30e législature, 2e session

L001 - Thu 15 Jan 1976 / Jeu 15 jan 1976

Thursday, Jan. 15, 1976, being the first day of the second session of the 30th Parliament of the Province of Ontario for the despatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of the Honourable P. M. McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of the province.

The House met at 10 a.m.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, having entered the House and being seated upon the throne, was pleased to open the session with the following gracious speech.


Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker, and members of the legislative assembly of Ontario, this second session of the 30th Parliament of Ontario has been called to deal with a matter of great immediacy. You will be asked to consider legislation to bring about a settlement of the dispute between the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the Metropolitan Toronto school boards, and to end the long and continuing teachers’ strike.

May Divine Providence attend your deliberations.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was then pleased to retire from the chamber.


Mr. Speaker: In order to prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy of Her Honour’s speech, which I will now read.

(Reading dispensed with.)

Orders of the day.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting the Metropolitan Toronto Boards of Education and Teachers Disputes.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Welch moved that as the Legislature has been convened in this special session for the purpose of considering only that matter which has been laid before the House in the address of the Honourable the Lieutenant-Governor, the House hereby resolves to dispense with the customary address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, and the formal debates thereon, as the subject matter of the speech may be debated during the consideration of the legislation which has been submitted to the House.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 1, An Act respecting the Metropolitan Toronto Boards of Education and Teachers Disputes.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. minister have an introductory statement?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We are here today to consider legislation intended to bring an end to the long disruption of educational programmes in the secondary schools of Metropolitan Toronto.

This strike of secondary school teachers has been long and bitter. It has aroused frustrations and hostilities between teachers, school board members, students, parents and other citizens, the likes of which I think I can say, Mr. Speaker, we have never seen before. I hope. Mr. Speaker, we will never again see a situation where the opinions of various groups become so polarized and so severe. I hope that today will mark the starting point for a return to stability in our secondary schools, although I am the first to acknowledge that the road back may be very difficult.

Notice to begin negotiations was given to the Metropolitan Toronto School Board by its secondary school teachers on Jan. 16, 1975, almost exactly one year ago and fully 7½ months before the last agreement between the parties expired on Aug. 31, 1975; that agreement which expired, having been in effect for two years, since September of 1973.

Over the past year, every possible avenue has been explored in an attempt to achieve a negotiated settlement. I think we all believe that a negotiated settlement certainly was the best thing that could happen in this, and, indeed in any school board and teacher collective bargaining situation.

I have been personally involved at various stages where it appeared that my participation might be helpful. The first time was in mid-June, when the parties asked me to appoint a mediator in order to get meaningful discussions and negotiations going. We acted promptly, by bringing in one of Canada’s best labour mediator negotiators, Stanley Hartt.

Mr. Hartt worked through July and August, and was able, I am told, Mr. Speaker, to get the parties to sign off about 300 items in the contract. However, several important items remained unsettled, including the monetary matters, and Mr. Hartt was unable to solve the impasse on those.

In early September, under the provisions of Bill 100 which had then come into effect, Mr. Hartt was appointed by the Education Relations Commission, which was created by Bill 100, as a fact-finder in the dispute. In the report which he subsequently submitted, Mr. Hartt made recommendations which he later described as terms which he felt would achieve a settlement in this situation and not, as he pointed out, terms which he felt were necessarily deserved by the teachers, nor which he thought the school board should necessarily have to pay.

This report was subsequently embraced by the teachers as a basis for settlement and, with certain modifications, I believe submitted by the teachers in their final position. The school board, for its part, put forward an offer based upon the monetary settlement which had been reached with its elementary school teachers a few weeks earlier.

These developments still did not produce a settlement. Despite eleventh-hour bargaining and mediation by both William Dickie and myself, a serious impasse had developed.

It was on Nov. 12 that the dispute took a sharp turn, when the teachers went out on strike leaving the schools virtually incapacitated. That was 37 teaching days ago, Mr. Speaker, making this the longest teacher strike in Ontario history.

Now, today, for the sake of the students in the schools, I believe the onus is on this Legislature to deal responsibly and quickly with this bill which we are presenting this morning.

The Premier (Mr. Davis) has already stated that the government cannot in good conscience stand by any longer as the high school students of Metropolitan Toronto are placed in real jeopardy as the innocent victims of an impossible situation. If we were dealing with pieces of mail or some manufactured goods, as in other labour disputes, and if this strike did not directly touch the lives of 140,000 young people, we perhaps could allow this battle to go on to a clear decision. But, Mr. Speaker, we’re dealing with students who, I believe, deserve a break. For the sake of the students, a solution to the impasse is necessary now. It’s something that has to be done now; and that, Mr. Speaker, is why we’re here this morning.

This strike has been unusual, even unique, from the start. It began in the early period following the announcement of the federal anti-inflation programme and following Ontario’s announcement of its intention to opt the public sector of this province into the programme. Even though the express demands of the teachers seem clearly in excess of the federal anti-inflation guidelines, even allowing for any special consideration that might apply, the teachers chose to exercise their legal prerogative to strike -- and I emphasize it was their legal prerogative to strike in this case.

The whole exercise, however, had a sense of futility to it from the day it began. Many weeks later, the teachers chose to reaffirm their strike position by voting to reject the new offer submitted by the school board.

Mr. Speaker, 7½ months ago when I stood in this House to introduce Bill 100, which gave teachers the legal right to strike, along with many other improvements in the collective bargaining process between teachers and school boards, I made the following statement. I quote from my statement at that time:

“The government, this government, has no intention of allowing this legislation, Bill 100, to be used to cause a major disruption in the education of pupils. It is our public responsibility to retain the right to take specific action, including legislative action if necessary, should serious disruptions of educational service occur. We have that responsibility and we will not shirk it.”

That, Mr. Speaker, was the statement I made 7½ months ago on the introduction of Bill 100.

Obviously it’s always a matter of judgement as to when the point of no return for students has been reached. At best, I suppose it’s an arbitrary decision subject to interpretation and disagreement depending upon where one stands.

For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, we built into Bill 100 a clear provision that imposed upon the Education Relations Commission a responsibility to advise the government when, in its opinion, a continuation of a strike or lockout would jeopardize the successful completion of courses of study by the students affected.

Last Saturday, the Education Relations Commission held a public hearing here in Toronto in connection with this responsibility that it has under the legislation. In its report, which was submitted to us by the commission, it stated in part, and I quote from the Education Relations Commission report submitted to the executive council of this province:

“Recent developments in the dispute indicate to us that the parties will not likely achieve such a settlement in the near future. While we do not rule out the possibility that a resumption of negotiations might produce a settlement at some future date, we believe that the difficult and lengthy history of negotiations to date, coupled with these recent events, justify a prediction that no early negotiated settlement can be anticipated.

“In these special circumstances we believe that the time at which these students will have been placed in jeopardy will almost certainly have arrived before a negotiated settlement is concluded.”

Further, Mr. Speaker, the commission stated:

“It is our opinion that the continuance of the strikes and lockouts in this dispute will place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study by the students affected.”

Those are the quotes from the report presented to this government by the Education Relations Commission.


The Metropolitan Toronto secondary school teachers came to the same conclusions, I believe, in the brief they presented to the commission last Saturday when it held its hearing and from which this report to us arose. The brief which the teachers presented, Mr. Speaker, said this in part, and I quote from their brief:

“The purpose of today’s hearing is to determine whether or not the continuation of this strike will jeopardize the successful completion by the students of the current school year. The teachers, who are and always have been deeply concerned about the welfare of their students, say that it most undoubtedly will.”

In the brief presented to the commission last Saturday by the directors of education of the school boards in Metro Toronto, it was unanimously stated that it was their opinion -- and I quote from the brief of the directors of education:

“The continuance of the present strike on the part of the secondary school teachers will place the successful completion of courses of study by students in jeopardy.”

This government has considered all of these views, and many others, very carefully indeed. It is clear to us that we have a responsibility to the secondary students of Metro Toronto and to their parents. We have obviously concluded that the schools must be reopened and returned to normal operation promptly, so that students will not be placed in an irreparable position of disadvantage in their future education and in their future career plans.

If there had been any sign that a negotiated settlement could have been achieved in a few more days, I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we would not have been here today. Since the teachers voted to reject the school boards’ last offer last Wednesday -- that is, a week ago yesterday -- I have met personally with both parties several times. But I must say that I could see no signs that a negotiated settlement could come about in the very near future.

Thus, we are presenting today to this Legislature, a bill which has two main basic objectives -- the first, to get the high schools of Metropolitan Toronto open and operating normally by next Monday; and the second, to provide a means of equitable settlement in the dispute that has caused this strike and lockout. The bill we are presenting today has the following features:

Teachers will be required to return to schools on Monday morning, and school boards will be required to discontinue lockouts where they have been in effect. In this way, full programmes for all students will be restored almost immediately.

All matters remaining in dispute will be referred to an arbitrator for a decision. This decision will be given within 30 days and will be for a term of two years. The arbitrator’s decision will be binding upon both parties.

Mr. Bullbrook: Subject to Mr. Pepin.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Subject to the ruling, of course, as are all other disputes in this province -- to the consideration of the Anti-Inflation Board in Ottawa.

Mr. Bullbrook: Right.

Mr. Reid: The decision, not consideration.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: He decides what they get. We’ll get to that later.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Professional activity days will be cancelled for the balance of the school year in Metro Toronto secondary schools so that every available day will be used to help students make up for time lost during the strike.

In calling for an end to the strike the bill includes the same strike definition as Bill 100, which means among other things that work to rule is considered to constitute strike action.

Provisions relating to contravention of the bill will also be identical to the penalty provisions of Bill 100 -- fines of up to $10,000 a day for organizations and up to $500 a day for individuals who would contravene this Act; that is, fines, up to these amounts for individuals who are convicted of contravening the Act.

Mr. Speaker, we expect that both the teachers and the school boards will do everything possible to help students make up the time they have lost over the last 37 days, and to help them overcome the problems caused by interrupted schooling. It is for this reason that this bill cancels all the remaining professional activity days in Metropolitan Toronto secondary schools, so that every available day can be used to help the students catch up and regain the ground they have lost.

Further, I have asked both parties to consider the possibility of arranging special instruction programmes during the mid-winter break in March for students who may wish to take advantage of them.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, let me restate very simply the points that I have made. They are these:

1. We have received solid evidence, including a report from the Education Relations Commission, which indicates clearly that a continuation of the strike will place in jeopardy the educational programme of Metro Toronto secondary school students.

2. There appears to be no prospect of a negotiated settlement in this dispute in the immediate future.

3. Although we have considered many opinions on what course of action would be most appropriate at this time, to us the factor of paramount importance is the educational welfare of the students.

4. This strike has emphasized, if it needs emphasizing, that there are seldom winners in a dispute of this kind.

If this strike did not, as I said earlier, touch the lives of 140,000 young people, we could allow it to drag on to a clear decision; a course of action, I might say, that literally hundreds of callers have passed on as advice to this government. We are not, however, interested in teaching hard lessons at the expense of the students and this is the basis of our decision.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this bill is necessary and I believe that it is reasonable at this time, and I would urge this House to pass it speedily and to pass it unanimously.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, this is an exceptional debate and in the context of that exception it will be my intention at the end or toward the end of my remarks to move a reasoned amendment on second reading. I think we will be granted unanimous consent, for that at least by government as we would wish to give unanimous consent so that the other processes can follow. I hope that would be acceptable to the Liberal Party --

Mr. Nixon: That is all right with us.

Mr. Lewis: -- so that it can be all be contained within the one day. I appreciate that.

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate, as in fact the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) has put it in remarks, which I thought appropriate and effective on second reading, that this situation is immensely difficult for the students, teachers and parents in Metropolitan Toronto. The Speaker will recognize, as the House will recognize, that it presented for the New Democratic Party caucus an equally difficult position to face this kind of legislation in a party which has traditionally, feelingly, with enormous conviction, held to the belief that compulsory arbitration is on almost every circumstance inappropriate and often destructive.

We were locked into a very lengthy caucus consideration last night and again this morning because of those factors. I think the New Democratic caucus and party recognize that the situation is in a sense past the point of return, that something has to be done to resolve it. We are not so impervious to that reality that it wouldn’t enter into our discussions. We also recognize that in this dispute, unlike some others, many of the provisions of the collective bargaining process have been adhered to.

The processes of Bill 100, once introduced, worked their way through the collective bargaining system; and although there were aberrations, and although there were gratuitous, and I think damaging, intrusions from the federal government, and although there were inconsistencies, Bill 100 largely worked its way through. We supported that bill and we understood at the time what we were supporting. We liked it and we thought it would work; and we thought it should be given an opportunity to work. Many of us wandered about the province saying exactly that to the members of the teaching profession; that we felt that after two years they had won, and the collective bargaining process had won, a singular victory.

I haven’t, and I think my colleagues share this, always been very favourably disposed to both sides in this dispute. Like the Premier and the leader of the Liberal Party, I have shared the attribute of being booed by one of the adversaries and, I suspect, treated with less than affection by certain members of the boards, certainly certain chairmen of the boards. I have thought that on occasion both sides in this dispute have behaved peculiarly, even irresponsibly, but the fact of the matter remains that by and large the provisions of Bill 100 were adhered to. I have to admit that and we have to admit that. The process worked its way right through, in fact to the final conclusion, so that the Ontario Education Relations Commission made its finding to the government. Because I happen to have a particular regard for some members of that commission, I took those findings seriously, although they tended to mirror what the whole community already felt.

However, throughout the entire dispute there was one area of authority which we in the New Democratic Party never felt was appropriately, or adequately exercised -- and it baffles me to this day -- and that’s the authority of the government itself to intervene usefully helpfully, at moments when it looked as though a breakdown was coming or when an impasse had been reached. I do not to this day understand why it was not possible on a number of psychologically special situations for the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) and the Premier (Mr. Davis) jointly to have summoned the parties and attempted to resolve the dispute. Maybe I have an overly romantic view of the Premier’s office and maybe I give to it too much authority.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: You will never know.

An hon. member: Maybe he will know.

Mr. Lewis: All right, maybe I will never know. I grant you that very real possibility. When a politician can never know, he can indulge in romance, which is what I have been doing.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Are you advocating that?

Mr. Nixon: You have certainly been romancing the Premier, if not the premiership.

Mr. Lewis: To be fair to the Premier, if I have been doing the romancing, he certainly hasn’t reciprocated.

Mr. Singer: How long are you going to be spurned?

Mr. Lewis: But I must say that that was a point of delinquency. That seemed to me to be a matter of abdication of leadership with which we in this party cannot agree and did not agree at the time. When it became clear, prior to the actual strike occurring, that the sides were so far apart they were building entrenched positions, I think the Minister of Education and the Premier should jointly have brought them together to avoid the strike at all.

When it became clear in the early days immediately following the breakdown that the position taken by the teachers for the Hartt provisions, on the one hand, and the position taken by the board on its last offer, on the other, were intransigent and that this was likely to go on for a very long time -- and the Minister of Education himself conceded sensing that weeks ago -- then it was time for the authority of the office of the Premier and the minister to be jointly used.

Those people opposite are strange about authority. They have no problems in exercising authority to close down a hospital in Goderich without advance notice where a little vulnerable and isolated community is involved but they have immense problems with authority when it involves a matter of political leadership in a dispute affecting the lives of 140,000 students, 8,000 teachers and God knows how many parents. I am very perplexed by the failure of political leadership on that basis.


Then came the crucial, the immobilizing moment in time, when Jean-Luc Pepin almost without invitation -- in fact, I think it’s fair to say without invitation -- made his ruling on the board offer and threw all of the negotiations into a cocked hat. And at no time -- when not only had the jurisdiction of the Province of Ontario been violated by an appointed civil servant, but when the obvious consequence of that would be a prolonged and bitter and disruptive dispute -- at no point in time did the Premier summon to his office, jointly, the heads of the teachers’ group and the chairmen of the boards and say, “My God, never in the history of collective bargaining in the province have we been faced with a situation of this type. This is qualitatively different from anything any of us would have envisaged. I want to exert my authority and influence with you and try to see is there a way out.”

I would have thought that if ever there was a point for political leadership to be exercised or intervention to flow, that was the point. The Premier and the Minister of Education have responded to that kind of request which was made by the leader of the Liberal Party and myself and others in this Legislature that we want to have it both ways, that we want to give the teachers the right to strike on the one hand and that we want to intrude on the collective bargaining process on the other.

The answer to that is falderal. Because the government gives people the right to strike doesn’t mean that it then removes itself to a position of political paralysis and lets events take their course, regardless of the consequences, until some point that it has to summon the Legislature in emergency session. That’s just nonsense.

Is the government suggesting to me that the Education Relations Commission would have rebuked the cabinet had it attempted to effect a settlement somewhere along the way? Is anyone arguing that? Is anyone arguing that teachers or boards would have refused to be called together by the Premier and the Minister of Education jointly? Is anyone suggesting that the public would have felt that was inappropriate? We felt for a long time that the right to strike in the public sector in this field for the teachers is legitimate, so we have accepted the concomitant requirement that when we grant the right to strike we move heaven and earth to keep it as short as possible and to effect a settlement.

On the other hand, the Conservative government came to the position of the right to strike only very late and very reluctantly. They have not yet arrived at the equivalent and parallel position that, having granted it, they then work as hard as the world permits to resolve it. The only thing that was never exercised was the kind of cabinet authority that I think was there. I don’t think I’m wrong in suggesting that it might have been exercised effectively. I think it might have been exercised effectively since the trio of mediators broke down.

Let me add, as an aside, that was, in retrospect, a mistake, because that trio of mediators, however earnest they were, reverted to the old manner of collective bargaining; the messages passed back and forth in the corridors of hotel rooms. If we’ve learned anything about public sector disputes in this province it’s that we have to be straight about every single proposition which is made, and we don’t deal in the endless shuffling games. Judging from the behaviour of some of the mediators -- one of them at least a highly theatrical gentleman -- I began to wonder whether that was, in fact, ultimately useful, although I have no doubt it was pursued in as good faith as possible. That having broken down, then again I would have thought the Premier could bring them together.

If the Premier can interrupt a Florida vacation to rush back to the Province of Ontario to consider emergency legislation, then the Premier can take some time to call the parties together in his office to see if the emergency legislation can be forestalled. I would have thought that that was possible.

Mr. Nixon: Got to rush back to the Super Bowl.

Mr. Lewis: I was returning as well, as slowly as my car would take me, but got here on time.

Mr. Reid: Were you two together? Is your apartment down from his?

Mr. Lewis: No.

Mr. Reid: Are you in the same building?

Mr. Lewis: Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we ultimately reached this point of failure. It is a failure which, in some considerable measure, those of us in the New Democratic caucus attribute to the government. They allowed Bill 100 to work its course. They used the Education Relations Commission as best they could. They understood the parties bargained often, if not always, in good faith, but they refused to exercise at every appropriate critical moment the rights of political leadership; and that is essentially why we are here now. Those parties have been on occasion, even now, so close to a settlement, that if at any time the Premier and the Minister of Education jointly had pulled them together, I have a gut intuition that they would have had the settlement.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Who are you kidding?

Mr. Lewis: I am not kidding at all. I believe it and I believe it absolutely.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: I believe it absolutely -- absolutely believe it.


Hon. Mr. Davis: That rhetoric isn’t going to wash on this issue. It isn’t going to wash on this issue.

Mr. Lewis: I don’t know why the Premier didn’t do it. I don’t know why he didn’t do it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You are trying to --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please; can we get on with the order of the debate?

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, do you have the figures on the --

Mr. Lewis: The chairman of the Education --

Hon. Mr. Davis: You liked your raise in pay.

Mr. Martel: That’s right.

Mr. Lewis: Oh now, now; come on now.

Mr. Martel: You were cheap on that one, too.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please; the hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

Mr. Cassidy: The Premier is pretty sensitive.

Mr. Lewis: Well, I will put it another way.

Mr. Germa: The Premier is as odd as a $3 bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You want a bill?

Mr. Germa: You are as odd as a $3 bill.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: I will put it another way. Had I been in the Premier’s shoes -- and I am not -- I cannot imagine having a dispute of this kind go on for 38 days, having the effects we all know on the educational system, without having tried a personal intervention, using the office of the Premier for that purpose. I just cannot imagine it. I think -- and I invite the Premier to try it one day -- that he would be surprised at the influence that attaches to the Premier’s office on both sides. Had he attempted to settle it, I think it would have been settled. I think it would have been settled fairly quickly.

I want to go on. So, we are now faced with this legislation. And this legislation, Mr. Speaker, is typical Tory legislation. It’s a typical and predictable Tory response. It is kind of cyclical in this House now; it comes with a certain rhythm every time there is a very serious dispute. The terms are almost always the same. It’s the old traditional, ritual patterns tried over and over again; only this time it has some bizarre overtones.

The government is appointing another arbitrator under compulsory arbitration. We are setting a record in this dispute for conciliators, mediators, arbitrators, and interlopers of every kind and deception. I don’t know where they are going to find the arbitrator, although presumably they will have a person to announce. They must have had a pretty short list; they have used everyone else. And now, at the end of the cycle, they have got a bill effecting compulsory arbitration with yet another new person intervening. I mean, even for the government that must be a trifle uncomfortable, not to say ludicrous. They are going to pay further for the arbitrator, and certainly that is adding up to a lot of public expense for the costs of mediating, conciliating and arbitrating this dispute. One would think an occasional blush would come to the cheeks of those who talk of restraint, let alone spending more under these circumstances.

I must say that I think that really it’s an almost fantasy component of the bill -- another arbitrator. But the part that makes it worthy of skit material is that this poor beggar -- whoever he or she is -- has no authority whatsoever.

Mr. Deans: That’s the problem.

Mr. Lewis: They make the decision and off it goes to the Anti-Inflation Board in Ottawa for the final communique, the final pronouncement. Now, there is something so peculiar about this whole process, something that must make the teachers surely ask themselves: “What have we got ourselves trapped into? What in God’s name is going on here? Why are all these special favours visited upon us?”

Mr. R. S. Smith: You supported it.

Mr. Lewis: Just a second; I want to say that I don’t know whether a reference to the Anti-Inflation Board should be included in this bill because I’m not sure that anyone on this side of the House is prepared to countenance its authority. It clearly exists, you’ve obviously signed an agreement, you’ve surrendered provincial right and you’re going to go the route. But I’ll be darned if we want to see it kind of enshrined in legislation -- although maybe that has to come, maybe you have to signal the obvious, but it does --

Mr. Singer: Particularly since it’s unconstitutional.

Mr. Lewis: It may also be unconstitutional. But it does make of the compulsory arbitration a mockery, an absolute mockery. So the minister adds in an arbitrator at the end of the game to comment on things which others have commented on ad nauseam, and that arbitrator might as well not rule anyway since it is going off to the Anti-Inflation Board for one of Jean-Luc Pepin’s consistent, thoughtful, rational decisions -- another one to add to the travesty which they are erecting in the scrutiny of wages across Canada, while this government, as Tories in Ontario, does absolutely nothing about prices or profits and so the game continues to be played.

Mr. Singer: You voted in favour of them doing that in the Throne debate.

Mr. Lewis: Now, I come to the second point.

Mr. Shore: What did you do in the Throne debate?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: I come to the second point I wanted to make about the nature of this legislation. It also fails to contain one of the items which make such legislation even tolerably fair if it has to be imposed. The minister hasn’t even provided a floor for this arbitrator. He has in effect put the teachers -- as, incidentally, he didn’t do in his county, I don’t think, and he hasn’t done in other disputes -- in a kind of double jeopardy. Not only does he appoint a compulsory arbitrator whose views have then to be passed on by the Anti-Inflation Board in Ottawa, but he gives to the compulsory arbitrator the right to bring in a settlement which may be below the board’s offer, by saying absolutely nothing about it in the legislation.

Mr. Martel: Great stuff, Bill.

Mr. Lewis: That’s very unfair. The word is fairness. That’s terribly unfair to both parties, who have bargained under Bill 100 for God knows how many months. That’s not the way to work. Indeed, in most pieces of compulsory arbitration, including the compulsory arbitration which we have opposed in principle, the government, as Tories, has tended to include a percentage settlement which takes effect and is, as it turns out, the base on which the arbitrator renders the ultimate decision and the government therefore protects the workers from whom it has taken the right to strike.

If the government takes that right away from them and it feels that in the public interest it must be done, then the government has a concomitant responsibility to give them the protection at least of one of the offers. Even that isn’t in the legislation. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, the turmoil in the school system and among the teachers if an arbitrator of the government’s appointment comes in and recommends a settlement significantly below the last board offer? Do you think that would be good faith bargaining to the collective bargaining process in the Province of Ontario? It wouldn’t be fair in any sense. I don’t think that’s the way a government behaves.

In other words, by a failure of political leadership the government brings us to this pass -- in some considerable measure; not in total measure but in some considerable measure -- and then it brings in legislation which is frankly wanting on a number of terribly important points. Okay, so what then does the New Democratic Party do about it, because the dilemma for us is almost complete?

Mr. Grossman: It was for Barrett too.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right. We wanted to find --

Hon. Mr. Davis: You could find an answer without your seven-hour meeting.

Mr. Lewis: We wanted to find a solution which seemed to be fair, and the position --

Mr. Reid: Where were you on the Throne debate?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: They saved your hide.

Mr. Lewis: The position which we are --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor now.


Mr. Lewis: The position which we are working through in our reasoned amendment, which I shall put in specific terms in a moment, is essentially this. We accept as a caucus -- and these realities exist in the world -- that the education system cannot continue in its present state of breakdown and disarray; that that is just too damaging for pupils, teachers, boards, parents; the entire community.

I understand that; the caucus understands that. We understand there has to be some kind of settlement as quickly as possible. We don’t think that the route the government has constructed will be helpful. We think that the route it has constructed can be terribly damaging to future collective bargaining processes in the whole educational system in Ontario. We want to have the schools open but preserve the collective bargaining process; and in fact that has been done successfully in one other jurisdiction.

Let me put it to you this way, Mr. Speaker. We think it is possible to accept the reality that the schools must open on Monday; we understand that reality. But we feel that within that context the parties be directed to continue collective bargaining and that the teachers be given the guarantee of the last board offer as a floor; and in that light, we feel the government has therefore instituted absolutely a serious element of fairness.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You can’t believe that.

Mr. Reid: He wants it both ways again.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You can’t believe what you’re saying.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Lewis: Yes, I do believe it; in total, without any hesitation.

I understand completely that the schools have to open. I also understand that if the government brings in the tried and true mechanism of compulsory arbitration in all of the successive disputes -- in Kent in Peel, in central Algoma, in the Soo, in Timiskaming -- that’s why the government is adjourning the House not proroguing it. The House leader told us yesterday in our private meeting we would be adjourning today.

The government is going to be faced, or we’re going to be faced, with a series of instances of compulsory arbitration which will wreck Bill 100 and wreck collective bargaining in the teacher area, and I frankly don’t think that is useful or desirable. So we’re putting to the government a position which meets directly, if I can use the words of the Minister of Education, what he wants to do. I quote from page 9:

“One, get the high schools of Metro Toronto open and operating normally by next Monday.”

That’s what we say the government should do.

“Two, provide a means of equitable settlement in the dispute that has caused this strike and lockout.”

A negotiated settlement is the single, most equitable settlement one can have. There is no guarantee of equity in appointing an arbitrator who can make a finding below the last board offer or a finding above the last board offer, which goes to the Anti-Inflation Board and is varied again and throws the whole system into chaos.

That’s equity? That’s not equity at all; that’s absurdity. What we’re putting to the government is that there is in fact a serious and thoughtful way out of this particular predicament.

The parties want to have a negotiated settlement. The boards, last night and this morning, have been talking about the possibility of a negotiated settlement. Even William Ross, as recently as this morning, has said it might still be possible to get a negotiated settlement.

Mr. Deans: Right.

Mr. Lewis: If the government really moves on these people and encourages them to get the negotiated settlement, and gives a floor which is fair -- and we all talked about a floor which is fair in the emergency debate which we had here some weeks ago -- and it has the schools open, then at least for the teachers it preserves the collective bargaining system; and for the community it builds in the possibility of a school system which isn’t dismembered by hostility, anger and ill feeling and a great deal of inherent bitterness.

Mr. Bullbrook: Do you still believe that Mr. Pepin is to be the ultimate arbitrator?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Deans: We would prefer not.

Mr. Lewis: I would prefer a thousand times that the decisions which are made by collective bargaining, or if it should pass the decisions which are made by an arbitrator, be upheld in the jurisdiction of Ontario without reference to the Anti-Inflation Board.

Mr. Bullbrook: Right, you bet your life.

Mr. Lewis: Absolutely; there is no question about that. But I must say to the government that I think the position that we’re putting --

Mr. Reid: He wants it both ways again.

Mr. Lewis: -- the solution that we’re putting to it has about it an answer to the specific provisions which the Minister of Education put -- by God, I am speaking directly to them -- and it also has about it a sense of fairness. You see, if we can get a collective bargaining settlement out of this, it will do tremendous things for the educational system. If we can get a collective bargaining settlement out of this, teachers and boards all over the province won’t feel futile or have been given the signal that this is always the end. And the schools will still be open.

Getting the schools open and saving the years for the kids is what we are here for today. The minister understands it and we understand it, and we have accepted it and embraced it. That far we are prepared to come. But we are also prepared to recognize that, having embraced that position, we don’t then undermine it and invite a destructive consequence by bringing in a pattern of compulsory arbitration which, let me say, may satisfy things at the moment but sure as the devil doesn’t make sense in the long run.

If the minister has worked so hard -- and I concede he has -- over the last couple of years, trying to make collective bargaining for teachers work, then he should give it one last push within the context of the schools operating. If he has to intervene himself, then he should do so, because he can get a negotiated settlement; and there would be nothing so healthy for the learning process and the educational environment in this metropolitan area than that.

Before I put the actual wording of the amendment -- and I think the positions that I describe are contained in it, that the schools would open, that collective bargaining continues and that the floor becomes the last board offer, which was not acceptable but at least guaranteed a means of payment, an interim settlement, which I think, with some exceptions, one of them a very notable columnist, the community by and large would be willing to accept. In fact, the community will consider it unfair that the government is ordering people back to work without any provision whatsoever for some kind of basic floor to the settlement.


Mr. Lewis: I don’t think the government has done that before. I am working back in my mind but the minister will recall that the government has used percentage figures in other compulsory arbitration legislation in order to overcome the unfairness which it has now enshrined in this bill. I don’t think that is right and we don’t think that is right.

Mr. Bullbrook: It’s academic because of the government’s agreement with the government of Canada. It has given them the right to make the decision.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: Whatever may be academic about the floor -- and I can’t dispute this crazy world we are in, where everything we do is subject to the imprimatur of a Pierre Trudeau and Jean-Luc Pepin: it sits so comfortably with the government --

Mr. Singer: Supported by the Ontario New Democratic Party.

Mr. Lewis: I really think it is time that the minister thought about rescuing the processes of Bill 100; I would like to make a footnote there and then I want to make my last comment, because I have gone on longer than I should.

There are clear weaknesses in Bill 100 which have been identified, and there are obvious difficulties for the Education Relations Commission which have been identified and which, I suspect, they themselves could articulate. But I don’t think we should abandon the bill and I don’t think we should abandon the commission; I think we should continue to try to make it work. One of the ways of continuing to try to make it work is to get rid of this nonsensical approach of compulsory arbitration and to have a little creative politics over there occasionally, if it is possible, and achieve the government’s ends and the community’s goals in a way that is vastly more harmonious to society as a whole.

One last word: A lot of us have been very disturbed -- and the tone of the Minister of Education’s statement today was, I think, the right tone -- a lot of us have been pretty disturbed about the way in which the teachers have taken a public clobbering in this dispute equivalent to very few others. If anything can come out of this which can reinstate the educational system in a way which somehow returns to teachers a certain level of self-respect and to the community generally a rather greater level of confidence we’ve got to find a way to do it. At the moment it is just seething with enmity on all sides; I don’t know what that means for the long term in the educational system but when I pick up the Globe and Mail today and see those students wearing those sweaters with those inscriptions on sale at schools, I would not have thought that possible a number of months ago. That’s kind of the way the nadir has been reached in all of this. It is time for a collective political rehabilitation and I put to the government that part of that rehabilitation is to allow collective bargaining to render a settlement that will work all around.

Therefore, I intend to move a motion, seconded by my colleague, the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans), with the best will in the world, feeling that we have arrived at a reasoned amendment.

Mr. Bullbrook: It is a reasoned amendment not a reasonable one. You must understand that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis moved that Bill 1 be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time one hour hence and that it now be referred back to have incorporated therein the following amendments:

Section 1, subsection 1(a), to be deleted and all subsequent clauses of section 1 be renumbered.

Section 2, subsection 2, to be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“During the period from and including the first Monday after the day this Act comes into force until an agreement as defined under the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, comes into effect, no teacher shall take part in a strike against a board of education and no board of education shall lock out a teacher.”

Section 3, subsection 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, to be deleted.

Subsection 4 of section 3 to be amended to read as follows: “The parties shall each give written notice to the Minister of Education within seven days after the day this Act comes into force setting out all the matters the parties have agreed upon for inclusion in an agreement and the matters remaining in dispute between the parties, and the notice shall be deemed to be notice to the commission and thereafter, except as provided in section 57 of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, a party shall not withdraw from the negotiations hereinafter provided for.”

Section 4, subsections 1 and 2, to be deleted and the following to be substituted therefor:

Subsection 1: “The terms and conditions offered by the boards to the teachers on Dec. 20, 1975, to be implemented on an interim basis.”

Subsection 2: “The parties involved are instructed to resume forthwith negotiations in good faith in order to resolve all matters remaining in dispute.”

That’s the case we put to the government.

Mr. Nixon: We are here to see that the secondary schools of Metropolitan Toronto reopen next Monday and my colleagues and I intend to vote to see that that comes about.

The second thing that must concern us is that there is a fair and equitable settlement. While I have listened to the arguments by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) with care, it is my judgement that continuing negotiation is not a practical means whereby this might be achieved. It is with regret that we feel the time has come for an arbitrated settlement. There is a good deal to be said about the problems that are not of our choosing in this House although there is a remedy in this House for the problems that have been imposed by the Parliament of Canada and by the government of Canada in the Anti-Inflation Board. I will deal with that and my colleagues will deal with that in some detail.


One of the most regrettable situations that we face, however, is one that has already been alluded to and that is the depreciation in the morale and may I say the quality of education associated with this morale which we have seen occurring over the last number of years and it has, in fact, reached a nadir, at least we can’t perceive how it could get worse. I can recall very well when I first entered this House in 1962 -- John Robarts was Minister of Education -- the quality of education was not in question anywhere. The teachers considered that we had an enlightened government and enlightened policies in the Department of Education as it then was and I must say, to be fair, that this attitude followed Mr. Robarts’ successor, the present Premier.

In those days of course there was no shortage of money. Anything that was for education, for research in education, for television in education, or anything that was associated with the quality of education as it was then understood was provided by this government, and actually provided rather easily compared with our judgement now, by the local boards of education, but it seems to me the deterioration took place probably in 1971. It started then. A significant date, and the Premier knows about that date, and since then it has been all downhill.

In my opinion, and I want to reinforce what the Leader of the Opposition has said, there were at least three occasions when the Minister of Education and the Premier himself could have intruded, if they want to use that word, intruded themselves and their high offices into the negotiations in a way which I believe, with sensitivity and fairness, could have achieved a settlement. They neglected to do that and you may recall, Mr. Speaker, that you yourself brought me to order in the House when, day after day, I raised this matter before the Christmas prorogation. You called me to order for being repetitious. The Minister of Education, in my view, probably under the tutelage of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), had indicated very clearly that this was out of our hands, everything had gone to Ottawa, and what could we do when we were joining in the great fight against inflation; all of the authority and all of the responsibility now resided with the Parliament of Canada and what could we do?

I say, sir, that their decision was incorrect. It remains incorrect and I would suggest to you, sir, that in the future they will have to correct it by establishing some provincial implementation in these matters so that in circumstances that are directly, under the constitution, provincial in their import, will, in fact, be decided by decisions of this House or the emanations of the government that draws its power from this House.

We put that forward strongly as a contention in both the Throne debate and in our views expressed repeatedly to anyone who would listen. We still believe it is true and we believe that there is something rather strange in the fact that two days before this legislation is brought before us, the Treasurer, with fanfare, appears on television and with a flourish says that he has signed an agreement on behalf of the government of Ontario with the government of Canada, handing over completely the responsibility of these negotiations, for admittedly, a limited period of time but certainly for a substantial period of time based only on the authority or order in council OC48-76, dated Jan. 12, without reference to the House, because they knew they could not get the authority from the House because a substantial, a large, a thoughtful majority of this House believes that he and they are wrong in this regard.

Mr. Maeck: He said he was going to go back to the House.

Mrs. Campbell: Yes, what happened to your commitment?

Mr. Nixon: As I say, we are here to reopen the schools; we are here as well to have a settlement with the teachers which in this statute will be imposed, as my colleague has said repeatedly in his interjections and will be saying in his more formal comments in this House, subject to the judgement of another government which may or may not be knowledgeable in education matters, but surely is not going to have those special areas of expertise which are going to be necessary in order to have a proper and fitting settlement in this continuing situation and in the others that will follow, as has already been mentioned, because there will undoubtedly be others following.

I do blame the Minister of Education -- who is hard working, and he’s told us already about the numbers of meetings -- and I blame the Premier for not intruding themselves -- they use the word and I will use it as well, why not? -- intruding themselves into these negotiations in some effective way. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, and I think you would agree, that there is a residue of respect for the Premier from his days as Minister of Education, those palmy days when we didn’t face any of the problems, fiscal or otherwise, that we have to grapple with now. There is a respect there which would have meant that there could have been at least a substantial valid possibility of a solution, and the Premier was afraid to use those powers which he has. I mean those personal powers, not only of his office, but of his former involvement in education. I regret it. I feel that he is afraid he may fail. His justification is that he wants the provisions of Bill 100 to follow their course, which they now have, but I believe that that is a weak excuse for a lack of acceptance of the responsibility that is undoubtedly his.

I don’t want to recount the history of the present situation; it has already been referred to rather specifically by the two previous speakers. It goes back a long time. The Reville report, you may recall, Mr. Speaker, evinced from the teachers and other school boards as well that they were politicized at least in realizing that their references to the Premier and to the various opposition parties could put back the thoughts that had been presented to the education community and this Legislature by Judge Reville, and we didn’t hear much about that, It was the beginning, I believe, of the understanding of the teachers that their future was, in a large measure, in their own hands and their professional organizations accepted this responsibility. This whole concept, because of the inadequacies in the government decision and I suppose certain inadequacies in legislation, but I’ll come to that in a moment, has led us to this position where we are this morning, dealing with compulsory arbitration.

Bill 100 was the culmination of the work of the government and a lot of hard thought and argument and worry on behalf of at least this opposition party. I believe that Bill 100 is a landmark piece of legislation. We supported it at the time. I have a feeling that the Minister of Education -- and I don’t know who his allies were -- had as much trouble, probably more trouble, with his colleagues in the government of Ontario as he had with anyone else in getting that bill put before this House as government policy.

I believed and I still believe that it was a broad bill and one in which most of the negotiations between teachers and school boards can be accomplished and accomplished with sensitivity and usefulness and to a good and acceptable conclusion. We in the Liberal Party have always felt that among the important responsibilities of membership in this House is the responsibility to vote to end a strike where it is clear that negotiations are not going to result in success and where further negotiations seem to be futile. In our judgment, the negotiations have now proved to be futile in this particular situation.

It is beyond me to recount all of the circumstances that followed from the beginning of negotiations with the committee of board chairmen in Metropolitan Toronto and the representatives of the secondary school teachers’ federation. It’s true there have been a number of high-paid and expensive mediators, fact-finders and so on. I was amazed to read in the Webster column in the Globe the other day that the mediator or fact-finder, whatever his capacity was at that stage, at one time was being paid at the rate of $19,000 a month. We’ve been throwing around loosely $500 a day. Judy LaMarsh probably settled at too low a figure, and maybe that agreement should be renegotiated under these circumstances.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you suggesting it?

An hon. member: It was within the guidelines.

Mr. Singer: Which of her jobs?

Mr. Lewis: It’s a good thing that Stanley Hartt made his report before the October announcement.

Mr. Nixon: It seems to me that it’s a strange thing for the Leader of the Opposition to be concerned about the costs, in this case, of an arbitrator -- and we haven’t had an arbitrator yet -- when it is evident that the costs of these negotiations have been enormous on the part of the secondary school teachers and on the part of the school board. Where the secondary school teachers probably dig that money out of the contributions from their own membership, the school board gets it from only one source, and that’s from the pocketbooks of the taxpayer. I really can’t see this appeal to economy by calling for continuing negotiations.

Mr. Reid: That was one of his weaker speeches; it was a weak speech.

Mr. Nixon: It may be that the teachers have a year’s lease on those suites in the Prince Hotel -- at least they are paying for it themselves -- but the school board costs really are astronomical. I think the argument is a weak one and I don’t want to stick on it, if the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t mind.

Mr. Lewis: Not at all.

Mr. Reid: All his arguments were weak.

Mr. Nixon: But obviously the arbitrator, with the authority granted by the Legislature today or tomorrow, or whenever it is granted, will have to get down to business without delay. I would be interested to know who the arbitrator will be. The minister, in a private meeting yesterday, indicated that he might be able to announce it today. Somebody suggested it would be one of the senior Lewises that would be available, and I would think that that would be an arbitrator who would be eminently acceptable to all concerned.

Mr. Shore: Or maybe the junior one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to know, is there more than one senior Lewis?

Mr. Lewis: We suggested that some weeks ago; had you done it then, it would have worked.

Mr. Nixon: Well, you know --

An hon. member: It was out of the question.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That would be patronage; you can’t do that.

Mr. Lewis: Instead of that happy trio over there.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, one of the aspects of Bill 100, which was referred to by both the previous speakers, is the Education Relations Commission; and while the minister has to be respectful toward that commission because he fathered it --

Mr. Foulds: Only figuratively speaking, of course.

Mr. Reid: That’s why it was so long in coming.

Mr. Shore: He actually mothered it.

Mr. Nixon: I am corrected; I understand he mothered it.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Spoken by a single expert in the field, too.

Mr. Nixon: But it was also referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, who didn’t want to be too critical because the chairman is a close, respected friend of his. I don’t have any of those restraints. I believe that the Education Relations Commission has been one of the more significant failures in Bill 100. I am not suggesting, as the Globe and Mail suggested yesterday, that it be phased out. I believe that its failure has been due, more than anything else, to the lack of vision on the part of the minister and the government in supporting it and utilizing it as, in my view, it must be used in the future. The fact is that of the five members, only three were appointed for a considerable length of time -- are there five now?

Mr. Lewis: I think so, yes.

Mr. Nixon: Did they finally make it to five?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes.

Mr. Nixon: You finally found two more who found two more who are willing to serve. All right. And, as has been pointed out repeatedly by Norman Webster in his column, the chairman was out of town for a good deal of the time and they couldn’t even get a quorum. In other words, it was totally ineffective.

Mr. Lewis: That’s true.

Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s not true; that’s not true.

Mr. Nixon: Oh well, I get my authority from the Globe and Mail; the minister can have his argument with Canada’s paper of record.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Do you always agree with Webster’s column?

Mr. Nixon: I always read it -- and so does the Minister of Housing!

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: But do you agree with it? It said some unkind things about you.

Mr. Nixon: I agreed with it when it said the Minister of Housing comes a little short of expectation.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are the last guy to make that statement, I tell you.

Mr. Bullbrook: Quit while you are behind, John.

Mr. Singer: It can only get worse, John.

Mr. Bullbrook: You can’t do it --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest to you, sir, that if there was a failure on the part of the Education Relations Commission, it was because the government did not take it seriously and did not intend to take it seriously. It was set up as a tame group of people who would tell the government when to end the strike so that they would have that particular weak reed to lean upon, and the minister leaned upon it weakly this morning when he said the commission had advised that now --

Mr. Mancini: After two months.

Mr. Nixon: -- the educational and academic year of the students was in jeopardy. When you think of the numbers of students in this city who are working on a semester system -- and somebody could give me the figure; I am sure the Minister of Education can --

Mr. Shore: Don’t count on it.


Mr. Nixon: -- to suggest that the accomplishment and success of their semester has not been in jeopardy now for weeks is ridiculous, just ridiculous. The fact that we have no departmental or external examinations means, I suppose, that the teachers or somebody can grant a certificate to anyone who comes back for any number of days. I have felt that the Education Relations Commission itself has been a notable failure in this regard and has almost been a subject of levity in that it convened one meeting, on Saturday, knowing full well, as it must have, that the government was going to bring in legislation to end the strike anyway. It had been announced, for heaven’s sake. After great deliberations, hearing from a group of teachers, a group from the board and a few citizens, they put their heads together and said, “Yes, it is time to end the strike.” This allowed the minister to come in and say the government is doing this on the recommendation of that commission. Well, there is a strange kind of osmosis going on there.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the government should consider substantially upgrading the role of the Education Relations Commission because it is true that there will be other occasions such as this, if we are unfortunate, and I have a feeling we will be. The Education Relations Commission is going to have to be upgraded so that it becomes very much a counterpart of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in my view. It is here to stay and it has to be considered far more important than it is presently considered. I would suggest very strongly that this occupy the attention of the government and the House in the near future. I believe in the strength and efficacy of Bill 100. I believe the role of the commission and certain other aspects must be amended in the light of our experience in this long negotiation.

As I have said, I too have been deeply concerned about the role of the Anti-Inflation Board. Representatives of all three parties have said they believe the economy of this province and of Canada must have some sort of control measures of this type to offset and control the ravages of inflation. I have no complaint whatsoever with the initiatives taken by the Parliament of Canada. Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether I have. They have been taken, and the Anti-Inflation Board is in place.

I do say again that it is unfair and irrelevant and, as my colleagues keep saying, illegal and unconstitutional that the tremendous authority and responsibility that are vested in this House by the constitution he handed over simply by a mimeographed statement from the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), which I understand he is going to table later today. This is a matter of substantial concern and we want to deal with that at some length later in this debate.

I personally believe and have said before that it is the responsibility of the Minister of Education, and perhaps the Premier as well, to involve himself with the teachers’ professional organizations and their spokesmen and the school boards and their spokesmen, to go to Ottawa and assist them in getting a ruling that will allow this kind of a settlement to take place now and to remove the uncertainty which has been so seriously dislocating negotiations among teachers and others in the public field across this Province of Ontario.

You may recall, Mr. Speaker, one of the points we made from this side of the House last fall was that either the Minister of Education should go himself or, if the Premier wants to participate, the government could ask or I suppose even summon the representatives of that federal board to come to Ontario so that, failing the establishment of provincial implementation itself, we would know how we could deal with these circumstances as they affect us in this province.

Some of the provisions of the bill itself have concerned us and we, as a caucus, will be dealing with this in some detail when the bill comes before the committee of the whole House. The whole matter of the arbitrator having responsibility for a two-year term is of some concern. The minister’s comments privately to me and to others were that, if it were not for a two-year term, it would mean that within the next few days’ notice could be given, and undoubtedly would be given by the representatives of OSSTF to the Toronto boards, that they wanted to begin negotiation for next year’s settlement.

I’ve got this ambivalence in that though I’ve been talking for provincial implementation of the anti-inflation provisions, the government has adamantly refused to do so. Although there is a real chance of change in the future, I believe we are left directly tinder the supervision and the direction of the federal Anti-Inflation Board. You will note, Mr. Speaker, that the terms of reference and the specific aspects of the law call for a limitation for salary increases during the first year following the implementation of the anti-inflation legislation. In the first year the increase is to be eight per cent. You may have forgotten about that figure because they say there can be another two per cent for productivity, which makes it 10. There is another two per cent for catch-up which can make it 12. Then there is a certain other area which has no limit, apparently, which is for historical connections and that sort of thing -- and the fact that the agreement is more than two years old.

Without going into the argument as to what the settlement for Toronto should be, the federal law called for the first year to be controlled by an eight per cent increase -- with all of those changes that I have referred to. But for the second year it is quite clear that the increase is going to be six per cent and for the third year the increase is going to be four per cent. As far as I can see in the legislation, there is very little judgement left. There is very little flexibility left which has been given to the board to be used during the phasing-in period of the anti-inflation procedures.

The thing I put to you, Mr. Speaker, is that it may not be necessary to have this bill apply for a second year since, if we are going to be governed by this agreement in this province, signed by the Treasurer and the representatives of the government of Canada, the increase for the second year is limited by law to six per cent. While there can be negotiations and arguments about the salary base and everything else, really the arbitration has already been accomplished by federal legislation. So, I would suggest that the effectiveness of the second year is, in my opinion, in question.

I am also very much aware of the argument that has been put -- as I say, privately, by the Minister of Education -- that it could efficiently settle the situation, and probably to the benefit of the teachers as well, over the second year. Before saying to you, Mr. Speaker, that we intend to amend that area, I would look forward to hearing from the minister, or other representatives of the government, in this connection.

We are prepared to vote for the principle of the bill. We believe the schools must be opened. We believe that the arbitration is necessary when we look at the history and tradition -- the history, particularly -- of this negotiation.

I now want to deal very briefly with the amendment that has been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis). It appears that the problems that he referred to earlier in his statement -- I suppose he wouldn’t think of them as problems but simply strikes -- that the traditions of his caucus is very much against supporting this type of legislation and has led to this amendment. In fact, it means that they will vote against second reading -- and the justification is that it should have been done another way.

You will know, Mr. Speaker, that under our rules, as I understand them, we do not vote on the amendment. The question you will put to us will be: “Will the bill now be read a second time?” That is the time when members have got to stand and say if they are voting in favour of the principle of the end of the strike or not.

Mr. Deans: No, no.

Mr. Nixon: All right. It’s up to the NDP to explain their particular position.

Mr. Deans: Why don’t you think about it?

Mr. Nixon: It’s ambivalent. They are trying to have it both ways.

Mr. Bullbrook: They’re going to vote against the bill.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right.

Mr. Nixon: They are going to stand In this House and vote against the bill and then go out and tell everybody that, really, they are in favour of the power of the Legislature being used to end the strike -- and that’s their job.

Mr. Singer: Sure -- expediency gives way to principle, or vice versa.

Mr. Nixon: I’ve had things like that to explain before and I know it is very difficult -- so lots of luck. But, essentially, and I give the NDP credit for this --

Mr. Renwick: You’ve never thought anything through before.

Mr. Nixon: -- that they have said, on the philosophy of their party, they do not come into the House to vote for this sort of legislation. I can’t recall an occasion when they have; although their leader has certainly said -- and I’ve heard him say -- that they believe in compulsory arbitration for essential services -- although some of his people during the election said otherwise; but that’s another matter.

Mr. Deans: Why don’t you read the amendment?

Mr. Nixon: I would simply like to say to you, sir, because we all have to explain our positions --

Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you read the amendment?

Mr. Nixon: -- that when you, sir, put the question the question is: “Shall this bill be read a second time?” And we are going to vote yes.

Mr. Foulds: Is this your main speech?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to speak very briefly on second reading. However, I think it’s appropriate in a bill of this nature and, as serious as is the step being proposed by the government to the members of this House, that some few words are expressed. I think I can fairly state that it is with some regret that this bill is being discussed by members of this House. This government, with the support of members opposite, passed Bill 100. It was our expectation that this in fact would resolve the traditional problems of teacher-board negotiations. Very few people recall that so much of this in the past had been done basically by way of practice or tradition that there was little by way of legislation governing the teacher-board negotiations. I can recall even becoming involved in one negotiation here in Metro -- I think it was in 1969 or 1970 -- where we were very close to a possible resignation situation, and it was after very considerable debate and a great deal of soul-searching on the part of government that Bill 100 was introduced and passed.

I share the concerns expressed to me today by many people. I won’t minimize it; I don t think there is any question that the present economic situation, the policy determinations being made by the federal government -- incidentally, and I am not going to be a hypocrite about it, we have said things needed to be done long prior to those statements made by the government of Canada -- I don’t think there is any question that this has had some effect on the traditional bargaining procedures. It has had some impact in terms of some of the teacher-board negotiations that have been going on throughout this province. I don’t minimize it.

We are faced today with a situation where I think the members of this House are called upon, in conscience, to set aside some of these traditional postures, some of these considerations that all of us feel very important, and recognize one very basic fact; that is, that we do have a responsibility to 140,000 young people in the educational system in Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr. Lewis: Agreed.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I recall very vividly the words used by the minister when Bill 100 was introduced; he quoted them here today and I could almost quote them without reading them --

Mr. Foulds: Go ahead.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He said, without question, that as far as the government was concerned -- and I would like to think he spoke for all members of this House -- while we anticipated and eagerly hoped that the procedures outlined by Bill 100 in fact would solve the problems, that we did not preclude our responsibility being called upon to be discharged in terms of seeing that the educational system was not unduly disrupted.

The leader of the Liberal Party can speak in a very critical fashion of the Education Relations Commission. I would like to introduce him to the chairman of that commission, who is sitting in the gallery. I have had no great personal involvement in terms of their deliberations, etc., but I think to say that it has not been effective, that it hasn’t attempted to do a job, really is an unfair criticism of the commission.

Mr. Nixon: I said you didn’t support them properly. You didn’t even appoint a fall commission.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that when we look at Metropolitan Toronto -- and no one minimizes the importance -- the fact is the commission has been extremely helpful in a number of situations in bringing conclusions to a number of negotiations throughout this province which we tend to overlook.

Now, I am not going to try to have it both ways --

Mr. Shore: You have been doing it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: We are not comfortable with having to do what we are doing. I don’t think any of us in this House is. All of us would like to have seen this matter concluded by way of negotiations --

Mr. Deans: Why does it have to be one way or the other?

Mr. Lewis: What is this black-and-white interpretation of the situation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but the fact is that this has not occurred.

Mr. Lewis: It could if you intervened.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not here to lay blame or responsibility. I know the Leader of the Opposition would like to try to put some of that on my shoulders. That’s fine. That’s politics. He talks about political leadership -- well, I am not calling him a hypocrite -- I wouldn’t use that terminology --

Mr. Shore: Never.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I say the position of the New Democratic Party on this issue is contradictory. Their amendment poses no solution.

Mr. Lewis: Certainly it does.

Mr. Reid: It is unlawful; that’s what it is.

Hon. Mr. Davis: They are taking away the right to strike at the same time as they are trying to have it both ways in terms of their position. No question at all about that.

Mr. Lewis: You are suggesting a settlement that will preserve a system for you.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You know, when I try to follow the logic of his position and his party’s position, I think back to just how convoluted the former Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King, even with his crystal ball, used to be, and I have decided there is clarity in his approach to these things compared to the position of the New Democratic Party in this province on this particular issue.

Mr. Bullbrook: How did you get Mackenzie King into the act?


Hon. Mr. Davis: You know, Mr. Speaker, you can’t say that you are going to legislate an end to a strike at the same time as you say you want to have this continue. You can’t have it both ways.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Brampton has the floor.

Mr. Bullbrook: I want to know how he got Mackenzie King into the Act.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have a great feeling for history.

An hon. member: He’s the arbitrator.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You may recommend him as the arbitrator, somebody said.

Mr. Wildman: A well-known Liberal.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t always, on educational matters, find myself in agreement with the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) -- have I all the constituencies? -- but on this occasion, on the one aspect of it, I do.

I was encouraged by his observation that they are going to support the bill on second reading, that is the essence of it; and secondly, that it must be done with some sense of urgency.

Mr. Speaker, the position of this government is very clear. We are faced with a shutdown of the school system of Metropolitan Toronto; negotiations have been carried out under Bill 100, they have not worked --

Mr. Deans: Worked? They haven’t been given a chance.

Hon. Mr. Davis: We have a responsibility as members of this House to put the school system back to work as of Monday morning.

Mr. Lewis: You could get a settlement.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will say this to the members of the House, I’ll make this undertaking right now: if the parties agree prior to third reading of this bill that they have come to a negotiated settlement --

Mr. MacDonald: Oh.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I’ll get the House leader to move the adjournment of the House.

Mr. Lewis: Had the Premier tried to do that it would have happened.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will be delighted.

Mr. Renwick: Will the Premier delay third reading?

Hon. Mr. Davis: But you know it isn’t going to happen. You know it isn’t going to happen. All the rhetoric in the world, I say to the leader of the New Democratic Party --

Mr. Lewis: Why should it not happen? Why don’t we try to make it happen?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have never seen him struggling more in this House trying to rationalize with his own conscience the petition that he put before us today; I really haven’t. I say that, but I say it very kindly.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I know what he has gone through for seven hours plus.

Mr. Reid: This must be his weakest hour; the Leader of the Opposition’s weakest hour.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I sympathize with him, but it is time to stand up and be counted; it is time not to try to have it both ways.

Mr. Martel: We will.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to say something else, Mr. Speaker. I will assume any criticism that comes to me -- that’s part of my job -- but I want to say this about the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells): I think he has done a first-class job in endeavouring to resolve the dispute here in Metropolitan Toronto. I am not talking just about the time that he has put in and the leadership he has given but the conscience he has demonstrated; his resistance to coming down on one side or the other in terms, I think, of statements that might affect the long-term interest of the school system in this community. I think he deserves our congratulations. I don’t ask you to stand up and applaud but I want the record --

Mr. Foulds: Oh no.

Mr. Roy: Oh no.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I don’t. But I tell you it is not a simple responsibility in this day and age, and I just want the members of this House to know that as Premier, responsible for the overall direction of this government, which I never try to shirk, that I think the Minister of Education of this province, in this situation, has done an excellent and first-class job and I have no hesitation in saying so.

Mr. Bullbrook: Are there any medals?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think you will agree with me in the process.

Mr. Singer: Why doesn’t the Premier get him to build houses because that is not working so well either?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to get into the various provisions of the bill. They are simple; they are relatively short. We are interested in equity.

Mr. Makarchuk: Simple is right.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think this is a way in which equity can be achieved. I know the leader --

Mr. Lewis: Equity? You are talking them to compulsory arbitration.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I know that to satisfy their own problems members of the opposition talk about another arbitrator. Mr. Speaker, part of the equity, part of the need in the long term interest of the school system, is also to bring some finality to it. Their amendment solves nothing.

Mr. Deans: Neither does the Premier’s bill, incidentally.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Their amendment solves nothing; it solves nothing and they know it.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Brampton has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t intend to prolong this part of the debate. I may have some observations on certain sections of the bill, but I would urge the Leader of the Opposition, because there are some hours left, to reconsider carefully the --

Mr. Lewis: Not at all.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- reasoned but unreasonable amendment that he has proposed to second reading on this bill.

Mr. Singer: We are going to be expedient.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I urge him to join with the other members of this House and unanimously say to the people of Ontario, particularly the people of Metropolitan Toronto, yes we do care about those 140,000 students and we want them back in school Monday morning at 9 o’clock.

Mr. Renwick: Why doesn’t the Premier take the several hours that are necessary to think creatively?

Mr. Lewis: This could be quite an enjoyable day.

Mr. MacDonald: Before the Premier goes, I want to make sure if he is going out for a moment of relaxation that somebody gives him a copy of our reasoned amendment. He obviously hasn’t read it. He may have a copy but he hasn’t read it, because his peroration, his final comment, was that what he wants the New Democratic Party to do is to join with the government in making sure the schools will open. Will he read the reasoned amendment? It is that the schools will open on Monday.

Mr. Martel: The Premier is dragging a red herring through it.

Mr. MacDonald: Let that sink in.


Mr. MacDonald: That brings me to two points I want to make at the very outset. In that account of the events that built up to the introduction of this bill, the minister had one place where I want to suggest to him he was at least premature. He said he had come to the conclusion that further negotiations held no prospect of a resolution of the impasse. Yet this morning we had the most intransigent member of the negotiating committee on the board side, namely the chairman of the board, saying there was an outside possibility that it may happen.

I am sure the minister knows that almost paralleling the seven hours in which the New Democratic caucus was meeting, the chairmen of the boards were meeting last night. And according to the news this morning, they are meeting again this morning because they think there is a solution possible.


Mr. MacDonald: The Premier intervened to begin to cover his flank by saying, if perchance a negotiated settlement is reached before the third reading of this bill, he would be glad to withdraw the bill.

Do you know what that adds up to, Mr. Speaker? It adds up to this, that a negotiation is possible, if this government had intervened at some point and exercised the good office of either the minister or the Premier, perhaps some of that intransigence that fortunately develops in negotiations of this nature could have been overcome earlier; and indeed it may, because of the threat of the legislation, be overcome now.

What I want to do is to emphasize the salient points of our reasoned amendment and try to get the impact of it across both to the government and to the leader of the third party, the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) because, quite frankly, in terms of the objectives that he states, I think our reasoned amendment is going to meet them, I would hope, in a way that he would find more satisfactory than what the government is now doing. I ask him just to listen and I hope I can persuade him.

Mr. Nixon: I will listen. I always listen.

Mr. Martel: He is a reasonable man.

Mr. MacDonald: Let me reiterate once again, because if the Premier didn’t grasp it, it is just possible that somebody else throughout this House hasn’t grasped it, that the primary objective of the reasoned amendment is that the current disarray and collapse of the school system in Metropolitan Toronto shall be ended as of next Monday morning. The schools will be open. The teachers will be back. So don’t drag in irrelevancies, as though that isn’t in the amendment. It is there. It is point one in the amendment.

However, we feel that it is possible to meet this reality, this pressing need, and yet at the same time do something about protecting, restoring and placing back into operation the whole free collective bargaining process. In light of the comments from Mr. Ross this morning, we have at least a glimmer of hope that with a little push it can be an effective collective bargaining process.

We don’t want to destroy the whole operation of Bill 100. We have growing misgivings about certain aspects of Bill 100 which at an appropriate time, at another time, we would like to discuss, because I think experience has suggested where it can be strengthened, where it has been misinterpreted and where perhaps it is being misused. For the moment, we don’t need to.

We want to restore Bill 100 to make certain that it isn’t shattered because of the whole trauma of this one strike in Metropolitan Toronto. The Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) is correct in reminding us that Bill 100 has been a useful vehicle in getting settlements. I don’t know what the exact number is now, but even before Christmas it was something like 60 to 70 different settlements across the Province of Ontario. That’s a fairly good record in view of only one strike here that has caused all these difficulties.

However, there are two or three other clauses in the bill to which I want to refer and throw them into the context of our reasoned amendment. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) has pointed out, it seems to me that the government is inviting a perpetuation of all of the bitterness and the uncertainty, that has characterized the latter stages particularly of these negotiations, by not having in the bill some assurance that the arbitrator is not going to be able to come back with a settlement which conceivably could be lower than the last board offer. In our view that is an unnecessary kind of uncertainty. Therefore, our reasoned amendment is suggesting that that should be included in the bill so that we eliminate the uncertainty and so that the teachers can go back to the schools feeling that they haven’t been battered by absolutely everybody in the community -- a situation which is going to create tension and a whole jeopardizing of the operation of the educational system.

There are two other weaknesses in the bill. One has to do with a rather mixed reaction to the proposition of the two-year term. I’ll be very frank, at one point in considering our reasoned amendment we gave some consideration to the proposition that it should be for only a one-year term. But if we are going to send the parties back to bargain, it seems to me that whether or not it is going to be a two-year term or a one-year term is something that they can and should settle as part of the collective bargaining process, because the relationship of one year to another is a very integral part of negotiations in many instances. So while we are inclined to believe that one year is appropriate rather than two, we think that should be left to the collective bargaining process.

Another weakness, and I want to speak to this for at least five minutes or so, is the whole position of the government with regard to the AIB. As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, they really have established a process of appointing an arbitrator who’s going to come in with a binding and compulsory arrangement, presumably, when in fact he has no power at all.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s right.

Mr. MacDonald: He is going to come up with a solution that then goes off to Ottawa. You’re making a mockery of the whole process, even of compulsory arbitration let alone normal collective bargaining. It seems to me there’s some obligation in the part of the government to stand up and be counted -- if I may borrow the phraseology of the Premier -- to stand up and be counted on this issue. Are they going to let the arbitrator come in with some sort of a settlement and then send it off to the AIB and let the AIB turn the whole thing down?

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s exactly what they intend doing.

Mr. MacDonald: Just pause for a moment and consider the situation we would have in the Province of Ontario or in the schools in Metro if that kind of an eventuality were to take place.

I want to remind the Minister of Education that back about mid-December I asked the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) whether or not, in the agreement that Ontario was negotiating with Ottawa, any consideration was being given to having included in that agreement a residual or reserve power on the part of the cabinet in the Province of Ontario to overrule the decision of the AIB under unique circumstances where it felt, for a variety of reasons, that settlement should be accepted even though it may be in breach of the guidelines.

I was rather interested in the reply of the provincial Treasurer. His comment was that he thought he detected the concern that was in the mind of the questioner and he wanted to assure me that he shared that concern, but he felt it should be left with Ottawa. Now that the agreement has been signed we find that it has been left with Ottawa, but not completely, Mr. Speaker, and this I want to draw to the attention of the House. It’s interesting that as far as wages are concerned this government has completely handed over the power to the AIB; but when it came to prices, what the government has done is to establish in the notification section of the agreement with Ottawa the fact that under certain circumstances if the AIB wants to review an agreement that has been reached it will have to notify the appropriate minister in this government, and the appropriate minister will then give them permission to review it if he deems it advisable. That is in reference to six different sections.

1. Those portions of the provincial public sector in respect of which any price or profit margin is effected or regulated in a manner referred to in subsection 4(1), subsection 1 of the federal Act;

2. The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission;

8. The Ontario Food Terminal Board;

4. The Ontario Stock Yards Board;

5. The Algonquin Forestry Authority;

6. The Ontario Transportation Development Corp.

In other words, if this government saw fit in those six different areas to say in effect that the AIB was not going to have final power, I want to ask this government why, in exceptional circumstances, to be decided on an ad hoc basis on a careful assessment of their merits or demerits, the province shouldn’t exercise that power on the wages side as well as on the prices side.


How the government were to achieve that I don’t know, but at least it seems to me that if a settlement is possible through the arbitrator that the government is going to appoint, the prospect that when a settlement is brought down, that settlement may be turned down by the AIB is an intolerable proposition. If we have difficulties now, they are going to be immeasurably compounded. It seems to me the government has to stand up and be counted, at least to say that when the arbitrator comes down with a decision, if that has to be reviewed before the AIB, then the government will indicate it is willing to go down and use its good offices to persuade the AIB that that decision should be accepted. In fact, I would go further -- I think it should be an amendment to the agreement, but that’s another matter at the moment.

In fact, just as a concluding comment on this point, when the hon. member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) intervened during the course of the remarks of the minister and referred to the role of the AIB, the minister chose his words very carefully. He said it would be referred “for consideration” of the MB; he didn’t say “for decision” of the AIB, and I quite frankly am a wee bit puzzled. Was that choice of word meaningful? Has the government got something in the back of its mind with regard to exceptional circumstances, that isn’t a part of the contract or the agreement at the present time? As I understand it now, when it is referred to the AIB it isn’t for consideration. Anything on the wages side or on the salary side, when it is referred to the AIB, it is for a decision. I invite the minister to clarify that point.

Mr. Speaker, just let me conclude my remarks, because there are many people who want to speak and I think we can make our points rather briefly. I want to address remarks first to the government, and then secondly to the members of the Liberal Party. The Premier (Mr. Davis) said to us that the time has come to set aside traditional postures. What I want to point out to the government and particularly to the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), since he is the only minister deeply involved who is now here to listen to my remarks --

Mr. Martel: No one is even listening.

Mr. MacDonald: -- is that the New Democratic Party has departed from traditional postures, make no mistake about it. The position of the New Democratic Party traditionally has been against back-to-work legislation, and our reasoned amendment because of the situation in Metro at the present time accepts the proposition that back-to-work legislation and the opening of the schools are a necessity. They are a necessity that the overwhelming majority of the people in the community wants; indeed, they are a necessity that I am persuaded the overwhelming majority of the teachers wants, as well as the community. We have dealt with the point and it is not part of our normal posturing, if one wants to use that pejorative term.

However, we went one step forward. We feel that the government can get the school system back into operation, but it doesn’t need to do that and still persist in the use of compulsory arbitration for all of the reasons that have already been spelled out by my leader and that I alluded to earlier. If it has compulsory arbitration in this kind of a situation, it will be recognized that this is down the road, not too far down the road, not only in negotiations that are taking place in many other places across the Province of Ontario between school boards and teachers, but in general collective bargaining across the province. In short, what the government is going to do is to erode the principles of free collective bargaining.

The Premier said that it was time for the New Democratic Party to stand up and be counted. We are going to stand up and be counted. We are going to vote against second reading of this bill because we don’t think that it is necessary to have back-to-work legislation, if one wants to use that terminology accompanied with compulsory arbitration.

We have accepted the back-to-work move because we feel that the schools must be open. We feel, along with the minister and everybody else, that we can’t continue to set this aside when the interests and the prospects and the concerns of parents and those 140,000 students are at stake. We have met that in our reasoned amendment and we’re going to stand up and be counted on it and we invite the government members not to try to have it both ways themselves.

It’s easy for the Premier to indulge in rhetoric and say to the NDP, “Don’t have it both ways.” Let me say to the government it can’t have it both ways; it can’t go around preaching that it is really in favour of free collective bargaining when it has a means by which it can restore and establish the operation of free collective bargaining, and instead it is determined to use compulsory arbitration.

Let me just say a brief word if I might to my legislative colleagues in the Liberal Party. They indicated that they want the schools open.

Mr. Bullbrook: Should I get Bob Nixon back?

Mr. MacDonald: Well, I would hope so. You indicated that you wanted the schools open. We agree. The reasoned amendment in its first consideration will open the schools. You said that you wanted equity in the agreement. Do you think you are going to get equity by sending it out to an arbitrator when he hasn’t even got the obligation to start from a minimum level of the last board offer? Do you think that kind of uncertainty, that sense among all the teachers of what’s been the purpose of this whole exercise is going to create the kind of atmosphere that will restore a healthy operation to the educational system? I don’t see how you feel it can. Therefore, it seems to me the reasoned amendment is meeting the points. You are going to open the schools, you are going to send the parties back to negotiation, as indeed they are now in a process of negotiation, at least the board chairmen --

Mr. Speaker: Order please, will the hon. member address his remarks through the Chair rather than at other particular members?

Mr. Bullbrook: I thought he was romancing me for a while.

Mr. MacDonald: Do you feel better over there?

I always assumed that any remarks that I was addressing to anybody in this House were going through the Chair. I’ll have to speak to the Speaker sometime, to assure him that that’s the case all the time, whether he recognizes it or not

Mr. Renwick: Imagine being derailed by a colleague.

Mr. MacDonald: Yes, I invite the Liberal Party to reconsider its position and support the reasoned amendment, because I suggest to them, Mr. Speaker, through you, that all of the objectives that they have enunciated are going to be met. The schools will be opened but they will be opened with a greater assurance of equity. I would like to believe that the Liberal Party also wants to have the free collective bargaining process protected, not eroded.

Mr. Bullbrook: I thought the right to strike was part of the free collective bargaining process.

Mr. MacDonald: That can be done. Since the intransigence in the latter stages seem to be primarily on the board’s side, where the board said that there could not be another single change after the vote taken by the teachers about a week ago, and now they are considering some of those changes, I invite the Liberal Party to support the reasoned amendment so that we can let the free collective bargaining process go on.

In short, we will achieve the two paramount objectives of the bill as enunciated by the minister and of our reasoned amendment; namely, that we’ll get the schools back into operation, and we’ll do it with equity, but we’re going to do it by making certain that we protect some of the principles that we pay lip service to at least, sometimes in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Ferris: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a few comments to the House on this subject. I’ll speak in support of the legislation and will also speak in opposition to the amendment that has been offered by the NDP.

We are here, and all of us are involved in what is undoubtedly a very hard decision to make. In my own case, I know that less than eight months ago, as chairman of a large urban board, I spoke in favour -- and would continue to do so -- of the right of teachers to strike. I believe in it. I think we recognized at the point in time when we were deliberating -- from our point of view -- the problems that could exist in Bill 100 and the situation that could develop. We knew that, sooner or later, in all likelihood this situation would arise and the Legislature would probably have to deliberate this kind of question.

In the Act the part that gave us some confidence that it would really still protect the one part of the system that is important to us, namely the students, was that the commission had the authority to make these kinds of suggestions to the government, through the Lieutenant Governor, and that they could be acted upon. I don’t think any of us would disagree that there is only one reason why we are here today and that is to bring some kind of order back into the careers and programmes that the 140,000 students in Metro Toronto embarked upon when they began this school year. If we’re convinced that the continued delays in this process will cause irreparable damage, then I think that we would be less than responsible if we did not vote to send them back.

I’ve had discussions with a great many people in the Metro area, as well as some from outside, as to what effect this period of eight weeks has had on the ability to continue these programmes. I find none that would disagree that it has already reached what must be a terminal point. The arguments have been presented to the ERC, and nobody there took the view that we were not placing the students’ programmes in jeopardy.

The general thoughts are that if we act quickly at this point in time it is possible -- through the proper utilization of the remaining period -- that they can complete a full year’s programme.

But that would need, and I would hope receive, a very high degree of co-operation and a maximum effort at all levels -- the trustees, the teachers, the administrators, the students; and the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), if he should be called on in any manner. Everyone must work, hopefully in a very positive manner, to accomplish these things. It is a large period of time which must be made up. In my mind, unquestionably, if it is delayed any further this will not be possible.

I have a few thoughts about the negotiation process, because we believe in the negotiation process and in Bill 100. We have been negotiating this agreement for just under a year. I believe, in a matter of a day or two, we will mark the first anniversary of discussions on this contract. The introduction of Bill 100 obviously put some delays into this while people became familiar with the bill, hot all of the steps that were outlined and were put in to guide the path of sane negotiations have been met. We have gone through, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) has said, numerous outside interventions at various levels -- from mediators and arbitrators -- and none of these has worked.


We must also assess the delays resulting from the intervention of the Anti-Inflation Board, with its opinion on the offer that was suggested. There is no question that this had a very detrimental effect on the negotiating process. But having some thoughts about the negotiating process and having been involved where outside intervention came in, I think we have to reach a point where we must make a decision as to whether we will make real progress. I don’t think that that is possible in a very short period of time, so that I have to weigh the judgement that any delays of a significant nature once again will affect the students and I then must support this kind of legislation.

I would not criticize either party to the negotiations, either the trustees or the teachers. I am sure there are problems that have existed on both sides. I think it is fair though that a certain degree of criticism should be addressed to the Minister of Education and the Premier (Mr. Davis), and through them to the ERC. I believe, as has been stated before that there is great power in the high office of Premier of this province and in the Minister of Education.

I believe that Bill 100, in this case and perhaps in cases that will follow, has some political value. It provides a shield, if you will, so that the Minister of Education can stand in this Legislature and say, “I can’t get involved in that because the ERC is an independent body.” I suggest that if you look at the staff of it, Mr. Speaker, it’s not too independent. But the Education Relations Commission has, if anything, to be criticized on its inactivity in the early stages especially. The minister told us shortly after these strikes started that the ERC would be holding public hearings; I think the date when that statement was made was Nov. 24. I suggest that leaving it to Jan. 9 was not very expedient and did nothing to help the whole process.

The problem that arises is that there were things inherent in Bill 100 that we recognized and will have to come to grips with later, but now is not the time to do this. In Ontario, there are other strikes which we hope will not have to be settled by this same process of legislation.

An hon. member: They will be.

Mr. Ferris: But, I am sure if you take a realistic look we will in all likelihood be back here to take the same action in some other jurisdiction.

Mr. Foulds: I will be looking forward to your ensuring that.

Mr. Ferris: Finally, I would close simply by saying that we understand the problems of the students. If we are, in fact, going to take the responsibility for the education of these children that we are charged with, I think there is no choice but to legislate them back at this point in time.

Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I rise as one of those Toronto members who has been suffering through very many phone calls for weeks now. It hasn’t been easy for us to accept those phone calls, particularly those very many calls from frustrated parents, who suggest in some cases, as do those on the other side of the House, that the Minister of Education has not played an active enough role and has not played that sort of role which I suppose the public somehow remembers from Mr. Mackasey. Of course, the clear distinction in the two situations very often escapes the frustrated parent in that our Minister of Education of course was not a party to those negotiations.

Mr. Wildman: He should have been.

Mr. Grossman: That’s exactly the point that the opposition has been making. They keep saying that he should have been. And yet the Leader of the Opposition has made very clear the fact that Bill 100 has been followed through all of its processes; he has acknowledged that the Minister of Education got the fact-finder working appropriately, got Mr. Hartt involved at a very early stage, and has seen to it that the process worked itself through.

They have been standing through the first session of this Legislature and pleading day after day for the Minister of Education or the Premier to get involved somehow -- some magical, mythical way -- in those negotiations. But if we had ended up back here today in any event, as we almost certainly would have, can you imagine the screaming over there? Can you imagine the Leader of the Opposition standing up and saying -- as only he can say -- “For goodness sake, when are you Tories going to learn the lessons about free labour negotiations? When are you Tories going to learn that if you bad just stayed out this wouldn’t have happened?”

Mr. Mackenzie: It is called collective bargaining.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Grossman: He would be standing up and instead of saying today, as he is able to say, “if you had just intervened at the appropriate psychological time, it would have been settled” -- he would instead be standing up here today and saying: “Why did you intervene at that inappropriate, psychological time when they were so close to settlement?”

He has told us several times in his remarks today --

Mr. Renwick: Don’t waste the time of the House on this idle speculation on your part.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Eaton: He is right on. That’s the way you play it all the time.

Mr. Grossman: That’s the way it is. Whatever happens it has got to be the Minister of Education’s fault.

Mr. Renwick: Debate the principle of the bill. If he wants to debate the principle of the bill, debate the principle of the bill; don’t speculate.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Grossman: If he got in --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. Renwick: Don’t engage in fantasies.

Mr. Riddell: Have we hit one of your nerve ends?

Mr. Eaton: Right on.

Mr. Grossman: So I want to say this: As one of those who has had a difficult time explaining the workings of a complicated bill, and the negotiations between two parties, I have had no hesitancy in saying to my many callers that this Minister of Education has stuck to the principle of Bill 100, and right through to this very moment has stuck to every principle of the free, collective bargaining system --

Mr. Makarchuk: He is stuck, period.

Mr. Grossman: -- and as Bill 100 was set up to allow to operate.

Mr. Wildman: You believe that Bill 100 ends with arbitration.

Mr. Grossman: Our friends opposite go on to say, “Why appoint an arbitrator? He has no power at all. It has got to go to Ottawa and Pepin” -- who is their new straw villain in the piece; and they try to associate him with us. “Why appoint an arbitrator” --


Mr. Grossman: It’s a tough morning for them. Barrett had a tough time, too.

Mr. Cassidy: You signed the agreement. You associated yourselves.

Mr. Renwick: This is the agreement.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Makarchuk: Crawled into bed with them.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member has the floor.

Mr. Grossman: They suggest that the arbitrator has no power at all.

Mr. Eaton: You can tell when you are getting to them.

Mr. Grossman: Why does he have no power? They go on to say that he has no power because it has to go to Ottawa; it has to go to Pepin -- therefore the arbitrator has no power. There is nothing up in Ottawa now on behalf of the teachers and the board -- there is no settlement; there is no contract for approval.

Mr. Foulds: There is nothing up in Ottawa, that is true.

Mr. Grossman: And if this legislation before us today results in a proposed settlement -- an arbitrated settlement to go to that board -- then we are a heck of a lot closer to solving the problem than we are without the arbitrator.

The opposition would say: “Go ahead, send them back” -- but then just let them go and sit in a room from now until forever.

Mr. Deans: No; meet with them.

Mr. Grossman: That is no power at all. What is power is saying to an arbitrator: “Here it is; we are giving you 30 days. And, of course, like everyone else in this country, everyone else in this province” --

Mr. Martel: You let Ottawa prove it.

Mr. Grossman: -- “of course you are going to have to go to Ottawa; but that is not a new rule for you.”

Mr. Wildman: Oh, come on.

Mr. Grossman: That is not a new rule for Bill 100.

Mr. Cassidy: You can try to outlaw strikes. Is that what you favour?

Mr. Grossman: What we are saying clearly is that when the opposition says --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member has the floor.

Mr. Grossman: -- when the opposition says the arbitrator has no power, that, to use the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), is what is “true falderal”. That is how we are going to get to a final settlement. They may not like the way we get there -- through arbitration -- but don’t suggest that that there is no power at all for the arbitrator.

I listened to the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) when he said, “If you go for compulsory arbitration you are eroding a basic principle.” He said, “You are eroding the principles of collective bargaining.”

It is funny how we are only eroding principles on certain matters sensitive to the opposition; but when it comes --

Mr. Deans: That is nonsense.

Mr. Grossman: -- to things as mentioned by the member for Ottawa Centre --

Mr. Foulds: That is what Cassidy is, yes.

Mr. Grossman: When his incredible positions on the Landlord and Tenant Act amendments and the Rent Review Act were before us, that wasn’t eroding any basic principles. No, that wasn’t eroding any principles, but today, because in one --

Mr. Cassidy: That was advancing principle as a matter of a fact, and you took half of those that we proposed.

Mr. Grossman: -- drastic, serious set of circumstances when we have to get a settlement --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I wonder if the hon. member would return to the principle of this bill.

Mr. Grossman: Very good.

Mr. Makarchuk: He hasn’t started. How can he return?

Mr. Grossman: Finally, the principle has been referred to by members of the opposition as being one which fails and their amendment deals with setting some base for the arbitrator to deal with. We know our friends in the opposition have been paying closer attention to what’s been happening than for them to come here and suggest that the arbitrator doesn’t know what’s happening and that there is no place for him to start. It’s a fraud on the public for the opposition to come here and say we here have to establish a base for the arbitrator to go to work. There is a clear base. Everyone knows the latest two positions. Everyone knows the last offer. That’s a base, and any arbitrator worth the money we are going to pay him and he is going to earn is clearly going to know the parameters within which he is going to have to reach an arbitrated, sensible conclusion.

Mr. Cassidy: Fine. Put the parameters in the bill.

Mr. Deans: Don’t be ridiculous.

Mr. Grossman: So the amendment is obviously hiding behind a suggestion that the arbitrator doesn’t know what’s been happening and he needs some sort of base to work on in order to do their usual two-way street double talk both ways. Let’s be winners on both sides of this dispute.

Mr. Cassidy: What is significant is that you left the parameters out this time.

Mr. Grossman: That’s why the amendment is an expected one. The legislation is a reasonable piece of legislation. It’s simple, it allows the parties to reach a settlement, arbitrated albeit yes, 30 days and away you go like everyone else to Ottawa, but to suggest that the amendment proposed by the opposition would assist this procedure is fraudulent and I am happy to say that our minister, consistent with the way he has handled these negotiations, is allowing a resolution to the dispute which will not have any deleterious effects on the schools.

I really can’t sit down without mentioning the fact that there has been some suggestion, both by individual teachers and parents, and by the press I suppose, that there will be less dedication in the classrooms as a result of this legislation and as a result of the strike. I have always rejected that, even to those teachers who have threatened or suggested there is nothing we can now do to avoid that loss of dedication. I think that’s inaccurate. I have had too long and close an association with too many teachers to anticipate it being within them to do that. It won’t happen. I am confident that when they return they will get caught up in that atmosphere. Well, I am fairly sure -- whichever teacher blurted out from the gallery, thanks for that assurance.

Notwithstanding that attitude, I am sure that when they return to the classrooms, when the atmosphere of catching up has caught them, they will have that dedication which I experienced when I went through the system, which I know has been the case in the system right up until now. The teachers suddenly aren’t villains, suddenly aren’t people who don’t care about the children. I know that’s not the case and, therefore, I am sure that notwithstanding this legislation and notwithstanding what’s happened, our educational system, as acknowledged through the election campaign by the opposition, will continue to be one of the finest in North America.


Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Wentworth.

Mr. Deans: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have made a lot of speeches in this House --

An hon. member: Too many.

Mr. Deans: Some might even say too many.

Mr. Foulds: Never, ever.

Mr. Deans: I rise right now wishing that there was a way that I could convince the members of the House to listen with a reasonably open mind to what’s being said by everyone, at least to those things that relate directly to the principle of the bill, because I think that the government has arrived at one of the ways of resolving this matter, the dispute in Metropolitan Toronto. I don’t think though that that is necessarily the only way. I obviously don’t think that the decision they made is the best way.

I think the Legislature has an obligation, all of the members of the Legislature have an obligation, to look at the solution proposed by the government and to determine, first of all, whether it does what we think should be done, and secondly, whether it does it in the best possible way.

That’s what we did last night. After we received the legislation we sat down and we decided, first of all, whether the legislative proposal of the minister did in fact bring about the desired result as far as the schools and the children and the parents were concerned. We then decided whether or not that was the only way to do it; and then whether or not that was the best way to do it.

Quite obviously the way that the government has proposed will do that. It will open the schools on Monday; the children will begin again to receive a formal education in the high schools in Metropolitan Toronto, so that it meets that criterion. And quite obviously it will resolve the dispute between the teachers and the boards, so it meets that criterion. But will it resolve the dispute in the best possible way? We happen to think that it doesn’t meet that criterion.

We agree that the schools have to reopen. We agree that there has to be a way to resolve the dispute. What we agonized over and what we hope we have come up with is a solution that will somehow or other meet the various criteria and at the same time preserve the integrity both of the collective bargaining system in Bill 100 and of the teachers and the boards, not only at this point but for future negotiations, because there’s much more at stake than just resolving this dispute.

We read the preamble to the bill and decided that we could quite easily agree that it stated quite accurately what had taken place and what had to be done. We read the bill itself. We said it’s too simplistic; that this is one solution but we don’t think that that’s necessarily the best one. Why did we think it wasn’t necessarily the best one? Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker.

To begin with, we felt that on balance this arbitration that the government is setting up is unlike any other arbitration that it has set up in the Province of Ontario by way of legislation. It is setting up a judge to sit in judgement on the proposals of the parties, but one who will not have the final say in the decision as to whether or not it is compulsory or otherwise. So in fact whatever this arbitrator decides really will make little difference to the final settlement. We thought it would be wrong then to impose that kind of responsibility on an individual, to ask an individual to make those kinds of choices in the face of the circumstances that surround him.

We realize the collective bargaining process is a difficult process. We realize it sometimes takes years for the parties involved to build the expertise, to develop the various mechanisms that are necessary in order to bring about settlements in every case. But we have faith -- faith in the elected board members and faith in the teachers -- that given the proper circumstances, given the right atmosphere, that they could yet resolve this dispute.

The faith that we have is shared by a number of other people. It’s not a blind faith. We’re not isolated from the remainder of society in Metro or anywhere else in expressing that faith. The disputes commission members themselves expressed faith that there could be a negotiated settlement. Their concern wasn’t that it couldn’t be negotiated, their concern was that it might not be able to be negotiated quickly enough to save further deterioration in the educational system. That is what they said. I quote from the minister’s own statement, in which he is quoting the commission. He read:

“Recent developments in the dispute indicate to us that the parties will not likely achieve such a settlement in the near future. While we do not rule out the possibility that a resumption of negotiations might produce a settlement at some future date...”

That was the finding of the Education Relations Commission. They thought that, given more time, there was a likelihood of a settlement through the normal collective bargaining process.

We spoke to the teacher representatives -- and I am sure I am not letting out any confidences -- and they said that they thought, given more time, it was entirely possible they could arrive at a settlement; they even went so far as to say that they felt they were not really very far apart and that, given the opportunity, it would be possible for them to find solutions to the outstanding items and that a settlement would come about through the natural processes of the collective bargaining structure.

The chairman of the negotiating committee for the school boards said this morning that, notwithstanding any statements that he had made previously, he felt in fact there was the possibility that the parties could meet again and that they could come to a settlement across the bargaining table. We know this feeling is shared by a number of the chairmen representing a number of the boards that make up the Metro school system.

We are not talking from a position in isolation to the views being expressed by all of the people who are directly involved. The commission says that, given time, there can be a settlement. The board chairmen say that, given time, there can be a settlement. The teacher negotiators say that, given time, there can be a settlement. The only drawback now is, how can we, as a Legislature, then provide that time?

We have come to the conclusion, as elected members, that the schools must open. We have come to the conclusion, as elected members, that it is possible to arrive at a settlement. We have come to the conclusion that in order to ensure fairness, that the teachers can go back knowing full well that they will be dealt with fairly and equitably, that if they are asked to return to work or, for this matter, told to return to work, that they should know at least in part what the conditions are that will surround the collective bargaining that will take place, what the likelihood is and in what ballpark the settlement might be reached. That is what we attempted to do.

We said, “Okay, the school system needs teachers in the classrooms, the children’s education is in jeopardy, so we will say to the teachers, Return to work.’” But in return for that, we are saying that we, as a Legislature, having now imposed ourselves upon them in what might be considered the public interest, have an obligation to look seriously at what kind of guarantees we give them, that that return to work will not result in them losing economically that which they had already negotiated up to.

The boards have agreed that the offer of the 20th is fair, and so we are not asking the boards to pay more than they were prepared to pay. The teachers have said, “We’re close to a settlement.” So I’ve said, “Okay, in that period during negotiation, the period we’re now in, the settlement offered by the board should be put in as an interim measure, the negotiations concluded and final settlement arrived at.”

I say, in all fairness, that must be better than to come down with a heavy hand and to impose arbitration now and to be faced with the prospect of doing the same thing, board after board after board, across the province. Surely the message that goes out from Queen’s Park today, to teachers and boards alike, has to be that we, the Legislature, are not prepared to meet weekly to solve your disputes; that we, the Legislature, are saying to you, the boards, duly elected by your own electorate, and the teachers as their employees, that you must sit down together and find solutions to the impasses that confront you, and don’t expect us, also elected, answering to the same people in the Province of Ontario, to find a solution for you in each of these cases.

I think if we arbitrate them back, if we impose arbitration, then in many of the boards across this province -- certainly not in all the boards but in many of the boards across this province -- the collective bargaining process will grind to a halt. There will then be a sense among certain people whom I could name but won’t, that there will be no further need for them to try to find solutions because this Legislature will do it for them. That’s wrong and I want that understood. That must be wrong. We have to make it clear that that’s wrong. As my colleague, my friend in the Liberal Party, the education critic -- excuse me, I don’t know where he is from?

Mr. Riddell: London South.

Mr. Deans: Thank you, from London South. He says that we will undoubtedly be back to solve these other disputes. I don’t want to come back to solve these other disputes. I don’t want to set the ground rules for the resolution of those disputes.

I want to say this, it seems to us, having given a lot of thought to it and having worried about it for some days -- not just yesterday but the days leading up to what we could see was inevitably going to happen -- we are of the opinion that, first of all, the proposal that we have made would gain acceptance by the vast majority of teachers. Secondly, the proposal we have made is in keeping with the indications currently being expressed by the members of the negotiating committee for the boards in Metropolitan Toronto that a settlement could be reached. Thirdly, the concern of the teachers and the students that the educational system be once again in operation and that they not be jeopardized further is being met by the proposal that we make.

So what we’re saying is that, of course, there are a number of options and, of course, the government has opted for the easiest option, but we tend to think that easiest is not always the best, and we think in this instance that what we’re proposing -- a little different from what we’ve normally done, a little different from what we’ve considered before in the Legislature -- makes more sense in the long run for teacher-board negotiations than does the intrusion of this Legislature by way of compulsory arbitration.

I want to concede to the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) that, quite obviously, asking or telling the teachers to return to work is abridging the normal principles of collective bargaining, but I also want to suggest to the member for Sarnia and to the other members of the House that there are times in disputes where the public interest obviously has to take precedence. We are prepared to take that one step to ensure that the public interest be met while trying to guarantee, on the other hand, that collective bargaining will be allowed to continue and that we will do no further damage to the content of Bill 100 or to the future of Bill 100 or the way in which collective bargaining can be carried out.

Mr. Bullbrook: Collective bargaining is effectively finished in the Province of Ontario with the signing of that agreement.

Mr. Deans: Since that aside is put in, or that interjection is offered, I want to say that I regret most sincerely that the AIB is involved.

Mrs. Campbell: That’s not enough.

Mr. Deans: I would really like -- well, I’m not going to play games because, obviously, politically we could play all kinds of games. I don’t want to do that. I’m honestly trying to get the members to listen to me; okay, really trying.

Mr. Bullbrook: We have been listening.


Mr. Deans: I agree that it’s unfortunate that the AIB is involved. It’s unfortunate that the agreement that was signed two days ago was signed before we met today, because we might have been able to influence the signing of that agreement in this debate.

Unfortunately, though, it is signed and the government has stated clearly that it is a matter of principle to them that they refer everything to Ottawa. We don’t believe it is possible to change that principle here today, but we do think it possible to amend this legislation to make it more fair. That’s the position we take.

Mr. MacDonald: Everything on wages but not prices.

Mr. Deans: With regard to the comments of the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) --

Mr. Martel: Now departed.

Mr. Deans: But not far enough.

Mr. Martel: No.

Mr. Deans: -- I want to say two or three things. First of all, in all fairness to him I don’t think he understands the collective bargaining process at all and knows very little about the way arbitration works. The arbitrator, of course, is entitled only to judge on those matters placed before him by the parties. He can’t take into consideration things outside; he has to consider only what is before him. So therefore he can’t be going in already knowing how he is going to deal with it, and if he or she is doing that, he or she is not going to be arbitrating properly.

Beyond that, I want to say about the phone calls the member is receiving, it’s my judgement from speaking to members -- and everyone makes their own judgments in these things and this includes speaking to the minister -- that there has not been a great hue and cry in Metropolitan Toronto with regard to this strike. There is a sense among the public that something has to be done and we’re responding to that. But if it were simply on the matter of response to the hue and cry of the public, it’s not as great as the hue and cry has been in many other instances. It really isn’t.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that between 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock during the transit strike and at 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock during the transit strike in Metropolitan Toronto there were far more people who were expressing a great deal more disagreement and sense of upset than are currently expressing it in this instance. I just make that as an aside.

The minister himself said, as I recall, of 252 phone calls -- it may have been 256 phone calls that he received; that was the heaviest volume as I recall on one day -- but on the heaviest day of all it was 52 per cent in favour of legislation, 48 per cent opposed. That was in one day. So in fairness you’ve got to say, Mr. Speaker, that there was no great pressure from outside in terms of the normal pressures that legislators expect to have imposed upon them.

We believe that whatever the resolution of this strike is it must not only be fair but it must be viewed by the parties as being fair. The teachers and the boards have to appreciate that whatever the resolution is that it was the result of their activities; that they’ll be able to live much more readily over the years with a settlement that they arrive at between themselves than they will be able to live with a settlement imposed from outside.

I put to the government that the position that they have put forward is so traditional in scope that it really doesn’t begin to address the actual problem that exists. The solution we put forward might fail, but then so might the government’s. The government’s solution though, if it fails, fails arbitrarily. Our solution, if it fails, fails as the result of the failure of the parties themselves to resolve the dispute.

We’re putting the onus where it rightfully belongs, on the shoulders of the parties involved. We’re saying to the school boards: “You were elected, as we are elected, to fulfil your responsibilities.” If the government is going to arbitrate -- if the government is going to impose itself in that way -- then it can’t simply set up the arbitration and then back off. It can’t do that. It can’t say: “There’s the arbitration. That will be the settlement,” and then withdraw itself from the battle and allow it then to continue as if it had solved it. All it solves by this is getting the schools opened. That’s all it solves.

We would have solved the same thing. We would have arrived at exactly the same result with what we’re asking the government to consider as an amendment. There is no question in my mind at least that if the government is going to say to those people: “Go back to work and we’ll arbitrate a decision,” then the government must go one step further.

The government must go one step further and say that since they have decided to move into the dispute and to arbitrate the final points in the dispute, then they are prepared to stand behind the decision of the arbitrator.

If the government is going to arbitrate it, then it has to be prepared to stand behind the decision of the arbitrator. It is going to appoint him or her; it is going to set up that person to make the decision, I presume. Having chosen that person, this government then must stand up today and say, “The person chosen by us to find a settlement has the full support of this government and whatever settlement that person finds will be supported by the government.” That is the ultimate step. Is the government prepared to take that step?

Mrs. Campbell: Of course not.

Mr. Deans: The government would be living up to its political responsibilities all the way --

Mr. Martel: The government is appointing the arbitrator.

Mr. Deans: -- by saying, “Not only are we prepared to thrust ourselves into the dispute, belatedly though it may be, but we are prepared to stand behind the decisions made by the person whom we appoint.”

Mr. Martel: Otherwise, don’t appoint an arbitrator.

Mr. Deans: Otherwise, allow them to solve it themselves.

The member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) talked about his faith in teachers. I want to say to him, in his absence -- I hope he is able to read; he certainly doesn’t comprehend --

An hon. member: Oh, oh.

Mr. Deans: It helps; it passes the time, Jim.

The one thing I would say to him is that he doesn’t show much faith in the teachers by the actions he is prepared to support. We have said for years that we thought that the teachers were capable -- in fact, we had to have faith in the teachers since we trusted them with so much of what was going to happen in this country ultimately, and that therefore the teachers did have the capacity to be able to resolve matters that affected their day-to-day lives.

The government is not showing that kind of faith now by taking this step. But it can show that kind of faith if it is prepared to adopt the position that we have put forward. We think it is valid. We think it not only can work but we think it will work. We think it meets every single one of the criteria that the government set out in the preamble to its bill. We think it shows the kind of faith that we have in the capacity of the parties to resolve the dispute. It shows that we believe them when they say that they can find a settlement, given time; it opens the schools in order that the children’s education will be met; and it guarantees that the teachers, when they go back into the classroom, will go in, if not having won, certainly not with a feeling of having lost.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the leading spokesmen of all three parties in this House have now made it fairly clear where they stand on this legislation. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that all three parties, in one form or another, will support at least that part of the legislation which puts the teachers back in the classrooms next Monday.

However, let us not forget that that very act by itself is fraught with a certain amount of perilous implications. Let us realize that we are setting a precedent by doing this. We are setting a precedent at this point in time, knowing full well that very shortly in other places in this province we may have to deal with similar situations. We know right now, for example, that in Kirkland Lake a strike vote has already been taken. We know that in Peel county, one week from tomorrow, a strike vote will be taken. We know that farther along the line, one of the largest separate school boards of the province, in Hamilton, more than likely will be facing a strike vote within the next two or three weeks. We know that Sault Ste. Marie shortly will be facing a strike vote.

The point I am trying to make is that this particular piece of legislation, dealing with this particular strike in this locality, Metro Toronto, cannot be considered in isolation. It is setting a precedent. Let us be very sure that we realize that and that we accept the implications and the consequences of the vote and the decisions which we make here today.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, contrary to what has just been said, the number of phone calls and letters coming in from the public to members of this caucus -- and I understand to members of the other two caucuses -- shows a very high degree of public hostility, to say the least, in this whole matter. People seem to have reached an emotional pitch. The public seems to have reached a pitch that is almost unreasonable in this matter. Unfortunately, this one group of people at this particular point in time on this one issue has become the lightning rod, if you will, for this public hostility, this public unrest and this public frustration. That may be unfair; it may be unfortunate -- but that is simply the way it is. The public is simply fed up. The kind of remarks that we are hearing -- and, as I say, I understand that members of the other two caucuses are also hearing them -- include: “Do not pass this legislation.” The public opinion is very strong out there; let us also be aware of that.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, both sides of this particular dispute -- both sides, let me please emphasize that --

Ms. Gigantes: Did you say, “Do not pass it”?

Mr. Sweeney: -- have accused the leaders of the other sides of irresponsibility. On both sides they have said to their particular membership, “Why can’t you do something about those leaders?” If we step in at this time -- and if I may use the colloquialism, the cliché -- and get them off the hook, then that kind of feeling will continue ad infinitum.

I mention these kinds of points -- not to suggest that I or members of my caucus are going to vote against this legislation -- but just so that we can be sure in our own minds and just so that we can assure the public at large that we are equally conscious of the perils that exist in acting in this way and in passing this kind of legislation.

Ms. Gigantes: You are doing the popular thing?

Mr. Sweeney: We will show that we did not do it unthinkingly or unknowingly.

Mr. Wildman: Are you going to vote for it?

Mr. Sweeney: On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, let us look at the situation as it exists -- the reasons why we must pass this legislation. We know 140,000 students in this city alone have been or will be, as of tomorrow, 37 school instructional days away from their programmes.

We know that on the basis of what the Students themselves tell us, hat their teachers tell us, what the directors of education tell us, that we have reached the point of no return -- that something must be done in the interest of these students. More particularly, Mr. Speaker, there is a small group of those students -- small, but in excess of 10,000 -- who are on a semester programme in this community’s school system and who will have, as of tomorrow, missed almost 40 per cent of the programme. That 37 days is very misleading, but it does represent 47 per cent of the amount of time that would have been devoted toward the courses of those students on a semester programme. At this point in time, that 47 per cent is just about irretrievable.

For most of the other students in the system, it can be retrieved. But for that group on a semester programme I am personally not sure -- based upon what people have told me, based upon my own personal experience.

In respect to the students and their parents, we must also realize that there is a cost factor involved in what has happened and what will continue to happen if we do not legislate at this time.


A number of these students have been compelled to enrol in private schools. A number of these students have gone to other jurisdictions to continue their education. A number of these students have had to go out and find work and probably will not return to classes even when the legislation is passed, and a whole year of their lives, productively in one sense, -- I realize there I are many ways of looking at it, but in that one sense at least they are paying a heavy cost, and we in this Legislature who are responsible for providing education to every student in this province have got to be conscious of that cost.

The other reason why we must pass this legislation at this time is because of the morale of the teachers in this province, and I use the word “province” since I am not talking just about Metro Toronto. It is particularly poignant to those teachers in this municipality, but what is happening has spread like a creeping cancer across the whole province. I have been in six different large municipalities in the last three or four weeks; I have made it my business to speak to teachers, and they feel that they too are tarnished by the same brush that is being applied across this municipality with respect to the public attitude toward teachers.

That must stop. An awful lot of damage has already been done, but surely the time has come to put an end to it. It is going to take a long time to retrieve that damage, but we cannot let it go on any longer and we must do whatever we possibly can to retrieve it. Finally, a third reason why we must pass this legislation refers back to an earlier remark I made and that is the public hostility that presently exists. The very fact that that hostility does exist means that an end must be put to it in some way. The longer we let this drag out, the deeper and more intransigent it is going to become. The sooner we can relieve it, the sooner it can be resolved and the sooner that we can return to some form of normalcy.

I would like to speak very briefly to the NDP amendment. It is unfortunate that we did not have a chance yesterday to review this amendment with the amount of time and the depth and the study I feel it deserves. Therefore, I must admit that my comments are based upon a cursory, short reading of the amendment and an understanding of it which may not be as deep as it should be, but nevertheless that’s what we have got to deal with.

I see two problems in the amendment. The first one is to return the teachers and students to the classroom and then return to the negotiation process. We have spoken to a number of people. The feeling that we get, which may be different from our NDP colleagues, but the very strong, definite feeling we get is that negotiation simply will not work; it simply will not work. As a matter of fact, as late as last night we spoke to the two highest placed teachers in the negotiation process and they admitted to us that they do not believe it can work, and the simple reason is that the trust between the two sides has been eroded so badly. Coupled with that, one of the dangers we are facing is that when we do get the teachers back in the classroom there is going to be some ill will; there is going to be some bad feeling. I hope it clears up quickly, but it is going to be there.

Ms. Gigantes: An arbitrator is going to solve it, eh?

Mr. Foulds: It is going to be horrendous. It is going to be destructive.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please. Order.

Mr. Sweeney: If, at the same time, the negotiations which have now been going on for one full year as of tomorrow, I understand; a strike which has been going on for 37 days; negotiations which have had, initially, a mediator and then a fact-finder and then three mediators and, even as of a week or so ago, a final vote of the teachers saying that there is no way that they can come to a resolution; when the chairman of the board says it cannot be resolved, when the teacher negotiator says it cannot be resolved, my main concern is if we put the teachers back and continue this kind of activity we are simply going to be reopening the old wounds and the wounds are going to bleed and bleed and bleed for months ahead. We can’t afford that. We can’t afford to do that. Arbitration is not a good way. I am personally opposed to it but, given these two choices, it is the better of the two.

Mr. Foulds: So to cure a cut you amputate.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member has the floor.

An hon. member: You’re hitting them where they’re soft.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the second aspect that my NDP colleagues have brought up is that when we go to this legislation and make an amendment, if in fact we deal with arbitration, that we start with the last board offer as the floor, if you will. That very fact alone makes a mockery of negotiations.

Mr. Deans: Why?

Mr. Foulds: Why?

Mr. Sweeney: The board has clearly said on several occasions, whether or not we choose to believe them, they have clearly said that is their final offer. That’s not their floor. If we go in and say to an arbitrator: “That’s what you must start with”; then where can they go? They can only go up beyond that.

Mr. Wildman: How many final offers have you had?

Mr. Foulds: Your party voted for that in the York county dispute.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sweeney: We are clearly taking the side of one of the combatants in this affair --

Mr. Foulds: Your party voted for it in York County when the board said it was their last offer.


Mr. Sweeney: -- and that is not our job in this Legislature. Our job is to help the two sides. Our job is not to take sides one way or the other in this affair, and making that kind of stipulation is very directly taking sides.


Mr. Sweeney: Finally, may I allude to the involvement of the Anti-Inflation Board in this particular settlement. The point has very clearly been made that the arbitrator who will be selected here will not in fact be able to make a decision. He will only be able to make a recommendation, and that is a key difference. The final decision will be made in Ottawa. Mr. Speaker, we believe today, as we believed when this House prorogued in December, that that is not proper.

Mr. Shore: Where was the member for Port Arthur?

Mr. Sweeney: If there is one thing wrong with this whole bill, if there is one thing wrong with this whole process, if there is one thing wrong with the way in which the government has been involved in this, it is its abdication of being responsible for the final decision in this matter. Only the people of Ontario, only the elected representatives of the people of Ontario, can decide what portion of our provincial wealth should be devoted to an activity like education. Only we can do that, not the government of Canada. And if this government is at fault in any way it is in this matter and it will pay the price dearly.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is with a certain degree of satisfaction that I learn there is total agreement within this House, that the purpose of this bill is universally accepted. Because I don’t think there can be any doubt in the minds of the parents -- within the Metropolitan Toronto region at any rate and probably in the minds of parents throughout the entire province -- and in the minds of the students who have been so severely affected by this conflict, certainly in the minds of those citizens of Metropolitan Toronto who do not happen to have children in the school system, and it certainly has been confirmed by the report of the Education Relations Commission, that the educational system in this area at this time is in severe jeopardy if this conflict continues any longer. We must, and I’m happy that all members of this House agree, end the conflict immediately.

The methods of ending the conflict, of course, are what are being questioned here at the moment. But it is certainly in the best interests of the students, it certainly would express our concern for the educational system of this province, it would most definitely be in the best interests of all Ontario teachers, not simply the teachers in Metropolitan Toronto, if we provided an instantaneous, an emergency, an immediate resolution to this problem.

If I had any real conviction that the negotiation which had been carried out earlier could be prolonged, that the effective function of collective bargaining as attempted for many months in this dispute could in fact be enhanced, could be proceeded with, with any aspiration of success in the foreseeable future, I would most certainly -- I would have to as the Minister of Labour -- support that direction and that action. But we can have no such assurance. We can have no degree of confidence that in fact the disturbance, the hostility, the wounds, which my hon. colleague across the floor mentioned just a few moments ago, could be healed rapidly enough to provide any --

Mr. Deans: They are only bruises.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- successful conclusion to the resumption of collective bargaining --

Mr. Makarchuk: Have you offered them any assurance?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister has the floor.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- of traditional collective bargaining in this situation at this time. We must provide a rapid treatment, and the rapid treatment --

Mr. Deans: Bruises are painful, not fatal.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- which sometimes is painful --

Mr. Deans: What is?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- the rapid treatment in this case I believe must be arbitration with the development of a rational and sensible recommendation provided by an arbitrator of judgement and wisdom.

Mr. Deans: But the board says they can settle and the teachers say they can settle. Why don’t you believe them?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Unfortunately, I gather that Mr. Deans has been listening to other than those --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will you refer to the hon. member as the member from his riding?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have heard very directly from some of the people who have been involved in the attempt at successful negotiations, and I believe that these wise negotiators, these wise mediators who have had a great deal of experience, probably know much better than I whether there is a chance of success --

Mr. Deans: But they say they can settle.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- in the continuation of the negotiations. It is, I gather, their conviction, their judgement, that to attempt to resume negotiations at this time would not only be illogical, it would be futile, and we must, I believe, resolve the problem immediately.

Mr. Deans: Whose opinion is that?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I think the message which must go out from Queen’s Park today to all of the citizens of this province, to the school boards of this province, to the teachers of this province, must be that we have provided from this place a very adequate vehicle for resolution of conflicts and differences between school boards and teachers.

We would anticipate, as we have anticipated in the past, that this vehicle would be used thoughtfully and carefully, ever mindful of the primary responsibility to the educational system, to the educational experience of the students of the province, and to the citizens of this province who provide the funds which support our educational system, and we hope that they will, in fact, in future use it wisely. We think they have attempted to, on this occasion, but it simply has not worked.

I would have to agree with my colleague from York South (Mr. MacDonald) that, in fact, one of the things that has happened as a result of this conflict is that we have pointed up a couple of the weaknesses of Bill 100 which obviously need to be examined and resolved. But we have provided the vehicle, it should be used wisely; but let them be, as well, made very much aware of the fact that if at any time in the function of this vehicle there is a failure, if the future educational experience of our students is put in severe jeopardy, if the entire educational system demonstrates the potential for damage which it does right at this point in time, that this government and this Legislature will act on behalf of those students, that educational system and the citizens of this province, that we will not fail to do so. We shall use each time that method which seems to be most appropriate to that situation.

Mr. Deans: And this is it, every time.

Mr. Martel: It is the only method you know.

Mr. Speaker: Order please, order. Everyone has an opportunity to speak in this debate.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I can put it to members that the bill which has been presented by the Minister of Education is that which is most appropriate in this situation at this time --

Mr. Makarchuk: You have clobbered them in the head.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and may or may not set a precedent, but must, in fact, be exercised on behalf of the students of Metropolitan Toronto and their educational future.

Mr. Speaker: Perhaps in view of the hour the next speaker might move the adjournment of the debate.

Mr. Mackenzie moved adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

The House recessed at 1 p.m.