Thursday 14 October 1993


Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, Bill 26, Mr Wildman / Charte des droits environnementaux de 1993, projet de loi 26

Hon Bud Wildman, Minister of Environment and Energy


*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 Daigeler

Lessard, Wayne (Windsor-Walkerville ND) for Mr Morrow

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND) for Mr Dadamo

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC) for Mr Arnott

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND) for Mr White

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service



The committee met at 1005 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr Mike Brown): The standing committee on general government will come to order. The business of the committee this morning is to order our business for Bill 26, An Act respecting Environmental Rights in Ontario. Members will have a handout that you have before you that describes the agenda, and I would call your attention to the second page of that handout. On the second page there are a number of questions regarding scheduling and matters that we must deal with. Mr Mammoliti?

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): I move a motion, Mr Chair. In reference to the topic the Environmental Bill of Rights, I move that on October 14 in the afternoon we hear from the minister, that on October 21 in the morning we --

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): Point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: A point of order, Mr Tilson.

Mr Jim Wiseman (Durham West): You can't have a point of order in the middle of a motion.

The Chair: No, he can ask for a point of order. Mr Tilson has a point of order.

Mr Tilson: My point of order is, I'm having difficulty understanding what the mover of the motion is saying. I'm wondering whether it's possible, if he has it written out, if we could have copies of that motion.

Mr Mammoliti: I'm sure the clerk will be happy to read it out after I present my motion, Mr Tilson.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): Could you start again with October 14, with the first one?

Mr Mammoliti: On October 14 in the afternoon that we hear from the minister, on October 21 in the morning would be a technical briefing.

The Chair: That would be from the ministry, I assume.

Mr Mammoliti: From the ministry. Then in the afternoon we would commence our hearings. On October 28 in the morning we continue hearings. In the afternoon of the same date we would continue hearings. On November 4 in the morning we would start clause-by-clause and in the afternoon we would finish up with clause-by-clause.

I'd like to also finish the motion off with a recommendation.

Mr Tilson: Why are we bothering to appear?

The Chair: Order. Mr Mammoliti has the floor.

Mr Mammoliti: I'd like to finish off the motion with a recommendation that we consider Tuesday afternoons as dates to make up for perhaps time we might need for either witnesses or technical briefings.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Do you want to repeat this for witnesses now?

The Chair: Just so that we can be clear, do you have a copy of that, Mr Mammoliti, that the clerk could photocopy and distribute to other members?

Mr Mammoliti: I've got some notes on mine. I think that perhaps we should hear from the clerk, if he's got it down pat. Then maybe the opposition would want to write it down after that. I've got notes on mine, so I think it's inappropriate to hand it out at this particular time.

Mr Tilson: Just crash them out, George.

Mr Mammoliti: Would you like me to repeat it?

The Chair: The clerk could perhaps repeat what he understands Mr Mammoliti's motion to be, and if that's satisfactory, then perhaps he could have that photostatted.

Mr Mammoliti: I'd be happy to repeat it as many times as you'd like.

The Chair: How be we have the clerk repeat what he believes your motion to be and if it's different, then you can let us know.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): My understanding of the motion is that Mr Mammoliti moves that on Thursday, October 14, pm, there will be a briefing by the Minister of Environment and Energy; beginning on Thursday, October 21, in the morning there will be a briefing from the Ministry of Environment and Energy, in the afternoon of October 21 there will be a public hearing; then, commencing October 28, that's a Thursday, in the morning continue with public hearings, followed by the afternoon of the 28th with public hearings; then on November 7, that's another Thursday, in the morning there will commence clause-by-clause --

Mr Mammoliti: On the 4th.

Clerk of the Committee: November 4, I'm sorry -- November 4, Thursday, in the morning it's clause-by-clause, in the afternoon it's clause-by-clause. The second part of that motion is that should there be need of further days, Mr Mammoliti recommends that we move to sit on Tuesdays in the afternoon.

If I may point out to the committee, the committee only meets on Thursday mornings and Thursday afternoons. We will require approval from the House leaders on a recommendation from our own committee to them. They will need to give us this extra day, the House leaders.

The Chair: And it would have to be ratified by the Legislature.

Clerk of the Committee: That is correct.

The Chair: So if I understand -- are those the correct dates, Mr Mammoliti?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes. I just want to clarify, however, that Tuesdays would of course be within the times that I've moved, so that --

Interjection: From the 14th.

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, they'd be in between the 14th and November 4. So you're talking October 19, October 26 and November 2.

The Chair: Just give me those dates again.

Mr Mammoliti: October 19, October 26 and November 2.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has moved a motion. Mr Offer.

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): After hearing this motion, I would like you to rule on whether the motion is in order, as in its essence being nothing less than a time allocation motion, which I understand can only be done at the behest of the Legislature, in accordance with the rules of procedure.

The Chair: My understanding is that it is in order, that this is a schedule that is being proposed to the committee that the committee itself could at any point amend. It is not, in my view, a time allocation motion.

Mr Tilson: If I could speak on that, I think it's fairly common knowledge we had some difficulty in the subcommittee meetings. We couldn't come to an agreement as to where we were going to go on these matters. My understanding is, between the three House leaders there was an agreement in July or August or whenever we left this place in the summertime that this bill would be back in the House and voted on for third reading by Christmas, or whenever we rise, which is -- who knows?

I agree with Mr Offer's point. We still have the month of November. There are still other days in the month of November to deal with this bill. Mr Offer's right on point. It is a time allocation motion. There are other days. Now, if we were going right up to a few days before we rise for Christmas, that's a possibility, but it's nothing short of a time allocation. I mean, my goodness, we're allowing a day and a half for public hearings before we've even advertised.

Before we've even advertised for delegations, as of last week, there were 20 -- I could be corrected -- it may be 18 names that had been submitted.

The Chair: Maybe the clerk can update us on the number.

Mr Tilson: I submitted 20 names, and who knows how many names Mr Offer submitted. There may be a certain amount of overlap -- this is before we advertise -- so my guess is we're close to 50 or 60 names, depending on the amount of overlap there is. To suggest that we're going to have what this government calls public hearings for a bill as substantial as this and as complicated as this, with already the expression of those people who want to speak, in a day and a half -- that is a time allocation motion.

Mr Mammoliti has indicated he wishes to speak, and I think Mr Grandmaître wishes to speak. I would ask that you defer your ruling on Mr Offer's motion until we've had some debate, because I think it is a time allocation motion.

The Chair: We are speaking actually to Mr Mammoliti's motion.

Mr Tilson: No, Mr Chair. I am speaking to Mr Offer's point of order.

The Chair: I've ruled on the point of order, Mr Tilson. We're speaking to Mr Mammoliti's motion.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm referring to Mr Mammoliti's motion. Have these dates been approved by the three House leaders?

Mr Mammoliti: The dates?

Mr Grandmaître: In your motion.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Grandmaître, if this was agreed by the House leaders, we wouldn't be here today with this motion. I'm not sure whether you sat in the subcommittee meetings or not --

Mr Grandmaître: Have you consulted?

Mr Mammoliti: -- but in the subcommittee meetings it was quite clear --

Mr Grandmaître: Would you please answer my question?

Mr Mammoliti: -- that there wasn't agreement and that we needed to come to an agreement in the subcommittee. I had offered some suggestions in the subcommittee, and they were refused by both the Liberals and the Conservatives. If this was agreed on, we wouldn't have to be here today debating this motion.

Secondly, originally the Liberals did agree to most of this motion, and at the last minute they pulled out. Your House leader did agree with it originally in terms of Tuesdays and at the last meeting you pulled out, so you might want to ask that question to your own House leader.

Mr Grandmaître: What I'm hearing is that we don't have an agreement among our House leaders. Personally, I can't commit myself today to those dates.

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I would like to point out that in point of fact there is an agreement from the House leaders. As was mentioned by Mr Tilson, that agreement was made last summer, in July, and it was specifically that this bill would be finished and through third reading by the time we rise in December. We are scheduled to rise by December 9. That means we have to move through this. Keep in mind that Bill 47 is also scheduled for this committee.

It's interesting that it's been pointed out that we have a number of people who wish to speak to this bill, and we're very glad in terms of this bill, because by and large those who wish to appear before this committee are very supportive of this bill. It's a good-news bill, and we would like nothing better than to allow the people of Ontario to hear just how positively the community feels about this.

But if you look back at the consultation in regard to this particular bill, you'll discover that it began in December 1990 with an advisory committee that proposed a wider consultation. A task force was formed, and on that task force was a wide range of Ontarians, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, Pollution Probe, environmental committees, the legal community, the Business Council on National Issues etc, who went to their constituencies and asked for comments on this bill. A draft was prepared in July 1992 based on those comments. There was a public commentary period after that, and then the task force actually reviewed and supported the draft bill before it came to first reading. There's been a very wide consultation.

The point is that there has been agreement by the three House leaders that we will complete this bill. Unless we get on with it, that agreement, made freely by the Tories and the Liberals, will be violated. We have a great deal to do in this committee. The motion made by Mr Mammoliti is to facilitate a decision. Let's get on with it.

Mr Offer: Without commenting on the incorrectness of Ms Mathyssen's last statement, I would like to ask the clerk, could you please tell me how many people, given a 30-minute time frame, would be allowed to be heard under the dictatorial motion made by the NDP member?

Clerk of the Committee: It would be 12.

Mr Offer: So 12 people in all of the province of --

Mr Mammoliti: On a point of information, Mr Chair.

The Chair: There are no points of information.

Mr Mammoliti: Then on a point of order, Mr Chair: Does that include the Tuesdays that I recommended?

The Chair: The way I understand the motion, the Tuesdays aren't included.

Mr Mammoliti: I recommended that Tuesdays be kept in mind.

The Chair: But that's not included in the motion, is it? Or is it not? Do we have the motion down wrong?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, it is included in the motion that the recommendation to the committee would also include Tuesdays, and I made it quite specific in terms of dates as well.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, that's one of the difficulties we have. We are working from a motion that, as I see it, just outlines the dates. The wording isn't there. The clerk has done his best to provide the wording. When the clerk read the motion back to you, he did not include the dates of your recommendation. I maybe incorrectly assumed that that would be a matter dealt with following the new motion.

Mr Mammoliti: He should include the recommendation for the three Tuesdays.

The Chair: In that case, if that's the motion that's before us, you should draft your motion so we know what it is.

Mr Mammoliti: The clerk read it back, Mr Chair. The clerk read it back, and I included the Tuesdays.

The Chair: Mr Offer, could you be helpful?

Mr Offer: Yes, if Mr Mammoliti wouldn't interpose himself. Mr Mammoliti has indicated that he wants these Tuesdays to be part of his motion. Is this committee scheduled to sit on Tuesdays by order of the Legislature?

Clerk of the Committee: No, sir.

Mr Offer: Mr Mammoliti wishes it to be part of his motion. I now move that the motion is out of order.

Mr Mammoliti: On a point of order, Mr Chair: At the end, the motion suggested to the committee that we keep Tuesdays in mind. It's not specific in terms of Tuesdays being the absolute, and Mr Offer knows that. It's a recommendation, and for that reason it's in order.

The Chair: Members would appreciate that the Chair is having some difficulty in understanding exactly what motions are before us. Therefore, I will take a 10-minute adjournment. We will deal with the motion once we have one in writing that the committee can consider.

The committee recessed from 1024 to 1042.

The Chair: The standing committee will reconvene. Mr Mammoliti, you have a motion.

Mr Mammoliti: I sure do, Mr Brown.

The Chair: Could I ask you to withdraw any previous motion and then put the motion you have?

Mr Tilson: Is it possible that the members of the committee could have a copy of the motion?

The Chair: The clerk will distribute those to you. Could you withdraw your previous motion and --

Mr Mammoliti: I will withdraw my previous motion. I still don't understand why the Chair would ask that, but to accommodate the Chair I will withdraw my motion and replace it with the following.

I move that the committee, during consideration of Bill 26, the Environmental Bill of Rights, be authorized to meet on October 14 in the afternoon, at which time we'll hear from the minister and he'll be available to answer questions; October 21, morning and afternoon, for technical briefings from Ministry of Environment staff; October 28, morning and afternoon, for hearings; and November 4, morning and afternoon, for clause-by-clause.

The motion is exactly the same motion I moved earlier on this morning. The difference is that it's on paper and in writing now. I hope that satisfies the opposition. During subcommittee meetings -- Mr Tilson touched on this earlier and he was absolutely right -- there was some difficulty in coming to a decision on the schedule and when we should sit as a committee and hear Bill 26 and how we would do that.

During the subcommittee meetings, I had placed a recommendation on the table. It was flatly rejected by the Liberals and the Conservatives. To give them credit, I don't think it's actually their fault for rejecting it; I think there's been a lack of communication somewhere between all three parties and by the House leaders perhaps, and we need to recognize and learn from this. We need to ask the House leaders to perhaps be a little more thorough in their discussions. I think this is one area we're going to learn from.

There was an agreement originally by the House leaders, and after the subcommittee meetings I heard differently from the Liberals and the Conservatives. The agreement originally was that we meet on the following dates: October 14, October 21, October 28 and November 4. They also included Tuesdays. The House leaders at that time were committed to pass this in the Legislature, that we would meet on the Tuesdays I talked about earlier.

That apparently was not the case at the subcommittee meeting. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives had a problem with Tuesdays, so we couldn't talk about Tuesdays. We also had some concern in the meeting about how much time should be allocated to individual witnesses. I didn't particularly have a problem with the request Mr Offer made of a half-hour each, but we didn't come to an agreement on that. I think it's actually premature to talk about that in view of my motion, so we'll talk about that later on, and I'll let the committee know exactly what happened in subcommittee with that as well.

But in view of what happened in subcommittee, we have no alternative but to get this motion forward and to listen to deputants and witnesses who want to give their opinion on Bill 26. We need to do that and also keep in mind the fact that there have been other House leaders' agreements in which other bills would come to this committee and go forward and be passed in the Legislature by the end of the fall sitting. This is not the only bill we're listening to.

Having said that, we cannot spend all our time on this bill. It's a very important bill, and we all agree on that, but we also have other bills we need to hear. That would include Bill 47, photo-radar; from what I can gather, that might be coming to this committee. In view of that, we need to recognize that we have to spend some time on that bill and that we may have to deal with this a little quicker.

Bill 26 is a very important piece of legislation and, for the most part, a very good piece of legislation, a good-news item that people want passed in Ontario. They don't want, in my opinion, this committee to dwell on this for ever. They want it heard, debated and dealt with. In my opinion, from what I heard in subcommittee and from what I heard this morning, both the Liberals and the Conservatives would perhaps want to continue this even past the fall sitting. The government does not want to do that. The government wants to deal with other business as well.

For that reason, I've had to move, and hopefully pass, this motion today. The motion gives enough time for witnesses to come forward and give us their views on this bill; it also allows for proper clause-by-clause time, in my opinion; and it gives us enough time to deal with other bills that might come forward to this committee which perhaps we could deal with before the end of the fall session.

In view of everything I've said, I don't see anything wrong with this particular bill. The argument that's going to come from the opposition is that there isn't going to be enough time to hear from individuals. I told you in subcommittee that perhaps we might need to look at Tuesdays. You didn't want to deal with that in subcommittee. For that reason, I want you to keep that in mind when you're debating this particular motion: If you would be willing to amend this motion to include Tuesdays, I wouldn't have a problem with listening to that amendment.


I want to make it clear to everybody that we're open to amendments, specifically in terms of the argument they're going to bring forward on lack of time. Keep Tuesdays in mind. I certainly would have my ears open and be willing to accommodate you on that. But we definitely need to deal with this bill as quickly as possible so we can deal with other things in this committee.

I think I've covered everything. If not, I'll throw my name back on the list, Mr Chair, and speak on it again. I'm sure the opposition might have something else to say on the motion.

Mr Offer: In speaking to this dictatorial NDP motion, I have a question I'd like to pose to the mover, if that be in order. The mover indicated that this is the same motion as he put verbally this morning.

Mr Wiseman: I thought you couldn't follow it. Must have been an obstructionist ploy.

The Chair: Order.

Mr Offer: I made some notes when that motion was being moved. It said that October 14 in the afternoon was a statement by the Minister of Environment. On October 21 in the morning would be a technical briefing and on October 21 in the afternoon would be hearings. It said on October 28 in the morning would be hearings and October 28 in the afternoon would be hearings. November 4 in the morning would be clause-by-clause and November 4 in the afternoon would be clause-by-clause. Those are the notes I took from the verbal presentation made by the mover this morning.

The NDP has now moved a motion which is different from that which was moved in the morning. I'm wondering if the mover of the dictatorial NDP motion could indicate, first, whether my statement of how I heard the motion first moved was correct, and if that be the case, why the mover has changed the motion to delete public hearings in the afternoon of the 21st.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, do you wish to respond?

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, he's absolutely right. It's a typo error on my part. I'm not the greatest typist in the world, and he just pointed out something I missed. Perhaps we can just do a friendly amendment to that. He's absolutely right: There should be hearings in the afternoon on the 21st.

The Chair: So you're prepared to amend your --

Mr Mammoliti: A friendly amendment, yes; he's absolutely right.

Mr Offer: No, no. I asked a question, and I would like to --

Mr Tilson: Could I speak on a point of order before questions go back and forth? At the very outset, I asked for something in writing so I could be perfectly clear about what the motion is. I am now even more confused about the motion. We had the clerk read back to us what he thought the motion was, and I made notes of that. In fact, I made notes from what the clerk said, not what Mr Mammoliti said, and it's quite different from what this motion says.

Now Mr Mammoliti is saying he wants a further amendment. If we're going to do that, if we're going to keep changing it, I would like it in writing so it's perfectly clear to the members of this committee what the motion means. I don't know what the motion means.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti or any member of the committee has the opportunity to offer amendments to any motion that is put forward. If Mr Mammoliti or any other member of the committee wishes to offer amendments to this motion, those are perfectly in order and the Chair is obviously obligated to --

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, if I may speak on that, if Mr Tilson is asking me to go back to the computer and reintroduce the motion, then I guess we'll have to call another five minutes so I can do that. But I want you to keep note of the time you're wasting on this as opposition.

Mr Offer: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I have heard what are in my opinion either misstatements or outrageous comments. When NDP member Mammoliti has indicated that we, Liberal and Conservative, are the cause for his either reading a motion incorrectly or typing a motion incorrectly, and also having to listen to NDP member Wiseman, who didn't understand either of the motions, then I think those types of comments are both outrageous and deserving of an apology.

Mr Wiseman: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I've been sitting here very patiently and the environmental community has been waiting very patiently for this bill. The arguments around the discussion of the motion are such that it continues to be dragged out and dragged out when, very simply, the rules of this body are very simple, that a --

The Chair: I'm not clear what your point of order is.

Mr Wiseman: And for him to say that I didn't understand it clearly indicates that he doesn't know what he's talking about. He was the one who said he didn't understand it.

The Chair: I don't hear a point of order.

Mr Wiseman: I think he should withdraw his comment.

Mr Offer: I certainly will withdraw the comment that you are outrageous. However --

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, give me five minutes to go retype this, okay? Look who's outrageous here.

Mr Wiseman: It doesn't need to be retyped.

Mr Mammoliti: Give me five minutes to go retype this. That's fine.

The Chair: Are you withdrawing this motion, Mr Mammoliti?

Mr Mammoliti: I'd like to make a friendly amendment. That's all it takes, a friendly amendment, and actually two words to be addressed.

The Chair: It is your choice. We can continue the debate; Mr Offer had the floor. Or if you wish to withdraw that motion, then of course we are happy to adjourn to provide you with the opportunity to redraft it, or you can make an amendment --

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I withdraw the motion and I present you with one in return.

Mr Offer: The hat trick of motions.

The Chair: We have that motion withdrawn. Now, Mr Mammoliti, you have a motion.

Mr Grandmaître: Another motion.

The Chair: I should give you this copy, if you wish to read it.

Mr Mammoliti: No, no, that's not necessary.

Mr Grandmaître: Can we get a copy?

The Chair: As soon as Mr Mammoliti reads it, the clerk will copy it for all members.

Mr Mammoliti: I move that the committee, during consideration of Bill 26, the Environmental Bill of Rights, be authorized to meet on October 14 in the afternoon to listen to the minister speak and to answer questions; on October 21 in the morning for technical briefings from Ministry of Environment staff, and in the afternoon we'll commence hearings; October 28 in the morning and afternoon we'll continue hearings; and on November 4, morning and afternoon, we will finish out with clause-by-clause.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mammoliti. The clerk will provide the appropriate written material shortly. Mr Mammoliti, you might want to speak to your motion.

Mr Mammoliti: There's no need to speak on the motion. I'm looking forward to hearing what other mistakes the opposition might want to find with this and how else they can perhaps waste time this morning and neglect everybody's environmental rights out there.

The Chair: Mr Offer.

Mr Offer: Again, on this motion, I know Mr Mammoliti is a wordsmith of incredible calibre.

Mr Wiseman: You're a pompous ass.

Mr Offer: In the last motion he said, "and we'll finish out with clause-by-clause." Could I please get an explanation as to what that means?

Mr Mammoliti: What usually happens after clause-by-clause, Mr Offer? You've been in this place a lot longer than I have.

Mr Offer: I didn't make the motion.

Mr Mammoliti: On November 4, morning and afternoon, we're going to deal with clause-by-clause. What does that mean to you, Mr Offer?

Mr Offer: I understand clause-by-clause. I didn't understand the phrase "and we'll finish out." That is different from the first two motions. Before we can even talk about a motion, we have to know what it is that's being moved and what you in fact mean.

Mr Wiseman: I think you're being unnecessarily obtuse.

Mr Mammoliti: I moved very clearly that on the 4th we deal with clause-by-clause. I don't understand which tactic you're trying to use here, but I would certainly recommend that we deal with the motion. Mr Chair, I call the question on the motion.

Mr Tilson: What? You're going to call --

The Chair: There has been very little discussion. The Chair will rule that it is out of order.

Mr Mammoliti: It's out of order?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Offer: I think it's proper for any member of the Legislature, and I do not care what political party he happens to represent, when another member moves a motion, that before we even start to talk about the motion we understand what it is the person has moved. There are a number of aspects of the motion that have been moved by Mr Mammoliti. He has not yet been able to respond to the question about what "finish out" means, but I guess that might happen.

Mr Chair, we've just been provided with the third motion that Mr Mammoliti has moved. I think Hansard will show it is the third motion. He has moved one motion, withdrawn; moved a second, withdrawn; moved a third, withdrawn. I agree with the withdrawn portions of your activities, if not the introduction of the motions.

I am also aware, Mr Chair, of the information given to me, by you to all members, which on the second page has a number of questions the committee has to answer that talk about hearings beginning, notifying the public, caucus lists, direct mail, time for presentations, the type of research as provided by the clerk; also, on the following page, the format for advertising. The following three pages contain a list of 30 people representing, I'm sure, a number of others who wish to be heard on the bill, even before the bill has been advertised, and also some information on the task force that was the real author of the bill.

In light of the motion and in light of the information I've got, I will require some time to try to put these two together, and I would ask that the committee be adjourned. I move that the committee be adjourned.

The Chair: You move that the committee be adjourned?

Mr Offer: I do.

The Chair: Mr Offer has moved that the committee be adjourned. Is it the pleasure of the committee that Mr Offer's motion carry?

Mr Mammoliti: Can I have five minutes, please, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has requested 20 minutes on Mr Offer's motion for adjournment.

Mr Mammoliti: Sir, I requested five. Does it have to be 20?

The Chair: The committee will reconvene at 1124.

The committee recessed from 1104 to 1129.

The Chair: The committee will come to order. Mr Offer has moved adjournment. All those in favour? Opposed? The motion is lost. Continuing to discuss Mr Mammoliti's motion that members have in front of them, Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: I have difficulty with the motion. I understand the dilemma of Mr Mammoliti as the whip of the government caucus. Informally, as I understand it, the House leaders did agree that this matter would be completed by Christmas. I don't think there's anything formal as far as this committee is concerned or anything this committee is bound with, but I have been informed by Mr Eves, our House leader, that there was an agreement.

I think it was an agreement that was made in haste, because whether you're for or against this bill, and I think it's a bill that a large number of people will be supportive of, there may be, even if you're in support of the bill -- I mean, the government members have commented that the opposition is being obstructionist with respect to this bill. Quite frankly, I'd like to hear from people who are opposed to it and people who are in favour of it.

We have had many bills come before this place in which amendments were suggested by proponents of a piece of legislation which offered suggestions of improvement. That comes from members of the public, people who are far more informed, with due respect, than members of this committee on environmental matters, people who spend their entire lives on these matters. I think we should be encouraging people to come and speak.

At the very outset -- I did agree when Mr Offer said it -- it's a closure type of motion. Although you have ruled on that, Mr Chair, and I reluctantly accept that, I do believe it's a closure motion. The amount of time that's being spent for public hearings on a bill as important as this -- and remember, this is a bill that was promised by this government in its Agenda for People. They boasted about this in their election campaigns, that it was going to be a major platform. It's taken them three years, but it's here.

To spend a day and a half for people to come is simply unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. I would like to hear those who are in favour of this bill, who may have some very constructive criticisms of proposed amendments, perhaps definitions of words. There could be all kinds of things those people could suggest.

Yes, there was a task force, and I have given Mrs Grier, the former Minister of the Environment, credit for getting together two groups that normally are adversarial with each other, normally, it is suggested, opposed in things they say. These two groups have got together and they did come up with a draft bill which was attached to their task force. Essentially the same bill that was written by that task force is before the committee now.

One of the things that the subcommittee discussed -- and I would like members of the committee, as we're debating this motion, to consider -- was that, outside of the members of the public who are coming, representatives of the task force come to this committee and give us their rationale as to how they arrived at their decision, because it is a rather remarkable achievement by Mrs Grier to have these two groups come together in a manner to come up with a bill that these two normally argumentative, diverse groups agreed upon.

Mr Offer expressed his agreement with that and I hope other members of the committee would agree with that. There is nothing in the motion that deals with that. We have had consultants come for specific bills. I'm thinking of the casino bill that's before the House now. A consultant came and spent half a day reviewing their position with respect to gambling casinos, albeit that the consultant came after the bill had received second reading. They were retained after the bill had received second reading and after people had been hired to proceed with the casino in Windsor. But the fact of the matter is we spent half a day with this consultant.

I'm just talking about recent bills and Mr Grandmaître could comment on his experience on bills, either as a past minister or his general experience in the House. I'm also thinking of the auto insurance legislation, where we had a government consultant come and help clarify to that specific committee the rationale of the government in proceeding in the manner that it was with respect to auto insurance.

I certainly think that whether we have a chair of the task force or whether we have a co-chair -- there were two groups. Perhaps one from each group could come and inform the committee as to their rationale as to how they arrived at the bill that they did, specifically when that bill is so diverse from the original Bill 12, I believe the number was, that Mrs Grier put forward. It's a major change in the NDP's philosophy. It's a major change, to the relief, I will say, of many of the people in the business community.

I don't mean to be giving her a compliment -- it's not my role to give her a compliment; I'll let members of the government compliment her -- but I will say that there were a lot of people who were afraid of Bill 12 and it would be worthy for this committee to understand the rationale of how the committee moved from that type of NDP philosophy to the current bill that's before this committee.

That's one item that is being completely left out of this motion, and I think I could go through many other bills in which experts, consultants, people who have had a major role in this group, in fact wrote the bill. I'm sure Mr Wildman, the minister, may disagree with me on that, but there's no question the draft bill that was attached to the task force -- Mr Wildman did not write that. That, essentially, was attached to the report, I believe, of the task force.

I'd like to hear members of the task force and be able to have an opportunity to ask some questions on several items of the bill that give me a great deal of concern:

-- The whole role of the Environmental Commissioner.

-- The issues that have been raised by the municipalities that many of us have spoken on as to what in the world "instrument" means.

-- Is it the intent of the members of the task force that building permits, for example, in municipalities -- is that an instrument that's referred to, building permits?

-- Applications for zoning applications, minor variances.

There's no question that the municipalities, I believe, will be spending a considerable amount of concern on that issue. AMO has already expressed a concern, or representatives from AMO have expressed the concern on the topic of what "instrument" means, and I'm sure the members of the task force reviewed that subject. I hope the mover would amend his motion to allow the task force to come to this committee to review that matter.

There is nothing in the motion that also talks about the report. I can understand that you move clause-byclause and you vote on it and that's the report, I suppose, but there's no real opportunity for this committee to sit down and review what has been said; to review what has been said in the clause-by-clause discussions or review what has been said by the people who have come to this committee, as is done in many other bills, unless it's a time allocation motion. If it's a time allocation motion, that bill is rammed through the committee, it's rammed through the House, and therefore you don't have an opportunity to present a report.

That's what happens and that's what this motion is doing. It's ramming this whole topic through this committee so that I as a committee member feel quite offended that I don't have adequate time to properly digest the rationale leading up to this bill. Quite frankly, I have already thought of several amendments without even hearing the representatives from the municipalities, the environmental groups or the business community. There are all kinds of different people who may want to come to this group, as is indicated in the sheet the clerk has attached.

The other is the issue of costs. I believe we will have to spend a considerable amount of time on what this is going to cost. There have been criticisms, of course. I think the minister has made a comment that this bill will cost $4 million; I believe that's an estimate that was given by the minister. I would like an opportunity to question the task force on its rationale as to what its projections of the cost are going to be. They were an independent group of the government and I would like an opportunity to ask them that.

Normally, just dealing with the first item, where the minister comes to speak and answer questions, I would hope that for a bill as complicated as this the minister would be able to return to this committee and speak to us more than just on an afternoon. There have been occasions on bills that I have appeared on where the minister speaks, the two critics speak and then there's an opportunity for questions to the minister from members of the committee. I read the motion and it would appear from the motion that the two critics are not being allowed to speak to this committee and give their opinions as to Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party concerns or support of this bill.

The mover has left that out of the motion. This is going to be a one-sided bill. The government is going to proceed. The minister is going to come here and answer questions and leave. There is no time being allowed by the whip on the government side of this committee to enable the two critics to speak. Normally, that's done. Any bill that I've participated on, and I don't have the experience of -- well, I guess I do. With the exception of Mr Grandmaître, there aren't too many people who have had more experience than I, I suppose, on any of the bills I appeared on, Mr Chairman. Perhaps you and Mr Grandmaître are the only two who have gone through this ritual, but it would seem to me that any of the bills I've appeared on -- it's wonderful to be referred to as a senior member, isn't it?

The Chair: It doesn't take much any more.

Mr Tilson: Indeed.

However, on any of the bills I have appeared on, normally the critics are given an opportunity of 15 minutes to half an hour to put forward their party's position or the concerns of that party. For some unearthly reason, the government is moving away from that and not allowing the opposition to speak. That's what's happening: The opposition is not being allowed to speak on this bill.

With respect to the hearings, Mr Offer asked a question of the clerk, as to how many people could speak, how many deponents could speak for a day and a half, which is what this is. I think his answer was 12 or 14, depending on how long we sit, I suppose, and when we start. We could start -- well, no, I guess we have to start at 10 o'clock and go to noon, and, similarly, whatever to 6.

On most committees I have appeared on, as time goes on you gain a little experience. There are obviously organizations -- I think of one, AMO, which represents a large number of municipalities: small municipalities, large municipalities. They're going to have a lot to say and there may be individuals who have a lot to say, but perhaps not on the broad number of topics AMO may wish to raise.

In the past, and this gets into the general agenda you have put forward, Mr Chairman, committees normally indicate that large organizations, whether they be large unions or large business organizations or groups, someone who's representing a group such as AMO, are able to speak for a longer period of time, and groups are consolidated. I suspect that if this motion carries, and I fear that it will, this committee will have to sit down and simply say: "You people can't speak, because we're going to give you only a day and a half. That's all we're going to give you to speak. So you're going to have to have someone else over here speak on your behalf." They won't like that.


There's that issue and there's the issue where normally, in committees where we've appeared, perhaps an hour or half an hour is allowed for a larger group and a smaller group might be allowed anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on what we do. If we started talking in those terms, my guess is that the number of 12 to 14 would fall substantially, because we know there are going to be some large groups, if we take that philosophy, and I would hope we would. There are large groups that represent a number of people who will wish to address this committee. That's another concern I have with this motion.

Mr Mammoliti is right. He predicted that members of the opposition would be complaining that people wouldn't have an opportunity to speak, and he's quite right. I say 12 or 14 is an absolute insult, and that's if each group is given 20 minutes. If the larger groups get a longer period, it could be under 10. I don't know; I'll let the clerk philosophize on that one.

Certainly, there's a list here that somehow has appeared before us. I don't know what that list is, and hopefully the clerk will clarify that, but there was a list at the subcommittee meeting that had 18 names. My caucus submitted, I believe, 20 names or in that range. Mr Offer hasn't, but I'm sure he will, submitted a list of names. If he hasn't, I'm sure he will submit a list of names. It looks like each caucus is submitting 20 names each, roughly. So we're up to 60 names. There may be an overlap, which means we may be down to 50 people.

That's without putting advertising in. That's without advertising to the public that we're going to have "public hearings." This motion gives the phrase "public hearings" a whole new meaning. I have no idea what "public hearings" means when I see a motion like this, for a bill that's as complicated as this.

You could spend a week on the issue of the Environmental Commissioner and the ramifications of what that person is going to do. You could spend a week on that topic. What's it going to cost? I would like legislative counsel to talk on a number of areas and the legal ramifications.

It's a very complicated bill, yet clause-by-clause is going to be a morning and an afternoon on November 4. That's what the motion says. I guess, to be fair, there will be another half day for the deputy, presumably, and the deputy's staff to appear.

I have a great deal of these topics. Mr Mammoliti has invited the opposition parties to put forward amendments to possibly sit on Tuesdays. I think we have a jurisdictional issue with that, and the clerk may speak on that.

I will do almost anything to allow this bill to be proceeded with and to enable us to spend some time on it, but I will simply say that I'm opposed to ramming it through in this fashion and I will be voting against it, as I suspect all members of the opposition will be voting against it.

As I've indicated in this committee, at the subcommittee, to Mr Mammoliti privately, to members of the government privately and to members of the opposition privately, I would hope that the House leaders, if they worked a deal out -- and, understanding the complexity of this place, I don't even know what that means -- some arrangement was worked out that this bill would pass by Christmas. I think the House leaders of all three parties, if that was the deal, were in error. We need more time. This committee needs more time. If we're going to have consultation -- I suppose all three governments like to boast that they do that, but this government in particular likes to boast that it does that.

This committee has a responsibility to consult with members of the public as to what they think with respect to a specific bill. We're not doing that. Clearly, a day and a half is inadequate. In fact it's an insult to the word "consultation" and the consultation process.

I am certainly prepared, if the government whip would be prepared to set this motion down, to go back to my House leader, Mr Eves, and I would hope that the Liberals and the New Democratic members would go back to their House leaders and ask them to reconsider this commitment. There are members of this committee who don't really think there's a commitment, because the clerk doesn't know anything about this. The clerk hears words floating around this room about a deal. Well, the clerk doesn't know about any deal, I can tell you that. There may be a deal, but no one else knows about it.

If there's a deal that the House leaders go back and say, "We made it in the heat of the summer. We were anxious to get out of here and this is one of the terms," whatever it was, I don't --


Mr Tilson: There's laughter over there, but the fact of the matter is that --

Mr Wayne Lessard (Windsor-Walkerville): That doesn't count now. That was then.

Mr Tilson: Excuse me?

The Chair: Mr Tilson has the floor.

Mr Tilson: That's what happened, and to responsibly deal with a bill as complicated as this, I would hope the three House leaders would not put, if they have put -- and I'm getting more and more doubtful as to whether they did, but if they did -- that this committee not be hampered by that. Because if they did, I suppose Mr Mammoliti, as the government whip, is trying to make this go through, to give him credit. He's trying to do what he can, but he's not given much to work with.

I think in his heart of hearts, if he were over here and Mr Grandmaître or I read that motion, they'd be throwing pencils at us. We're very kind on this side; we don't get violent like that. The NDP members would just be furious. They'd be jumping on the tables and doing all kinds of things if they were in opposition and that motion was read to them. They would not understand it, and they'd be right, because I don't understand it.

I've gone on somewhat and I would like to hear from other members, although we haven't gone through the agenda. The motion seems to overrule the agenda. If you turn to page 2 of the agenda, we start running down item number (1), public hearing date. The motion seems to deal with that: We're going to have a day and a half for public hearings. Location: Well, we haven't dealt with that. Clause-by-clause: We're going to allow a day for clause-by-clause. Isn't that amazing? A whole day for clause-by-clause. That's a total of four hours for a bill that has how many sections in it, many of which are quite complicated. We're going to allow a whole four hours to deal with that. I suppose if we get to the end of the day and we haven't finished, too bad. "That's too bad, we're not going to talk about it any more." That's the end of it.

That sounds awfully similar to time allocation. I know I keep getting back to that and you've ruled on that, but that's what time allocation is, when you say you're restricted to an amount of time. That's exactly what time allocation is. However, you've made that motion, unless you would reconsider it.

Presentation of Minister of Environment and Energy: Well, (a) is dealt with, his date and time. That's been spelled out in the motion.

Critics' response and time: Well, that's been ignored, that's been struck off. The opposition isn't given an opportunity to speak here. They're just not being given an opportunity to speak. It is just unbelievable that this government will not allow the opposition to speak.

Ministry briefing and time: That's been allowed. I have so many pieces of paper and motions in front of me; I think that's half a day that it's dealt with.

Notifying the public of the hearings: I must confess I don't know the rules and the procedure for notice and all that. We haven't really asked the clerk to speak about advertising and all that.

Interjection: Time limit.


Mr Tilson: The time limit. I believe there are time limits and I think before we vote on this motion we should allow the clerk to give us his thoughts on advertisements and deadlines for calls and newspapers and all of that. I can't believe there are limitation periods with respect to that.

Caucus lists: Actually, Mr Offer is quite right. He hasn't been asked to give a caucus list. I have. I jumped the gun, but I really didn't need to because no one's asked me for it. We haven't discussed all of that. So Mr Offer perhaps is quite right.

We haven't discussed the issue of direct mail. Are we going to write to people who have expressed environmental concerns in the past for either side? It doesn't appear that way, because we won't have time. This sucker's going to start on October 14. When's October 14? This afternoon. Isn't that wonderful. Talk about ramming things through.

Even if the minister comes and even if I were allowed to speak, and I'm not being allowed to speak with respect to providing my caucus's comments, how am I -- Mr Offer is unavailable at the moment, but I know he would express the concern about the time to prepare for putting forward the Liberal caucus view and I the Conservative caucus's views with respect to the minister's comments. We're not like the NDP; we don't wing it. We actually prepare for what we do in this place. But it appears this whole motion was done, to use Mr Offer's words, on the back of a matchbox. Actually, I think it was Mr Chrétien's words, but however.

The Chair: I don't see him here.

Mr Tilson: No, he's not here, which is another issue. But that's how this appears to have been done.

We then get to the time for presentations. We need to talk about that, and I've indicated whether the large groups should be given an hour or a half-hour. Small groups or individuals: Should there be different times or should everybody have the same time? I'd like to spend some time on that. If we're going to start this afternoon, we're not going to be able to talk about that. I think in any other committee I've been on we've talked about that.

The issue of expert witnesses: This committee's not going to allow for that. We're not going to have any expert witnesses. These people don't need any experts in this place; they know everything. They don't need experts. They don't need to hear from anybody. Province-wide groups: we're not talking about any of these things.

Research: it doesn't look like this motion is saying -- research might as well go home. You might as well go back up to your office. This government doesn't need you. We don't need you here. They're not going to ask for any papers; they're not going to ask for any preparation. They don't need you. They don't need any time spent on this thing, which is going to be rammed through. We don't need to do any preparation, because there's not going to be any time to review it, that's for certain, with the way this time allocation motion has been prepared.

Turning to page 3, there's the wording of the advertisement. We need to spend some time on that. We're going to jump into this thing, the minister's going to have his lunch and come down here and have a little chat this afternoon. I don't know whether he's winging it, but he's going to come down this afternoon. We haven't even sent advertisements out.

Maybe members of the public would like to come and hear the minister speak. Is that possible, that members of the public would like to come in here and hear the minister speak as to when these hearings are going to commence? It doesn't look like the government wants anybody to hear the minister speak. That's how it appears to me. No one, any of the groups, whether your friends or your opponents, wants to hear the minister speak.

Number one, I can't believe the minister's prepared to speak on such short notice. This committee is going to ask Mr Mammoliti or the parliamentary assistant to call up the minister and say, "Okay, come on down here around 3 o'clock and talk to us about this bill, give your presentation." So aside from that -- the adequacy of the minister preparing.

I believe that once these matters have been resolved -- and that's why the subcommittee, quite frankly, broke down. It seems to me we're going to be going through lists twice. If we're going to advertise, and this government may not even want us to advertise, we have a list of names now that have been submitted by the government and submitted by the Conservatives. I know the Liberals will have a list. They're going to have a list.

When are we going to review that list? Then we're going to have a list that comes from the advertisements. When are we going to review that list? Who knows? I don't know when we're going to do that. There's no time allowed in this motion for that. There's no time to review that list, so we're not going to be able to decide who's going to come here.

I suppose we'll do it like I've noticed on some of these motions, some of these committee hearings. I'm thinking particularly of the employment equity. The government phoned people: "Can you get here in an hour?" That's how this government works. It's unbelievable.

Then we get to one of the issues that we discussed in the subcommittee which was agreed to, I think, with all three parties. The material that was put out -- and I'm on to page 3 or 4, I think. You may recall that when the minister announced this bill, the ministry put out a wonderful brochure. I think the names of the ministries that are going to be making these statements are in the bill. They may not be; they may be in the regulations. I don't know. But in any event, the subcommittee was concerned about that.

We thought it would seem logical that -- you can read it. We wanted a draft statement of environmental value stating how it will take the environment into account in its decision-making. Those are the ministries that are put forward. We wanted to know some sort of process about that. What does all that mean? Are there guidelines for that? We should be spending some time on that. We're going to be asking all of these ministries to work very hard and to prepare statements. We're going to be working very hard.

There don't seem to be any guidelines and I think we'll need to spend some time on that. There doesn't seem to be any real time for that. Yes, I suppose we could spend some time on the clause-by-clause. I suppose the staff will be here to do that maybe when we get to the clause-by-clause, but I don't think this is in the bill. I think this is in the regulations and there doesn't seem to be any time allotted in the motion to enable that.

So the final page of the agenda, we're not dealing with any of these matters.


Mr Tilson: Just trying to throw me off. I think at that point, when there's a crash, I'm going to put an end to my discussions. I'd like to hear a response, particularly from Mr Mammoliti, on some of the issues I've raised, whether he thinks they're valid, and if he does, how he intends to amend his motion.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. Mr Mammoliti.

Mrs Mathyssen: I'm on the list.

The Chair: Just to help you, Ms Mathyssen, I have Mr Mammoliti, yourself and Mr Johnson on the list, in that order. Mr Mammoliti, there is not a lot of time.

Mr Mammoliti: There isn't a lot of time, and for that reason I'm going to just say that I think everything you've said I touched on in my opening remarks. For you to expect a comment from me would be even more lengthy at this time. I don't want to be repetitive. I think all the questions you've asked were addressed in my opening remarks. For that reason, I'm going to call the question.

Mr Tilson: The Liberals haven't had a chance to speak.

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, they did. They had a chance.

The Chair: I will consider that request. The committee will reconvene after routine proceedings this afternoon. For the information of members, it's in committee room 2 after routine proceedings.

The committee recessed from 1200 to 1534.

The Chair: The committee will come to order. As members will recall, when we adjourned this morning, Mr Mammoliti had moved that the question now be put. The Chair rules that out of order. Only Mr Tilson has really had an opportunity to speak to this. Ms Mathyssen and Mr Johnson had indicated a wish to speak to this, and the official opposition has not had an opportunity to speak, has only spoken briefly in an effort to support his motion for adjournment. Therefore, Mr Mammoliti, you have the floor.

Mr Mammoliti: I certainly can't understand your ruling. I think that members of all three parties have had a chance to speak on the motion. While I don't want to necessarily question you on the decision, I guess we'll have to take it. I'm not very happy with it. I don't think it was a fair ruling and I think that it does the --

The Chair: I would point out that the ruling isn't debatable; if you wish to speak to the motion.

Mr Mammoliti: Because the minister is here and was looking forward to giving his explanation of the bill, I think it might be in our best interests to move on and to hear from other people then, after your ruling. It's unfortunate. The minister is a very busy person. So we'll give some time to somebody else then.

The Chair: I appreciate your comments, Mr Mammoliti. Mr Johnson.

Mr David Johnson: Mr Chairman, I apologize, first of all, because I was in and out of private members' bills, so I may be going over some territory we've already covered. I wonder if I could ask a question or two. I don't know if this would be directed to the clerk or perhaps to the government.

Is there any urgency or necessity to approve the full schedule at this point? In other words, for example, since the hearings seem to be the most contentious issue, and I think the amount of time that has been left for public hearings is -- it's impossible for me to understand how, in such a brief period of time, there could be any decent sort of public input. But if we approve the schedule up to October 28 and then at some future time, depending on the reaction from the ads, determine a subsequent schedule beyond that, in my view there would have to be more time for hearings, frankly, and perhaps the time for the clause-by-clause as well. Could that work? Perhaps I could ask that --

The Chair: I would suggest to you that the mover of the motion would be the one who is most capable of answering that question.

Mr Mammoliti: You're very kind, Mr Chairman.

Mr David Johnson: Is it in order then for me to pose that question to Mr Mammoliti? Is that in order? Is he prepared to respond? In other words, I'm proposing we just approve a schedule up to and including October 28. Then, as we understand who it is who wishes to speak to this issue, surely the government, if there are a whole lot of deputants -- I see some of them listed. For example, the Toronto Environmental Alliance or the Conservation Council of Ontario or Citizens Environmental Alliance of South Western Ontario and people like that. If they wish to make a deputation and that becomes apparent after the first couple of meetings, then we could consider scheduling that time at a future meeting. By that time we'd know exactly what we're dealing with. Do you get the gist of what I'm saying?

Mr Mammoliti: I'm not sure how appropriate that would be -- I'm assuming that if we had said yes to you and the committee had said yes -- seeing that we're going to be doing clause-by-clause on the 4th, if I'm not mistaken, and it's whether or not anybody would want to come in front of the committee after clause-by-clause.


Mr David Johnson: Let me make clear that the November 4, the clause-by-clause, would be part of that future decision-making process. In other words, the clause-by-clause may not then be on November 4. If there are a quite a number of groups, organizations and individuals who wish to make a deputation, we may come to the conclusion at some time in the future that we need more time.

Mr Mammoliti: Our solution to that, and it was a suggestion made in subcommittee, was that we choose another day of the week to have general government sit. The House leaders agreed originally, and the House leaders for the Liberals and Conservatives at the last minute, from what I understand, backed out.

Mr Tilson: We didn't back out at the last minute at all.

Mr Mammoliti: I would put it to you at this point and say that if you're willing to amend my motion so that it would include the consideration of Tuesdays being brought to the House, I would agree to that.

Mr David Johnson: So I gather then that November 4 is a hard date, that you're not prepared in any way, shape or form to move from November 4 being the clause-by-clause.

Mr Mammoliti: To a lot of people in this province Bill 47, photo-radar, is very important, and that is also coming to this committee. We need to deal with that. House leaders' approval indicates that we need to deal with that before the end of the sitting. For that reason, November 4 is a hard date. Yes.

Mr David Johnson: All right. I'm getting the picture here. I guess we have a problem. If the Tuesdays don't work, and there appear to be some resistance to that, possibly for quite good reasons, in the period of time that's accommodated, the clerk has said we can accommodate about 12 to 14 deputants. If we have three dozen deputants, which is more than likely, are you prepared then to see 12 or 14 of those deputations go ahead and the other 20-odd simply not be heard?

Mr Mammoliti: What we need to do is look at what is reasonable. I don't know what is reasonable to you, or what is reasonable to the Liberals for that matter. I know that what's reasonable to us is that we hear as many people as we can.

We had made a number of suggestions. One of them was to include Tuesdays. We could probably squeeze in many people on the Tuesdays, if that were the case. To me, that would be a reasonable amount of time to listen to deputants.

It's not uncommon for a committee to call it, midway through a list of applicants to come in front of the committee. There is a time when we have to say we can't hear anybody else, and I don't think it's unreasonable for the committee to do that.

If you would move an amendment that would read "Tuesdays," we would hear as many people as possible for the Tuesdays and we'd have to call it quits after that. We couldn't hear anybody else.

Mr David Johnson: What might work here is if you'd loosen up a little bit on the November 4. We put the ads out; obviously, I would think we'd want to put ads out to let the people of this province know that such an important bill is being contemplated. In addition to those who have expressed interest already, there would be other people who would express interest.

We'd carry on possibly even this afternoon with the minister. We would schedule those deputants we already know are interested for October 21 in the afternoon; some of them would be scheduled. We would, about that time, get a flavour of how many people are writing in wishing to make deputations, and about a week from now or two weeks from now we would be able to do a full schedule and have all of the deputants scheduled, for 20 minutes, half an hour, whatever. That would undoubtedly take us into at least November 4 for public deputations, possibly November 11, and the clause-by-clause would probably take place on November 18 or thereabouts. I would think that would be lots of time to report the bill back to the House.

Mr Mammoliti: I could appreciate your arguments, but let's also remember what other decisions have been made in the past when it comes to individuals who have been left off the list to come in front of committee. They've always got the option to write in and give written submissions to the committee. We'll never reject those, and we never have, I don't think, in the history of Parliament in Ontario rejected any written submissions. Let's remember that.

I understand your concerns, but we need to be active as a committee on other bills as well, and for us to say, "Let's carry this past the 4th," in my opinion might not be reasonable in view of other bills we need to deal with before the end of the session. In view of that, I would again put to you that another option might be Tuesdays.

Mr David Johnson: I can only say that from my experience in the past at the municipal level, the key thing on these kinds of debates, on all political debates, is to listen to the people, the people who have elected us. To say we haven't got time to listen to the people or that we can't take an extra week or two to listen to the people -- well, it's impossible for me to understand that sort of strategy or that sort of thinking. I think that's what got a couple of the federal leaders in trouble. They said, "We haven't really got time to talk to various issues now and we'll wait till after." I think Mr Chrétien said that just recently.

Mr Grandmaître: No, Kim Campbell. She was too busy to talk about social services.

The Chair: Let's not get into that.

Mr David Johnson: All right, let's not. At any rate, that's the number one reason we're here. To ask me to vote for a system that would in any way limit people from the opportunity, whether the environmental law and policy committee or somebody down here -- two or three are just individuals: Julie Pearce, Richard Taves. That's what we're here to do, to listen to these people, and surely somehow we've got to accommodate their time. Maybe it's water under the bridge, but I don't quite understand, if time was so crucial, why we're just starting now. Why didn't we do the planning for this, say, three weeks ago or so? We've lost two Thursdays already.

Mr Mammoliti: I wasn't the one who called the subcommittee meeting. I'm not the one who walked out of the subcommittee meeting. If I recall, Mr Offer and Mr Tilson said, "We haven't come to an agreement; it's obvious we disagree and we need to call the meeting." I was willing to talk about Tuesdays, and I continue to talk about it being valid and reasonable to ask the House to consider, in view of the time, sitting Tuesday afternoons and hearing these people in front of the committee. That wasn't an option in your representative's eyes or in the Liberal representative's eyes at that meeting. It was an option in this individual's eyes, and it still is.

The arguments in terms of listening to these people: Quite frankly, I can't understand it when you say that on one hand we should be allowing time for them and on the other hand continuing this process this afternoon and not listening to the minister. We're just wasting more and more time.

Mr David Johnson: Personally, I'm prepared to listen to the minister this afternoon. I'd be anxious to hear what he has to say, and I think our critic and the Liberal critic should have an opportunity to speak this afternoon as well. But you're putting us in the position that unless we agree with the November 4th completion of this thing and squeeze everything in, and only hear about 12 or 14 deputations, according to the clerk -- unless we approve of that, we can't move ahead, so I can't agree.

Mr Mammoliti: I'd be quite willing to give everybody 15 or 20 minutes to come in front of the committee and we can hear from more people. You're basing it on half-hour time slots. I'd be willing to cut that down 10 minutes and hear from more people.

Mr David Johnson: I can't agree with 10 minutes. People generally come from some distance. Perhaps individual citizens --

Mr Wiseman: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Can I inquire of you whether this is going to be a dialogue and a debate? Is there going to be the opportunity for other people to put their opinions forward?

The Chair: I have a number of members on the list who wish to express their opinions. It's certainly not unusual in committee for one member to ask the government whip and the proposer of the motion what his intentions are. I think it's totally in order.

Mr David Johnson: And through those questions I'm just trying to seek a resolution to this problem. Through my questions, the resolution I'm heading for is that we recognize that people have the right to make a deputation -- we don't know how many people there are yet -- that we approve a schedule up to October 28 only; at some future time, when we know exactly how many people, groups, wish to make deputations, then we approve the schedule beyond that at that later time. The schedule up to October 28 would include the minister speaking this afternoon, as well the right of the critics to speak. Is that not acceptable?


Mr Mammoliti: The only thing that's acceptable at this point, until I hear from the House leaders or until we agree as a whole, is my motion. The House leaders met as early as this morning and agreed that we should get on with this. I'm not sure whether you've communicated with them or not, but they're quite willing to go forward with what's been proposed.

I can't understand why your House leaders are agreeing, our House leader agreed, to get on with this thing and move with it as proposed, but you can't agree. I don't understand. After I heard that this morning, I thought we'd come in here and we'd move things, but obviously you haven't even spoken to your House leaders in reference to this matter. The argument about wanting to listen to people at this point doesn't carry any weight, because you're continually wasting time, in my opinion.

Mr David Johnson: I take objection to that, Mr Chair. I'm putting forward an alternative scenario here that would allow us to proceed this afternoon and that's being rejected out of hand without any consideration, so that puts us in a very difficult position.

Hon Bud Wildman (Minister of Environment and Energy): May I ask a question? It might be helpful. I'm certainly not suggesting that I should in any way interfere with the committee's work or setting the agenda. I just want to ask a question.

The fact that the legislation has passed second reading in the House with a voice vote is an indication of the views of members of the Legislature on this piece of legislation. If that's the case, I respect the concerns of members who wish to allow those who are deputants to be able to put forward their views.

Is it the case that the committee could adjust its schedule so that it could sit more often during the week in order to hear those deputants and still enable the committee to proceed with clause-by-clause in November, get the amendments passed, so legislation could be reported back to the House for third reading; reported back to the House in a timely way so that we could ensure the legislation is passed by the end of the session? Is that possible?

Could the committee decide to sit on Tuesdays so that the deputants could be heard, so that we could fulfil the concerns of the opposition members, which I think are legitimate, that they want to hear people? If they want to hear the members of the general public, as clearly they've said they do, they'd be willing to sit on Tuesdays so they could do that.

Mr Wiseman: We'll sit Tuesdays.

Mr Mammoliti: It is possible, in response to the question. It is possible and I suggested that a number of times, both in committee and again today while this debate drags on. It is possible in the eyes of the House leaders as well, from what I can gather. As early as this morning they met and said: "Get on with it. Let's deal with it."

I can't understand why we're not coming to some sort of resolution on this. I don't understand why, in the eyes of the four opposition members who are in front of us, they can't agree to Tuesdays.

In answer to the question, it's quite acceptable to the government. I can't understand why the oppositions have a problem with Tuesdays.

Hon Mr Wildman: Just a point, Mr Chair: This bill, as everyone knows, was the subject of widespread consultation in its drafting prior to even reaching the House; widespread consultation, one of the most extensive consultations we ever had. As a matter of fact, there are two gentlemen present here, representing two very different positions, who were participants on the task force, Rick Lindgren from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and John Macnamara from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, who are both in support of the legislation as members of the task force which carried on extensive consultation. It's not as if this legislation is coming before us without having widespread public consultation; it has, and these two gentlemen could clearly testify to the amount of consultation that went on.

Mr David Johnson: I was just finishing up, if I --

The Chair: I will get back to you in one second. I would just remind members that we are speaking directly to Mr Mammoliti's motion that you will have in front of you. You will note that it is the one that has been copied from Hansard because Mr Mammoliti did not exactly read the motion that was printed.

Mr David Johnson: Is this another motion?

The Chair: The clerk will distribute to you the actual motion that is before us now.

As you know, Tuesdays are possible, but in order to do Tuesdays, there has to be a request from this committee to the Legislature to do that. Therefore, we're dealing with this motion first. If we want to deal with whether we sit on Tuesdays, that's a separate issue. Now Mr Johnson.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe my parting comment is that it seems there's a bit of a deadlock here, in that the government is suggesting Tuesdays and we're suggesting more Thursdays, which would still bring this bill back to the House before the end of this session quite possibly, in my view.

The other thing I would just like to clarify is that there is some indication that this bill has had widespread consultation and that all and sundry are more than happy with it and there really is no need for any further consultation.

Hon Mr Wildman: No, that's not what I suggested.

Mr David Johnson: Clerk, just for my clarification, I have a list of 30 groups and individuals. It's my understanding that these people have contacted -- have they contacted you? Could I ask that question?

Clerk of the Committee: That is correct. On the list I just presented to you there are 32; the 31st and 32nd called this morning while we were in committee, so you have the up-to-date 32 groups that have called my office.

Mr David Johnson: We now have 32 organizations or individuals who have contacted you and requested to appear to make a presentation before this committee.

Clerk of the Committee: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: Have we advertised yet?

The Chair: No.

Clerk of the Committee: The committee has not decided that question yet.

Mr David Johnson: I may be asking you a question that you can't answer, but from your experience, in addition to these 32, if we did advertise, how many more groups or individuals is it likely that we might uncover that would be interested in making a deputation to this committee?

Mr Grandmaître: Between 1 and 300.

Mr David Johnson: Take a shot at it. I'm just trying to determine the interest in this topic from the people in the province of Ontario. We already know that there are 32 groups that would like to speak to us.

Clerk of the Committee: It's been my experience that individuals and groups try to get their names on the list before the advertisement goes out. Once the advertisement comes on line, there will be an extra number of other people and groups wishing to appear.

Mr David Johnson: It's not beyond the realm of possibility that there could be 50 groups, for example, in total; 32 plus another 18 or so.

Clerk of the Committee: Anything is possible.

The Chair: Perfect answer.

Mr Grandmaître: You should be sitting on this side.

Mr David Johnson: Mr Chair, I could have some amendments to make, but there's not much sense making them. The government has already indicated it's not going to support us; it's Tuesday or nothing. I don't understand why we didn't start this process a couple of weeks earlier. I think the government has some responsibility to do that, as it is their bill. We perhaps could have met last Thursday or maybe even the Thursday before, but certainly we could've had all this cleared out of the way.


Mr David Johnson: Couldn't we? Well, last Thursday, could we not? I don't know.

The Chair: I would just point out that the subcommittee did meet last Thursday in order to settle these questions. A consensus was not able to be arrived at at that point. The committee has moved as expeditiously as possible in terms of --

Mr David Johnson: It seems to me that the government has some obligation to drive that, if this is important to it. Perhaps they could have asked the subcommittee to meet the week before that again, to have all this in order.


Mr Mammoliti: I want to add that I did try to get a subcommittee meeting arranged for yesterday, so we could deal with these items as well before we came here -- I think that's important to add -- but unsuccessfully, of course, because the Chair was out of town.

Mr David Johnson: I think there are Thursdays that are there --


The Chair: Order. Mr Johnson has the floor. It would be helpful if Mr Johnson spoke.

Mr David Johnson: I think there are enough Thursdays in place to have this considered and have it back before us by the end of the session, which I think is what the agreement of the House leaders was. I would simply ask the government to take another look at that possibility.

Mr Grandmaître: I'd like to point out that I do have a problem with the process. I think everybody around this table realizes and knows the importance of Bill 26. I think everybody around this table wants this legislation in place. But at the same time, we want to give people in the province of Ontario who didn't have a chance to be consulted or were consulted but might want to add something else to Bill 26 -- when you look at the motion that's before us to be considered, the motion by Mr Mammoliti, I'm looking at the bottom line, "November 4, morning and afternoon, for clause-by-clause." Without repeating what the previous speaker pointed out, a good number of people will want to tell us their views on Bill 26 and might inform the government and members around this table that possibly they could make the bill even better. But when I look at the agenda, the process, I think it's impossible to really consider anything else except Mr Mammoliti's motion and "November 4, morning and afternoon, for clause-by-clause."

I realize that the whip has talked about the possibility of meeting on Tuesdays, but this is not our prerogative. It is up to the House to decide if Tuesdays are acceptable. Mr Mammoliti was saying, "You haven't spoken to your House leaders." Well, I'm sorry, but I have. The understanding was that this bill should be out of this committee by Christmas and not November 4. This is what I was told.

Mr Mammoliti: Fall session.

Mr Grandmaître: That's before Christmas.

Mr Mammoliti: We've got other bills we need to deal with.

Mr Grandmaître: To put an end to this very important bill, a very abrupt end, on November 4 to me is unacceptable. Until we do find out if the House leaders want and the House will accept our sitting on Tuesdays, I don't think we can debate this around this table.

Going back to the schedule, critics' response and time, this is not part of our agenda, really. It's not part of Mr Mammoliti's motion. It's not part of his motion, so he's leaving out the critics' response, because we would need more time.

Going down to number 4, expert witnesses, I think we should ask experts like, for instance, John Sewell. We should invite these people to come before this committee and tell us what they really think about this bill. Because I know Mr Sewell is very interested in what's going on, especially at the planning level in this province, and is concerned for the environment. I don't know if John Sewell and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario were asked for their thoughts on Bill 26.

Let's address Mr Mammoliti's motion. He's inviting us to amend this motion. I'm asking you, Mr Mammoliti, to consider removing "November 4, morning and afternoon, for clause-by-clause." Let's wait and see how many deputants we will receive through our ads in the newspapers. You might be surprised that a lot of people are anxious to see Bill 26 in place but at the same time would like to have their say.

If Mr Mammoliti is willing to remove "November 4, morning and afternoon, for clause-by-clause," then we could go back and see our individual House leaders and consider meetings on Tuesdays, but at the present time I don't even want to consider Tuesdays, because neither the critic nor myself has spoken to our House leader.

I think this committee should give every Ontarian the opportunity to address Bill 26. It may be the most important bill we will have to deal with in this session.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I'm going to be very quick and just indicate that it appears to me that the logical solution to this problem is to recommend to the House leaders additional hearing times before the November 4 date. That would be my suggestion, and it could be even more liberal than Tuesdays, as far as I'm concerned. You could have evening hearings, if you wished to. That's my only suggestion.

Mr Wiseman: I want to make a couple of points. We've been at this now for almost two hours and 38 minutes and still no resolution. One of the things I would like to clarify is that it's our understanding on this side, first, that the Tuesday sessions were suggested by the Liberal House leader, that Tuesdays be accepted and, second, that at the House leaders' meetings it was agreed that not only would this bill be out of this committee before Christmas, but the bill would receive third reading before Christmas. It seems to me that if we are going to have third reading before Christmas and have this bill passed, we will have to stick to some kind of timetable. The one that we have suggested has this out of this committee by November 4 and moving along.

Secondly, I think that if the question were put to the environmental groups whether or not they would prefer to have this bill carried over and perhaps not passed at all until June, their choice would be that they would like to have it before Christmas. I think that it's important for us to recognize -- and I have the consultation paper at home; it's about this thick and I've read through it -- that a lot of environmental groups have had their positions put forward. They have discussed it and it's been constantly debated. Therefore, I think it's incumbent upon us to move this bill along. I think that's what the people of Ontario want more than they want to delay this process by having submission after submission. Therefore, given that this debate has now gone on for over two and a half hours, I would call the question.

The Chair: Mr Wiseman has moved that the question now be put. I believe that's in order. Shall the question now be put?

Mr Offer: No. What are you talking about? I object to that.

Mr Mammoliti: There's no debate on the question.

The Chair: There's no debate on the question. I've ruled Mr Wiseman's motion in order.

Mr Offer: But I haven't spoken to the motion.

The Chair: I've ruled it in order.

Shall the question now be put? All in favour? Opposed? It's carried.

I think, for clarity, the clerk should read Mr Mammoliti's motion. Then we will vote.

Clerk of the Committee: Mr Mammoliti moves that the committee during the consideration of Bill 26, the Environmental Bill of Rights, be authorized to meet on October 14 in the afternoon to listen to the minister speak and to answer questions; October 21 in the morning for technical briefings from Ministry of Environment staff, and in the afternoon we'll commence hearings; October 28 in the morning and afternoon we'll continue hearings; and November 4 in the morning and afternoon we will finish out with clause-by-clause.

The Chair: All those in favour of Mr Mammoliti's motion?


The Chair: A recorded vote.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chairman, on a point of order --

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, you're in the middle of a vote. There are no points of order.

The Chair: Thank you. You're very helpful, Mr Mammoliti. Mr Tilson, is this regarding the vote?

Mr Tilson: This is involving the procedure of this committee.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chairman, we're in the middle of a vote.

The Chair: I think it could wait until after the vote, Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: With due respect, if you could hear my point of order, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Well, let's hear it.

Mr Tilson: All of these matters that have been on the agenda are really circumvented by this motion, which was made before we even had an opportunity to look at the agenda. My question and my point of order is, is the motion really in order when we haven't looked at all other matters which we'll really be pre-empted from discussing? Many of the items, for example, that I referred to in my comments, page by page -- you can run through -- we really are now precluded from, because I assume now that the minister is going to speak. I don't know when we're going to be able to discuss these other matters. As a result of this motion, there doesn't appear to be a time, for example, to discuss the form of the advertising, how we're going to choose the list --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. I've considered your point of order. It is an important point to make, but it is not a point of order. The Chair is concerned about how we will deal with this.

Mr Offer: Mr Chair, I'd like a 20-minute adjournment.

The Chair: Twenty minutes.

Mr Mammoliti: Call the vote.

The Chair: I called the vote. The opposition has the opportunity. We're in adjournment for 20 minutes.

Mr Mammoliti: We were in the middle of the vote, though.

The Chair: They have the opportunity, I understand. If they ask for it, they get it, as when you ask for it.

The committee recessed from 1612 to 1632.

The Chair: We will reconvene. All those in favour of Mr Mammoliti's motion will raise their hands. It's a recorded vote.


Dadamo, Lessard, Mammoliti, Wessenger, Wiseman.

The Chair: Those opposed?


Johnson (Don Mills), Offer, Tilson.

The Chair: The motion is carried.

Mr Offer: I have a motion I'd like to move.

The Chair: I think, under the instructions we've just received by way of Mr Mammoliti's motion, that the minister will now make his statement, so I would call on the minister. If you have further motions, they may be made following the minister's presentation.

Mr David Johnson: Point of order on that, Mr Chair: Mr Mammoliti's motion says the minister will speak today. It didn't say when he'd speak today.

The Chair: Obviously, but that is the only order of business for October 14 in the afternoon, so I would presume that the minister -- am I presuming too much?

Mr David Johnson: Just looking at the agenda, some humble advice.

The Chair: I'm always looking for humble advice.

Mr David Johnson: Just looking at the agenda, there were three items on the paper in terms of the agenda. Mr Mammoliti's motion, I would think, would essentially deal with part of clause 1, or you may interpret it as all of item 1, but does it deal with supplementary budget, which is item 2?

The Chair: I appreciate your concerns. The agenda, of course, was set unilaterally by the Chair. The committee has instructed the Chair to proceed otherwise, by way of Mr Mammoliti's motion. I believe it would take precedence.

Mr Offer: Just to pick up on the point made by Mr Johnson, I understand the motion states October 14 in the afternoon to listen to the minister speak and to answer questions. It's not time-specific at all, and as we are within the meeting period of the committee, it would seem that motions would be in order, I respectfully submit, in order to deal with whatever matter the committee may do, keeping in mind Mr Mammoliti's motion.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has some further advice.

Mr Mammoliti: Perhaps a suggestion. I know we need to deal with other housekeeping items in terms of the agenda. I would certainly recommend that we keep 15 minutes available after the minister answers questions this afternoon. Perhaps at a quarter to 6 we could break with the minister and talk about the other items we need to come to an agreement on, use that 15 minutes to talk about that and to deal with the other housekeeping items.

Mr Grandmaître: Are you telling the minister to limit his remarks?

Mr Mammoliti: I would ask everybody here to keep under consideration that we're under time restraints, including the minister, of course, and recognize that we need to deal with these other items. This is a friendly recommendation I'd like to make at this particular time. If you choose not to, then --

Mr Wiseman: Let's get on with it.

Mr Mammoliti: Let's get on with it. But it's a recommendation I'd like to make.

Mr Offer: I do have a motion which I still would like to put to discuss. The motion put forward by the NDP does not speak to the issue of time for the minister. I believe my motion and the issues contained within it are important in terms of the workings of the committee.

Hon Mr Wildman: If I might, as I understand it, the motion that was passed was not a time allocation motion, and so whatever the committee decides is more appropriate I'm willing to accommodate. I'm here until 6 pm. If you wish to hear me now or some time later between now and 6 pm, I'm willing to do whichever the committee wishes to do. I'm certainly enjoying this process and learning a great deal. I am pleased to accommodate the committee and I appreciate the committee's willingness to hear me speak, as the motion says.

Mr Lessard: I wonder if the minister could advise us how long he intends to speak if he has prepared comments.

Hon Mr Wildman: I think it largely depends on how much time the committee allocates for me to speak. Frankly, Ben indicated that you were trying to limit my speaking. He knows the difficulty I've had in that regard in the past.

The Chair: I'm thankful for all the advice. The Chair is in something of a quandary here. Mr Mammoliti's motion does specifically indicate that the minister will be heard this afternoon. There are a large number of procedural issues to be dealt with by the committee, as Mr Johnson, Mr Tilson, Mr Offer and Mr Mammoliti, among others, have noted. I would suggest, so that the committee can move forward, that we might follow the recommendation of Mr Mammoliti's motion, permit the minister to speak and deal with the procedural matters either after the minister has spoken or in subcommittee, perhaps the first of the week.

Mr Offer: My question is, is that a ruling of yours or not?

The Chair: It's a ruling.


Consideration of Bill 26, An Act respecting Environmental Rights in Ontario / Projet de loi 26, Loi concernant les droits environnementaux en Ontario.

The Chair: Mr Wildman, it's a pleasure to have you with us this afternoon.

Hon Mr Wildman: Thank you. I appreciate the need for the committee to order its business. I have had the pleasure of being a member of this committee in the past and I appreciate the work that members on all sides of the House do in this forum.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to address the committee and I look forward also to hearing the views of members of the committee, particularly the opposition critics, on the Environmental Bill of Rights, which we believe, and I think members of the House all believe, will benefit Ontarians and the environment in this province.

I believe this legislation is a landmark bill which will meet the needs of the public, industry, environmental groups and the government. We see this as an important building block in the creation of a sustainable economy that will set new and higher standards of environmental protection both now and for years to come.

The Ontario government sees the passage of this bill as a commitment that it has made and will meet for the protection of the environment. I think the deliberations of the committee will demonstrate why the Environmental Bill of Rights is necessary to take environmental protection in Ontario to a new level, and I would like to have the opportunity now to explain how the EBR, as we call it, will work.

Again, as I indicated earlier, I'm pleased to note that members of the committee agree with the principle of the Environmental Bill of Rights and what you've been debating this afternoon, and earlier, I understand, is really how we can best approach that debate and ensure that members of the public have some input into the deliberations of the committee. It is true that you have questions that I would like to have the opportunity to answer, and it's also true that there may be some concerns and perhaps some misconceptions about the bill that I would like to deal with.


It's the position of the government and a commitment of this government that in order to restore and protect the environment, we had to, as a government, live by a number of basic principles and directions.

First, the environment must be taken into account in all policies and programs throughout ministries across the government and all government bodies. I think everyone would agree that all of us have a stake in the environment and we all have the right to enjoy its benefits and a responsibility for its protection. So we must do what we can to move towards a sustainable environment in transforming ourselves from a consumer society to a conserver society. In order to do that, we believe we must have stronger prevention strategies to stop further damage to the environment and to clean up existing problems in our environment.

Traditionally, governments in Ontario have taken a command-and-control approach to environmental protection. We believe we must move to a more proactive strategy of pollution prevention and we must be able to involve all members of the public in that process.

It's true also, of course, that Ontario remains one of the toughest environmental enforcers and that I recognize that this government is building on the efforts of previous governments in that regard. I am fully cognizant of the work that has been done by my predecessors on all sides of the House.

We have been moving further in terms of increasing the number of environment-related charges. The unacceptability of environmental offences in Ontario is reflected in the tough sentences the provincial judges are handing down. In 1992, there was a record $3.5 million in fines levied and, indeed, three individuals were convicted of environmental offences and were sent to jail. Also, as you know, we have launched a crackdown on illegal waste disposal practices, beginning with a series of enforcement sweeps in the GTA particularly.

The waste reduction action plan that we have initiated has met the target of 25% reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfills in 1993 and we are aiming at a 50% reduction by the year 2000. We believe the plan is working well, but we have to renew our efforts in order to ensure that we meet the next target.

We have announced far-reaching 3Rs regulations and Bill 7 is before the House, which will help to provide municipalities with additional powers to implement the blue box programs, composting programs, as well as other 3Rs activities.

We believe, I think perhaps more than previous governments, that in order for us to have true economic growth environmental protection must be integrated with all of our efforts. We don't see the environment and environmental protection as somehow contradictory to the need for economic growth.

Why do I believe that the Environmental Bill of Rights is taking us along that road to a higher level of environmental protection? We believe that environmental considerations must be taken into account before decisions are made and that the Environmental Bill of Rights will enable us to have environmental considerations at the forefront from the beginning and throughout the decision-making process. We believe this also will help us to avoid costs, both economic and environmental, further down the road.

As I said earlier, this bill has gone through a significant consultative process. I'd like to talk a little bit about the development and the consultation around the bill.

As a matter of fact, I heard in the House during second reading debate some criticism of the government for the length of time it has taken us to move forward with this legislation in the Legislature. We were criticized about the length of time it took, but I believe, as I said myself in the second reading debate, that we would have also been criticized if we had simply introduced the bill as a fait accompli and taken the fast-track approach, which probably would have resulted in the bill being passed much more quickly after we came into government in 1990 but perhaps might have produced a result where we would have a piece of legislation that wasn't sensitive to the needs of those it was intended to serve. Instead, we took the time to consult widely and listen to as many groups and individuals as possible.

The first round of consultation came with the formation of an advisory committee in December 1990 to obtain public feedback on the principles to be included in the bill. The members of the committee included a broad cross-section of stakeholders. During that consultation we found a lot of support for the bill, but people wanted an actual bill to comment on. They didn't want to talk about just the principles around the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights; they wanted to look at a piece of legislation.

In response to that, my predecessor formed a task force to draft the bill, which would initiate further discussion. The task force consisted of representatives of the public, industry, business, government and environmental groups. As I indicated before, we have two members of the task force here with us this afternoon, one representing business and the other environmental groups. We needed to get the right people around the table and I believe it paid off. We found enough common ground to reach a consensus on the context of a draft bill and I believe this is one of the most important accomplishments of the Environmental Bill of Rights story.

Actually, when we announced the draft bill and the work of the task force, some members of the media wanted to know what I thought business's reaction might be, and the media expected there was going to be some sort of conflict, I think, with the legislation that was proposed. I was able at that time to have most, I think all except perhaps one, of the members of the task force present and to ask the representatives of business who were on the committee to respond to that question. At that time they indicated that they wanted us to proceed quickly with the bill and have it passed as soon as possible. Perhaps for the media consensus among groups with differing points of view is not news. I believe that is indeed news. Conflict would have been something that would not have been unusual.

I'd like once again to thank the members of the task force for the work they did and the consultation they carried out with so many different groups and the changes they proposed in the draft bill to respond to what they heard.


The ministry then introduced a draft bill for further consultation with the public and other stakeholders after we had the task force report. Some fine-tuning has taken place since the bill was released in July 1992, but it has basically stayed true to the task force recommendations and the original principles put forward.

As you will recall, these principles are the public's right to act to protect a healthy environment; enforcement of this right through improved access to the courts, including an enhanced right to sue polluters; increased public participation in environmental decision-making by governments; increased government accountability for the environment; and greater protection for employees to blow the whistle on polluting employers.

The bill is necessary to ensure that everyone has a say in what the environmental agenda is and how it will be delivered. Environmental decision-making should not be left solely in the hands of government or industry. I don't think any members of the task force would suggest it should be and, for that matter, very few of those who presented their views to the task force would maintain that position.

We can't carry out our work effectively if people either don't understand the rules or don't have confidence in them. This bill is needed to ensure government accountability, to ensure that all governments, regardless of party, in future continue to carry out the responsibilities towards environmental protection. As many of you already know, the task force supported the bill you have before you.

The Environmental Bill of Rights will work, we believe, to meet these objectives. Many of the concerns raised through the consultations, and which have been addressed in the bill, were expressed again during the second reading debate, which is not surprising. I'd like to take an opportunity to tell you how we have handled these issues.

The first that was listed by many members in the second reading debate was the electronic registry. This is the principal vehicle for public participation, the backbone of the public's right to information. The registry will be used to inform the public of environmentally significant activities by designated ministries. It will be a computerized bulletin board of ministries' proposals for acts, regulations, policies and instruments, as well as the statements of environmental values, court actions and appeals of instruments.

The registry is being developed to tap into existing infrastructures, such as public facilities and networks, for access. Public access to the registry for Ontario residents will be accomplished in a number of ways. Those who have computers and modems at home or business can access directly through a local or a 1-800 number. Those who use an existing network as a research tool, such as Internet, FreeNet or ONet, can use that access mechanism and government can use the government of Ontario network, GONet. Those who do not have access to such networks will be able to visit a local library and use the hardware-software made available for access to the environmental registry. A draft regulation classifying Ministry of Environment and Energy instruments will be placed on the registry and was released in August during second reading.

There were a number of questions during second reading about the statements of environmental values. Fourteen ministries will be required to develop a statement of environmental values, indicating how they will incorporate the environment into their decision-making. With these statements, we are creating a government-wide environmental ethic by which each ministry can be judged. Ministries may change their statements of environmental values from time to time to ensure their applicability remains intact.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy is working with other ministries to develop a common understanding of the environment and is holding a workshop for this purpose. I know that some of you, in the second reading debate, wanted to see these statements of environmental values during these committee hearings. I know Mr Offer specifically raised this matter. Obviously, until the bill is proclaimed there is no legislative requirement for ministries to have completed their statements, but I assure you that steps are under way to ensure a common understanding is in place and the work is proceeding now. I will point out that the full text of the SEVs will be placed on this registry for public comment within three months of the proclamation of this bill. We hope that will be early in the new year.

At this time, all interested individuals or groups will have a chance to examine and comment on the adequacy of the draft statements of environmental values and to recommend changes. As the bill is based on the principles of political accountability, ministers have discretionary powers to determine which decisions are environmentally significant. Administrative and financial proposals of a ministry that are clearly procedural in nature will not be subject to the requirements of the EBR as these policies do not impact the environment.

The government will be held politically accountable for its use of the EBR by an independent Environmental Commissioner, and that is what is important. Obviously ministers will make the decisions and will be responsible for those decisions, but it will be the responsibility of the commissioner to monitor the compliance of the various ministers and then to report.

The commissioner has the responsibility to ensure that ministries adhere to the requirements of the bill, utilize the registry and consider the comments received from the public and use their discretion appropriately, as well as complying with requests forwarded to them by the commissioner.

The commissioner will have access to any information needed from a ministry. For example, he or she will be able to obtain comments received on a proposal for an instrument in order to review the use of discretion and what steps were taken or not taken.

It is with this information and statistics available from the registry and the commissioner's office that the commissioner will use wide-open reporting powers to bring notice of abuse of the EBR to the Legislature, and it's important for us to recognize again that the commissioner will be reporting to the Legislature, not to a minister of the crown.

It is important to remember the commissioner will not oversee the application of environmental laws. He or she will serve as a watchdog to ensure the government's implementation of and compliance with this bill. The annual report to the Legislature will deal with the government's record of placing environmentally significant decisions on the electronic registry for public review and the government's handling of requests for reviews and investigations from the public.

The commissioner cannot be part of an existing ministry in order to fulfil the role of watchdog over the government. All ministries must be judged equally by the commissioner in the report to the Legislature.

It's been suggested that the setting up of the commission and the appointment of the commissioner might add too much bureaucracy to the process. It has also been suggested that perhaps we were somehow setting up another Ombudsman's office. With great respect to the Ombudsman's office, that is not in any way what is contemplated here. The number of staff to be used by the commissioner is quite limited and the budget for the commissioner's office is, again, limited.


Hon Mr Wildman: I said with respect to the Ombudsman's office.

Mr Offer: I think that statement was made when they set up the Ombudsman's office.

Hon Mr Wildman: There weren't specific limitations as there are in this legislation.

The request for reviews: Ontario residents will have the right to request reviews of prescribed government acts, regulations and statements of environmental values, and to request new acts, policies or regulations. As I said, the appropriate minister will determine if the request meets the criteria outlined in the bill to merit a review.

The bill places the onus on the ministry to justify why a review has not been undertaken. With regard to requests for investigations, these can be initiated where there is a suspected violation of a prescribed act, regulation or instrument. Requests for reviews or investigations may be made by any two Ontario residents.


Of particular significance is the EBR's provision of access to the courts to protect the environment for residents of Ontario. As I said during the second reading debate, we don't believe this will open floodgates to frivolous suits, because this bill creates no new offences. A person can go to court only to protect a public resource. There will be no award of damages to those who sue, so there certainly will not be a financial incentive for an individual or a couple of individuals to initiate a suit.

A person can initiate a suit under only two circumstances: when a request for an investigation was rejected by the minister or was not conducted in a timely or satisfactory manner in the view of the member of the public, or when harm to a public resource is about to occur as a result of an imminent contravention of an environmental law.

In the case of alleged violations that involve ordure, dust or noise on a farming operation, which was another issue that was raised during second reading, access to the courts may be initiated only after a hearing of the Farm Practices Protection Board. This provision of the bill was inserted specifically at the request of the agricultural community, and we believe it will provide adequate protection of farm practices while, at the same time, ensuring that members of the public will be able to use the bill to protect the environment against violations.

It's changes such as these, which are throughout the bill, that reinforce the success, in my view, of the consultation process and also our commitment to avoid duplication with other legislation or agencies and to limit bureaucracy.

I appreciate the concern of the farming community that farmers might be subject to nuisance suits related to ordure, noise and/or dust. I come from a farming area and I grew up in a farm community, so I understand their concern. That's why, when it was recommended that we have access to the Farm Practices Protection Act referenced in the bill, we agreed readily. I can assure farmers they will continue to be protected under the Farm Practices Protection Act against frivolous suits. In fact, on July 20, 1993, an article in Farm and Country magazine supported this legislation, calling it "more farmer-friendly."

As I said, there are no financial incentives to sue. A successful suit won't lead to monetary rewards. Court actions are seen as the last resort in this legislation. The two principal remedies under the bill will be stop-work orders and plans to restore the environment. Again, frivolous suits can be screened out at several points during the process. There will be penalties for those who knowingly initiate a suit based on falsehoods.

It's important too to recognize that the whole thrust of the legislation is to involve members of the public early on in the decision-making process. By so doing, we believe the concerns that are legitimate and should be responded to will indeed be dealt with early on in the decision-making process, so there will not be the necessity, in most cases, to resort to reviews, investigations or particularly court cases.

In the case of public nuisance suits, barriers to the courts have been removed. However, any person who has suffered direct economic loss or direct personal injury caused by pollutants may sue for damages or other remedies, obviously. As I said, the emphasis on public participation throughout the bill will reduce the need for suits by getting people involved at an earlier stage in the environmental decision-making process. We believe this will lead to better environmental decisions.

One of the issues that was raised as well in the second reading debate was the enhanced whistle-blower protections. It's often been said that employees might wish to initiate investigations when they believe their employer might be violating an environmental regulation or law, but they feel vulnerable in requesting reviews or investigations of such incidents. Under this legislation, employees will have the right to participate in any activity under the EBR, and they will be protected if they blow the whistle on a polluting employer.

Complaints may be made to the Ontario Labour Relations Board where an employee feels that, as a result of their legal actions or involvement under the EBR, they have been unfairly dismissed, disciplined, penalized or otherwise harassed by an employer. If the board finds in the employee's favour, it will require the employer to rectify the situation, including compensation for lost earnings.

Perhaps the most-often-raised concern during second reading debate was the cost of implementing the bill in the current economic situation that we face in Ontario. It is estimated that the Ministry of Environment and Energy's costs will be in the neighbourhood of $4.5 million during the next two years. This cost covers many things, including the establishment and operation of the electronic registry on behalf of all prescribed government ministries, a public awareness program about the registry so the public knows what is being proposed and the how-to's of access to the registry.

It will also include the development and implementation of a training program for all of the government to ensure that government employees understand the new ways of doing business and the new requirements set out under the Environmental Bill of Rights. It will also include the establishment of many corporate processes, such as how each ministry will deal with requests from the Environmental Commissioner and the involvement of other ministries to ensure that they can benefit from the Ministry of Environment's experience. It will also include the Ministry of Environment and Energy's implementation requirements to comply with all parts of the bill in the first year.

We expect that other ministries, as they are phased in, will learn from the experience of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. The costs obviously will vary for various ministries in complying with and implementing the bill, but we expect that they will be significantly less since they will be able to benefit from the Ministry of Environment and Energy's experience. Also, they will of course not be funding things like the electronic registry or training programs across government.

As I've said from the outset, I believe the Environmental Bill of Rights is landmark legislation. It will change the way the government does business in Ontario. It will place an additional onus on the bureaucracy to stop and listen before acting, and it will bring environmental protection to a higher level. By increasing public participation, the Environmental Bill of Rights will help to prevent environmentally unsound decisions being made that would have had to be paid for in the future or by future generations.

The Environmental Bill of Rights for the province of Ontario is a goal that is shared by all members of this committee, I believe. I look forward to your work in hearing deputations and going through clause-by-clause and moving whatever amendments you deem necessary. I urge you to do, and I expect you will do, all of the work possible to ensure that this is a most effective piece of legislation. Again, I thank you very much for the opportunity this afternoon.

The Chair: Thank you, Minister. According to Mr Mammoliti's --

Mr Offer: Orders?

The Chair: -- orders, or resolution, or motion, there is now to be an opportunity for the minister to answer questions. I assume from that that people get to ask questions. I further assume that the critics will have the first opportunity to respond, as is the normal practice, with the agreement of the committee.


Hon Mr Wildman: Mr Chair, if I might, I'm looking forward very much to the exchange and I hope all members of the committee, particularly the Liberal and Conservative critics, will indeed have the opportunity they require in order to clarify any matters related to the bill.

Mr Wiseman: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Could we ascertain how long each caucus is going to have in terms of the remaining time if we're to finish at 5:45?

The Chair: Why at 5:45? The committee sits till 6.

Mr Wiseman: I thought there was some agreement that we would try to sort out some other issues. It's up to you.

The Chair: It has been the general practice of the committee to divide the time equally between the minister and the two critics. I believe each critic would therefore have about half an hour; well, 25 minutes. If they want to use less time, then of course we have an opportunity to discuss important issues that have heretofore been unresolved.

Mr Offer: First, let me indicate, as I and representatives of my party did on second reading, general support in principle of the legislation.

Minister, unfortunately you have been here to see some very unnecessary procedural wranglings. I'd like to believe that all members of the committee and all members of the Legislature are always respectful of ministers, ministries and ministry staff, and will continue to be so, but I think you will realize that there are some very large problems that have arisen with respect to the particular procedural motionings by members of the government, and that is unfortunately going to limit the way in which we can deliberate this particular bill.

I note the last point you made, that you hoped this committee would have sufficient time to look through this bill and give the people of this province the opportunity to participate. You will know, Minister, that this will not be possible in this matter.

Hon Mr Wildman: I'm sure all members would be willing to sit night and day to do that.

Mr Offer: It's not a question.

The Chair: Mr Offer has the floor.

Hon Mr Wildman: I thought it was a question.

Mr Offer: No. It's an important statement.

Minister, you've spoken about the 14 ministries by regulation. Could you please explain to me why this committee cannot have their statement of values?

Hon Mr Wildman: I think I did in my opening remarks. By the way, I should introduce Bob Shaw from the ministry, who is responsible for the implementation of the Environmental Bill of Rights, who's here with me.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy is currently working on the statement of environmental values for our ministry. Other ministries are also carrying out preliminary work in that regard. We are carrying out training sessions. I mentioned the workshop that is being held to assist other ministries in developing the statements of environmental values.

I guess some would suggest it would be presumptuous of the ministries to proceed to develop the statements of environmental values prior to knowing whether the legislation would pass in the House. I don't take that position. I think we should be working as diligently as we can throughout the piece, and we are doing that. As I assured you, we are committed to ensuring that all the statements will be ready three months after the proclamation of the legislation, which I hope will be early in the new year, so all the statements will be available to the public for comment and criticism, if that's necessary, in March or April 1994.

Mr Offer: There are no statements from your own ministry that you could share with this committee, if not from other ministries?

Hon Mr Wildman: Sorry, did I say three months? It's nine months. The drafts will be available in three months and then they'll be finalized nine months following proclamation, after we hear comments and so on. The statement from our ministry is currently being worked on. It is not ready yet, no.

Mr Offer: Dealing with environmental charges, and that was part of your statement, would this bill permit individuals of this province to criticize your ministry over its failure to levy charges?

Hon Mr Wildman: According to the bill, we could be asked to review a decision of the ministry with regard to the results of an investigation and why charges had or had not been laid.

Mr Offer: In the event that an individual in this province has particular information that your ministry is aware of companies which are contravening regulations of your own ministry, and you are aware of it and have not instituted charges, are you subject to criticism?

Hon Mr Wildman: Under the bill, if the bill were passed, yes, the minister could be asked to review a decision not to lay charges; if the individual believed there was a contravention of a regulation, yes, if the bill were passed.

Mr Offer: In the area of the commissioner, does the commissioner have any power to force a ministry to comply with its statement of values?

Hon Mr Wildman: Well, the power of the commissioner is a monitoring power, I guess, and a reporting power. The commissioner is required, under the bill, to report annually to the Legislature, and the commissioner then will judge the decision-making that has been done by ministers against the statement of environmental values and in relation to requests for reviews and investigations and will report to the Legislature as to whether or not a minister or ministers are complying with the legislation and will be critical of ministers who are not.

Mr Offer: Minister, apart from the fact that we will have a report on our desks once a year and will be instructed as to that, will the commissioner have any power to enforce compliance even though the commissioner has investigated and has found a ministry wanting?

I can use a specific example, if you wish. It's clear that you have a particular regulation dealing with refillables. It is patently clear that no one is complying with that percentage. It is, thirdly, clear that no charges have been levied. If someone wishes to take that to the commissioner, can they force you to lay charges?

Hon Mr Wildman: The commissioner, as I said, has a reporting function and I would doubt very much that the report will end up on your desks. If the commissioner were to be hypothetically critical of the Minister of Environment and Energy for not laying charges on a particular matter, I would suspect that Steve Offer will be up waving the report in the House and asking a question about the reason for the commissioner's statement in the report.


This is a matter of political accountability. The commissioner, in a non-partisan way, will report to the Legislature and then the members of the Legislature will deal with the report and do as they deem fit. I would imagine members of the Legislature would raise matters with the minister in the House. I would also suspect that it might be a case that the members of the Legislature might indeed want to consider the report of the commissioner in a committee setting at some point and bring a minister or members of the ministry before the committee to answer to criticisms that have been made. This is a matter of political accountability. It's not a matter of the commissioner being able to force a minister to do something or not to do something.

Mr Offer: This is why discussions on this bill were absolutely necessary. I'm glad that there are two members from the task force and I hope they were as distressed with the goings-on of this procedural wrangling as we were, and really felt that the bill could take up the challenge of public scrutiny.

Hon Mr Wildman: If I could add just one thing before you ask your next question: I don't want to prolong this, but it is important for us to recognize that the commissioner, in reporting, will be reporting on the minister's compliance or non-compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights. You asked about whether or not the minister's compliance with the statement of environmental values might be subject, and that is a matter for reporting.

The commissioner's role would not be to comment on whether or not a minister has enforced environmental laws. Rather, it would be to report on whether a minister has made decisions properly, appropriately, as it relates to the minister's responsibilities under this bill when it becomes an act.

Mr Offer: I read the bill, unfortunately, differently. I had thought that the Environmental Bill of Rights gave to individuals outside of the political accountability process the opportunity to use the Environmental Commissioner as a way to make certain that ministries did their job and did not have to rely on any one particular member to bring an issue up in any one particular question period. So I've got a little concern with the response --

Hon Mr Wildman: A member of the public can get the assistance of the commissioner in getting information and requesting reviews.

Mr Offer: Dealing with the issue of whistle-blowing, in the event that there was an employee of the government who was very distressed with the goings-on of the party in power and told someone else, would they take protection under the Environmental Bill of Rights?

Hon Mr Wildman: If a member of the civil service believed that a decision that had been made by a minister or ministry official was in contravention of an instrument or regulation or law as prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights, and that individual requested a review or requested an investigation, yes, that government employee would be protected under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Mr Offer: Would the whistle-blowing protection, as you've explained, attach to an employee who, in your words, if I might paraphrase, is absolutely aware that the government is not complying with certain rules or regulations that it itself has prescribed and shares that information with outsiders -- does not go through the commissioner, but shares that information? In the traditional case of whistle-blowing, would that person be protected?

Hon Mr Wildman: The whistle-blowing protection under this bill applies to this bill and its regulations. It is designed to ensure that all members of the public, government employees or workers in the private sector, will be protected if they avail themselves of the provisions of this legislation, and I think that's clear.

Mr Offer: I'm still somewhat confused with the response. The question I'd like to ask is that there will be employees of the government who will be privy to activities or non-action or inaction of government and will want to alert the public, in the best manner possible, of that inactivity. Will they be able to do so free of any penalty, or is there a different definition?

Hon Mr Wildman: As you are fully aware, having been a member of a government, civil servants in the province do have an oath of secrecy. I'm sure no one has ever gone against that oath of secrecy by leaking documents to the public or to the members of the opposition, but I have heard it on occasion rumoured that this does happen.

Mr Wiseman: No. It would never happen.

Mr Offer: Let me ask, will the whistle-blowing protection be afforded to those individuals?

Hon Mr Wildman: As I said earlier, clearly the whistle-blowing protection in this bill applies to this bill and to the provisions of this bill. If the member of the civil service wishes to avail himself or herself of the provisions set out in this bill for trying to bring forward a situation where that individual believes that a minister or a ministry is not living up to its obligations under the bill, they will be protected by the provisions of this bill. If they wish to act outside the provisions of this bill, then the other provisions that apply to them remain.

Mr Offer: As I imagine a probably final question before we've run out of time -- and there are so many more to be asked -- you alluded to the fact that the budget of the office of the commissioner, its scope, is limited. When I read the legislation, I do not see that.

Hon Mr Wildman: Subsection 54(1) says: "Subject to the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, the Environmental Commissioner may employ such employees as the commissioner considers necessary for the efficient operation of his or her office and may determine their remuneration, which shall be comparable to the remuneration for similar positions or classifications in the public service of Ontario, and their terms of employment."

The matter is subject to the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, which is a stipulation which does not apply to the Ombudsman's office, as was questioned earlier.

Mr Offer: With respect, my question wasn't with respect to the Ombudsman's office, but it is, I think, clear that there is no limit at this office, that indeed if the Board of Internal Economy -- I'm unaware as to who controls the total number of members, whether it be government or opposition, but if it be government and it says that the staff is now 10 and shall be 50, my guess is it's going to be 50. I'm wondering if, Minister, you can comment as to how that is a limit on this office.

Hon Mr Wildman: I was just commenting in the comparison to the Ombudsman's office that was made in second reading debate when in fact the first Ombudsman, with great respect, decided on the number of staff, the kinds of staff and so on that he needed and developed a significant number, as I understand it.

The criticism that there might be an additional bureaucracy: If your hypothetical suggestion were to be correct, I guess it is quite true that if you had a spendthrift government that appointed the majority of members to the Board of Internal Economy that didn't care about the economy, didn't care about the taxpayers, in fact you might see an enormous number. But as you know, the numbers we're talking about at maturity are quite limited. We're talking about a total number of 15 people to carry out the responsibilities.


Initially, during the consultation period, there was a suggestion that we might need about 80 staff members, at significantly greater cost, and it was because of the concern of this government for the taxpayers and the need to ensure we didn't have a bureaucratic process that we've worked to limit it. Our commitment is that at maturity there will be 15 members of staff. It is true that the Board of Internal Economy could increase that number at some point in the future if there's a new government elected that doesn't care about the taxpayers, but I doubt that will ever happen in Ontario.

Mr Offer: My final question: Will you then support an amendment that will in legislative form limit this office to 15 people?

Hon Mr Wildman: I'd have to see the wording.

Mr Offer: In principle?

Hon Mr Wildman: I'd have to see the wording. We're committed to the limit of 15. If there were a significant number of reviews or investigations that the commissioner had to comment on that would require more than that, I'd like to know whether there would be some flexibility. However, I certainly would not want to have the flexibility such that we would have an enormous number of people attached to this office. I'd like to see the wording to determine whether or not we're going to enable the commissioner to carry out his or her responsibilities adequately while at the same time limiting it to 15.

Mr Offer: Will you bring in an amendment?

Hon Mr Wildman: I'd be happy to hear your suggestions.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: I guess that at the outset I will again reiterate my concerns about the process this committee is now going through and the tremendous restrictions that are being put on with respect to delegations appearing before this committee. There doesn't seem to be any provision to allow for expert witnesses or to allow for any specific debate or discussion with legislative counsel on specific items other than perhaps clause-by-clause. Mr Grandmaître has suggested the appearance of Mr Sewell as an example of an expert witness. There does not appear to be any allowance for that.

I guess I would like to again confirm my dismay that we're simply allowing, I think -- the motion has changed so often -- a day for clause-by-clause and a day and a half for members of the public, which I would say is totally inadequate.

I notice the minister was reading from his presentation. Hopefully, he will make that statement available to members of the committee. Mr Offer and I have both been put at a disadvantage. Normally, we are able to prepare for presentations such as this. I must confess I was not aware -- Mr Mammoliti had suggested what he wanted, but I wasn't aware that this committee was going to proceed in the fashion it has today. So I don't have a prepared statement because I simply wasn't informed that we were going to be proceeding in this fashion.

There are a number of concerns, the biggest of which is the last concern, which I'd like to ask a question to the minister on, and that has to do with the issue of costs. You have stated on several occasions, including today, that you estimate the cost would be $4.5 million. You listed some of the things off: the implementation of the registry system, the training program -- I'm just looking at some of my notes here -- establishing a number of procedures. There are a number of other things.

The issue of the commission is of major concern to, I think, both the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. I shouldn't say it's a joint concern, but it's a mutual concern with respect to section 54.

There are a lot of vague statements. I can't believe you're putting forward a bill you don't want to work. I can't believe that.

Hon Mr Wildman: I don't believe it either.

Mr Tilson: Of course you don't and I'm sure you don't, but the fact is that you have an Environmental Commissioner whom you appoint or who would be appointed, who would come to the Board of Internal Economy and simply say: "I need 50 people to properly administer this program. There are far more complaints than we ever dreamt of. There are far more concerns all around this province. The task force, the Ministry of Environment or whoever estimated the number 15 was incorrect, and we need 50 people."

I'll pick figures out of the air, just with due respect. The number 15 I believe is taken out of the air, perhaps to assure us that it's not going to be a large bureaucracy. I would submit to you that it is going to be the birth of a monster with respect to bureaucracy. You indicated your concern that no government would want to simply willy-nilly spend with respect to bureaucrats, and I think all three parties would agree with that: None of us would. The problem is that you could have an Environmental Commissioner who's going to come forward and who's going to say, "I need 50 people." There is that issue.

There is the issue of the individual ministries. Somewhere here there's a list of ministries -- Agriculture and Food, Transportation, Municipal Affairs etc -- that will be preparing statements. I appreciate I'm asking vague questions, but you can pick up where you want to when I stop.

My question, Mr Wildman, really -- I appreciate I'm looking at a preamble, but the issue of cost, the number of bureaucrats, the concerns that you've heard during second reading, the uncertainty of the costs, the uncertainty of the cost of section 54, the uncertainty of the costs of the individual ministers in preparing the statements and of dealing with one ministry -- there may be complaints about one ministry more than others. If they're going to exercise their discretion, they're going to have to have a staff to deal with all of these things, particularly if they're complicated matters.

So my concern is, of course, we now have a social contract, which I appreciate is a touchy subject with members of the government, where cutbacks are going on. There are complaints about your ministry, with due respect, that you do not have the staff to properly enforce many of the concerns. You may not be prepared to admit that, but that is a fairly common allegation that is being made.

Hon Mr Wildman: Are you suggesting that our ministry should have more staff?

Mr Tilson: I'm simply saying that you're not able to handle dealing with the enforcement of your existing regulations. You may deny that, but I'm simply telling you that's an allegation. The commissioner that you are going to retain at the salary of a deputy commissioner, and at least 15 staff -- and I agree with Mr Offer that 15 is a dream; it's going to be considerably more -- are going to come to the Ministry of Environment and Energy and tell you something you already know: that you don't have enough people to properly enforce.

In answer to your question, I don't know. I'm simply repeating a concern that has been stated, that particularly at a time when you're into restraint, you don't have the bodies to do these things.

I will stop and simply ask you to elaborate further. I would submit that it's going to take an awful lot more people than 15 for the entire project, whether it be in the individual ministries, the commission, or your own ministry. It will take a heck of a lot more than $4.5 million to proceed with it, whether it's a registry system, the training program, the commission, salaries, legal proceedings -- that's been admitted, and there will be some legal proceedings. But the $4.5 million is extremely low.


Hon Mr Wildman: If I could respond to the number of questions raised, first, I think it would be inappropriate for me as a minister to comment on the procedures of an independent committee of the Legislative Assembly. I know the committee members will decide themselves as to what their agenda will be and how they will carry forward with the consideration of this legislation under your competent guidance, Mr Chair.

I would reiterate, though, as a minister who is committed to this legislation, that on behalf of my colleagues from the government side, we are prepared to have this committee sit more hours on Tuesdays or whenever it's convenient for the House leaders for the three parties. It's my understanding that the Liberal House leader suggested to the government House leader that this committee could sit on Tuesdays. I consider that a most responsible recommendation by a long-time, experienced member of the House and one of my well-respected colleagues, the Liberal House leader. I would certainly encourage the government House leader to comply with that recommendation and to move as quickly as possible to ensure that we have additional days. But again, even if the House leaders agree, it's up to the committee, of course, to make its own decision.

The question you raised with regard to section 54: You should look at that as well in the context of section 55 of the bill, of course. It's quite true that in section 55 it says: "The Board of Internal Economy may from time to time issue directives to the Environmental Commissioner with respect to the expenditure of funds and the Environmental Commissioner shall follow the directives."

The bill as drafted does in fact give the responsibility to the Board of Internal Economy, which has representation from all three parties, is chaired by the Speaker of the assembly and is the body that is responsible for the operation of the assembly and for the expenditure of funds. In our view, this commissioner, who reports to the assembly, should indeed be subject to controls with regard to the budget and staffing by the body that is responsible for the operation of the assembly.

If members of the committee believe there's another way of doing it, I'm interested in seeing what proposals they might have for amending the legislation. It is true that if you had a majority of members on the Board of Internal Economy of a government who were prepared to issue directives that the commissioner should increase staff, that could happen. I don't think that it would. I've heard enough comment about the need for restraint and responsible government in terms of expenditures over the years I've been around here to suspect that it would not happen, but it is conceivable it could.

If the committee, in its wisdom, wants to put forward an amendment that would have someone else responsible for controlling the number of staff and the expenditures, I'd be interested in hearing it, but obviously the commissioner has to be responsible to somebody. The commissioner reports to the Speaker and to the Legislative Assembly. In my view, therefore, the commissioner should be responsible in terms of spending and staffing to the Legislative Assembly and to the body that controls the Legislative Assembly operation, which is the Board of Internal Economy.

Mr Tilson: Thank you. That didn't answer my question but --

Hon Mr Wildman: Well, if your question was whether there could be 50 people required and directed that the commissioner could have, I thought I did answer the question. I said hypothetically that, yes, that could happen, but I'm dependent, as are all the taxpayers in this province, on the wisdom and frugality of members of the Board of Internal Economy, unless you want to provide an amendment that would give someone else the responsibility.

Mr Tilson: Minister, I'm simply saying that if you're going to be creating a commission, that commissioner is going to come to the Board of Internal Economy and say, "I cannot operate this process without x number," and I'll use the number 50, a number in excess of 15. "Unless you give me 50 people, it's going to fail."

Hon Mr Wildman: Then it's the responsibility of the Board of Internal Economy to determine whether or not that is a reasonable request and to act for or against that request.

Mr Tilson: I guess what I'm looking for is some sort of reassurance that this isn't going to be a bureaucracy that's going to be out of control. I submit that it has that potential.

I would like to move on to another area. We are going to be limited with respect to clause-by-clause as a result of the motion that was put forward. We are going to have a day for clause-by-clause. There are a number of areas which have been raised in the House and in correspondence to your office already, and I would ask that you inform us today when you can make your amendments available, because the time limitation is very strong on us.

I'm thinking specifically of the concerns of the municipalities on the definition of "instruments," and that's one area I know you'll be looking at; the topic of user fees that's been raised -- I'm just listing off some examples; they may or may not be valid concerns -- and whether those user fees may preclude people's access to the registry system; the whole issue of the cost of the operation of the registry system that could apply to municipalities, which have been delegated authority from the province, and the fear that in fact it will be more downloading on to the municipalities. Some of the municipalities have expressed a concern such as that. Those are three areas that just come to mind, without going through my massive notes, which I can recall as concerns, without even hearing members of the public.

My question to you is, because of this motion, this committee is forced to move very quickly. The custom of your government, it seems, is that the amendments that are prepared -- we don't see those until maybe the Friday before the Monday of clause-by-clause discussions. Can you make the number of amendments that you are considering available to members of the committee so that we can have them well in advance of the clause-by-clause discussions?

Hon Mr Wildman: We will make every effort to have the amendments ready a week in advance of this November 4 date, and I would ask the members of the opposition who might have amendments to accord us the same courtesy.

Mr Tilson: This isn't something that I'm looking for you to respond to; it's an expression of my dismay at the government of the members of this committee. There's no question we in the opposition, as critics, have raised concerns in the House, many of which have been repeated to us by others who have looked at the bill and in letters that I know you've received.

You have that advantage over us. We haven't heard the delegations, which are going to be restricted to a day and a half. It will be easier for you, because you know what amendments you're considering now, today, I suspect. You may not have the wording for them, but you know the topics. Of course -- and I can speak for our party -- we'll offer you whatever courtesy we can on this topic, but because of the limitation, it's going to be very difficult.

Hon Mr Wildman: I would just reiterate that, again, it's my view as minister, not a member of this committee, that we will do everything possible to meet on extra days and extra hours if you're as concerned as I think you are about the need to ensure that we have more time for the committee to hear delegations and to consider clause-by-clause. As we've said, I really think that perhaps if you can persuade your House leader to agree with what the Liberal House leader has proposed, we have a way of moving forward.

Mr Tilson: Mr Johnson asked a very innocent question, and you start talking about Tuesdays. Our party did not agree to Tuesday. We don't want to ram this bill through. If you're going to have a bill of rights, let's make sure it's done correctly. Let's not just ram it through and then find out you're going to have all kinds of legal hassles defining what "instrument" means -- that's one that is obvious -- and other words that we don't even know what they mean.

If we're hurried on this thing, as it appears that we are -- for some unearthly reason it's being rushed through. I know you've got an agenda as to the number of bills that you want to introduce, but it is certainly making the opposition critics very concerned that we can adequately do our job when we're not being given the time to do it.

Mr Johnson asked the innocent question, why not more Thursdays? I'm looking to your leadership as minister. I know you want to put this through as fast as possible so that you can get on to other things, but Mr Johnson asked the very innocent question, why not more Thursdays? Why can't the House leaders go back and say, "Well, all right, in the summertime we" -- and I'm listening to this at third hand. There's some discussion whether or not that agreement even occurred. Why do we have to ram this through by Christmas?


Hon Mr Wildman: Mr Chair, again I don't want to comment on the committee's agenda; that's up to the committee. But I would just say that I find it a little confusing, to say the least, to have Mr Tilson talking about ramming this bill through when so many of his colleagues, and I think he himself in second reading, criticized the government for taking so long to bring the bill in.

Mr Tilson: Three years is a little different.

Hon Mr Wildman: Three years is hardly ramming something through. I've never heard that kind of expression used in terms of that length of time.

Mr Tilson: There's no question, Mr Chair, if I could respond to that, that I did make a comment that the government, during its election campaign, boasted about how it was going to bring forward a bill of rights immediately, and that took three years. I did also compliment Mrs Grier on the consultation process which she did and I compliment you because you perhaps have been part of that.

But at the same time, we're now talking literally weeks, not years, for a committee. You're saying, "Well, this thing is going to be finished by November 4." You're not saying that, I hope.

Hon Mr Wildman: No.

Mr Tilson: I didn't mean that.

Hon Mr Wildman: I understand.

Mr Tilson: But the government members of this committee are saying that this matter must be forced through by November 4. Mr Chair, I could go on and on and I think, out of courtesy to the government members, if they have some questions --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. Are there some questions from other members?

Mr Wiseman: I have a couple of questions, one on the bill itself. When you look at some of the documentation around sustainability, around what is coming out of both the national and provincial round tables on economic development, they talk about getting away from this notion of winning and losing within the environmental framework, that to develop a sustainable environment is going to take cooperation, integration, creativity and a whole new process of the way we think. We have to eliminate where it's like, "Subdue the earth," and so on.

What I'm concerned about is, will the process within the Environmental Bill of Rights, as it is currently outlined, be able to build the kind of consensus around environmental change and around making the kinds of changes that are necessary in terms of moving in that direction?

Hon Mr Wildman: I guess that remains to be seen, obviously. Just the process we've gone through, in terms of the consultation and the work of the task force, is an indication that we were able to achieve a consensus on the draft of the legislation involving representatives of many diverse interests: government officials, environmental activists, members of the business community and the industrial sector.

That in itself is an achievement and I think an indication that no matter what our diverse interests, there is a consensus, I believe, in Ontario, perhaps in Canada and North America if not the world, on the need for environmental protection and ensuring that development takes place in an understandable way, that the rules are clear and that those rules are designed to protect the environment.

Whether or not the bill itself will have that effect, we believe it will go a long way in that direction in that it will ensure that with the environmental registry, people will have notification of changes, proposed government regulation or new rules, proposed approvals, private sector developments and so on that relate to those prescribed regulations; that there will be early notification that members of the public will be able to become involved if there's something that is of concern to them as it relates to the environment; that they will be involved early on in the decision-making process to share the information, to be able to have input and to influence the way decisions are made throughout the approvals process, and that will help to develop a consensus.

It's possible, however, that on individual cases those individuals will not be satisfied that their concerns have been properly dealt with or that the ministry has acted properly, in which case then the other sections of the bill will kick in and the individuals will have the opportunity, using the assistance of the commissioner, to request reviews, request investigations, if required, and, in the long run, in those few cases where they believe the environmental damage is being done through violations of regulations, be able to initiate court action for the protection of the environment.

We think this will benefit business and industry in that they will know very early on what the rules of the government are and what the concerns might be with regard to proposals for development from the other interested parties, and be able to respond to those concerns and to have a dialogue develop so that we don't have the requirements for investigations and court cases. I guess it remains to be seen, but we think this will build on a consensus that is already existing and will help to develop an even greater consensus.

Mr David Johnson: One of my main concerns is how this might affect planning in the province of Ontario, and that was primarily what I spoke to in the Legislature. Perhaps you might clarify that. For example, could this be invoked during or after a rezoning process? If two people objected on the basis that the rezoning, for example, impacted on half a dozen trees or something of that nature, could a review be scheduled on that basis?

Hon Mr Wildman: First, you recognize that the various ministries, the 14 ministries, that are subject to the legislation will have to comply with the legislation subsequent to their statement of environmental values being filed in a phased manner. Each ministry will come into the process over a period of time, with the Ministry of Environment and Energy being the first one, within a year, in compliance.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which is responsible for the Planning Act, will be one of those that is phased in, and the Planning Act will come under the purview of the legislation and have to be in compliance by the year 1998. Again, I think this is evidence that we're not rushing things. But anyway, after that date an individual or a couple of individuals, if they believed that an approval had been made for a subdivision or some development and that approval was not in accordance with the provisions of the Planning Act, could ask for a review.

Mr David Johnson: I'm wondering if you've thought of the implications of that, because at the present time the broad concern in the province of Ontario with the planning system is that it's tremendously time-consuming right from the date of application. I think we all recognize that. That's why Sewell was put in place, and he's brought forward recommendations that many people think will not speed it up. At any rate, that's another topic.

What then could happen, based on your response, is that an application could be made locally. There's a period for review. One of the agencies that would review would be the Ministry of Environment and Energy, your very department, which would have input. I must say that the planning department is very slow and that it's very difficult to get that kind of input, but nevertheless somewhere down the stream it comes. Then there's a public hearing locally. That process is gone through. Then, if there are people objecting -- and certainly in urban areas, and I suspect in rural areas, there are lots of people to object to just about anything -- there is a review at the Ontario Municipal Board.

I sense that what you're saying is that either before or after the Ontario Municipal Board two people could ask for a review from the Environmental Commissioner, and the routine for the Environmental Commissioner is that he accepts the objection and takes, what, 10 days or something for him to decide? Then there's a period of time when he sends it off to the appropriate ministry -- it could be your ministry -- and the ministry has 60 days to consider it.

We're adding possibly how many more months to a process that already takes in some cases more than two years?

Hon Mr Wildman: I just want to make a short comment on that. I take your criticism, by the way, of the Ministry of Environment very seriously. I would point out that we are moving to improve the length of time it takes and that we are down to approximately two months now, where it was much longer before in some cases.

But having said that, the decisions that have been taken under the prescribed act still apply and still have effect while this process kicks in. It doesn't hold them up. The decisions will apply. It's a review of a decision that has already been taken that would be asked for.

Mr David Johnson: At the Ontario Municipal Board, for example.

Hon Mr Wildman: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: So once the board comes down with its decision, then they could appeal?

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnson. Unfortunately, there is no more time for you today.

Mr David Johnson: It hardly scrapes the surface.

Hon Mr Wildman: I was just starting to enjoy myself.

The Chair: I was too. I would note, however, that there are significant procedural problems for the Chair and I would ask that perhaps we could convene a subcommittee meeting, following routine proceedings, Monday at 3:30. The clerk will be in contact to find out if that is acceptable to each of the critics. If not, we will schedule it for the earliest possible moment after that.

I would also tell the committee that I'm a little uncomfortable with the notion, given the lack of consensus on this committee surrounding dates, that a subcommittee proposal be acted upon before it is ratified by the committee as a whole. Thank you.

The committee adjourned at 1802.