Wednesday 24 April 1991

Party affiliations and activities



Chair: Duignan, Noel (Halton North NDP)

Vice-Chair: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton NDP)

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot NDP)

Frankford, Robert (Scarborough East NDP)

Jamison, Norm (Norfolk NDP)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South PC)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex NDP)

McClelland, Cannan (Brampton North L)

Morin, Gilles E. (Carleton East L)

O'Neil, Hugh P. (Quinte L)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre NDP)

Villeneuve, Noble (S-D-G & East Grenville PC)

Substitution: Ward, Brad (Brantford NDP) for Mr Jamison

Clerk: Arnott, Douglas

Staff: Yeager, Lewis, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1540 in room 228.


Consideration of Speaker's referral dated 10 April 1991 re: guidelines governing members' party affiliations on Queen's Park reports and related committee review of the extent to which partisan activities may be recognized as an essential and inherent part of the normal functions of elected members.

The Chair: We have a substitution, Mr Ward for Mr Jamison. The matter for consideration by the committee this afternoon is the Speaker's referral dated 10 April 1991 concerning the guidelines regarding members' party affiliations on Queen's Park reports and related committee review.

We have a number of witnesses here this afternoon. Mr Elston, on behalf of the official opposition, you may proceed if you wish.

Mr Elston: Actually, I understood I was not appearing on behalf of the official opposition so much as requested by the Speaker to give material or at least my commentary on the point of order I raised with the Speaker, which concerned the initials "NDP" appearing on Anthony Perruzza's mailout. I also raised the issue with respect to the Honourable Zanana Akande's mailout, whereon appeared a green New Democrat insignia.

When I got his note that he was referring the matter to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, I had assumed that I was here to raise it with you and in fact give the confirmation that the policy is really quite clear at the moment: there is to be no partisan insignia appearing any place on mailouts by members. That is, as I understand it, very clearly the position of our guidelines. Those guidelines are to be not only interpreted but enforced by the caucuses, and if there is a disagreement, then it is to come to this committee.

In fact, on the material which was forwarded to me by Mr Arnott, there was that section appearing on the front of the material which basically said -- and it had been moved about 1986, I think, and the clerk can clarify if the date is wrong -- that there should not be any partisan material but that the matter should be enforced by the caucuses, or if a disagreement ensued, it should come here. I presumed that was most specifically why I was here.

I will deal with the other issues if you wish, more particularly on a personal basis than on a caucus basis, because we did not raise this issue in caucus yesterday, obviously, because of my misreading of the invitation. I expected that the Speaker's letter took precedence when he said, "I am sending it to the Legislative Assembly committee, and by the way, you are to go there on -- " I guess, Douglas, you had advised me of the meeting date, 3:30 today.

Anyway, I think it is clear that there is to be no partisan designation on material sent out under the franking system and I think under the two situations that I identified in the House it is quite clear that those materials ought to be reimbursed to the Legislative Assembly by the members in question. That is the first part of my submission to you and I think the Legislative Assembly committee should so find and direct that to occur.

With respect to the others, I think it is fair enough to say that I believe there should be continued non-partisan mailouts from the members, paid for by the Legislative Assembly. If the members decide that they wish to have something that is designated for partisan purposes, with visible signs, insignia, letters, names or whatever, then that should be quite clearly paid for by either the member or the party constituency association. I do not think there is any merit whatsoever in us as members shipping material out at the taxpayers' expense which is clearly designed to promote the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party or the Progressive Conservative Party, nor do I believe it would be advisable that our one independent member send his material out designating himself as an independent. We are here in this House, all members, with not only the privileges of the members equally available -- except those people who receive designations to the executive council and parliamentary assistant status -- but we are all equally obligated to serve the people who come in our door.

I noted some of the debate -- although I suspect well-delivered, it did not read particularly smoothly -- did come to the point where it is sometimes the impression of constituents even now that if you are not a New Democrat, then you should not go to the New Democratic member if you are not a Liberal, you should not attend the Liberal member, and I think it was that wise member for Mississauga South, when making her presentation, who indicated that if people were not Progressive Conservatives, sometimes they did not think they could call her.

I think any impression left to the contrary or given by mailouts which clearly associate the status of MPPs with their status as party members would be a deterrent to people understanding that our obligations are much broader than the partisan nature of our tasks.

Each of us has had people who have come to us. Some of them are people we meet on the street during campaigns, campaigning for somebody else, but who understand the system very well. Others are people who are novices, although perhaps affiliated with a party for the purposes of elections. Some are apolitical and come anyhow, but there are those people who could feel, if we tend to take any steps towards partisan designation, that this is a particularly party-oriented position.

I think -- although the last few days may tend to break us into government, official opposition and third-party ranks -- there are times when real work is done outside those partisan positions. It is sometimes more difficult when people get their policies in a row and do not want them disturbed, but there is real work done here as members, only and solely as members. If we move to change that status in any manner, in my belief, we disturb the balance of our responsibilities publicly viewed.

I do not have much else to say, except, again, a personal observation. We have moved in the last five years to increase the ability of communications by the members to their constituents. I think we now have three constituency mailout privileges. They can be done at any time, on any subject of the choosing of the members.

I would be concerned if there was a move to inappropriately increase the money-spending ability of the members. I do not want us to cut back our budgets necessarily, but at the Board of Internal Economy -- and I see that there are at least a couple of board members here with me -- we are now going through a certain exercise to see if our budget can be reasonably delivered. I think that is probably the best way to describe it. I would think we have adequate means now as members to communicate with the constituents in a manner that is appropriate to a member, without looking at more ways of increasing that.

I think that basically is about all I have to say on this second issue. If there is something I have missed, I am prepared to make a comment if it would be helpful or relevant.

Mr Owens: Thank you, Murray, for your presentation. Let's use the best of intentions as our basis for discussion. If an honest mistake is made and the logo ends up on a mailing, for whichever particular party you are talking about, where do you see the onus for payment? In this particular case, to pay for the costs of the printing and the mailing could be quite onerous on the individual. Where do you see the onus lying at this point?


Mr Elston: I think on the first occasion that it is quite reasonable that the caucus should pay. They obviously are not budgeted for, but I think in the circumstances, since the caucuses have the obligation to provide the enforcement for continued adherence to the guidelines, if they allowed some material out which did not comply on the first issue, then that member should not have to pay for it himself, it should be paid on his behalf by the caucus. I think that is quite appropriate.

If it occurs a second and subsequent time, in my view it is up to the caucus. If it is going to pay for it, or at least reimburse the Legislative Assembly, it may wish to deal with the offending member of caucus who is a repeat offender. For first-time offenders, novices, I do not have a sense that the whole cost should be visited. It is their responsibility having sent it out, not knowing the guidelines, one time maybe, but the caucus is required to give all sorts of orientation instructions to new members, and I know that a lot of people have received an awful lot of copies of householders and other things which could have been the format for the delivery. That is my impression.

Mr H. O'Neil: Mr Chairman, I would like to hear from all three and then maybe have the three of them sit up there and just ask questions or just have a general discussion. I think we are trying to arrive at the same thing.

Mr Eves: I am a little bit out of practice.

The Chair: Is that agreeable to the committee?

Mrs Marland: Sure.

The Chair: If we could have the Honourable Shelley Martel step forward, please.

Hon Miss Martel: I want to thank the committee members for the opportunity to make a presentation here this afternoon. I have had an opportunity to look through the material, although I have not had as much time as I would have liked to make some preparation.

We did run this by our caucus yesterday in the fullest sense: Did people want to see changes with respect to the use of party insignia on constituency offices, in mailouts, etc? I also ran it by some of my cabinet colleagues this morning and they said to tell all of you that it was fairly divided. So I am not coming here to represent a consensus.

The point I would like to make, though, is that if this group is intent on making some change, and I think that is a realistic thing to look at, it should only be done with a consensus of all three parties. If there is some room to move and some agreement can be made there, then we would be supportive of that. But I am certainly not here to say what I think should be imposed in any way, shape or form. I wanted to make that clear before I began.

First, with respect to the case of Mr Perruzza, if you are going to go after what was done in this case, then I suggest you go back and take a look at all of the material that has been produced in this place with respect to pamphlets and mailouts and with respect to signs on constituency offices since this policy was introduced. I think I can tell you very clearly -- and this is not hidden to anyone -- that all three parties and members of all three have in fact gone beyond the rules that have been laid out. If that is the tack you are going to take in looking particularly at Anthony, then I suggest you go back and take a look at everything that has been done.

I can tell you that I have brought my own, because I thought that I should be fair to everyone. You can clearly see that it says, "Shelley Martel, New Democratic Party." This was put out in the fall of 1989. I am not trying to hide anything. Bud Wildman had his own in July 1990. I have stuff here from the Tory party as well. I guess I would argue that just the red would throw me into a bit of a loop, just as the green insignia that Murray talked about would throw the Liberals into a bit of a loop. So I guess the point I want to make is, if you are going to go after people, then you had better take a look at what has happened over the past number of years.

I just raise another point that on a particular Liberal member's constituency office there was a big red L which was in place for the last three years. He is now defeated, but that was there and people saw it.

I guess my opinion at the end of the day is that we have all been guilty. Ernie has not, and he will make that clear, but I certainly have and I am prepared to admit that here. I think there are a number of members who have past and present, from all political parties, and if you are going to go back and have people pay, then I would encourage my own members to go back for a number of years that this has been in effect and get everyone in that little net.

Mr H. O'Neil: I do not really think the committee was asking the three of you to come here to try and justify it or that we were going to try and nail somebody to the cross. I think we were trying to get some sort of consensus on what has happened and come up with some sort of a solution or rules that everybody can follow so that no one gets into any trouble.

Hon Miss Martel: If I might, I was following up Murray's suggestion that the member should repay. I do not think that is the fairest way to proceed -- that is my personal point of view -- because we have all been guilty. So if that is the way this committee decides to go, I would want my members to be arguing that we take a look at the whole picture then. I felt I had to say something in terms of the particular case, because I thought we were also asked to make some comments on that.

My personal view is probably a little bit different than what some of my colleagues have left with me. My own personal view, let me make it clear, is that we are all politically partisan beasts when we come to this place, regardless of which side of the room we sit on. Therefore, I have no problem personally in having an identification on my mailouts with respect to who I am and which political party I represent. I make political speeches in the riding. The letters I write, both in opposition and now, are political. When I run in an election campaign, people know who I am and what party I represent. So I find it a little bit strange not to continue that practice. If people are offended by getting this in the mail, the simple solution is throw it out. But I think the voters in my riding have a right to know who I represent, what political party, and the views that I am expressing on behalf of that party.

I appreciate Murray's sentiment with respect to having that identification on your constituency office and making people fearful or not want to come to your office. If that is the case, then perhaps you do not want to put that on your office and your office should remain as neutral as possible. But I suspect that mailings that come from me, just like the speeches I deliver and the letters I write on behalf of constituents, are political and I have no problem putting my name and my own particular party on that.

It goes a little bit further, because a number of us also do readings, for example, at Christmas, Easter, etc, and you would put something in the paper. Then again, I would have no hesitation to say, "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Shelley Martel, MPP, NDP." I do that on a cable show that I have now as well. I clearly identify who I am and the views that I am expressing. That is my personal view.

I can say again, though, that within our caucus there is a split on that. There are a number of people who do not feel right about going the whole length and having that on our newsletters. So again, I would say that you would probably want a broader discussion, if you can find a happy medium. If you cannot find a happy medium, then I suggest you go back and have the non-partisan material appear.

There is a further question, I guess, about who adjudicates all these matters. I found it a little bit strange that the Speaker would make a decision with respect to Mike Cooper's case but then refer Anthony's case here. So I think there has to be a clearer understanding of who would adjudicate the matter. My feeling is that if this board decides to change the rules or maintain the rules that are in place, the Speaker at the end of the day should be the final arbitrator. He is elected by this House now. He is no longer appointed by a particular party. Some would say that the party that has the numbers still wins in that game, but I am just trying to determine the fairest place. If it comes to this committee, this committee also has a majority of people who can vote things down. I would hope that the Speaker might be non-partisan enough and maintain his distance from the assembly so that he could make the final decision based on the rules that come out of this committee.


I know that in some other jurisdictions, as we read through the material, the Board of Internal Economy has that right. I would find that a much more partisan place because of the four board members who represent the government. Second, a number of people who sit on the board are not political people; they are bureaucrats and I do not think it is their place to be making a comment or to be involved, quite frankly, in those kinds of discussions. I think that should be taken off their hands and dealt with by members. But I would strongly urge, at the end of the day, that the Speaker have that right.

The Chair: Thank you. We agreed to hold questions until we have heard from all the speakers. Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: I am here just to lend my two cents to these deliberations. I can say that it has always been my opinion, since being elected in 1981, that a member was not supposed to show political affiliation either by way of logo or name on the constituency newsletter or mail services. I have taken great pains over the years not to do so, although I am quite aware, as Shelley and Murray have pointed out, that there have been instances where members of all three political parties have breached those guidelines and rules as set out, at least in my opinion. I think the rules with respect to constituency newsletters and mail services are quite explicit. Members may not print or mail, at the expense of the Office of the Assembly, any material of a partisan political nature. Surely that includes one's political affiliation or logo, in my opinion.

There have been instances in the past. I have sat on the Board of Internal Economy since 1985, I believe, and the previous Speaker had a policy -- I am not saying it is right or wrong -- that he would decide these matters but he would always seek direction from the Board of Internal Economy. I do not think I ever remember a case where it was not done by consensus of all three parties, where the Speaker has taken action. I do not think any such matters ever come to a recorded vote before the board. I think board members have hashed it around and eventually agreed upon a consensus and given the Speaker direction if that is what he has desired. That is just my experience.

I quite agree at the outset with the comment that Shelley made: I do not think this committee or anybody should be proceeding to change the rules, unless there is consensus by all three parties, because I think it is going to reduce the whole issue to a very partisan political one and I do not think it should be reduced to a partisan political issue at all. When you are elected as a member you are elected to represent each and every one of your constituents, and party affiliation should have absolutely nothing to do with representing each and every one of your constituents to the best of your ability. I do not care what party you belong to.

I think the caucus print shops should be responsible for enforcing these guidelines. I know that in the past the director of our caucus print shop has informed some of our members -- I am just speaking from my personal experience -- that what they were doing, in his or her opinion, was not considered appropriate and those things have been changed. Obviously, there have been a few that have gone out that should have been changed but were not changed, and I am sure the same situation exists for the other two caucuses as well. Probably the caucus print shop is the most appropriate place to try to police these matters.

I just feel very strongly that when you are spending public money -- if your own riding association or your party or your caucus wants to pay for a mailout or any other form of advertisement or communication, that is fair game, I guess -- but if you are asking the Ontario taxpayers to pay for it out of the public funds, I do not think party affiliation, quite frankly, has any place because you are asking every single individual in the province of Ontario to foot the bill.

I do not think it is appropriate to say that I am entitled to promote, in my case, the Progressive Conservative Party when I am asking for every resident in the province to contribute towards what I am putting out. I can tell you that I personally around Christmas time would not ever think of using my party affiliation on a Christmas card. In fact, I think my constituents would be most offended if I did. I have been in the practice of having my family members sign their names and I would not even think of putting a political affiliation on it. I cannot imagine anything more crass or crude. That is just my personal opinion. I have even gone to the point every year of putting an ad in all my weekly newspapers around Christmas time, usually with a family photo, but never the words "Progressive Conservative" or any other party. I insist that my local riding association pay for that ad, although I never use "PC" anywhere in the ad. That is how strongly I feel about the issue.

I do not think there has been a great problem over the years. Sure there have been individuals, and you always have this instance when there are a great number of new members elected. It is not the first time it has happened and it will not be the last and I do not think it is the end of the world. I just think everybody has to understand what the ground rules are and what the policy should be, and that is the policy as I see it.

As to who should be ultimately responsible, I guess from past practice, the Speaker, or perhaps if you really want to get novel you might even consider the Lieutenant Governor, but I do not think he would be too amused. Consensus has worked in the past and I see no reason why it cannot work in the future as well.

The Chair: I assure the three guests present that this committee works on consensus and a very non-partisan basis and I think it is a pleasure being on this committee compared to some other committees in the House at present. I believe, Carman, that you are first?

Mr McClelland: Mr Chairman, it seems to me that Mr Eves has really articulated the underlying principle of what is at issue, and that is the appropriateness of general revenues being used for the extension of a partisan nature. Miss Martel said in her comments that we all are partisan animals by virtue of the fact that that is part and parcel of how we arrive here. That is factual and I think very accurate. Then you beg the question: What is the happy medium? Why do you articulate the position and the appropriateness of the use of those funds in guidelines? It seems to me that the task at hand is to look at the guidelines. Are they to remain the same? If they are to be changed I agree with your principle that they should be changed on the basis of consensus.

Then, as you ably identified, you get into the difficulty of saying who decides whether the guidelines have been breached. That is going to be there regardless of whether the guidelines are changed or not. I simply throw out for consideration the fact that you indicated that even within your own caucus there is a disparity of opinion. It seems to me that is indicative of the fact that there is probably some wisdom in numbers, and whatever committee, whether it be the Board of Internal Economy, given its makeup, or this committee or wherever it may be, if the Speaker, he or she, chooses to make the decision or we allow him or her to make that decision, the practice as you indicated has been to seek input from others.

I really do believe that within the collective group of half a dozen or a dozen individuals, there is wisdom. I think it was Solomon who said that in the counsel of many, one finds wisdom. That is nothing new and I really believe that. It would be appropriate to have that mechanism of bouncing ideas off others and finding a sense of how things ought to be dealt with in the instance of potential violation of guidelines.

When all is said and done, it boils down to this, it seems to me: We either have the guidelines and we understand them and we try and abide by them, or we make them realistic. You are suggesting that they are not realistic at the present time, that each party bends them a little bit. If that is the case, let's look at it but let's remember the fundamental principle that Mr Eves brought forward. Is it appropriate that people pay for what is blatantly partisan? I think you would indicate your personal opinion and I qualify that because it was your personal opinion. You were very forthcoming about that. There has got to be the happy medium.

The difficulty is, where is the happy medium? It is a sliding scale, it seems to me, depending on the people who are looking at it at any given point in time and the particular political climate at the time. There are times in the House where things are very charged politically; witness the last couple of days. There are other times when it is much more subdued, and I think that is the difficulty when we get into some of those arbitrary decisions. We either have the guidelines and we live by them or we do not have the guidelines.

Guidelines, in my view, are necessary because I do not think it is appropriate that we have blatantly partisan stuff. You do not want anyone sending to the people of Brampton North literature that castigates the government -- I think that would be totally inappropriate -- using the vehicle of Legislative Assembly financing. On the other hand, I do not think it would be appropriate for you, as a minister of the crown, to use taxpayers' money to trumpet the tremendous achievements and vision of your party and your government. So how do you find that balance? That is the question you beg, and it seems to me the only way to do that at the end of the day is to say that you remain as apolitical as possible. The guidelines have worked, it seems to me. I am a relative newcomer. I think the incidental violations are not of the type that causes anybody great concern, but I think that when you begin to say, "Well, that's okay," it begins to erode the whole efficacy of the guidelines.

In summary, I think we have to look at it very, very carefully. If the principle Mr Eves has articulated is a valid principle, then the guidelines ought to be drafted accordingly and ought to be adhered to. To the extent that people make errors in judgement, as will happen from time to time, they can be dealt with on an individual basis. But I think for us to throw up our hands and say, "Well, everybody does it, therefore, we should throw out the guidelines," is a very dangerous track to get on. I would just leave that with my colleagues for consideration as we report back to the Speaker. I want to thank all three of you for your input.


Hon Miss Martel: If I might just make a comment, I think if you were to take a large reading of what a number of us are putting out, it is not just a question of whether it says "PC" on the top or "NDP." The government will write about the government's achievements. It does not matter who it is. That is what I do now. When I sat in opposition, I condemned the government and that appeared very much in my written material. I suspect that I am not the only one. Is that a violation or not? How fine a line do you draw? We have come here because "NDP" appeared on a particular letterhead. But do you then start to read in and through all the documentation?

Mr McClelland: That is why we are here, quite frankly. My understanding was that it was to look at the guidelines, that general issue.

Mr H. O'Neil: But it is a good point.

Mr McClelland: It is a good point, it is a point well made, but I want to understand that we are here in a more general nature.

The Chair: It is a general nature, plus the fact that the Speaker has referred that specific point.

Hon Miss Martel: The problem I have is that you may get a particular piece of material that does not have "PC," "NDP" or "Liberal" on it, but the very nature of what is being written is highly partisan -- just in the reading, I mean -- either condemning the government or praising the government for the work we have done. It might not come to the attention of this group or the Speaker, because "NDP" or a logo does not appear, but what is written is very partisan. So it seems to me that if the content is all partisan, what difference does it make to have the "NDP," "PC" or "Liberal" on it? Because by the very nature of reading the whole thing you get a very direct sense that people are either for the government or against and why and have a good reading of what their position is and probably align them to that political party. The only thing that is missing is the actual label. That is what I find hard. You have asked a very valid question: When have you gone too far and what is a happy medium?

Mr McClelland: When is enough enough?

Hon Miss Martel: But I think in a number of cases putting the "NDP" in is not going too far; it might be what you read in the content that has gone too far. So my view is the content is probably going to show who I represent and why, so what difference does it make if I have my party affiliation on it?

Mr McClelland: I do not want to join in a debate, but nevertheless, I want to ask, would you then take the position, that whatever goes goes, because at the end of the day people are going to do and say what they want? It seems to me that is the ultimate conclusion, though. If we are going to attempt to have guidelines, then we have them. If we are not, then do we just do whatever we want, say whatever we want as members? I mean, is that appropriate? Surely it is not.

Hon Miss Martel: Carman, what is the difference between what you say in the House, which is recorded and can be sent out for public use, and what you put out in your newsletter? Surely you are partisan in the House in the speeches you make. We just went through the debate on Bill 4; it was highly partisan. That is the nature of this place. All that is public information and can be sent out to people. So what is the difference?

This is not to attack anyone -- ours is the same -- here are all the releases, right? I could whip out to you an NDP release as well. At the end of the day, this is paid for by the public too. It may come through our individual caucuses, money allocated to us by the BOIE, but all this is paid for by the taxpayers and it is highly partisan.

Mr McClelland: Yes, exactly. The question remains, do you have guidelines? Where do you draw the line? I guess the question I am asking of you, Minister, is, do you feel it appropriate to have any guidelines at all?

Hon Miss Martel: I would say my personal feeling is that on literature, the stipulation now, which is that you cannot put logos on, should be taken off. That is my personal opinion.

Mr McClelland: But should there be any guidelines at all? I am just curious. Do you have a sense of that?

Hon Miss Martel: I think there is a very legitimate concern that has been raised with respect to a fear that people might have about coming into the constituency offices because they see "NDP," "Liberal," PC," that they will not want to come in, they will not feel that they have a right to have their case heard. I would argue then, do not put it on your constituency office because that may make people not want to come into your particular place. But written material -- I find a hard time distinguishing what we say in the House, what could be public knowledge and printed and given to people, as any different from what we put out on the street.

Mr McClelland: I will ask this just as a rhetorical question, I am not necessarily looking for an answer: I put out a householder conveniently in late August, being privy to information that ultimately will be the current Premier's call; my guess would be some time in June 1995 -- I may or may not be wrong -- and conveniently everybody's householders go out of a very partisan nature. I ask you to consider the appropriateness of that ultimately, because that is what that would lead to. It is just a question worth considering.

Hon Miss Martel: I think you are fooling yourself if you do not think that already happens.

Mr McClelland: I say of a totally partisan nature.

Hon Miss Martel: Excuse me, but I got a copy of Sterling Campbell's, with a long list of achievements of the Liberal Party, delivered to me less than four weeks before the election call came.

Mr B. Ward: I got mine two weeks before.

Hon Miss Martel: I am sorry, but I assume that went on across most Liberal ridings. That is not with any malicious intent; I think that is what happens. I know I would certainly try to get one out. Because I expected an election call, I sure as heck got a newsletter out too. I suspect everyone here is going to do that regardless. We will not have much more insider information than you will, but we will all be trying to get our newsletters out at that point, and I suspect they will all be partisan.

Mr Elston: Do not count on it.

Hon Miss Martel: I was trying to get mine out too.

Mr McClelland: Not to engage in debate, but there is a clear difference between a newsletter and an election piece.

The Chair: Mr Eves, did you want to make a comment?

Mr Eves: The only comment I wanted to make was while Carman was talking, before Shelley even spoke. That does not preclude, in my opinion, being critical of the government or being supportive of the government, or talking about the opposition, but I really think you have to draw the line somewhere. I do not see anything wrong with the guidelines as they exist and I think that, by and large, the majority of members, regardless of who has been in power over the last 10 years, have been able to confine themselves and live within those guidelines. Sure, there have been mistakes, and most of those mistakes have been by relatively new members of the Legislature. I think that has happened in all three parties, and I think it will continue to happen as long as we are human beings, but I really think you have to have some guidelines.

I think there is a bit of a difference between something that is funded by a caucus office, although ultimately I realize the money comes from the public purse, between something that a caucus puts out and something that an individual representative of every single person in his constituency puts out. I think there is a big difference, and that is why we have a heading called "Constituency Newsletters," and I think in those instances we should try to be -- I know it is difficult, but we should try to be -- the less partisan and political the better, in my opinion. I think we are doing the public a disservice if we do not try to do it.


Mr Elston: My point is actually going to focus on the issue of caucuses as well. The determination has been that caucuses are funded to do caucus work, which is viewed as a more partisan type of activity, but certainly as individual members we represent a broader group of people who make up our constituencies.

I also want to comment briefly on the issue of print shop control. I know it sounds as though it would be a great place, but there are some members who actually access print shops outside and then forward the invoices on. Ultimately, I believe there has got to be a caucus review of the appropriateness of the material. I saw some of the material the clerk kindly sent to me, and I thought it was a relatively good idea to have the invoice if it came from an outside print shop, or even from your own print shop, attached to a copy of the printed material so that there had to be a determination that there was no violation before it was submitted for reimbursement to the Legislative Assembly in those other jurisdictions. I see nothing particularly wrong with that.

I agree with Carman -- and actually I think he was speaking fairly closely to what Shelley was saying -- on the issue of balance. I do not want to put words into anybody's mouth, but for me you get into a very difficult time if you start trying to cull out what words may be offensive. For me today in the House a sentence like, "Please be fair," has a somewhat different meaning than it does for somebody on the other side of the House. It is very difficult for us to try and set a series of guidelines which say, "Please do not send out ultimately partisan material."

The crafting trade, when it comes to language skills and the manner of expression, is such that a very good job can be done with individually offensive words. I think what we have to do is let people generally understand that the nature of the material is to be non-partisan, and if we can have some visible signs that can be easily removed, that is one thing, but boy, once you start dealing with the members' expression in their own constituencies, that would become very difficult.

I would like to think, for instance, that the member for Welland-Thorold, as a member who was in cabinet, will want to write a piece at some stage, indicating how he sees his relationship with the government. It could either be offensive or inoffensive, depending on which side of the --

Hon Miss Martel: Why would he want to do that? He might want to get back into cabinet.

Mr Elston: No, no. It may be, from his point of view, just a matter of indicating that he is still a good and solid member in support of the government. He is not going to go around condemning them necessarily, but the trick may be that he will want to show his support for their initiatives.

Mr Eves: Have you seen his newsletter?

Mr Elston: No, I have not.

Mr Eves: Just kidding.

Mr Elston: Actually, I am drafting it now. I just did not want to tip my hand at the moment.

Mr Eves: Are you proofreading Peter's newsletter?

Mr Elston: I am drafting it.

From my point of view, though, the obvious can be eliminated, but the written material is something that each person is going to have to deal with. Shelley is right, if I may be so bold as to refer to a minister as right.

Hon Miss Martel: Oh, God.

Mr Elston: People do dispense with them fairly quickly. In fact, in the apartment building that I attend, whether they come from Minister Akande or from the federal member, MacDonald, they are dispatched in almost equal volumes into the waste basket.

Hon Miss Martel: I read Zanana's.

Mr Elston: No, I am looking at the waste baskets. People throw these things out. The issue of how effective our communication is and how willing our constituents are to receive this stuff may be another issue for another day. The amount of money we spend, when you say there are three printings available, is something that you might want to look at when you see so many people throwing this material out. That is another issue altogether, but it still comes to the issue that Shelley and Ernie and I are dealing with, with respect to our budgets, which have been increasing at fairly progressively high rates. For another day, you may want to say three mailings but the cap for the whole thing is X or something. Content you have to be really careful with, and it will probably be left for somebody to complain about some day when they have read theirs or something, who knows.

The Chair: We have six speakers left at this point.

Mr B. Ward: First of all, I agree with Hugh's earlier comment. I do not think we are here to trap someone or condemn an individual. That was never the intent. I think the intent was to point out some discrepancies in some members' householders with the guidelines. So I agree with you that we are here on a more global basis. Let's look at the guidelines to see if they are appropriate, and if they are not, let's change them.

My two observations: First of all, I do not think we should allow any type of partisan signage or letterhead etc to be exposed in the riding association offices, because my fear would be that it becomes --

Mr Elston: The constituency office.

Mr B. Ward: -- the constituency office, because my fear is it would become a riding association headquarters. I think that is one thing that we should look at and avoid at all costs. The constituency offices have to be open to all the public that we represent in our respective ridings. What could happen, I perceive, is that party members in the respective ridings could interpret, because of the amount of partisan signage, that it becomes their office and riding association business may take place. I do not think that is one direction we should take.

I really do not think we are censoring content of householders, because once you get into that, you are opening up a whole ball of wax that I do not think this committee or anyone wants to explore when dealing with a form of censorship.

So the main issue is, do we allow insignia of our respective parties on our householder? That is the basic issue. The feeling I get from the two who are here and the one that left is that there is not going to be consensus. Shelley has expressed her personal opinion that it should be allowed and it seems to me Murray has expressed a fairly strong opinion that it should not be. If that is the case, I would prefer that we left things the way they are.

However, a suggestion could be made, since times do change and individuals change. Perhaps this issue, reviewing guidelines, could be one of the first items of discussion for this committee in any new Legislature, because it is my understanding that this issue is being reviewed at the federal level to see whether or not it should be more partisan. So it may be appropriate to avoid any misunderstandings that the three House leaders sit down with the committee as soon as possible in any new Legislature and discuss their ideas. If the guidelines are modified, at least we should avoid any future errors of judgement or misunderstandings.

I am totally against any partisanship in constituency offices. I think that since we do not seem to have consensus on household insignia, we should follow the guidelines and make sure that any identification of parties is removed, and the fact that it could be reviewed as soon as possible in any new Legislature may be something this committee would like to discuss and make an appropriate recommendation.

Mr Chairman, I realize you had to step out for a minute, but that was the gist of my comments.

I think there is adequate opportunity for the political parties to do mailouts in the ridings at their own expense, which is done, I believe, through fund-raising etc. I received a letter from Mike requesting some funds. Unfortunately, I am a little bit short.

Mr Villeneuve: I hope you are going to contribute.

Mr B. Ward: I am a little bit short this week.

Mr Elston: He is just telling you where the money is.

Mr Villeneuve: Next week.

Mr Elston: They think you are one of their better supporters.

Mr B. Ward: If the three House leaders would like to comment on those observations, I would appreciate it.

The Chair: Unless we want to go around the table and get all the questions out and then maybe have the three House leaders comment on them.

Mr B. Ward: Probably there are a lot of similarities.


Mr H. O'Neil: I guess we are all going to be partisan when it comes to news releases or whatever it is, and as Shelley says, the content of some of the householders sometimes can be really political. But again, when we come to the householder or, as was mentioned by Brad and a couple of others, the constituency office, I do not think we should have any party designation.

On a personal basis, because it is being paid for by the assembly, I feel that the householder again is something where you talk about some of the things that have happened in your riding, some of the grants that have come into the riding, some of the things that are going on at Queen's Park. Sure, everybody is political, pretty well everybody; you know it is going to have a certain tone, but again, I do not think you get into that if you try to check over what everybody has written.

Again, Shelley mentions the colour. You know, I use red on my letterhead, I use red on my householder and red on other things. If you want to say that you are Conservative, you use blue. I do not see any harm in that, but again I think the householder and your offices should not have a political party designation on them in wording and something like that. I think people appreciate that a little more.

Mrs Marland: I want to say at the outset, no matter what this committee decides, I am going to continue doing what I am doing.

Mr Elston: What are you doing?

Mr Villeneuve: Straight and narrow this lady walks.

Mrs Marland: There is something about teaching old dogs new tricks. I want to tell you that I have been in politics a very long time.

Mr Elston: Not that long.

Mr McClelland: She started very young, though.

Mrs Marland: I have not checked, but I know that my plurality in this last election, if not the highest in this Legislature, was in the top three or four, and I want to say that in my riding, to get 55% of the vote is not done by misusing their money to tell them about my party affiliation. I cannot put it any more clearly than that, and we are very naïve if we think that because we are in the government or we are in the opposition or we are in the third party that the public really cares on a lot of the issues. Frankly, I do not care who looks back over the householders that I have done in the six years I have been here, and I have done at least two a year and I have done a calendar. I frankly do not agree with what Shelley says, that we write everything in a partisan way. I report in the calendar -- and Murray will be interested in this. Even on the auto insurance bill, I reported what the bill meant to those people reading it. I use the householder as a vehicle of information about legislation that is being passed.

I think, if we are using the taxpayers' money for those householders, then we had better use it as a tool of information for them. In my riding I am talking about 42,000 households. Now, of the 42,000 households, if I am very anti-government, whoever it is, I am going to offend a third of them. If I am pro our party's opposition role in something, I am going to offend some whom I might otherwise be encouraging. You have always got to look, I think, at who it is you are giving the information to, who receives that householder in their homes -- and everybody knows they pay for it, by the way. There is never a question about who pays for those householders.

When they read it, if they happen to be Liberal and the Liberals are the government and all you are doing is taking four or eight pages to damn their party, there is no way you are ever going to impress them with your own individual credibility. And it is perfectly true that if you can impress people with your own credibility and your own sincerity and your own commitment to serve them at the constituency level, you can pick up support. Now, this is free advice for those of you who are going to face your first re-election campaign five years from now. But frankly, if you are very partisan, it does not matter whether you are government or opposition, you do put people off and you put them off for the fact that you are using their money to promote your own cause. But if you are giving them information that they need on what is going on at Queen's Park, which I do, or what is going on in my riding that comes under provincial jurisdiction -- I mean, if I have a filthy industry that is spewing pollution into the atmosphere, which I happen to have, or something goes wrong with the sewage treatment plant and it is a provincial jurisdiction, I tell them exactly what the provincial jurisdiction is, what the province is responsible for, and what they are empowered to do to solve their problems.

I tell them about other things their provincial tax dollars can provide for them. That is the kind of householder I do, that is how I use my householder. So I support totally the existing policy on constituency mail and householders and constituency office signage. Funnily enough, I do not even have a sign outside my constituency office because I am now in an area where signs are not even permitted.

Mr McClelland: It is in the window.

Mr B. Ward: How do you know?

Mrs Marland: You cannot even read it from the road.

Mr McClelland: You can read half of it.

Mrs Marland: I simply say to you that you might think that because our party is the government or your party is the government, that is an advantage. Well, it is an advantage for the people who support you now, but it is not an advantage for those people who would like to know a little bit more about you. You put them off because right away you are so partisan, you are not giving them both sides of an issue and giving them credit for having their own intelligence to decide which they support. Like us in the House, if we are being honest, which we are, there are issues in these chambers where all three of us can agree with the position of the other parties from time to time, as individuals.

We cannot as a caucus, because this is the caucus position, but as individuals -- if the government does something good, quite frankly, I will say I agree with that position of the government because I think it needs to be said. Our readers do not know what we stand for. They do not know what we believe in. So I think these householders are a very important obligation on our part to communicate with our constituents and we better not miss that fact.

The other thing I want to say, because it is interesting with our three House leaders here -- Ernie, you might want to hear this because you might agree with me.

Mr H. O'Neil: You had better, Ernie.

Mrs Marland: There is one exception to this party designation that I am quite happy to put on the record and I want to put on the record. I think that if Shelley is the New Democratic Party's House leader -- or the PC House leader or the Liberal House leader -- she should use that as a title. It is their option, but I think that if they have a title associated with their job as an elected person, they can use the party designation because it is part of their title. If they are the PC whip or the Liberal whip or whatever, it is up to them. I do not see that as a party affiliation the way you can put New Democratic Party or Progressive Conservative Party on your householders.

So I make that one exception. I am thinking of their business cards primarily, quite frankly, and I do not even know if they have them on their business cards. But I am simply saying that if you are a House leader or a whip or something, that is an honour bestowed on you. It ends up being approved by a resolution of the House, I guess, when those appointments go through.


Mrs Marland: Well, certainly committee chairmen are approved by a resolution of the House, because we approve our committee makeup in the House.

Mr Eves: Just the membership.

The Chair: Could I just jump in here? There are a number of other people who want to speak. I was wondering if we could limit our discussion to the questions, because I know the House leaders have other duties to perform and time is getting on. I believe, Mike, you are next.


Mr Cooper: I want to reserve my time to debate later. Right now I just want some clarification. I put a trillium on my sign and what I have a problem with is "MPP." I really have a problem with that because a lot of people do not understand "MPP" and "MP." I wanted to clarify that I work for the province of Ontario and I think most people in Ontario relate to the trillium. What happened was that my trillium was halfway between the trillium that we hand out and halfway between our logo trillium. They ruled against it and I paid for it. I fixed it and I have put the Ontario trillium on it now, so that is no problem. But one of the things that was brought up here is that we have to distinguish between identification and partisanship.

I think there are a lot of ridings where you have to identify yourself as MPP, such-and-such a party, because there are some ridings that just do not relate. When they see the party they can identify it, especially with the householders that are coming out. That is one thing we are going to have to clarify, so that is part of the identification thing. But we are talking about whether it is paid for out of our pockets or by the finance branch. What I am asking the House leaders here is, if I choose to put a sign up and I pay for it out of my pocket, is it all right to put "Mike Cooper, MPP, NDP"? Is this what you are saying? Then we do have to redefine the guidelines.

Mr Elston: No, I think my reference was basically to the mailouts. In a case where there are repeated offences, it is up to the caucus, but, let them deal with it. On the issue of a constituency office, I do not care how you get the sign up, it should come down. I do not think that if you bought your own --

Mr Cooper: So we actually have to review the guidelines, is what you are saying.

Mr Elston: There is just no way that you should put a partisan designation on your constituency office, but on a constituency office, I do not care if you pay for it. You can pay for your mailouts if you want to show your affiliation and do all that sort of stuff. That is totally up to you. I am not going to suggest that because I say something, that should stop you from mailing out your New Democratic Party material, but just do not have it go through the Legislative Assembly.

The constituency office, though, I do not care whether your association pays for it or you pay for it, I think that would be totally wrong and should be removed right away.

Mr Cooper: I totally agree with you and I think that is why this committee should look at these guidelines and figure out exactly where we are going.

Mr Owens: Mr Chair, it sounds like we have reached a consensus on the constituency office issue. I firmly believe that the constituency office should be a place where non-partisan activity goes on and where work with constituents is paramount, rather than advancing the goals of our particular party.

In terms of the householders, however, we talked about changing the guidelines and it is my feeling, again, that no member would be coerced into or forced to use his or her designation on the householder or the information that has gone out, and I think that is an important difference. Just because the guidelines say it is all right to put the NDP, the Liberal or the Conservative logo on does not mean that you have to do it. I think you have to be sensitive, as Ernie has suggested, to the needs of the constituents, and I agree that putting PC or NDP or Liberal logos or information on Christmas cards is completely in bad taste.

But again, in terms of changing the guidelines, it is to avoid the kinds of discussions we seem to be having in the House that take up the time the opposition has to ask its questions about what the government is doing, to present the latest brown envelope, or whatever the goals and aspirations are of the opposition. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, there would be no onus on a particular member to use any designation on his or her letterhead. I think it just takes it out of the realm of debate and leaves more time for debate on issues of substance, and this is clearly why we are here, not to argue about who has whose letterhead and who is putting what in his or her leaflets.

Mr Villeneuve: Mr Chairman, I will not be too long.

I fully agree with the constituency office. That must be. I feel our householder is an extension of that constituency office. The calendars and the two householders I sent are informative. They will have clips of my presentation in the Legislature. Whether my constituents agree with it or not, I do not know. But if we allow the inclusion of party affiliation in the extension of that constituency office which is the householder, we have lost control.

I am not here to witchhunt anyone. I tell you, when you live in the shadow of Parliament Hill, maybe it is better not to describe your particular party affiliation. But that is a story for another day.

I firmly believe that the householder is the extension of your constituency office as a piece of information, and I just cannot in any way accept party affiliation because at that point we are sending a wrong signal, a wrong message and, God, how do you control it? That is it.

The Chair: Thank you. I have a point of clarification for the three House leaders as well. We have mentioned the fact of "consensus." I wanted to clarify what they mean by "consensus."

Hon Miss Martel: I would have said that if you wanted to look at changing that, it could be done only if people agreed there was some room to move with respect to putting a party label on. I do not hear that, so I would not proceed with it any further.

Mrs Marland: No, but the question is -- I have raised it with the Chairman -- when you are saying "consensus," do you mean consensus of parties? We are a committee, so are you saying that if the Liberals and the NDP feel there should be this change, it goes?

Hon Miss Martel: No.

Mr Eves: No. All three parties agree, in my opinion anyway.

Mrs Marland: That is what the Chairman thought.

Mr Owens: As long as we can vote.

Mr Elston: It does not have to be unanimous in the sense that the parties among themselves, or inside their own membership, will have a discussion and may then come up with a result. Then you come back together as each of the three caucuses and you say, "We have come to a consensus inside our organization." That is the type of consensus, because you are not going to get unanimous consent of all the members. Consensus would have to be among the representatives of the three parties.

Mrs Marland: Consensus is not unanimous. That is the point I am making.

Mr Elston: That is right.

Mrs Marland: You are giving us a difficult job here. Are you saying a consensus of two parties versus a third party?

Mr Elston: No. We are not saying majority. Consensus is not majority. Do not confuse the two concepts.

Mrs Marland: No, it is not. It is also not unanimous, though.

Hon Miss Martel: If I might, I use "consensus" the way I use it in cabinet, which is that we all come to an agreement among ourselves, not that one or two people disagree and we go ahead anyway. We come to an agreement or it does not fly.

What I am saying to you is that I have not heard any agreement here, so my personal opinion is to let it go. You just keep the guidelines that are in place and remind everyone of what they are and go from there.

Mrs Marland: I see.

Hon Miss Martel: I wanted to be clear at the very beginning that I was speaking only personally, that I talked about my own perception in the discussion that went around our caucus and earlier this morning in cabinet, that very clearly, if a consensus could not be reached, that is, if three parties could not come together and make an agreement, leave it. That is what I am hearing: just leave it.

Mr Eves: I agree entirely.

Mrs MacKinnon: Mr Chairman, I have a question. Inasmuch as it is good enough for the federal government, why is it not good enough for the provincial government?

The Chair: Do not get into that argument, please, Ellen.

Mrs MacKinnon: The mailouts are clearly identified and I do not have any problem with that when I get one in my apartment. I like to know who this gentleman was, what he represented, where he came from. I do not have a problem with it. When we were in Ottawa, unless I misinterpreted it, I am sure they were in the process of writing up the guidelines in order to identify the parties.

Mr Eves: There are a lot of mistakes Ottawa has made that we would not want to duplicate here in the great province of Ontario.

Mrs MacKinnon: That is beside the point.

Mr Elston: I do not think it is beside the point. I really think we have chosen to be a constituent group apart from those people and I just feel it is better if we stay away from that. You can be as partisan as you want as a member in other ways and you can get money from your constituency association to be partisan and you can make speeches, whatever, but I just think in this sense it is better. I do not think we have to follow the leader or any of the MPs from Parliament Hill.


Mrs MacKinnon: Then the guidelines have to be changed because as I read the guidelines, as long as the party or the caucus or government service or whoever it is pays for it, we will not put this on. But if I say "Look, I am going to pay for that myself," I can put anything on it I like. And if I were a millionaire, maybe I would do that.

Mr Elston: You can do that now. You are quite free to have your constituency association pay for any material you want shipped out, however you want it identified. You can pay for anything yourself.

Mrs MacKinnon: That is what I am saying.

Mr Elston: We are just saying that when it comes to the franking privileges and the three paid production pieces you mail out, they should not be identified.

Mr Owens: Do these franking privileges include using our franked information on behalf of community groups like the Canadian Mental Health Association?

Mr Elston: I think I know what you are getting it, but my opinion is that you use them only for the members' privileges. You cannot substitute somebody else for that. That is my view.

The Chair: Do the House leaders want to sum up?

Mr Eves: We all agree. It is one big, happy family.

Hon Miss Martel: I just wanted to say one thing to the members. Margaret and I get along very well, but we usually disagree and here is another day that we did. I got 59% in my riding and I have blatantly partisan political mailouts and always have. I guess it just depends on the riding you are from.

Mr Eves: You have your dad distributing.

Mr Elston: That is right. You have an advantage.

Mrs Marland: They do not know another party exists in your riding.

Mr Eves: Some day they might.

The Chair: I wish to thank the three party leaders for coming along here this afternoon. It certainly has given us some ideas for thought.

On the question before the committee, as it relates to the letter sent to Mr Elston and then referred to this committee, the Speaker indicates that it is unclear as to whether the identification of a party affiliation is a violation of the guidelines. He is actually not sure that it is and is possibly seeking direction from the committee as to how to reply.

Mrs Marland: How much more do we have to talk about it? If you are looking for a response, I would be willing to say the guidelines are very clear. They are very easy to understand, and having heard from the three House leaders today, there is only one way to interpret the answer to his question.

But I also think I would like our response to the Speaker to be softened by the fact that when we are newly elected and we come into office, those are very legitimate mistakes. Nobody knows anything from anything when we first come down here, and how many of us even go through and study all of the regulations? To be perfectly honest, the answer is that we do not. You come down here and try to get the office organized and get constituency offices organized, and there is so much going on that first year after you are elected that it is very easy to do something in complete innocence that it may be a contravention of a guideline. Well, fine. Now we are told about it and we can correct it. I really think that is how I feel about what has happened.

Mr H. O'Neil: I tend with Margaret to, as you say, put people who are new or sometimes even when they are not new -- there are mistakes that can be made and there have always been in the Legislature. When we were the government, when the Conservatives were the government and now when you are the government, examples were and are going to be brought forward where people have made a mistake. It is embarrassing, you correct it and you go on. That is basically what happens. I do not think any one party has a monopoly on being perfect. It happens to everybody.

Mr Owens: To my question about repayment of the money: I think, if I am hearing correctly, that we temper the decision with some sense of justice, to say okay, it has happened once and we can be assured that it will not happen again, from this particular individual anyway, and that the caucus or caucuses involved -- because it is possible that it is going to happen with your party, Margaret, and with your party, Hugh -- that we recommend --

Mr H. O'Neil: I do not think you give them a bill for $40,000.

Mrs Marland: I do not think we should recommend that the caucus refund them or whatever. We do not have the power to say that.

Mr Owens: No, I am suggesting that neither the caucus nor the individual be held responsible for the mailing and production costs, even though we have suggested that.

Mrs Marland: What are you saying? That the Legislative Assembly pay for them to make another mailing?

Mr Owens: We have had one particular issue referred to us by the Speaker. The situation is clearly conductive to discussion around the issue, and we seem to have reached a consensus where some of us agree to disagree. In terms of the issue that was referred to us by the Speaker, I thought I was hearing, and you can correct me if I am wrong, that while the member may have violated the existing guidelines -- and it is probably pretty clear that he has, without trying to weasel on the issue -- the caucus not be held responsible, nor the individual, for the expense of the production and mailing of this particular leaflet.

Mr H. O'Neil: Which case is this?

Mr Cooper: Mr Perruzza.

Mrs Marland: I will answer your question. That is a calendar, is it not? Yes. Now, we are talking about something that has already gone out. It has already been paid for. There is no need to discuss the expense of it. It is already gone. It is past.

What our discussion is about today, as far as I am concerned, is the issue that it raises: What are we recommending from this day on? As far as I am concerned, that was paid for by the Legislative Assembly because it was a calendar. But it is gone. So we just leave it as it is.

Mr Owens: Margaret, I understand that.

Mrs Marland: You cannot reverse that.

Mr Owens: I guess my intent is to ensure that somebody from the finance branch, because the member has been found in violation of the guidelines, is not going to go after the member or the caucus for reimbursement. The issue with the member for Kitchener-Wilmot is that he had to replace a sign at his own expense. So, yes, the sign was already up, the sign had already been paid for, but he still had to reimburse out of his own pocket. I would suggest that the cost of replacing one mailout for an individual will be quite onerous.

Mrs Marland: But he does not even want to --

Mr B. Ward: If I may interject, I think we are agreeing here. We recognize that the item that was sent to this committee was an honest mistake and we do not expect any action to be taken. Because it was sent to us, we reviewed the guideline and recommend that the guidelines remain in place for future reference.

Mr H. O'Neil: And we sort of self-police it. Again, as I think somebody mentioned, something could happen again. Something may go out that --

Mrs Marland: But I would be very clear; I do not want to see another calendar go out with it on. We are not going to say that individual now gets four householders because one was in error.

Mr Owens: No, that is not what I am saying.

Mr B. Ward: What we are saying is that we recognize it was an honest mistake.

Mrs Marland: That is fine.

Mr B. Ward: And that no action be taken because of it.

Mrs Marland: That is right.

Mr B. Ward: I think that is consensus.

The Chair: The other suggestion was to follow up with a letter to all members reminding them of the guidelines and the fact that these caucuses also police this issue.

Mrs Marland: I feel a little badly about the person who is having to replace the sign.

Mr H. O'Neil: What did it cost you?

Mr Cooper: It cost $172.

Mrs Marland: Was it you?

Mr Cooper: Yes, it was me.

Mr Morin: How much?

Mr Cooper: It was $172. I have no problem with that because I understand where it was coming from. It is the constituency office, and I am fully in favour of keeping the constituency office non-partisan. It was just a bit of an error trying to identify myself as provincial rather than federal for my constituents. But I have no problem with paying that.

Mrs Marland: I did not even make that announcement because I did not even know who it was.

The Chair: Does the Chair clearly understand the direction of the committee?

Mrs Marland: It is all in Hansard, thank goodness.

Mrs MacKinnon: Is my office sign in violation? It is white and orange.

Mr Morin: No.

Mrs MacKinnon: Well, somebody questioned the colour of that calendar.

The Chair: The Chair will send that letter to the Speaker and also send a letter to the members reminding them of the guidelines and of how the caucuses also police this particular area.

Mrs Marland: I just want to confirm the guidelines, Mr Chairman.

Mr Owens: Surely you have read them.

The Chair: Through the Chair, please.

Mrs Marland: I just want to confirm that we include those pertinent guidelines so they do not have to bother going to look them up.

The Chair: Yes. Any further comment on this issue? There being none, any further business before the committee?

Mrs MacKinnon: Mr Chairman, I am having a problem and I do not think I am alone in this place because I have heard others say the same thing. I do not, myself, like the products made by Pepsi. I prefer Coke products. You cannot get them in this building and I am wondering why, and what do we have to do to have them? It sounds minor, but at 3 or 4 in the afternoon when you are having a cold Coke caffeine fit, you need it.

Mr H. O'Neil: I am just the opposite. I will never drink a Coke.

The Chair: I will ask the clerk to get an answer on that question for you. There being no further business, this committee stands adjourned until 3:30 next Wednesday.

The committee adjourned at 1702.