake was made and I will accept that Mr Daigeler made a mistake. It's very tempting to see a letter like this and give it to the leader of my party or the House leader of my party. It's very tempting, if I were Chair, to do that.

I give the example of Ms Gigantes when she was Minister of Health. She made a mistake as Minister of Health. She released a name in the House that she shouldn't have released and I think, realizing this, she quite properly resigned her position in the House. We may have made political remarks, but we respected the fact that she made a mistake. We make mistakes. It's very rare, but occasionally even the Conservatives make mistakes.

I don't mean to be flippant, Mr Chair, on a matter which we do consider serious. This process has been wronged, the process of the duty by chairs and vice-chairs to the members of the committees. This process has been wronged in the same way, if I could made an analogy, that Ms Gigantes inadvertently released a name in the House. The process was wronged and she acted quite appropriately.

The Chair: Is there further discussion on Mr Turnbull's point of privilege? If not, the Chair will reserve his decision on this. This is a significant and important matter and I would like to have the opportunity to confer with people from the Clerk's office so that we might have any proper precedent, authorities and traditions, available to the Chair to make the ruling.

I will say that in my experience here, however, what we're dealing with is a very difficult and thorny question that I think we as members of the Legislature will probably have to address, and that is really the position of Vice-Chair. The Chair's position has been quite clear and well defined here. The position of Vice-Chair is a more difficult position to deal with, because often the Vice-Chair spends significant time as even the critic of a bill, as in this case, and I think that's what will have to be looked into.

For the moment, I think the most prudent course of action is for me to reserve judgement until I have time to confer with the authorities in this place.

Moving on, back to Bill 47, An Act to amend certain Acts in respect of the Administration of Justice.


Mr Turnbull: Mr Chair, I believe it is appropriate for us to handle the subcommittee's report with respect to these committee hearings. It should have been handled before the committee hearings so that we can organize our affairs. I would just like to read the report of the subcommittee.

The Chair: Mr Turnbull, as you will note by the agenda, that is the first item for consideration this morning.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, before you do that, could I speak on a point of order? I'm not normally a member of this committee, nor is Mr Offer. I am here as a critic for the Conservative Party with respect to the Environmental Bill of Rights, which this committee was in the process of dealing with.

There was a motion by this committee that we begin the clause-by-clause deliberations with respect to Bill 26 on the 18th, this Thursday past. We did that. That debate continues. As well, there was an amendment to the bill which was on the floor and Mrs Mathyssen made a motion that the question be put. I asked that this matter be caucused, and that process is still under way.

I suppose technically there are still a few minutes left in that period of time, but we are now in the middle of a vote. This committee is now in the middle of a vote and cannot, I would submit, stop a vote and jump into something else simply because there's some motion of the House that's going to refer some matter to this committee. This committee is currently, at this moment, in the middle of a vote.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Mr Chair, I want to comment on something else.

The Chair: On Mr Tilson's point of order?

Mr Dadamo: No.

The Chair: It's a different matter? Fine. Mr Tilson would know that the committee is acting under an order of the House. We are acting properly. If I were to rule on that motion, we should have ruled on this an hour ago.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, that was on a point of order. I would submit that we are at this very moment in the middle of a vote, and at the very least this vote should be taken.

The Chair: We are acting under an order of the House. When the committee next deals with the Environmental Bill of Rights, then we will be taking a vote.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, with respect, we may well be dealing with Bill 47, as directed by the House, but before we do that, I would submit this committee is in the middle of a vote.

The Chair: I made the ruling. Thank you. Mr Dadamo.

Mr Dadamo: We're here to deal with photo-radar. We have staff from MTO and the Attorney General's office this morning. I want to stress to the committee members as well that we have a couple of days left, in a very crucial time, to complete photo-radar. I know the critic will understand this. We have today, this afternoon and next Thursday, and that'll be it. We've had sufficient time to debate it in the House, five days, and we've debated it to death. We need to get on, sir.

Mr Tilson: Give me a break. We haven't debated it to death at all.


The Chair: The Chair is attempting to get started. We will deal with the subcommittee report on Bill 47, An Act to amend certain Acts in respect of the Administration of Justice. All members have the subcommittee report in front of them. Would a member of the subcommittee like to move its adoption? Would you like to read it into the record, Mr Turnbull?

Mr Turnbull: The motion reads:

"That because there is no consensus on how to proceed in subcommittee, we agreed that there is not adequate time as a committee to deal with Bill 47, therefore we recommended that the House reconsider its resolution of November 16, 1993."

Mr Brown, when the subcommittee met to consider the ordering of business for Bill 47, there was, as is in the motion, no consensus. There was great concern that with two days in committee there was not sufficient time to even fully consider the clause-by-clause. This is a very significant bill, which has wide-ranging implications not only to matters regarding the administration of justice but also considerations of possible charter challenges.

There has been insufficient time for the clause-by-clause, but most significantly we have the public clamouring to be heard on this issue. In this box here, I have 126 letters which I have received either by mail or by fax. Of these 126 letters, only two people are in support of photo-radar. I have received somewhere between 75 and 100 phone calls at my office on this issue. Of those phone calls, only one person was in favour.

Overwhelmingly, people are demanding public hearings, meaningful public hearings, and yet we have been given insufficient time for even clause-by-clause of this very significant bill, which will undoubtedly be subject to a charter challenge. In fact, the Attorney General has already admitted that she acknowledges there will be a charter challenge of this.

I would like to just read briefly from a letter that I received:

"During the election, you promised" -- this being the present government -- "repeatedly that you would consult widely with us on all legislation. That impressed us. Now we find you are ramming through Bill 47, with no public hearings or input. And what does Bill 47 contain? A major tax initiative cunningly hidden behind the cloak of public safety.

"Bushwah, sir. In your increasingly desperate search for money, your government is set to pervert traditions of British common law dating back to the Magna Carta. I shouldn't have to remind you that we are all innocent until proven guilty, and fining/taxing someone for simply owning a car that was photographed in a compromising situation is draconian."

Skipping down to another paragraph in it, it says:

"Not only that, but your own Attorney General has admitted that this bill is likely to be challenged. Why push through legislation that is vulnerable to both the charter and the Constitution? The defence of such a challenge will cost Ontario taxpayers millions, which we can ill afford, and if it is overturned, the Supreme Court would hopefully order restitution."

In the light of this overwhelming response from the public that they want meaningful public hearings, I suggest that the motion by the subcommittee that longer hearings be held -- preferably it should be during the recess so that we can advertise widely and allow public input so that people are aware that these hearings are being conducted, and then have a meaningful clause-by-clause of a bill which is some 20 pages long and has implications right through the whole administration of justice in this province.


Mr Fletcher: Listening to the members opposite is like listening to what they were saying in the House before when this debate was going on. The opposition has had a lot of time to debate this, and as far as I can see, they seem to be stalling on an initiative of this government.

Mr Turnbull: The public haven't had any opportunity, sir.

The Chair: Mr Fletcher has the floor.

Mr Fletcher: We've spent about five days on second reading debate and the opposition wouldn't agree to end debate. Then as a repetition of everything that is being said, they call it a tax grab, a hidden tax grab.

The fact of the matter is that with 1,100 fatalities a year on our highways and over 90,000 injuries on our highways, this becomes an issue of highway safety. Ontario is not the first jurisdiction to move into photo-radar. I think it's time that the opposition stopped its stalling tactics and got on with what we're supposed to be doing, and that is promoting safety on the highways.

If we look at what the Ministry of Transportation is doing and take it as a package, not only photo-radar but licences -- we've introduced the graduated licences for young people -- that's part of making the highways safer and also trying to protect lives on the highways.

An automobile and driving is not a right; it's a privilege. That privilege carries with it some responsibility, and that responsibility is to obey the laws of the highway. If people are going to consistently violate the laws on the highway and drive tons of metal hurtling down the road at speeds that can cause death and serious injury, then I think the government must react responsibility, and that's what this government is doing. I believe that the opposition, especially on the Conservative side, is listening to the voices of those who do not wish to obey the laws of our society and do not wish to obey the laws of the road.

I know some police officers who just shake their heads when they see what is going on, the carnage that is going on on the highways. It's ridiculous. I drive the 401 frequently, and with some of the antics that are going on on the highways, I just want to get off. There are a lot of people who wish to get off the highways and use other roads because they are not safe. Not everyone is a lawbreaker, not everyone is doing it, but those who endanger themselves and other people should be brought under control. I think photo-radar is another step in that direction of controlling the safety of our highways.

I can't agree with the subcommittee report whatsoever. I think we should continue and move along with this piece of legislation and have it enacted.

Mr Dadamo: I would have thought that the critic for the Tory party was more tolerant of what we'd like to do. We've stressed over and over again that this is part of our safety initiative package. As my colleague had mentioned, it's part of the RIDE program, it's part of the graduated licensing program, and photo-radar is not the tax grab they have made it out to be in the Legislature on recent days.

In the province of Ontario, we're talking about 1,100 fatalities a year. We know that speed kills. We're merely trying to slow people down. There are some states that have, in the median, empty police cruisers. Instinctively, it slows you down for a while. Photo-radar is meant to do that. Consciously, we want people to realize that going over the speed limit perhaps a little bit, sometimes significantly, will increase the opportunity for collision.

There are about 90,000 injuries in Ontario every year. It costs society about $9 billion, so we all pay. In a time of recession, depression -- and it continues and we certainly don't have to preach that to anyone -- we can ill afford, and there's no pun intended, to spend $9 billion a year because people are having auto accidents, and a lot of that is due to speed.

I want to reiterate, for those who may have walked in late, that we've had five days' debate on this in the House. I think that's sufficient. I think that's more than enough in debate. We've been kind enough to give information to the critics. They have most of the information that we have. We're not hiding anything. I'm sure that many of their members, if they have conversations one on one, will say clearly that what the government is trying to do is not hidden; it's not a hidden agenda.

Photo-radar works in Australia. It works in New Zealand. There are states that have it. Alberta has it. British Columbia has it. Read the reports. The numbers drop significantly at the end of the year. People do at some point realize, "If I'm going to take this particular highway over and over again, whether I'm going to work, whether I'm driving to the cottage or whether I'm going visiting, and if I know the machine is going to be there, then I think I should slow down." There are radio stations now that tell you where the radar traps are anyway. Whether it's somebody stopping you in the flesh or whether it's going to be the machine, radio stations are going to tell you that it's at this particular point, and slow down. I think that over a duration of time you will.

I really, really want to stress the point that this is a pilot project. We're talking about a six-month pilot project. We've said in the Legislature, and the minister has made it perfectly clear, that if it doesn't work in six months and the statistics don't work and we don't solve anything, then we'll stop it.

How can you go against that? We'd like to get to clause-by-clause this afternoon. We've also made it clear to the critics opposite that we have the opportunity, if they confer and concur with us, to have people come before us up until midnight, if that's what you want to do. My colleagues are prepared to do that, and we'll reserve that for next Thursday. In the six-hour time block, in 15 or 20 minutes, a procession, we'll bring them in if that's what you want. We'll sit until midnight if that's what you want. We're trying to be as flexible as we can.

We have the benefit of many people from the Ministry of Transportation this morning who are the experts. I am not and I don't purport to be. We have people from the Attorney General's office who have worked diligently on this for so many months. We have an officer from the OPP who is here this morning to answer any questions. We're ready to get down to business when you are.

We don't take this lightly. We believe the province of Ontario is ready for it. I think in your heart of hearts that you are too, but I would ask you not to stall.

Mr Turnbull: There's no stalling from us.

Mr David Johnson: We're being asked, how can we stall? How can we oppose a six-month test? I guess another question that could well be asked of this committee, of this government -- of any government, frankly -- is, how can you not listen to the people? That's basically what's being said. That's basically what Mr Turnbull is saying and that's basically, I think, what the report of the subcommittee is saying, that there just isn't enough time to deal with this.

Mr Turnbull has brought forward a list of over 100 people who are concerned about this, and there are people who want to speak on this issue. What is the rush? Why is it so important to put this through? Why isn't it equally or more important to set aside a few days, a reasonable period of time, not one week from now? Give people a proper time to adjust their calendar, to make preparations and come and speak. There could well be some good ideas. You'd be surprised. I've never met a level of government before that wouldn't allow people to speak when they want to speak.



Mr David Johnson: Yes, people want to speak. Why can't we set aside a period of time to let them speak?

We have letters here that come from all across Ontario, as far as I can see. I've only got partway through them, but I'm looking at one here from Brampton now. There's another one from Guelph; Oakville, Kitchener. This is not one focus group that has been lobbied, apparently, and is sending in letters of concern. Here's one from the city of Toronto. I'm just leafing through them. They're coming from all across the province of Ontario. Letters are coming in expressing their concern, and they want to be heard.

I don't quite understand why we wouldn't set aside some period of time to let people have their say. If this was delayed for a month or two, what would be the harm? Isn't there anything we might learn from the people who could come before us? They may have some valid suggestions; you never know. Sometimes, just when you think you know an issue inside-out, if you allow people the opportunity to come forward and speak, lo and behold, there's something you never thought of.

In addition to that, of course, we have the letter before us that we discussed at great length earlier from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of the province of Ontario. He's expressing tremendous reservations about this. Why wouldn't we let the privacy commissioner come before us and speak to his concerns, and perhaps we could learn from that? But apparently we're not going to have the opportunity to do that.

Apparently we're not going to have the opportunity to speak with the gentleman from Lake Shore Boulevard in Etobicoke, who says, "I watched in horror this week as the government of Ontario invoked closure to attempt to speed the passage of the draconian Bill 47." The first point he makes in his letter in bold says, "It will have no impact on road safety."

I read the column from the Toronto Star. I guess we've all seen that a couple of weeks ago: Jim Kenzie, the columnist in the Toronto Star. Part of what he says is: "Let's remember we're not talking `traffic safety' here. We" -- and that is, I presume, him and the Toronto Star -- "have pointed out several times, most recently in Wheels on June 16, 1993, that speed limit enforcement has never been shown to have anything but a negative correlation with crash frequency."

I read statistics, during part of the debate, from Metropolitan Toronto which showed that the number of accidents had been declining over the past several years. Traffic accidents are actually at the lowest rate now in Metropolitan Toronto that they've been in several years, so we're dealing with a declining problem, certainly here in Metropolitan Toronto. I don't have the equivalent statistics from across the province of Ontario, but I'll try to get them.

At any rate, the point is, what is the rush? Why can't we set aside a reasonable period of time, not cram it into some Thursday afternoon on the shortest of short notice when people probably wouldn't be available, and listen? I've never been involved with a level of government that wouldn't do that, frankly, and it just puzzles me entirely. I don't think any great terrible event would happen if we just let people come forward and speak.

I understand this is a subcommittee that's composed of members of all parties. I thought it was a unanimous resolution from the members from all parties, including the government side, that when they looked at this, it just doesn't work. You've got a choice to ram it through or you've got a choice to do it right. What I've found is, in the final analysis, it's always better to do it right. Listen to everybody. You may not agree with what they have to say, but listen to them. In the final analysis, you may find there's some little bit of truth in there that will help and will make this thing work better. I certainly will be supporting the subcommittee's report.

Mr Daigeler: Speaking as the Transportation critic now, I think what we're dealing with right now is the subcommittee report. I certainly have some very strong feelings on the bill itself. I expressed those in the House and I'm sure I'll get an opportunity again to speak to the merits or non-merits of the bill.

However, if I understand right, what the minister and the government House leader very reluctantly agreed to it seems to me was two days, which obviously is a very, very minimal time, to give the public an opportunity to at least say something about this bill. I certainly agree with Mr Johnson: Why not at least give some opportunity to the public to be heard on it? What is the rush on this matter?

But when I look at the clock, we are already, and I checked with the clerk, into the first day of those two days that have been allocated to us. So I have the hardest time seeing how we can still -- there has to be some notice to the public that they can be heard at this committee. How are we going to do that, since there's only this afternoon and then possibly next Thursday morning? I think at noon we already have to start looking at clause-by-clause, according to the motion from the House that guides this committee.

I think the motion from the subcommittee probably sums up best the situation this committee finds itself in right now: that if there ever was any intention from the government side to provide some opportunity -- by the way, from my point of view, a very limited opportunity -- for the public to be heard on this, even that is no longer there because given the time frame we're in, all we can do is possibly read the many, many letters that I as well have received from concerned citizens from across the province.

But how we could still do the proper advertisement to the public and hear them and also possibly listen to ministry experts as to how they see this bill and why they feel this is the proper way to go -- I think this committee is being put in an impossible situation and therefore I think the subcommittee report is the one we should adopt.

Mrs Mathyssen: I'm interested to note that while the opposition keeps calling for more time, they keep repeating the same arguments over and over again. We're not hearing anything new.

I think the bottom line here is that photo-radar is a safety mechanism. We know, despite the fact that perhaps the incidence of accidents is declining, that 90,000 injuries occur on Ontario roads every year. That's significant. We also know that people will be advised in advance where the photo-radar is. They can choose to obey the law or they can choose to speed, but there is a choice there.

Also, I would like to remind the committee that as parents -- I am the mother of a teenager who, God help me, will some day soon be driving. I can tell you that when I was 20 years old, I thought I was invincible too. I saw many friends of mine get into automobiles and experience personality changes. The meek, mild-mannered human being, within a block of home, would drive in a reasonable way, and as soon as parental vision was no longer there, something horrendous would happen.

On one occasion when I was teaching in a secondary school, students left the school in an automobile, went to a neighbouring school and decided that for the entertainment of the students watching out of the windows they would speed up and down the street. Those three children were dead within minutes because they lost control of the car. Nothing the opposition can say about individual rights and charter rights will bring those three children back.

When someone in an automobile behaves in an irresponsible way and kills someone else or someone else is maimed, that individual is charged with a criminal act. An automobile can become a lethal weapon. It's a ton and a half of potential lethal weapon. Some responsibility has to be taken by those who own them in regard to who is driving them. Parents have to know, if they are lending that automobile to a child, that the child is behaving responsibly. I can tell you that if a picture of my automobile was produced that indicated to me that my child had behaved irresponsibly, I would be very grateful to have the chance to say, "I'm taking away your privileges so that you will live another day."

We have to get on with this, so I say we vote on this subcommittee report. I ask that we call the question.


The Chair: Mrs Mathyssen has moved that the question now be put.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chair, I --

Mr Fletcher: It's non-debatable.

Mr Morrow: A point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: It's not debatable.

Mr Morrow: Thank you. That's all I wanted.

Mr Turnbull: They're cutting off all debate.

The Chair: Mr Turnbull, you're out of order.


Mr Turnbull: You don't understand the meaning of democracy. You've babbled on about --

The Chair: Order.

Mr Turnbull: You haven't talked about the fundamental question of how it's being allocated.

The Chair: Mr Turnbull.

Mrs Mathyssen has moved that the question now be put. I find that motion in order. All those in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried.

Shall the subcommittee report carry? No. Mr Turnbull's motion to adopt the subcommittee report is lost.

The Chair is in at least some small quandary here in that the Chair needs some instruction on how we are to proceed in committee. We have the instructions from the House, but they do not delineate the orders of procedure.

Mrs Mathyssen: I'd like to make a motion that we hear opening statements from the parliamentary assistant and the critics from both opposition parties and then move to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 47.

The Chair: Do you have a copy of that, by any chance?

Mrs Mathyssen: A rough copy, yes.

The Chair: The clerk would appreciate it. Mr Turnbull has indicated an interest in speaking, and Mr Daigeler.

Mr Turnbull: During the brief discussion on the subcommittee's report, all the government's discussion centred on why it thought photo-radar was a good thing. They absolutely, studiously ignored the fundamental question that was brought forward, that there wasn't sufficient time being allocated to this committee to be able to do even adequate justice to clause-by-clause.

The number of people who want to appear before this committee is legion. The implication for this government, or the next government by the time it works its way through the court system, is that there are going to be court challenges. Interestingly, the Attorney General has already admitted and agreed that there will be constitutional challenges.

We have had a letter from the Information and Privacy Commissioner to indicate that he believes this legislation is wrong. We've got quite Orwellian developments going on in this province and the government is violating its fundamental platform in the last election that it will be an open government. How can you possibly have an open government?

The suggestion by Mr Dadamo, the parliamentary assistant, is absolutely preposterous, that we can have proper public hearings, because I will put to you, Mr Chair, first of all, that members of this committee -- I cannot speak for the members of the Liberal Party, but I know of the Conservative Party -- are booked for tonight. We can't sit till midnight tonight.

Furthermore, I will say that on the second day of hearings we are directed, Mr Dadamo, by the motion that was put forward by your own House leader. Let me read from it:

"At 4 pm on that day, those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, without further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto."

If I understand correctly, Mr Dadamo is suggesting, "Oh, we could sit till midnight tonight," and he thinks that would be adequate public input. There will be no advertising, there will be no opportunity for people around the province to have input, and I would suggest to you that this violates your fundamental election platform, that you would be open.

You have spoken at length about your reason why you believe you need the legislation. You have absolutely ignored the fact that the people have not had a chance to speak. By your own words, you have tied yourselves in knots suggesting that we can sit till midnight when you know quite well that the direction to this committee is that we put the questions at 4 on the second day.

We've already had a very serious breach that we've debated at some length this morning that the Chair has reserved judgement on and that, without rehashing what was debated there, revolved around the release of information of a very serious charge that the privacy commissioner has serious doubts about this process.

How can you possibly live with yourselves, the members of the government? I particularly think of Mr Morrow, who has probably been one of the two most valiant people in the government, speaking out against wrongheaded decisions of this government when it has violated its election platform. I don't agree with your party, but I respect the fact that you won the government. But when you violate the fundamental principles you ran on in the election, you have to stop -- I see Mrs Mathyssen is making some strange face. Perhaps you didn't read your election platform, and perhaps you didn't read or listen to what the Premier said when you were sworn in. We were told by the Premier of this province that he believed in free and open government. What could be further from open government?

Mr Morrow: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Although I'm very interested in the comments the member across has, can you please bring him back to the motion at issue?

The Chair: I would indicate to all members that we are to be speaking to the motion in front of us and that we are to speak through the Chair.

Mrs Mathyssen: Mr Chair, it's been my experience that the members opposite are very good or very prompt at bringing unparliamentary conduct to the attention of the Speaker. Although I do appreciate the criticism of my physical appearance, I don't find it appropriate in these circumstances and I would ask the member opposite to respect that.

Mr Turnbull: What is this? It's a --

The Chair: Order.

Mr Turnbull: She pulled a face. She pulled a face as she turned away. If she doesn't have the intellectual integrity to admit that --


Mr Wessenger: It's politeness to act like a human being.

The Chair: Order.

Mr Turnbull: Oh, don't be so pompous and silly. She pulled a face.

The Chair: Order.

Mr Fletcher: Your party did the same thing with Jean Chrétien. Remember those commercials?

Mr Turnbull: My party did nothing of the sort. You're an idiot.

The Chair: Order. We will reconvene at a quarter to 12.

The committee recessed from 1139 to 1147.

The Chair: Mr Turnbull, you have the floor.

Mr Turnbull: To conclude my comments, there is nothing that the government has said which counters the argument that there isn't any time being allocated to public hearings. We are being ordered on the second day of sittings to complete clause-by-clause, starting at 4 o'clock, and there will be no further debate.

Since the government has decided to fundamentally play with the whole process of open comment from the public, then quite frankly it had better order the business as it wishes. We will make no further comment on that. We will comment as we go along clause by clause. They can live with the consequences that they have allowed no public input on a bill which, by the Attorney General's own admission, is subject almost certainly to a charter challenge. There will be a cost of many, many millions of dollars to the taxpayers of Ontario to fight that challenge, but by the time it works its way through the courts, it will be another government which will have to fork out the money, because this government will undoubtedly have been swept away.

The suggestion that this is only a six-month program is completely undermined by the fact that there's absolutely no sunset clause whatsoever in this legislation, so that goes out of the window.

I will further want to put on record that the government's motion precludes any committee-of-the-whole hearings of this so that there can be no further clause-by-clause debate. How you can do adequate justice to a bill as long as this in two days -- it's going to be one and a half days now of clause-by-clause -- is quite bizarre, and yet they don't even allow for clause-by-clause in committee of the whole. That is draconian government. It is a government that doesn't understand the freedom of the public to speak out against obnoxious legislation. By the bulk of letters -- I will be reading in many of these letters as we go along -- it will show the depth of feeling of the public on this kind of Orwellian legislation. There is no doubt that this government will undoubtedly fall, and this will be one of the nails in your coffin. Sir, I'll tell you, I will dance on that day when you get thrown out.

Mr Daigeler: Speaking to the motion by Mrs Mathyssen, as I said earlier in my comments on the subcommittee report, it was my understanding when the minister spoke in the House -- I think he misspoke himself, frankly. He did say in the House that there would be some public hearings, and I think he probably regretted that because I don't think there were any intentions to hold public hearings. Nevertheless, since he said that, then the government House leader, in order to save face, had to try to arrange something that could at least give the appearance of having public hearings on this matter. I think this is how this all came about.

Clearly the government has realized that it is not possible within the time frame that's available to us to hold public hearings and is now moving to simply have presentation by the ministry and then move immediately into clause-by-clause, because that's the motion. The motion does not provide, if I understood correctly, and I stand to be corrected, for a period of public hearings. It simply says we'll have presentation from the ministry and then we move into clause-by-clause.

This of course is highly unusual and, as was indicated several times, does not give an opportunity to the public to be heard on an item which is obviously very controversial and where people are just beginning to realize what is happening and are sending us all kinds of letters and comments. As was indicated, we now have, from some very important people, comments that raise very serious questions about this matter.

I think Mr Dadamo, as parliamentary assistant, made a remark to say that, well, it's not that important; it's just an experiment. I disagree with this comment, because we are changing the bill. Once the experiment perhaps goes wrong and the government is not satisfied with the experiment, still the law will have been changed and will be in effect.

We are still dealing with a serious piece of legislation. We're not dealing with an experiment of legislation; we're dealing with a real piece of legislation on which the public still wants to be heard. This motion that we currently have before us by Mrs Mathyssen does not provide for any kind of opportunity for the public to be heard, other than presumably through the opposition members. As we have indicated already, we have received numerous letters, phone calls and visits from the public, and we will certainly, both at the committee level and in the House, still try to read those comments into the record so that at least the general public will be aware of what other people feel on this issue.

In view of the fact that I think the motion we have before us defeats the very purpose which had been set out by the minister and by the government House leader when they referred this matter to us, I think we ought to defeat it and we ought to provide still an opportunity for the public to be heard on this matter.

The Chair: Further discussion on Ms Mathyssen's motion? Shall Ms Mathyssen's motion carry? All in favour? Opposed? Ms Mathyssen's motion carries.

In view of Ms Mathyssen's motion that is ordering the way we do the business, is it the parliamentary assistant's wish to commence now, or does he wish to wait till 3:30 this afternoon?

Mr Dadamo: I would think this afternoon.

The Chair: Then a motion for adjournment until 3:30 would be in order.

Mr Morrow: So moved.

The Chair: All in favour? Carried. The committee stands in adjournment till 3:30 this afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1155 to 1546.

The Chair: The standing committee on general government will come to order. Would the members come to order, please.

This morning, Mr Turnbull raised a point of privilege in this committee. I indicated this morning that I would reserve my ruling. I'm now prepared to rule. I have reflected on the submissions that were made to the committee this morning on the question of privilege. I've also consulted with officers of the table and the clerks.

I may deal with points of order as they arise, but neither the committee nor myself has jurisdiction to deal with matters of privilege in a substantive way. Only the House, on report of committee, may deal with matters of privilege that arise out of the committee. Therefore, I'm not in a position to make a ruling on the point of privilege raised by Mr Turnbull.

I would cite for my authority Parliamentary Privilege in Canada. It says: "A committee may not commit a person for contempt or breach of privilege. Nevertheless, it may report to the House that, in its opinion, a breach of privilege or contempt has occurred, and ask the House to take action."

Therefore, while the Chairman cannot entertain questions of privilege in the sense that he is not competent to rule on whether a prima facie case has occurred, as the Speaker may do, the Chairman of a committee may entertain a motion that certain events that have occurred in the committee may constitute a breach of privilege or contempt and that the matter be reported to the House. On the other hand, events occurring in a committee, such as disruptions by those not otherwise taking part in the proceedings, may be raised in the House directly. That is my ruling.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chairman, I regret your ruling. I respect your reasoning for it. I would like to give my colleague Mr Daigeler, who is undoubtedly an honourable man, the chance to speak to this, and failing a suitable response from him, I would wish to move a motion.

The Chair: The problem, Mr Turnbull, is that because of the order of the House that this committee is operating under, we can only deal with matters directly affecting Bill 47, because we have a time-allocated space. I will entertain that motion you wish to make when we have finished with and completed the debate on Bill 47.

Mr Turnbull: Does this mean, Mr Chairman, that if there is anything out of order in these committee hearings, because the order of the House is to direct us to photo-radar, we will be precluded from any type of mechanism to address the functions of this committee?

The Chair: No. Points of order are in order; points of privilege are not. It isn't within the competency of myself, as the Chair, or the committee to make those decisions. Certainly, any legitimate point of order will be ruled on. Otherwise, we are dealing with Bill 47. We really shouldn't be debating this. We should just deal with Bill 47 as we are ordered to by the House.

Mr Turnbull: I regret, Mr Chairman, that in that case I will have to move a motion that Mr Daigeler be removed as Vice-Chair.

Mr Fletcher: You can't.

The Chair: I just said that the motion may be in order, but it won't be in order until we're finished with the debate on Bill 47.


Consideration of Bill 47, An Act to amend certain Acts in respect of the Administration of Justice / Projet de loi 47, Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne l'administration de la justice.

The Chair: The parliamentary assistant is scheduled to make his opening statement to the committee.

Mr Dadamo: Mr Chair, thank you. We were set to do that this morning. Although there was a little ruckus this morning, we're finally getting to this.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chairman, excuse me. I'm troubled by your ruling because this has a direct impact on Bill 47.

The Chair: You are debating the ruling, which is not permitted, Mr Turnbull. The parliamentary assistant has the floor.

Mr Dadamo: I'm pleased to be here this afternoon, sitting in the chair for the Minister of Transportation, Gilles Pouliot, as we endeavour to begin committee hearings on Bill 47. This is an important piece of legislation, one that deserves the clearest possible discussion.

As we begin, it's important that --

Mr Grandmaître: No transcript of the minister's remarks or the parliamentary assistant's remarks?

Mr Dadamo: Can we make it available to you after we're finished, or do you need that now? I'm sorry, we don't have time to copy --

Mr Grandmaître: To speed it up, this time around I'll give you a break.

Mr Dadamo: So we'll try this three times. Thanks.

As we begin, it's important that we all understand the importance of the legislation, and I want to correct some of the factual errors and spurious arguments raised against the bill. Before we talk any further, we must restate the facts and give ourselves a chance to have a discussion based on the real merits of Bill 47.

Road safety is a complex issue. We can't say that all the 1,100 fatalities on our roads in 1991 had a single root cause and then stamp out that single problem with one piece of legislation. This government is taking a comprehensive approach, identifying leading causes of crashes and addressing them in the most effective way we can.

We have a coordinated plan to make Ontario's roads the safest in North America. Photo-radar is an important part of that plan and by no means the only one. Photo-radar will work in Ontario, as it has in other jurisdictions around the world, as part of a package of measures designed to change driver behaviour. Combined with measures such as graduated licensing of new drivers, RIDE campaigns, seatbelt campaigns and continuing to build and maintain our highways to the highest standards possible, photo-radar will save lives, reduce injuries and cut the $9-billion cost of collisions each year.

To those who say photo-radar does not save lives, I refer you to the experience of the state of Victoria in Australia. In Victoria, a package of road safety measures including both graduated licensing and photo-radar reduced traffic fatalities by 47% during a three-year period.

We can't target every infraction that takes place on our highways, but we can identify those most likely to cause harm. Speeding is not the harmless adult sport described during the debate on Bill 47. It's not a national pastime. It's not a right given free people. It is a proven killer.

Here are the relevant statistics. In fatal collisions, speed is the most common driver error. Approximately one in six fatal crashes is caused by speeding, driving too fast for the prevailing conditions, including weather, road conditions, road design and traffic volume. We have to stop enjoying the thrill of going faster, because there is no doubt that the faster you drive, the harder you crash and the more damage you cause.

I know people in Ontario are concerned that photo-radar will be used to trap good drivers going a few kilometres over the speed limit, so let's put that fear to rest. First, we're committed to a public awareness campaign to make sure drivers know we are using photo-radar and we mean business. One component of this campaign will be highway signs. We're not out to trap speeders any more than we're out to trap people who don't fasten their seatbelts. We are out to save lives, and we believe we can do that by making sure that people obey the speed limits and that they buckle up.

Photo-radar's opponents say the cameras will be set up in traditional fishing holes or even hanging from trees. That is not the case. During the pilot project, the cameras will be manned. Police will use photo-radar where speed is a significant contributing factor in crashes. The Ministry of Transportation will identify those areas.

Second, police will have the same discretion in setting photo-radar cameras that they now have in pulling over speeding drivers. Under English common law, it's up to the police constable whether or not to lay a charge. We are not interfering with that principle. Police will decide what speed they program into the computer, based on a range of factors such as the weather, road conditions and traffic volumes.

It is important to emphasize that drivers who routinely move at safe and reasonable speeds have nothing to fear. There's an international traffic speed measure called the 85th percentile that makes a good guideline for the drivers. If your speed is not only above the speed limit but actually higher than 85% of the vehicles on the road, that's when you can expect a photo-radar ticket in the mail.

We've heard some incredible pieces of misinformation about this legislation. We've been told there's a constitutional challenge to Alberta's photo-radar. The fact is, the two court challenges in Alberta were resolved some time ago. Convictions were upheld in both those cases. Photo-radar has withstood the challenges. There are no constitutional challenges that are outstanding.

We've been told that photo-radar will take police off our highways. On the contrary, it will allow police to do their job safely and also more effectively. We're not eliminating police radar or patrols. An officer will still be there for drivers who need the human presence of an officer pulling them over. The officers will be there for people who aren't motivated to obey the law by the simple desire to take their share of responsibility for road safety, and they will be there to stop the problem drivers: the tailgaters, improper lane changers, impaired and aggressive drivers. I repeat: Photo-radar is only one component of a comprehensive, coordinated program to increase safety.

Opponents of this bill have said that the police should target aggressive drivers, drivers who cut across three lanes of traffic in one motion without signalling, for example. But police are targeting aggressive drivers with photo-radar. Aggressive drivers put themselves and others in danger with a whole range of reckless actions, including speeding. Unfortunately, drivers have come to believe that they can speed on our highways without being caught. Photo-radar dramatically increases the likelihood that they will be caught, and that's why we believe it will improve driver behaviour. We believe that one day speeding will be as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. Just as new drivers today automatically buckle their seatbelts, they will also choose not to speed.

We've been told this legislation throws out the Magna Carta. This complaint arises because we bring absolute owner liability into effect for photo-radar offences, so let's be clear about this: Absolute owner liability is not a new tool in the Highway Traffic Act. It has always applied to parking tickets, and that's only one example of several other existing uses in the act. A parked car can't kill anyone, but a speeding car can. If we can use absolute liability to deter illegal parking, it seems only right to use it to save lives by deterring speeding.

Some speakers complained that drivers speeding to the hospital in a life-or-death emergency will be ticketed by photo-radar and have no recourse but to pay the fine. In fact, they will have recourse. We have learned from the experience of other jurisdictions that we'll need a 1-800 phone line for questions about photo-radar notices, and we will provide one. We can reassure the public that there will be a process in place, a way to contact the court, resolve your questions and ensure that legitimate explanations are made.

We've been told that plumbers and veterinarians could lose their licences to practise their professions if they don't pay their traffic tickets. The truth is that Bill 47 only affects suspension of drivers' licences for fines related to the operation of motor vehicles.

We've heard also that photo-radar will infringe on the privacy of innocent people, but in fact photo-radar will photograph only the speeding vehicle and the plate. It is not intended to photograph people in the car, nor vehicles driving within the speed limit. It's designed that way to protect privacy.

Some speakers said that vehicle owners will forget who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence because notices might take three months to serve. In designing this project, we have set a requirement that the notices will be issued quickly. We will be doing our best to have photo-radar notices issued and delivered not more than one week after the offence takes place.


We've been told that road deaths are decreasing anyway, so we don't need photo-radar. Surely 1,100 deaths and 90,000 injuries are still too many. Eighty-five per cent of collisions are caused by driver error, and speeding is the most common driver error in fatal crashes. If we have the tools to change those numbers, we have the responsibility to act.

Again and again we have been told that the speed limits in Ontario are so low that they are a joke, that they're artificially low. First, Ontario's provincial road speed limits are consistent with those freeways and highways in other North American jurisdictions. They were lowered in the 1970s, but not as a result of the energy crisis. They were lowered for safety reasons, and they stay that way for safety reasons.

The engineers who design Ontario's highways will tell you that our provincial speed limits are very, very real. It's true they design highways that can be driven at higher than the posted speeds, but only when conditions are so favourable that they only design features of the highway to govern the speed of the operation. What that means is that you can drive at the design speed when there are no other factors to consider: when the road is in pristine condition, when the weather is dry, when the traffic is minimal, when visibility is perfect. If our posted speeds were equal to design speeds, this built-in safety buffer would be lost.

Ontario drivers must realize that they are surrounded by variables and unknown factors every day. They never know when they're going to be hit by debris on the road or animals crossing or when a tire will blow. They can never count on the skills or even the safe behaviour of the drivers around them, including aggressive, impaired and inexperienced drivers. There's no doubt that if you drive at the design speed for a road, you remove the safety buffer. You take away your margin of error.

The majority of drivers maintain a speed they believe the authorities will tolerate. If we raise speed limits, eliminating the safety buffer, most drivers will in turn increase their speed to the maximum or more. But this time they will have no safety buffer, no margin for error, no chance to take preventive action, no chance to correct their own mistakes before it's too late. I want to go on record to make it clear to all Ontario drivers that our speed limits are real and necessary, and obeying them will save lives.

We've been told the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say photo-radar is just a revenue-generating scheme. For the record, the RCMP has never set out any such position. In fact, the RCMP has confirmed it does not have an official position yet on photo-radar.

We've been told that car rental companies will have to pay speeding fines. Right now, car rental companies have a system in place for parking tickets, requiring the driver to pay the fine. We plan to consult the industry and we expect that it will create a similar system to cover photo-radar systems.

Opponents of this legislation have ignored the fact that by streamlining our justice system for minor offences and improving enforcement of our laws, we are acting to protect the innocent, not entrap them. All we are trying to do is duplicate the successes of jurisdictions around the world in reducing those fatalities. For those who think that Bill 47 is about generating revenue, we can only say, please obey the law and we will not generate a dime.

As we continue, I hope we can begin a factual discussion on the potential this legislation has to save lives in the province of Ontario. I thank you.

Mr Daigeler: Let me say, first of all, that I welcome the comments from the parliamentary assistant. However, I think it would have been most helpful if those comments had come a long time ago.

The parliamentary assistant, I think for the first time, touched on a number of issues that have been out there in the public's mind and that had been raised in the House for a considerable length of time. I think it is really unfortunate that we're only now hearing some of the views that apparently the ministry has.

First of all, the proper time to bring forward these kinds of points that were just made was at the time of the introduction of the bill. As I indicated in the House, we never got any extensive briefing from the ministry on that. It was part of this general safety package that was put forward by the ministry. Perhaps it would have been quite helpful for everyone, the public included, to have some of these viewpoints put forward. I'm not saying that I agree with all of them, but at least we have a reasoned argument we can deal with.

On the other hand, we have a reasoned argument that right now we have no record of. It's a little bit difficult on a number of important and technical points to follow all of this orally. I certainly very much look forward to the written comments by the parliamentary assistant. This is the normal practice of the House, that as the minister or the parliamentary assistant speaks, we receive the remarks in writing. I guess that's an indication of how hastily this matter was prepared, that we don't have these comments in writing in front of us.

These comments very clearly indicate that you know this matter needs some discussion and some debate still, and makes it increasingly un-understandable or unbelievable why the government is so intent on pushing this through at this time and before Christmas. If this really is a safety measure, why all of a sudden has it become such an important matter?

I know that on the graduated licences the minister introduced just yesterday, there's been work on this in the ministry for more than four years. I know that my colleague raised it already, I think more than two years ago. When we were still in government and I was a backbencher there, I raised it with our own Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and that was as early as 1989. If we're talking about saving lives, the graduated licence program surely is a much more important one than this particular initiative. How long did we take on the graduated licences? It took almost four years and perhaps even longer to come forward.

I am just not convinced at all that this matter is so urgent and that right away this would be saving lives and would lead to a significant improvement in the safety of our drivers. I just cannot accept that argument and that reasoning at all in view of what we have experienced from the graduated licences.

I can, on the other hand, understand a little bit where the pressure is coming from. We in the opposition obviously are sceptical, but we know that just before Christmas, the Treasurer wants to make very sure that he has all his finance bills in place and that when he prepares his budget for the new year, he tries to get an assessment as to what kind of revenue he's going to have.

Mr Grandmaître: A few ornaments on the Christmas tree.

Mr Daigeler: Yes, if they're still allowed, the Christmas tree ornaments.

Mr David Johnson: Read Hansard.

Interjection: They disallowed that one.

Mr Daigeler: I remember, when I was parliamentary assistant for the Minister of Revenue, we were encouraged to try and pass a number of money bills because they were affecting the next fiscal year, and they understand that.

That scepticism on the part of certainly my party, and I understand on the part of the Conservatives as well, frankly was fed by the government's own bureaucrats yesterday when the deputy House leader, in his famous intervention yesterday, referred to this publication, the Topical, that has just come out, published by the Management Board secretariat.


What does the lead story in the government's own publication say? It's the November 19 issue. I'm now reading into the record the government's own publication. Here's what this gentleman who is writing for the government publication, Gord Murray, is writing:

"The best route to increasing revenues is to launch and market new services and expand product sales, he stressed." He was referring to a Mr Vrancart, assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

"Naturally, any project that will produce revenue quickly is a high priority for treasury board funding, but the majority of really profitable services and product sales will take a year or two to get up running and bringing in money."

Now comes the real good part:

"A good example is introduction of photo-radar systems in Ontario, part of the integrated road safety program involving several ministries that was announced in this year's budget." You wonder why it was announced in this year's budget.

"It will take some time to get the technology in place and train the police to use it, before fines can start being levied and collected."

Mr Grandmaître: No word of safety.

Mr Daigeler: Forgive me, but it is hard to take the minister and the parliamentary assistant at their word when we hear from the government's own senior officials that there's a definite revenue aspect of this measure. According to what I just read into the record, which is not myself, which is not people of the public out there, although they feel like that as well, but the government's own officials, they are saying, "This was announced in the budget and it's a priority for treasury board funding and it's an example of how the government can make money." This is the headline in Topical.

I should say that on the principle itself I think is an interesting concept that deserves some consideration, whether the government itself should rearrange the way it provides its services in a way that charges people for the service provided and perhaps raises some revenues. I don't deny the significance and importance of reviewing how government does its business and whether there's room, with things we traditionally have simply provided -- whether there ought to be some way to market them. This is really moving a little bit off Bill 47, but I do know the public school board in my area has established a marketing corporation and it's marketing some of its services and making money that way. But they very clearly acknowledge and recognize that's their objective.

I think we want to see very clearly and very forcefully from the ministry and from the minister and from the parliamentary assistant why all of a sudden this ministry official is not right. I look forward perhaps to some comments from the parliamentary assistant in this regard.

That famous letter that was referred to this morning from the privacy commissioner obviously raises a number of very, very serious concerns as well that really need some detailed consideration and answers by the government. Again, it isn't just some member of the public, although we shouldn't denigrate the significance of the individual people out there who are sharing their concern with the government. But here we have somebody whose specific mandate is to protect the integrity and the privacy of our people and who frankly, in what I consider a rather unusual step, is concerned enough about this matter to bring this to the attention of the committee and of the government to say he has some very serious concerns that this measure will or might seriously infringe on the individual freedoms, the freedom of information and privacy, which he has a special authority and mandate to watch over.

I don't think we can just simply pass over this. Frankly, if we didn't have at least this session, We probably would never have been given a chance to raise these matters and these concerns by Mr Wright as at least we have now. I certainly do hope the parliamentary assistant will be addressing these concerns, because they're very serious. The privacy commissioner is saying he certainly shares the concern for safety, but at the same time there has to be a balance and there has to be a proven connection between this measure, the safety of our people, and the possible infringement on the rights of Ontario citizens. I certainly think we need some very strong affirmation and responses from the parliamentary assistant, and I certainly will review very carefully the remarks he just made when I receive them in writing.

As I said earlier this morning when we discussed the subcommittee report, the parliamentary assistant mentioned this morning -- and I think he mentioned it in the House as well; I can't remember, because the debate went on at some length. But he certainly mentioned this morning that this is just an experiment and that if it doesn't work, we won't continue it. What is it that will work or won't work? What is the criterion by which the government will say, "Yes, it worked"? Is it in fact going to be the safety criterion? Are you going to say, "The accident rate in this location dropped that much after putting in place a photo-radar camera"? Is that what you're aiming at? Is that the criterion, that if there's a very significant impact on the accident rate in this location, then we will say it has achieved its purpose? Or is it going to be, "Well, we certainly caught a lot of speeders"? Frankly, I'm just concerned that the consideration is going to be that the Treasurer is going to say: "It's been very successful. It's been a very good experiment. It's been a very worthwhile experiment, because we've been counting on this revenue in our budget forecast"; that he has brought it in and probably even surpassed it. I'm concerned about what the criteria are by which the government is going to say this experiment was worthwhile or it wasn't.

Perhaps more importantly, as I already mentioned this morning, how can you have an experimental bill or an experimental law unless, and I have seen no such amendment to that effect, the government would say, "Okay, there's a sunset clause in it and we'll just pass this bill for half a year," and so on, and then it dies unless it's renewed? I don't know precisely how this would work, but I have seen other bills that did have a sunset clause -- not quite for half a year, because you know how difficult this legislative process is; it takes a while to pass laws. That's why I say once this particular bill is passed and put into law, I think the experiment is going to be over and the government is going to have the authority to proceed with this and there's no longer going to be any kind of consultation of the public and any kind of consultation of the Legislature. The government will simply proceed with it at its own discretion. I've already said what I suspect this discretion to be.


As we have indicated in the House, there are a number of serious concerns that have been brought to our attention. Some of the concerns that were brought forward both by myself and by my colleagues in the third party, the parliamentary assistant -- and I give him credit for that -- has finally tried to address in his opening statement. For example, with the car rental agencies, obviously they're very concerned and have approached us. They have mentioned this even in the press, that they're very concerned that they might be stuck with all the speeding tickets and the fees associated with them, even though obviously they're not at all the ones who speed.

If I understood the parliamentary assistant right, he's saying, "Yes, we appreciate that concern, but we're going to work something out, something similar to the parking fines." But I didn't hear anything very firm. Again, it would be something that under normal circumstances you would make sure is in place before you proceeded on this matter.

It is really unfortunate that we don't have an opportunity to address all of these things among ourselves and especially with representatives of the public and that we couldn't say to the public: "Okay, here are some of the concerns that you've raised. Here is the answer from the ministry, from the parliamentary assistant. How do you feel now?" Frankly, I would like to do that, and I would have appreciated being able to question the witnesses in that regard. I would have tried to be fair and say: "Okay, this is your concern. This is the answer from the ministry. Do you still feel that strongly about your concern?"

Certainly we on this side of the House would have been prepared to do that, but obviously the opportunity is not there. I think this is most unfortunate, because I'm sure there aren't many people out there who will be following the proceedings of this committee and who will ever hear of what the parliamentary assistant said or what he will further say in response to some of our questions and concerns.

At this point, in fairness to the public, I have to at least put on the record some of the very serious concerns that have been brought forward to the government directly, with copies to us, to myself and to the Conservative Transportation critic, and some letters that I have received independently that were brought to my attention. All of them except one were very, very critical.

Frankly, some of the language that was used in some of these faxes and letters goes beyond what I would normally observe despite my willingness to be quite tough on the government. Some of the words I don't think I'd want to repeat here. But what is the message? The message is that when the public heard about this measure, they were extremely concerned. They said:

"I strongly oppose the passing of Bill 47.... The fact that demerit points have been done away with, and fines are now automatically imposed, strengthens the argument that governments are using speeding tickets as a revenue source, not as a deterrent for speeders.

"The law is unfair to those of limited income." That's a consideration that has never been mentioned before. "Consider an overpaid executive...commuting a distance each day. He may consider the expense of a photo-radar ticket as trivial. Since there will be no demerit points, there will no longer be any incentive for him to slow down. He" -- and we probably should say "she," but I'm reading from a fax from Brian McGregor and he's using "he." "He can accumulate speeding tickets like some people accumulate parking tickets. Those of limited income will be heavily penalized as a percentage of their annual income."

This is just one. As you can see, I have a whole stack, and so has Mr Turnbull. I frankly haven't counted them all together because there are too many, but my staff said they've never received so many faxes and so many calls and letters as on this particular measure. People are very, very concerned, they're upset and they want some answers. It's unfortunate that they will not have an opportunity through public hearings and a proper debate and with some time -- I mean, that's the whole idea about having first, second and third reading, that you give some time for sober second thought, especially if there's no immediate urgency on the matter.

That point, by the way, is made not just by myself but by many of the people who wrote to me. They were extremely upset when they heard that there were going to be only two days of public hearings on this matter. I don't have the particular letters right at my fingertips, but I know they're somewhere in the pile here, where people said, "What are you doing?" In fact, what they said is, "How dare you?" That's quite often what the people say. They're very strong in the words they use, very strong language in order to express their views, and they frankly condemn this initiative by the government. When they heard that there were going to be only two days of public hearings and that it was supposed to be passed before Christmas, with a closure motion and everything else, they got even more upset.

Never mind two days of hearings; we have no public hearings at all now. I am sure all those who have communicated their concerns to me will continue to do so, because those letters are still coming in. I'm sure they're going to be even more upset when they find out there are no public hearings whatsoever and that we're simply moving into clause-by-clause without hearing from the public and without an opportunity for the minister and the parliamentary assistant to explain to the public why they're doing it and what the conditions are under which they're bringing it in and so on.

Frankly, when I look at the amendments, those already indicate that this bill needed some time to be looked at and to be studied and to be reflected upon, because the government itself already is recognizing that some amendments are needed. Really, I think even the government itself is probably glad that it has some time for second thought. Why don't you take a little bit longer time? Why are you trying to rush this through at this time? If it is really a safety measure, as you're claiming, what's the rush? Why don't we take the time to review this properly, look at it, study it, listen to your explanations more and hear the answers that the parliamentary assistant tried to give right now, I presume in response to the concerns that have been raised by myself, by my colleagues in the House and by the Conservative Party?

I do hope we will get very quickly, and hopefully this afternoon so that I can take them with me and study them over the weekend, the remarks the parliamentary assistant just made and that in light of his remarks, I can get an opportunity to see whether further amendments are required and how we can deal with the amendments the government is putting forward.

I do hope I've made myself clear. My biggest concern is the rush with which we're proceeding on this matter. The public is not being given enough opportunity to voice its concerns and an opportunity, and I'm trying to be fair here, to hear the government's side. I do agree they should hear not only the opposition's point of view but should also hear from the government side; then let them make up their minds and communicate their views to us at that time. Up till now, with the exception of one letter, all of the many faxes and letters and calls I've received are very critical and very negative towards this measure, and I think the government is asking for serious trouble by proceeding with this matter at this time.


Mr Turnbull: The opening comments by the parliamentary assistant demonstrated once again that the government doesn't want to listen to the fundamental problem we have with this bill; that is, it is not allowing for the proper public scrutiny of it.

I take great exception to the fact that once again the Minister of Transportation is not attending in person. I even told the Minister of Education and Training recently that while I totally disagree with his approach to most legislation, he always is prepared to go and defend his own position. Frankly, the Minister of Education, who prior to that had Housing, who has had some of the heaviest loads in the government, has always attended public hearings to take it on the chin if necessary and to put his position forward. The Minister of Transportation consistently never attends. I don't think he is capable of defending his legislation. Certainly, when we've asked very serious questions in the House on this issue, we have not gotten proper answers.

The opening comments by the parliamentary assistant talked about factual errors and referred to the some 1,100 traffic deaths which occur on the roads of Ontario each year. Sir, you will recognize that nobody has been more consistent than myself in pushing for safety measures on the roads, since I have been Transportation critic. You know that consistently it was I who pushed on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party for graduated licences. I can prove this simply by bringing the Hansards forward. The evidence is overwhelming that we have been pushing for it.

To suggest that in some way we are holding up legislation which will stop traffic deaths is objectionable. I really would like you to think about that. You know that during this summer, both you and I sat on a committee which under very pleasant circumstances travelled this province and heard from various people who were both for and against graduated licensing. We worked cooperatively together to ensure that we would have graduated licensing. Indeed, I'm sorry that graduated licensing has taken so long to come forward, because we've been asking for it for so long.

Yet we have a piece of legislation here which first raised its head a few weeks ago and we're now having closure to get it through. And it isn't just the closure on second reading; that is not my concern. The parliamentary assistant talks about five full days of debate in the House on second reading. First of all, it wasn't five full days of debate; it was five part-afternoons. In the case of one particular day, my colleague Mr Harnick had 20 minutes of debate. So let's not mislead the public by suggesting there have been five full days of debate. That is absolutely, factually incorrect. You talked about factual errors, so I wanted to address those.

If the weight of evidence is that this is good legislation, that it will save deaths, then, sir, I would suggest to you that the evidence will be so compelling that, under the scrutiny of public debate and public input in committee, you will carry the day. Instead, you have moved with the most devious methods of bringing this to the House. You closed down debate at second reading, and then after that you had, within your motion, the fact that --

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): On a point of order, Mr Chair: I'm not sure that the phrase "devious" is exactly appropriate to these proceedings.

The Chair: I would remind the member that we should be careful of the decorum and that we should choose our words carefully so as not to impute motive.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chair, I will point out that I think I chose my words carefully. We have a motion which is forcing us to have two days in committee, and it isn't two days of public scrutiny; it is two days in committee for a bill of some 20 pages long which has some profound implications for the whole carriage of jurisprudence in this province.

I would suggest that to make the owner of a vehicle the recipient of the bill for speeding as opposed to the driver is as flawed a process as making the owner of a vehicle that is taken and used in the execution of a crime responsible for the bank robbery. It is quite as ridiculous and quite as serious.

We are constantly told by the government that it has such overwhelming evidence that photo-radar is good, and it speaks about other administrations. Well, sir, you're not speaking about administrations such as -- and I read from the New York Times Metro edition from Friday, June 12, 1992. The headline is, "Legislators Vote to Ban Photo-Radar for Speeders."

"Trenton, June 11. By 74 to 1, the New Jersey assembly voted to ban the use of photo-radar in automated devices that photograph speeders and send evidence of their transgression in the mail. Protests against the system have been growing since road signs went up in April announcing that the machine would be tested by the New Jersey State Police under a federal grant from the Department of Transportation."

That's what happened in the US. You were very selective in your choice of evidence. The test which has been conducted in BC by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been less than the conclusive test that you're suggesting. In fact, my office has had contact with one of the offices involved in that test, and they had some grave concerns with the test. And no, it wasn't public knowledge, but we have indeed checked our evidence.

All I am saying in demanding full and complete public hearings is, if you can outweigh the evidence of the good of this legislation against the evidence that there is something wrong with this legislation, then I would suspect that you would legitimately win the day. In fact, you're going to win the day anyway because, as you well know, you have a majority in this committee and you also have a majority in the House.

After this two days of cursory review of this bill in this committee, it has been ordered back to the House. There is no provision for committee of the whole, so even if you make any mistakes in this bill and find out after the fact you will not have a chance to amend it, so you'd better make sure you've got it right in here -- I notice you've already got an amendment that has come before the committee -- and then, we have been told, there will be one day's debate.

For the clarity of anybody who will be reading these words after, one day of debate in the Legislature in third reading means that in fact we will have probably two hours of debate after question period. That is the amount of scrutiny this is getting.

I would suggest that what we should be having before this committee is experts: We should have lawyers both pro and con and we should have road safety experts who would bring forward their concerns. I have indeed spoken to one road safety expert who appeared before the graduated licence hearings. Some of the extracts from a note this expert has given us are saying there is debate about whether or not this project will enhance safety.


"Speed in and of itself does not kill. What kills is as follows: speed differentials; traffic flow at 120 kilometres an hour and a car changing lanes at 140 kilometres an hour or, just as dangerous, traffic flow at 120 kilometres with a car travelling at 80 kilometres an hour."

Another point is excessive speed. "Travelling at 140 kilometres an hour on a winding, rough road" is a cause. "Inappropriate speed: travelling at 100 kilometres an hour in a 100-kilometre-an-hour zone under adverse weather conditions."

As you well know, this legislation you've brought forward, even though it is a weighty document, doesn't speak to these very serious concerns.

There is outrage and concern among the public. I fought the last election with a copy of your so-called Agenda for People in my pocket so that I was aware of what you were saying, and you spoke about open government. I fail to see how you prove you have open government with this kind of process. The problem is, you cannot talk about something and make it real. You have to have other actions to demonstrate open government.

I know the parliamentary assistant well as a very, very honourable and fine member of this assembly, and I think he must be profoundly troubled by a process he has to represent where there is no public input into this.

The Attorney General has publicly stated that she believes this legislation will lead to a constitutional challenge. A constitutional challenge will cost money to fight and it will take time. As I have suggested, and I know you don't like to hear it, I very much doubt that it is conceivable that a constitutional challenge could make its way to the highest courts in Canada in the time you still have left to govern. It will be left for the next government, of whichever political persuasion, to fight this fight and pay for it -- not with its own money but with the taxpayers' money.

There is a very strong body of evidence that suggests that because of the traditions in our law dating back to Magna Carta, we have a right to face our accuser. You take this right away.

When you start speaking about this as a safety measure, I cannot think of a greater safety measure than to have more police out on the highways of this province stopping people who are speeding and are demonstrating inappropriate driving, not just speeding. I can't think of anything which is more compelling than being stopped by the old bubble gum machine behind you and that long, slow walk of the police officer approaching your car. Your heart is pumping and at that moment you're thinking about the conduct that led to you being pulled over; you're thinking about the fact that yes, you were speeding; you're thinking about your state of mind and perhaps what was distracting you at that moment. It is a very clear lesson that you should not be speeding, and unless you are very irresponsible, I think that lesson will at least last for some length of time.

You won't have that kind of lesson with photo-radar, because by then you will have forgotten about your state of mind, you may have forgotten about the circumstances, and in fact you may have forgotten who was driving the car.

This leads me to another very important concern: the question that the fine will be levied against the owner of the car rather than the driver. There are some administrations in the US -- namely, I believe, Sun City in Arizona -- which specifically have allowed the owners of vehicles, if they are ticketed, to file a deposition under oath as to who the driver of the vehicle was at that date, and then the ticket can be directed to the driver.

This is going to have a profound effect on more than just the owner of the vehicle. The car rental companies are very concerned about the levying of fines against them. Mr Dadamo, in your opening comments, you specifically spoke about this. I would direct you to page 12 of the clippings from today's papers, the Toronto Star dated November 25. It's headed "Car Rental Firms Lobby to Change Photo-Radar Bill," and I read from this. "Car rental operators are lobbying the province for an `innocent owner' amendment to pending photo-radar legislation. Without it, rental agencies say, they will be forced to pay out millions of dollars in speeding fines. `It's virtually a licence for car renters to speed and a potential...nightmare for rental companies,' said Sid Kenmir, president of the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators." I have met with this organization, sir, and they are most concerned.

In your opening remarks, when you referred to car rental agencies, you said: "Oh, it's quite simple. That charge can be passed on to the driver, which is the procedure they go through at the moment with respect to parking tickets." Well, it ain't so. If you read further in the article, it says, "Only Scotiabank lets car rental firms charge tickets to customers' Visa credit cards." That is the case at the moment with regard to parking tickets. There is a very, very small percentage of all parking tickets the cost of which is ever recovered by those car rental companies. But we're not talking about a parking ticket of $20; we may be talking about $120.

The credit card companies simply will not allow you to put any charge through after the fact. Even people like Scotiabank, if there's a complaint to them about a charge, then quite simply these credit card companies reverse the charge. That is the case today, and you are compounding the problems of tourism in this province because car rental companies will be forced to increase the cost of car rental, not to the speeders from whom they will not be able to recover it, but to all people who rent. That is singularly unfair to renters, and the problem is that in the highly competitive car rental business we may in fact see competitive pressures such that some companies will simply go out of business. But it doesn't appear that this is a government that is particularly interested in small businesses being maintained.

We turn to the question of the cash grab aspect of this. The government has fiercely defended the position that this is not a cash grab. Well, it's very interesting, because on many occasions in debate in the House and in questions in the House, I have challenged the minister that if indeed it wasn't a cash grab, they would surely be prepared to demonstrate that. The acid test would be to dedicate all of the extra funds you raise through this to added safety measures to be implemented by the OPP and local police forces. Dedicate that money to those police forces. There have been many words spoken in the House and in question period, but the minister, who knows very well that I have challenged him on this point, has studiously ignored the challenge. I was gratified to read in the Ottawa Citizen that indeed Jim Coyle reflected on the fact that the minister had ignored the challenge. It has been uttered over and over again. We all know that these funds will disappear into that black hole called consolidated revenue, never to be seen again.


With respect to the question of this being a cash grab, my colleague Mr Daigeler has already mentioned the article from Topical magazine dated November 19, in which it is very clear that the government views this as a cash grab. Snippets out of the front-page article of Topical magazine: "`Ministries have a significant opportunity to offset some expenditure control pressures by focusing efforts on generating revenues,' said Ron Vrancart, Ministry of Natural Resources." Making money hasn't been a priority so far, he explained.

The article goes on to say: "A good example is the introduction of photo-radar systems in Ontario, part of the integrated road safety program involving several ministries that was announced in this year's budget. It will take some time to get the technology in place and train the police to use it, before fines can start being levied and collected."

It's interesting that he talks about this being mentioned in this year's budget. Why do you think it would be mentioned in the budget if it wasn't a revenue-grabbing item?

So the minister has studiously ignored that question, and I would suggest that probably one of the strong reasons the minister is not here today is because in this forum we can ask him questions backwards and forwards until we finally nail an answer from him, but he doesn't like giving answers; he likes to float around all over the place. It is a revenue grab. The minister has ignored the opportunity to deny it.

The question of making the owner of the vehicle responsible has some very serious implications, and not just for car rental companies. It has the implication for parents and anybody who will lend their car, because they will never know what has happened until that little radar sticker comes in, and they may not be able to remember who they lent it to if they have a large family.

There are implications of requiring, under this legislation, those people who have been charged with an offence to appear twice to fight a ticket. If it is their intention to fight the ticket, they will have to attend in person at a court facility where they got the ticket. So if you're travelling from Ottawa to Windsor and you get a ticket in Toronto, a person from Ottawa will have to come back to Toronto for a preliminary appearance and then will have to attend once again here.

I think the government hasn't thought that through very well. If it is the intent of the government to try and improve the court system so that the system is not as jammed, I can understand. I believe the opposition parties would be cooperative in working with you to agree on measures which would help you, but I don't believe this is the way of doing it. All you are doing is you're going to further block up the courts and you're going to take people a long way out of their way. And if they're taking the trouble to fight the conviction, I would suggest they probably believe they've got a pretty good reason, which brings me to the question of the technical merits of this equipment.

The BC experiment which the parliamentary assistant referred to led to the determination that some of the pieces of equipment that were tested didn't work properly, and they have been essentially ruled out. That doesn't say that the other equipment that you may decide -- we've never been told what you would in fact be implementing with, as to how its success rate would be and how it would stand up against scrutiny.

It's quite well known by experts that you can have a situation with two cars running parallel, one of them at a much higher speed than the other, and in fact the wrong car can be photographed under this system. So I put it to you that with a situation like that, where somebody is travelling from Ottawa to Windsor and they're caught on a speeding trap in Toronto and they believe it was unjust and they're lucky enough to be able to even remember the circumstances, which is highly unlikely, they will have to attend in Toronto for the prior hearing. So they'll have to come all the way back from Ottawa just to attend that prior hearing and then again for the final hearing. I don't think you serve the public very well with that.

The speed of implementation of this bill as compared with graduated licensing can leave us with only one impression: that the government will move heaven and earth to get money, but when it is more benign legislation, legislation which is good but doesn't put money into your pockets, then you're pretty tardy in the execution of your duty.

We've heard no evidence that you're prepared to kill this legislation at the end of six months, because indeed the legislation is open-ended and there is no sunset clause whatsoever. If indeed you were interested in this only being a temporary measure, I believe there would be a sunset clause and then you would bring it before this committee for review and public scrutiny. But there has been no suggestion that you would do that.

The question of factual discussion by the parliamentary assistant is rather annoying when you are precluding those experts who would be able to give us factual information from coming before this committee, and indeed you're not allowing us to speak to the privacy commissioner or road safety experts and lawyers pro and con.

I believe this is a very flawed process that we're involved with, one which has caused you a lot of grief and which I believe will continue to cause the government a lot of grief.

There can be no doubt that the Progressive Conservative Party is very keen to ensure that the roads of Ontario are the safest they can possibly be, and we share the goal of making Ontario's roads the best in the world, but we don't believe this is the way to achieve it.

We have particular concern when we get evidence on a daily basis such as the letter which was sent by the privacy commissioner yesterday. Reading from it, it says, "From a pure privacy perspective, this office is opposed to forms of electronic monitoring or surveillance," which of course brings forward the whole spectre of this Orwellian world this government has brought to us.

Frankly, I'm not surprised that a socialist government would bring us an Orwellian world, because that is the nature of socialism. One only has to read such books as Lord of the Flies or George Orwell's books to conclude that the government is set to change the very structure of our society. It's my regret that the members of the government will not be around after the next election to watch us go through and tear up every piece of legislation they have put forward, because I would like to look them in the face and tell them once again how wrongheaded that legislation was.


The Chair: According to the committee's instructions, we will now move to clause-by-clause examination of the bill.

Mr Daigeler: Is there an opportunity to hear from the ministry officials?

The Chair: The instructions to the committee this morning were quite clear, and that is that we move to clause-by-clause at this point, Mr Daigeler.

Mr Daigeler: I did think there would be an opportunity to ask some questions of the ministry officials.

The Chair: As we go through the clause-by-clause examination of the bill, that opportunity may be presented to you, Mr Daigeler. The Chair is bound by the motion of the committee, which said very directly that we will move to clause-by-clause at this point.

I suspect all members have copies of the bill in front of them. Are there questions, comments or amendments to subsection 1(1)? Mr Kormos.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Since I'm not a regular member of the committee, I'll defer to Mr Turnbull, but I tell you, Chair, I want to exercise my rights as a member of the Legislative Assembly to participate in this committee's work. I intend to be very brief. I have several questions I would like to pose to the parliamentary assistant, and I trust that in the interests of fairness and democracy, you will accommodate me.

Mr Turnbull: I move that we hear the questions from Mr Kormos to the parliamentary assistant immediately.

The Chair: I had recognized Mr Kormos.

Mr Kormos: Thank you. If I may, Chair, in view of the fact that there is a time allocation motion and that there is a process for deeming all questions to be put on all sections of the bill, I trust you will exercise your discretion to permit some latitude, especially in view of the fact that I'm not here to be dilatory but merely to pose some very direct questions about some very specific sections. Am I fair in that presumption? Thank you, sir.

I appreciate this opportunity to put questions to the parliamentary assistant, who of course is here on behalf of the minister. Indeed, I'm curious about the language contained in the legislation. The reason I prefaced my comments is that I'm skipping ahead, in the context of the bill, to the photo-radar section, and I put this as a question to the parliamentary assistant.

I trust it will be a defence to a charge under these provisions that one who was the owner of a vehicle was not the operator of a vehicle at that point in time when the speeding took place. Am I correct in that regard, parliamentary assistant?

Mr Dadamo: I would like to start this way. Of course I don't travel lightly: I have staff with me from the legal department and I'd like them to come to the table and help to answer some of the questions. Larry Fox from the Attorney General's office is here, and Ross Burns from MTO. As well, Colin Brittan, who is the superintendent-director of the integrated safety project with the OPP, is here willing to entertain some questions. I'm sure Larry can answer your question.

The Chair: Would you first identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard, please.

Mr Ross Burns: My name's Ross Burns, counsel, Ministry of Transportation, legal branch.

Mr Larry Fox: My name's Larry Fox, counsel, policy development division, Ministry of the Attorney General.

Mr Colin Brittan: Colin Brittan, director of the government of Ontario's integrated safety project.

Mr Fox: I'm sorry, I didn't quite get the gist of Mr Kormos's question.

Mr Kormos: Once again, I trust it will be a defence to a charge of speeding, because that will be the charge, if the owner of the vehicle who has been charged was not the operator of the vehicle.

Mr Burns: No, that is not the case. The offence creates an owner liability for speeding, and the only exemption that would apply under section 207 of the Highway Traffic Act is where the vehicle has been taken without the owner's consent or knowledge or, for example, as the owner is deemed to be the plate holder to whom the plates have been issued, if those plates have been stolen, for example, or misplaced and misused by someone else. We are not attempting in this legislation to identify who the driver or the operator of the vehicle is. It's the vicarious responsibility of the owner under section 207 of the Highway Traffic Act that applies, and the offence notice would be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, who is the plate holder.

Mr Kormos: I need clarification here, Chair. You mean to say if I lend my Chevy to a friend and she or he speeds, I am culpable in a quasi-criminal tribunal such as provincial offences court?

Mr Burns: You could be charged as owner with the speeding offence under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act.

Mr Kormos: And convicted?

Mr Burns: Yes.

Mr Kormos: So the only defence then is that the vehicle wasn't there; is that correct?

Mr Burns: Yes, or if they were not your plates or that the vehicle was taken without your consent or knowledge.

Mr Kormos: Or that the vehicle wasn't speeding?

Mr Burns: Well, yes, that would be defence on the merits.

Mr Kormos: Looking at what will be section 205.11 on page 17, that's an instance, as compared to one of the earlier sections, which indicates that a person is basically deemed to have pled guilty if they don't file a notice of dispute which is consistent with the current provisos in terms of a number of regulatory offences.

Mr Burns: Yes.

Mr Fox: It was a change. It's consistent with the philosophy we use that if you get a ticket now and you do nothing, there's a default conviction. If you look at the back of your ticket, you're given 15 days; after 30 days, you'll be found guilty. This provision is mirrored in earlier provisions amending the POA. This refers to someone who has requested a trial and been given a notice of trial.

Mr Kormos: Exactly.

Mr Fox: They've got the system rolling, a trial's been scheduled, they're given the date, the time of the trial, the location; they do not appear for their trial. They'll be treated just like the person who now does not respond and ignores the ticket itself. That is a change.

Mr Kormos: Quite right.

Mr Fox: At present, if you request a trial and you don't show up, there are what we call ex parte trials, a trial where the officer runs through his or her evidence for five minutes, and the general result of those things is a conviction.

Mr Kormos: But the justice of the peace has to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the offence occurred.

Mr Fox: Right, and that is, we think, a wasteful use of court and police resources. Also, you should read 205.11 with 205.13.

Mr Kormos: I did.

Mr Fox: In return, there's a wider right of reopening. Let's say you've got a notice of trial and you get sick or your wife has a baby; you can't show up for the trial. You'll be convicted under 205.11 but you can go to the court and get the conviction reopened. That's an expanded right of reopening, an expanded right to set aside the conviction. It's a balance.

Mr Kormos: There's a relatively summary way to appeal provincial offences convictions now to a provincial judge.

Mr Burns: Yes, but this would be a reopening and an entitlement to a whole new trial.

Mr Kormos: Okay, I'm interested in 205.12, where you refer to the court being satisfied that the interests of justice require it in terms of adjourning a trial for the purpose of calling the operator of the photo-radar system. I trust, parliamentary assistant, that you anticipate and expect that courts will interpret that liberally.

Mr Fox: Again, this is if the person hasn't already been requested. The person who is charged as owner under these provisions has a right to call the operator, and you can see that in 205.8(1).

Mr Kormos: Yes, I'm interested in the phrase, though, satisfaction of the "interests of justice."

Mr Fox: This would apply to the situation where the person hasn't earlier exercised that right, in which case the officer would have to attend.

Mr Kormos: Quite right, and I'm trusting that you expect that courts will interpret this very liberally.

Mr Fox: I think that would be a fair assumption.

Mr Kormos: And that courts will grant accused persons, defendants, a great deal of leeway.

Mr Fox: Let's go through it. The presumption is, "shall not...unless," so if you're looking at the position of the defendant, the defendant has an absolute right to call the operator. Perhaps the defendant hasn't exercised that right because of a misunderstanding. It would be up to the defendant at the trial to put that to a justice of the peace or provincial court judge.

Mr Kormos: But you intend for this legislation to be interpreted very liberally in this section by justices of the peace.

Mr Fox: It's a difficult question to answer, in the sense that it's for them to interpret.

Mr Burns: It's for the justice to interpret. If the justice requires an adjournment so that the officer or the witness can be called --

Mr Kormos: I understand, but I'm trying to create a bit of a record here that might be of a little bit of use to some people down the road. Here it is: Legislators are being called upon to pass the legislation, and like all legislation, it's just words and it's going to be subject to interpretation. Can we get some clarity now, Mr Parliamentary Assistant? The ministry authored the bill, the government authored the bill. Did it intend in this instance for "interests of justice" to be interpreted very liberally in favour of the defendant?


Mr Dadamo: You know fairly well that I have lawyers with me and --

Mr Kormos: That's the problem.

Mr Dadamo: Just a second, now. What you're doing is a tit for tat in legalese. I'm not going to take you on in that and you know that. There are lawyers here who are representing MTO, one from the Attorney General's office, and I suggest if you want to do the tit for tat that you do it with them. I will not do it with you.

Mr Kormos: No, no, sir, please.

Mr Dadamo: You won't get me caught in words. You know that.

Mr Kormos: I'm afraid we deal with words every day. The fact is, most of the people in the Legislative Assembly aren't lawyers; they're politicians, which may be no better and no worse, but the bottom line is that we have to understand what it is that people are voting on. I'm not talking legalese; I'm not here as a lawyer. I'm here as just a small politician from southern Ontario who wants to know what's being voted on. I think other members of the assembly would like that too.

I'm not trying to put you in an unfair position, because all of us have to form in our own minds, not as lawyers, what this means. I'm trying to determine for myself whether it is expected that justices of the peace will interpret this particular section very much in favour of the rights of a defendant to engage in what lawyers call a full answer in defence.

Mr Dadamo: I don't know. I'm not a lawyer.

Mr Kormos: I only have one more section to query about. I'm not trying to be quarrelsome with you, Mr Dadamo. I like you.

Mr Dadamo: I like you too. I want you to spew your venom in the next couple of minutes and we can clear it up. That's what we're here for.

Mr Kormos: I've got no venom. I've got some questions. I'm curious.

Mr Burns: I believe the court would interpret it in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the defendant's request for that adjournment and the attendance of the witness, and it would also be interpreted in light of any jurisprudence applying under the charter with respect to the person's right to make a full defence and the presumption of innocence and all those other elements of the charter.

I would think we would have to await the courts' interpretation to see whether, in your words, they would interpret it liberally or not. I would think they would certainly give the defendant every opportunity to make their argument that they should have an adjournment because they require the officer there, after exploring the reasons why they didn't request the attendance at the earlier date. The fact that the person may have been misinformed or misunderstood probably would be interpreted in their favour and the justice would grant the adjournment in those circumstances. That really, on my part, would be speculation, but I certainly would think that if the court didn't interpret it in a reasonable fashion such as that, the person would clearly have a right to appeal.

Mr Kormos: One more query about one more little bit of phrasing, in section 205.13, where you talk about "through no fault of the defendant." Once again, when this was drafted, was it intended in choosing that language that that particular phrase, "through no fault of the defendant," would be interpreted very liberally, such that the defendant would have but a modest standard of proof in terms of satisfying that it was not through his or her fault that there was a non-attendance?

Mr Burns: I think the intent of the reopening provision, both in the photo-radar and also in part I dealing with the Provincial Offences Act was to allow for a more generous reopening of matters where the person did not receive the notice by mail.

Mr Kormos: I don't know whether Mr Dadamo wanted to say anything or not. He was nodding his head, I trust in agreement.

Those are the questions I had about the legislation. That's what I have to know. Thank you very much, Mr Dadamo, thank you very much, gentlemen, thank you, Chair, for --

Mr Dadamo: You're not leaving, are you?

Mr Kormos: I'm going to sit back and watch.

The Chair: Further questions, comments or amendments to subsection 1(1)?

Mrs Mathyssen: To the witnesses, through Mr Dadamo, I appreciate Mr Kormos's humility very much. I find it most refreshing. But I wonder if perhaps someone could answer further, in connection to Mr Kormos's first question, whether it would not be to the ultimate advantage of a vehicle's owner to know that the person to whom he or she had given the vehicle in trust had been abusing that trust in driving at excessive speed.

Mr Brittan: Certainly from a police perspective that seems a very reasonable position to take. In fact, I think the assumption is that unless your vehicle is taken without your consent, you know where that vehicle is all the time. As a serving police officer for 28 years, I've never encountered a situation other than that it was either taken without consent or the registered plate holder knew where the vehicle was or had some sense of responsibility for who was using it.

Mrs Mathyssen: So ultimately, if your vehicle is being abused, you may very well be saving your vehicle if you know that person is someone you should not be trusting.

Mr Brittan: We might very well be saving our children's lives, frankly.

Mr Daigeler: The point is not that we'd all like to know, if we give the car to somebody, what they do with the car. Of course we would. Normally, we give the car to somebody in good faith, as I do with my children, but once they have the car, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the circumstances, they are masters of their own fortune.

I think this is what riles people so much. It was clearly stated by legal counsel, as we've been arguing from day one, that it is the owner of the car who is going to get the fine and who will have to pay at least 100 bucks, probably a lot more, who probably in no way, shape or form had any impact on how that person was speeding. I'm sure when he or she gave the car to the person driving, they did so under the assumption that they would follow the normal rules of the road and wouldn't put the owner in a situation where they would become liable.

I think that's the key concern out there. In fact, that is the key concern. I'm surprised Mr Kormos was asking the question, because in the letters I've received, I would say that was the big concern people had, that it is not the driver. If it were the driver who was going to get the ticket, some people out there said: "Okay, fine. He or she is a speeder and they ought to pay for it." But because it may well be just the owner who is going to have to pay, and as legal counsel said, that's the way it's going to be, that's the problem. That's what people are so concerned about.

That's my question now to the ministry officials, unless the parliamentary assistant wants to answer it himself. A lot of people feel this is unconstitutional. If they are the owners and not the drivers, they are not the ones who committed the offence. How can they receive a fine? They feel this would be unconstitutional, especially under our Charter of Rights.

I'd like to hear from the officials, through the parliamentary assistant, what the precedents are here. I understand this was raised in other jurisdictions as well. Have there been any cases? Have there been judges who have ruled on this matter? Have there been any appeals? What is the experience of other jurisdictions? Has the constitutionality of this measure been tested in the courts, and what has been the response of the legal level so far?

Mr Dadamo: Mr Daigeler, I would find it extremely difficult and hard to swallow that if your vehicle was on the road, whether you have one child or six, you would not know who was driving that vehicle; that if that photograph comes in the mail to you -- and hopefully it comes within that one-week time frame or 10 days or whatever it happens to be; let's say one of your children was driving the car and it happens to be a Friday night -- they would not be honest enough to come to you and say, "Dad, that was me driving the vehicle."

When I was 16 or 17 years old, I found it virtually impossible to have taken my father's vehicle without his knowledge. Why would that change from back then to 1993? As a parent, are you not responsible enough to know that the car's out and it's in the hands of one of your children, or a friend or a neighbour?


Mr Daigeler: If I may be permitted, to the parliamentary assistant, that's not at all what I said. I at no point said not knowing who's driving the car would be a major problem. That's not at all what I said.

What I tried to say is that, as the owner, when I give the car to my child or to anybody else, I know I'm giving it to them. That was not my point at all, that I don't know who I'm giving it to or know who the person was who was driving it. I'm just saying that if I give it to another driver, I am assuming that he or she will drive and follow the rules of the road and that if he or she makes a mistake and speeds, he or she will be responsible for that and not me, as the owner. That's the concern, and that's the concern about the constitutionality. I would like some response to my question, which is still there.

Mr Burns: Perhaps I can respond to that. With respect to photo-radar, there have been prosecutions and a case that went to the Alberta Court of Appeal in which the vicarious responsibility of the owner for a speeding offence was upheld as constitutional.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, for many years we've had vicarious responsibility of owners for many offences not generally included in what we call driver offences or moving offences. However, the section has been upheld, section 207, as being constitutional.

While I don't think you can get a constitutional expert, and I'm not one of them, to state that there will never be a challenge, I think the jurisprudence to this point demonstrates that the owner can be held accountable for such offences, taking into account that the use of a highway and the operation of a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right, that the interpretation of the laws applying to the operation of motor vehicles, which can present a lot of danger, can be regulated in a fashion which may not involve total freedom.

So there are some restrictions and some responsibilities placed on owners and drivers. It's my understanding, sir, that we have been successful in other jurisdictions in upholding it, and my understanding from the constitutional experts in Ontario is that we would certainly have a very good chance of withstanding any challenge in this area as well. That's not to say there won't be challenges -- there are always challenges -- but that doesn't mean we can't withstand those.

I think the opinion is that, based on existing jurisprudence and the manner in which the legislation is drawn, it would withstand those challenges.

Mr Daigeler: So I take it from your comments that I'm right that you have in fact asked your legal colleagues whether this matter would be constitutional, and they have assured you that it would be.

Mr Burns: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: My question was with regard to the case that you're raising -- in Alberta, I think you said?

Mr Burns: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Is that still under appeal, as far as you know?

Mr Burns: No. It was determined by the Alberta Court of Appeal, and it has not been taken further.

Mr Daigeler: I see. So it was in fact appealed. It was a lower court decision?

Mr Burns: Yes. It wasn't just a trial and a decision; it was a decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal, which is the highest court in Alberta, equivalent to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Mr Daigeler: I see. Do you know when that was?

Mr Burns: I can get you the citation, but it was within the last three years; very recently.

Mr Daigeler: I see. I appreciate that part. Can I continue or come back?

The Chair: You have the floor.

Mr Daigeler: I'll pass it on to some other people, but I have several other points I wish to make with regard to section 1, as this is where I think we're at. I think especially the constitutionality of this whole measure is very important right from the beginning of this bill.

Frankly, I don't know whether this decision by the appeal court is available or whether it's very thick; frankly, I don't want a thick document, because I've got enough of those. But if the ministry, say, has in its compendium sort of a brief résumé of this decision, it probably would be helpful. It would be helpful for the public to know about this matter and be reassured in that regard, that in fact some people did raise this issue and at least a provincial supreme court has ruled that it was constitutional.

With regard to Mr Kormos's question earlier -- no, he's still here -- we obviously have no control or idea of how the courts will interpret, whether they're going to be liberal in their interpretation of this. I doubt very much whether they're going to read the Hansard of this session, and I don't think the public --

Mr Dadamo: They get them in law school.

Mr Daigeler: Are you saying they're getting them in law school? Good for them, then. I don't think we can be assured at this level that the people oughtn't to be too worried because the judges are going to interpret the provisions liberally and will let them go, if they can; I wouldn't take that into consideration at all. But I do accept the fact that was just mentioned, that there has been a challenge in the courts and an appeal court has ruled that vicarious responsibility is acceptable. Perhaps it would be useful as well to describe for us what these other instances are where, under the Highway Traffic Act, this vicarious responsibility comes into effect. That probably would also be useful for the members of the committee to know: What are these other instances? Are they of the same magnitude or of much bigger magnitude? I don't know.

The Chair: Thank you. I have Mr Morrow, Mr Turnbull, Mr White and Ms Mathyssen on my list.

Mr Morrow: Thank you very much, Chair. I'm not sure where I'm directing this one, but I'm assuming I'm directing it at ministry staff.

We know the present-day Highway Traffic Act talks about points and we know that insurance companies can look at convictions to increase your insurance. Now you're taking the point system away, so what's going to stop insurance companies from raising their rates now based on the convictions?

Mr Burns: Perhaps I can assist on that. It is something that is dealing with the policy area, but I think during the period of the pilot, which this is initially, a pilot of six months, the records of convictions will not be used for purposes of insurance premium rate-setting. There will be an evaluation of the whole program and its effectiveness. At some date in the future there may be additional treatment programs developed with respect to offenders of this legislation, but the insurance companies will not be using the information certainly during the term of the pilot. I think there are consultations that will be held with the insurance industry regarding that.

That's more an area of policy, Mr Morrow, and as a legal adviser I may not be the best person to respond to you on that point.

Mr Brittan: I can confirm that that is our policy position.

Mr Morrow: What assurances can you give me that insurance companies won't increase their rates?

Interjection: They just did.

Mr Morrow: You are now giving me that assurance, then. Basically, why put the convictions on at all?

Mr Brittan: Obviously, part of our pilot project is to acquire some statistical information. When you're referring to convictions, are you referring to convictions as recorded by the Attorney General? They're a matter of public record.

Mr Morrow: But you're now taking away the point system, correct?

Mr Brittan: I think it's more correct to say that for purposes of the pilot program, the Ministry of Transportation is not proposing to assess demerit points for speeding.

Mr Morrow: The other question I have would be a constitutional question. We all know that if somebody borrowed my car for four weeks and got, say, four speeding tickets, under the present system is it not correct that if I do not pay my speeding fines I cannot renew my driver's licence? Is that correct? Okay.


The Chair: It would be helpful if we got a verbal response for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Fox: I'm sorry. I thought the microphone would pick up my nod.

Mr Kormos: Well, I heard his nod.

Mr Morrow: I heard it too. The first part of my question is, if I do not pay my speeding tickets under the current system, can I or can I not renew my driver's licence?

Mr Fox: One of the methods for enforcing fines is driver's licence suspension. We have some amendments that deal with that incidentally in the bill.

Mr Morrow: So if I lend my car out to somebody and they get speeding tickets, because I'm responsible for it I can then not renew my driver's licence. Does that not create a constitutional problem?

Mr Fox: That's not correct. If you turn to page 19 of the bill, in the left-hand margin you'll see subsection (7), and the left-hand margin has the word "limitation." In a nutshell, what that means is a person who's convicted when photo-radar evidence is used cannot be imprisoned, cannot have his or her driver's licence suspended as a result of the conviction -- that means as a punishment -- or as a consequence of failing to pay a fine.

Mr Morrow: So we are now changing the system on that too?

Mr Fox: Only for an owner who's convicted of speeding by means of photo-radar evidence.

Mr Turnbull: Perhaps I could just ask the very simple question, why are there no demerit points awarded to a speeder?

Mr Burns: In the case of the owner offence, I think we will be dealing with persons who are not individuals, who are corporations, and in those circumstances we cannot apply demerit points. In following the advice we had from the constitutional experts, we could not apply demerit points to one set of individuals who are convicted of this offence who happen to be individual owners as opposed to persons who are corporate owners. Demerit points are only assigned under the current scheme to drivers and to individuals.

Mr Turnbull: I'm sure you're aware of the example of Sun City in Arizona, where they allow for a deposition to be made after the fact about who the driver of the vehicle was, and in those cases the owner of the vehicle has an opportunity to move the conviction or the charge over to the driver. I would ask you why would you not have the same mechanism here? That's part A. Part B is that under that system you then would be able to designate points to those people, because the owner of the vehicle, being a corporation, could designate who the driver was.

Mr Brittan: I would like to give you the best answer I could. That would be that, as you know, this is a pilot project with four operating photo-radar machines. It takes a sophisticated operation to support photo-radar in what we refer to inside as the back end. That's the part where the film is processed and all of the technical connections are made with the various databases.

To implement a program such as you've just described, which they're using successfully there and in other jurisdictions, requires a significant clerical and administrative infrastructure. In Ontario, our position has been to acquire some experience with this technology to gradually bring ourselves up to speed as we understand the implications of photo-radar and how it operates in both its front-end mode -- that's the portion that's out on the highway -- and as we construct our back-end mode; that's the infrastructure that supports it.

We would trust that if and when we demonstrate a successful pilot, these kinds of considerations could be undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation in the appropriate time frame, and those kinds of changes might very well be practical as we gain some experience and develop an infrastructure to support it.

Mr Turnbull: Following along that line of thinking, would you comment on what the deterrent effect is of getting a notice in the mail some time after the fact.

Mr Brittan: I could only express an opinion on that as a citizen. I would have to expect that the deterrent effect would come from the fact that I have to pay a fine, and any time I have to make an expenditure, that presumably has a positive effect on my behaviour.

Mr Turnbull: Officer, I don't know if you've ever been in the circumstance that you have been pulled over for speeding.

Mr Brittan: I have.

Mr Turnbull: Maybe because of your training you don't have the same reaction, but I've only had three speeding tickets in my life, and I can tell you my heart was pounding like crazy as that policeman took that long walk. That taught me more of a lesson than receiving any ticket a week or two weeks or three or four weeks later in the mail and not knowing my state of mind. In that time the policeman takes to walk there, I think you do a lot of heart searching as to why you were speeding and why you were maybe concentrating on that next meeting you were going to. Would you not agree that is probably a more significant deterrent effect than this faceless thing that arrives a few weeks later?

Mr Brittan: I think you'll be reassured to know that the Ontario police community, and the OPP in particular, which is sponsoring the pilot, intends to continue to deliver highway traffic enforcement in exactly the same fashion it has been. Sir, if you are in the habit of exceeding the speed limit, you may yet face another heart-pumping experience when you are personally stopped, because we have no intention of abandoning our normal strategies of highway traffic enforcement.

Mr Turnbull: You may have heard in my opening remarks that I have suggested that if the ministry were indeed interested in making this a safety measure as opposed to just a tax grab, all of the extra funds it generates through this could be quite easily dedicated to trying to top up the OPP, who I know are stretched to the limit and have less money now to spend than they've had in previous years, to a great extent because of this government. Would that not help with the safety efforts of the OPP, if you were to get extra funds?

Mr Brittan: You'll be pleased to know, as will the rest of the committee, that the government is in fact prepared to make a significant investment in the Ontario police community. I'd refer you to the fact -- and I think I'm qualified to speak to this as the director of the government of Ontario's integrated safety project -- that photo-radar is only one component of a significant integrated strategy which will benefit the Ontario police community as a whole.

Mr Turnbull: We've heard all of that, officer. What we're talking about is the extra funds that are generated from photo-radar being allocated as additional funds to the OPP. I don't want a rehash of the minister's announcements, because we've already heard those.

Mr Brittan: I understand your question. Of course, as we've never operated photo-radar in Ontario -- and as a police officer, I'd like to assume that the people of Ontario will obey the speed limit -- we have no idea what sort of revenues might accrue from this. That's a matter our pilot program will help us assess with much more certainty than we know today.

Mr Turnbull: The statistics of Alberta and BC have been quoted with great abandon. The statistics from Alberta seem to suggest that there will be at least a 50% increase in revenues. If we're going to quote statistics here from Alberta, let's get on the record what has happened in Alberta: Revenues went up by 50%. That's a major chunk of dough.

The RCMP officers in the BC test have expressed regret at the lack of face-to-face contact. Can you comment on that?

Mr Brittan: On face-to-face contact with the public?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, in a ticketing situation.

Mr Brittan: Perhaps they abandoned their traditional methods of highway traffic control in favour of photo-radar and gave up that aspect of police enforcement. We don't plan to do that here.

Mr Turnbull: Turning to the question of the ownership and the plates, which we were talking about before, there have been concerns expressed by leasing companies, as distinct from car rental companies, with respect to the ownership of the vehicle. The citation is going to the owner of the vehicle, right?


Mr Burns: Perhaps I can answer that. The vehicle permit in Ontario is divided into two parts, the vehicle portion and the plate portion. In maybe the vast majority of instances, such as with myself, you own a vehicle and both the vehicle portion and the plate portion are in the same name, so you'll see your name on both sides. In the case of long-term leasing or the conventional leasing of vehicles, usually the vehicle portion is held by the lessor and the plate portion is held by the lessee, and the lessee would be the owner for the purposes of photo-radar speeding.

Mr Turnbull: You said "usually."

Mr Burns: It doesn't have to be. If I lease a vehicle, I might insist that the lessor plate the vehicle in its name. However, certainly since we have the two-part permit since 1982, when we went to a plate-to-owner concept where you retain the plates when you sell your vehicle and those are your plates permanently, in the leasing situation, the practice -- and I can't speak statistically but I think in the vast majority of cases, the long-term leases of vehicle equipment -- is that the plate portion would be held by the lessee. He would renew the plates annually on his birthdate or her birthdate, and parking tickets and owner violations would go to the plate holder. The plate holder is deemed to be the owner for the purposes of this section.

Mr Turnbull: According to clause 205.14(c), "prescribing what constitutes evidence of ownership of a vehicle for purposes of this part," I believe leasing companies are the registered owners of their fleets, which involve thousands of vehicles, but they're not the plate holders. But you have already mentioned that not all circumstances are the same.

Mr Burns: Not all circumstances are the same.

Mr Turnbull: Then how will you handle that?

Mr Burns: I would think one of the distinctions would be in the rental car situation where it's a short-term rental, the rental company --

Mr Turnbull: I'm not talking about short-term rental; I'm talking about leasing.

Mr Burns: In that case, then that person would be the person to whom the plates are issued, and that could be the leasing company. I would submit it's analogous to the rental situation where you go in and take a vehicle for a weekend or a week and the rental company provides the plates; obviously, the plates probably are issued to the rental company. The ticket, if there is an offence, would be issued to the plate holder, which is the rental company, and then, as was discussed earlier, they would have to have recourse to the person who has rented the vehicle.

Mr Turnbull: You see, here's the point: having recourse to the person who rented the vehicle. That is patently untrue, because the rental companies cannot collect the money from the person who rented it. You just have to read the clippings today, and I have already discussed this with the car rental companies. They are most concerned that they are not able to collect this money by putting a charge through after the fact on a credit card. Perhaps the parliamentary assistant could respond.

Mr Dadamo: I want to go back to the comments I made this morning, that it's a pilot project. It really is. We can't lose sight of the fact that it's a six-month pilot project and an experiment. Obviously, we'll have to tally information, and I'm sure that's going to be a big chunk of it at the end of the project.

Mr Turnbull: With due respect, this legislation has no sunset clause in it. This is permanent legislation. You're ramming this through without any public scrutiny, and the fact is it is fatally flawed, because the car rental companies cannot charge it back. You're saying, "Oh, well, this is just a pilot." I'm sorry, that doesn't hold water. This is permanent legislation. The fact that it's permanent legislation and that you have no clause in here to allow for a deposition to be made by the car rental owners about who was driving it on such-and-such a date indicates that there is a serious problem.

You have basically a choice. You can say: "Okay, I couldn't care less about that. Let the car rental company eat it." Well, the practical application of that is that either they absorb it or increase rental. I can tell you most car rental companies are now charging typically less than they were charging six or seven years ago. Their costs have gone up, automobiles have continued to increase in price, insurance, all of the things that are associated with the industry have increased in price, but their rental rates have actually declined.

We depend on a healthy car rental business to be able to support tourism. Tourism is one of the major businesses of Ontario. If you allow this to go through unchanged, you will either drive companies out of business or you will see an increase in rental rates because they have no capacity to be able to absorb this. If you drive them out of business, then all you do is you cause a monopoly of a few companies, which is not healthy. If they start distributing it across all of their fleet, it has an impact on the attractiveness of Ontario as compared with other administrations around the world.

Already, as I'm sure you're well aware, rental rates for cars in Ontario are high compared with most US locations; I think all US locations. There are implications for the Ontario economy in this. I don't like photo-radar. You know that; that's on record. But I'm saying, as a matter of practicality -- you're going to get this through; we know you have the votes -- surely it would be reasonable to contemplate that you would be able to have an amendment in this legislation that would allow for the deposition to be made by the car-owning companies, and then the ticket would be charged to those people. It would be the responsibility and at the cost of the Ontario government to collect it from those people, not the car rental companies. Could you perhaps respond to that? This is a very real concern.

Mr Dadamo: It is, with the utmost respect for you, Mr Turnbull. Obviously we don't have all the answers at this point, but I would think that most car rental companies take deposits up front, do they not?

Mr Turnbull: If you've turned the car back, that's of little use to you.

Mr Dadamo: But I'm sure they'll have some sort of -- I use the word "scheme," but I mean it in a sense that they'll have worked something out to protect themselves. I'd like for legal counsel to shed some light on it.

Mr Turnbull: The reality is, today they have difficulty collecting the majority of the parking tickets. That's what's happening today. I see the OPP officer nodding and saying he doesn't think that's true. Is that correct?

Mr Brittan: The impression I have is that the auto rental industry has some significant success in recovering parking fines.

Mr Turnbull: Gee, it's strange. I went and attended one of the meetings where they had people from most of the large companies and many small companies, and this was one of their most significant concerns.

Mr Brittan: Well, perhaps they have some motive for putting it to you in that fashion.

Mr Turnbull: I would suggest that perhaps you have a motive for putting it to me in the fashion you did. The fact is that --

Mr White: On a point of order, Mr Chair: We have a witness in front of us who deserves to be addressed with some respect, and I don't think it appropriate for the member to be imputing motive to that witness.

Mr Turnbull: I just want to examine what I said. I simply reflected what the officer had said: He suggested they had some motive and I turned it around on him. You seem to take umbrage at it.

The Chair: Through the Chair, Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chair, I believe this is the flaw in this process, that we don't have an opportunity to bring these people before us and take their positions. The OPP officer is making the claim that he doesn't think it's true. Maybe he's right, but how will we ever know? I have been told differently by those car rental and leasing companies. I haven't made it up, because I don't know; I have just consulted with people who are concerned about this legislation. It goes to the very heart of what I have said from the very beginning, that as long as you cut off any public scrutiny, you will never know. I guess there's the old saying that ignorance is bliss.


Mr Brittan: I'm not a lawyer, but I am an occasional renter of a motor vehicle in Ontario. I have taken the time to read the fine print, which is almost legible on the rear of the standard auto rental contract which every company in this province uses. As the person who rents the vehicle, I clearly understand that I am responsible for everything I do with that motor vehicle, including parking tickets. There's no question in my mind about that as a renter.

Mr Turnbull: Let me just quote from today's paper, the Toronto Star of November 25. I speak about the "innocent owner" amendment they're calling for.

"Kenmir" -- who's the head of their association -- "said most rental contracts call for customers to sign an agreement stating they're responsible for all tickets received while they have the vehicle, but most lessees never pay fines. Only Scotiabank lets car rental firms charge tickets to customers' Visa credit cards."

Mr Brittan: If Scotiabank finds it reasonable that parking tickets and other charges, subsequent to the termination of the contract, should be later charged to a Scotiabank credit card, as a consumer of credit from a variety of banks, it seems only reasonable that others would do the same.

Mr Turnbull: Well, they don't.

The Chair: I just remind members that I have six members on the list and 10 minutes to go today.

Mr Turnbull: Let me ask to the officer, what are the expectations of this pilot project?

Mr Brittan: The question has been asked what the expectations of our pilot are. From an OPP traffic management perspective, we're optimistic that we can at least demonstrate that there is a positive behavioural change in motor vehicle drivers in areas in which we're proposing to utilize our four photo-radar machines.

We're reasonably confident that that should be the case, because we have looked statistically at every other photo-radar program in the world, and we cannot find a single instance where there was not a positive change in driver behaviour and reduction in collision, injuries and deaths.

Mr Turnbull: Are you aware of some of the things that are going on in Europe, where when a flash goes off at night people smash the box to pieces?

Mr Brittan: I take it you're referring to a white light?

Mr Turnbull: Yes.

Mr Brittan: Technology is rapidly changing and there's no need necessarily for a white light any more. It can be done with infrared photography.

Mr Turnbull: The fact that somebody can hide it doesn't make it any less obnoxious than the people in Europe are finding it, quite frankly.

Mr Brittan: Perhaps I could clarify. It is not our intention to leave these cameras unstaffed in boxes adjacent to the roadside or, as I understand has been mentioned, hanging from trees. It is our intention to operate these in motor vehicles, fully staffed, and for the purposes of the pilot program the OPP intends to use sworn police officers to operate.

Mr Turnbull: Why, then, are we not stopping the people at the time; using the photo evidence after the fact but actually stopping them? In that way you can stop people who are drunk and charge, you can obtain information about whether their driver's licence is valid. If you're having manned vehicles, why are you doing this?

Mr Brittan: At the present time the standard methods of hand-held and moving radar frequently require the presence of more than one police officer: the one who operates the machinery, and then subsequently down the road -- an eighth of a mile, a quarter of mile -- are one or two or three more police cars with police officers busy on the side of the road trying to pull over vehicles. Photo-radar has an efficiency about it in that it frees up other officers to do other things that are important to the community.

Mr Turnbull: What percentage of the radar traps existent in the province have a separate unit monitoring them and then other cars picking the people up; a percentage of those operating in the province?

Mr Brittan: I would say that's a statistic that the OPP doesn't keep, but a significant number of traditional radar enforcement setups require more than one person.

Mr Turnbull: Give us just a guess of what that would be.

Mr Brittan: In the greater Metropolitan Toronto area, almost without exception there are multiple officers involved.

Mr Turnbull: Multiple officers, but what about multiple cars?

Mr Brittan: That's correct, because it is not practical for a stationary police vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road operating radar to suddenly pull out into moving lanes of fast traffic and pursue a vehicle. The only workable strategy is to have another police vehicle farther down the road and a physical stop has to be made. This necessitates the men and women of the OPP and other police services stepping out of their police car, stepping on to the roadway, trying to differentiate between vehicles while they're listening to their radio, trying to get the attention of the driver, trying to get the driver in the inside or the middle or the outside lane to recognize that they've seen the officer wave, trying to get that car to cross back and come safely to the shoulder, and if the vehicle doesn't come safely to the shoulder, accepting the consequences of whatever that might be, or having to get back into their police car and pursue that vehicle.

Mr Turnbull: Officer, I want to take pains to suggest that I know it's a very dangerous procedure and I have great respect for the police officers. Don't take anything I say in questioning as in any way impugning what the police do. You will find no party more supportive of the police than the Progressive Conservatives.

You spoke about the question of differentiating between vehicles. Am I not correct in thinking that there is a technical problem with differentiating between vehicles on photo-radar, that there are circumstances when you can have two cars side by side, one of them travelling at a significantly different speed from the other, and the slower car can actually be ticketed?

Mr Brittan: I'm pleased to be able to reassure you that the manufacturers of photo-radar equipment that we're presently looking at provide computerized safety assurances that if the photo-radar device is uncertain about which vehicle is speeding within its frame of reference, it does not take a photograph.

Mr Turnbull: Specifically what equipment are you looking at? We haven't got that information from the police.

Mr Brittan: At the present time, we have a request for proposal or a tender call which is receiving worldwide attention for the supply, delivery and installation of photo-radar equipment. We would expect to receive responses to our tender call from virtually every manufacturer of photo-radar equipment in the world.

Mr Turnbull: The BC experiment resulted in some real misfiring in terms of the equipment. They ruled out certain pieces of equipment from the very beginning.

Mr Brittan: Again, technology continues to change and continues to improve. I personally have sat and received presentations from several manufacturers of photo-radar equipment. While I would have to accept their word at this point in time, I have been clearly told that if the photo-radar device is uncertain about which vehicle within its frame of reference is speeding, it does not take a photograph.

Mr Turnbull: Are they prepared to offset the cost of any challenges if it's found to be malfunctioning or taking shots of vehicles that are actually at different speeds?

Mr Brittan: I should also tell you that virtually all of the state-of-the-art photo-radar equipment is self-testing and continues to test itself all the time. If it fails, it does not take a photograph.

The Chair: We have about a minute. Mr White, I believe.

Mr White: Mr Chair, I respect your ruling, certainly, that we have a minute. However, I have a large number of questions that I haven't had the opportunity to pose. I'm wondering if I could continue at our next meeting.

The Chair: I'm certain that on Thursday morning next the debate on subsection 1(1) of this bill will continue, Mr White, and you will probably have opportunities presented to you.

Mr White: Will I still have the floor, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Yes, I will instruct the clerk to keep my list, Mr White.

Mr White: And my name would be at the top of that list, Mr Chair?

The Chair: It would be, Mr White.

Mr White: I have a number of questions and I'd like to start with just a couple of them. First of all --

The Chair: Your minute's up. We've exhausted the time that was permitted. We have a number of people on the list, and your name is on the list, Mr Johnson.

I'd like to thank the parliamentary assistant and his assistants for appearing today. I'm sure the committee will continue dealing with this bill next Thursday morning.

The committee adjourned at 1801.