Thursday 12 December 1991

Subcommittee report

Report from Anti-Drug Secretariat

Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations


Chair: Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South L)

Vice-Chair: Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North L)

Cousens, W. Donald (Markham PC)

Haeck, Christel (St. Catharines-Brock NDP)

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent NDP)

Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings NDP)

MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton NDP)

O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York NDP)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre NDP)

Substitution: Poirier, Jean (Prescott and Russell L) for Mr Cordiano

Clerk: Manikel Tanis

Staff: McLellan, Ray, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1006 in room 228.


The Chair: Your subcommittee met on November 27, 1991, to discuss the committee's agenda. It was agreed that the committee would continue to discuss substance abuse at the next two meetings and that the report would be tabled in the spring. It was agreed that the committee would consider the following sections of the Provincial Auditor's 1991 annual report in 1992: sections on hospitals from the 1990 and 1991 annual reports; section 3.4 of the 1991 annual report on waste management; sections 2.5 and 2.6 of the 1991 annual report on computers, and section 3.15 of the 1991 annual report on government-owned housing.

The subcommittee directed the clerk of the committee to write to the three party House leaders and whips to request two weeks of meeting time during the winter recess. The subcommittee directed the Chair to contact the Premier's office to inquire on the status of the appointment of the Provincial Auditor.

I spoke to Ray McLellan, our research officer. Since we were going to be discussing George Mammoliti's report today, it was felt that to do justice to our interim or even our more-than-interim report, because Ray has 60% of it completed but did not want to go ahead and complete it without the Mammoliti report and discussions on it in case it changed the tenor of the report, he suggested to me, I am in agreement and I put it to the committee that we do not want the report to come down next week and gather dust.

I propose we give Ray additional time, although he does not need it -- he is quite prepared to complete it by next week -- to prepare a report we can then present at the opening of the spring session, so that it is highlighted. Perhaps moods will be a little less frayed at that time and we might be able to convince those in positions of authority to give us a day to debate the report because it is that important. Does anybody have any contrary views as to that instruction to Ray or have a problem with it?

Mr White: I am wondering, given that format, the degree to which the committee members will be able to comment upon a draft report --

The Chair: You will have a draft report.

Mr White: -- whether the timing would be sufficient. Perhaps I could ask Ray to comment. Also, Ray, you might want to be aware of the fact you seem to have a new title as the Provincial Auditor.

Mr O'Connor: That was what I was going to say.

The Chair: Dealing with your first observation, a draft report will be available for us to discuss one of those days during the intersession. We can then have Ray prepare it in final form and it can be presented in the spring at the opening of the session.

Mr White: My concern about that, Mr Chair, is that this committee does not sit during the intersession.

The Chair: We have not been informed. Do you know something we do not know?

Mr White: I do not know. Do we have scheduled sitting days during the intersession?

The Chair: We have requested of the House leaders sitting time during the intersession but we do not have a response yet. I am sure we will get some time; whether it will be what we have requested, I do not know. The clerk indicates Mr Mammoliti has a bill in the House at 11, so I think we will go through his report to let him get into the House, if that is all right. We can discuss this further if you want, Drummond, after that.

Ms Haeck: As a point of information, I would like at some point to raise the issue of the auditor. I fully concur, since George has to get into the House, that it should be some time after 11 o'clock, but I did want to make sure we had some time to discuss that.

Mr White: Might I suggest very simply that we have a subcommittee report before us that should be accepted. Those recommendations should be accepted with the proviso that the whole committee have the opportunity to comment upon the draft report prior to its being tabled.

The Chair: Yes, very definitely.

Mr White: I guess that would be an amendment to the subcommittee report.

The Chair: I do not think that is even necessary because that is the practice of this committee. We would never do that in a subcommittee; it would require a full committee.

Mr White: It might bode well if it were stated.

The Chair: I am told by the clerk, and I have no difficulty with it, that procedures of the committee require it receive approval of the full committee before it can even be printed or tabled. That will happen automatically, but I thank you for bringing to my attention that we should adopt the subcommittee report.

Mr White: Thank you to the clerk for that clarification, and I move acceptance of the report.

The Chair: All right. Anybody contrary to that?

Motion agreed to.


The Chair: Okay, Mr Mammoliti, if you would like to come forward we will put you in the hot -- no, no. Do you have extra copies of that report? I did not bring mine along with me. We should get started because Mr Mammoliti has to get back to the House for 11. Have you had an opportunity to review the Hansards, George?

Mr Mammoliti: From the last time?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Mammoliti: I have had an opportunity to glance through them, yes. I guess the difference between the last time and now is that I will be able to be a little more specific on how I feel, what I have witnessed and what I have encountered through the tour.

The Chair: Do you want to make some opening comments?

Mr Mammoliti: Only that I am proud of my report. I think it is something Ontario has been waiting for in terms of the government's opinion. We have heard in the past how the experts and the public have felt somewhat on addiction, the problems that exist around treatment in Ontario and how they feel about the money spent across the border last year in OHIP payments towards addiction treatment.

I am proud in the sense that this was the first time a government has gone on the road with parliamentary assistants to view the opinions of the experts, the public, the key people who have an interest in this particular problem. This is the first time a report has been issued on how a government feels. I am proud to say as well that this report, Treating Alcohol and Drug Problems in Ontario: A Vision for the 90's, is now the official blueprint for this government's change on policy.

With that, I will leave it open. The last time I was here you had questions. I could not answer a lot of them because the report had not at that time been released. I will leave it at that and open it up for you.

Mr Cousens: Just a couple of questions on process: Why was it that the committee consisted only of New Democratic members?

Mr Mammoliti: The minister at that time felt there should be a process the government should learn from, and there should be that consultative process that people have always talked about. In a nutshell, we had to learn a little more about treatment and addiction and where we should go in terms of our policy in Ontario. There were also some key recommendations in the Vision for the 90's report that talked about --

Mr Cousens: What is that report?

Mr Mammoliti: That is a report some key experts were assigned to by the previous government. The mandate of that committee was to look at treatment in Ontario and at some recommendations in terms of setting up a system in Ontario that is just as good if not better than the ones in the United States. They recognized that they were spending a lot of money across the border and wanted to do something about it.

That sparked the minister's recommendation to send the parliamentary assistants from the key ministries out to look at these recommendations from A Vision for the 90s and whether the ministries could implement or look at implementing the recommendations made in the future.

Mr Cousens: I want to make one point. What happens when the process for an important study is taken over by a political group, such as your committee -- it consists of only New Democratic members of the Legislature. It starts off the process that prejudices the result by virtue of the fact that it excludes the whole of Parliament within the process.

I want you to understand that from my perspective, as a Conservative and as a member of the Legislature, on an issue that involves everybody across the problem -- when it begins with a partisan group digging into it. If it is supposed to be a non-partisan subject, which to me it is, I have trouble coming through and appreciating what you have come out with because you have done it wrong to start with.

I want to put on record in this committee that I do not approve of the method of approach where the government -- it is not your doing, but whoever appointed you and the process by which it became an internal NDP caucus activity then. It certainly does not add to the -- you are not going to get the involvement from the Tory caucus; I cannot speak for the Liberals --

Mr Cordiano: Don't.

Mr Cousens: I would not, with all due respect. It is not constructive to the issue.


Mr Mammoliti: Okay. I can understand you are concerned. However, I think you are right. I think if you have a problem with it, then there is a way of dealing with it. You may want to ask Mr Farnan, who was the minister at that time, why he made the decision.

I was asked to do a job and that was to chair this committee. I did whatever I could to be fair and effective in the chair and I think I accomplished that. In terms of any criticism, I would be prepared to take the criticism in terms of my report.

The Chair: Can I just interrupt, please? Mr Cousens, I know what you are saying and I do not want to curtail any comment on that, but you have just triggered what I am sure is going to come from other members, their wanting to speak to that issue. Really, the reason we have Mr Mammoliti here is to discuss the report. I appreciate everything you are saying, but our government -- and I will say this on the record -- did the same thing. We had a group of parliamentary assistants who did a small business report. If it had been four New Democratic members who had no connection at all with the government or with a particular ministry, I would have agreed, but they are all parliamentary assistants.

I am sure that what you wanted to respond to, Drummond, and I think --

Mr White: If I could make a point --

The Chair: How about after George leaves you can make all the comments you want? But we have him here; he has to leave at 11. If we are going to get anything meaningful out of it, I think I have to take the prerogative of the Chair and try to get on -- without any criticism. I understand what you are saying, Mr Cousens, and I am sure Drummond will have something to say, but I think we should get out of George what we can between now and 11.

Mr Cousens: Did your committee take into consideration any of the recommendations? Do you have a comparison between the Black report and what you have come in with? Is there anything significantly different? I guess what I want to know is, is there a breakdown with where the Black report was and where your report comes? What are the differences between the two?

Mr Mammoliti: I guess just to clarify it, I assume that when you refer to the Black report, you are referring to the Vision for the 90's report.

Mr Cousens: Is that what it was called?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes. That report was the basis. The mandate of my committee was to listen and respond to what we heard. That is what this report does. You will know that this report talks about what the Vision for the 90's recommends and then it goes into what we heard and what the public feels in terms of that particular recommendation. In most of the recommendations, if not all of them, the public and the experts agree totally with the Vision for the 90's.

The Chair: Can I help you out as well, Mr Cousens? There was a research document given to us yesterday. If you look at page 3 halfway down the page, a lot of that information might help you in terms of the question you are presenting at the moment.

Mr Cousens: My final thing is to thank you for coming and sharing your information.

The Chair: I had two other speakers on the list. If that was with reference to the issue that I think we have deferred, at least for now anyway, do you still wish to speak?

Ms Haeck: I had my hand up first and I really prefer to go in that kind of order. I actually have a question on the report, without getting into the political licks of this. I want at least to add my two cents worth and make my political statement here, because if you look under the acknowledgements on page 2 of Mr Mammoliti's report, you will see there are a number of other people who sat in on his trek across the province. I happen to be one of those people, but I also recognize Michael Brown, who happens to be a Liberal member, and Frank Miclash, who also sat in on these and is also a Liberal.

I suggest to you, Mr Cousens, that somehow, however you and your colleagues did not contact Mr Mammoliti to be part of this, I would think there was some failure in communications or misunderstanding of your ability to participate in this particular exercise.

Now, Mr Mammoliti, I have a question about the report. That question is, in our visits to various facilities in the Toronto area particularly -- I cannot speak for the US leg of our investigations because I was not there -- but the most recent one relates to criticism that your report, shall we say, condones, reapproves, focuses in again on the medical model. In my own reading of these recommendations, I really do not see that criticism verified. Could you please comment on that?

Mr Mammoliti: Without your even telling me whom you visited and whom you have seen, I can tell you that I think I would be willing to bet what particular agency or treatment facility said that. But you are absolutely right. As a matter of fact, we talk about getting away from the medical model and getting away from even that inpatient care to a degree as well. So whoever told you that, I would say, is mistaken. That is not the truth. We recognize the people out there do not want to relate it to medicine, and it is not a medical problem. However, we have to understand that there are some addicts who are that far gone who would need medical attention, and we have to realize that as well.

Ms Haeck: There was a recommendation here about detoxification centres, support for the expansion of detoxification centres and the revision of their mandate to address the use of drugs other than alcohol and the multiple needs of the addicted, etc. To what degree do you have knowledge of what detoxification centres may at this point deal with helping someone get off drugs and not just alcohol?

Mr Mammoliti: Well, it is not only alcohol, by the way. Inhalant abuse is becoming rampant, and we still do not know how to treat that. The experts still are having a hard time figuring out how to treat that. So right now detox centres across Ontario accept clients. They do whatever they can to help that person, and that is about it.

In terms of appropriate counselling, perhaps early intervention and that sort of thing, we were told that a lot of them may not know how to do that. We recognized the fact during the tour that people are concerned about this and that detox centres should be established across Ontario; more to the north of course, but even in parts of the cities. In certain big cities there is a lack of detox centres.

They also talked about how jail cells are being utilized for detox centres and how that should not be. They also talked about hospital beds being used as detox centres and how we should not get into that. There should be community detox centres around the province, set up properly, with some expertise as well.

I hope I answered the question.

Ms Haeck: You have. Thank you very much.


Mr Cordiano: I have a question and I also want to say I think the report is quite an extensive one and a good effort at getting to the root causes of the problem. I have no problem with parliamentary assistants doing that, because I think the role of parliamentary assistants has expanded and can be useful in the overall workings of government.

Let me just simply say that what I do not see, and I have had a brief look at this report in terms of its recommendations -- my understanding of this is that it is obviously a holistic approach that we are going to be taking with respect to the problems we face in dealing with new treatment systems. The way it has been announced by the minister is that we are going to have an expansion based on -- I believe it was in her statement of November 19 of that year. Let me see, what date was that? In any case, the statement we have on that --

Mr Mammoliti: The most recent statement.

Mr Cordiano: Yes, the most recent statement.

Mr Mammoliti: Some $9.4 million.

Mr Cordiano: Right. Obviously that is going to be inadequate to deal with the recommendations in this report. Of course, most of the efforts that are being made in communities -- I know in my community there have been projects announced and questions about extended funding for those projects. I do not think the $9.4 million is going to come anywhere near covering the kinds of recommendations you are making here.

I would like to see along with this, if the government is going to make further announcements, multi-year projections about where we are going to end up in terms of costs and a systematic approach to funding those treatment systems as they unfold, not just a hodgepodge kind of approach, which I think will be ineffectual and will not work. It will fall apart at the seams. If we are going to have people trained in this area, then we have to create a direction, objectives and policies which will go into multi-year plans.

Mr Mammoliti: I do not want to tell the committee what to recommend and what to do on this, but I see that as an excellent recommendation.

The reasoning behind the $9.4 million came out of our tour. We kept the ministry and the minister abreast of everything we were hearing, and because it was so crucial, because the statistics were so high, they had to react almost immediately. If you note, the report had not come out at that time, yet the $9.4 million was announced. That was because it was crucial and we recognized that we needed some funding across Ontario.

If you will note, the people in Ontario say that $9.4 million obviously is not enough; they are recommending $22 million. The recommendation from Vision for the 90's was -- at that time the projected figures being spent across the border were $40 million, not $51 million. It was $51 million, but the projected figures were $40 million at that time, and Vision for the 90's said this system and the recommendations you see in the report could be implemented for almost half that cost, at $22 million, of course looking at more outpatient care, community care and family care, the sort of thing that is set up.

You bring up $9.4 million. My opinion would be that you may be right; it may not be enough. So we have to look at how we are going to fund treatment in Ontario. Right now the minister is waiting on a number of reports from the district health councils in terms of where the funding should go, and that should be done before the end of the year.

Mr Cordiano: My concern is that it be a co-ordinated, systematic, wholehearted kind of tying together of all the pieces, and there is not that kind of direction at the present time.

Mr Mammoliti: Not yet.

Mr Cordiano: Obviously, I am saying that at this time, if we are going to be making recommendations, this committee would want to do that, I would think, and give the minister some guidance in terms of direction. That is what we intend to do with our recommendations hopefully. That is all I have to say.

The Chair: Mr O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor: Was Mr White on before me?

Mr White: I believe I was.

The Chair: I did not see your hand. Was that earlier that you put your hand up? I thought that was dealing with the hot issue Mr Cousens had generated.

Mr White: Perhaps you can let me determine that, sir.

The Chair: If it was not, you are next up.

Mr White: First off, if I could point out, it seems to me that this report is addressed to the Minister of Health and the minister responsible for the provincial anti-drug strategy.

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, the Minister of Health is responsible for that.

Mr White: So it is a government report, not a parliamentary report?

Mr Mammoliti: This is a parliamentary assistants' committee report. It now has become the official blueprint for our government in terms of policy, as well as A Vision for the 90's. So you have two reports that are the official blueprint.

Mr White: As this is a government report, that is the reason the parliamentary assistants were involved, because the New Democratic Party happened to form the government?

Mr Mammoliti: I believe so, but again that is the minister's --

Mr White: I would like to draw your attention to recommendation XVIII on page 56. I have run into some issues recently in regard to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Correctional Services, all of which seem to be involved in funding recovery homes, treatment homes, facilities, however you want to refer to them. The Ministry of Health seems to be lacking a definition of what a recovery home is versus what a treatment home is. I wonder if that could be included with that recommendation. They seem to be funding some homes with no professional services available as treatment homes, and others are looked upon as recovery homes and not within their jurisdiction for funding, even though they have a treatment component and some professional consultation and staffing. That issue does not seem to be addressed in that recommendation.

Mr Mammoliti: It was not a really big issue during the tour.

Mr White: I would suggest, given the fact that we are talking about major investment of public funds, that those funds should be directed to the organizations that meet the needs. Does that make sense to you?

Mr Mammoliti: I see where you are coming from, but I just want to point you to the direction the people in Ontario want to go with this, which is more of a community approach to treatment. They want to get away from that medical --

Mr White: Either of those facilities would offer that community approach. What I am concerned about is that the Ministry of Health has no operational definition by which it can append funding, and as a result many very valuable services are dangling in the wind, while others whose services are perhaps more questionable have secure funding. So I would suggest that operational definition might be added, something which the ministry says it is going to undertake but has not done as yet.

The other issue I wanted to bring up was the extent of drug abuse -- abuse of prescription medication, overdependence on Valium and other prescribed medications -- which I believe is seen in many of the drug treatment facilities. I think a very serious problem in our community, probably as serious as the abuse of illicit drugs, is the abuse of prescription medication, some of which is taken illegally and some of which, frankly, is the result of excessive prescriptions by a particular profession in our community. That just does not seem to be addressed.


Mr Mammoliti: I would just add that the mandate of the committee was to look at illegal substance abuse and that at first we really did not talk about prescription drugs, but then we got to extensive conversation on prescription drugs. I will refer you to recommendation X on page 9, which talks about special groups and the elderly. It seems that when we talk about prescription drugs and the abuse of these drugs, the elderly and the disabled are being affected the most.

We talked about how doctors need to know a lot more about the effects of drugs they prescribe and have to have a hold on their patients and what they are taking. We talk about the effects of the drugs that are prescribed and how patients are going to different doctors on the same day to get the same drugs. It is happening frequently, and that is because they are addicted, so then it becomes illegal.

Pharmacists were brought into the picture as well, and how they have to start keeping tabs on patients and educate a lot more and be educated in terms of addiction. In terms of early intervention, if there is a client they believe has an addiction problem, they should be getting involved. They should know what is around the community in terms of facilities and counsellors and that sort of thing. We had extensive discussion on that during the tour, so I will just leave it at that in terms of recommendation X, where we say that there are special groups, the elderly being an example.

More on the prescription drugs issue; yes, you are right.

Mr White: And is it possible to bring up the other issue, that of the operational definition?

Mr Mammoliti: I will certainly bring that to the minister's attention.

Mr White: I think that prior to your recommendation occurring, that definition has to be there. Otherwise you are talking about something that is not defined and is insecurely funded.

Mr Tilson: I have a question with respect to page 48.

Mr Mammoliti: I am listening, Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: It has to do with the issue of AIDS, the spread of HIV infection and the concern that I am sure surfaced periodically throughout your tour, particularly when you are talking about needles or any other means by which that disease is spread.

One of the concerns I have, and I do not know whether your committee came to any conclusions, is that if an institution of any sort discovers that someone has this disease or any other communicable disease -- it could be any communicable disease; I pick on that because I just happened to see that on page 48 -- the problem is that the freedom of information legislation precludes that institution or anyone in that institution informing anyone who has come into contact with individuals.

The fear of this disease and the spread of this disease -- the concern you appear to be expressing as to what we are going to do with that is, I think, genuine, and I applaud you for that. It may be that it is here and I just have not come across it, but are you making any recommendation that the freedom of information legislation be amended to enable people to be informed, not necessarily of a name of an individual -- I understand the protection of an individual's name -- but that they may have come into contact with someone who has a communicable disease?

Mr Mammoliti: Again, remembering the mandate of the committee, the committee was supposed to listen to Ontarians and report back to the government. In terms of a discussion, I cannot remember that ever coming up in terms of the freedom of information act. We talked about methadone and about needle exchange. Questions around those two were asked frequently. A majority of the people said they were in favour of the needle exchange program, because it helps prevention, and of methadone as well. They work hand in hand.

Mr Tilson: I guess the concern I have is that many of these people who have a needle problem, if we can call it that, could be in a specific area. It could be on a reserve, it could be in a downtown area of Toronto, it could be anywhere, where the same needle may be used. The difficulty is that all it takes is for one of those people to have a communicable disease. This issue is real, and I suspect the communicable disease issue is far worse than we know.

I would hope that in your recommendations to the minister for putting forward your government policy, you would consider that issue, that there is a way of protecting an individual's privacy while at the same time informing individuals that they may have come into contact with someone who has a communicable disease and perhaps should see a doctor or be tested to determine whether or not the disease could be spread even further. That is my only observation. I hope you will do that.

Mr Mammoliti: I am trying to relate this to communities and how we can do that within communities, with another recommendation in my report being more community-based programs. You may be able to work that in somehow, but we would have to be sensitive in terms of information as well. We do not want to --

Mr Tilson: I appreciate that this is the dilemma you are in, but on page 48 it states: "The province must act now to minimize the spread of HIV infection. A comprehensive prevention response must include: information; counselling regarding safer sex and safer drug use; distribution of condoms, sterile water and bleach kits; access to treatment; and needle and syringe exchanges," which you have referred to.

I applaud you for putting this information in this report. My concern, however, is that it needs to go further. You can express that you have a concern to minimize the spread of HIV infection, but unless the privacy legislation is amended, it will be legally impossible for any medical authority to inform people who have come into contact with HIV or any other communicable disease that they have done so. That is what I would hope you would express to any ministry involved with this issue.


Mr Mammoliti: I am not sure if you know what is out on the streets and whether you have had a chance to perhaps go to one of the more affected areas. I know you are from the Orangeville vicinity. I can tell you that I have walked the streets in Toronto, some of the key drug-infested areas, and you do not know where people have been and they are not going to give you information about who they have slept with or shared needles with. There is a problem in terms of that and how you come to grips with it. When you talk about prostitutes who are selling them their body for their habit, they sleep with 10, 15, 20 or 25 people a night. They are not going to tell you who they have been with. We have to keep that in mind as well.

Mr Tilson: The last thing I will do is admit to my constituents that I am streetwise, but I will say that is not the issue I am concerned about. I am concerned that information which becomes available at a treatment centre or hospital or any other area where medical treatment is given for drug rehabilitation or any other issue we are talking about in this report, cannot under the freedom of information legislation be passed on to the people that person has come into contact with even though the doctors, nurses or anyone else knows who those people are. They cannot do that, and that fact alone will risk the spread of any form of communicable disease. That is the single issue I was trying to emphasize to you, and I thank you.

The Chair: Mr O'Connor, do you have a government supplementary that you will yield to the member for St Catharines-Brock?

Mr O'Connor: I will yield and patiently wait.

Ms Haeck: Recently there was a lobby group here, as there are many times -- the firefighters were here. I think you, Mr Mammoliti, were mixing and mingling with that crowd. I know that what Mr Tilson is suggesting at this time is very high on their list of concerns. I have a concern in that area as well about treating patients in a hospital who are brought in as a result of a car accident. If a firefighter has just provided preliminary medical care, that care giver should have the same sort of protection as someone treating them further down the road at the hospital.

There has to be some sort of continuity of concern dealing with this kind of risk. I think there are at least ways of saying without identifying the individual, at least giving people who have provided that primary care the security and confidence that we are as concerned about them as we are about the patient, and somehow giving them the option and opportunity to look after themselves. I would concur with Mr Tilson in that recommendation.

The Chair: If I could interject, it is very much connected with safety in the workplace. I have had doctors, I am sure we all have had, who are told that if they are operating in a hospital, the blood tests that are run cannot search for HIV indications. They are not permitted to do it. We were really putting those people in a predicament where they could die as a result of performing what I would say is -- they certainly do it for a fee, but they also do it in many cases because they are caring individuals. I think that is very broad. We are getting a little far afield though.

Mr Mammoliti: I do not want to tell the committee members what they should be recommending but they may want to look at discussion in and around that.

The Chair: We would have to tie it in with the issue we are dealing with.

Ms Haeck: It is that population that is very much affected.

The Chair: Yes, that is true.

Mr Mammoliti: I have to get to the House.

The Chair: Just before you go, Mr O'Connor had something he wanted to ask, and Mrs MacKinnon did too.

Mr O'Connor: I want to thank you for bringing the report and sharing it with us. It would have been extremely difficult to get all these ministers the parliamentary assistants represent together to develop a report like this, so I commend the minister on his foresight in getting his parliamentary assistants to do it for him. It is very commendable.

In taking a look at this, something seems to be lacking, and it seems to be lacking in a lot of things -- women. We talk about the trend, on page 50, of women in treatment, and I think it barely touches the issue at all. It does not mention the multiple problems that compound them. It does not talk about the need for child care for women. It does not talk about the fact that in many cases there is dual abuse, whether sexual, physical or other abuse of women. It also does not talk about foetal alcohol syndrome anywhere in this report that I have seen.

Mr Mammoliti: It does, and I will refer you to where it does.

Mr O'Connor: Okay. I would appreciate that.

Mr Mammoliti: Bear with me for a second. I do have to get going, but if you look through here -- Bill, do you know where it would be? It actually becomes very specific; 80% to 85% of women who seek treatment have been either sexually or physically abused in their life. Even though it perhaps does not talk about child care being a restriction for addiction treatment, we had discussions around that and we know it is certainly a problem. Hopefully, some of that funding we are going to be providing will go towards child care for women seeking addiction. Mr Chairman, I would love to come back.

The Chair: I know you have to go. I would like you to think about this, though, and perhaps indicate to our research people -- this report dealt with the question of management focus and treatment focus, and the question our research has asked us to find out about is, how will the treatment system be administered in the future, taking into account the systemic problems identified in the 14 guiding principles, A Vision for the 90's? The task force made reference to a provincial body which will be responsible for treatment co-ordination and funding. What we want to know is what this is. There has to be a central focus as opposed to it being all over the map. I think that has been the difficulty in the past.

Mr Mammoliti: All right, I would love to answer the question but I just do not have the time, I have to introduce my bill in two minutes. Bill, are you prepared to answer that?

Mr McBain: Sure.

Mr Mammoliti: I would ask Bill McBain who has worked side by side with me on this, if you do not mind, Mr Chair, to answer that particular question.

The Chair: No, if that --

Mr Mammoliti: Then perhaps I can come back and answer any more questions you may have in the future.

The Chair: On the record, it will probably be the first time this has ever happened. This is a first, but we would happy to have your answer.

Mr Mammoliti: It is an important question though.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Mammoliti: I have to run. Mr McBain feels it may be better if we answer it in writing. Is that okay?

The Chair: Is that all right, Ray? Okay.

Mr Mammoliti: Again, I would love to come back because this is very important, Mr Chairman, and we have to talk about this.

The Chair: Okay, thanks very much. He dashed down to the House. You might just make it. Ernie is just about to sit down. No, I am only kidding.

Mr White: This is something of a continuation of our earlier discussion with Mr Mammoliti. I would just like to note for the record my particular concern, having visited a number of treatment facilities, and also of course my professional experience in the past. A number of points need to be highlighted to underline Mr O'Connor's concerns with the substance abuse treatment for women in particular.

First, the cross-addiction, particularly with minor tranquillizers and major tranquillizers which are prescribed legally and abused: The issue again was brought up of the overprescription to the elderly, women and the poor. Women are very highly overrepresented in all of those groups. Cross-dependence needs to be emphasized.

Then there is the issue of inaccessibility of treatment centres to women, most of whom in facing those problems may also need child care and other kinds of support services and the fact that, of the treatment centres we visited locally, while many of them emphasized that women have particular issues and concerns and that a significant number -- again Mr Mammoliti referred to, I know from own past professional experience, a significant number of women have a totally different dynamic in terms of their treatment needs than men, particularly the issue of having had extensive sexual abuse in their past. This form of self-destruction may not be the only self-destructive activity they are engaged in. However, while the treatment facilities recognize these problems none of them address them.


Mrs MacKinnon: There has been so much going on, I almost forgot. The issue was raised in regard to the information -- I am too tired to think today -- communicable diseases. As one who has sat continuously on this committee and the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly and worked on the freedom of information, I feel absolutely certain that when you get the freedom of information document you will see we have dealt with the very problem in regard to the information as it pertains to communicable diseases, the sharing of needles, and on and on.

It was brought home very forcefully to us that there has to be protection, not only for the firefighters but the doctors and medical people and all the people who come in contact with all these people. I hope that will coincide with your concerns here. I mean that. I really hope it does because it is crucial.

Mr Tilson: Is there legislation coming forward?

The Chair: There was a report of the legislation.

Mrs MacKinnon: I think it was just yesterday Noel Duignan laid that report on the table. I do not know if it was yesterday or the day before. I have forgotten. Anyway, I hope that by the time we come back in the spring the report will be ready and you will be able to see that it ties in. I would urge you to see that it does, and if it does not, bring it to our attention because that was a massive job. It took a whole year.

Mr Tilson: Now that the point has been raised again, a report is fine. You are part of the government and you can make recommendations to the Minister of Labour -- I do not know who that is -- that an amendment to the legislation be made. I do not think we can wait, quite frankly, to study reports. It so blatantly needs to be done. Whether you are looking at this issue or any of the others -- the firemen's issue or anyone else -- they are so blatantly needed, we cannot wait to read reports. It should be prepared and brought forward as soon as the House comes back.

Mrs MacKinnon: I could not agree more.

Mr O'Connor: I did not realize I had given up the floor in the shuffle there. I thank my colleague Mr White for raising all my points for me but he did miss one that I had mentioned and we unfortunately --

The Chair: Was he reading off your page?

Mr O'Connor: I do not know. Anyway, he missed one of them I had raised, and unfortunately Mr Mammoliti never had an opportunity to talk about it. I do not recall seeing it in here.

He has talked about some of the problems women have but he has not talked about foetal alcohol syndrome. When we take a look at the issue, that should be mentioned as well because I think it has an important after-effect that should be looked at. I hesitate in passing down any recommendations without considering that issue when we talk about issues and concerns of women with this serious problem. I just wanted to make sure we had that on the record.

The Chair: Ray has made a note of that.


The Chair: We have to deal with another issue. Mr Tilson has a motion, which is attached to your agenda. Do you want to read it into the record, Mr Tilson?

Mr Tilson: I move that the committee direct the Provincial Auditor to inquire into and report on certain issues related to:

(a) the management of the Polaris project;

(b) the selection of Real/Data Ontario Inc as the government's joint-venture partner in Teranet Land Information Services Inc, the Strategic Alliance Corp, [SAC], created to implement the Polaris project, to market Polaris technology internationally and to develop a competitive land registration information system industry in Ontario;

(c) the terms and conditions of the partnership agreement between the Ontario government and the Real/Data Ontario Inc signed February 15, 1991;

And further move that as part of his inquiry and report on these matters the auditor:

1. Determine whether the process which resulted in the selection of Real/Data Ontario Inc as partner was conducted in conformity with, and that Real/Data Ontario Inc satisfied, the criteria established by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations for the selection of a private-sector partner;

2. Provide an opinion as to whether the selection process was politically influenced;

3. Provide a comparative analysis of the bids and proposals submitted to the government by Real/Data Ontario Inc and by Fimtech Consortium;

4. Give an opinion on whether the partnership agreement between the government and Real/Data Ontario establishing the SAC and any other documents which define the financial relationships between and among the partners and the operating procedures of the SAC ensure that the taxpayer will receive value for money in terms of the government's contribution to the partnership and are consistent with the public interest in maintaining public control over the use of and access to public information.

The Chair: As Chair, the only concern I have is that I am going to ask the auditor about item 2, "Provide an opinion as to whether the selection process was politically influenced." I believe the auditor can simply present facts. The conclusions drawn from them would be made by us or whoever looks at them. I do not think we can -- maybe I am wrong --

Mr Archer: I think it would be very unlikely that we would find any evidence that directly suggested that the selection process was politically influenced. We have had similar situations in the past, even some in this year's January report, where, in the absence of sufficient evidence to demonstrate a good business case for what they did, you might be led to the conclusion that the decision was politically influenced. But we could find no direct evidence to that effect. I do not think we could express an opinion in the way it is worded in 2. We might do it in a backhanded way. As I suggested, the absence of sufficient documentation might lead one to conclude that it was politically influenced, but that would be as far as we could go.

Ms Haeck: As Mr Tilson knows, I did have some concerns relating to this motion when he provided it as notice some weeks ago, partly, and I am going to reiterate this here, because I know the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations had indicated quite forcefully in the House and in discussions since then that she had sent materials over. She has set up appointments with various people in the ministry to discuss this and make sure that Mr Tilson has all of the information that could conceivably be provided to him without violating the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Also, in discussing some of these things with the minister, I have been able to determine -- I am not sure if the auditor made this report in his comments earlier; the clerk and I were having a discussion about something that is going to come up later -- I understand that in fact this particular project has been looked at about four different times in very recent months. I believe you are looking at this particular area as part of your normal auditing process anyway.

Mr Archer: I ask Jim Otterman to respond to that.


Mr Otterman: Actually I missed that.

Ms Haeck: I will repeat my question. Because I knew this was coming up, I did make some inquiries as to what was happening with this particular situation. I was informed that it is going to be part of the normal auditing process within the government, that you will be looking at this in a short time, if you have not already. I believe there have been some audits done prior to the decision having been made, relating to things like the business case.

Mr Otterman: To the best of my knowledge, we did do some preliminary review because we are also auditing the land registry operation itself. Since this item had been raised, as part of our audit which is in process for this current year of the land registry operation, we reviewed this part with some of the ministry people just so we could get up to speed as to what it was about and where it is at. At this point we do not plan to make that a component of the land registry audit. I can answer questions as to why.

Ms Haeck: Sure. You have the floor.

Mr Otterman: Okay. We felt it would be best to audit the agreement part of it after it has a year or more of operation, because at this point you are simply looking at projections and what is planned or what might happen. So we feel the actual joint-venture agreement would probably be best audited in about two years' time.

Ms Haeck: Did the ministry officials tell you, as they have passed on to me, that there have been some investigations of Real/Data, the consortium and looking at the business case this group had made and how the decision was put together?

Mr Otterman: I do not believe we have looked at any part of the business case at this point. I think we also found out that an OPP investigation was in process. We have not had an update as to where exactly that stands. I think we were led to believe that there might not be any charges laid. I am not sure if the OPP is on the record as saying that or if it is public at this point.

Ms Haeck: I am not sure where the OPP comes in here.

Mr Tilson: That is because they are investigating it.

Ms Haeck: I see, they are investigating it. So it is not related to this particular motion.

Mr Tilson: It certainly is. The auditor has no jurisdiction over police investigations, but it is certainly a factor in the process. I assume that if this motion carries, the Provincial Auditor would take that into consideration.

Mr White: Is the motion properly on the floor as yet, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Yes. It was moved by Mr Tilson, I presume. I do not know whether you have eliminated 2 or not.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, just for the record, 2 is not the main thrust of the motion. If it is disturbing to some members, I would be pleased to remove it.

The Chair: I do not think it is disturbing anybody. I guess I, as Chairman, put my big foot in it and said that I did not think it was something the --

Mr Tilson: Now that the auditor has made his comments with respect to that section, I concur that if there is any difficulty in other areas, that would come forward. It has been raised by you and the auditor has commented that it is unlikely that he would be making such a finding, although it is possible if I understand his words, that there could be comments made in the fringes.

The Chair: Or if there was a tape.

Mr Tilson: In light of that, I would be pleased to delete paragraph 2 from this motion.

Mr White: Is that an amendment?

The Chair: I do not think it has to be by amendment. We have not passed the motion yet, so he can delete it prior to --

Mr White: No, amendments have to be voted on before the motion is voted on. The motion was properly on the floor, as you have already ruled.

Mr Tilson: I do not care. We will leave it on then.

The Chair: Okay, the clerk indicates that is what we would do. We would vote that down. We would vote against it and then we would vote for the balance of the resolution, if that is the wish of the committee.

Mr Cousens: I am concerned with the response Jim has given, in that if we look at it a year from now, we are looking at other elements to the case. I think the issue raised by Mr Tilson's motion really has to do with the process that led up till now. In the future there may well be other questions raised that have to do with the implementation of the project, the cost benefits and other matters.

I just implore this committee. If there is a chance we can allow this to be reviewed, it means the auditor has access to information that is not otherwise available to us under the freedom of information act. It means the auditor is able to have his sense as to whether the situation is clean or not. I say "clean or not." That is passing a judgement before it is done, but at least to have done the kind of objective, independent review of the case. After he has finished that, to me the issue is over. If it turns out that the auditor comes back with a clear statement saying, "Not a problem," then to me it is finished. That really becomes part and parcel of what we can do as a public accounts committee.

If there is a concern, as there is in the mind of Mr Tilson and myself, that there is some smoke here, which means there is a fire, let's get rid of it. There was a program on The 5th Estate, there are other things being said outside of this House on the Polaris project and this. If we are able to clear it up through this kind of approach where we just say, "Auditor, please look at it," I would be quite prepared, if there are other issues within the motion, and if Mr Tilson would be prepared to modify the motion, to allow any concerns that others have. It just means that the auditor would complete a review of this Polaris project. That would be the important part of it to me.

If the motion is too technical and detailed, and we can come up with something that accommodates the interests of others so that at least someone's concerns are addressed, I think that would be a wholesome approach.

Mr Johnson: I think the government, to this point in time, has done some auditing of the circumstances surrounding this circumstance if that makes sense.

Mr Cousens: Sounding like a Tory.

Mr Johnson: Hey, negative, no, that is unparliamentary language. As a member of the government in this committee, I have to say I will not support Mr Tilson's motion. I think the auditor, whoever that may be at the time, will get around to auditing this project fully and will at that time identify and audit the concerns -- I am sure at least as much as can be done -- Mr Tilson has. I think that there will be more substance to audit at some point later than there is today. In my opinion, it would be good. In my opinion, it would be wise to wait until a time in the future when there will be more information which the auditor and his group can look into.

The Chair: I guess I am realistic enough, Mr Johnson, to not expect this committee to be totally non-partisan, but certainly our tradition in our standing orders says we are. I do not even know where that policy goes back to. It may go back to the former Liberal government, as far as I know. I think we as public accounts have a responsibility to the taxpayers of the province of Ontario. If there is a bee under the rug, we have to find the bee. That is all I would say. Anyway, Mr White and then Mr Tilson and then Mr O'Connor.


Mr White: I just want to ask a question if I could of Mr Archer and then enter in the debate of the motion. First off, Mr Archer, is it not your practice as Provincial Auditor to inquire into the workings not only of the provincial government but also of many transfer payment agencies such as emerged from your last report?

Mr Archer: Yes, we have under our act an inspection audit clause which allows us to make certain types of inquiries with recipients of transfer payments.

Mr White: I wanted to point out in regard to this particular motion that this contract and this venture were something which our government was circumspect about because they had been initiated by the previous government. Prior to our signing any notice of agreement we of course wanted to make sure of a very thorough audit, that there was no political influence, that there was no waste of the taxpayers' dollar. I believe that in the course of that very careful and circumspect action there were no fewer than two audits of the financial model -- one private, one public -- one legal review and of course extreme diligence in the use of an external firm.

As a consequence the government has confidence that this action was appropriately undertaken. We are talking of a joint private-public venture, a very significant one, which will update our capabilities and our services into the 21st century. People are aware and many lawyers are aware -- Mr Tilson I am sure has colleagues in the legal profession -- of the tremendous waiting period that is involved, the tremendous inefficiency of the present system. I believe that this --

The Chair: Not any more; there is nothing going on.

Mr White: Even so, Mr Callahan, the legal fraternity whom I am in contact with tell me that the process is still very slow, even in a downturn. Of course there have been significant housing starts in recent months. The issue here is the tremendous increase in efficiencies that this project will be generating. I think it is highly significant that we are moving into the 21st century using available technology and not that of the 19th century which has been traditional within those offices. I would suggest, given the importance, the efficiencies involved and the careful audit that has already been given to this issue, and of course the very simple fact that as with every other government venture it will be subject to the very careful and painstaking scrutiny of the Provincial Auditor especially at a time of extreme tightness in terms of financial restraint, that this motion should be rejected.

Mr Tilson: I must confess, just in response to the Chairman's remarks, I do have great respect for this committee. I have very rarely seen partisan remarks, with the exception of friendly heckles, as opposed to many of the other committees that I have gone on. I have not been on all of them but I have been on a number of them as a sub. The partisan comments do not seem to flow as much in this particular committee because I think all three parties have a genuine interest in improving the system, which speaks well for this committee.

I am trying to temper my remarks a little differently than perhaps I have in the House in my questions of the minister. At least, I am trying. I will continue to try. I will say that it is a genuine concern I have. Certainly you are quite right. I do not think there is anyone who opposes the improvement of the registry system, whether it be land titles or registry. No one opposes that. I can vividly remember. When the amendments to the Registry Act were brought forward in 1983 or 1984, the legal profession almost unanimously supported it. There were some criticisms, as there are for any new starting venture that comes forward, and some of those have been referred to, but the general context was supported.

I still support the issue of the computerization of the registry system. The concern I put forward is, should this system be run by a service to the public? Should the government get out of that and hand that over to a private company whose identity we do not know? I think the people of Ontario are entitled to know who the government of Ontario is doing business with. That is perhaps the main issue.

But the other issue is with respect to waiting for the auditor to look on reports with respect to the registry office. There are a number of issues that are mentioned in this motion. Mr Cousens has stated it quite clearly. If someone does not like the wording of a particular section, I would be pleased to consider amending it. Or if you think it is too technical, I will try, with someone's suggestion, to modify that. The question is to the whole operation of the Polaris project. Is it proper that it should be in the hands of private enterprise? Is it efficient? Should the auditor be looking at any studies that have been put forward? The difficulty is getting access to information, but I have been led to believe there was not a feasibility study made before the tendering process went out. I have not been corrected on that.

You have given me two pieces of information that I did not know of: that there were two audits and one legal review. It may well be that the auditor should look at that. It may well be it will shorten his or her -- whoever the new auditor is going to be -- job. That is encouraging. That is the first time that has been brought to my attention. I believe that information should be made public because it may relieve a lot of concerns: how the system operates, the whole issue of the tendering process. I put a question in Orders and Notices quite recently for your consideration having to do with how Real/Data was chosen.

Again I will refrain from making statements that I made in the House about my concern on that selection process as to the capabilities of Real/Data as opposed to the other candidate, which I think was Fimtech.

There have been reports that this whole process is being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police, very vague generalities. The government is spending a tremendous amount of money in developing this program. If there are some irregularities or if the auditor were to feel that there were some irregularities, it may well be, notwithstanding whether this is or is not a good idea, that everything should come to a standstill until we are satisfied that there is not something illegal going on. The very fact that it has been referred to us: Should everything come to a stop until we are satisfied that there are no illegal operations? Certainly that innuendo, that cloud, does hang over the whole Teranet-Real/Data subject.


That is my response. To the two members who have indicated they would not be supporting it, if there are some sections they would wish modified, I would consider that. But that is the general thrust of it. What we are trying to do is make sure that we are developing, to use your word, a very significant change in the system, and that it is being done as efficiently as possible, that it is being done properly and it was set up properly. There have been suggestions that, with all due respect to the minister -- and I am not going to say which minister, whether it was a Liberal minister or an NDP minister -- remain unanswered. It may well be that there are some difficulties.

I think this is probably the only committee that can work on those issues in a non-partisan way.

The Chair: I wonder if we could continue the debate on this motion at our next meeting on December 19, the reason being that we have an issue that --

Ms Haeck: I think we could probably take a vote.

The Chair: I do not want to shorten the arguments or debate for anybody. The reason I am shortening it here, or trying to, is that some members have to leave at ten to twelve. We have to deal with the issue of the auditor. Ms Haeck, you told us you had some information on this, because the clerk then has to prepare the appropriate order in the House.

Mr O'Connor: How many more speakers do you have?

The Chair: On what?

Ms Haeck: On this issue.

Mr O'Connor: The motion.

The Chair: I do not know.

Mr O'Connor: I know I asked to be put on the list. Maybe I was the last one and we can proceed.

The Chair: Yes, you are, Mr O'Connor. You are on the list. I am sorry.

Mr O'Connor: Perhaps I can speak to it and we can put it to the question then.

The Chair: If that is all there is going to be, fine. As I say, the only reason I interrupted was to deal with this question of the auditor because some members have to leave at ten to twelve. I think it is an issue that should be determined by the entire committee because we have to get on with it. I am flexible. I am not trying to delay this. I am just saying we have another matter we have to deal with. What is the wish of the committee? I am going to require unanimous consent to do this.

Mr Cousens: Mr Chairman, I have been on this thing and it appears to me that there is a reluctance on the part of the government members to support the bill as it stands right now or to support the motion.

Mr White: We support the bill.

Mr Cousens: I am sorry, the motion. The other situation that exists this morning is that there is not a full complement of Liberal members.

The Chair: You had to get that in, didn't you?

Mr Cousens: The only dissent that --

Mr White: With all due respect, we do have a quorum --

Mr Cousens: There are other ways in which I can handle it, Drummond. If you want to play the other game -- I am glad you winked. If we could give some time to this at the next meeting, then we would have a chance to consider some of the implications of it. I have to see if there is a way we can have a little private chat afterwards. If there are sections of the motion Mr Tilson has before the committee that are of special concern, then -- I am going to have him around my neck on this one -- I would like to see us find some way in which the auditor can look at this thing and have a report back. If we are saying we cannot do that, then that really causes me grave problems with this committee process we are into. Maybe what we need is a little bit of extra time to think it through.

Mr Hayes: You seem to have difficulty keeping the floor, don't you, Larry?

Mr O'Connor: I seem to have difficulty in getting the floor today.

The Chair: In fairness, I gave it to Mr Cousens because we were debating my suggestion that we delay it. You actually have a debate on the motion, that is why --

Mr O'Connor: Yes. I do not have an awful lot to add to this, but I think it is something substantive. Following that I was going to call the question on it. One thing that is good about this committee is that we have been quite non-partisan about it. Even some of the concerns that Mr Tilson has raised, frankly I do not expect to come from him when we are talking about some partnership with private enterprise. I would expect the opposite.

In realistic terms this was a process that had started in 1988, had gone through, the previous government had made a decision, the now government took a look at that decision, reviewed it and has proceeded. I think for this committee to operate in as non-partisan a forum as we can -- we are the public accounts committee and we do have a mandate to take a look at what the Provincial Auditor suggests we look at through his report, and we should take that into serious consideration. I think some of the areas he points out for us to take a look at, as we will be doing, are indeed very important points that we should be looking at.

One of the issues you have raised was a reluctance of the minister to give you some information. I believe, sitting in the Legislature, I have heard her offer meetings so that she can talk and dialogue with you on several occasions.

Mr Tilson: They were cancelled.

Ms Haeck: He did not show.

Mr O'Connor: Maybe there is something we do not know about there. I think an offer like that should be taken up immediately by the member opposite --

Mr Tilson: I did and they were cancelled.

Ms Haeck: You cancelled them.

Mr O'Connor: Excuse me, I have the floor.

Ms Haeck: Sorry.

Mr O'Connor: -- and be flexible enough to allow the opportunity, because we all live in an extremely busy time. The ministers, I am sure, must have an even busier time than backbenchers or opposition members have. In all honesty, there should be some flexibility from both sides.

The real role of the Provincial Auditor here now needs to be whether or not the system, when it is in place, is going to get value for money. That is what our role is, I believe, as a committee: to take a look at whether there is value for money once it is in process. To question the process that the former government went through in setting it up I do not think is appropriate. I do not think we need to question that. There has been a review by the present government that said the process was a fair and open and honest process. When it comes time for us as a new government to applaud the former government's lead in some things, I do not think we should question it. I think we should agree with it and carry on.

There has been a very full discussion on this. I do not think we need to carry on and have another meeting on this. I would just like to call the question on this.

Mr White: The question has been put.

Mr Cousens: This is not debatable?

The Chair: It is not debatable, however --

Ms Haeck: No, Mr Chair, I think this time we are going to stick to our guns. It is not debatable.

The Chair: All right. Shall the question be called?

Mr Tilson: Mr Chairman, I would like to preface this question --

Mr Cousens: Can we ask for a recess?

The Chair: You are entitled to a 20-minute recess. It is a technical impossibility that anything could -- no, you are entitled to it, I guess. All right. It is unfortunate, though, because, as I say, the most important issue, I think, is the question of the appointment of the auditor, and we have missed it.

Mr White: The obvious disrespect for the Provincial Auditor --

Interjection: That is not true at all.

The Chair: Okay, you are asking for a 20-minute recess. I have no alternative but to grant that.

Mr Tilson: Why can you not put it on for next week?

Mr Cousens: Are you not willing to put it off?


Mr Cousens: I am not able to talk to it. By putting the question right now, you have precluded my involvement in the debate on this.

Ms Haeck: But you have spoken to it.

Mr Tilson: He wants to speak to the remarks that were made subsequent to his remarks. If you put it off till next week, no problem.

Mr O'Connor: I think in order to keep this non-partisan committee as non-partisan as we possibly can, I will withdraw my call on the question and hope we can keep this as non-partisan as we can and continue and defer the question being called until further debate at our next meeting. Hopefully we can conclude within a reasonable length of time at our next meeting.

The Chair: Do we have unanimous consent that this be the case?

Mr Tilson: Agreed.

Mr Cousens: You do not have unanimous consent.

The Chair: Not unanimous consent?

Ms Haeck: No. I do not agree with it. I will be very blunt about it. Mr Tilson has indicated that somehow the meetings he called with the minister were cancelled. I was informed in fact that he was the one who cancelled those meetings. So he has had a lot of opportunity outside this committee to get information that he needed to put it --

The Chair: We are returning --

Ms Haeck: It is getting partisan, that is true.

The Chair: Order.

Ms Haeck: However, I truly feel that it is not --

The Chair: Order.

Mr Tilson: I could talk to that subject for half an hour.

The Chair: Order. Ms Haeck, we are returning to the debate on the motion.

Mr White: Mr Chair, on a point of order: By not seeing unanimous agreement to withdraw the motion, the motion stands, the question to be put.

Ms Haeck: Then we have a 20-minute recess.

The Chair: Then we have a 20-minute recess.

Mr White: So we do not resume until 10 o'clock next week, given the lateness of the hour.

The Chair: Presumably, yes. All right, we stand recessed until next week. Thank you.

The committee adjourned at 1141.