Wednesday 9 January 1991


Afternoon sitting



Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)
Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)
Beer, Charles (York North L)
Churley, Marilyn (Riverdale NDP)
Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)
Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)
Harrington. Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)
Malkowski. Gary (York East NDP)
Offer, Steven (Mississauga North L)
O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa Rideau L)
Wilson, Fred (Frontenac-Addington NDP)
Winninger, David (London South NDP)

Manikel, Tannis

Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1005 in room 151.


The Chair: Welcome, first of all, to the first meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. I think those of us who have been given the responsibility and pleasure, if I can call it that, of being appointed to this committee are all looking forward to a useful discussion, not only among ourselves but certainly with as many people in the province of Ontario as possible.

I thought it would be useful in starting, particularly because of the audience and particularly because the meeting is being televised, to just review the terms of reference of the committee and then point out to people that this essentially is an organizational meeting.

We will proceed then to the election of the Vice-Chair and the setting up of the subcommittee which, again the members of the committee know but the members of the public may not know, is the subcommittee that is responsible for setting up the business of the committee per se in some of the details and reporting back to the committee obviously. From there I think it would be useful before we break today to have some general discussion about the way in which we want to approach our work.

As you know, I have tried to touch base with all of the members of the committee. I managed to talk to most people on the committee prior to the meeting and I think there is a general similarity in the way we see that we need to approach our work, but there are obviously a lot of details that we need to work out. My hope would be that we would have some general discussion and then perhaps recess to allow the subcommittee to meet and flesh out some of those details and possibly report back to the full committee later today if that is workable. We can get into that a little bit later.

Again, members of the committee would know but for the general public it may be useful to point out that the role of this committee is "to review and report on: (a) the social and economic interests and aspirations of all the people of Ontario within Confederation; and (b) what form of Confederation can most effectively meet the social and economic aspirations of the people of Ontario." Those are the written words.

I think what they say to me at least is that we want to try to get a feel for where the mood of the province is on the variety of issues related to the constitutional framework, particularly in the time frame that we are in in the post-Meech Lake era, and to use that as a basis of our reporting back to the Legislature on what directions the Legislature and the government ought to move in.

As people know, we are mandated to file an interim report in the Legislature by 21 March and then a final report by 27 June, so there are two stages in our work as well. In doing that, we have been authorized to travel throughout the province, indeed even outside of the province if we think it is useful to do our work.

Without further ado, I will move then to the election of the Vice-Chair and call for nominations.

Mr F. Wilson: I would like to place Gilles Bisson's name in nomination for Vice-Chair of this committee.

The Chair: Mr Bisson has been nominated. Are there any other nominations? There being no further nominations, I declare nominations closed. Mr Bisson, you are elected as Vice-Chair.

The next item of business is the establishment of the subcommittee. Obviously the Chair and the Vice-Chair would be two of the members. There is a motion on that.

Mr Offer moves that in addition to the Chair and the Vice-Chair, Mr Beer and Mr Harnick do compose the subcommittee on business; that the subcommittee on business meet from time to time at the call of the Chair to consider and to report to the committee on the business of the committee: that substitutions be permitted in the subcommittee; and that the presence of all members of the subcommittee is necessary to constitute a quorum.

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Okay. I think we can move to some general discussion on the nature of our work. As people know, we had a list of items that was circulated. I think they formed some of the framework for some of the discussions that we have had informally to date and that we may want to pick up on here today. I will just make a couple of opening comments and then open the floor for discussion.

It is clear to me at least that in what we are trying to do or what we want to do we need to try very hard not only to touch base as widely as possible but also to look at different ways of having discussions with the people of the province. I know we have looked at a couple of possibilities that we will be discussing in some detail in terms of adding to the traditional ways of holding hearings, some type of town hall meetings and some small group discussions, as well as a variety of ways in which the committee members can touch base with various constituencies in the province, whether they be young people in schools, colleges or universities or people from various ethnocultural groups, native groups, francophone groups, women's groups and so on. The list is obviously fairly wide.

We do have, as I indicated earlier, the authority to travel, certainly within the province and possibly even outside the province, and that is an area we need to take a look at in terms of how we do our work. I think we are conscious of the fact that what we need to do, at least in this first stage, is to get a good feel for the kinds of issues that are important to the people of the province and to be able to point to some directions that we think the Legislature and the government ought to move in as the discussions around the future of the Constitution and indeed the country proceed in the months to come.

Without going on and on. I will stop at that point and certainly invite any comments or views from the members of the committee about any issues related to our work in a general way, and then also comment about the process of feeding all those to the subcommittee to work out some of the details.

Mr Beer: Mr Chair, may I at the outset congratulate you on your nomination for the position of Chairman, and also Mr Bisson. I know we are all going to get to know each other very well over the next number of months. As one of the members of the committee, along with Steve Offer and Ernie Eves, who had the opportunity to serve on the last constitutional committee, I can certainly assure everyone that it is always interesting, fascinating and at times unexpected, but I think the scope of our work is certainly awesome.

When we look at the time frame we have, I think it will be very important for the subcommittee to come to grips fairly quickly with the time that we have available and how we are going to get out and consult with the various individuals, groups and organizations as I know we would like to do.

It seems to me that one of the critical differences between this committee and the earlier one is that here we are not dealing with a specific document but rather with a much broader, in a sense, range of questions and issues. I am sure that some of those will be defined in the document that I believe the Premier indicated would be ready by the end of this month. I think one of the questions we would ask you, Mr Chairman, is if you could perhaps later just comment on when that paper may be available. I suspect that not only for us but for the different groups and individuals who want to appear before us that will serve as a useful document in terms of the kinds of questions we are looking at.

I think it is probably too early for us to set out exactly what the nature of the interim report ought to be, but I would like to just throw out a couple of comments on that, because it seems to me there are so many other things that are going on while we do our own work that it is going to be important for us both to be aware of what is going on and to determine among ourselves what it is that we want to do and what we feel we have to accomplish in order to bring in our final report at the end of June.

We start today and we know, as we all saw on the news last night, that the Spicer commission has started its work. I think, for example, it might be useful, Mr Chairman, to consider making direct contact through you with the different bodies that are also at work so that we know what they are doing and they know what we are about.

There was the interesting proposal made by Professor Peter Russell a month or two ago. He suggested that perhaps when these various committees and commissions have, if not finished their work but maybe when they are well under way, the various individuals who are working in Alberta or in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, come together in a kind of session for a couple of days to talk about what it is that we are hearing and what kinds of views are coming forward. I think that is perhaps an interesting element of our work and we should keep in contact with what is happening elsewhere.

In terms of the interim report, I think we want to leave open whether our interim report would simply bring the Legislature up to date on what we had been doing to that point. Do we want to complete all of our public hearings by 21 March or do we see that we want those public hearings to go on after? How do we deal with the fact that the Quebec report is supposed to be tabled on 28 March and the things that people might say to us before that could be different in terms of what might happen after? I think we need to think about that.

I guess the point would be that our key report is the one in June and that we do not want to get caught perhaps in trying to organize ourselves completely around the interim report but rather take advantage of the period from February to the end of June so that if we need a longer period for public consultation than from now until the middle of March, let's do that, let's say no then. If that is the time we need, let's make sure that in fact we can do that.

If you look at the time frame when the House is not in session from now until 21 March, it really gives us four or maybe five weeks when we could be out around the province. When you start to think of the various areas of the north and indeed the whole province where we would like to go, that is a very short period of time when we know we do not want to just appear as a committee with groups coming to us, making presentations, a few questions and leaving, but also to do some outreach, getting out to meet with young people, getting out to meet with the various cultural and community groups in the different centres that we visit so that we have a much better idea of what people think.

There are logistics, an organizational side of that which is going to take some careful planning, and I think this perhaps speaks to some of the needs that we will have from the staff side of help from people with community experience who can in effect go out as advance people to help organize in different communities to ensure that we will have people coming forward, and not just going out in the normal committee sense, which I think can be very useful for certain topics, but in one like this we want to get to where people are, put them in settings where they are at ease.

This can be a kind of an intimidating setup sometimes for people to come forward, and I think that we want to get more people who may not always think: "Well, no. I won't go before that committee. I'm not the kind of person that they want to hear from." But indeed we do. We want to reach out to the service clubs, to the church groups, to all of the different organizations out there, and not just to people who perhaps more traditionally come and appear before our committee. I think that is something that becomes very important.

The other element here is how we organize our research work. Assuming that, on the one side, one of the major phases is going out and meeting and hearing people, the other, I think, is really that the questions we want to be asking in relationship to our topic of Ontario in Confederation are economic questions, questions related to proposals that we know might come from other parts of the country, whether Quebec or Alberta, to do with the Senate, to do with a more decentralized kind of federation. What are the implications? What are the consequences of a whole series of questions, and how do we organize ourselves as a committee?

The mandate indicates that we can call on resources to do a number of things. We know that the government itself is organized in a certain way to try to deal with some of these questions, but to what extent do we as a committee want to have some independent views, where we might need frankly more than all the tremendous resources that I know the research staff can provide? We may very much want to call upon other experts out there to do particular work.

I think, in order to determine what that is, we have to have a sense of what is going on within the government, what can be available to us, and then what the other needs are that we see we have so that that work can be started. Then later, as we finish our public consultation and begin to look in particular at the second part of the mandate, what form of Confederation can most effectively meet the province's needs, we can take advantage of that. I think that is another element.

There are the two and they have to go on at the same time, the public consultation and the planning of the work, so that we can then arrive at a report. But I would urge us to look at our full time frame as we set that out and not to sense that somehow the interim report has got to mark a very clear dividing line. We may come to the conclusion that it should, and there may be some very valid reasons why that is so, but I think at the present time, as we begin, there is still much that we have to learn.


The final point I would make is just that I think it is important that as a committee we consider in the early days arranging for briefings that will bring us up to steam in terms of what has been going on elsewhere and what are a variety of the ideas and concepts that are out there. I think this will help us in understanding better what has transpired since the end of Meech, a better idea specifically of what other committees and commissions are looking at.

Also, and I think both Steve and Ernie would agree with this, in a committee such as this I think it is very important that we come together as a committee so that we can speak frankly and openly with each other without concern. I think, as I believe we tried to do in the other committee, this is an issue where there are political issues, and those are legitimate and they are real, but that it is not a partisan discussion in the normal sense. What we see we have here is an issue where we do not have the answers at this time. Perhaps no one does, and perhaps the work we do will lead in a kind of building-block way, where if you take the reports from Ontario, the other provinces, from Spicer and so on, we would begin to bring together what could ultimately become an answer. So as we go forward with our own work, I think that interaction and our sense of working together becomes terribly important. Those would be my preliminary considerations that I would want to put forward.

The Chair: Thank you; a number of useful comments. I want to make one comment following from what you said, particularly on the discussion paper, the first item you mentioned, because I had wanted to say something about that earlier. Members of the committee I think are all aware that the discussion paper, which is really the first stage or step of the two-step process of which the committee's work is the second, will be out, I am told, before the end of January. That is something that obviously we all expect will happen. I think there are some real efforts under way to try to get it out as soon as possible, even prior to the end of the month; I think the people are just working through the logistics of that.

That, obviously, will raise a number of the questions that were in the Premier's statement and will flesh them out a little more and try to set a framework for some questions in some of those areas which I think will cover a variety of issues both economic and social that people can then respond to. Obviously, people can respond in whatever way and to whatever they wish, whether or not it is covered in the discussion paper, but I think the attempt is there to at least raise some questions for people to address. Certainly, that would then give us the possibility to look at our hearings in the formal sense beginning probably some time in February and, as you say, probably looking at a four- to five-week span initially to do that in.

Are there other comments?

Mr Eves: Mr Chairman. I would like to welcome you, and especially the new members of the committee, to the committee. I think, as Mr Beer has indicated, you will find this to be a truly non-partisan process, as indeed I think it should be. I really enjoyed sitting on the previous committee, which dealt with not only the Meech Lake accord but also Senate reform. It is, of course, a very all-encompassing subject we are about to embark on here now.

I think it is very important for us to reach out to people in all walks of life in the province and to understand where people from across the province are coming from. I would commend the Chairman and his remarks regarding some innovative approaches to reaching out to people who ordinarily would not offer themselves up here as a sacrifice in what, to Mr Beer, is regarded as a somewhat imposing process, as indeed it can be to a lot of the people out there at different times.

I think it is also important, though, on behalf of the province, for us to understand what other provinces -- and, more important, people in other provinces -- think and feel. The problem we seem to have before us is that we have perhaps five months at most to accomplish what I think is a very, very large task. I totally agree with the comments Mr Beer has made that we should regard our time line as not being from now until the House reconvenes in March or 21 March, the date of the interim report, but that we should view this as an all-encompassing task which is going to take us at least until the end of June. It may require a lot of committee members sacrificing of their own time after the House reconvenes, time they would normally be spending in their constituency or other places.

I would agree with the comments Charles has made with respect to Intergovernmental Affairs. I think it would help all committee members tremendously if we were able to line up some briefing meetings in either the last few days of January or the first few days of February before we embark upon our public consultation process.

Just to sum up, I again welcome especially the new members to the committee, because I think you will find it to be a very worthwhile endeavour indeed.

The Chair: Those of us who are new, and that is the vast majority of people here, I guess primarily on the government side, are certainly looking forward to the expertise and experience from some of you who have been through this process in the past. The comments that have been made both by you and Mr Beer in terms of treating this as a non-partisan issue are certainly something that is felt very strongly on the part of the government members. I know that that is something we will strive for; certainly I, as Chair, will try to continue to have us work in the cooperative mode we seem to be starting.

Ms Churley: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I, too, would like to congratulate you on your appointment. Knowing you from the board of education for so many years and as chair, where you did a very good job, I have every confidence that you will be able to carry this very difficult task forward. In true partisan spirit -- non-partisan -- that was a Freudian slip, was it not? --

Mr Beer: We'll have other places to do that.

Ms Churley: Exactly. I would agree with the comments made by the two previous speakers. I certainly advise the subcommittee -- I am sure this is a priority -- to begin the process of planning or outreach as quickly as possible, because, as has been mentioned, we have a very short time in which to consult a lot of people, and there is always a danger in these kinds of committees going around the province to leave a lot of people out, obviously inadvertently, but it often happens. It is very difficult in such a short time to do the kind of outreach that is necessary to get everybody who has an interest in this matter involved, and the quicker we can get on with some kind of outreach the better. I am not sure who is going to do that or how it is going to be done, to find innovative ways to very quickly let people know we are coming and that we really want to hear from them.

I was quite impressed with the story I read in the Globe and Mail this morning; the first session of the Spicer commission and the young people. I do not know if people had a chance to see that this morning, but I was impressed by the kind of presentation the high school students made. I think young people should be given some kind of priority. I think this must be a somewhat disheartening situation for young people, given everything else that is going on in the world right now, dealing with that but also to be in the midst of seeing our country fall apart. I think we, as a committee, have a lot to offer in giving these young people a chance to speak about what they are feeling and where we should be going, because, as these students said in this article, it is their future. They are going to be around a lot longer; I hate to think about that, but it is true. I have a daughter who is almost 17 -- I am sure many of us do -- and I think it is very important to listen to the voices of young people.

Another aspect I noticed in the same story which I found very interesting was that these young people mentioned the environment. I would like to make a point of reaching out to natives and women, because I have some personal concerns, as I think we all do, about problems in the Meech Lake accord. I think we need to hear more about and from women and natives and young people, also the environment, the fact that that was mentioned by the young people. I think it is an interesting perspective. I know when I have travelled outside of Canada I was very proud to put a maple leaf on my backpack; I noticed people liked me better when they found out I was not an American, that I was a Canadian. I have always been very proud to display that maple leaf and to say, "I am from Canada."


People have a concept of Canada. When you think of the environment, you think of clean and you think of the snow; we think, in many ways, of the environment and our perception of it. Now there are environmental problems. We are degrading our environment across the country. I do not quite know what it is yet, but to me there is an element there, the feelings we all have as Canadians about preserving our natural environment, that we should explore.

I am very much looking forward to getting to know my colleagues and to this trip. I am very much looking forward to listening to the people of Ontario and hearing all the different viewpoints. I agree that we can move forward. We can make decisions later about where we go after March. It occurs to me that we probably will have to stop travelling in early March. That really shortens our time to be able to pull together what we have learned.

I agree that it is necessary, at least for the Chair and the subcommittee, to keep in touch with the other committees that are being struck all across the country -- I believe there probably will be more in a very short time -- to make sure that we know what is going on in other areas. I think we will be able to make decisions as we go along about where we go on our fact-finding mission and what we then do with that. I tend to agree that this is an ongoing process.

I am very honoured to have been chosen to serve on this committee; I am sure it is important to everybody in this room. I come from Newfoundland. In fact -- I will age myself here -- I was born a year before Newfoundland joined Confederation. I grew up with my grandmother telling me what it was like for her, as a Newfoundlander, to join Canada. So I have a very strong attachment to this country. I have also lived in Quebec and on the west coast and have a very deep commitment to doing anything I can to help hold this country together.

Mr Offer: If I may add to the discussion, I believe there have initially been some important questions raised on the initial formal meeting of this committee and the necessity for a briefing of this committee by individuals as yet unknown; questions dealing with the date on which public hearings will commence and in which cities they should commence; as well, as a subset of that, any outreach type of program that we, as a committee, might want to undertake and the framework and the process for how we will in fact undertake that; questions dealing with the nature and extent of research and the questions that we may want to be answered.

There is also, of course, the necessity for us to report back on a budget for this committee so that it can proceed further. It would be important to deal with all of these questions. I imagine it would be done through the subcommittee, but I believe it is crucially important that we deal with these types of questions as soon as possible so we can get on with this very important task of consulting the people of this province. I believe the subcommittee, as soon as possible, today, should deal with these issues so it can report back to the committee and we can proceed.

The Chair: As I indicated earlier, I think that would be the way to go if people are comfortable with that. If there are no additional comments, we could have the meeting of the subcommittee follow immediately. I would like to get a sense from the members of the committee of whether we would be prepared to recess the meeting of this committee and come back later this afternoon; in the meantime have the subcommittee meet and flesh out as much as it can in the intervening time and then report back to the committee some time this afternoon. I hope everyone's schedule allows for that to happen for later today. I see nodding.

Mr F. Wilson: If you could give us some sense of the time you are talking about.

The Chair: We would have to set a specific time. It is now 10:40, roughly.

Mr F. Wilson: Would 2 pm or 3 pm --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Why do we not make it 2:30 and compromise?

Mr F. Wilson: You say 2:30. Why not make it 2:45?

The Chair: Okay, 2:30. The clerk says if there is a problem with that we will contact your offices and let you know. We will recess, then, until 2:30. The members of the subcommittee will stay and we will meet either here or elsewhere and proceed with those discussions.

The committee recessed at 1038.


The committee resumed at 1504.

The Chair: We have one piece of information that is on its way to us. I can read it, but it would probably be useful to put that in front of people. It is the proposed list of communities to visit. The subcommittee has been meeting and we have come up with a report to the full committee, which is perhaps not as finely tuned as we would like it to be, but we thought it was important to come back as close to the time we had suggested as we could. I am going to read out the report from the subcommittee.

"The subcommittee agreed that the committee will request to meet during the weeks of January 27; February 3, 10, 17 and 24; March 3 and on Monday, March 18.

"The subcommittee suggests that the time between now and the March 21 deadline for the submission of an interim report be viewed as simply the first stage of a longer discussion process," and in that sense it cannot be exhaustive.

The subcommittee is suggesting that we travel too, and we now have a group of communities that we have grouped together into four areas. If members of the committee can see the map out there, it basically groups them together. We have copies that we are going to distribute at this point, so perhaps I will just wait until that happens.

As you can see, the tentative routes and locations that we have set out are, in the first block, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie; in the second block, Timmins, Kirkland Lake, North Bay and Sudbury; in the third block, Windsor, London, Brantford, Hamilton/St Catharines; and in the fourth block, Ottawa, Cornwall, Kingston and Toronto. At this point we are suggesting that be the sequence, subject to whatever the technical aspects of doing things might require, if any changes are required as a result of that. The actual travel part would begin the week of 3 February in our recommendation.

"The first part of the hearings would be to solicit the views of the people of Ontario regarding the place of Ontario within Confederation. The committee will attempt to contact as many people as possible and as wide a range of people as possible. In order to accomplish this, the subcommittee recommends that in addition to the regular format of hearings, small or more informal meetings be held, and at the discretion of the committee these informal meetings not be televised or recorded on Hansard.

"The subcommittee recommends that the committee delegate the approval of advertising, meeting arrangements and other administrative matters to the subcommittee.

"The subcommittee further recommends that the Chair contact the committees and commissions of the other provinces and the federal government to discuss the sharing of information with those bodies and possible joint meetings with those bodies at some later point."

Finally, "The subcommittee recommends that the committee have briefings during the week of January 28 on constitutional events across Canada since the Meech Lake accord and to receive a broad overview of issues concerning constitutional matters."

That is the report of the subcommittee. I think, as you can see, we have tried to sort of just set out a situation where we will use a bit of time towards the end of this month to receive some briefings, then use the month of February to do the bulk of the travel, recognizing that it will only allow us to get an initial sense of where the province of Ontario is on these matters and then allow us to reflect that in our interim report to the Legislature by the deadline of 21 March.

The subcommittee will be meeting next week to discuss some of the other aspects, such as, of course, the budget proposal that we need to pull together and particularly what we need to do to do a serious outreach, and what assistance we may need with that if we want to seriously go beyond the traditional mode of holding discussions and how we go about identifying and making sure that we have touched base with all the different constituencies across the province that we need to talk to, if we are to reflect very clearly the feelings of a cross-section of the province in our report.

Mr F. Wilson: Do you need someone to move acceptance before discussion?

The Chair: Sure, yes. Actually, I guess the subcommittee report is open for debate, so go ahead.

Mr F. Wilson: I move acceptance of the subcommittee's report.

Mr Eves: As to the week of 4 March, what is it the subcommittee plans on doing?

The Chair: That will be the time that we expect we will be spending in effect pulling together the interim report, because that is the week following the end of our hearings.

Mr Eves: Are there caucus meetings going on that week, like two or three meetings?

The Chair: Yes, we are conscious of the caucus meetings and hope that the caucus meetings will end up being on the same days or with enough of an overlap that we can then use the rest of the week.

Mr Eves: Did the subcommittee address the issue of hearing viewpoints from other provincial legislatures?

The Chair: Yes, we did. That is something that we no doubt will come back to. What we have agreed to at this point is that an initial approach on our part should be to make contact with the other commissions, groups and committees and to leave open the possibility for some discussion depending on the kind of response we get from those bodies.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We have Toronto listed here in the same typeset as places like Cornwall and Thunder Bay. Toronto has always been the focus of hearings. I understand, I think, why this is like it is in that we are going to have to go back to the Legislative Assembly for the second half, certainly, of our work. Is that going to be somehow explained, in that usually committee hearings have a lot of their time in Toronto, and people expect that? You are the person who is much more conscious than I of the Toronto constituency. How do you explain this or are there going to be, for instance, in that week, two days in Toronto and half a day in Ottawa?

The Chair: We have not worked out those details. That is what the subcommittee is going to be looking at, which is why we put this out as a tentative list, so that we have a feeling of managing to cover at least the various regions of the province in some reasonable fashion and trying to go beyond what committees would normally do in these kinds of situations. But I hear what you are saying. I am sure the other members of the subcommittee do as well. We will have to take a look at how we can address that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Will you be keeping this tentative until the advertisements have been circulating for a couple of weeks? I guess what I am thinking of is that Thunder Bay may have 10 people and the Sault may have two groups of people. I just wonder how long this stays tentative and how your thoughts are coming together on how or when it will change.


The Chair: I think our sense was that we needed to firm it up as soon as we could because of the need to make the arrangements, and our desire as well to be able to use the time in the particular communities so that in addition to holding the traditional type of hearings, we also allow members of the committee to maybe reach out in some informal ways, as we have indicated, to various constituencies within each of those communities.

Having said that, again, I think that with the point we have reached now, the staff would be taking a look at the mechanics of putting this kind of itinerary together and will report back to us next week when we meet again. If problems develop, then we can take those into account, and obviously take into account the kinds of comments you are making to us.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think it is really important -- you have said it from the very beginning and I hope you will repeat it -- that this is a different approach, because this is definitely a great break from the way in which we have usually handled committee hearings as such.

The Chair: My sense, and I am sure the other members would agree, as far as one of the first comments you made about Toronto is concerned, is that it will be easier to add time for hearings in Toronto than it would be for any other community, obviously, because of the fact that we tend to be here so much of the time. That is something we could even adjust as we go on.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think that needs explanation in a bold handout of this sheet; I think it could be misinterpreted.

The Chair: Right.

Mr F. Wilson: One suggestion and one quick question: On category 4, the eastern Ontario region, could I suggest that the subcommittee revisit that group and perhaps add one more location? Knowing that area well, I find it difficult to think that Peterborough would not be there as a very central location for the east-central area. It would round that off nicely.

The question is, is there significance to the progression of categories here, north first followed by southwest?

The Chair: I think we had probably the strongest feelings about starting out with the group of communities in the northwest, but the rest we felt fitted in nicely as a sequence. But there is no magic to it, no.

Mr F. Wilson: That would be a suggestion I would have for the committee too, that perhaps it would be appropriate to start in the north.

The Chair: Yes, sorry. What we are suggesting is that unless people feel otherwise, this be the sequence, as it is outlined here, but as I say, we did not feel that strongly about it beyond the first grouping.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You set down the days?

The Chair: You mean days of the week?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes.

The Chair: Yes. We were looking generally at Monday through Thursday, recognizing that a lot of that would probably involve a lot of travel time during the day and meetings in the evening, and as much as possible our meeting times would actually be in the evening to facilitate to the largest degree possible being available to people in those communities. But generally the Monday through Thursday.

I think we recognized that during that first week we might have to extend that a little bit in order to accommodate all of those communities, and so we might be looking there at either a Sunday afternoon or Sunday night departure or possibly an extension into Friday.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Let's hope the weather patterns of this province co-operate in the month of February.

The Chair: We are anticipating complete co-operation on the weather front on this.

Mr F. Wilson: I have another suggestion. I noticed too in that same category, and this is only a suggestion that should be thought out further, that an addition to that would be Pembroke. There seems to be a large gap of area between North Bay and Ottawa. It might be appropriate. I just offer that as a suggestion.

The Chair: We will certainly take a look at that. The problem I am sure we will come up with again is the time constraints. Quite frankly, knowing that we want, or are supposed to have, as much as we can of the proceedings televised, that also has some technical implications as to how easily we can move around, although we have tried very much not to have that dictate what we do. We will take a look at those two suggestions you have made as well.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Pembroke people have often come to Ottawa for presentations when committees have travelled.

Ms Churley: Have you -- perhaps I missed it -- outlined the mode of transportation? Have you discussed that yet'?

The Chair: No, we have not. Sorry, we discussed it; I had not said --

Ms Churley: In February in Ontario?

The Chair: We talked about a variety of ways. Obviously in some cases we are going to have to fly to particular destinations. Then what we would like to do is to take a look at, within each of the groupings to whatever extent possible, trying to travel by bus or other modes of transportation. Again, that is something that we will have to fine-tune as we go along. As I see the smiles developing across, I --

Ms Churley: In anticipation.

The Chair: Yes. It is something that we have not quite worked out yet.

Mr Beer: I think one of the things that we just really wanted to underline when we were looking at these groupings in the subcommittee was that in addition to what people normally see as the way committees of the Legislature go around the province and have sessions -- we will be doing those, but the importance in stressing the informal other kinds of meetings, outreach, that we hope to set up so that we will be able to find groups of students, nurses, perhaps church groups, whatever, but really trying to explore to make the maximum use of the time that we are in those communities, over and above what would be perhaps the more standard sessions of the committee.

We really said to ourselves that the reason we want to get as much into the month of February as possible is that this is a time of listening. We are going to be doing more of that later, but because of the way that March falls out, we really had to make as much use of those four weeks as possible and, I think, focus on that and really expand the number of communities. Often, committees do not get into as many communities as this, and if we can add a few more, as has been suggested, I think we would want to try to do that. Our feeling is that we will be able to reach a great number of people this way, both through the more formal meetings of the committee and through some of the more ad hoc, where we might split up into smaller groups and just go out and chat with people. I think recognizing that we are going to be doing some things differently. That is good. We want to try to do that so that we maximize the contacts that we make with Ontarians.

Ms Churley: I just want to make a suggestion that may not be able to be answered now. It is on a different train of thought.

In terms of approaching people in all these communities, are we going out with a kind of blank slate with no background material? I guess we need to have a discussion at some point about our terms of reference, in terms of what it is we are saying to people. Are we giving them any kind of overview of anything? Have we thought about what our approach is when we go to these communities?

The Chair: Certainly, we know and we obviously kept very much in mind as we were planning the schedule that the discussion paper from the government will be out, if everything goes according to schedule, before the end of January.

Ms Churley: And that will be used as the background.

The Chair: Yes. If the committee feels that we need to do anything beyond that, we certainly can do that. Part of our briefing and information session in that latter part of January will in fact involve being able to review with the appropriate representatives of the government the contents of that paper and any other related issues that we need to take a look at and at least have some general sense of before we go out in the hearings.

Ms Churley: So this discussion paper, if all goes well according to time, will be sent in vast numbers to the population all over the province.

The Chair: Yes. It will be distributed to whatever mailing lists exist within any ministries of the government. I think they are anticipating, therefore, a very vast distribution. That list will certainly be available to this committee as well in terms of anything else that we may wish to do.

Mr F. Wilson: Did the subcommittee address the need to advertise?

The Chair: Yes, and that is also one of the issues that we will be taking a closer look at because, again, we think we may need to do some things a little bit differently as well, perhaps using the same kinds of budgets and amounts that are traditionally used but using them in a slightly different way.

Mr F. Wilson: If it is appropriate, I have another suggestion for that, if it is even possible, that when we do advertise, the advertisement be used as a method to give people some pointers or some direction on what discussion will take place; not to sort of restrict what we will discuss, but something to hang their presentations on.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Besides the people on the ministry mailing lists, would we be inviting people to request copies? I do not think we want to model on Spicer, but we are getting some kind of direction there that they are trying to get a very democratic process, and I think we should make this discussion paper available to anyone in the province who wants it.

The Chair: Absolutely.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I know that is unusual, but I think we should have a call-in number or a mailing address to let this be open and accessible.

The Chair: Absolutely. I think that is something we would all want to see, and again, we can work that out, either through the committee itself or through whatever other system here makes sense to do that, so that people could call and get a copy of the paper if they did not have it. Obviously, we would be wanting the paper available as widely as possible, in addition to the mailing list, in whatever public places across the province would make sense.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Have you spoken at all about having it translated?

The Chair: The paper will certainly go out in English and French, and I gather there also will be a summary of that put together, which then could easily be translated into other languages.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: There seem to be seven or eight languages that most ministries from time to time publish in. You may want to discuss if you wanted to broaden into two or three of those at least, particularly at least one of the Oriental languages.

The Chair: Certainly.

Mr Winninger: I know the Chair is cognizant of the need, if we are dialoguing with native communities, to meet them on their own territory, as it were. I would hope that this tentative list of routes does not become inflexible so that we cannot set up media coverage and so on if we do want to travel, however inconvenient, to certain native communities in all parts of the province.

The Chair: We talked about that, actually, and our hope is that we have in fact set out some of the communities that would allow us to do that, particularly in the north and certainly in other parts of the province as well. But again, that is also part of the kind of fine-tuning that we want to be able to do if in fact we have not done that properly.

If there are no further comments, then we will take the subcommittee report as being approved. The subcommittee will certainly look at the suggestions that have been made of other things to add or consider in addition to what we have recommended.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Do you expect to have a meeting of the whole committee next week after your subcommittee meeting?

The Chair: At this point we do not think so, but we will certainly just keep track of that through the representatives from each of the parties. We tried not to, because we know that everyone is involved in other committees in the next couple of weeks, but we do not anticipate any problems.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: The week of the 27th, is that the first week at this moment?

The Chair: At this moment, yes. If we have a different sense after our meeting next week, then we can pull one together for the week after that.

The committee adjourned at 1527.