30e législature, 3e session

L012 - Tue 16 Mar 1976 / Mar 16 mar 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, may I take this occasion to introduce to the House 32 public school students --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The practice of introducing groups from schools and so on has been changed, I would just point out to the hon. member in all fairness. Thank you.


Hon. Mr. Davis: With the consent of the House I would like to introduce a very distinguished young guest to the House today, Mr. Speaker -- a young lady from Timmins, Ont., who brought great distinction to her community and to the province when she won a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics in Innsbruck. I’m sure all of the members here would like to join me in extending our congratulations to Kathy Kreiner, not only for what she accomplished but also our best wishes for her continued success in that rather arduous sport of skiing.

Kathy is on her way back from Aspen where she’s competing in the World Cup and on her way to Mont Ste. Anne this Thursday, I believe. I think the members of this House would like to join me in wishing her well in those events. Kathy is situate in your gallery, Mr. Speaker, along with her mother and father, two brothers, one sister and there are two members of the family who couldn’t join them here today, but they’re all present who could be here and we’re just delighted to have them and pay this tribute to her.

Mr. Ferrier: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with the Premier in welcoming Kathy Kreiner and her family here, and to say how tremendously proud we all are in Timmins and, indeed, in the Province of Ontario and in Canada for this wonderful achievement that Kathy has made in winning the gold medal in the giant slalom at the Olympics in Innsbruck. We are extremely proud of her dedication and her discipline to skiing and for this wonderful victory, and we hope that she will go on to win many more victories and bring great honour to us in Canada and in the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member on a point of privilege.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, in the weekend press in Toronto, among other things there are two items I think should be corrected. The writer states that “Sargent detests Davis and Davis detests Sargent.”

Mr. Nixon: Which one is correct and which one is wrong?


Mr. Reid: Fifty per cent isn’t bad.

Mr. Sargent: I don’t think anyone detests the Premier of the province, but I do detest his policies to make hospitals the guinea pig for provincial spending.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sargent: Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the writer states I, Sargent, approached the Premier in the hall and offered to resign my seat for a new $10 million hospital. It’s not a fact. The member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) challenged the Premier to give me a hospital in return for my resignation. Now that he’s closing our hospital on April 1, the offer still stands.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in reply to that point of privilege, I don’t always read the weekend press that thoroughly but I did read parts of that interesting article about the hon. member. I’m delighted to hear him today that he didn’t say to the reporter that he detests the Premier of this province. I can only say to the hon. member that, really, he has not evoked that sort of passion within me, either in terms of my likes or dislikes. In that I had never talked to that particular reporter, I really don’t know how he could assume whether I liked the hon. member or disliked the hon. member.

I want to make that abundantly clear that I had nothing to do with the contents of that article. I would also make it clear, so the reporter will know, the hon. member did not approach me in the hall to offer his resignation of his seat. If he had done so, the temptation might have been very great. But to keep the record quite straight, the hon. member is right. He never did any such thing.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Can the minister indicate to the House exactly how much money is budgeted in the fiscal year, 1976-1977 for the mental retardation resource centre at Goderich and the centre at Northeastern -- or, to put it a different way, can the minister indicate whether the figures which came from his ministry are in fact reliable?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In reverse order, the figures that come from my ministry usually are reliable. However, in terms of the 1976-1977 budget commitment, I would assume that when those estimates are ready, then those figures will be there. Until then, I can’t at the moment say what the amount will be.

Mr. Lewis: But I take it, by way of supplementary, that the minister is therefore not in a position to deny the figures from his ministry which have so far been tabled?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I may be in a position to refute the member’s figures if he is inviting me to do that, but I may say that I haven’t undertaken that as yet.

Mr. Ferrier: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister can inform us as to whether the budget for 1976-1977 for the Northeastern Mental Health Centre will be sufficient to allow that centre to operate at full capacity for that year?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Of course, the hon. member makes mention of operating a centre at full capacity. I would like to inform the member that that centre is a resource centre, which is not a schedule I or schedule II facility. It’s not a question of residential care. Of course, there will be some there. It’s a centre which will provide diagnostic and other services and outreach programmes for the community. Insofar as those programmes are involved, they will take place in accordance with the wishes of the district working groups. I have sat down with the district working groups in the Timmins area and that programme, of course, will unfold. It’s a different type of programme which involves, I may say, diagnostic services as well as other assessment services. But it’s a different type of facility than a straight residential care facility. So that one really can’t talk in terms of capacity if one is trying to compare this centre with a psychiatric hospital because, of course, they are altogether two different types of facilities.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary.

Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister advise us, given the fact that the mental retardation district working group in the Goderich area has rejected his plans for an MR facility in Goderich, and these groups are supposedly consulted and involved in the planning, is he prepared to make a statement concerning the role of these groups and the role of the OAMR? Has there been any change in his ministry’s policy toward the MR working group?


Hon. Mr. Taylor: None whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I sat down on two separate occasions with the district working group in Goderich. The initial suggestion to the district working group was that a resource centre would be established there. My ministry thought that it could take advantage of the existing physical plant to develop a resource centre. The district working group thought that in the light of the other facilities available in the area that that would not be the best idea. Accordingly, I met with them and told them that we would not establish a resource centre, therefore, at Goderich.

However, I subsequently met with them and outlined a proposal I had formulated in internal meetings with my ministry staff on the concerns expressed by me and others that it was necessary to take the pressure off some of our schedule I facilities.

As you know, we have great numbers of residents in such places as Orillia and Smiths Falls. We’re anxious to draw down, if at all possible, the numbers in those institutions; to provide them with better accommodation and to transfer residents closer to their families. For that reason we thought that we could utilize the existing plant in Goderich for a schedule I facility.

I outlined that to the district working groups and my perception of that meeting was very good in that they understood fully what we were trying to do and expressed agreement in terms of the fact that we would be assisting persons who were presently in institutional care and that we would be bettering their lot. It wasn’t a question of deviating from our philosophy, of course, of de-institutionalization and normalization. I had a very good feeling from the district working group and we have not changed our philosophy in terms of those groups.


Mr. Lewis: Could I ask the Premier a question? With mortgage interest rates on the rise -- the pressure is pushing them now beyond 12 per cent -- is the Premier prepared to reconsider the undertaking made just prior to the end of the last election campaign -- which has since been discarded -- to subsidize somehow or provide some kind of tax credit for the interest rate situation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: As I recall the situation in the latter part of August or early part of September, we were quite concerned about the construction industry and the impact that mortgage interest rates would have on the industry. It was, as I recall the statement, basically to stimulate the industry further at that time. I think it is fair to say that we are still concerned about the industry although when one looks at the figures and the numbers of starts it appears to be in much better shape than it was just a few months ago.

I make no bones about it. I can’t see how the decision to increase the prime rate, with the effect it will have on mortgage rates, can be described as being anything but inflationary. I become a little bit discouraged on occasion with the decisions of the federal government which appears to be attempting to deal with inflation through some aspects of its policy and yet obviously encourages this sort of situation to take place.

In fairness, also, it has introduced a programme as far as new home buyers are concerned which does offset a portion of the mortgage interest problem. I have always felt that this is an area which government should consider but I would be less than honest with the Leader of the Opposition if I gave any encouragement because I think any programme of this kind would really have to encompass more than first home buyers or new homes. We get into the question of refinancing mortgages -- second and even third mortgages in some instances.

I think that while the idea still has some attraction -- I don’t minimize it -- with the constraints and the priorities we have established it would be misleading to the Leader of the Opposition to suggest that this might be reactivated at this present time. This does not alter my own point of view as to the decision to have the interest rates go up. I think it’s inflationary. I’m no economist but I don’t know how it can be construed in any other sense.

Mr. Bullbrook: It’s too bad you signed the agreement with them. Why do you like signing agreements with them all the time if you don’t agree with their policy? You’re right. Their policy is wrong. Why do you sign agreements with them? You go to bed with them all the time.

Mr. Yakabuski: Don’t blame us.

Mr. Bullbrook: Blame you? You are the ones who signed the agreement.

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

Mr. Lewis: By way of a supplementary, if I may: Since the policy initially was the Premier’s, based on the need to fill the gap which the federal Liberals would not fill, and the Premier has conceded now that it isn’t closed.

Can I ask the Premier what one does in Ontario generally, or in the Metro Toronto market, for example, where the average price transaction in February was $61,215, which requires carrying costs of something like $630 a month after down payment and means that only 8.2 per cent of the families in this part of the province can afford such a house purchase? What does the government do on behalf of the other 91.8 per cent of the families who would wish to make such a purchase? Doesn’t the Premier think it demands intervention or protection of some kind?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would say with respect that I don’t think a mortgage interest subsidy of, say, one or 1½ per cent would resolve --

Mr. Lewis: It’s up.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, it was a differential between say, 10¼ per cent and 12¼ per cent.

Mr. Lewis: That’s two per cent now.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, it could be two per cent, and that could fluctuate within the next six months or in the next six days. Who knows?

Mr. Deans: We thought maybe you meant it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say with respect, Mr. Speaker, that that form of tax credit, where there was a suggested limit, would not alter the question that the hon. Leader of the Opposition raises. I question whether it would have any significant effect.

Mr. Singer: Why did you bring it up in the first place?

Hon. Mr. Davis: If the hon. member wants to ask a supplementary, I would be delighted to answer it when he gets on his feet and asks the question. I am trying to explain to the Leader of the Opposition that I don’t think that particular programme would alter the figures that exist here in Metropolitan Toronto.

I would say, again with respect, that I think there has been, to some degree at least, a stabilization in the house market. And while one looks at Metropolitan Toronto -- and I don’t minimize the extent of the market here in Toronto --

Mr. Lewis: It’s gone up 30 per cent in one year.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: It’s gone up 30 per cent in one year in Metro.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, sure, and it has gone up in Vancouver and in a number of other communities. It is also possible to buy houses at much lower prices than that not too far distant from Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr. Cassidy: Not true.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I happen to know of a few. And while I can’t say that is a solution in itself, I think the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) has undertaken a number of programmes, basically the OHAP programme, that are beginning to have some results.

We all know what is also part of the answer, and that is to have more registered lots available to increase the competition within the marketplace. The hon. Leader of the Opposition can ask, “Why don’t you do more about that?” I can only say we are making a very genuine attempt and, I think, having some degree of success.

Mr. Singer: Sure, Ottawa --

Hon. Mr. Davis: And before the member for Wilson Heights interjects, that great party that is so much in support of autonomy for the local municipalities should know that one of the inhibiting factors in the registration of plans of subdivision has been the attitude of a number of municipalities in and around Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr. Singer: Who drafts the legislation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: And while members of that party would say to us use the heavy hand and force the municipalities --

Mr. Singer: You write the legislation.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- for heaven’s sake, at least once in their life they should be consistent in the approach they are taking.

Mr. Singer: You write the legislation.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: What’s more, you know it is true.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: Are you ready?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We are ready.

Mr. Lewis: So are we. That makes two of us.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: If the Premier is now standing here telling this House that his programme for subsidization of interest rates won’t work, why did he bring it up in the first place and why did he lay it on the people of this province as an election promise?

Mr. Lewis: Well, it was 10 days before the 18th.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not standing up in this House and saying that an interest subsidy programme would not be without some benefit.

Mr. S. Smith: Without substantial benefit.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am saying to the hon. member for London Centre, who is the self-acknowledged economic expert on that side of the House, that he should know the facts of life. He should even know them in and around London, where he is reasonably familiar with the development industry. The fact remains -- and it is simply this -- that the cost of housing in the London area does not relate to whether or not there is a mortgage interest subsidy.

Mr. S. Smith: Why did you offer it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, we offered it very simply to give stimulus to the industry.

Mr. S. Smith: To win the election.

Mr. Bullbrook: We know what you were trying to stimulate.

Mr. Singer: You were trying to stimulate votes.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to give the federal government some degree of credit, because they have undertaken a partial programme with respect to interest subsidy.

Mr. Speaker: Further questions.


Mr. Speaker: No, I think we have spent enough time on this one. There can be further questions later.

Mr. Good: It didn’t do a good job. You still lost 22 seats.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Attorney, as my colleague affectionately calls him, I take it that the Attorney General has the police investigation reports of Abko labs in his possession. Without revealing matters which relate to charges, because I know that’s a separate fact, can we indicate to the Legislature whether there is any request in that report for a public inquiry, and whether there are any comments on the other private laboratory networks?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have met with my senior law officer who has been directing the investigation and the senior officer in charge of the investigation as recently as this morning. First of all, I should indicate that the investigation has not been completed. I would think that any decision in relation to the laying of criminal charges will be made most probably within the next week.

Insofar as reports that have been made in relation to the investigation are concerned, I simply do not recall all the contents of those reports. In any event, I would think it would be premature and improper of me to make any further comments at this time in relation to this investigation because criminal charges may well be laid.

But I honestly don’t know the answer to that question at this moment. It’s a very involved investigation and I’d be quite prepared to talk to the hon. Leader of the Opposition privately in relation to some of the details and the problems related to the investigation, but I’m very reluctant or very cautious about saying anything that may in any way prejudice a fair trial or impede the completion of the investigation.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: much as I’d like to chat with the Attorney General in a public forum, let me ask him by way of supplementary again: Leaving aside the charges, leaving aside the police investigation, do the reports which he has received and have his discussions with the law officers of the Crown led to either a specific request in the report for a public inquiry or comments on the need for an inquiry?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To the best of my knowledge they do not in either of those two cases. Again I don’t have the report with me. I’ve read them fairly recently; I do not recall any specific or general suggestion in relation to a recommendation as to a public inquiry.

Mr. Singer: Further to the minister’s answer to the Leader of the Opposition, wouldn’t the Attorney General believe that in view of the grave concern and the great number of people involved and the great number of dollars involved, that the public interest would be best served by the ordering of a public inquiry conducted in the appropriate manner?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: At this stage I’m certainly not of the view that the public interest would be best served by a public inquiry.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Can the minister explain why and upon whose advice the decision was made to include regulations with regard to the installation and maintenance of anaesthetic systems in hospitals under the Ontario Building Code, which is as you know enforced by local municipalities, rather than under the Public Hospitals Act, which would be under the Ministry of Health and which would be much better able to enforce something as difficult and as complex as that particular aspect of the code?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I must say that I’m not aware of the fact that no consultation took place with the Ministry of Health. I’m prepared to look into the circumstances under which the particular regulations were put in. But there was two years of consultation before those regulations were proclaimed and as far as I know that consultation took place with every interested party in the province.

Mr. S. Smith: In view of tragic occurrences in the Sudbury hospital, where I believe 23 deaths occurred as the result of the wrong installation of anaesthetic equipment, and in view of the fact that such deaths have also occurred elsewhere in North America rather frequently, is the minister convinced the regulations, especially some of the smaller municipalities for which this probably would be impossible, and would he be prepared to tell the House of the results of his inquiries into the matter and perhaps to consider changing this to something that has provincial regulation?


Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, the Ontario Building Code is a provincial regulation and we have entrusted the municipal building inspectors to enforce it. We are quite aware there are limitations on their capabilities and we have had some inquiries, particularly from smaller municipalities, as the hon. member suggests, and we are prepared to undertake a training programme or to work with them to ensure that their qualifications are raised. We recognize the difficulties in administering a code of such technical difficulty in the smaller municipalities and we are looking into the possibility of upgrading the training of municipal building inspectors.

Mr. S. Smith: The minister is going to have a training programme for them basically.


Mr. S. Smith: In the absence of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes), perhaps I could direct a question to the Premier. Is our information correct that certain employees for the rent review programme are being hired by and paid by Drake Personnel or possibly Office Overload?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think actually that minister would not be responsible for that programme in any event. In that the appropriate minister is here, perhaps the leader of the Liberal Party might direct the question to him.

Mr. Deans: Maybe I can help him.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question is redirected. Is the hon. minister here?

Mr. S. Smith: May I redirect the question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations?

Mr. Speaker: Is the hon. minister aware of the question? I believe he is.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Yes, the support staff for all the rent review offices are being hired through Drake Personnel which were given a contract after a number of bids were asked for by, I believe, Management Board. Drake Personnel were given that on a short-term contract.

Mr. Peterson: You don’t have enough personnel officers?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Their hiring has now been completed -- and those are the support staff, not the rent review officers. The rent review officers are being hired through the personnel office of my ministry and the Ministry of Housing jointly.

Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister explain why the hiring is not being done by the Civil Service Commission and, secondly, how much is being paid to Drake Personnel for this service and, thirdly, whether these employees are classified as civil servants and appear on the total civil service complement?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The answer to the first part of the question is simply that it was a crash hiring programme and it would have required a great deal of government resources in order to do the hiring all across the province in order to have the programme in place. It was felt desirable that before it was transferred to my ministry that it be done by Drake Personnel who had the resources to do it. I can’t advise the hon. member the exact amount that was paid to Drake Personnel, but I can obtain that information. They are not civil servants, they are on a short-term contract.

Mr. Shore: Seventy thousand employees.

Mr. Deans: Why was the hiring not done through Canada Manpower and then there would have been no payment made to any personnel operation? Canada Manpower is set up throughout the Province of Ontario for the very purpose of screening and determining the suitability of applicants and there are any number of people already on the rolls of the unemployed who would like that opportunity to find work.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question has been asked, I believe.

Mr. Bullbrook: The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson) could have got those people in Sarnia in 10 minutes.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could answer the question. I don’t know why Canada Manpower wasn’t asked --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Deans: Don’t you think you should find out?

Mr. Lewis: They can’t find jobs around the province.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The decision had been taken when the programme was transferred to my ministry and it simply carried on. Perhaps the hon. member would like to ask the Minister of Housing who is involved in making that decision, when he is available.

Mr. Deans: Don’t you think it should have been?

Mr. Singer: I wonder if the minister could tell us why Drake Personnel is paying these employees and not the government of Ontario and how much of each dollar that Drake pays over it takes as its commission?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I can’t answer the second part of the question.

Ms. Gigantes: Thirty per cent.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Certainly it is far better in our view rather than to raise expectations of permanent employment among these people that they be paid by someone else. They are not on the government payroll and they are not part of the permanent establishment.

Mr. Singer: You let the Drake people take a rake-off by inserting a middleman.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: They will not have jobs when the programme ends.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Does the member for Hamilton West have any further questions? The hon. Attorney General has the answer to a question asked previously.

Mr. Deans: That’s a very bad policy.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the hon. Attorney General.

Mr. Deans: You spend millions of dollars opening and setting up agencies.

Mr. Speaker: Order from the hon. member for Wentworth.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) asked me the other day to table any memoranda circulated to Crown attorneys in relation to plea discussions. The only two memoranda of which we are aware of are the memorandum by the then Attorney General, Dalton Bales, dated June 30, 1972, and a follow-up memorandum dated Feb. 26, 1976, which was circulated at my request. I would like to table these memoranda at this time.


Mr. Swart: My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Labour: In view of the federal cabinet’s decision on the paper mill workers’ settlement in the Irving case and in recognition of the fact that there may be some areas in which the settlement in Ontario exceeds that, is the minister prepared to recommend the support of her cabinet to the Anti-Inflation Board for ratification of the settlement in Ontario?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the decision which is to be made by the Anti-Inflation Board and any appeal to it, in this instance is made with the private sector. The responsibility for support of the agreement should lie with the employers and the employees in that situation.

Mr. Swart: A supplementary -- I think perhaps the minister misunderstood my question which was asking the cabinet to support the settlement in Ontario. By way of supplementary, may I ask if she is then prepared, if I take her answer at face value, to see a settlement for the paper mill workers in Ontario below that settlement which has been approved in BC?

Hon. B. Stephenson: There has been a traditional relationship between the wages paid and the agreements arrived at in Ontario and British Columbia which, I believe, has been taken into account by the Anti-Inflation Board. I believe that the contracts which have been agreed to in the Province of Ontario have special provisions for modifications thereof should a higher settlement be agreed to by the Anti-Inflation Board in terms of those settlements east of the Manitoba border.


Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health: In view of the minister’s recent statements of an expenditure increase for services of 10 per cent and an expenditure increase for salaries of eight per cent, could he enlighten this House as to what the significance of that statement would be and if it would affect any further hospitals which haven’t already been placed in a closing position?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I was beginning to wonder if I had escaped the question period and I attributed it to the suit which makes me look like the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells).

Mr. S. Smith: That’s an insult both ways.

Mr. Reid: It looks like one of his old suits.

Mr. Warner: Are you going to start closing the schools now?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are waiting for the answer.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, each year it has been traditional for the hospitals to get a letter of that type setting out what the general expansion in the base budgets would be. We have simply sent to them the amounts we will fund for growth in the two important parts of their budgets -- supplies and services, and labour. We have told them that if settlements they make exceed the limits we have imposed, they will not get any more money. Therefore, they should either negotiate within those limits or be prepared to curtail services in order to do so.

Mr. Shore: For clarification -- if the settlements were made in 1975 or some point in time, for higher than eight per cent, what effect could that have on your suggested proposal to them?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I think you will find that in some instances allowances have been made for pre-negotiated settlements. I think this is the kind of thing each hospital has discussed with us on an individual basis.


Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: Has the Province of Ontario taken advantage of the community employment strategy proposed by the federal Manpower and Immigration Department and has the minister considered Hamilton-Wentworth as an implementation centre?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the answers to those questions are yes and yes.


Mr. Reid: I have a question for the Premier in the absence of the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow): Is the Premier aware of the programme, Fifth Estate, on CBC some two week ago, which outlined some of the abuses of the licence issuers in the Province of Ontario? Is the Premier aware of the criticisms in the auditor’s report of last year of the financial handlings of that ministry, of the $165 millions? Has the minister or Premier given a direction to have this whole sordid mess cleaned up and assure the public of the province that the fees collected are, in fact, getting into the public coffers?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member perhaps might ask the minister more directly when he is here; which I expect he will be tomorrow. I can’t say that I did watch that particular television programme. I don’t find as much time as I would like to watch television, so I didn’t see it. I can’t comment on the programme at all.

Mr. Sargent: Did you see “The Insurance Man from Ingersoll”?

Hon. Mr. Davis: But, particularly, I understand it was a non-violent programme, so there would have been nothing offensive about it, I’m sure -- much. I’d be delighted though to alert the minister to the question and have him be ready to reply tomorrow.

Mr. Reid: By way of supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker. Is the Premier not concerned that $165 million of the people’s money is being mishandled in the province? And doesn’t he think he has a responsibility to ensure, in view of the fact that 90 per cent of the returns from licence issuers have been incorrect in the past number of years, some responsible direction in this regard? Since your minister --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know whether I heard the hon. member correctly. How much money is he talking about?

Mr. Reid: About $165 million.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That he is saying was mishandled? I don’t think that’s what the report said.


Mr. Philip: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: What arrangements have been made under the Travel Industry Act, 1974, to reimburse the passengers who paid for the Blue Vista tour that was scheduled to leave Jan. 23 for Jamaica?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, if they’ve dealt with a registered travel agent or a registered tour operator in Ontario, and if they have put their claims in to the registrar of travel services, those claims are being processed -- and, presumably, will be dealt with by the compensation board which has been established for that purpose.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has anyone to date received reimbursement who was scheduled to be on that tour?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, many people have received reimbursements directly from the agents or others. At the moment all of the claims are being compiled by the registrar simply because the terms of the trust agreement are that no claims can be paid until they’re all in -- and not all of them are in. But many consumers have been reimbursed, yes.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary.

Mr. Philip: Is the ministry planning on taking any legal action against any travel wholesaler, agent or sales person as a result of this?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: There is no evidence that would lead us to believe that any such action would bear any fruit. I know of no offences at the moment.


Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the fact that the Throne Speech stated that there would be legislation coming forth to allow for a voluntary farm income stabilization plan, could we have a date when we can expect this legislation to be presented?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to say, but certainly it will be as soon as possible -- because I want to leave it on the order paper for a while so members will have a chance to look at it.

Mr. McKessock: Supplementary: The last Throne Speech indicated we would also have a plan to this effect and that it would be in place before the seeds went in the ground -- this was last year. Would the minister give us this same promise?

Hon. W. Newman: From the member’s fair part of the country it might be a while before the seeds get in the ground, but in other parts of the province the seeds will be in the ground very shortly.

Mr. Reid: Election stakes first.

Hon. W. Newman: No, I intend to bring it in very soon.

Mr. Reid: The election stakes will be in the ground before government policies.

Mr. Conway: Has the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson) been sowing his oats?


Mr. Martel: To the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Based on Professor Mathews’ report with respect to the hiring practices at Carleton, is it the minister’s intention now to move ahead with any of the recommendations in the select committee report based on colleges and universities?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: You aren’t listening to Robin Mathews again, are you?

Mr. Martel: Could the minister indicate what action his ministry intends to undertake in implementing those recommendations?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I will in the very near future. I am tempted to say “in the fullness of time,” but I know that that isn’t good enough. I said “this spring,” and I can assure the member that I will do so this spring if it’s three or four weeks -- I think I need that much more time -- but it will be then.



Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. Has the minister or his officials looked into the dramatic new form of dry-powdered fuel called magnesium hydride that provides energy equivalent to paying six cents for a gallon of gasoline?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I personally have not, but I will check with the staff who are involved in ongoing work with such things. Perhaps it might also be known to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, who have under way a programme involving the testing of 10 alternative fueling devices for cars.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Will the minister then contact the Billings Energy Research Corp. in Provo, Utah, for additional information?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t know if the hon. member has a franchise or what, but perhaps if he already has the information he could send it to me and it would save me having to write.


Mr. Burr: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food regarding the three-year study at the University of Guelph concerning the detrimental effect of fluorescent lighting on various foods displayed for sale in stores, especially milk and butter: What is the ministry doing to require light-protective packaging for these foods?

Hon. W. Newman: The packaging of the foods does not come under the jurisdiction of my ministry, but certainly we have done considerable work in the field, as you well know, and have made a report public. But we have done nothing specific as far as packaging is concerned.

Mr. Burr: Supplementary: What is the good of the study unless the minister is going to get some results?

Mr. Deans: That’s a good question.

Mr. Burr: Whose responsibility is it? Is it the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman)?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I will just comment on that report that did come out. It’s a fairly extensive report on fluorescent light and how it can affect food, depending on how long it is left there; that would have some bearing on it. Certainly we don’t see any major health problem there. I don’t want to speak for the other ministries -- the member could ask them about it -- but I don’t see any major problem there.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Energy: What plans has the minister to investigate both the charges of 350 pipefitters employed by the Lummus Co. in the Hydro water plant at Douglas Point with regard to the charge that they are being treated like “white niggers” by the advisory staff, all Americans, and the documented stories I have that millions of dollars of waste is being perpetrated by the Lummus Co. under the protection of Hydro?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think that last statement has to be just about one of the most irresponsible statements I have ever heard that member make, and usually he is hard to beat, even by himself.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, it is in the press, it is well known.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have answered numerous questions over the last 14 months from that particular hon. member on that particular project with regard to that particular company, and if he ever has information to substantiate any of these allegations I wish he would supply it to me.

Mr. Sargent: You will get it after the House.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In 14 months he has never been able to do it. Now, with regard to his specific question. He alleges that all of the supervisory staff are Americans. I want to tell him that there are 223 supervisory staff at that particular site. The company in question advertised extensively in Canada. Supervisory staff are hired on the basis of their ability in relation to that kind of a nuclear project. Eighteen of 223 are Americans.

If he wants to get into the particulars of the labour situation on that site, if he would like I will read him --

Mr. Sargent: So you know all about it. You have got it all there.

Mr. Shore: How come you are so prepared?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Sargent: Are the Canadians all wrong? Are they all wrong?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Don’t you want the answer?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question which has been asked is being answered.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I want to make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member did not tip me off beforehand that he was going to ask this question.

An hon. member: He’s just well prepared.

Mr. Good: Somebody did.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I just believe in being prepared for such things. If the hon. member would like a summary of what is involved with the current labour dispute to which he refers I would be glad to read it now, or I can send it to him, whichever he prefers.

Mr. Sargent: Send it to me.

Mr. Grossman: Better read it to him.


Mr. Samis: A question to the Minister of Health if I can get his attention.

Mr. Warner: He is the one who wanted questions.

Mr. Samis: Is the minister aware of allegations in the press in eastern Ontario of patronage regarding the awarding of a nursing home licence in Dundas county? Would he be prepared to table all the relevant documents in the House?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of any allegations of patronage but I’m certainly aware of the nursing home in question, and the fact that a Dr. Parisien in the city of Cornwall feels he should have won, and the fact that we gave it to a Mr. Augwire in another community who already had an allowance, I think, of 40 beds in addition to his basic licence. They were both among the numerous people submitting proposals. It was chosen in a perfectly fair way and it’s above reproach.

Mr. Samis: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The question was, would the minister be prepared to table those documents?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I need to table those documents. I think the choice was perfectly well made.

Mr. Cassidy: Over there, you should make a struggle.

Mr. Lewis: If it is above reproach, why not table the material?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Good: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Why does the ministry not assist consumers in their disputes --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We can’t hear the question.

Mr. Good: -- under the Business Corporations Act -- I believe it is section 55 -- regarding verbal misrepresentation, instead of telling them to go to the small claims court and have a judge decide? Why doesn’t the ministry assist them by telling the businesses involved what their obligations are under that section of the Business Corporations Act?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member is referring to the Business Practices Act. I would like to have some specifics about cases where our ministry has not advised merchants of their liabilities under that Act. Certainly, the courts are there to adjudicate and our ministry is not to act as a court. We will take action under the Act if I could have some specifics.

Mr. Good: A supplementary: Would the minister then investigate the charges or allegations made by Barbara Klish yesterday on CBC radio -- she’s a consumer affairs expert -- who said your ministry simply told the people to go to the small claims court to get their grievances settled rather than going to the businesses and telling them what their obligations are under that section of the Business Practices Act? Phone Barbara Klish at the CBC.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I certainly will make inquiries and ascertain whether or not there have been any improper acts on the part of our officials.


Ms. Sandeman: A question of the Minister of Correctional Services: Could the minister please explain to me why it was felt necessary to lay off five academic teachers at Grandview Training School on Dec. 31 at a time when the school had such a shortage of teaching staff that it found it necessary to find 20 volunteers to help with students in their academic classes?

Hon. J. R. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the reason for the reduction in the teaching complement was the low counts at Grandview school.

Ms. Sandeman: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister explain then why the reason given for needing volunteers was that the students needed help with their academic classes? Could the regular complement of teachers not have provided that help?

Hon. J. R. Smith: I think it should not be construed that this bears any relationship. The policy of the ministry -- and I’ve encouraged this wherever possible, particularly in the juvenile division -- is that there is a very positive role that volunteers can play, particularly in remedial reading and other aspects of education. They are encouraged at all the centres to use the volunteers.

Mr. Foulds: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister, as the former parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), not agree that fundamental skills such as remedial reading need a certain amount of expertise and that not all the volunteers you might get in such a programme would have that expertise? Wouldn’t the minister further agree that inadequate teaching at that particular point could have a positively harmful effect?

Hon. J. R. Smith: I just used that specific example. The fact of the matter is that all volunteers go through an orientation programme -- selected volunteers from the community.

Mr. Warner: The fact is you got rid of five teachers and took 20 volunteers.

Hon. J. R. Smith: They have a role in many capacities and I know they complement and reinforce the teaching staff and are of great assistance to them. It is unfortunate that these teachers at Grandview received their notice very late; I know particularly that the art teacher, for example, was one of them.

Nevertheless, the counts are down and in no way are we trying to bolster the loss of that complement through volunteers, but rather to enrich the overall programme.

Mr. Lewis: We know how you enrich the programme.


Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services in regard to the statement he made on two occasions with regard to the confiscation of the funds of senior citizens in institutions in this province if, in fact, they have over $500 to their credit with that institution. Would he explain to me his reasoning behind that policy; how he is going to implement it -- whether by regulation or by a change in the Act brought into the House -- and if, in fact, this is the policy of the government to be followed continuously?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: First of all, let me answer that in the reverse order to which it was asked. May I say that the proposal was --

Mr. Lewis: Answer; answer. Get to the answer.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Just be patient.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, you’re wasting valuable time.

Mr. Lewis: Answer.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Maybe he’ll learn something that he didn’t learn through the press.

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

Mr. Lewis: Get to the answer.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: All right. First of all, may I say that there has been no policy developed by this government in connection with that particular suggestion that I enunciated.

An hon. member: No policy?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I say that the proposal, or the suggestion that I put forward, was made by me after discussing a particular situation that exists with the administrators of the homes for the aged throughout the province. As a matter of fact, the suggestion in terms of these trust accounts was advanced to me and put forward as well not long ago by the Metropolitan Toronto welfare committee. May I say that if you look at the situation that exists, persons resident in homes for the aged pay their full rate within those homes if they have the financial capacity to do so. In other words, if they have their own private assets, then they pay their own way in the homes for the aged until those liquid assets are --

Mr. Lewis: Answer, Mr. Speaker. This is ridiculous.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- brought down to the sum of $2,000. That’s their own money and there was never any suggestion that that be changed. However, there has developed in Ontario a situation in regard to the buildup of trust funds because of residents in the homes who have become senile and who are not able to spend sums allotted to them as comfort allowances. In other words, there has been a buildup in Ontario, I’ve been told, to the extent of some $10 million.

Mr. R. S. Smith: How many chapters are you going to cover?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. Mr. Taylor: Let me answer.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I lost track of that question and the answer both.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please -- just one moment, please. I stretched the time just for a moment because I recognized the member for Nipissing in time for the last supplementary. I did allow it to go, even though it was the end of the period. But it has gone on well past the end of the question period.

Mr. Deans: That’s his fault.

Mr. R. S. Smith: I’d like one supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: We’re four minutes over now. So I think we should leave it to another day.

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I’ve even forgotten what the question was. Let’s get on to the next order of business.

On a point of order, the member for Wilson Heights.

Mr. Singer: Yes, Mr. Speaker, surely there has to be some measure of control brought to bear on cabinet ministers who unduly prolong their answers, as this minister was doing a moment ago.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Does the member for Wilson Heights want the facts?


Mr. Speaker: I am sure I have encouraged short questions and short answers and I would do that again today.


Mr. Nixon: The government backed down on it anyway.

Mr. Lewis: Someone told me yesterday that he gives the right wing a bad name.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Lewis: He takes the right-wing plank of the Tory party. Something has to be done about it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Introduction of bills.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Could we get on with the business of the House? Any bills?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to question No. 1 standing on the notice paper.

Mr. Deans: On a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There seems to be a point of order or something.

Mr. Deans: I rose when you asked if there were any bills but you were looking that way, sir.

Mr. Speaker: I am sorry if I missed you. I will recognize you now.


Mr. Deans moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act relating to the installation of Automatic Fire Extinguishing Systems in Buildings.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Deans: The bill provides that buildings or structures over three storeys in height or 45 ft in height to the roof line above grade be equipped with approved automatic fire extinguishing systems. It applies equally to new buildings and to buildings that are being rebuilt.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.

Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise at this time to speak in this debate. I want, first of all, for the sake of members opposite to explain that anything I may say in the course of this shortish discourse should not be taken as an offence to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor but rather as an offence to her government.

Mr. Mancini: That goes for the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Henderson) too.

Mr. S. Smith: I feel, rather than start in perverse order the way my friend opposite does when he goes about answering questions, I’ll start at the beginning.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Because your memory is short.

Mr. S. Smith: First of all, I want to continue with something I mentioned on the day on which the Legislature opened, that is, I would like to just take a moment to pay tribute to my predecessor in office, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). I did make mention of this at the opening when the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) were kind enough to issue friendly remarks of greeting to me, but I do want to take just a little more time because I do believe that the people of Ontario have been, generally speaking, very well served by the politicians of all political stripes who have offered themselves over the many years to the public service in Ontario.

Among the people who have served Ontario very well, and I hope in this case will continue to serve Ontario very well for many years, there must rank very high the name of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. He is not only very well loved in his constituency, as I am sure we are all aware, but, generally speaking, he has a very well, deserved reputation as a decent man, an honourable man, an able parliamentarian, and as a person dedicated to the betterment of political life in this province.

Although there will be many times and there have been many times when there have been disagreements -- even violent disagreements -- with various members in various parts of this province and various parties, I think fundamentally Ontario would be very fortunate indeed if there were more people ready to offer themselves with the same selfless dedication which has been shown by this man’s family and by this man himself. I’m very privileged to be following in his footsteps. I very much appreciate the fact that members of this House have shown similar appreciation.

I’m particularly pleased, of course, to be representing Hamilton West. On previous occasions I have detailed some of the difficulties we have had in Hamilton in getting what we consider fair treatment from provincial governments and, for that matter, from federal governments as well.

Hon. members know already that our natural setting has been rather despoiled. Our bay is polluted. People living in the vicinity of our industries are suffering from illnesses -- cancer, respiratory illnesses -- and, generally speaking, we have had very little in the way of protection or in the way of special consideration for our heavy industrialization. We’ve had very little in the way of meaningful decisions from the Ministry of the Environment in particular or the Ministry of Health.

The people of Hamilton are becoming very impatient with the government in Ontario and in particular they are a little disturbed right at the moment by a tiny piece of typical arrogance, I guess, on the part of the present government. The municipal government in Hamilton, the regional government, is presently being bullied to accept an expressway route through Red Hill Creek which is a rather lovely conservation area. They’re being threatened. They either have to seriously consider putting it through this area or they are going to lose the $2 million subsidy. It’s just typical of the way in which this city has been handled by successive governments over the years. On behalf of the citizens of Hamilton I want to protest in a heartfelt way about the way in which that particular city has been singled out for abuse and lack of protection.

Turning more to partisan matters, I was amazed and impressed by the three-hour performance by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday. I sat through it all with the exception of a few moments and I found that there was very little I could disagree with. I thought that he --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Were you more amazed or impressed?

Mr. S. Smith: I was both.

Mr. Lewis: Don’t push it when he is nice. Leave him alone. He has been friendly; leave him alone.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought I’d give him a chance.

Mr. Lewis: He is coming to the point right away.

Mr. S. Smith: I assure the Premier that I was both. I think there are not many parliamentarians who could stand and give a three-hour oration of that pith and substance and I was impressed. I must say many of the criticisms which he levelled I had either levelled previously or would have liked to have levelled previously because I think many of them were very well put.

He did, however, take a little time at the beginning of his address to comment briefly on the Liberal Party and on me personally. I thought perhaps I should at least pay a little attention as well to this party sitting over to my right, even though the main substance of my comments today will pertain more to the gentlemen and ladies opposite.

For one thing, I want to take up the sensitivity to some remarks that I am quoted as having made. I’m really surprised to find that the Leader of the Opposition could believe I could have made the sort of red-baiting and red-smear type statements he quoted when he mentioned the business about Marx and the way the Russians liberated Latvia. The notion of comparing the NDP in that way to the totalitarian regime in eastern Europe is so distant from my mind that there is no way I would even think of making this kind of ridiculous and malicious child-like accusation or slur.

My point was as follows: I had pointed out that I agreed with many of the humanitarian policies of the New Democratic Party and I pointed out that in my opinion -- and I’m entitled to that -- I felt that their economic policies had not really advanced since the time of Marx. The name of Marx was not thrown out there in order to be a bogeyman or to scare anybody or because of any connotation --

Mr. Lewis: Why?

Mr. S. Smith: -- but as an economist, as a scientist.

Mr. Lewis: You might have chosen Adam Smith or Sun Yat-sen, but Marx came to mind -- an easy, homelike fellow. Or why not Henry VIII?

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

Mr. S. Smith: It has been my view that in fact the fundamental underlying philosophies of at least those members of the NDP who do admit to being socialists -- I am not including those who claim only to be social democrats --

Mr. Lewis: Here, I will poll them for you.

Mr. S. Smith: -- really are based primarily on the class struggle; that basically they do see life in terms of a capitalist class and a working class and a need to somehow or other use government to bolster the working class against the capitalist class and this, as far as I am concerned, is a rather antiquated way of looking at economics.

Mr. Bain: Talk to the workers about it!

An hon. member: Are you setting our programme then?

Mr. S. Smith: The other point I was making had to do with a very difficult matter which faces not only this party but also our own and the ladies and gentlemen opposite. That is, how do you protect the ordinary individual nowadays against the large, entrenched, powerful institutions in society?

Mr. McClellan: Like the Liberals.

Mr. Cassidy: Like the federal Liberals, yes?

Mr. S. Smith: Unless you form an arm of a powerful government in order to protect them, and then you do run into the risk, as Mr. Broadbent has suggested lately in his recent musings about the future of this party, that you then have to somehow or other free the people from the big entrenched government which you originally hoped would free them and protect them and liberate them from the big corporations or whatever.

This is a difficulty facing everybody in politics today. How do you protect the weak and the disadvantaged against the powerful without creating a powerful government bureaucracy to do it? So, in musing about that particular problem I pointed out that that is in a way similar to the question of leading them to be liberated from your liberators. And I used the analogy of the Russians and Latvia -- not because there is any particular --

Mr. Deans: It’s contrary to reason.

Mr. Cassidy: He stumbles into these examples.

Mr. Lewis: What about Portugal and Angola?

Mr. Martel: Why don’t you try the junta?

Mr. S. Smith: I could easily, Mr. Speaker, have ignored the comments. I’ve tried in a reasonably friendly and responsible way to explain that there was no red-baiting, there were no smear tactics. That is not, in fact, the explanation, I am sure, for the remarks of the member from the island of sanity. I would very much appreciate not being lumped in with that man. It is bad enough that I have to pick up the Hamilton Spectator daily and see my good surname used with atrocious headlines and --

Mr. Cassidy: You better be careful.

Mr. S. Smith: -- my heart skips a beat while I say, “My God, surely I didn’t do anything like that”, and then find out it was not I to whom the remarks were intended.

Hon. J. R. Smith: A lot of your voters thought you were me.

Mr. Cassidy: You are going to send him around the province in your footsteps.

Mr. Lewis: You just wait for your great conversion.

Mr. Davidson: The member for Hamilton West hasn’t reached the top of the mountain yet, that’s his problem.

Mr. S. Smith: There are problems within the New Democratic Party, however, and the fundamental ones --

Mr. Cassidy: You have a few problems in your own too.

Mr. Lewis: I will attest to that all right.


An hon. member: Thirty-eight of them.

Mr. Lewis: You should only know what the problems are.

An hon. member: The Premier.

Mr. S. Smith: And the people of Ontario, you know, although I am sure they all admire them as a wonderful opposition party, I don’t think they would ever take the chance of putting them into the seats of government.

Mr. MacDonald: The decision doesn’t rest with you.

Mr. Lewis: Stranger things have happened. It’s possible.

Mr. S. Smith: Given the difficulties that we all have, and which they themselves admit -- and again I quote Mr. Broadbent -- in deciding whether the party is in fact to be a labour party or a socialist party, is it to be a labour party or a liberal party? Is it to be a socialist party or a liberal party?


Mr. Foulds: You really were frustrated by Trudeau.

Mr. S. Smith: And in fact these are the difficulties. At the moment they seem to wish, at least the leader does, to be a liberal party. They are pedalling furiously toward the middle --

Mr. Bain: The Liberals aren’t, so somebody has to.

Mr. S. Smith: -- and we will gladly welcome them in this way, but unfortunately for them we are already here.

Mr. Lewis: If this wasn’t a maiden speech, I would plead slander.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if you look at their amendment, I must say I agree with virtually everything in that amendment, but --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Why wait until tonight to vote?

Mr. Lewis: We drafted it with you in mind.

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

Mr. S. Smith: I’ll wait.

An hon. member: Move adjournment.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the Lieutenant Governor is away for a few days. Can you --

Mr. S. Smith: I wish to draw the attention of the public in Ontario to the fact that these very pressing problems, which they correctly point out have been mishandled by the government opposite, would have been made into a complete hash by these people.

Mr. Grossman: Well, you’re half right.

Mr. MacDonald: Here comes the tortuous explanation.

Mr. Lewis: Even so, if we are not going to be --

Mr. S. Smith: The Leader of the Opposition will have his chance to have an election. He just has to vote for what we come up with.

Mr. Bullbrook: Try that one on!

Mr. Lewis: Are you going to force an election --

Mr. Ruston: Now what do you say? That settled that.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: He’ll vote against his own motion.

Mr. S. Smith: They have spoken of the need to preserve agricultural land and I have gone over a good part of this province saying the same sort of thing --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Could you find your way back?

Mr. S. Smith: -- but the difference is that I don’t do what they did last election. I don’t go to the city of Toronto and tell them that we are going to build all the houses they need, yet we will not increase densities within the neighbourhoods inside the city of Toronto and we will also not sprawl on to adjacent farm land. The houses presumably could be built in mid-air or under the lake somewhere.

When they speak of the need for job creation to offset rising unemployment, they of course unfortunately speak of it only in the public sector, which has already grown at six times the rate of the private sector in recent years. They have, as the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) has let us know, an infinite number of taxes in mind for the corporate sector and for every source of wealth that she is able to discern and may happen to exist in this particular province. And they still believe that redistributing whatever wealth and profit exists in the private sector is somehow or other going to create jobs in the long run. But that’s because they want governments to provide jobs.

I was in this House when the rent review legislation came in, and they stood and trumpeted that this was the death knell for free enterprise. I was in this House when they were delighted to say that all apartment construction and rental construction would have to be taken over by government. I don’t wish to be on one of their governmentally inspired waiting lists which will undoubtedly result.

Mr. Swart: These comments need psychiatric interpretation.

Mr. S. Smith: They speak, of course, of the need for restraint, and this I find very amusing because the truth is that within their party they are torn asunder. It is restraint vs. jobs. It is the attempt to be a moderate liberal party vs. their powerful union support. They know that’s the kind of battle they have within their party. They know that very well.

Mr. Breaugh: Your own caucus will applaud you on that.

Mr. S. Smith: Look at their views on wage and price controls. They are unable to come up with a reasonable alternative for the control of inflation and they are willing to countenance a situation where the very powerful labour unions in this country are able to engineer very high wage settlements --

Mr. Foulds: Such as high wages for non-medical employees in Port Arthur.

Mr. S. Smith: In that way they are able to redistribute wealth in favour of those who are employed in the large industries and the powerful unions, and in that way they are able to take that wealth from those who are not in unions, who are in very weak unions or who are on fixed incomes.

Mr. Lewis: There are 87 Tories in this House -- 87 Tories.

Mr. S. Smith: And their inability, in fact, to legislate the teachers back to work; their inability to shake off their indebtedness to their big labour union friends, their inanity to shake it off sufficiently to vote to send the teachers back to work -- something as simple and as straightforward as that -- is simply symptomatic of the difficulties within their party.

Mr. Nixon: A measure of their irresponsibility.

Mr. S. Smith: Their rhetoric is admirable; their research is excellent -- and their espionage is unbelievable.

Mr. Good: And your security is lousy.

An hon. member: The NDP-CIA.

Mr. Moffatt: It doesn’t even compare with the Ministry of Energy.

Mr. S. Smith: But I am afraid that, as I say, much as we all admire this, we all feel they’re an excellent group of opposers, they are certainly not a group to be taken seriously when the public wishes, as it wishes now --

Mr. Lewis: We’ll see how the public feels.

Mr. S. Smith: -- to change the government in this province.

Mr. Lewis: That has a hollow ring to it.

Mr. S. Smith: I shall now turn my attention to the government of the day.

An hon. member: Paper tigers.

Mr. Lewis: Your days are numbered.

Mr. S. Smith: The Throne Speech was very interesting, and it was typical of the Throne Speeches we’ve come to expect in recent years, more notable by what is omitted than what happens to be contained therein. The big problem is, of course, that the Throne Speech lets us all know that there’s no overall plan for Ontario. After 33 years in government, there’s no sense of preparing for a future; no sense of looking at the changes which are coming upon us day by day, and which in the next 25 years may well be greater than the changes of the past many centuries in fact.

There’s no sense that there’s a recognition that our province has come to be a place where the sons and daughters of those who live in the towns and villages trek relentlessly to the city of Toronto and to the area in the “golden horseshoe,” taking up as they do the finest in farmland, eradicating it from possible production just at a time when it may well turn out that that farmland is what can rescue this province and this country economically.

There’s no sense that this government is truly aware of what happens to small-town living when everybody, as they hit the age of 20 or 21, or even before then, has to leave their families; and people don’t think in terms of the future as a family, but in terms of the future as a broken up, fractionated, fractured group, a community that has no sense of continuity.

There’s no sense given to us, in that Throne Speech, that there’s a government there that’s truly aware of the monumental changes which will be required in our attitudes toward bigness in industry and toward bigness in government; the need to provide employment at the local level, in the rural areas --

Mr. Foulds: How about at the provincial level?

Mr. S. Smith: -- and to have this co-ordinated with a proper transportation policy so that we can have meaningful decentralization in this province. There’s obviously no sense that this government is going to do anything other than lurch from crisis to crisis, attempting to put forward whatever cosmetic legislation they’re able to devise on one occasion or another.

Look at the Throne Speech, and it starts: “This Legislature is called into session in a time of optimism about Ontario’s ability to maintain the quality of life of its citizens.”

Well I must say there are many citizens who don’t share that sense of optimism referred to in the Throne Speech. I don’t call it a time of optimism when our unemployment is already at 6.8 per cent -- 5.9 per cent seasonally adjusted -- and is going up according to all predictions. I’m not optimistic about a situation where the cost of living index has shot up to 144.8 in Thunder Bay, and 142.7 in Toronto. The Throne Speech goes on and says: “The province’s financial commitment to help education, social and municipal programmes will not be reduced.”

That simply is not the truth. We have already sat though the spectacle of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) attempting to answer for the limitations he has put on social service spending in municipalities of this province.

I would like to remind the people in the government of Ontario of the Edmonton commitment, the paper by John White at a trilevel conference in Edmonton in 1973. He said:

“The Ontario government therefore gives this guarantee to its local governments: Provincial assistance in future years will grow at a rate not less than the growth rate of Ontario’s total revenues.”

We know very well that the province intends to renege on this this year. How can it possibly come up with a statement and say the province’s financial commitment will not be reduced? How can it say, at a time when the dollar is depreciating at 10 per cent, that a 5.5 per cent ceiling is not a cutback -- or for that matter 3.1 per cent as it is in some instances?

It talks of education, and I don’t wish to go into extensive detail; suffice it to say that the Metropolitan School Board in Toronto has made it very clear to the government that, according to present information from this government, it may actually be receiving less money this year because of some of the changes in the transitional enrolment provisions.

I find it very difficult to put up with a Throne Speech which says employment security is the only real income security a free society can afford. Of course that’s true. But closing small hospitals in small communities where in many instances, these are the largest or the second largest employers, is this employment security according to the Tory government at this time? Is that how it is to be defined in 1976?

What is the government doing to retrain and absorb these people? In my own city of Hamilton it’s clear that a certain number of people have become redundant in the psychiatric hospital because of the trend, over the years, for patients to be treated on an outpatient basis. This is something the ministry has known very well for years, yet nothing was done to retrain these people for employment in the sector which would take care of the outpatients. Nothing was done to retrain these people to man the halfway houses or the boarding homes or any of these things which are very useful and now accommodate the patients who used to be inpatients. These people have simply been told all of a sudden, “You are out on the street.”

How can the government have the hypocrisy to make a statement that employment security is the only real income security in a free society and so on when it is going about the province in this way with no provision for retraining, no consultation, no attempt to soften the blow for the people who have lost their jobs. We know that the manufacturing industry in Ontario is actually on the way down, not on the way up. This is the conclusion of every analyst who has looked at the situation. Where are these jobs going to come from?

The speech went on: “My government is aware of its responsibility to ensure that those who are in genuine need receive social assistance.” I am absolutely beside myself on that one -- if you can imagine there might be two of me.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: One of you is enough.

Mr. S. Smith: We have known for years that it is necessary for those who are able-bodied and who are healthy and so on to be working. Many municipalities have wanted to establish programmes to get people off welfare and working but it has been this government which has blocked these efforts. It’s been this government which has made it very difficult.

The government comes to the children’s aid societies and other benevolent groups -- societies which have already told us they will have to turn away children in need -- and all the Minister of Community and Social Services can do is posture and go about making statements like no able-bodied welfare person is going to get away with not taking a job.

In Hamilton-Wentworth for every four persons, skilled and unskilled, looking for work in the region, there is only one opening -- frankly, I am not even sure there is one now. These figures are a couple of weeks old. In my constituency office, I am now finding a tremendous number of very able people, dedicated, who wish to work, totally unable to find jobs in a region as industrialized as Hamilton. I am sure the other Hamilton members, in their constituency offices, have been running into the same phenomenon.

I am very concerned that this is the situation today. When I hear this kind of posturing and nonsense saying: “Under my administration, nobody is going to collect welfare if they are able-bodied,” then I know it’s just pandering to a red-necked sentiment, which probably exists in some parts of this province but which I hope is a very small, and hopefully unimportant, minority.


Mr. Reid: Just on the front benches over on that side.

Mr. S. Smith: You may well be right.

Mr. Foulds: Where are you going to create the jobs?

Mr. S. Smith: And then the brilliant scheme; they are going to force mothers on welfare back to work, mothers of school age children. That has to have hit a new height in terms of modern social services.

Mr. Deans: It is a new low.

Mr. S. Smith: I was being sarcastic; you’ll accept that.

Mr. Deans: Yes.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, thank you very much.

Mr. Reid: They have no sense of humour. That’s what makes them socialists.

Mr. Peterson: Socialists are no fun at parties.

Mr. S. Smith: By what strange logic has the government concluded that a family and children, bereft of one parent, would be better bereft of both? Why are such people better working in industry than working at home? How can this particular minister justify the matter, which I brought up in the House the other day, of being the only province which vetoed the provisions that were being offered to change the Canada Pension Plan so that thousands who are in the home taking care of children can accumulate credits for their pension plan under the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans? This is something every province, no matter what its political stripe, agreed to, and our minister went and disagreed.

Yet they have the nerve to point out in the Throne Speech that they are going to come up with a revision in estate laws concerning the rights of children and spouses and property matters. How can they talk about doing this, which is long overdue, and at the same time veto these necessary improvements in the Canada Pension Plan. Of course, I suspect in this instance it wasn’t so much a matter of what has been termed welfare bashing and so on, as much as a total failure to comprehend exactly what it is they were talking about.

Mr. Warner: Mainly because of the minister.

Mr. S. Smith: The Ministry of Health, according to the Speech from the Throne, will therefore concentrate on improving the provincial health system. Well my God, that’s a sick joke! That must be the sickest joke of the year.

They are concentrating on improving the provincial health system. Would they please do us the favour of concentrating on improving something else? If they improve this any more, it will be a complete disaster. This is the kind of improvement which took place at Hiroshima.

Mr. Lewis: That’s what I meant about hyperbole. I would have said Nagasaki.

Mr. S. Smith: I want to make clear some statements that I have made in this regard. I tried to clarify them in the House the other day and I really want to make it clear now. Let me give a little background.

The health system in this province has grown like Topsy over the years, with election largess on the part of succeeding Premiers and government ministers offering a hospital here and a clinic there and a hospital somewhere else, so that beds were eventually created throughout this province in a very haphazard way with no logic and following no plan, despite the fact that the ministry itself has many times sent reports up to the minister pointing out the potential for abuse in the private lab system, the extent of unnecessary surgery, the fact arm’s length transactions were not occurring in that system, and so on. They have also pointed out that in many instances there are too many acute beds which has encouraged the doctors in these areas to utilize them without the degree of efficiency they should have used, while other parts of this province, such as the Ottawa region, actually had too few hospital beds.

Even if they had a lot of money, the truth is they really have to go about cutting some of those acute hospital beds, but they have to do that in a sensible way. They have to do that by cutting them mostly in the places where they’re not going to destroy the economy of the whole town. They have to cut the large hospitals in the larger cities. They have to cut in a way where the community impact is taken into consideration.

In addition to that, they have to make sure there are alternatives. Sure, in some northern ridings, for instance, the doctors may keep people who are not all that sick in hospital beds, but that’s because the alternative might be to have them out in some distant place, very remote, away from services. Consequently, it may be necessary to use a hospital bed longer in a northern riding than it might, for instance, in the city of Toronto. These are the kinds of considerations which are not given sufficient attention by the government.

When I saw the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) go around the province closing small hospitals, I was horrified. I stated so right after the convention at which I had the privilege of being elected leader of this party -- although I was, as many of you have noticed, rather exhausted. I still made a point of immediately going to Woodstock, to the private lab. I went to Goderich to see the psychiatric hospital, and so on.

Mr. Lewis: I have never felt better myself. I am not tired at all.

Mr. S. Smith: At that particular time I came on very strongly against the closing of these small town hospitals. I tried to point out to the minister that the proper way to do these things was to cut the budgets of some of the larger city hospitals and get together with people in the various municipalities and say: “Look, we have to save money now. How about sitting down and working out a way that we can do it?”

What happened? The minister finally brought in a change. He did cut some beds and some budgets in some of the larger city hospitals. I held a press conference and congratulated him for finally doing what he should have done in the first place. I haven’t lived that one down, unfortunately, because it was taken somehow to mean that I was congratulating him for closing the small town hospitals; and nothing can be further from the truth. Apparently some media reporters have reported it in that way; and I’m very upset about that because it is totally untrue. My position has been consistent from the beginning.

Mr. Lewis: Well, you know the media.

Mr. S. Smith: And my position has been that the small town hospitals, and those that service particular groups in society in this way, have no business being closed down. That is my point of view, and always has been.

But I want you to know that where there are too many beds in this province, and where the government does have some obligation to cut some of these beds down, let’s remember who created the problem in the first place.

Just remember that it was Eric Winkler building a hospital in Hanover that now causes the death notice to be given to Chesley and to Durham.

Let’s remember that at the Northeastern Regional Mental Health Centre, that particular hospital was over-built the very first day. It was twice the size it needed to be and many representations were made to this government over the years to try and find multiple uses for that building. In fact all that happened was these were ignored; the building continued to exist and be cleaned and heated for the years. It was called the “Timmins White Elephant”, according to the people up there; and everybody knew that.

Then the Minister of Health turned around one day, advised by some civil servant, and said, “Hey, you guys have a lot of empty beds there. You’re half empty. We’re going to close you down.” What a way to operate that is! What an absolutely vacuous way of trying to establish a proper mental health system.

And listen to what they’re doing between Timmins and North Bay. They are taking the chronic psychiatric cases at Timmins and sending them down to North Bay. Then the idea is to take the mentally retarded from North Bay and send them up to Timmins. This is presumably in line with the need to keep people in close contact with their communities. Presumably it is a line with a need to keep people close to their families so that families can visit -- this taking the retarded and putting them hundreds of miles away and taking the chronic psychiatrically ill and putting them hundreds of miles away. Absolute idiocy is the only way to describe that particular move at Northeastern.

Now they go on to say in the Speech from the Throne: “Stricter meat inspection and improved livestock and poultry protection will be enforced.”

All that does to me is frighten me. Is the government not enforcing its provisions now? Is this a threat to the Province of Ontario that you’re actually going to start enforcing your law? I encourage you to do so by all means.

They go on to say: “The judiciary will be expanded to meet the backlog...”

Mr. Lewis: You will notice all the positive suggestions that are coming. Where are the jobs?

Hon. Mr. Davis: They are coming.

Mr. S. Smith: I am very pleased that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) is going to increase the number of judges. Our own Justice critic has called for this for a long time.


Mr. S. Smith: But when I pointed out the terrible backlog in Hamilton, when I drew his attention to the fact there was unconscionable waste --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Who is your Justice critic?

Mr. S. Smith: -- in the Hamilton court system, and the same was true in Toronto and Ottawa, his statement was: “I cannot take the hon. member seriously.”

Mr. R. S. Smith: Where is your Attorney General?

Hon. Mr. Davis: He is having a press conference outside.

Mr. S. Smith: Hopefully, the government will begin to take it seriously. Hopefully, it will begin to do something about the administration of justice in this province, which has reached an absolutely new low when the Attorney General has to go before the people of Ontario and beg them to accept a modified form of plea bargaining. It’s an admission of total incapacity on his part, actually, to deal properly with a system of justice in this particular province.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s really very silly.

Mr. S. Smith: The Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) has thrown a goody in for us. He is going to upgrade insulation and energy conservation in public buildings.

Mr. Martel: Right away.

Mr. Reid: It’s better than putting your sweater on, I guess.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s the Tory energy policy for the year 1976. They are going to insulate government buildings.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Where is your policy?

Mr. S. Smith: We have to devote ourselves --

Mr. Shore: When we get over there we will tell you about it.

Mr. S. Smith: -- to the establishment of renewable sources of energy. How can this government continue to carry on in this way, as though we were not facing the greatest crisis in the history of our country? A total of $5 billion will have to be paid for energy alone in terms of our balance of payments; $5 billion will be added to that deficit in a few years time. What work is this government doing on alternative sources of energy?

Do members know that if a person now wishes to put in a solar unit, to use solar heating in his own home, this government has it set up in such a way that he actually has to pay taxes on that improvement to his home, instead of being rewarded and being called a man ahead of his time and being thanked for this? Instead of encouraging it they actually tax him.

Mr. Lewis: A solar unit?

Mr. Nixon: Shame; that’s regressive conservatism.

Mr. S. Smith: In fact what they are going to do is insulate public buildings. I am delighted to hear that. That’s a good idea.

Mr. Good: What they need is a padded cell in some of them.

Mr. S. Smith: We hear about the need for restraint. Ladies and gentlemen, we all ran for office the same time as the others here and we heard our leader at the time speak of the need for restraint, speak of the fat that was in government --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Now you are getting personal.

Mr. S. Smith: -- speak of the extra civil servants whose jobs should to be made redundant; we heard that.

Mr. Bullbrook: What did you do? You gave us Lorne.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am still waiting for your energy policy. The member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) has the energy policy, hasn’t he?

Mr. Peterson: Sure I have.

Mr. S. Smith: What does this government do? This government, instead, chose the giveaway route. It chose the giveaway route. It chose to give away $86 million for home buyers. It chose to give away $44 million for automobile sales tax rebates so people could buy American cars -- and, presumably, increase employment in the United States, possibly -- and Japanese cars.

Mr. Lewis: You supported it. You supported all of it.

Mr. S. Smith: It chose --

Mr. Cassidy: You are going to support them now.

Mr. S. Smith: It chose to give away a two per cent sales tax reduction which cost at least another $330 million, possibly more than that.

Mr. Lewis: You supported it.

Mr. S. Smith: This particular government would have us believe that at the time it made these giveaways, at the time it gave away $460 million to win the last election with a neat little gimmick which came to an end just after the election --


Mr. Lewis: We all supported it.

Mr. S. Smith: At that particular time the government would have us believe that between then and the time the election took place and the Tories woke up and found themselves in office, a sudden bolt of lightning hit them. It suddenly occurred to them: “My God! We are short of money, we must show restraint.”

It really hit them. They suddenly decided there are some interesting ways to show restraint, and the chief way in which they are showing restraint is to limit the amount of money the municipalities can get for programmes the municipalities are already hooked into. Having been misled by these giveaways, having been misled by the fact that the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) pointed out that there was a need to expand the economy at the time, the municipalities accepted higher wage settlements and they accepted certain transportation programmes. They are forced, in a time when the economy is in trouble, they are forced by statute to provide for the needy, to furnish welfare assistance and so on. And the Treasurer has decided that he’s going to help them cut back. He says to the Good Roads Association:

“Certainly the limits we’ve imposed make life unpleasant and difficult for councillors, and perhaps for some of their constituents. But there is no reason for anyone to suffer hardships.”

What an inflammatory and absolutely empty statement that is. As I said elsewhere, if that man were the captain of the Titanic, he’d say: “Don’t worry, we’re just stopping for ice.”

It’s really quite pathetic. I’m still quoting from the Treasurer and he’s speaking of the municipalities. He says:

“They can cut out the non-essentials; they can postpone projects that have no urgency; and they can reduce their administrative overhead, including their own bureaucracies. They can do all these things.”

But when we called on this government to do exactly the same thing during the last election, they claimed we didn’t know what we were talking about. “What fat in government? What extra civil servants? What administrative waste?” What could we possibly have been referring to, they said. After all, all we had to do was look at Ottawa, where admittedly there’s the same problem with bureaucracy, but they were just absolutely Simon Pure here in Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Quite right.

Mr. S. Smith: Sure they were; and that is why the Treasurer is now able to come before the people of Ontario and say:

“In our overall view of government spending, we are well aware the possibilities for savings exist within the civil service, as we all know bureaucratic structures have a natural tendency to perpetuate themselves and to proliferate even after their original purpose has been served. Many of the bureaucracies that were set up to manage the programmes and priorities in the 1950s and 1960s are still with us in the 1970s, even though the public priorities have changed from the original programme to become less important or even obsolete.

“For instance, while new highway construction has declined, the number of staff supporting capital construction have been maintained. Similarly, administrative support for elementary and secondary education, that is the combined strength of the Ministry of Education and local school boards, has risen even though school enrolment has begun to drop.”

Does that sound familiar? When my leader at the time was bringing to the attention of the people of this province the waste in administration in the various aspects of education of this province, he was being laughed at by members opposite and being called a number of names by members opposite. Now the Treasurer himself admits the facts in evidence in that system.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I never called him names.

Mr. S. Smith: The cynicism of going to the people on an election platform in which they claimed the economy was just dandy and we could afford giveaways of this kind. They gave away about $460 million and denied there was any fat in the government. Now they turn around and want the people of Ontario to believe these are the people to impose restraints.

It reminds me of a situation where somebody might come to your house and decide to sell you some carpet cleaner and demonstrate it by spilling it on your carpet. It would eat holes in the carpet and destroy the carpet, shrivel it and unravel it. They’d come back the next day and say: “Fortunately for you we are now in the business of selling new carpets.”

We might at least be thankful, I suppose, that they were no longer in the carpet cleaning business, at least they had that much insight. We could be grateful for that and we’ll accept repentent sinners back into the fold. But nobody would buy a new carpet from these people. They would have us believe that we ought now to elect them on the basis --

Mr. Lewis: I wouldn’t even buy a used carpet from you people.

Hon. Mr. Davis: We wouldn’t sell you a used carpet.

Mr. Lewis: Then we are even on it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: However, it might be more interesting.

Mr. R. S. Smith: You are both a pair of carpetbaggers.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Carpetbaggers? Look who is talking about carpetbaggers.

Mr. S. Smith: Let me say a few words, again on the subject of municipal finances.

Mr. Lewis: Going to be difficult for us to support the Liberal amendment.

Mr. Drea: What makes you think there is going to be one?

Mr. S. Smith: The key plank in the Conservative platform for the 1943 election was the promise to reform the municipal tax system. It has been said in the report of January, 1974, by that very subversive group, the Ontario Economic Council, that the province’s record in municipal reform has not been impressive when measured in terms of time. It should be remembered that the major plan of the government in 1943 was the reform of the municipal tax base. More than 30 years later the reform is still not resolved.

Mr. Singer: The Premier himself was complaining about it this afternoon.

Mr. S. Smith: Now we have the pathetic spectacle of the Treasurer deciding to burden the municipalities with more in the way of property tax in order to pay for his giveaways before the last election. It just about fits exactly. The $460 million given away before the last election by the Treasurer of this province --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Which all of your colleagues supported with enthusiasm.

Mr. S. Smith: -- that particular programme of the Treasurer of this province --

Hon. Mr. Davis: They all supported it with enthusiasm.

Mr. S. Smith: -- in fact has allowed for $50 million in hospital savings that have to occur and --

Hon. Mr. Davis: With limited enthusiasm.

Mr. Peterson: I think Bob died.

Mr. S. Smith: -- a 15 per cent increase in municipal taxes across this province will come approximately to $300 million. It fits very nicely. So remember, citizens of Ontario, when you and I receive our municipal tax bills some time this spring --

Mr. Nixon: Some time in May.

Mr. S. Smith: -- just remember that what we are receiving at that time is the price tag for the cynical giveaways of this Treasurer in order to purchase the last election.

Mr. Peterson: And you and I are paying for it!

Mr. Cassidy: You supported them.

Mr. S. Smith: I would like to quote from chapter 2 of the report of the Smith committee on taxation -- and it was not my committee, as you know; it was that of a much more distinguished citizen. I would like to quote one part:

“Because such a large proportion of municipal expenditure is a direct function of economic growth and of its principal concomitant, urbanization, excessive reliance on the real property tax can leave municipal government ill-equipped to meet its service responsibilities. In contrast to that of the senior levels of government, the structure of municipal finance reveals a basic imbalance in that it couples a relatively stable revenue base with rapidly expanding expenditure requirements.”

We all know the fallacy of depending on property tax to finance this province; and yet we know that stringent limitations brought in by the Treasurer on the municipalities of the province, forced them, beyond any shadow of a doubt, no matter what kind of cost-cutting they attempt, forced them for statutory provisions alone to increase their municipal taxes and their property taxes. This flies in the face of everything that government knows and everything that government has promised with regard to the role of the property tax base.

The same, of course, holds true of school boards, which are being forced to go to the people for vastly increased sums on the property tax base.

Look at the regional government situation. Here was a chance for the government to introduce a form of decentralization -- something we all would have welcomed. Here was a chance to take the bureaucracy at Queen’s Park and decentralize it by establishing, closer to the municipalities, the ability to make their own decisions; by giving them the money and the decision-making power to really decentralize Ontario, permitting various groups and various areas to make their own decisions about their health dollars, about their education dollars and about their planning dollars, instead of keeping the bureaucracy here at Queen’s Park and giving orders. Regional government was looked on as possibly the way this could be accomplished.

The exact opposite happened. Regional bureaucracies were set up which have taken their power and their money just from the small municipalities. That’s where these particular regional bureaucracies have got their power and money. None came from Queen’s Park. Not a single person has been let go at Queen’s Park because somebody has been hired at the region. For that matter, not a single person has been let go at the lower tier municipality level because somebody has been hired at the region. All that has happened is that regional bureaucracies were set in place which have done some good things, but these bureaucracies have grown in an incredible way, increasing the tax. For instance, you may well be aware that the average residential tax increase in all regions was 28 per cent over the four-year period that these regions were in. That’s four times the 7.7 per cent rate which occurred in the same period in the rest of the province. There is a 53 per cent increase in total municipal staff -- that’s upper and lower tier -- in the regions, compared with 15 per cent in the rest of the province.

It is perfectly clear that what has happened is that the regions were permitted to foster their own bureaucracies. In Hamilton they ended up occupying three floors of a huge complex which the government has caused to be built there. They were going to build another city hail for the region because they didn’t want to share the one the city had until finally, by bringing it to light, I think we were able to put a stop to that.

This is what has happened everywhere. The experience has been repeated even where people like some of the things about regional government. It has taken government and made it more distant from people. It has added to the cost of bureaucracies in those areas by raising the salary expectations, leaving very few competent people to be hired. The municipalities now compete with the regions for these people.

There has been no provision made to lower the bureaucracy at the lower tier when you add one to the higher tier; and certainly decentralization is long gone. Queen’s Park has not decentralized one iota of decision-making power or of money closer to where people are.

That’s why, today, people I speak to feel extremely distant from the process of government. That’s why they feel it is like a big elephant that you can shove and push and prod, but you have no effect on it. That’s why you get situations like the Minister of Health sending out a direction to shut this place down or close that one rather than doing the only decent and intelligent thing, which is to go and have consultations with people.

This government has forgotten how to consult with people. The Minister of Health says in answer to this charge: “Well, there is no good way to give out bad news. If I had gone there and told them that there’s a problem and asked them their opinion, it would have caused a tremendous amount of difficulty. It would have caused all kinds of flak.” I think those were the exact words.


Mr. S. Smith: You are darn right it would cause all kinds of flak, but that’s the process of discussion. When this government is fearful of engaging in discussions, when we have the spectacle of the Minister of Health threatening to tell the people in Woodstock at a press conference how he is going to save money there when they were begging and pleading with him to come to a meeting to explain this, then we have reached a pretty sorry state of affairs in the Province of Ontario.

This brings me to a situation in which I would like to move, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deans: That’s it?

Mr. S. Smith: Three hours are okay for some people with such amazing talent, but I am going to stick to a relatively brief one.

Mr. Lewis: At least we made some concrete suggestions. There was not a single suggestion in the entire speech.

Mr. Reid: Are you getting your excuses ready not to vote for our amendment?

Mr. Lewis: I haven’t heard it yet; but I have no enthusiasm for it.

Mr. Speaker: Order from the member for Rainy River; order.

Mr. S. Smith: Listen, would you, sir, to this. These are the people with the constructive suggestions?

Mr. Deans: That’s right.

Mr. S. Smith: These are the people who have not told a single person working for government that under an NDP government they might in fact lose their job; as yet nobody has been told that. Every meeting NDP people have gone to they have said: “In your case, you shouldn’t have to lose your job. You might lose it under the Tories, I can’t guarantee that you won’t, I must tell you that, but that doesn’t mean you would lose it under an NDP government.”

They have not said which jobs would be lost under an NDP government. I have been to some of the meetings in the company of some NDP members where they stood up and berated me because I said to some whose jobs are redundant: “Look, unless you want a socialist government, some jobs are going to have to be lost here.”

There’s the difference between us. The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) stood up at a public meeting and said: “With me, brethren, there is no such ambivalence as there is with the leader of the Liberal Party.” No jobs would be lost, said he, under an NDP government.

They are not for restraint. They are basically in favour of increasing royalties and increasing corporation taxes; they feel they can continue this drift toward the public sector taking over everybody’s life. They do not have the courage to stand up and say which jobs will be lost, and that’s why there is the kind of fist-shaking that goes on between their union members and their other members within the meetings of this particular group.

Frankly, I don’t know how they go to their large unions sometimes and justify this. Why should the public employees’ union have a certain inalienable right never to be laid off no matter how hard economic times may become when steelworkers and mine, mill and smelter workers can be laid off? I have never quite understood that. They’re no friend of the working man.

Mr. Mackenzie: Go to one of the meetings; then you’ll know what it is all about.

Mr. Cassidy: You haven’t got the same heart when you go up to the Tories, have you?

Mr. Drea: Now we know why we need group therapy.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith moved, seconded by Mr. Breithaupt, that the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor be amended by adding thereto the following:

“And this House further condemns the government:

“1. For its financial irresponsibility in forcing Ontario municipalities and school boards to increase inordinately the property tax on homeowners and tenants;

“2. For its illogical decisions in ordering hospital and laboratory closings without any apparent regard to efficiency and economy of their operations and to the importance of these institutions in the lives of communities in which they are situate;

“3. For its lack of effective planning in its restraint programme which has resulted in punishing financially those least able to afford it.”

Mr. Reid: Put up or shut up.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order.

Mr. Singer: Sit down.

Mr. Reid: Out of order. Are you going to turn yourself into a pretzel again trying to get out of it?

Mr. Lewis: No.

Mr. Deans: It’s not an amendment.

Mr. Lewis: I’m on a point of order, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We will hear the point of order before I place the motion.

Mr. Lewis: You’re all so frantic and anxious about what we’re going to do it’s almost unbearable.

Mr. Nixon: You are the one up on a point of order.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I want you carefully to evaluate that subamendment, because it is my clear impression there is absolutely nothing new there. It is entirely redundant.

Mr. S. Smith: Utter nonsense.

Mr. Lewis: It’s all in the amendment that was originally moved. This is clearly --

Mr. Singer: Did Renwick advise you about that? Did Renwick ask you to do that?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Reid: You had better go to the --


Mr. S. Smith: Are you afraid to vote on it?

Mr. Lewis: Certainly not.

Mr. S. Smith: Well then sit down and vote on it.

Mr. Lewis: I just want to point out its redundancy, Mr. Speaker. You take a look at its redundancy.

Mr. Deans: We want a ruling on it.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, at the time you are examining that, I hope you will also examine the rights of the parties in this Legislature to put forward their amendments in terms as they see fit, which reflect their philosophical views in the matters in which they have most direct concern.

Mr. Deans: On the point of order, I put to you, Mr. Speaker, that in order for a subamendment --

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, you’re not going to take this fellow seriously?

Mr. Deans: In order for a subamendment to be considered proper, it must not deal with exactly the same matters that are contained in the amendment.

Mr. Bullbrook: This fellow is not Stanley Knowles, you know.


Mr. Lewis: Point of order, I guess what I was saying in the point of order --

Mr. Speaker: Order please; order please. I think there is no point of order.

Mr. Singer: You know Renwick can do better. Get up, Jim. Let Renwick get up.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, there is -- on a point of order.

Mr. Deans: There is.

Mr. Speaker: Point of order, we will hear you.

Mr. Singer: Let Renwick tell us it is the worst amendment he has ever heard.

Mr. Speaker: I would like to hear the point of order.

Mr. Lewis: What I was saying in the point of order, Mr. Speaker, is that since the subamendment simply conforms to the amendment, it’s clearly supportable by the official opposition --

Mr. Singer: You said that before.

Mr. Lewis: -- as it obviously is by the Liberal Party. I am not here to play games with it. I said that yesterday.

Mr. Singer: You are bleeding, aren’t you, Stephen? That is too bad.

Mr. Speaker: Order please, order please. I might say that on this short notice I am not able to discern the fine points of the blueprints.

Mr. Lewis: There is no fine point.


Mr. Sweeney: You should have no trouble supporting it.

Mr. Speaker: I will place this -- order please. I will allow the motion to be placed.

Do we have the next speaker, or do we have a motion to adjourn the debate?

Hon. Mr. Davis moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Lewis: Are you calling it tomorrow or shall we wait until April 5?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know; do you want the midterm break?

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.

Mr. Reid: Quit posturing, Stephen. You make Hamlet look decisive.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. Could we get on with the orders.

Mr. Lewis: There is no posturing. You people know what is happening. You expected us to back down? We won’t do so. Don’t be so silly.

Mr. Reid: You make Hamlet look decisive.

Mr. Singer: Why are you bleeding so visibly, Stephen?

Clerk of the House: The 22nd order, House in committee of supply.


On vote 2903:

Mr. Nixon: At the adjournment last night I was bringing certain matters to the attention of the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and interested members pertaining to the announced closure of the Willett Hospital in the town of Paris in my constituency. I know the minister perhaps feels he has heard just about enough on a subject such as this, but he understands the importance of his decision to the people in the community of Paris and the surrounding district.

One of the things the minister put to the delegation from Paris which concerned me deeply, and I believe he made the statement in the presence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), was that in Brant county there was a hospital utilization 15 per cent greater than the provincial average.

I must say I found the figure surprising and perhaps even shocking. A first reaction is perhaps the people up there, compared to the provincial average, are not as well. The minister, having once lived in the community, knows, however, that’s not a fact.

The second reaction is that perhaps the population statistics upon which the utilization figures are based were out of date. The minister has assured myself, and the delegation, including the mayor of Paris and others, that his population statistics are appropriate. We must accept the minister’s assurances in that regard, although he has looked at alternative figures and has not yet decided, or given his personal judgement, if he ever does in that connection.

The one thing, however, that I feel I should put before the minister is that perhaps a different style of medicine is practised in the Brantford, Brant county area, and in many areas far removed from the large metropolitan centre. The minister knows that if you require the services of a medical practitioner in the night or at an inconvenient time in the metropolitan area, it is practically impossible to get those services. You’ve got to bundle yourself into a taxicab and go down to one of the major Toronto hospitals for care on a catch as catch can basis.

The minister, coming from a small community himself, knows that medicine is not practised that way in Paris, St. George, Ayr and the communities that are served by Willett. The doctors there know their patients and their families on a personal basis. They are readily available by telephone. Probably admissions to hospitals, and many of the decisions taken with regard to the practice, are perhaps not quite as cold-blooded as they are in certain other areas. The doctors have a personal concern for the welfare, comfort and health of their patients. This might very well have resulted in a larger percentage of admissions than the provincial average.

The minister perhaps recognized that difference when he said, and I don’t believe it was in private, and I think the minister’s objections in that regard are well taken, that he does not have confidence in the judgement of the medical practitioners to exert what he considers to be their responsibility to see that no patient is kept in a hospital bed for longer than is medically supportable.

I believe the difference, however, is in what is medically supportable and what is the individual judgement of the doctors concerned. I would say to the minister something that he must already know in his heart. A different kind of medicine is practised in those areas where the doctors have a personal knowledge and concern for their patients as individuals and not just as OHIP numbers.

I wish the minister would think about that, and realize that when he is prepared to cram the medical practitioners into some sort of a uniform cookie cutter across this province it is going to be extremely difficult in those areas which have different traditions.

I don’t want to dwell on this unduly. The minister has had the statistics brought to his attention. He and others would be quick to tell me this is not my forte. I am convinced, however, that the utilization of the facilities is extremely good. The minister knows the Willett Hospital had some difficulties in its administration three to four years ago. These have been cleared up and we are well administered. If he compared these statistics with any other facility of a comparable size, we compare very favourably indeed.

I don’t believe that is going to make any difference to the minister, since I have heard the debate with reference to other hospitals which shows that it does not seem to be a criterion of the administration on this whether the efficiency of the hospital is good, bad or indifferent. It seems to be simply the choice falling on a facility which can be closed without too much political repercussion.

I would say in closing that my strong submission to the minister is that to go ahead with the closure of the Willett Hospital, and in fact bring out the plywood boards and board up the windows in that hospital, would be an unwise decision.

He is aware of his traditions. While he is concerned with them, I don’t believe those matters are going to affect his decision in the long run.

He is aware this hospital is still being paid for by the local taxpayers, paying off a debenture entered into with full concurrence of the minister’s predecessor and the OMB. While he is concerned with that, I don’t believe it will affect his decision at all. I really do not believe it will affect his decision.

Two things, however, should affect his decision. One is his undoubted knowledge of the requirements in the smaller communities of the Province of Ontario to have this sort of a facility on a continuing basis. If, in his judgement, it is necessary to reduce the activity of the Willett Hospital so that it is either entirely or largely chronic in this area, then we will have to live with that decision. To completely close it up, throwing 100 people out of work and leaving Paris, a town with a population of over 6,000, to find alternative care, is a decision which will have far-reaching and very serious ramifications.


I would ask the minister to give consideration to the position put by the representatives from Paris, who are certainly willing, if not anxious, to administer the hospital with a reduced level of active treatment. The minister has indicated he might continue it as a chronic facility and he is aware that the statistics available now show there is a need for chronic facilities in the Brant county and Brantford area.

There is a continuing study, chaired by Mr. Mark Lefebvre of the city of Brantford. At least we should hold off on a final decision until the findings of that review are available to the community and to the minister. The cut-off date of April 1 is obviously not obtainable at the present time and I would hope that any further action by the ministry would wait until the reports are available. I personally believe these reports will make it as clear as anything can be to the minister -- who in the last analysis must make the final decision -- that the Willett Hospital should continue, if not as an active treatment facility at least as a facility in the community of Paris and Brant county, which commands the respect of the community and which can be proved to effectively and efficiently continue serving the medical needs of the taxpayers, the citizens and the people in the area of Brant county.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, the arguments on population figures, of course, can be used for almost any point in the province. It is difficult, in a province growing as rapidly as Ontario is growing, to have up-to-date figures when there is usually a one or two-year delay in Statistics Canada or TEIGA figures. The only thing I can point out is if I say to you that 191 people per 1,000 are being admitted to hospital in Brant county, then that’s on the basis of figures which compare to any other region in the province.

In fact, if there is any error in those statistics it’s probably in favour of Brant county as compared to, say, Metro Toronto where a quarter or more of the residents of the Province of Ontario live; it would tend to shade it that way.

But even if one simply compares it with central west region, which is in the general geographic area of Brant county, then you could pull 10 per cent higher. So one still has to allow for the fact that rural medicine, if one wants to put it in your terminology, is being practised in that general area, and Brant county still exceeds the provincial average by that amount.

It ties very nicely in with the comments made by your new leader and by the leader of the NDP in the last couple of days about unnecessary surgery. What are people being admitted for? One has to look into that. If, in fact, the admission is high, it’s an indication that the elective surgery rates are higher, because one assumes the incidence of acute disease is somewhat similar in most parts of the province, age-weighted as they probably are. So I think it’s safe to say that the figures are as realistic as we can use for admission.

I’m intrigued to think that Brantford is far removed from the metropolitan areas of Ontario. I thought that Hamilton, which is a fairly large area, was close. I’ve lived in Brantford, I’ve had that pleasure. I must say to you that I probably enjoyed living in Brantford.

Mr. Nixon: On Paris Rd.?

Hon. F. S. Miller: On Paris Rd.

Mr. Nixon: Such an irony.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I can’t be accused of being unfamiliar with the area when I lived on Paris Rd., part way between Brantford and your other city. I have a very real love for the area. I thought it was just a great place to live and I still do.

April 1, of course, is not a date that’s going to be met. It can’t be met nor would I expect staff to be making those final moves or winding down of operations until we’ve had the opportunity to reply to the very thoughtful briefs brought to me by your hospital administrator, the chairman of the board, and the mayor, His Worship Mr. Bawcutt -- who as you know was in to see me again today for an hour or so presenting various thoughts on alternatives to the existing function.

I’m going to look at alternatives to the existing function of that hospital very carefully. I don’t want to jump to a conclusion that could be shown to have been totally wrong six months from now. It may well be that the hospital has alternative uses such as you suggested in the five minutes of your speech last night prior to the adjournment of the House.

I believe, in all honesty, that the provision of employment in the community of Paris looms high in the minds of those people who came to see me today, as well as the provision of health services. They recognize the problem I am dealing with is a Brant county problem as well, but specifically aimed at the city of Paris, in terms of effective change. I am going to think carefully about their suggestions. I am going to think carefully about your suggestions. If I read them right -- and you should really tell me if I am wrong -- you said a chronic hospital was better than no hospital.

Mr. Nixon: Yes.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That is one thing I am going to keep in mind. We have already established that a number of the active treatment beds in the city of Brantford are being used by chronic patients. However, if our final analysis tells me there is not a need for extra facility beds in the area, I can’t just make work. In other words, I have to fill a justifiable health need to keep the facility in any role at all. It would be so easy to make work, that I must say that the dollars I am spending can be well spent in other places, meeting needs. If we put down as the first prerequisite the fact that we must meet a need for Brant county, and if we can prove that the use of that facility would meet that need and must be there in place of facilities in Brantford, then we have a chance. That is exactly what I am looking at.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, if you will permit just this one further comment: The minister asked me to clarify whether I thought a chronic hospital was better than no hospital and I have no hesitation in saying, yes, of course it is. But the minister must be aware of the feeling of the hospital board that once they lose their active treatment capacity, in fact they are not a hospital at all.

I simply ask the minister to give every consideration, as well, to the proposition put forward by the delegation from Paris, which is quite prepared to accept the responsibility for the administration of a hospital which is a chronic hospital; asking that we maintain our ambulance service and, if possible, an outpatient clinic facility and an emergency service which would at least give us the nucleus of hospital facilities maintained in the town of Paris.

I am glad to hear the minister respond so reasonably to the requests and the submissions from the delegation from Paris and to my comments made in the House. I believe that is the first ray of light leading to some optimism that we have had since the notorious Tuesday when the hon. minister came to pass on the bad news.

Mr. Grande: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: The hon. member has a point of order; will he state it?

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I noticed that the Minister of Health is answering the questions of all the other members when they get up to speak; I don’t know whether he has refused to answer my questions?

Mr. Chairman: I was under the impression there was going to be further discussion on Doctors Hospital. Was it your intention to deal with them all at one time?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I think I should point out to the hon. member that it is not always the custom of the minister to answer each individual speaker in the estimates debate. In fact, whether I liked it or not, the chairman last night recognized another speaker and I was quite willing to abide by his ruling. I would think, though, that in the course of the balance of today there will be other comments on Doctors Hospital and perhaps one summary of a number of speakers will suffice.

Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to speak for a minute about the situation with the Mississauga Hospital. I have a letter dated March 9, received from Glen Bryce, one of the directors, and the covering letter said, “It would seem that our present hospital beds provide for less than half the required beds suggested by provincial regulations. Our new addition is very necessary.”

I’ll just go back for a moment, Mr. Chairman. The need for expansion started in 1970. There was a proposal then and they commenced to develop the project. In November, 1975, our population was 234,975, as is contained in the material provided, of which I sent a copy to the minister. We provide for that population -- say, 235,000 -- plus what comes from other communities on occasion.

But in addition, I think a significant portion of admissions are due to such things as accidents on busy highways which run through Mississauga. This, of course, is a very difficult area to provide for in utilizing whatever reference material or standard we have in developing the number of hospital beds needed.

I am going to touch on a couple of things. The emergency visits, of which I have spoken, were 8,197 in 1963. In 1975 these increased to no less than 63,843. Radiology exams went up from 14,303 to 59,140. Lab tests increased from a rounded 95,000 to 840,000. That is a dramatic increase in services provided.

This leads to the appendix attached to this report from the hospital board, which refers to the Ministry of Health planning guidelines. Active treatment beds are shown as medical, surgical, paediatrics, obstetrics at four beds per 1,000. For psychiatric beds, two formulas: 0.6 beds per 1,000 population over 15; 0.42 beds for general population. Chronic beds, again two formulas: one bed per 1,000 for the general population; 11.9 per 1,000 over the age of 65. Nursing homes: 3.5 beds per 1,000 per general population. That latter isn’t in reference to the general Mississauga hospital, but in the early release of patients it is applicable. I understand all this adds up to soma nine beds per 1,000.

I was wondering if these guidelines under which the board is working conform to current guidelines, or whether there have in fact been reassessments since these statistics were gathered by our local hospital board.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, as far as I know those are the valid, up-to-date guidelines. We have been aware that some of the high growth areas around Metro Toronto, and yours is one, have been operating with fewer than the four beds per 1,000; and, interestingly enough in many cases operating very well. It is one of those issues that has made us wonder, because that number is purely arbitrary, whether in fact it is still too high.

It has been interesting to observe that in high growth areas around the perimeter of the Toronto core some of the more effective management on a medical basis has occurred. Therefore I, for one, am agreeing that these are our current provincial guidelines. I wonder if in high growth areas, particularly those with relatively young population, they aren’t too generous.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak only about Doctors Hospital, because it is the one hospital threatened with closing which I have had the opportunity to visit. I know something about its work, but I think what I am going to say is equally applicable to other community hospitals which are under sentence of closure.


I think the minister can only justify the closing of these community hospitals if he can answer “yes” to four questions.

First, are there excess active treatment beds in the area of downtown Toronto or the area of the other community hospitals? The figures are most confused, but so far I have not heard any figures that show there is an excess in downtown Toronto. There may be an excess in the whole Toronto area. It’s very difficult to measure the needs of downtown Toronto. You don’t relate it strictly to population, because the downtown hospitals serve the whole city and the whole province for certain specialties. But I don’t think there has been evidence of a surplus of active treatment beds in downtown Toronto.

The second question: The 12,000 patients who went through Doctors Hospital last year, can the same number be accommodated in the downtown Toronto hospitals that would remain?

If there are no excess beds, the only answer is the minister’s contention that those beds now existing could be used more effectively, more efficiently. But, Mr. Chairman, what he is suggesting is really a gigantic speed-up. We all know what a speed-up means on the assembly line. It means that people are expected to work beyond their physical capacity -- that people will not have time to even talk to the patients, that there will be mistakes made. Some of the mistakes could be very serious. It also means that patients will have to wait longer; wait for their bell to be answered, wait in lines for tests. It means that outpatients may have to spend longer waiting to be served.

The third question that the minister must answer: Will there be a real cost saving? I contend he has only looked at the cost of closing a facility, he has not looked at the social costs -- the fallout -- and they are tremendous.

There will be over 500 people thrown on the employment market. Many of them are unskilled in other occupations; they will require retraining or long periods on unemployment insurance and welfare. Many of them may lose their homes which they have undertaken to purchase in the anticipation that their employment would continue. Their plans for sending their children to university will be destroyed.

The medical and technical staff of the hospital may not be able to find other opportunities in Toronto or in Ontario. We may lose them to foreign lands.

There would be more costs to the people concerned. If they have to go further for outpatient service they will need more taxi fares; and more babysitting service at home while the person is away a longer time if they wait in queues longer. All those costs increase for the individual and those costs can be very serious; and there’s time off work as well as babysitting time.

The fourth question you must answer: Is the closing of Doctors Hospital and the community hospitals in accordance with what I think had been the policy of the Ministry of Health, that is, to start to transform the delivery of medical services to community-based health resource centres.

Doctors Hospital was on the verge of becoming such a centre. It had already submitted a plan a year ago which had been approved to reduce the number of beds, to turn that space into a community resource where there could be preventative work done, where family medicine could be distributed in what would be a real community centre.

The hospital already is a very important resource for the ethnic community in which it is located, but it would become much more. It would deliver outpatient and inpatient service; and I think the figures on its per diem rates indicate it would deliver them very efficiently, more efficiently than the big downtown hospitals can deliver this kind of community service.

Unless the minister can answer yes to those four questions: That the closing is justified because there are excess beds; that the downtown hospitals will be able to accommodate the 12,000 patients plus the outpatients from Doctors Hospital without a tremendous and inhumane speed-up; that there will be real cost savings when you take into account the social cost; and that there will be no setbacks in the plans to develop community resource centres -- unless he can answer yes to all those things, I contend he cannot justify the closing of Doctors Hospital on any ground except what appears to be a purely political ground. And that is the desperate attempt of the government to compensate for past mismanagement of the economy by spectacular cost cuts which will not really be savings; to compensate for past mismanagement of the health delivery system, for letting OHIP payments get out of control with lab fees and excess operations, and so on; to compensate for other budgetary excesses of the government in the entire field of government spending.

It is not planned restraint; it is not a planned redesign of the health system which is long overdue.

Mr. Sargent: I acknowledge that most of the subject matter given by my leader and by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) has covered these subjects at hand fairly well. I wonder why, after 13 years in this Legislature, I stand here trying to make a point -- but I believe in the system of government generally, democracy.

I have here, again, hundreds of petitions to the minister. Do you know that these people, whose names are on these petitions, and the thousands I gave you before, believe that they will actually mean something and are processed? That they could have an input; that you would do something about the situation. Do they mean anything at all?

The facts and I say this kindly because it is your nature, but you go into an area grinning; you are going to cut their life’s blood off and you grin about it as you break the news. Are these people who send in these petitions -- thousands of them -- just a joke in your mind and in the mind of the government?

I can understand corruption on the part of the policy of this government -- the Premier (Mr. Davis) allows the selling of government contracts to Fidinam for $50,000. We understand that because it is part of your modus operandi.

I can understand the Premier working toward giving a $41 million contract to his friend Mr. Moog, who I find in the recent figures stands to make $100 million because of his friendship with the Premier. These things have happened.

What I can’t understand for the life of me, is the gall of a government, of a cabinet and Treasury Board, the minister and the Premier who have plundered the treasury of this province to the extent of $11 billion; that’s $11,000 billion in debt we are. The Premier, the Treasurer, the cabinet, were architects of their own disaster; and this minister has to take this out, this plundering, and make the small people, who have no way of recourse, suffer by the loss of their hospital beds.

They pay the same rates for OHIP in the country as they do in Toronto but you deny them of that service. You say: “We will take your money but we won’t give you the service.” That’s exactly what you are saying; it’s a form of fraud. You are not delivering: it’s nothing else but fraud.

You tell them they’ve got to close their own hospital. You don’t own the hospital. If you had taken Durham or Chesley, that hospital was built by them. I recall as a kid, and maybe the older members in this House will recall it, we used to have “Hospital Days.” When we were kids every kid in the class would take a jar of fruit or a can or something to school for the hospital. It was a “Hospital Day.” We built those hospitals. They belong to us.

That’s what we’re talking about people. The government in all its arrogance, having funded to the extent of $11 billion, is going in debt in the past 365 days at the rate of $8 million a day. In the hole. That is a fact, Mr. Minister. It’s $6 million a day in debt, and a $2 billion deficit you have this year; and we have an $11 billion deficit which works out to $8 million a day we are losing.

Many of you will have seen the television programme about 10 days ago called “The Insurance Man from Ingersoll.” Every person in Ontario who saw that programme knew exactly what they were trying to convey to us. The minister knew that. The Premier knew that. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) knew also. We all knew what was going on, but that is the system. That’s the story they tried to tell.

What I’m trying to get across is this. On Sunday night on television they had another story on the modus operandi of this government in land acquisition by the government, particularly a take-off on the Pickering deal. The man in the end said, “We beat the system.” We, in the six seats in western Ontario where you know you can’t win a seat at this particular time and place, know we can’t beat the system. We’ve tried.

Restraint is the name of the game we talk about. You’re going to close six hospitals, nine hospitals or whatever, and the overall policy will put 5,000 people out of work. So, 5,000 homes go down the drain because this Treasury Board, this Premier, and this minister went down the list of things they could attack and saw that the people were vulnerable and they said: “Here is one area where we might look good because hospital bed costs are too much.”

I heard the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) talking about things like that. They are too high. But, they said: “Here’s one area where we can get sympathy from the public. We can talk restraint in health.” So, they did this in an effort to recover $60 million, when a few weeks before they gave $100 million as a gift to Syncrude.

What for? They said it was a gesture. They gave $100 million towards a $3 billion tar sands project which will never come into being in our lifetime. But, you give $100 million of my money, our money, as a gesture. Who in the hell do you think you are that you can do that? You try to recover $9 million in the closing of six hospitals, yet you give away $100 million as a gesture.


Restraint is the excuse of the Premier of this province. He’s making whipping boys of the lives of the people, of their health, of people who can’t fight back. The minister can well grin, as is his policy when he goes in to cut down these hospitals and cut the life blood out from people.

It’s going to cost lives, Mr. Minister. You know that and I know that.

At 2 p.m. yesterday I was told by the deputy treasurer, the deficit in Ontario, this current year, is $1.976 billion. The government is $24 million short of $2 billion. And so to put the finger in the dike, it is going to close our six hospitals for exactly what is being lost in 27 hours in interest charges.

Because of this financial nightmare that Charlie MacNaughton told us about two years ago, the minister has jockeyed us into this position and is taking advantage of the people who can least protect themselves.

He is not closing Brampton. The Premier is standing behind him and he is going to give him an addition, I understand; an addition to his hospital in Brampton. He is going to give himself a new hospital of $11 million in Muskoka -- and he squandered about $23 million in Sudbury.

I say it is high time we have a truth squad in this province. Why doesn’t Norm Webster tell the truth about what is going on here? The corporate people of this province think the minister is doing a good job talking restraints. That’s good economics for the corporate group.

Why doesn’t the Star tell the truth? Well I will tell you. If we get across to the Ontario citizens the real villain in this whole piece we can show you what has happened here in the past two or three years.

It all started down hill when the Premier and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) got their hands in the public Treasury for their favourite programmes.

We recall some time back the trip to Germany when the Premier -- and all of his camera crews -- went searching for money, which they didn’t need at that point they said. This cost us about $9 million, this caper. We know of the junkets of the Treasurer; and all of the cabinet ministers all around the world. We know of the junket of the Premier to Italy last year. All these things were building up the picture.

Now the Premier’s school consolidation programme -- does anyone know what that cost? How much did it cost -- $500 million or $1 billion?

The monstrosity of the thing is not easy to show, because no one knows the direction the government has been going in this tumble down hill. We are closing down schools in the schools consolidation programme with millions of dollars in debentures still owing across the province, but the government is closing down these schools and building new ones. So if the school consolidation did cost us $1 billion, so be it. The Premier has a monument for himself.

How much did regional government cost -- that the Treasurer and Mr. White worked on so thoroughly -- $1 billion? No one knows.

Last year in the budget, we found the government was going to spend $1.5 billion in land acquisition for parkways. These aren’t millions, I am talking thousands of millions of dollars. The budget last year was $1 billion for the Niagara Escarpment.

The Premier is leaving now, but he knows he gave a grant of $100 million toward Syncrude as a gesture; $100 million toward Syncrude. He can’t deny that.

We still continue to open trade offices around the world, in Osaka and in Rome -- you name it -- with all the lackeys spending millions of dollars. The government is not closing those trade offices around the world, but it is closing my hospital. How do you tell that to the people of Ontario when you have come to the fast-approaching election? But you say, Mr. Minister, that our hospitals are expendable.

Now to get to the real control, to where you had your hands in the Treasury: I have been talking about billions of dollars for the last five minutes -- and every word is gospel truth; it was in the budget and you spent it. But to get elected last fall, what did you do? Well you said it would be a good gimmick to remove the sales tax until after the election. So you took that off. And do you know how much that cost us? It cost us $330 million.

Mrs. Campbell: Piled on the municipalities.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Who did it cost?

Mr. Sargent: Who does it cost? It cost the Province of Ontario $330 million of lost revenue.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Where did it come from?

Mr. Sargent: Don’t get smart. You know what I am talking about.

Mrs. Campbell: The municipalities are paying for it and you know it.

Mr. Sargent: You took off the tax on new cars, with a loss of revenue of $40 million. But you didn’t take the tax off trucks for a farmer who needs a truck on his farm; or off used cars for the average guy who needs a car. You just exempted the new cars. You helped the people who have the money. That cost $40 million to get you elected.

You gave grants to first-time home buyers, and that cost us $80 million. Even millionaires got that grant.

We went around the province and we estimate, by our very biased arithmetic, that your promises amounted to $300 million around the province to get you elected.

I asked the Premier in the House one day if those promises were being kept and if the money was going through Management Board or orders in council. No one can find out. But I do know, Mr. Minister, that you spent $3.5 million in my riding trying to defeat me; so we are talking millions and billions of dollars.

You have the job -- I don’t envy your job -- to go around the province and say: “Aren’t we the great ones? We are going to save $60 million”; when you know it’s a phoney issue; it is corrupt; it is fraud. That’s what you are doing.

You know, there are 300 men in my town out of a job because Mr. Winkler was defeated in the election; and many of them are on unemployment insurance and on relief.

Your friend, Mr. Maxwell Henderson -- and I quote him here in a story from Kitchener, headed, “Put Your Own House in Order, Ontario” -- told about 200 people that the government should have set an example by cleaning up some of the waste at Queen’s Park before asking people to tighten their belts. Mr. Henderson said he had already warned the provincial government about the move to cut health and welfare costs before cutting the fat in government spending.

You fellows are still running around in your big chauffeur-driven limousines, but we have got to go on a snowmobile for a pregnant woman to get her to the hospital, because when you close our hospital on April 1, we’ll still have 3 ft. of snow up there.

You are going to spend $14.5 million for a courthouse; go ahead. You are going to put on 40 more judges; God knows how much money you are talking there. But you are closing hospitals. People are still paying OHIP, but they can’t use it.

I see the political motivation of this government; where you were capable of criminal acts, of selling the contracts --

Mr. Martel: There is no government left after today.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, I offered to resign my seat; I further offered to bet the Premier $50,000 of cash money to a favourite charity if he would open up the books and show where they received $5 million in funds towards the election budget. I said that the majority of that money came from firms having government contracts. He wouldn’t take the bet. But the bet still stands.

You can’t beat the system. So the Premier says, and the Treasurer says, in going down the list: “Where can we attack and make ourselves look good?” Restraint? “What the hell,” he says, “let’s turn a negative into a positive. Let’s tell a big lie often enough and it will work. We’ll be tough on restraint.” And of all places he picked hospitals.

I say to you, Mr. Chairman, it has always been my belief that it is a function of government to see that we have equal allocation of all the resources of this province on a fair and equitable basis; that no man should suffer because of a job or because of geography; and no man’s family should suffer in education because of geography; and no one should suffer in health because of geography -- and I’ll add politics.

The underlying fact is that 5,000 people will be out of jobs and 5,000 homes will go down the pipe. Homes are wrecked and we don’t know how many lives this will cost. The underlying fact, I say again, is that this is a moral corruption of decency in our friend, the government. In all my years of politics, I’ve never seen a government stoop so low that they’ll pick on the area of health and lives of people to make political hay.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The hon. member has spoken eloquently, and I have no reason to believe he isn’t speaking honestly. There is no joke, there is no political game being played. The fact remains that we were able to make contractions within the system without changing the quality of health care.

Mrs. Campbell: Who says?

Hon. B. Stephenson: The experts who know how to assess health care say.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The discussions in your particular hospital’s case went on for many, many years -- not months -- long before the final decision was made. It goes back to 1968.

The deficit you talked about is an intriguing one. Yon and I are both in the same business. You’re successful, I’m not.

Mr. Sargent: You tell that to my bank manager.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I will be glad to. My banker still thinks I am. That’s one of the lucky things I’ve got going for me.

But if you and I took a look at the interest on our business debts, we wouldn’t think of them as wasted money. If one looked at the accounting of the Province of Ontario, you know as well as I do that capital projects don’t show as an asset, they’re written off. In many cases, the money is borrowed to cover their useful life so that not just the people paying taxes in a given year pay them. This is true of hospitals, it is true of major roads, it is true of most capital investments.

The assets of this province that are in bricks, mortar and highways far exceed the values of the debts against them. If one was preparing a statement, such as Imperial Oil or some other company would make, the assets would look pretty good compared to the debts against them. This province has had a great ability, and will continue to have a great ability as far as I’m concerned, as long as good management persists both in the government and the private sector, to borrow wisely for the things we need today and pay them back over a period of time.

The very actions that were taken by the Treasurer this year in restricting our rate of growth to 10 per cent were based on his assessment that that was the maximum amount we could wisely borrow and finance through a combination of today’s taxes and tomorrow’s borrowing to sustain the government. Every expert, including Mr. Henderson to whom you alluded, said government must control its spending. This government did. You have disassociated yourself from the federal Liberals but the federal Liberals have not shown that restraint. They have a 19 per cent growth in spending this year versus a 10 per cent for us.

Mr. Sargent: You are not close to insolvency?

Hon. F. S. Miller: We are not close to insolvency, but we are close to taking as many dollars out of the taxpayer’s pocket as he or she should have to pay. These cuts aren’t cuts in services.

Mr. Sargent: Who put us in this mess?

Hon. F. S. Miller: They are cuts in waste because we have learned and produced better ways of caring for people. You talked about “The Insurance Man from Ingersoll.” I saw that television production. I don’t know how many others in this room did. I think the leader of the official opposition saw “The Insurance Man from Ingersoll.” I saw him the day after. I believe the member was rather upset by it. The member was upset by the reports he saw of it.

Mr. Lewis: I was upset because it was so antagonistic toward politicians generally.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, that’s exactly the thing I am going to touch upon. I don’t think our party was tarred with the brush of that although it was very specific insofar as going to the Deputy Speaker of this House, and using him without his permission, I am told, as a prop to make it look as if his party was part of that overall programme. I think the member and his party have every cause to feel a hit taken in by that ploy. I don’t think any of us who are politicians are happy when we see the business we are in torn apart by the media with far too credible innuendos easily believed by the public. I am proud of being a politician. I don’t suspect the member of dishonesty. I really don’t. Stupidity perhaps, dishonesty no.

Mr. Lewis: Cupidity for sure.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Ah, well we have passed cupid’s date. I like to think that in criticizing each other that you may think I am foolish, and that’s fair play, but not that I am dishonest or corrupt any more than I believe you are dishonest or corrupt. I just don’t believe you are. I am not about to stand up here and imply that you or any members of your party are.

I hear much about savings and where I should make them. Would you agree savings need to be made in government?

Mr. Sargent: Your priorities are wrong, Frank.

Hon. F. S. Miller: All right. The member has singled out this ministry as if it was the only one making any constraints. I got almost double the percentage of some of the other ministries for growth this year. My budget this year went up $300 million in a year of constraint. That’s 10 per cent of my last year’s budget.

I will, as I have told the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), ask for every necessary dollar to run a good health care system in Ontario. If we succeed, and we probably will, in eliminating unnecessary surgery such as suggested by your leader, where do you think the savings are? Where do we save it? Sure, $1 will come out of doctors’ pockets and $2 will come out of hospital pockets because that’s the ratio of spending. For every dollar that goes to a doctor, two dollars go to hospitals.

Where do the two dollars go? They go to provide jobs for people. If you save two dollars what happens to the jobs? They disappear, don’t they?

You are a businessman. I suspect that in your hotel you really don’t have too many people on your payroll who shouldn’t be there, who aren’t producing. Do you hire them because you, the member for Grey-Bruce or whatever it is, feel kind, feel generous, feel you should prevent unemployment or because you have a job for them?

My measure is this. I will get jobs for everybody in the hospital sector provided they are performing a useful necessary function. I begrudge every job over and above that. I will do my best to keep cutting the number of jobs to the bare minimum because that’s what my job is. My job is not to waste taxpayers’ dollars.

I think taxpayers are pretty good at spending their own dollars if we leave them in their pockets. Every time we leave them in their pockets and let them spend them their own way, they create jobs in your hotel, in somebody else’s farm, in somebody else’s manufacturing company instead of you and I lifting it out of their pockets in an involuntary way and making an assessment of where their money should go regardless of their own wishes. So, I don’t apologize.

Mr. Sargent: May I ask you a question?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Let me finish, Eddy. Okay. Ask the question.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Minister, I have three questions. Will you advise me, or tell me why you think it’s right that you should be able to have a new hospital in your area? Why can the Premier (Mr. Davis) have an addition to the hospital in his area? And why must two hospitals in my area be closed? Why did you give $100 million as a gesture to Syncrude?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The last question I’m not going to answer. It’s not a gift. It’s an investment in the energy sources this province needs in the future if we’re going to remain competitive.

The first two I’ll answer, yes. I think some 60 projects of hospitals around the province -- varying from pretty small changes to totally brand new hospitals -- are under way this year. I’m asking from you that three cents out of each $1 in the House will go towards creating new buildings. It would have been exceptionally easy for me --

Mr. Sargent: You’re getting a billion from Ottawa.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Just a second now. I don’t get the money for capital projects from Ottawa. You’d better check into that.

It would have been exceptionally easy for me to have cut the capital budget and assumed the savings were made. They are not. Expenses are deferred. And in this day and age I cannot afford, in a rapidly growing province, to ignore the legitimate demands for service from people in the high growth areas, just because I have a surplus in the low growth areas of the province.

Secondly, my own hospital -- first it is $6.4 million and not $11 million. Secondly, that hospital was ordered by my ministry before I was even an elected member of this Legislature.

Mr. Davison: That’s foresight.

Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you cancel it and save $6 million?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m not going to cancel one in my riding any more than I would order it. I’m not going to cancel one in your riding because you’re the member, and that’s something you’ve got to get through your head.

Mr. Sargent: You are doing a damn good job.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m not going to cancel some of the projects in your friend’s ridings and in this party’s ridings because if you look across the 60 hospitals you’ll find they are in all of our ridings.

Mrs. Campbell: Not yours.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mine is a replacement facility --

Mr. Breithaupt: You too can be replaced.

Hon. F. S. Miller: -- ordered by the fire marshal in 1970-1971. One can document the fact that it was done well before I came along --

Mr. Sargent: Would you buy a used car from that man?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, a lot of people did. Would I buy used telephone books from you? That’s what you were selling the last time -- or what was it you were selling? No, no. It was books with recipes, wasn’t it?

Mr. Sweeney: What’s that got to do with hospitals?

Hon. F. S. Miller: He’s bringing the topic up. He brought up used cars; I can bring up what he does.

Mr. Sweeney: That government needs a new recipe; maybe you should buy that book -- a new recipe for government.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You talked about trade offices. I think we’ll skip that because it’s not in my budget. Except I should say that I don’t think one should ever try to stop selling this province abroad. The very modest dollars we spend, I think, are genuinely of use to the manufacturers of the province.

You talked about cutting the fat at head office in government. It is not recognized too often that almost 1,000 people have been cut out of my budget -- out of my complement alone in a year, I’m told some 900. Almost another 1,000 will drop in the next year.

Mr. Sargent: The Premier still spends $1 million for his office.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m just pointing out that few governments of today’s vintage have been cutting staff anywhere at any level.

You also touched on election laws and you implied that we were corrupt. That’s your privilege. I refer to that in “The Man from Ingersoll.” I don’t think we are. I don’t think we have been. I will tell you this. We have the toughest election laws for fund-raising of any province in Canada.

Mr. Sargent: Since Fidinam you’ve had to, or somebody would have gone to jail. That’s a criminal act by Canadian law.

Mr. Chairman: The minister has the floor.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just simply say I live by them, you live by them. I think that we can be relatively proud of the fact that fund-raising for politics is on the up and up and public in Ontario.


Hon. F. S. Miller: I would say the NDP profited very handsomely from the latest cause.

Mr. Martel: You made sure we couldn’t get any money from the unions.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh. I understand they never gave you any.

Mr. Martel: They gave us some.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh well, just a little bit.

Mr. Chairman: I wonder if we could get back to the Health estimates.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Voluntarily?

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, can I have one more question? We are having a meeting Friday night to discuss the decision to close down. If we raise $200,000 locally, could we change the terms of reference and get another $200,000 from Wintario to keep the operation going? Would you try to see what you can do along that line?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Chairman, the Chesley decision is final.

Mr. Sargent: All right. Can we have an outpatients programme?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, when I talked to the board at the Chesley hospital, I pointed out to them that we would gladly discuss with any group, community, doctors -- whoever it may be -- the formation of a health service organization in Chesley, but that the initiative needs to come from the community because you have to find people willing to work in that particular organizational form. I am still prepared to have that discussion.

Mr. Sargent: How much money is available?

Hon. F. S. Miller: There is no cash available for the creation of one but I don’t think that’s the problem in Chesley. Quite obviously you’ve got an existing building and you’ve got funds in the hospital reserve, as I understand it. But the operations are covered by our ministry, the budget is covered.

Mr. Bounsall: To the Minister of Health --

Hon. F. S. Miller: Who else?

Mr. Bounsall: I oppose in every sense the closing of the Riverview Chronic Care Hospital in Windsor. It differs only from the other hospital closings that we have encountered in that it has a one-year delay on it. But it makes no economic sense in terms of saving to the ministry -- let us argue on the minister’s grounds for a while. Those economic figures have not been quite worked out in detail at the moment, but it looks like the ballpark saving by the route which you have taken of closing Riverview, and let’s not get into any discussion of the renovation costs, we are not considering renovation costs at all -- would result in a saving of only about $50,000 or at the very outside $75,000.

Mr. Minister, it makes no sense at all, of course, to the community of Windsor who have looked forward for quite some time to a new chronic care hospital in Windsor. For many years that chronic care hospital has been sort of number one on the hospital planning council priority. It is not the community’s fault in a sense, or their perception of the need for chronic care that in some years, from time to time, it has been surpassed by what has become at the very last minute some other priority. The feeling for quite some years in Windsor, by the population generally, was that a new chronic care hospital would be provided and would be provided very soon. It makes no sense to the community and they see this simply as an attack upon the by and large helpless chronic care patients, many of them elderly.

I would like to give a brief history, Mr. Minister, of how I come to the feeling that it makes no sense economically to close this hospital. A year ago you and your health officials completely shocked the Windsor hospital community by your proposal by which you were to save the number of active treatment beds, roughly 200, required to meet the new ratios which your ministry set up, that of four active treatment beds per 1,000 of population. It was a proposal which shocked the whole community, a proposal to close down Riverview immediately -- presumably that would have been at the end of this month -- to fracture that chronic care treatment among the four existing hospitals in some way; to close down the maternity care at Grace Hospital, the one hospital in town which is noted for its maternity care -- in fact the reason for its existence is its heavy emphasis on maternity care and the gynecological programme -- and the consolidation of psychiatric care.


The explosion among the hospital people, the people in the community -- or the focus -- zeroed in on the closing of the chronic care hospital more than anything else. The medical community saw each decision presented as a bad one in medical terms. The fracturing of the chronic care and the consolidation of the psychiatric care was the wrong direction for both of those.

The minister then said, “Okay; come up with a better proposal.” The community, perhaps for the first time, worked very effectively through the hospital planning councils and through the hospitals talking to each other. They worked very hard from April on, from time to time consulting with officials from your ministry, really consulting with each other, and having open meetings all across the community.

Last December they came up with a counter proposal which in every respect met the ratios which the minister had put forward for the community of Windsor. They met the active treatment bed cutbacks of four per 1,000. They said “We’ll take those 200 beds and proportion them, those cutbacks, on a pro rata basis across the city of Windsor.”

The ministry recognized that there was an increased number of beds needed for chronic care and they presented a proposal which would bring that figure up to the ministry’s ratio figures, that being 320. The proposal was supported by the whole community. It was supported not just by the hospital planning council and the medical people in Windsor but by every community group which had been involved in the procedures.

I asked the Minister of Health in a question in the House last fall, if the hospital planning council came up with a proposal which met the ministry’s ratios and was acceptable to the community, would the minister accept those proposals? I can’t give you your exact reply but it was an encouraging reply; if it met the general criteria laid out that would be acceptable, particularly as it had community support. The minister will remember that.

In December, when the decision of that hospital planning council was presented to the minister, I was present along with another colleague from Windsor, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr). That was the first time, after all the debate we had had last April in the House, that we heard that the saving in dollars was the appropriate and most important thing.

We stressed in all our conversations in the estimates a year ago -- look them up, Mr. Minister -- that the ratios had to be met. There was concern on our part that the ratios were being inappropriately applied in the Windsor area. We, all the members from the Windsor area, met with your officials over the appropriateness of applying those ratios. The focus there was the application of the ratios and the meeting of those ratios.

The ministry produced, in a very ballpark way, the fact that meeting those ratios and the consequent shuffling of space to meet those ratios would produce a $4.5 million saving. They laid that out; there was no lengthy explanation of it. It was certainly a ballpark figure calculation. There was no detail in it nor did Mr. Backley say that he could give more detail than the four or five lines of rough calculation which he presented.

The hospital planning council came back with what was an eminently acceptable solution -- as I’ve said, supported by the entire community -- in which they said, “Okay, let’s take the 200-bed Riverview Hospital and let’s reduce that by 40 beds to 160 beds.” Let’s place the other 160 beds required for chronic care into two hospitals, Metropolitan and IODE, with 80 beds apiece. They had looked at the philosophy of chronic care; they had looked at the type of chronic-care patient which they saw and served in the Windsor community and they said that could be divided into three fairly recognizable groups in roughly those numbers and that met the ministry ratio of 320 in expansion of chronic care facilities and was an eminently reasonable solution.

It was at that meeting where, all of a sudden, again on a quick calculation of about three lines long, your official said this proposal is only going to save $3.5 million. There is a million-dollar difference between the hospital planning council’s proposal and what we are trying to achieve. All of a sudden, it wasn’t just a meeting of the ratios, it was the money saving which became all important and a saving of a further million dollars somehow in the Windsor area became all important. That’s the first time anyone in the Windsor area, including the members in this House who had been involved throughout, realized the significance of the million dollars, and that million dollars means something else may have to be done, for that million dollars to be saved.

The minister responded, and the minister’s reply was a fairly good one in some respects. They said, “Instead of the cutback at Riverview being from 200 to 160, we are going to cut them from 200 to 120 beds. Instead of 80, we will add that extra 40-bed cut at Riverview on to the Metropolitan Hospital complement to bring that up to 120 beds. We will leave the 80, as you proposed, over in the Casgrain.” So you split the chronic care treatment into three areas, leaving everything with the 120 at Metropolitan Hospital and 80 at IODE.

If the proposal had stopped there, it would have made some reasonable sense and we could have supported what the minister had done. That was a suggestion which would not have unduly upset the community, particularly as the minister also granted, which was one of the hospital planning council’s requests at that time, that there be a chronic care assessment and placement service to be under the direction of the district health council, a service which would receive our applicants, presumably for chronic care, and place those in one of the three sites which was most appropriate for that particular kind of chronic care and for the facilities that were engendered at that particular site. It would have been a fine proposal.

But what is incredibly unbelievable is that the minister then said that you are still, a year from now, going to close Riverview Hospital. You are going to close those 120 beds which for a year’s time, you will leave in Riverview Hospital. What’s incredible about that is that not only does it offend all the sensibilities of everyone in the community, but it comes nowhere near saving the million dollars that seemed to be the one point of difference at that meeting in December, when the hospital planning council presented their brief.

That doesn’t save a million dollars on operating at any time, let alone and completely disregarding the renovation costs, at some time in the future -- it might be three years, it might be five years or it might be 10 years -- of converting the chronic care unit established in IODE and Metropolitan back to some other kind of care -- after-treatment care presumably. We are not counting those renovations and those re-renovation costs, we are simply looking at the operating money saved -- the calculation that I said has been done. When in a year’s time, if your proposal continues, 120 beds are taken out of Riverview and it is closed, and the beds placed somewhere else in the community, the staff savings will be almost miniscule because of the fact that all the administration of Riverview is already conducted at IODE because all the purchasing for Riverview is done through IODE. There is virtually no administration cost involved to be cut or saved by closing Riverview Hospital. The nursing administration also will be a straight transfer in cost. There will be no saving there. The total amount of saving that one can see envisaged in the year’s time in closing Riverview Hospital would be, in terms of staff, one switchboard operator, one and a half stationary engineers, and some two or three people on the dietary staff. That’s the total saving in salaries achieved in a year’s time by closing down the 120 beds at Riverview Hospital. The total outside saving would be $50,000 at the moment. The most they could ever see that figure expanding to would be $75,000. A far cry from the million dollars which you said must be saved. In no way does it come close, Mr. Minister.

It would make sense for Riverview Hospital to be closed when it is closed only if there is some form of the new chronic care hospital which has been so long awaited in the Windsor area. If your decision was that Riverview will continue with its 120 beds until your new chronic care modular centre, which is built in various modules to whatever size you need, is established, that would have made eminent sense. Whether that occurs at the end of 1977, or whether, as you said at the open meeting in Windsor, it must wait until 1980 or the early 1980s, it makes eminent sense to leave those 120 patients in Riverview Hospital until new hospital facilities can be built replacing it. But no, we have this order from you at the end of March, 1977, that Riverview Hospital must be closed and those 120 patients go somewhere else in the community.

There will not be any new hospital facilities built, Mr. Minister, in terms of economic savings to your ministry, it does not achieve anything in terms of the operating savings which the minister is trying to effect in the area. It does not take into account any amortization of renovation costs or any future costs of renovation back from chronic care wherever in the community the minister chooses to establish it.

Let me tell you what is happening in the community at the moment to show you the degree of upset re chronic care that is taking place in the Windsor area. With 100, or nearly 200 beds, in fact, operating at Riverview at the moment, they have for some weeks stopped taking any sort of application or referral into Riverview Hospital because by the end of this month they are supposed to achieve 120 beds there only. I gather this date has been delayed somewhat so let’s not argue over the date. It may well go into May, when the first 80 units in the IODE, having been renovated, may be ready for operation, but they are taking no applications. They are looking at no referrals whatsoever.

So really, what we have is 180 and that number is dwindling in chronic care at Riverview. Where the rest of those patients are, no one knows. They are either sitting at home or they are occupying active treatment beds in hospitals, both places being completely inappropriate. It would make, in the present situation, a lot of sense if the minister simply said that Riverview will continue to remain open at full capacity until those renovations are complete at the other two hospitals.

The current situation has a great uncertainty -- patients at Riverview worrying about chronic care patients, the elderly ones worrying about leaving the institution in which many have resided for some length of time. It’s the current situation and it’s very discriminatory against those particular patients.


There is one other point I want to make about the eventual closing of Riverview Hospital, a closing which I hope the minister will profoundly reconsider by looking at the financial aspects of it; that is, once you have cut back to 120 beds, as you are going to be doing this spring in your review, none of those 120 patients will be occupying the older part of the present Riverview Hospital.

Riverview Hospital was built in three stages; one part is quite old. By cutting back to 120 patients, none of them will be in the older part of the building. Those 120 patients in fact are occupying the remainder of Riverview Hospital, which in terms of age is equivalent to the age of the space at IODE and the space at Metropolitan Hospital, which is being renovated to take the added chronic care beds. in terms of the age of Riverview Hospital, that part which will be occupied by the 120 patients, not one bit of it is any older than the space that is being renovated to accept the other chronic care beds. So they can be quite comfortably left there until the new facilities are built.

There is nothing before the ministry, nor is anything anticipated to be sent to the ministry, in the way of renovations or improvements in that part of Riverview Hospital which is to contain those 120 beds in the future. The ministry can’t argue that by closing it in a year’s time, the ministry will be saving the renovation costs which have already been planned for the remainder of Riverview Hospital. There is no additional expense to the ministry by leaving that facility operating with its 120 beds until plans can be formulated for the new chronic care hospital, which the area so rightfully deserves.

The second point is a rather interesting one and I wish the minister would take this into consideration and do something about it. The minister having gone on his programmes and having taken a decision to close hospitals around the province, when it comes to Riverview, one wonders if he has just got a hospital closing fixation. So when it came to responding to what was a good solution from the Windsor area with respect to its chronic care needs, he was so fixated on a closing that he couldn’t look at the facts objectively.

I oppose, as our party does, the community hospital closings across Ontario for the reasons presented quite ably by other speakers for our party, particularly our leader in his reply to the Speech from the Throne on Monday. We oppose those. But that decision having been taken by the ministry in that area, one gets the feeling that he has a hospital closing fixation which prevented him from looking at the true facts in the Windsor area.

One other interesting fact: A letter from Mr. Jamieson, the manager of hospital grants, to Windsor Western and IODE hospitals, states that “the ministry will pay three-thirds” -- that is, the total amount -- of “certain projects where substantial savings on operating costs are possible.” A renovation, at this time, of 80 beds in the Casgrain wing of IODE certainly must be part of the minister’s hospital operating cost-saving programme. The ministry will pay three-thirds of those costs “by a regulation that is going to be passed in April or May to be effective for those contracts let after that regulation is passed” and not to be made retroactive for any contract let before that.

Mr. Minister, that is extremely discriminatory. IODE, having got 80 beds placed in its Casgrain wing as a result of this shuffle, went out immediately, got tenders and has let the contract for that conversion, so, in the interim, 80 chronic care beds will open them as soon as possible. The fact that they have let that contract now and work will proceed before that regulation is passed, assuming it must be a programme that is going to achieve savings on operating costs, will prevent them from receiving three-thirds of the cost from the ministry, and only two thirds.

I say to the minister, pass the regulation now if you have that regulation in mind, and it seems from Mr. Jamieson’s letter that you do. Pass it now and make it retroactive to all those situations in Ontario where renovations have had to take place as a result of the ministry’s decision with respect to hospital closings and hospital space shuffling.

That’s the only fair thing which the minister can do. There most certainly should be that sort of fairness entered into with this particular hospital which, however unhappily, quickly responded to the need for these chronic care bed openings and the renovations in connection with that at that particular site.

Thirdly, the important point that I would like to mention here is if the minister persists, in spite of all the financial data which he will be presented with -- which is almost ready now -- with the closing of Riverview Hospital in one year’s time --

Hon. F. S. Miller: It is final.

Mr. Bounsall: You are now saying that it is final, irrespective of the financial considerations which show a total of $50,000 a year operating savings. That is too bad. It shows just how close-minded and fixated on hospital closings this minister is and some of his staff have become. There is no advantage to anybody in this particular closing, certainly not to you in financial terms.

Mr. Warner: It has become an obsession.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Right.

Mr. Bounsall: Now you have admitted that it is a straight obsession on your part. All right. Let me put another thing to you on behalf of what should be done for chronic care in the Windsor area.

The minister, at the open meeting in Windsor, said there would be no new chronic care facilities built until post-1980, implying that by 1980 or shortly thereafter there would be new chronic care facilities approved in the Windsor area. Would the minister respond favourably to IODE Hospital going ahead and building the first two modules and a contracted operational centre of the chronic care hospital planned for some time on the land which it already has at the IODE Western site; and financing it themselves in its entirety until the ministry, in 1980 or 1981, comes up with the funds it would normally be coming up with at that time to build a chronic care hospital?

The hospital has very carefully looked at its resources and has decided -- it must start very soon so those facilities can be available by the end of March, 1977 -- that for three or four years or even for as long as a five-year period it could bear the total cost of building that building provided the normal ministry grants in support came forward in 1980 to 1982, some time in that period.

That is a proposal which would satisfy the entire community. It’s a proposal which makes sense. The decision to close Riverview only makes sense if it was possible for that to take place. I am told by the hospital that it would let the ministry have the same low interest rate -- which the hospitals are charged by the ministry -- on the moneys which the ministry should be putting forth in 1977 as it would be putting forth in 1980 or 1982.

That, again, is a very reasonable proposal and you know how reasonable it is. The architectural drawings for that proposed modular unit -- each containing about 70 units which they would build to replace what would be torn down at Riverview -- have been shown not, perhaps, by the minister but by various ministry officials to other firms and other areas considering the construction of chronic care facilities as a model of architectural design melding with the whole programme the interactions between those chronic patients and the children from the emotionally disturbed children’s centre. In philosophical terms, the mixing of the emotionally disturbed children with the chronic care has proved to be very helpful for both. This integration is part of the plan and, in fact, the plan itself has been proposed as a model.

This is the kind of thing that the minister is turning down if he doesn’t delay the closing or give the approval to IODE Windsor Western, that in some three to five years time after March, 1977, the ministry will come through with this particular funding. That’s the time it has said it may well be able to come through with new chronic care funding.

Mr. Minister, I won’t take up too much more time except to say that the fracturing of chronic care into a whole bunch of small units in towns, the whole philosophy of the treatment needed for chronic care patients in a further fracturing, really rather bothers me. There must be space found for 120 beds past March.

The further fracturing of it to other hospitals in the community gives anyone dealing with the chronic care patients some real concern. They have real concern about it being a small unit in a hospital in which the staff there are there -- not particularly wanting to be there -- until another opening comes up on some other nursing floor in the hospital. It will be the area which is sort of neglected, left out, and, in terms of staff wishing to work there, the area to be avoided.

One wants to keep large units. We certainly have a recognition of how to treat chronic care within the IODE Windsor Western complex, of which Riverview is part. To expand those facilities as planned for so many years with a very good architectural design, melding the chronic care patients with the emotionally disturbed patients, is a superb concept. The minister should find some means of keeping Riverview open until that can be built, or letting it be built with a promise that in the early 1980s the minister’s normal funding share of that project will come forward. That would be an acceptable solution in the area.

I might say, Mr. Minister, there is concern about the cutting of the active treatment beds in Windsor, resulting in possibly 120 persons being laid off in total. Some will be taken up by transfers to the additional chronic care beds which are being provided, but there is still some great degree of concern.

Apart from having those active treatment bed cuts, it certainly was a shock to the community to get the minister’s recent letter which said the IODE must cut back another $90,000 in budget; and for Grace Hospital $90,923, which represents another 7.3 persons cut in staff to meet that figure. The Hotel Dieu cut of $86,000 represents another five to eight persons perhaps. And the $26,000 cut at Metropolitan General represents another two to three staff having to be let go -- on top of all the staff cuts which are going to have to take place as the result of the closing down of the active treatment beds in the Windsor area.

Mr. Minister, I would hope that what you have expressed today -- your firm decision and conclusion to cut in a year’s time that hospital -- will be changed when you see that the financial evaluation will not result in the saving you’ve mentioned. Finally, if you refuse to close it, that you would back the building of the new chronic care hospital with your assurance that your normal grants, which you say cannot be made now, will be made at the time it can be made -- in the early 1980s. Let the hospital carry, which it says it can probably do, the costs of that additional mortgage in the interim -- until you can come in with your particular grant.


Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I don’t know where the hon. member was during the discussions on the Windsor area, but there is no question in my mind, nor in the minds, I’m sure, of those people on the hospital council, that the original objective was not an academic exercise to meet ratios but to save dollars. The dollars were clearly stated and were understood, $4 million in round figures. In fact, at the meeting to which you alluded, the members of the council who came to Toronto with you, pointed out that their savings were estimated at $3.2 million.

Mr. Bounsall: A million dollars --

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes. In round figures they asked us if that would do. Now, I think you recognize that. You may well recall reading an editorial in the Windsor Star in February. It was kind of a retrospective look. The Windsor Star has had some nasty editorials, quite understandably, about my moves there over the past year. It had some reasonably supportive ones, but the one it brought out referred to the other hospital closures in the province and it basically said, “In retrospect, we appear to have been lucky. The ministry asked us to do something, we objected. The ministry laid down what it thought should happen, we formed a committee, and countered. We made a number of suggestions, most of which were accepted. The government listened seriously and we feel a fair compromise was worked out.” Do you recall seeing that editorial?

Mr. Bounsall: No, I did not see that one. I can well imagine it being written. Could I simply say here, you’ve even got a more reasonable proposal before you.

Hon. Mr. Miller: Everybody feels the proposals they are making should be accepted 100 per cent. I do, too. Let me simply just read back to you a letter -- it will take me a minute or two. This is my letter of Jan. 2. I am sure you have had a copy of it. It is to Dr. Jones of the Essex County Hospital Planning Council. It says:

“In response to your letter of Dec. 3 [which outlines the points you just talked about] indicating the Essex County Hospital Planning Council’s proposal for reduction in hospital operating costs in the Windsor area, the ministry has made the following decisions:

“Recommendation No. 1: Riverview Hospital remain operational with a maximum of 160 beds. Our decision: That the Windsor Western Hospital Centre remain open at 120 beds starting March 31, 1976, and that it be closed effective March 31, 1977.”

Mr. Bounsall: That’s your one error.

Hon. Mr. Miller: Continuing:

“During the next year an effective plan for the rationalization of chronic care to be developed by the Essex County District Health Council.”

I am accused of never giving anybody any time to come back with a plan; they have a year to do so.

“Recommendation No. 2: Two additional chronic care units, of not more than 80 beds each, to be established at Windsor Western, IODE and at Metropolitan. Our decision: Two additional chronic care units be developed starting March 31 at those two hospitals, one the 80-unit beds at Windsor Western, the other 120 beds. [In other words, we raised it by 40 at Met.]

“Recommendation No. 3: Chronic care service centre or assessment of placement service be established to co-ordinate all the community services for chronic care. Our decision: The ministry concurs with the establishment of the above centre to be under the direction of the district health council.

“Recommendation No. 4: There should be a minimum of a 200-bed reduction in the number of med. surg. beds and this reduction should occur on a pro rata basis in all the active treatment hospitals. [That is their recommendation to us.] Our response: The ministry concurs through the closing of the med. and surg. beds currently staffed and in operation, such closures to be effected as at March 31, 1976. The submission of the exact bed closures should be submitted to the ministry by the Essex council before Jan. 31.”

I will allude to the fact that other letters have followed showing 188 beds was a logical number if one took units. Again we found it quite possible to accept that, and it wasn’t totally pro rata because pro rata left them with partial wards operating.

“Recommendation No. 5: Psychiatric and cancer clinic beds should continue to operate as at present, subject to periodic review. Our decision: We agree.

“Recommendation No. 6: A six-bed burns unit should be established at the Met. Hospital.”

You and I know that was a bit of a red herring by somebody. We’ll just ignore it and make no comments about it. Okay? I think you’re nodding your head.

Mr. Bounsall: In the context of the closures and the bed shuffles, that wasn’t inherent --

Hon. F. S. Miller: It was quietly inherent. A few people said that that was somebody’s pet and obviously they had some improvements on the recommendations. But it wasn’t the hospital council’s highest priority, okay?

Mr. Bounsall: We can agree this was the second priority. We agreed that it wasn’t part of the cutback.

Hon. F. S. Miller: We had accepted that a long time ago. But your local people had asked us to put money elsewhere than that, if we had to priorize. I think that was agreed upon.

“Recommendation No. 7: If the minister accepts these proposals the planning council will immediately undertake to continue its studies to find some rationalization programme for obstetrics and pediatrics. Our answer: A plan for the rationalization of obstetrics and pediatric services should be developed by the Essex County District Health Council and submitted to the ministry for an implementation date of March 31, 1977. [Again, we agreed with a logical recommendation.]

“Recommendation No. 8: There should be no changes at present in the services at Leamington Hospital. [We agreed.]

“Recommendation No. 9: Adoption of these recommendations would establish the building of a new chronic care hospital at the Windsor Western site as the first priority in major hospital capital expenditures. [We agreed.]”

So I can only say to you that throughout we feel that a reasonable exchange of points took place. We compromised about $1 million. If our estimation of saving is wrong then the council’s is because they concurred in it.

Mr. Bounsall: But not really. They admitted that they didn’t understand where you got your $4.5 million.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh well, okay. The fact is, there were some people more vocal than others in your community. Some people quite actively took to the press. That doesn’t bother me.

Mr. Bounsall: That’s fair game.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That is true. They didn’t necessarily represent the feelings of the group who continued to plan and deal. Let me tell you, I think the people in that area did a great job of working together --

Mr. Bounsall: They worked very hard at it.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I just think they need to be commended for working with us and I hope in turn -- and I know privately -- some of them think we weren’t so bad through it all.

I don’t expect them to stand up in Windsor and say Frank Miller should run for office in Riverside-Sandwich or whatever it was.

Mr. Bounsall: Windsor-Riverside or Windsor-Sandwich.

Hon. F. S. Miller: All right. I think if I did I just might be the ham in the middle.

Mr. Bounsall: Look --

Hon. F. S. Miller: Let me just finish.

Mr. Bounsall: If you’re being reasonable, why don’t you carry your reasonableness right through? Why be fixated on the closing?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Because in my opinion we have to utilize efficiently the existing 320-bed surplus in your community. The plant is running downhill; the renovations to change the chronic facilities are minimal. The change of chronic patients to those hospitals will not have the disastrous effects that some people would allude to and have you believe.

As far as the 100 per cent funding of capital for projects that are cost efficient -- yes, my ministry recommended that. Retroactivity in that kind of thing is a very dangerous game. It is like slapping an extra tax on or giving a credit on something retroactively. Most times government has to say, this is the date something starts or stops; there are too many ways of playing games with that one.

Mr. Bounsall: Pass it tomorrow.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I may have it through earlier than that. But I am just saying to you that we had a simple basis for deciding that we should fund a change at a hospital.

If, in fact, the money invested repaid itself in live years, in terms of labour saving or any other form of saving, then we could justify putting our money up without local participation because it was in the common interest of the taxpayer so to do. That’s good business.

What we need is more and more investment. It is pretty hard to convince many hospital boards to go out and hammer on doors or talk to municipalities and say, “Look we have spent a million dollars -- we will save $2 million in five years.” The council says, “Whose money are you saving?” The fact that it is the taxpayers’ doesn’t matter; they don’t have to raise it so why should they pay their share.

So, fine, my ministry has recognized that problem. We’ve said where the cost saving -- through improvements like low-pressure automated boilers -- would be a good example -- or doing away with stationary engineers. We’ve said that it’s in the general interest of the taxpayer of the province to finance that kind of a project we should provide the money and we will do so. I think it’s an important departure.

As for permitting them to invest their money today, no, we just can’t permit 100 per cent financing in advance. Lots of people suggest this because they’re asking for something that is committing some government six or seven years in the future to pay; whether it’s me or you I don’t think matters. The fact is I deal with a three-year budget based on my present assessment. I know enough about the changes in the health care system to know that what I think Windsor needs today and what Windsor may need in 1982 or 1981 may be entirely different. Therefore, I am not willing to see anybody investing their money on the assumption that I’ll pick it up, when the services can be properly and efficiently rendered today in existing capital plant already paid for by you and me.

Mr. Chairman: Is there any further discussion on item 2?

Mr. Ferrier: Yes, I want to make a few remarks about the restraint programme and put it into the context of the fast-growth community that Timmins is about to be. We are experiencing rapid growth at the Texas Gulf complex in Timmins, where we will be going through a large construction period with perhaps 1,500 or more new employees coming into the city to work on that phase and then 1,200 or more on the work force at the new copper smelter -- a copper refinery, I believe -- and a fertilizer plant, which will mean probably 6,000 or 7,000 more people in our area within about three years.

In this environment we are quite concerned at some of the actions that the minister has taken. A couple of weeks or so ago when the constraint programme was announced, St. Mary’s Hospital in Timmins got a letter stating that they were to be cut back by 25 active treatment beds and they were to be converted to chronic care. This came as a terrific blow to my people there because just prior to this St. Mary’s Hospital had agreed to take a 20-bed psychiatric unit supposedly to replace the Northeastern Regional Mental Health Centre that had been closed. I think that St. Mary’s Hospital --


Mr. Ferrier: I doubt it. The people felt they were dealing in good faith in agreeing to take the 20 beds and to try to salvage something of the psychiatric services that we had become accustomed to in the area. This decision to close 25 beds at St. Mary’s and convert them over to chronic care was taken without really any consultation with the hospital people or the health council. Some of us were pretty outspoken at the fact that we’ve had a health council for some eight months and they were not involved in any way in this decision. One of the councillors even went so far as to suggest that the $22,500 that you propose to save by this move could easily be saved by disbanding the health council, since you were making all the decisions here at Queen’s Park anyway.

Hon. F. S. Miller: They don’t get paid.

Mr. Ferrier: You have an executive director and an office you are renting; and you have secretaries so those people get paid. I’m sure they are not working for charity unless they are very different from most people today.

Mr. Chairman: If we are at an appropriate spot in the debate, perhaps we could adjourn the debate and return at 8.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.