Monday 12 September 1994

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994, Bill 171, Mr Hampton / Loi de 1994 sur la durabilité des forêts

de la Couronne, projet de loi 171, M. Hampton

Ministry of Natural Resources

Dr David Balsillie, assistant deputy minister, policy and program division

Geoff Munro, implementation director, Carman exercise

Ken Cleary, manager, program development, renewable resources

Stuart Davidson, legal counsel

Len Wood, parliamentary assistant to minister


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

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

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est 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:

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND) for Mr White

Carr, Gary (Oakville South/-Sud PC) for Mr Arnott

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L) for Mr Daigeler

Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton PC) for Mr David Johnson

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND) for Mr Dadamo

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk ND) for Mr Mills

Miclash, Frank (Kenora L) for Mr Sorbara

Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East/-Est L) for Mr Grandmaître

Waters, Daniel (Muskoka-Georgian Bay/Muskoka-Baie-Georgienne ND) for Mr Wessenger

Wilson, Gary, (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Îles ND) for Mr Wessenger

Wood, Len (Cochrane North/-Nord ND) for Mr Morrow

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Beecroft, Doug, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1413 in committee room 2.


Consideration of Bill 171, An Act to revise the Crown Timber Act to provide for the sustainability of Crown Forests in Ontario / Projet de loi 171, Loi révisant la Loi sur le bois de la Couronne en vue de prévoir la durabilité des forêts de la Couronne en Ontario.

The Acting Chair (Mr Gilles E. Morin): There was a motion a couple of weeks ago that the first hour of this session would be dedicated to questions the critics have to pose to the representatives of the ministry.


Dr David Balsillie: My name is David Balsillie. I am assistant deputy minister of the policy and program division of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and we appreciate having this opportunity to return before the committee. You may recall that we opened the hearings, and we have some information for you today.

I have a presentation which will take about 20 to 30 minutes, which should leave another 30 to 40 minutes for questions and answers. Other staff are with me and they'll join me here as specific questions require specific answers.

In addition to the oral presentation today, MNR has prepared written answers to the prepared questions from the critics of the two parties and those have been distributed just prior to the beginning of this session.

To begin this presentation, during the course of the hearings several subjects have been raised where additional explanation may be of additional benefit to the committee, and the topics that I would like to address are: sustainability; silvicultural funding mechanisms; forest resource processing facilities, ie, mills and chippers; tenure, licences and evergreen clauses; the cost-benefit of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act; and environmental assessment in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

The first item is sustainability.

You may recall that just about everyone who made a presentation to this committee observed that there was no definition of "sustainability" in the act and several candidate definitions were presented. There has been lots of discussion before, during and since the hearings around the issue of definition and description of "sustainability." While everyone agrees about the basic concept behind the words, there are wide-ranging views on how best to express it for day-to-day management purposes

After much discussion, we have decided that a definition of "sustainability" is now proposed for inclusion in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act: "`Sustainability' means long-term forest health."

In addition, there will also be proposed amendments that require the Forest Management Planning Manual to adhere to some principles to enhance the determinations of sustainability through the application of that manual.

These principles, which will be in the act, include:

-- The maintenance of diverse and productive crown forests.

-- The conservation of ecological processes and biological diversity.

-- The use of forest practices that emulate natural disturbances and landscape patterns within limits of silvicultural requirements. This refers to the different types of natural disturbances in the different forest regions of the province and to the fact that it is impossible to exactly duplicate the pattern of natural disturbance.

-- Minimizing the adverse effects on plant and animal life, water, soil, air, and social and economic values.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act also requires that Forest Management Planning Manual provide for the determination of sustainability. The manual does so by defining sustainable forest management as the process of managing permanent forest land to achieve one or more clearly defined objectives of management with regard to the production of a continuous flow of desired forest benefits without undue reduction of the inherent values and future productivity of the forest and without undue and undesirable effects on the physical and social environment.

The planning manual also describes the ecosystem-based approach to forest management in terms of planning for the management of human interaction with some aspects of the forest ecosystem.

In addition, the planning manual recognizes that local forest management activities should contribute to the maintenance of forest ecosystems at the broad regional level.

The manual subscribes to the concept that forests come first in planning and in operations.

Objectives will be set at the management unit level in the context of provincial policies and regional objectives that will describe the future forest condition. This could mean the maintenance of the current forest condition or it may indicate that changes to the current condition are necessary to meet long-term sustainability goals.

Measurable targets need to be defined and methodologies need to be described that will achieve the objectives and targets.

The planning manual will describe means to ensure that sustainable approaches are used. Indicators will be described that will enable periodic monitoring of progress in meeting the objectives and targets.

The need for a monitoring program that will be put in place to track and record the results of operations and treatments that are conducted on a management unit are described in the manual, along with a reporting procedure so that progress can be evaluated and so there is a record of what has occurred on that unit.

This approach is the essence of adaptive forest management, which provides a means for continual refinement, redevelopment and improvement.

Finally, the manual is set up in a way that permits the addition of knowledge and methodology based on new science and technology as it is developed and tested, so that the manual can stay up to date and adapt to new and better techniques as they become available.

The second item is silvicultural funding mechanisms. Considerable interest has been shown in this topic, hence I will speak to it directly.

Securing silvicultural funding has been a challenge in recent years, given the fiscal pressures that face the government. The Crown Forest Sustainability Act provides new mechanisms, via trust funds, to ensure that proper levels of silvicultural investment is available to meet the needs of the individual forest management units.

The MNR will now have four silvicultural funding mechanisms: forest renewal trust and/or special-purpose account; forestry futures trust; and MNR's silvicultural allocation. Information on these mechanisms is now included in the written response package. However, I would like to highlight a number of points for each one.

First, the forest renewal trust. It becomes active when a new-style FMA agreement is signed through the new business relationship à la the Carman exercise. As a component of stumpage, a forest renewal charge must be paid into a provincial forest renewal trust into an account specific to that management unit. The contribution rate is set for the first three years; after that, it will be reviewed and the rate will be adjusted to reflect the experience on that unit. At the end of a five-year transition period, the company must maintain a minimum balance in that account to fund the management unit's silvicultural program.

Second, the special-purpose account. This is an account which will be maintained by treasury, for use where there is not a forest renewal trust, that is, for FMAs who have not signed a new agreement and for crown management units. A forest renewal charge is collected as part of the stumpage. We will use subaccounts by management unit, and MNR can access these funds to ensure that renewal is carried out.

Third, the forestry futures trust. A forestry futures charge is paid by all licensees as part of the area charges. These funds are maintained in a single provincial account and will be administered by a trust board or committee. The fund is for additional silvicultural work required as a result of such events as fire, blowdown, insects or in cases of company insolvency. It also will allow for intensive stand management.


Finally, there will be an MNR silvicultural allocation. These are funds allocated by government as part of the normal estimates process, and MNR will access these funds for such programs as tree-marking for hardwood management, private land forestry, and operating the Angus seed plant.

In summary on this topic, the questions, "Will there be enough money to fund the silvicultural program, and how much is that?" are often asked. The important point to recognize now is that the mechanisms are in place to ensure that the appropriate dollar amounts will be contributed to each management unit's account to fund the type of silvicultural program necessary on that management unit to meet the provincial standards. Also, in the event of a natural disturbance, like fire, there are funds that can be accessed for renewal operations.

The question regarding the actual dollars and cents needed is dependent on the type of silvicultural program needed on a management unit, the local conditions, and the manner in which the operation is conducted. Here again, the important point is that this approach ensures that the necessary level of funds are contributed based on these local conditions.

The third item is the forest resource processing facilities, ie, mill licences and chippers.

The committee has heard concerns expressed from a number of people about the licensing of mobile chippers. The major concern expressed related to those chippers which were operating as an in-the-bush processing facility, with the chips destined for a single pulp mill which would already have a mill licence. This concern was a result of wording that was in a proposed regulation and not a clause in the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

As I'm sure you are aware, a chipper, whether fixed or mobile, is capable of significantly impacting jobs and community stability. Mill licensing is a means of managing the supply of chips.

MNR has also heard this concern and has responded by changing the wording of the regulation. A new section has been added to the regulations to provide for exemptions from the forest resource processing facility licence, ie, the mill licence. MNR is currently developing policy and procedures to define the approach for exemptions, as directed by this regulation, for some chippers.

The fourth item is licensing and tenure.

Some questions have been raised during the hearings with respect to evergreen licences and the fact that they don't appear to exist under the new Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Under the current act, the forest management agreements provide for a 20-year licence. Audits are conducted at the end of each five-year period. If all the performance standards have been met, the licence is renewed for a further 20-year period. This can go on so long as there is satisfactory performance. In essence, the licence is in effect in perpetuity. This does not provide an absolute guarantee of tenure. Land use planning may have an effect on the land base or the amount of timber available to a licensee.

The CFSA now describes a sustainable forest licence which is renewable. This will be based on performance standards such as the results of the forest renewal efforts.

This section of the act is intended to recognize the importance of tenure to the industry while providing mechanisms to ensure fair access to forest resources. There is a transition provision in the CFSA that converts existing FMAs to sustainable forest licences under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

The fifth item is the cost-benefit of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

The costs of the primary forest operations are not sector-specific. The costs of planning a harvest, accessing, harvesting and hauling timber to the mill gate are not dependent on the end product. Differences in cost depend on other variables such as roadbuilding and the length of haul.

A preliminary look at the proposed legislation suggests that in addition to the current costs of doing business, there will probably be some additional costs associated with the implementation of the timber class EA terms and conditions, which are enabled by the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and will be incurred in any event. In addition, there will be costs associated with the sections of the new act that reflect the shift to an ecosystem approach to forest management, and perhaps licensing. The new act binds the crown, so these costs and benefits will apply here as well.

The proposed legislation makes provision for larger operators who do not currently have FMA agreements to obtain a sustainable forest licence. The process to obtain this licence and to comply with its terms and conditions, such as the preparation of the forest management plan, could result in some additional cost. This should be small for companies that do have current OIC licences and are already doing management plans. The costs to licensees who opt for a sustainable forest licence but are not currently preparing management plans will be higher by the cost of the management plan preparation. On the benefit side, this kind of licence provides better security of a sustainable supply of forest resources. Improved long-term planning is an asset that assists when financial institutions are asked to provide capital to the licensee.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act enables the minister to require the licensee to prepare a forest management plan and an annual work schedule. This could been seen as a potential additional cost for some licensees who work on a management unit that has the plan prepared by MNR currently. This section of the new act recognized that some new business arrangements, like a consortium of smaller companies or a community forest, could be developed. This section of the act could then apply, and planning costs would be incurred. It is not the intention of MNR to force small operators who do not have the resources to incur this kind of expense.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act requires companies operating in the forest to provide information for the purposes of forest management planning and for the purpose of preparing reports. Much of this work is already being done by the larger companies, in some cases in a cost-sharing arrangement with MNR. The Crown Forest Sustainability Act and the EA terms and conditions could require the collection and reporting of additional information for the purposes of planning and reporting. The benefit is improved forest management and compliance with the timber class EA terms and conditions.

Forest operations prescriptions are required under the CFSA. This is an additional requirement over current practice. Some additional cost may be incurred. The benefit is improved silviculture and a way to make sure that all areas that are harvested will be renewed.

The final item is environmental assessment and the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

We do not believe that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act will precipitate the need for another environmental assessment. MNR has in place a variety of mechanisms to comply with the Environmental Assessment Act.

MNR has approximately 25 exemption orders in place today to cover a variety of activities, ranging from forest fire protection to wildlife habitat management, which were declared not to require separate approval under the Environmental Assessment Act.

MNR also has a number of class EA approvals in place which also cover a number of activities, ranging from the recently approved timber management EA to approval for single-project activities such as access roads to MNR facilities and dams and dikes.

Where there has been a need, MNR has also prepared an individual EA to address specific proposals, such as Red Squirrel Road and timber management in the Megisan Lake area.

Together, these exemptions and approvals cover the full spectrum of activities that MNR conducts that are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act.

It should be noted that the on-the-ground activities of access, harvest, renewal and maintenance, as described in the class environmental assessment for timber management, are viewed as being components of forest management and will continue in accordance with the EA board's decision.

And it should be noted that the EA board expressed the following view, and I quote from page 69 of the EA board's "Reasons for Decision":

"Nothing in our approval of the timber management planning undertaking prevents MNR from adopting improvements that may be demonstrated to be beneficial from its investigation of an integrated forest management approach. In fact, our conditions of approval anticipate that MNR will move in the direction of integrated forest management during the term of this approval."


Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I'm wondering if we could have a copy of Dr Balsillie's notes at some point, not necessarily this second.

Dr Balsillie: Okay. Yes.

Mr Brown: I asked a question about cost-benefit analysis, and I've been trying to speed-read through the answers we received and haven't quite managed it all. Could you tell me how much the ministry believes it will save in administrative expense under this act versus the Crown Timber Act? Or how much more will it cost?

Dr Balsillie: We would be anticipating that there would be less cost to us from the silvicultural portion, yet that there will be increased costs to us as a result of the reporting and the information and compliance. To my knowledge, we don't have a number in each of those areas. In other words, if you're looking for x million dollars down or x million dollars up, we don't have those kinds of absolute numbers.

Mr Brown: But your expectation would be that the administrative cost of the new act will be greater, taking the silviculture out?

Dr Balsillie: That's correct, to the degree and extent we yet have to find out.

Mr Brown: As we went through the weeks of committee hearings, we heard from a number of players in the industry. We heard from people with the district cutting licences, we heard from people with the OICs, and we heard from people who have the present FMAs. It seemed to us, as generalists listening, that there is a different impact or at least a perceived different impact on each of those groups as we went through; some of your comments today may have allayed some of the fears. But has the ministry looked at the impact on particular sectors of the industry under the new act versus the Crown Timber Act?

Dr Balsillie: To a certain degree, yes, we have, and we wanted to allay some of the fears around tenure. In terms of looking at the large FMA holders, there's a perception that tenure is less because the minister would have the option to change that licence, while with the current FMA agreement there has to be agreement between the two parties.

With putting "renewable" into the act, we would anticipate that there would be very little change from the new forest management agreements with regard to the evergreen aspects. But we have to also realize that the environmental groups and first nations are interested in having, number one, a representative number of areas set aside for ecological representativeness across the province, across the country; and that the first nations are looking, as I think you heard Alan Roy indicate, for an FMA, for instance, for first nations. There are these other forces which we also have to manage.

On that sector, then, we're trying to balance between ensuring that there's an evergreen opportunity for the OFIA companies to take that agreement to the bank and say, "I have a long-lasting tenure on that property," notwithstanding the fact that the minister has the right under conditions to change that licence. The lumber manufacturers, on the other hand, appear to be less concerned about some of these issues. As a matter of fact, a lot of their members are third-party licence holders and they're looking for a better deal between the third-party licence and the FMA holder.

In terms of the way the act will help them operate on FMA lands, they are a little more receptive to the way this act proceeds. I think they both are interested in making sure that the act not only has the perception of sustainability but in fact delivers sustainability because of the implications for offshore sales in enviro-friendly marketplaces. Whether it's the United States or Europe etc, forest products not only have to be seen to be but have to be coming from forests which are managed in a sustainable fashion.

Mr Brown: And the small DCLers?

Dr Balsillie: I guess there's not a large change to that. There's going to be some opportunity for them to continue to cut and there are going to be licences for them. There may be some questions around the planning and information-gathering, but I don't think we've heard many really negative comments from them.

Mr Brown: Well, we have heard some. To be fair to the ministry, some of them maybe weren't as informed as they would like to have been, but we've heard several presenters who were very concerned about their viability in maintaining their operations under this new regime. You would be suggesting, then, that those fears are largely illusory, not founded in fact, that in fact those small independents will be able to operate more or less as they have for many years?

Dr Balsillie: More or less. As I said in my opening remarks, we're not interested in putting small DCLers out of business in any way, shape or form. They're part of the health blood of the industry and the communities across this province, so we're not interested in putting them out of business. Where they can work together, where we can help them work together, where they can work with prime licensees, then hopefully that could happen.

Mr Brown: I just recall the one independent who, when a co-op was suggested to him as a way they might work some of these matters out, suggested that if you got 20 independent loggers in a room, you didn't have a co-op, you had a fight.

The timber production plan: I just noted that you expect to have this complete by this Christmastime or thereabouts?

Dr Balsillie: There's a term and condition within the class EA for timber management that says we have to have a timber production policy in place by December 31, 1994, and we are striving to do that. We will have the next iteration of the discussion document out before the end of the month and we'll be calling for comments on that and hope to have the production policy, or something similar, before the end of this year.

Mr Brown: Is your job made a little more difficult by us considering this new act at the moment, or do you see any problem between the old Crown Timber Act and this act in determining the timber production policy of the government?

Dr Balsillie: No, I don't think so. It was probably more dependent on the fact that we had to produce the framework policy first and provide general direction for how the timber production policy should fall into line and into line with this new act, which falls in line with the new policy. It was really attendant more on the policy being finished and getting the general direction finalized and then we could produce the policy. And we've been working at this for a few years, so it's --

Mr Brown: There's an understatement.

Dr Balsillie: We're not just pulling this together at the last moment.

Mr Brown: Essentially, between this proposed act and the former act, there isn't much difference in terms of the timber production policy?

Dr Balsillie: No.

Mr Brown: In other words, there'd be about the same amount.

A big question we've heard over and over is the question about the residual value tax, as I call it, fee as the government calls it. We're having a little difficulty over here understanding exactly how that works. Could you explain that to us? It is empowered, I believe, by section 28 of the act, which is really quite vague. It gives the minister the power to set the price, I believe is what it says.

Dr Balsillie: I'd like to call Mr Geoff Munro, who is the implementation director for the new business relationship, commonly called the Carman exercise. They have been working on the development of the residual value model.


Mr Geoff Munro: In answer to your question, to describe the residual value component of stumpage, the situation we find ourselves in in this province is that we do not have an open market for logs, so as a result, we needed some other proxy for what a log might be worth on the open market if it were an open market system. The residual value is just a means of using product prices -- the products that are produced from those logs in the different sectors -- as a measure of what that log might be worth on a given day in an open market. It's nothing more than a means of reflecting the up-and-down, rising and falling market value of the timber the crown sells by using, as I said, the price of the product that's produced.

The term "residual value" comes from the fact that the only way to do that in a fair and market-representative way is to do it after you have taken into account the other costs associated with the production of that product. If all the costs of hauling the logs to the mill and doing the processing and shipping the finished product off to market are taken into account, allowing some margin for profit and risk, as any company will want to do, you then have a residual value left over that is accruing to the input -- the log -- and therefore is a reflection of that log's value. It's nothing more than a means of coming up with a price for the log.

Mr Brown: But the price varies as to what the end product would be. For example, lumber has a different price from chips for pulp.

Mr Munro: Correct, and that is why the residual value calculation is done on a sector-specific basis. The proposed stumpage system is broken into a number of sectors -- sawmill, pulp, paper -- because each sector also has significantly different production costs. It costs a whole lot more to produce a ton of pulp than it does to produce 1,000 board feet of two by fours, so the cost is built into the price and therefore the log value is built into the overall market price of the product.

Mr Brown: And you determine that because there are the various sectors. I'm just trying to understand this. From the forest perspective, though, a tree is a tree. The tree that is 10 inches in diameter which could go to the sawmill has a certain price on it because it is going to the sawmill, whereas the same tree, if it's going to the pulp mill, has a different price on it, even if it's the same tree.

Mr Munro: Potentially, that's true, but it also depends on where it is in the province. We have sawmills that are running the three-inch tops to produce -- what we call stud mills. If you're down in a more southerly location, that same tree would be multiplied many times and be run through a pulp mill. So it's not just size of log, it also has to do with geographic location and the mills that are being --

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): If I can, on this point, I take it that this mechanism is one that is intended to allow the ministry to more clearly evaluate for the crown the value difference between a skidway of -- God forbid, if there are any left -- yellow birch veneer and a skidway of low-grade poplar destined for a chip mill.

Mr Munro: Yes, it's a pricing mechanism. That's a good description.

Mr Conway: So this would be of particular value to Her Majesty's minions as they calculate a return. The criticism, surely, of the old system has been that you really weren't able to distinguish in terms of value between -- as one of my constituents likes to say loudly -- filet mignon and low-grade hamburger.

Mr Munro: Your analogy is good. I can't argue with it. The logic is correct. It's designed to distinguish between the value this log has, and of course part of that value is the infrastructure within which we operate. The infrastructure includes that the pulp mill is over here, the sawmill is over there etc. That adds to our ability as the crown to sell that log. It's all a pricing mechanism for the value that log has to the crown.

Mr Conway: Does that mean that if you make that calculation you will consider, for example, differential input costs that are imposed or have been traditionally imposed by the province? For example, in northern Ontario, as I understand it, the ministry has subsidized certain forest access roads, but that's not something that has been done in my part of the Ottawa Valley. Therefore, the product cost in the latter case is greater than in the former because of the different way we treat roadbuilding.

Mr Munro: If the MNR still had roadbuilding money, that would in fact be the case; it doesn't, so it's not.

Mr Conway: And for all time it won't.

Mr Brown: On that same issue, when we're talking about the value of logs, Canada has argued several times, successfully, before American trade commissions and I believe before the free trade commission that the value of some of our trees is actually a negative value, that north of 60, for example, a tree actually has a negative value because of its geography, the length of haul to a mill etc. We have made that argument as a country and as a province and been successful. Distance, as you mentioned before, is a big determinant of cost. I guess I'm just expressing a concern that some of the more remote communities under this kind of regime may not be competitive any longer in terms of producing sawlogs or pulp logs or whatever.

Mr Munro: The actual calculations for haul distances are done on a sector basis. The sectors don't always cluster geographically, so there will be some anomalies. But one of the things we've avoided like the plague is being mill-specific in the allocation of a residual value or any stumpage system. We looked at our colleagues across the country, and BC did have a residual-value system in place for a number of years and chose to change it because they had allowed it to become mill-specific, and that quickly became a problem. You were not only exposing the cost-benefit, the books if you will, of a given company's operation by the stumpage you allocated to it -- you could glean from that knowledge how they were doing -- but also you ran into the potential for everyone, every mill owner, to come forward with an "I'm different" excuse and reason and need for some other attention. So it is done on a sector basis.

Mr Brown: We have heard a lot about the citizens' committees. I haven't yet been able to read all of what Dr Balsillie has just said in the copy we now have before us, but those are called for under the terms and conditions of the timber EA.

Dr Balsillie: That's correct, and in the written response there's a list of all the criteria etc which were listed in the timber EA.

Mr Brown: But the wording in the bill is not similar to the wording in the terms and conditions. I'm just wondering why there's a difference between what is said in the legislation, where I believe it says "may," not "shall" --

Dr Balsillie: That's being changed now to "shall." That's one of our amendments.

Mr Brown: There you go. And there isn't as clear a definition. Is that going to be spelled out in the regulations -- I haven't seen it in the regulations or the manuals -- or do we just rely on the terms and conditions of the EA report?

Dr Balsillie: I'll answer part of your question and then I'll ask Mr Cleary if he could come up and talk about where that might otherwise be described.

The reason it's slightly different is that the timber EA had "the area of the undertaking," and this is a provincial act so there are areas outside of the undertaking of the timber EA. The legislation is all-inclusive, whereas the terms and conditions from the timber EA are in the area of the undertaking.


Mr Ken Cleary: Just to add to what David has said, the selection and format of the local citizens' committees would be fully spelled out in the forest planning manual as part of the consultation provisions set out in that manual, and those details that are in the terms and conditions are explicitly laid out in the manual.

Mr Conway: Can you give me an idea of what that might look like and feel like? I think I know, but I'd be interested in your take. Say I'm living in Mattawa, Ontario, and I hear about this. What can I generally expect I might get in one of these citizens' committees?

Mr Cleary: They would be representative of the local groups that are impacted on the activities addressed by the plan.

Mr Conway: Ultimately provided for by --

Mr Cleary: Provided for by the planning manual but specific to the management unit and the plan involved and, I would add, specific to the area.

Mr Conway: So the regional director of MNR makes the final decision as to, within certain rules, who it's going to be and how it's going to work.

Mr Cleary: I think the decision is primarily up to the forest manager, the person responsible for preparation of the plan.

Dr Balsillie: That would more than likely be the district manager, not the regional director.

Mr Cleary: Yes, I meant the district manager.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): Thank you very much for agreeing to come in and answer our questions. Mike Brown and I both really appreciate you coming in; we both requested it. We have a lot of questions, and I just quickly went through answers to the written questions.

In regard to the cost saving or the cost-benefit analysis to the ministry and to the industry -- I appreciate that doing an analysis on the industry is time-consuming. Your answer to Mr Brown on the Carman exercise was that you're going to save a bit on renewal but it might cost a little bit more on the administration of that fund. In the estimates you gave to the minister, I guess, or the province of Ontario, there's a chart on page 39 of the estimates for this year. This estimate was put out in the spring -- but you're right, this act wasn't done hastily -- and it forecasts there's going to be a new sustainability act.

One of the explanations for the expenditure change from 1993 to 1994 of $20 million is "forest renewal transition funding for new Ontario/forest industry business relationship." I assume that's talking about the Carman exercise and not the trust funds, or both?

Dr Balsillie: They're linked. It's the transition from the one system to the other.

Mr Hodgson: There's $20 million here, but at Sault Ste Marie, when we talked about this transition, it was explained two days later that it was going to be $35 million. How do you explain that?

Dr Balsillie: I'll ask Mr Munro if he can come back. He's our expert on this $20 million and the $35 million.

Mr Munro: The $20 million that was referred to as the transition funding is the transition funding in the estimates and is the money that's used in the current fiscal year. The transition of the old to the new is a five-year transition period, so -- I don't have all of the figures in front of me -- it grows through time until the grand total of five years is $95 million. The first year is $20 million, as in the estimates, and that's what this year's allocation is, and then next year I believe it's $10 million, and then it goes on from there to add up to the grand total.

Mr Hodgson: Does this money go towards the trust funds? This is the transition? In Sault Ste Marie the ministry staff gave us -- it's in Hansard, but just to use rough figures, and don't quote me on it, don't hold me accountable to it -- $60 million for the renewal fund, $6 million for the futures trust fund, and $14 million for the area charges. Yet the minister announced at the press conference in Toronto that there was going to be roughly $100 million in the trust funds, and the ministry staff said, yes, there would be $100 million. Two days later we had a clarification where that money was coming from. The additional $35 million, I believe it was, was going to top it up so this year there would be $100 million in the trust funds.

I can pull it out of the Hansard if you want. You'd remember, David, that that was asked at Sault Ste Marie. I assumed the money that was going to come out of that would be what was in the estimates for this year's expenditure, or where did those numbers come from?

Mr Munro: The money that's available in the current fiscal year will be the $60 million, which is the FMA contribution to the forest renewal fund, and it will take two forms. It'll be either in the trust fund for those who have signed on, or in a special-purpose account for those who have not yet signed on, as David said in his remarks. Add $20 million, which is the transition fund, so that's $80 million, and there'll be $6 million in the forestry futures trust fund.

Mr Hodgson: But we're told it's going to be $100 million. I've got $86 million now.

Mr Munro: Yes. I don't know where that other comes from, other than the core silviculture program of this ministry --

Mr Hodgson: So we're going to take it out of that?

Mr Munro: There's $68 million in our estimates that is core. It is our current silvicultural program which funds the silviculture on the crown units, so when you add that in you're over the $100 million.

Mr Hodgson: That's a lot of ministry staff, though. Is that going to be used out of the renewal fund?

Mr Munro: That money doesn't go into the renewal fund. And then April 1, 1995, you get a new addition to the renewal fund -- I have to keep my terminology straight -- from the non-FMA component of the licensees.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. I'm sure that when I look at the Hansard I'll be able to figure it out. I'm still confused about where you're going to get the $100 million. You're going to take the whole budget of the silviculture, then, and put it toward the renewal trust fund for this year?

Mr Munro: No, I didn't mean to imply that, because that money will not actually be transferred to the renewal fund per se but it will be used for renewal.

Mr Hodgson: But there was $35 million that came out of a special-purpose body that was announced two days after we opened the hearings. I'm sorry, I'll get that for you. It's in the Hansard. David, you'd remember when that was done. It was two days later. Anyway, that's enough. I have other questions I'd like to move on to.

Back to the estimates book. It's mentioned at that time that you'll have "the ability to license and price a wider range of forest resource values," and later on in the estimates book you talk about how you're going to "develop methodologies for quantifying the value of various forest resource commodities." I wonder if you've made any progress on that and what kind of dollars we're talking about. We're talking about those other resource values being non-timber resource values, I would believe. What do you have in mind? This act clearly allows it and that's what was laid out in the estimates.

Dr Balsillie: There are two things in terms of what is listed there.

One is that we would have a better handle on the costs of production in the various sectors that we were talking to Mr Brown about. We would have a much better handle on what an individual sector would do in terms of its costs of production and what its profitability would be and what its ultimate sales would be, so we would have much better information to go on in terms of applying the residual value model. That's one part of it.

The second part of it is something we call the forest values project, part of our sustainable forestry program that started in 1991, and it's been going hand in hand with the timber production policy at looking at: What are the values of some of the other forest commodities? How do you measure them, and then how do you take into account that value in terms of applying some sort of rent or crown charge? At the hearings, for instance, it was suggested by a certain lumber company that maybe tourism operators should pay a crown rent, and you heard the NOTOA representative indicate that maybe they'd be willing to look at that. That's another forest value.


Mr Hodgson: Have we moved along that line? Do we have anything ready for the public on that?

Dr Balsillie: We've had two workshops already on forest values and we're working on having a third and getting our next discussion paper out, and we're working on moving that whole question of forest values along. If you talked to Mr McDermott, he would say the forest had an intrinsic value just because it was there and possibly that nothing should be done in certain places.

Mr Hodgson: On the same page in the estimates, it says, "based on the direction set by the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests providing options for timber production, including costs and benefits for consideration by cabinet." That's why I asked for the costs and benefits. I thought maybe you'd already had one prepared for cabinet.

Dr Balsillie: The sustainable forestry program has to return to cabinet in November of this year based on a commitment we made in late 1990, early 1991, for that whole program, so we'll be coming back to cabinet with the total amount of information we have by November of this year.

Mr Hodgson: I've got a couple more questions. One is that up in Sault Ste Marie, David, you mentioned this in a prepared brief you read for us, in section (g), near the end of your comments. You wouldn't have it in front of you, so I'll just read it. You're referring to this act, what it will do:

"There will be an enabling clause for compensation in dealing with specific cases of allocation reduction or for loss of past capital investments such as roadbuilding and mill construction."

I might have missed it, but I can't find in the act per se where there's a clause that talks about compensation for allocation reduction in terms of roadbuilding, capital investment. If it's there, I've missed it and it's just my fault.

Dr Balsillie: I'll have to ask Stuart Davidson, legal counsel to the Ministry of Natural Resources on the act.

Mr Stuart Davidson: In terms of your question, if there are to be compensation clauses included, they will be in the terms and conditions of the forest sustainability license, just as it's covered now under the forest management agreements.

Mr Hodgson: I can appreciate that, but it says, "There will be an enabling clause for compensation." Is there a clause that specifically enables that type of compensation?

Mr Davidson: Subsection 23(1).

Mr Hodgson: It's a continuation? It's not envisioned as new? Not for the future; that's for past agreements that have already been entered into.

Mr Davidson: But should we enter into similar arrangements in the future, it would be equally possible.

Mr Hodgson: That's good.

The last question I have regards the amendments of the government. It's right in the first section, and you've talked about it with Mr Brown. We've got the definition of "sustainability" being "long-term forest health," then we've got "Determination." When it goes to "Principles" -- this is subsection 1.1(3) of the amendment -- you don't mention or take into account what's mentioned in the purpose and in a lot of the hype around this bill, that it's going to do sustainability two ways.

You mention the ecosystem and the "silvicultural requirements, emulate natural disturbances and landscape patterns" etc. But the second side of sustainability was going to be sustainable communities across the province; you were going to sustain the industries that are presently there. That's mentioned in the purposes of the act and it's in the press releases. I'm just wondering why you wouldn't have a subsection 1.1(3)3 that talks about the sustainability or economic viability of the communities that are dependent on the forest.

Dr Balsillie: First of all, it is in the preamble etc, and in the new section we've added with the principles it does say, "minimizing adverse effects on plant life, animal life, water, soil, air, and social and economic values."

Mr Hodgson: Minimizing the effects, but it was stated in a positive sense that it would enhance or maintain the economic viability of these communities. It's not that you'll have regard to and not destroy it, but that you're going to sustain it.

Dr Balsillie: I'll take your point on that.

Mr Hodgson: Okay. Moving on: The ministry's going to have to implement this policy when it becomes law. Under the old Crown Timber Act, you always had this idea that the crown gets its dues. There's been a committee set up since 1891 called a board of examiners; that was always in the act and now it's outside of the act. The scaling audit procedure I feel should be in the act and then it's not just in policy that can be changed. That means you can audit and it's quantifiable and it's regular throughout the province and it's using accounting principles.

Just a general question: Under the old Crown Timber Act, if you wanted to change the first licensee's rights to the timber on a crown management area or crown unit, you would have needed the first licensee's permission to prove there is a surplus or you'd have to negotiate with them.

Dr Balsillie: Yes.

Mr Hodgson: Under this new act, technically, would you need that or can you just say, "We deem there to be a surplus and therefore we can announce new projects without this consultation and quantifiable proof."

Dr Balsillie: I'll ask for some backup in a moment, but it's my understanding that the minister could, following discussion with -- what's envisaged in the implementation is a discussion with the prime licensee rather than unilaterally going in and swiping the timber. There's a process envisaged of having discussion with the company concerning the excess timber. I don't know, Ken, whether you want to come forward and talk to this for a moment. They are still the prime licensee and they're still active on the crown land.

Mr Hodgson: I realize it's envisioned, but is it required that they agree that there's a surplus on this land under this new act?

Mr Cleary: The surplus would be determined largely as a result of the planning process and the statement of the licensee's requirements in the plan, so I guess there would have to be a general agreement in terms of the amount of the surplus.

Mr Hodgson: But under the Crown Timber Act, isn't that necessary, that you prove there's a surplus before you can change the primary licence holder's rights to that timber?

Mr Cleary: Not specifically in the act itself.

Mr Hodgson: But you've got an agreement. Under this new act, even under section 23, when you bring it in, the minister can still supersede that, can he not?

Mr Cleary: The act is structured such that we would hope, in most if not all cases, that there wouldn't be an agreement between, if I can use the term, the prime licensee and the third-party licensee. What the act provides for is that if that agreement is not reached and the supply of timber is essential to the third party to meet his needs, the minister has the authority to impose arbitration. The structure of the act is such that ultimate agreement, be it cooperatively or through arbitration, is an essential requirement prior to the licence being issued.


Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): The new amendment has come in for a definition of "sustainability." As you know, there was much criticism from all sides. I take it you've run the amendment you've put forward by the Ontario Forest Industry Association. Do they now agree with your definition?

Mr Cleary: We met with them this morning. I'm not sure whether I could categorize the discussion. We didn't spend a lot of time on the definition per se. I think they are satisfied that there is now a definition in the act, yes.

Mr Carr: But do they agree with your definition? I know they wanted a definition in the act but, as you know, what came out of the discussions was the fact that it was difficult to get a definition. That's why I said we couldn't get it. Do they agree with it now?

Mr Cleary: I'm not sure I would want to categorize the discussion. We simply touched on this topic. They indicated some satisfaction that the definition was there.

Mr Carr: Whose definition is it?

Mr Cleary: That's a definition that the Ministry of Natural Resources prepared.

Mr Carr: No group came forward? There were numerous groups, whether we talk about natives or environmental groups. There wasn't a consensus on it, so the ministry has taken its definition and implemented it and it's the ministry's definition, as opposed to any of the groups that came forward.

Mr Cleary: We've looked at a number of documents, we've looked at a number of the definitions put forward by various groups. It's as good a definition as we think we can come up with.

Mr Carr: Would you categorize this definition as a consensus among all these groups? That was one of the big things. We said we couldn't get one there would be a consensus on. Do you believe there's now a consensus on this definition of "sustainability"?

Mr Cleary: My sense is that there would be a broad consensus around the definition.

Mr Carr: Even though the Ontario Forest Industries Association doesn't agree with it, you still think there's a consensus out there?

Mr Cleary: I'm not sure I said they didn't agree with it.

Mr Carr: You answered it worse than a politician; you didn't really say.

Mr Cleary: But I can't.

Mr Carr: Yes or no, do they agree with it? That's all I'm asking. If I go and ask them, they're going to tell me. Yes or no, do they agree with your definition?

Mr Cleary: They didn't say. We touched on the subject. They indicated general acceptance. I believe their words were, "We're pleased to see it's now addressed in the act."

Mr Carr: I know everybody wanted a definition.

Mr Hodgson: I have one quick question to do with this idea of scaling, proposing that there be a fifth manual, that the ministry's own Scaling Audit Reference Manual be put in the act so it can't be just changed as a policy, that it's in the manuals section as a fifth manual. It gets confusing when you go through the act and you see the word "counts" and things like that if you're talking about forest resources other than trees. Would it not make it simpler if we defined "forest resource" as a tree and then had other ecosystem resources that the Scaling Manual wouldn't apply to? Do you understand where I'm coming from on the confusion on that?

Dr Balsillie: I understand. Under the definition of "forest resource" as it exists, the Scaling Manual applies. If we were to address, as a result of the values exercise, something else, that would be put in as another part of the forest resource and the measurement techniques would then be addressed. That would be new information, new material, new manuals.

Mr Hodgson: So the word "counts" should be out of there. Throughout the act it's referring to the scaling. Otherwise, you're getting away from the scaling.

Mr Cleary: There are measurement techniques now used with timber where trees are counted.

Mr Hodgson: That's part of the sampling, but it's not part of the scaling.

Mr Cleary: It's part of the scaling procedure.

Mr Hodgson: If the crown wants to get its actual dues, it's more of a guess. Do you agree that having a fifth manual called the Scaling Audit Reference Manual -- that wouldn't be any big problem, would it, to include that as a manual? It already exists in the ministry. It's the ministry's own document.

Mr Cleary: Yes, and that's incorporated in the Scaling Manual as defined --

Mr Hodgson: Yes, but it's only got two paragraphs, and I'd like to see it be a separate manual to stand alone by itself. The ministry already follows it as a policy. I can't see it doing any harm having it as a manual. Do you agree with that? That's all I'm asking. Would it create a nightmare?

Mr Cleary: It is incorporated in the Scaling Manual.

Mr Hodgson: The actual audit reference manual itself is referred to in the Scaling Manual in two paragraphs, but it's outlined as a policy and it wouldn't be in the regulations. What I'm saying is that if it were a fifth manual, it would have the force of law and would have to be changed accordingly, not just a policy that could shift and nobody would know about it.

Mr Cleary: You're asking my opinion?

Mr Hodgson: Yes.

Mr Cleary: I don't think it's necessary, no.

Mr Hodgson: Would it do any harm, can you see, from an operations point of view if you included it?

Mr Cleary: Not from an operations point, no.

Mr Hodgson: It wouldn't cost more money or require more manpower because you already follow it, basically.

Mr Cleary: Yes.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

We'll now proceed to clause-by-clause.

Mr Hodgson: Mr Chair, can I move that we adjourn until tomorrow morning, given the fact that the Liberal amendments and my follow-up amendments and the Liberal follow-up amendments have just been received today? It's complicated, and the first section of the bill is very important to this whole act. If I could be given more time, if the committee could recess until tomorrow morning, I'd like to move that.

The Acting Chair: Do we all agree?

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): Mr Chair, if I might, I understand Mr Hodgson's dilemma, but if there's some section he feels he can't talk about today, that he needs extra time for, maybe we could set that aside. But we have a limited amount of time and I would suggest that we get on with the job at hand and start clause-by-clause. If there's any particular section, I think we'd be willing to discuss setting it aside until tomorrow if need be, but I think we should get on with the job at hand. That would be my recommendation.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I had a discussion with Chris earlier. There is no amendment from the Conservative caucus on the first section. If there is no problem, we could proceed with the first section, and then if we run into difficulty, I think we should go back to Chris's motion and say yes, let's take some time to go forward with some of the other ones so we're giving them all fair consideration.

Mr Hodgson: I agree. It's just on section 2.1. The first motion I have is that the forest management plan be called the forest resource management plan. That's just a general one.

Mr Wood: So we have a Liberal motion and then we have a government motion.

Mr Hodgson: Yes. It's the Liberal one I wanted time to study. I'm serious. That's a pretty big motion.

Mr Brown: I would like to support Mr Hodgson's motion, but in lieu of that, Mr Chair, if we could have 10 or 15 minutes while we organize these amendments into our binders so we have some understanding of where we're going, that would be helpful to the opposition.

The Acting Chair: Would you like to withdraw your motion, Mr Hodgson?

Mr Hodgson: I'll withdraw it, yes.

The Acting Chair: We'll proceed with Mr Brown's motion. Any objection? So we'll recess until 20 minutes to 4. That gives you 20 minutes, ample time.

The committee recessed from 1520 to 1542.

The Acting Chair: We're ready to start.

Mr Brown: I move that section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"1. The purposes of this act are to provide for the sustainability of crown forests and, in accordance with that objective, to manage crown forests using the following principles:

"1. Maintaining ecological processes is essential for the functioning of the biosphere and biological diversity must be conserved in the use of forest ecosystems.

"2. Large, healthy, diverse and productive forest ecosystems are essential to the environmental, social and cultural wellbeing of Ontario, now and in the future.

"3. Forest practices, including all methods of harvesting, must emulate, within the bounds of silvicultural requirements, natural disturbances and landscape patterns.

"4. Forest ecosystem types should not be candidates for harvest if harvesting would threaten or jeopardize their long-term health and vigour.

"5. Forest practices must minimize adverse effects on plant life, animal life, water, soil, air, and social and economic values, including recreational values and heritage values."

Through the three weeks of public hearings we heard from many groups that this act desperately needed a definition of "sustainability," that after all, sustainability is in the title of the act. There were a few groups that went so far as to allege that the title of the act was a fraud, that it was hypocritical, and a number of other concerns.

But it seemed to be a consensus across the board that sustainability needed to be defined. The groups offered various definitions of "sustainability." The one I'm putting forward today is the government's own definition of "sustainability" that came from the Diversity report. It seems to us that in the absence of a widely held consensus on what sustainability actually is, the Diversity report showed the largest consensus group among the various presenters.

I think there is much merit in this definition, although I will tell you that we are not totally comfortable with this definition. But it is, in our view, the best one that was presented to the committee.

I would also tell you that in putting forward this particular definition, we intend to be voting against section 4, which exempts the provincial parks from this definition of sustainability.

We have to remember that this is not the Crown Timber Act, although it looks like it's the Crown Timber Act. Various groups have said this is the Crown Timber Act, and I concur with them. There is no real way of determining whether sustainability for crown forests is really going to take place after this act. In fact, there's much evidence that would indicate the contrary.

I therefore think it's important that we look at crown forests not just in terms of timbering activities but in terms of all the values and all the activities that happen in Ontario's forests. This definition, I believe, covers that better than any of the others. Therefore, we're putting this forward, and we would certainly like to hear the comments of other members regarding what I think is the basic premise of this entire act.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I was reading the motion brought forward by the Liberal opposition. I think if you read the government motion that was brought forward as section 1.1, it basically encapsulates what is being said there. The only difficulty I have is that what you're trying to do here is put that right in the purview of the act entirely, which I think is something we need to be careful of. We have to allow the best technologies to move forward with time, and our understanding of the forest and our ability to deal with that to be a lot clearer.

I was looking at paragraph 4 and recognized where this comes from, where you're taking it from. But what does "Forest ecosystem types should not be candidates for harvest" mean? That's pretty wide. I'd be a little nervous about that.

Mr Brown: The member may have a point. I'm not going to debate that, other than that it does continue "if harvesting would threaten or jeopardize their long-term health and vigour."

Part of the problem with dealing with this act is that so far no one has defined to my satisfaction what a forest is. I don't even know how many forests Ontario has. I would be pleased to find that out at some point. I would have no idea how many ecosystems exist in this province. I don't have any idea, and I'm hoping someone can help me along this route to knowing how we can deal in this ecosystem framework about which forests can be harvested. If we shouldn't harvest a forest, and that's what 4 says, "if it jeopardizes long-term health and vigour," maybe we shouldn't be. Maybe it should be a park or some other designation that would protect it. I don't particularly see why this is problematic.

Mr Bisson: Basically, we heard from all the presenters on the question of sustainability, and I think we heard a split. Everybody agrees there has to be some kind of definition -- after all, that's what the act is all about -- but there seems to be some reservations about putting everything into the act itself.

I see doing it the way you suggest as basically freezing it in time, and putting it into the act might be a little bit problematic over the long term. But I think the amendment we have as section 1.1, the government motion, tries to build a hybrid between the two: to build comfort for certain individuals by having in the act a definition we all can understand and we all can work towards, but not limiting ourselves to the point of not being able to move along with the best new technologies of the day, because a definition of "sustainability" today and one 20 years from now might be a little different, given the technologies and given our understanding. I would ask you to take a look at the government motion. I think it does what you're looking for, but in a much more prudent way.


Mr Brown: I don't see this definition as being that restrictive. I am still trying to wonder how this could cause any difficulty to new technologies, to new understandings of how the ecosystems work. I don't really see that this is a very restrictive definition; if anything, maybe the problem with it is that it isn't specific enough, because from the definition must flow the specifics, the goals: What are we trying to achieve here? As you apply this definition in the more specific cases, you might be right. But the specifics aren't here; this is a pretty broad definition, and it's one the cabinet of this government approved.

Mr Wood: As we heard over the whole three weeks, different people were trying to give an interpretation of sustainability and whether it should be in the act or should be in the regulations or should be in the manual. We feel we have appropriately addressed it by coming in with a new section, section 1.1, which would be more useful as principles to be used in the determination of sustainability in the Forest Management Planning Manual.

The go-round we've had in dealing with what the Liberal caucus has brought forward is that the wording might be very difficult to apply in a legal sense. Yes, we have to deal with sustainability, and our preference is to go with a new section 1.1, the government motion; as they're numbered in the clerk's book, it would be motion number 2. We feel that would address the concerns that were brought forward throughout the public hearings and reflect the advice we've had from some very professional foresters who have given some very good advice.

Mr Brown: I think it's most important that the definition appear in the act, that there actually is a definition that relates to the title of the act. If the government cannot accept the definition that I understand has been approved by cabinet, that's come out of the Diversity report, that has had a broad consensus -- I'm having a little difficulty understanding the approach that the government cannot accept its own recommendations, cannot define a word that is the main word in the title of this bill. If that has to happen by putting it off into a manual that could be changed virtually any time, then I'm confused.

I have had a problem all the way through trying to understand the absolute arrogance -- that's probably the right word -- that future generations might find when they read this title 40 years from now and say, "These guys knew what sustainability was?" It seems to me we're maybe a little presumptuous even using that title, but if you're prepared to use the title, you'd better be prepared to use a definition that's in the act.

The definition should not be relegated to regulation or to manuals. It should be in the act. If you are worried that that encumbers your ability to deal with the issues the act deals with, you'd better change the name of the act. We've said all along that this looks far more like the Crown Timber Act, revised, maybe new and improved, maybe new and worse, whatever characterization you want to put on it, but this is the Crown Timber Act.

If you want to make it a crown sustainability act, I think at the very minimum you have to include a definition. If you don't like the definition we have, you should put one that will be in the act, not in the regulations, not in the manual, but in the act so we have an objective, some goals we can measure the various provisions of the act against. If we don't have those, it seems to me that the act is, as some of the groups have said, a fraud.

Mr Hodgson: I'd like to speak to this motion. If we're going to have a definition of "sustainability" to be consistent with the title of the act, probably the one to use is the one in the Diversity report, that went to public consultation and also was approved by cabinet. There should be definitions and it should be measurable, but there are two issues I'd like to speak on.

First, a definition should speak to both aspects of sustainability that are being sold to the public, that is, that the forest as an ecosystem is being sustained, but also the economic sustainability of the communities and the jobs related to the forest industry. That's been clearly put on the table as one of the objectives of this act: to sustain the economic wellbeing of the people and the families that rely on the forest industry as a whole, and that's not just the timber component of it.

The second issue we should be careful about when we define this act is its relationship to section 52; that has to do with the remedies and enforcement. What we're saying to people is that if you want to operate on the crown forests you have to follow the rules, and if you step out of line there will be remedies and enforcement, there will be fines. But we're not defining in a quantifiable way what the line is. When you try to put in a definition that only takes into account half of what it's supposed to mean, it's not measurable.

I'd rather see the act become a sort of umbrella legislation where, over time, if you put in a definition and find a definition that's agreeable -- maybe the one from Diversity that's been approved by the cabinet -- you then have to redefine what "forest resource" is. The one that's quantifiable and can be measured or audited is "forest resource" as timber. And as your science and information about inventory progresses, the act would allow for other areas to be defined and measured, for instance, moose habitat or other ecosystems, and they all have to be consistent.

Also, if you take away the working area, the productive area, of a licensee, there must be compensation allowed, which is allowable under this act.

But I'd be careful about putting a definition in that can't be measured and then basing your damages -- under section 52 it says, "damage that impairs or is likely to impair the sustainability of the crown forest." You're basing your fines on the definition, but if your definition isn't quantifiable -- that's why I didn't put an amendment here, unless you get a change in the definition of "forest resource." Make it specific to a tree, and if your science develops to the point where you can sustain the ecosystem of the moose habitat, put it in and say: "These are our objectives. This can be measured."

If you say damage to an ecosystem in the forest -- if you're working in the forest, every time you start up a bulldozer or a skidder, you're going to damage something. If you drive over some moss, you've damaged an ecosystem. Does that mean you're going to shut down that industry? I don't think so. So how does the staff make this work on the ground? It has to have the flexibility of the manuals so it's not a cookbook approach.

If you're going to put this amendment in, you have to make a whole series of changes and treat this legislation as an umbrella, with most of the sections just dealing with the timber. As we progress, we will add other ecosystems as we get information and knowledge on how to coordinate those activities.

Mr Bisson: "Forest resource" defined just as timber I think would be a problem, because we've recognized for years that there's more to the forest than just timber and that's part of what we're trying to -- but that's for another discussion.

In regard to Mr Brown, maybe I can point out something that might be of some help. He and I are both from the same part of the province, in the north, and we understand just how important the forest is to our communities' economic wellbeing as well as the aesthetic part of nature. I understand where you're coming from when you put forward your amendment the way you do. I don't see it as being frivolous and I don't see it as being mean-spirited or anything else.

I want to point out that, yes, we have to define within the act, to a certain extent, what sustainability does. If you look at the government motion as per section 1.1, that's basically what we're doing. We're saying, "Here's what sustainability means -- long-term forest health -- and here is how we determine that, here are the principles by which you will determine it."

The problem I see -- I've had this discussion not only with people within MNR, but last week I went back and talked to people, probably as you did and as other members did, who work in the industry. There's some concern, I would say, after having met with a number of different people in the forest resource management business, that if you try to make it ironclad in the act, we're really leading ourselves into a problem because we're not going to be able to move along with technology. If technology or our understanding of that technology changes, as it has over the last 10 or 15 years, we're going to stymie ourselves, to a certain extent, with the act.


What we want to do is make this a living document, just as the forest is. We need to have a document and we need to have an act that defines what "sustainability" is but gives us the ability, through the determinations of the regulations and manuals, to move that along according to the best-known technologies.

From all the discussions I've had with industry people, people in forest resource management facilities, people in silvicultural practices, greenhouses, harvesting people, people who own and run mills, they seem to be fairly in agreement: "If you're going to do it, don't lock us in in the act," is what they're telling me. A few of them have spoken directly to the particular section you have there that was found within the document you referred to, and there's some fear that that's what would happen, that it would really stymie us.

I think what we need to do is make sure that the act reflects the forest, that the act reflects the availability of the knowledge we have to both harvest cautiously and manage our silviculture in a way that's in keeping with the forest, our best-known technology, our economic, social etc. I would hope you would support the other motion rather than going that way. I think that's really limiting us -- not limiting us, but really cornering us more than we need to be.

Mr Wood: The feeling on our side, as Gilles Bisson has said, is that the definition of the act is clearly spelled out in the motion that the government has brought forward. It allows for determinations of sustainability in the manuals, adaptable over time. It clearly defines a definition in the act and provides concise principles that draw on the five points.

There's no doubt about it, the five principles in the Liberal motion were based on our broad consultation throughout the province, with over 3,000 people, to come up with that wording. But the message we're getting is that we can define "sustainability," which we've done, that "`sustainability' means long-term forest health," and then we have the determination and then we have the principles, so we've gone one step further. In addition, we are not eliminating any part that is in part I of the act, as proposed in Bill 171; we're saying we should add to it with section 1.1 and go on to give it stronger language and not necessarily try to weaken it.

I'm hoping we're able to give the argument that, yes, the five principles you have there are something, but by eliminating the other part, the purposes -- our government motion would leave that in and would also cover your five principles in addition to defining it, along with the determination and principles, without having to put it into a hundred pages. We had some people who came forward and said, "You could write and write and write to explain sustainability." We've tried to condense it as short as possible and do what the people asked us to do during the public hearings.

Mr Carr: One of the problems we've got is that people came forward on this bill and said we needed a definition but couldn't give us one. We'd ask specifically, "What would you do?" and they'd say: "You figure it out. There's been a number of definitions. You pick." Ultimately what happened is that the ministry had to pick the definition. I don't think if we wait three years we're going to get a definition everybody could agree to. The choice is between the two definitions, and I guess we're going to get the government motion because they'll probably win that one, but I could support the Liberal motion as well.

The difficulty we've got in reaching a consensus on this is that everybody agreed it's important but we're never going to come up with an agreement. We can even dicker. As I look at the Liberals' -- and as you know, I'm a newcomer to this -- there are some things I would change. It's almost like putting a constitution together: Once you change one word, somebody else doesn't like it, and then the other group doesn't like it.

So I recognize the difficulty the government had in doing this. I guess what has to happen at the end of the day is that they finally have to make a decision and take everything into account. I asked the question on numerous occasions, "Do you think we can get a consensus?" and people said: "Yes, we can. There should be a consensus. There's been enough in the number of documents." But I don't know if we could, because, as you know, numerous documents came out where one particular group didn't support it. We didn't have one that was unanimous for all groups.

I do have some difficulties with the Liberal motion, without going too much into the specifics, but I certainly can support it. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I suspect that all the groups are going to have some difficulties with some portion of it, including the one that eventually will be the final one, which I guess will be the government motion. I will be voting in favour of this Liberal amendment.

Mr Hodgson: I think there should be an addition to either the Liberal motion or the government side's so it's consistent with the purposes set out at the start. "The purposes of this act are to provide for the sustainability of crown forests and, in accordance with that objective, to manage crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations." The only mention of the economics in this definition of "sustainability" is that we minimize adverse affects. This bill is supposed to be very positive and promote economic sustainability, and either definition should have some mention of that in it.

You're also, I think, opening up a can of worms without a land use plan, either in place or to be developed. I realize it takes a lot of gnashing and a lot of work, but that's essential if you're going to have a bill that will have measurable objectives in the future.

Mr Brown: I take what Mr Hodgson says to be very important. There is no direct mention of the economics in this definition, although I find it difficult to understand how we could have sustainable economics if we don't have a sustainable environment. I think that's impossible. In the short term you could do that, but certainly in the long term that would not be possible. It could be that somebody, to keep a community alive, might do something that was bad for the environment and everybody might think that's all right. I don't think so.

That's why this definition doesn't relate to the communities. I would be glad if Mr Hodgson would like to make a friendly amendment to include his concerns about communities and the social fabric of much of northern Ontario, and even Mr Hodgson's part of Ontario, for that matter.

The crux of this matter is that we have a bill called forest sustainability. The government has commissioned a group that went out, through the Diversity report, and defined sustainability. This is their definition. I understand that cabinet approved this definition. Am I incorrect?

The fact is, if you don't adopt a definition of "sustainability," this or another one, I think you have no choice but to take "sustainability" out of the title of this bill. This is not the approach our party would have taken to the whole concept, but this is the approach you've chosen.


Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): What is the approach your party would take?

Mr Brown: We'll get to that later, Mr Mammoliti, but right at the moment we're here.


The Acting Chair: If you want to have the floor, I'll take your name.

Mr Brown: The point is simply that you have chosen to call this a forest sustainability bill. If you can't use a definition of "sustainability" as part of the act, if you believe sustainability is somehow negotiable over time, that you can change it over time -- these are broad principles here. This isn't tying anybody to any particular technology. This is not limiting the understanding of ecosystems. This is not limiting our understanding of forests. It is not doing any of those. I don't understand how this limits anything at all, and I guess the cabinet didn't understand how it was limiting anything at all. Therefore, you chose as a government to put forward this definition, and you put out a bill with a lot of hype, that a lot of people have great hopes for, called "forest sustainability," but then you can't define "sustainability," other than in a mechanism that can be changed at the whim of a succeeding government or a succeeding minister through changes in the regulations and manuals.

I find it totally incomprehensible. If somebody on the other side could give me one tangible example of how this definition may in the future limit what might happen, I'm all ears.

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to travel around, but I wish to make comments because the fine work legislative research does gives us an analysis of what people have said through the process. In the context of that information, listening to the comments that have been made by the opposition, I'm sitting here trying to understand, what would be the direction? Should it be in a definition or our principles?

I believe the principles are a very important part. The definition and principles in the government motion clearly define the communities and people's lives, which we are talking about. It clearly reflects that and allows them the opportunity, in the manual, to look at a more perspective way of dealing with business.

One of the problems with legislation is that if it doesn't change quickly enough as times change, the effects are more rapid to a job or to a job site or whatever it might be. But under a policy or a manual, as long as the principles are held of what the direction is -- and we all know that some of our principles may change. That's why it's important that principles be defined in the legislation and the direction in which we wish to achieve them will be there.

I see Mr Brown clapping his hands. Mr Brown's motion is dealing with the definition, but the principles established under the government motion are more reflective of what I read. I'm only reading -- I never heard all the jargon that was put forward by the groups -- but what I read clearly indicates that the government motion is the clearest direction in which to go, which allows opportunity for individuals to be part of the process. I just heard the comment made by Mr Carr that nobody could really give us a true definition, and I believe that will still be there tomorrow, but principles and guidelines, objectives of what people are trying to achieve, can be developed in a manual which will allow that community flexibility. I've also read something in here which talks about regional flexibility. Under that, you will be able to allow it.

I'm going to be voting. I compliment legislative research for their work in collecting all that information, because it does allow me to make an informed decision. The informed decision I'll be supporting is the government motion versus the Liberal motion. I believe it's the direction the communities want.

Mr Bisson: Let me see if I can put this a little more clearly for my friend. I know Mr Brown puts this motion forward because he is genuinely concerned about forests.

What we've got in the motion the Liberal Party has brought forward is basically the five principles which were described in the Diversity report. If you take a look at that and you read the government motion, the government motion basically takes all of that and encapsulates it in a more concise form. But what it allows us to do is measure, through the determinations of the manuals and the principles, just how well we're doing against those principles we've enunciated and described in the act. The problem if we were to do it the way you suggest is that you can't do that; you would be leaving it, quite frankly, for the courts to determine that, and I'm not so sure that's what I would want.

What I want in the end, and I think it's also what you want in the end, Mr Brown, as somebody who is concerned about the forest, is to make sure we manage the forests in the best possible way, given the technology we have today and given the ability we have to do the job, because in some cases we may have the technology but certainly don't have the money to do it, or the personnel or whatever. It allows us to manage this with the best-known technology and in the best way we humanly can, and it doesn't set us up that we have to do it in a way that's unreachable. That's the fear I have with the way this is put forward.

Look at what the Diversity report brought forward as five principles by which we're to do this. What we have in the government motion is a definition that says "`Sustainability' means long-term forest health," and I think that basically says it, and the determinations under subsections (2) and (3) set that up so we have a mechanism against which to measure how well we're doing.

It's not because I'm a government member but because I truly believe it's the best way to do it. Talking to people in the forestry industry in my area, around Timmins, I didn't give them the exact definition, I didn't give them these motions because I didn't have them at the time, but that's the gist of what people are telling me to do as their representative. I'd hope you support the government motion.

Mr Wood: We've heard some comments around the table. What we've tried to put in the purpose clause is that we're managing for "social" and "economic" and "environment." "Social" to me means a good way of life for individuals out there in the communities. "Economic" means protecting the jobs that are there and creating new jobs through sustainable forestry, and that is spelled out in the purpose section of the clause.

The principles we feel we have wrapped into our motion should guide the manner in which we will provide forest conditions to meet society's needs. I'll repeat that society's needs could mean the stability of the communities, the economies of the communities, creating jobs, protecting jobs, all of this. It's all spelled out in the purpose clause the way it was originally proposed, and I believe the government motion is putting more teeth into it than what the Liberal motion has, which is basically the five principles or five points that were in the Diversity report. So I will be supporting the government motion as opposed to the Liberal motion.

Mr Brown: I find this conversation interesting. I'm not sure the definition we've presented is the best definition of "sustainability." I will tell you that quite frankly. There may be better ones. But this is the definition that a group of people put together at government direction, that the cabinet approved, and, at least in my mind, is the essence of this bill. I find it a little strange that a Liberal opposition member is making the government's case for it. I'm putting forward the government's definition of "sustainability" on a government bill that says "forest sustainability." It is really somewhat ironic.

If the problem is that we're not quite taking the economics into consideration, maybe I'm agreeable to that. I would ask the parliamentary assistant, therefore, if he would consider using his definition instead of mine, but putting it in the bill, not in the forest manuals.


Mr Wood: We've said very clearly what sustainability means in our motion, and we've gone on to incorporate the five principles the Liberals have brought forward, which is only a small portion of the Diversity report, and we've made it broader. The five principles in the Liberal motion are basically all covered under the government motion. In addition to that, we have the definition spelled out and the determination that it will be covered in the Forest Management Planning Manual. We've gone one step further, as far as I'm concerned.

Mr Mammoliti: I'm just going by memory at this point, but I do remember some questions that were asked of the minister when he was before the committee, and I'm hoping his response might put this debate to rest. The response given when Mr Brown, I think, asked this question of the minister during the hearings up north was that the definition over time has changed and will continue to change, and putting it in the front of the act would make it very difficult at a later stage to change it. Consensus throughout the hearings also proved that everybody is in agreement with that, that 20 years ago the definition was different than it is today.

For that reason, the minister doesn't want it in the act, and he was quite clear about that. To continue this debate I think is just proceeding in a way that of course the minister wouldn't want us to proceed in. He wants it that way and I think he was clear about why, and it was also pretty consistent with deputants in front of the committee.

I'm hoping I'll have the last word in this debate. I guess not.

Mr Carr: One of the problems, and it goes far beyond this issue, is that governments like things flexible and in regulations. Oppositions don't. What we heard -- and it wasn't a criticism of this government -- where there was a bit of consensus, was that people said they wanted it in the legislation because they didn't trust any government, of any political persuasion. When you leave it open, through the manuals, there was some concern.

I go back to many bills that have come through here. I remember the Police Services Act, when Ed Philip, if you ever look back at Hansard, went on in eloquent debate -- I guess that was when there was no time limit -- about putting things in regulations, about how as legislators we should put in whatever we mean. Of course what happens when they become government is that they like to use this term "flexibility," and that things will change.

People recognize that nine months from now this won't be the government of the day, and the people who came forward were continually saying, "It isn't just the NDP we don't trust, it's any government of any political persuasion," and they feel more comfortable with things put in. I don't say that to be confrontational, because I think they were very specific. It wasn't aimed necessarily at this government; they don't trust any government. They said, "Lay it out very clearly," because when we don't do it through legislation, when it isn't public like this, where changes to legislation are brought forward in committees, when it is left through regulations -- I don't say this negatively to the people on staff here, but they are very concerned that it goes through without public consultation and gets done through the bureaucracy, that changes can be made without a lot of public input and the government of the day, regardless of which, can make very, very important changes. The one concern everybody said is, "If you're going to do it, let's lay it out in the act so the government of the day cannot come back easily, without public input, and make any changes that are necessary."

That's the only comment I want to make and to contrast it, because it is exactly what has happened in other bills. It's the principle of, where do you believe most of the authority should rest: with the elected officials, who make the changes through legislation and acts and committee hearings, or do you do it through a lot of regulations?

We pass over 1,000 regulations a year in this province; obviously, it can't all be done through legislation. We've seen how things take so much time when we have to do it through legislation: this process on this bill, the whole summer on the hearings and so on. It is much more difficult to change.

When the people did come forward they said to be very careful when we leave it to regs, as the government motion does, because they do not trust any government to do it properly. That's the concern I have -- and I'm jumping a bit ahead to the government motion -- and one of the reasons it's difficult to do. The reason I'm supporting the Liberal motion, even with the problems that I believe are in the motion and some of the concerns those raise, is that it will be in the legislation. I think that's an important factor to consider.

As we all know, the Liberal motion, because of the majority, will probably be defeated and the government motion will pass. I hope that in the process in accordance with the Forest Management Planning Manual, we will be very careful and that the government, the government in power, will make sure that all these voices are consulted. I can bet right now that both the government motion and the Liberal motion -- let's pick a group, one of the most prominent ones, the Ontario Forest Industries Association. I bet if you asked them, as I said to the gentleman earlier, whether they would support this definition, they'd say no. I bet they'd also say no to the Liberal motion.

I recognize that it's very easy. But as the government motion is going to pass, I would hope that at the end of the day -- and the government has to make the decision regardless of the consensus -- some of the voices and concerns will be heard. To their credit, one of the members from the ministry said he had a meeting today with the Ontario Forest Industries Association, so I presume that process is going on. But I suspect they would not want us to pass the government motion because they are very, very leery of giving the government too much power to make changes so fundamental as the purpose clause without input.

The government is going to give a tremendous amount of power, through the Forest Management Planning Manual, to the next government. Whichever it is, I'm saying be very careful, because I do not believe that's what the vast majority of the people who came before this committee wanted. That's the only point I would like to caution everyone about as we look at these two purpose clauses.

Mr Brown: I think it would be good for people to think back about what happened over those three weeks of public hearings. I think we will recall there was virtually -- well, I suppose there was the odd group that came before us that wasn't concerned about defining "sustainability," but there weren't many. Most of them felt, whether you were in the forest industry, whether you were a lumberman, whether you were one of the many conservation or environmental groups, that there was a need for a definition and that the definition needed to be part of the act. That is what we're arguing about.

The point I am trying to make today is that we're offering an amendment which makes the principles part of the act. The government alternative is to make it part of the policy planning documents, quite a different thing, particularly when you have the gall to define the act as forest sustainability. I would think, as many others would think, that if you're going to call the act that, you'd better have some idea of what it is and you'd better have some certainty of what that definition will be, not only today but in the future.


As I remember the hearings, one of the presentation came from the professional foresters. Ken Armson came before us and talked about the certification of "sustainable forest management." He talked about the Canadian Standards Association working to come up with a standard that would be available in July 1995. This standard has goals, this standard has guidelines, this standard has specifications so people know whether it's sustainable or not, and the CSA will be approving Ontario's products, hopefully, as it will products from all across Canada, from Ontario's and Canada's forests, on the basis that they come from sustainable forests. They will have that definition. They will have those specifications. They will have all of those things by July 1995.

If the government cannot believe or have confidence that it itself has a definition of "sustainability" that will meet the CSA standards, I'm bewildered. I don't understand what we're sitting here talking about. Mr Hampton has over and over again said that one of the big reasons for this bill is so that we can tell the world that Ontario's forest products come from sustainable forests. "I, however," says Mr Hampton, "can't define sustainable forests. I'm unwilling to do that in the act. I might do it in some way where I can change it if I so choose, but I'm unwilling to define the objectives, the goals, the specifications in this act."

All I'm saying is, let us put a definition in. If this isn't the one, if the cabinet-approved definition is not the one, let's have another one. I'm not wedded to this particular definition, but there must be one in the act or you're going to have to change the title of the act. There is no possible way that anybody can approach it any other way.

We've heard from the forest industry, and one of the things I was kind of intrigued about when we heard from the forest industry association was that they talked about the pursuit of excellence, something we've been talking about for a long time. When the minister was in Fort Frances, I told him I was disappointed that they weren't talking about excellence. Ontario has always been at the leading edge of economic excellence, environmental excellence, and we should always strive to be there. That is a goal in and of itself. Yet we have a minister and a government that are unwilling to put forward a definition they'll stand behind. They're unwilling to put their money where their mouth is. They will not back up the title of the bill with a section in the act, and that's what the real quibble here is.

As I said, I am more concerned that we have a workable definition in the act, workable principles in the act, not in some manual somewhere -- in the act. If you can't do that, the government should withdraw not only its amendments but I think it should withdraw its bill.

Mr Mammoliti: I think Mr Brown is being somewhat repetitive on a number of points.

Mr Brown: Who, me?

Mr Mammoliti: You brought up some new arguments, Mike, the last time. I think you've made your position quite clear, that you want it in the act. You went one step further and said, "If it's not in the act, we want the government to withdraw the bill." The government is not prepared to do that. The government has made it quite clear and the minister has made it quite clear that we believe it might be in the best interests of everybody if it's not in the act. We've been pretty clear in saying that.

We're at odds here and we're at the point where it's almost time to vote. I would just say, let's agree to disagree and vote on it. If we're wrong, Mike, maybe later on you'll say, "I told you so." But at this point we disagree, and let's just agree to disagree.

Mr Wood: I don't want to prolong the debate on this too much longer, but looking at what we've brought forward in comparison to the Liberal motion, they're saying to change the purpose and just take the five principles out of a document. We're saying we are willing to have a purpose clause, we're willing to have the definitions, and we've also spelled out the principles. In addition to that, we're saying the determinations are going to be in the manuals, rather than just taking five principles out of a document that, there's no doubt about it, was approved by cabinet but doesn't necessarily do the job.

Without getting into repeating myself, our feeling is that it covers it a lot better than the five principles the Liberal motion proposes to substitute for the purpose section that was in there.

Mr Hodgson: I have a friendly amendment to the Liberal motion, if I may be allowed.

The Acting Chair: It's a subamendment to the amendment.

Mr Hodgson: I move that the Liberal motion dealing with section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following paragraph:

"6. The health of the crown forests is vital to the social and economic needs of many communities in Ontario."

This is consistent with the purposes set out in the act and the press releases around the act. I feel it would set in motion some type of land use plan for the province of Ontario that wouldn't be a cookbook approach. It would force the continuation of what's already happening throughout the province, but it might speed it up, to actually identify forest land base that would be productive for industrial forest lands and wild areas. As technology and information expands in the next 20 to 30 years, it would mean there would be compensation given for capital investment, which, as was mentioned by the ministry staff today, is envisioned under section 23 of this act, and that would be forests. You have to take into account what this bill is selling, that is, economic sustainability to meet the present and future needs of the communities in Ontario.

That's not as complicated as it sounds. It takes into account what Mr Bisson has mentioned, about how we must allow for future knowledge and future information and future data collection to play an integral part in the sustainability of our forests and the ecosystem as a whole.

Mr Carr: I'll be very brief, because Mr Brown agreed that he thought that would be a friendly amendment.

As Chris mentioned, it goes back to section 1 under the purposes, the objective "to manage crown forests to meet social, economic and environmental needs." I don't think I need to tell anybody, particularly Mr Wood or Mr Bisson, what economic viability means to their communities. Mr Wood, better than anybody I guess, realizes how difficult the situation can be in his community, where we came very close to an absolute disaster. I wouldn't be presumptuous enough to even know or talk about what his community has gone through.

But I would hope we put something in there that would deal with economic viability. There are many communities, which we all had an opportunity to see, that basically are surviving based on this industry, and we have to be very careful in dealing with it. It's a difficult balance between all the groups. This is something that has gone on for decades. I think this amendment to the purpose clause would make it acceptable to most of the people in these communities, who live there, who work there, and hopefully are going to be there for many years in this industry that's viable.

Everybody on all sides of the House wants that. Obviously, we all do. I think this particular amendment would be helpful in terms of ensuring that along with all the other things, the economic viability exists that basically means whether those communities can be there. I don't want to be too dramatic. I think this is something all three sides could agree on as an amendment to the Liberal motion.

Mr Wood: This debate could go on for a long time, but we've made it clear that we are not supporting --

The Acting Chair: We are debating the subamendment.

Mr Wood: I am debating the subamendment. We've made it very clear that we are not supporting the Liberal motion that was brought forward, so I don't know how anybody would expect us to support an amendment to the Liberal motion. I just wanted to make it as clear as we could so there would be no misunderstanding.

Mr Brown: I unfortunately don't have the wording of Mr Hodgson's motion, but I want to indicate that we are very supportive of the principle Mr Hodgson's putting forward. The reason, in our naïve fashion, that we put forward the government's own definition was that we believed the government might support it; we thought the government might support what cabinet had to say. As I said, I wasn't firmly wedded to this particular definition, but it seemed to be the one government wanted and I thought I could be helpful by putting this forward on its behalf.

But now that Mr Hodgson has brought forward one that deals with the social and economic wellbeing of our communities, I don't see that any member of this committee would want to vote against such a fine amendment. I would indicate that we will be supporting that amendment.

The Acting Chair: Any further discussion on the subamendment presented by Mr Hodgson? Shall we take a vote on it?

Mr Brown: Mr Chair, we'll probably need 20 minutes.

The Acting Chair: We can adjourn now and come back tomorrow morning.

Mr Hope: Mr Chair, on a procedural question: You're saying that the clock starts on the 20 minutes now. There are five minutes left in the morning and then the vote will occur on this amendment, right?

The Acting Chair: That's correct.

Mr Hope: So the 15 minutes is now and then five tomorrow, and after five minutes we'll be voting on the amendment.

The Acting Chair: That's correct.

The committee adjourned at 1645.