30e législature, 3e session

L022 - Thu 1 Apr 1976 / Jeu 1er avr 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise on a point of personal privilege. Yesterday during the question period the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) asked a question and the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) asked a supplementary as to whether or not I had a conflict of interest because my wife runs a small 17-bed chronic hospital in the town of Perth, in which she has given service second to none to the area people over the last 20 years.

I would like to point out at this time also that there are two private hospitals in Perth, one owned by Mrs. Delaney and one by my wife. I feel strongly that because I am a member of this Legislature my wife should not be treated as a second-class citizen just because she happens to be married to me. This goes for all spouses who happen to be married to members of this Legislature and who choose to pursue their professions. They should not be handicapped in doing so.

I would also like to point out that when I became the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health I disclosed my holdings and this hospital was one of them. Also my duties with this ministry did not include the closing of hospital beds or the closure of hospitals.

For 45 years I have tried to build up a reputation of honesty and integrity and I feel an injustice has been done to me by the insinuation here yesterday that because my wife has pursued her interest, I have a conflict.

Mr. Roy: We can ask a question on it, can’t we?

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond.

An hon, member: Sit down.

Mr. Speaker: Very briefly. We will see the tenor of the response.

Mr. Bullbrook: He can speak to it.

Mrs. Campbell: He can speak to it.

Mr. Conway: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly would like on this point of privilege to make it very clear that in no way would I care to leave that impression. The gentleman, the hon. member for Lanark, to the best of my knowledge, is a fine and honourable man and I have no intention now or in the future to cast aspersions on his reputation, which I know to be a fine one.

I simply intended in my question to ask the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson) whether or not it concerned her that there was a lack of guidelines governing parliamentary assistants in this province, and that was the point. Certainly I want to go on record very clearly and very positively that in no way is it my intention now or in the future to leave the impression or cast the aspersion that the hon. member for Lanark is in a position of conflict of interest.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: You should have quit while you were ahead.

Mr. Deans: That’s what he asked.

Mr. Speaker: I think the matter can rest there.

Mr. Nixon: But the question was a proper one.

Mr. Lewis: I believe in the independence of spouses to pursue the profession of their choice.

Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Auld: Yesterday in reply to a question from the leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. S. Smith), I inadvertently indicated that the contracts entered into with the Ministry of Housing and Drake Personnel Services last December included the supply of furniture to the offices that were being established around the province. That is incorrect. I can only say that originally, when the matter was discussed, this possibility was considered but it was dropped because it turned out that it would be far more expensive than the supply of used and new furniture supplied by Government Services, and I apologize for that inadvertence.


Hon. Mr. Auld: I am pleased to announce today that an agreement has been reached on the terms of a one-year agreement between the government and the Ontario Provincial Police Association. The agreement will be effective from today to March 31, 1977, and will provide wage increases ranging from 5.5 per cent to 9.4 per cent, for an overall average of approximately nine per cent. In addition, the plainclothes allowance will be increased by $50 per year.

The parties indicated from the outset that they would comply with the provisions of the Anti-Inflation Act and final agreement was achieved, within the guidelines, before the expiration date of the current agreement. On behalf of the government, I wish to commend the Ontario Provincial Police Association and all members of the force for the very responsible position they have adopted in these negotiations.


Hon. B. Stephenson: On Tuesday of this week the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) questioned me about the circumstances noted in newspaper reports about the inquest into the death of Mr. Subash Kalia and the recommendations of the coroner’s jury, which jury was impanelled in January of this year.

With the legal counsel of the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Speaker, I have reviewed the entire matter from the records that we have and from the transcript of the trial -- of the inquest, at least. From the information we have at this time, there appears to be no basis for a prosecution under the Industrial Safety Act. However, in order to ensure that this matter is thoroughly investigated and to ensure the integrity of the branch, I have retained the services of Mr. Austin Cooper, an eminent Toronto solicitor, to study the entire matter and to make appropriate recommendations to me and to the ministry.

In the light of this, I really do not feel that it would be appropriate to comment further about this case.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: A question first, Mr. Speaker, to the acting Minister of Health in charge of the occupational health accord: Was she aware that, in the process of the last week, misleading information was provided to the media and the public -- whether advertently or inadvertently -- as to the levels of asbestos contamination at the Matachewan mine site for United Asbestos? Now that these levels, as tabled in the Legislature yesterday, have indicated that the men working there are exposed to conditions four to six times above that of the allowable limit in Ontario, what is to be done and when is it to happen?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the results which were tabled showed three levels or three different areas of investigation within that mine at Matachewan. There are the ambient air results which were tabled; the personal monitoring results which were tabled; and, I think, the extra plant environmental results. The environmental results are excellent -- well within the guidelines -- as are the ambient air results within the plant itself.

However, the personal monitoring results in several instances were above the guidelines. One has to remember, however, that the individual worker wears a monitoring device during his entire work day --

Mr. Martel: He is not supposed to.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- moves from place to place within the plant and may be exposed in certain spots to a high level which raises the overall daily monitoring.

Mr. Lewis: Come on. What’s wrong with you? You’re a medical practitioner, for God’s sake. What kind of response is that?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Let’s hear the answer.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Show some respect.

Hon. B. Stephenson: If the Leader of the Opposition would allow me to continue, I shall tell him what is happening.

A programme of regular monitoring has been established. There will be unannounced visits to the plant at frequent intervals in order to do monitoring by both the occupational health branch and by the Ministry of Natural Resources. In addition to that, with the enthusiastic support of both the union in that plant and the management, the Ministry of Health is holding courses in occupational health hazards for those workers specifically, both in Matachewan and in Kirkland Lake, on April 13 and 14. Present at that time will be the families of the workers and the workers themselves and any interested members of the community who may attend.

The union is most enthusiastic about the Ministry of Health’s efforts and the Ministry of Natural Resources’ efforts to clean this plant up. A number of directives were issued at the last visit. They will be followed very carefully. It is, I think, important that we remember that the people of Matachewan are anxious to have that plant function.

The workers within the plant are anxious to have it function as well and they are cooperating tremendously well in the process of improving the environmental health and the occupational health for themselves in that area.

Mr. Lewis: There will be a couple of new questions as well, but by way of supplementary: Does the minister not recognise that there is now clear environmental and scientific evidence to demonstrate that workers exposed to levels in excess of two fibres per cubic centimetre, even for a period of less than a month, exhibit a rate of cancer in later life twice that of the regular adult male population? How is it possible to allow them to continue to work in those conditions one day more without forcing the company to clean up? Now, when is the minister prepared to move?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the orders have been issued to the company. The company is complying with those orders as rapidly as is humanly possible at this point and we believe that they, in conjunction with the workers, are making every effort to clean up that plant. They are at risk at the moment. The order has been issued that every individual who works there must wear his respirator.


Mr. Lewis: That does no good. That is irrelevant.

Mr. Martel: That’s what’s wrong.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We have issued the order that that must be done until all levels are well within the guidelines. In addition to that, there has been a strong persuasive motion, within both management and the union, to ensure that the workers who are exposed will not smoke within the plant because cigarette smoking is undoubtedly a major factor in the incidence of --

Mr. Lewis: You’re issuing a death warrant at that plant and you’re not doing anything about it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- carcinogenic disease which the hon. Leader of the Opposition has raised.

Mr. Bullbrook: Come on, be serious. Take yourself seriously. Issuing a death warrant.

Mr. Lewis: Of course they are.

Mr. Bullbrook: What histrionics are those?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: What histrionics? You know the consequences of asbestos contamination.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. Leader of the Opposition please take his seat? Thank you.

Mr. Bullbrook: Asinine histrionics. Issuing a death warrant.

Mr. Martel: How is it that Dr. Mastromatteo, of the Ministry of Health, four years ago and continually since, has indicated that no one should wear a respirator for more than two hours per shift, otherwise it would affect their health? How is it that he makes that recommendation and this minister and this ministry insist that men wear a respirator for eight hours, knowing full well it can cause respiratory damage, according to the ministry’s own advisers?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that Dr. Mastromatteo has made that statement --

Mr. Martel: He has, over and over again.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- but I would remind the hon. member for Sudbury East that Dr. Mastromatteo was a member of the inspection team which went to Matachewan last week and was a part of the team which issued the report we have now.

Mr. Renwick: We are aware of that.

Mr. Martel: It is still his own recommendation.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not a debate.

Mr. Bain: Does the minister not feel, since the personal samples were unusually high, that this reflects a more realistic indication of what the real contamination is like in that plant? What is the minister going to do to make the company clean it up? In a letter which went out from the Ministry of Natural Resources there was mention of smoking, mention of respirators, but not a thing was said to the company about what it had to do to clean it up.

Mr. Lewis: Exactly. No directives.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m sorry. There was another letter which went to the company -- obviously the member does not have a copy of it -- in which the specific directions --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- regarding various leaks, regarding machinery, regarding piles of dust, regarding vacuuming -- there was a list of directions regarding every single operation of the plant in which there was need to improve the function. That list of directions has gone to the company and it has been, really, ordered to comply with it.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Nickel Belt.

Mr. Laughren: In view of the fact that the company obviously needs a further incentive to clean up its operations why does the minister not ask either the Premier (Mr. Davis) or the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) to order that the workers at that plant be kept on full salary while the place is closed down and cleaned up?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, may I answer that with a question?

Mr. Speaker: Yes, but don’t expect an answer.

Mr. Laughren: If I can answer it I will.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I wonder which workers the members of the opposition would send in to clean up the plant?

Mr. Bain: Members of the cabinet.

Mr. Martel: Start with Dr. Stephenson.

Mr. Renwick: Send the ministry in to clean it up.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: All right; I’ll go if you will go.

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

Mr. Lewis: By way of a separate question: Is the minister aware that as of this month in 1976 there are now 15 deaths from the Johns-Manville asbestos plant in Scarborough; three more deaths from stomach cancer waiting to be accredited by the Workmen’s Compensation Board; three more people critically ill; all of them having worked in conditions of asbestos contamination lower than those which the workers are now experiencing at United Asbestos? How is it possible, in light of the evidence which is emerging in Ontario, for her to take a view which allows for intermittent inspections without descending on that company and forcing it to clean up?

Mr. Laughren: Bunch of buccaneers.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would challenge those figures which the Leader of the Opposition is producing in terms of the levels to which the workers at Johns-Manville were exposed --

Mr. Lewis: All we have are levels of two to five.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- because many years ago, before we were aware of the concern about asbestos, there was no monitoring done. It wasn’t done in any jurisdiction, I would remind the member.

Mr. Lewis: It is always lower with a manufacturing operation than a milling operation.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Unfortunately -- not necessarily.


Mr. Renwick: It is not a scientific experiment you are conducting.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The ambient air levels within this plant are now well within the guidelines. The personal monitoring programme, of course, varies from worker to worker, depending upon the area in which that worker works and on the type of job he does.

Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of the Environment: Is the minister aware that part of the drinking water for the plant comes from a portion of Lloyd Lake, near the plant, on which asbestos dust has been settling for the last several months and there is much fear that the drinking water will then he contaminated at the break-up? Can the minister perhaps test the contamination levels in the lake as a result of the dust which has accumulated?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have just become aware of the problem that the hon. Leader of the Opposition has posed. It is in the mill and I hope to have a report very shortly, with the idea of analysing the effect of asbestos on the water.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, the last question I want to ask is of the Minister of Community and Social Services. In the range of cutbacks which he is applying to Children’s Aid Societies, of 5.5 per cent, is there any intention on his part to rescue the Kingston Children’s Aid Society from the predicament in which it finds itself of having had to cut staff and reduce its services to the northern end of Frontenac county and generally to take a questionable position on child care, given the imposition of the 5.5 per cent?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Firstly, of course, they are not cutbacks. This is additional funding over last year. May I say that last year the average increase in funding for Children’s Aid Societies --

Mrs. Campbell: Come on.

Mr. Bain: We have heard this song before.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- across Ontario was 22.9 per cent -- in other words, 23 per cent over the year before -- which formed the base for the current year, to which is added another 5.5 per cent. There is no question in my mind that the Children’s Aid Societies in this province --

Mr. Swart: No answers either.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- will be able to function within the parameters of spending which have been set out. I have also written to the 50 Children’s Aid Societies, telling them that if there are any particular areas of concern, I will deal with them on an individual basis to ensure that no child is neglected, and that shows why I am reviewing the budgets.

Mr. Lewis: How did the minister respond to and what did he think of the letter sent to him by the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton) -- the parliamentary assistant to the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) -- with a copy to all the cabinet, pleading the case of the Children’s Aid Societies in the middle of March, and ending this way:

“It is my opinion we are showing a surprising lack of flexibility and a false sense of economy in dealing with children who come under our care. We should be cognizant of this fact and aware of the potential long-term consequences in terms of cost, especially in the area of the care of children.”

Doesn’t the minister think that the member understands it a lot better than he does?

Mr. Bain: He should be the minister.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Roy: You have a leak in the cabinet.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I say that I have a very high regard for the member for Kingston and the Islands, as the --

An hon. member: That’s not what he says about you.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- people who elected him have. I think he is very sensitive to the needs of the people in his riding. However, may I say as well that he hasn’t been influenced apparently to the extent that the member has in a one-sided way because, in consultation in regard to the problems of the Children’s Aid Society, I think he has a better perspective of the needs of the society. He is also cognizant, of course, of the posture and the approach that I have adopted to the Children’s Aid Societies to ensure that no child in need suffers.


Mr. Speaker: Any further questions? The member for Hamilton West? Order, please; is this a further supplementary?

Mr. Lewis: I don’t have a copy of the answer. How did the minister answer his critique, which was a first-rate one, of the dilemma of the Kingston Children’s Aid Society?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: May I say, for the member’s edification, that I have discussed the problems with the member. I think he is acquainted more fully with the facts of the Children’s Aid Societies now.

Mr. Singer: He threw out the letter.

Mr. Deans: I don’t think he agrees with you.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Before one takes too firm a position, one has to be fairly conversant with the facts.

Mr. Deans: I think he thinks the same as we do.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I hope not.

Mr. Deans: The minister should be replaced.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. S. Smith: A question to the acting Minister of Health: Now that she has had an opportunity to make some inquiries regarding the $16-million shortfall in grants to Ontario hospitals, can the minister confirm that, as we have been told, the shortfall may not in fact be made up entirely?

Hon. B. Stephenson: The question which the leader of the Liberal Party asked me yesterday regarding the shortfall, I really would like to answer at the moment. As I’m sure he is aware, under the health insurance plan the normal procedure is for payments to be made twice a month during the year to public hospitals to provide funds for the approved budget of operating costs.

In the latter part of the year 1975-1976, the ministry vote, including the supplementary estimates, was $16 million short of the amount of normal cash flow to hospitals. The government held the view that until the 1976 budgets were struck and approved, under the constraints programme there had to be some reduction in the 1976 increase in normal cash flow. Payments were reduced by $16 million on a pro rata basis to all of the hospitals. It has meant that hospitals have had to use their working capital or draw upon reserves for a short period of time. Any hospital which has lacked sufficient working capital has had to borrow some funds.

The government has reassessed the cash needs of the individual hospitals, bearing in mind the constraint requirements, and a partial reinstatement of the amount that has been withheld has already been made. We hope to make it up gradually in the future.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: I want to be sure I understand this correctly. Is the minister telling this House that, despite an $85-million supplementary estimate vote a couple of weeks ago, the ministry still underbudgeted by $16 million and is now asking the hospitals, already put upon by the restraint programmes, to make up the ministry’s mistakes from their own working capital and by further cutbacks in the next fiscal year? Is that what we are to understand?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Not really.

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, we get it. We understand. You are great managers.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There has been a problem in this area which is in the process of being rectified and hopefully it will be so rectified reasonably soon. I’m not going to make anything out of that.


Mr. S. Smith: That’s wonderful. That’s a classic. I have a separate question. That one can’t use a supplementary. That answer has to stand as a gem. Is the acting Minister of Health concerned with the fact that the figures of the ministry indicate that approximately five of Ontario’s oral surgeons are billing OHIP more than $100,000 annually? Is this a subject of concern to the minister?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, it is of grave concern and, with the Ontario Dental Association, we are moving to correct that situation.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Can the minister say whether or not it is true, as we have heard, that some oral surgeons have in fact billed OHIP for as much as $1,500 to $2,000 for a day’s work and from $14,000 to $15,000 a month for only two or three days of work a week? Is that information correct?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I cannot say that. I do not have those figures, as a matter of fact.

Mr. S. Smith: As a final supplementary, will she kindly undertake to check on that and tell us if our information is correct?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes.

Mr. S. Smith: Thank you.


Mr. S. Smith: A final question from me and that is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who doesn’t wish to become minister of a mess. He already is.

Mr. Breithaupt: He already is.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You helped construct it.

Mr. S. Smith: Has the minister any idea of the number of companies qualifying as itinerant sellers that are currently conducting business in the province without being registered?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, I don’t have those figures at my fingertips. I certainly would have information concerning those which are registered. I doubt whether we would have any information in the ministry as to those which are not registered.


Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: I appreciate the answer, and I expected that, but would the minister be prepared to launch some investigation into this and to promise to penalize those who are found to be operating without a licence in view of the express concern of the ministry that, at the moment, three who are paying and volunteering to get their licence are really being penalized because the pirates are able to go along without even bothering to show themselves?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, we’re not about to set up a police investigation network to cover the whole province to find out if somebody is going from door to door, selling things.

Mr. S. Smith: Why have the Act?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We will respond to complaints received from the public or from the hon. member, if he has any cases to bring to our attention. We do have an investigation staff and there are penalties provided for in the legislation which we are quite prepared to invoke; but we have to have the information to act upon.

Mr. S. Smith: One final supplementary: Can the minister tell this House how many instances there have been during the past year where penalties have been applied for breaches of that particular Act?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I can’t answer that question immediately. I’ll obtain the information and reply to the hon. member.

Mr. S. Smith: Thank you.


Hon. B. Stephenson: On March 30, the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question regarding radiation counts in the dump used by the Chromasco plant outside of Renfrew.

Chromasco Ltd. takes ore from the St. Lawrence mine in Quebec which contains two per cent thorium. Chromasco is operating with a licence from the Atomic Energy Control board of Canada, and the Atomic Energy Control Board is responsible for monitoring this operation.

The staff of the Ministry of Health has been advised by the AECB that the plant is being monitored and that it is operating within the guidelines.

If the plant workers or the members of the community have any concerns in this matter, they may request information directly from the Atomic Energy Control Board. The information that we have at the moment from that board is that the dump does not pose any health hazard to those employed in the plant or to the residents in that community.

Mr. Moffatt: A supplementary: Will the minister endeavour to get information on the ministry’s own rather than accepting the sometimes qualified and sometimes irrelevant information from the Atomic Energy Control Board?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall discuss this with the members of the ministry and we will make a decision about it.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Premier, in the absence of the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells). Is the Premier aware of the statements by the chairman of Central Algoma Board of Education, reported in the Soo media this morning, to the effect that the board does not see any point in further negotiations or mediation efforts with its secondary teachers, and that they are waiting for provincial legislation? Does the Premier consider that this conforms with the good-faith bargaining provision of Bill 100?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to comment on what is reported as having been said by somebody. I haven’t read the reports, nor have I had any discussion with the chairman of the board. I think I indicated to one of the hon. member’s colleagues yesterday that the government was waiting for a report from the commission on the three outstanding situations in the Province of Ontario -- the Soo, Algoma and Windsor -- and we hope to have these reports from the commission on Friday.


Mr. Hodgson: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Since a quarter of the year has passed since legislation was passed on seatbelts and the lowering of the speed limits, has his ministry been able to compile any figures that show the results of the legislation?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have the statistics for the first quarter, because, of course, they aren’t ready yet. But I do have the accident and collision statistics for the first two mouths of the year.

Total collisions increased by seven per cent in January and February over the similar period a year previous. Property damage collisions were up approximately 15 per cent. Collisions involving personal injury were down approximately 15 per cent; as well, the number of persons injured was reduced by 15 per cent. The number of fatal collisions during this first two-month period decreased by 32 per cent and the number of fatalities decreased by almost 35 per cent. There have been many individual statistics coming out from some of the municipalities and some of the police forces; this is the full report for the province for those two months.

Mr. Nixon: I wonder if the minister would come to the conclusion that while the seatbelt legislation appears to be quite successful, the reduction of the speed limit doesn’t seem to have had any apparent effect on the number of accidents? Is that a correct assumption?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, of course we don’t have any way of knowing. At this stage I certainly have no indication how much effect each of those individual actions had relating to this improvement, shall we say, in statistics.

I can understand what the hon. member is saying. One would think that because of the reduction in the speed limit there should have been an overall reduction in accidents. This has not been the case. As I stated, the total number of collisions involving property damage, injury and death increased by seven per cent. Although we had more collisions, we had considerably fewer injuries and considerably fewer deaths on the highways. There were 77 fewer people killed in this two-month period in 1976 than there were in 1975.

Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary.

Mr. Roy: As soon as the minister gets his first quarter’s statistics on this, especially in the light of the fact that we are having reductions in injuries and deaths, does he plan to make these statistics available to his colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), to see whether it might affect insurance rates as well?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Our statistics will be available, and always are available, to anyone who wishes to have them. As you know, normally we publish the statistics in a booklet form annually for the use of all people interested in them, the safety people and so on. I think we are very happy to see the improvement; I am sure every member of the Legislature is. I might say, Mr. Speaker, several other provincial ministers have been in touch with me and with my officials over the past few months -- and not only provincial ministries but several states of the United States -- and have asked for copies of our legislation and comments on it --

Mr. Roy: We showed you how to give some leadership.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- and I think we are going to see many other jurisdictions follow our lead in this legislation.

Mr. Burr: Supplementary.

Mr. Kennedy: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I announced that as the final supplementary. I think it would be fair to allow one from each of the other two parties, then.

The member for Yorkview was on his feet first.

Mr. Young: Supplementary to the minister: Could the minister inform us as to whether or not there is any increase in the registration of motor vehicles this year over last year, as a result of the incentives that the government offered and that sort of thing?

Mr. Speaker: Well, that is an entirely different question.

Mr. Young: No --

Mr. Speaker: You haven’t related it to the seatbelt legislation.

Mr. Young: It has a direct bearing, Mr. Speaker, because --

Mr. Speaker: Not the way the question was asked. If you wish to relate it, it’s fine.

Mr. Young: It has a direct relationship to the death rate and the accident rate.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I know the connection but the hon. member has not related it. Is there an answer to that?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I will get an answer for the hon. member. I don’t have the number; certainly the trend has always been that we keep getting more and more automobiles on the highway. I am sure there are more vehicles on the highways today than there were a year ago. I will get the hon. member those figures.

Mr. Speaker: Now, the final, final supplementary from the member for Mississauga South.

Mr. Kennedy: I was wondering, recognizing that quality of seatbelts and automobiles generally is a federal matter, could the minister do anything to put the heat on the industry to make seatbelts more comfortable?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, my officials are continually in contact with the federal government, which has jurisdiction over this. I have met with the automobile manufacturers’ association and had correspondence with them myself. I have drawn certain concerns we have regarding the equipment to their attention and I’m sure every move will be made to make any improvements where they are needed.


Mr. Gaunt: A question of the Minister of the Environment: In view of the fact that the mosquito control programme scheduled for this spring in Ontario will do nothing to control the encephalitis virus because the mosquito larvae which carry the virus do not appear until midsummer, does the minister intend to have a follow-up programme in midsummer?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I think the plans that are being made now in respect to this programme by the various municipalities are to apply for the whole season, not only the spring but for the rest of the year.

I note that most municipalities are allocating funds for the programme and are purchasing insecticides and the chemicals necessary to control the mosquito and encephalitis. I hope the programme will be a complete one. There shouldn’t be any interruption.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: In the light of the great financial difficulty many municipalities find themselves in, is the minister prepared to increase his portion of the charges for the programme, for the cost in which the municipalities find themselves involved in the spray programme?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I’m not absolutely certain about this, but I think most of the help comes from the Ministry of Health and therefore I can’t answer whether or not our assistance to municipalities will be increased. The member should ask that minister.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Based on the fact that Altosid is approximately 20 times safer, both chemically and environmentally, which is contrary to what we were talking about yesterday -- and that’s based on the current testing, as I understand it -- will the minister reconsider the use of Abate as the controlling chemical in this instance?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think the hon. member must have an agency for that larvicide, or whatever it is.

Mr. Gaunt: No, as a matter of fact I haven’t.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think what I would say, Mr. Speaker, is that I’ve already started looking into the possibilities of also including Altosid as well as Abate. I don’t think it should be substituted at this date, but hopefully we can complete our tests so that some of the boroughs -- for example those which have acquired a quantity of it -- can be assisted financially.

Mr. S. Smith: It is a lot safer.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: That was a final supplementary.

Mr. Reid: This is a very important question.

Mr. Speaker: I’ll permit it then.

Mr. S. Smith: It is much safer.

Mr. Reid: May I ask the minister what guarantees he’s giving to the people of Ontario that these highly toxic substances are not going to get into the systems of small children? It is my understanding it will induce cramps, vomiting, and possibly even death. What guarantees do we have in the province this isn’t going to happen?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’d like to know where the hon. member got the information that the use of these pesticides, in fact, induces death. I don’t think the hon. member should make a --

Mr. Reid: How about cramps? How about vomiting? How about paralysis?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I don’t know.

Mr. Reid: Well the minister should know.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I really don’t know. All I know is that the Pesticide Advisory Committee considers all these pesticides for use in the atmosphere, and it has approved Abate as far as safety is concerned. It is a little more costly than some of the others that have been recommended but it is considered absolutely safe as far as human beings are concerned. They wouldn’t approve it otherwise.

Mr. Reid: But there are still these health problems. Has the minister looked at the Manitoba experience?


Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Would the Minister of Labour consult the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) about the problem which is developing with regard to the decision of the Council of the Administrators of Teaching Hospitals to refuse to extend beyond July 1 the arbitration decision of Judge Anderson, in 1974, that interns were in fact employees? And would the Minister of Labour, after having consulted the Minister of Health, perhaps bring in some legislation to clarify the matter once and for all and save us from the prospect of interns not being able to practise in hospitals?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Consultations are being carried on right at the moment by a number of groups involved directly with this problem. I am very hopeful that a solution will be found for it within a very short period of time.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: Does the minister intend that the solution would be a legislated solution that would eliminate once and for all the need to go to arbitration to determine the jurisdiction?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I would hope the solution would be one which could be arrived at through negotiations amongst the groups, as a matter of fact, and by general agreement of the groups; and, I think, this is a possibility.


Mr. Stong: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In the light of the information received in this House on Tuesday night from the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications was negotiating at the present time with the federal government concerning the Pickering Airport site and, keeping in mind that this government announced the cancellation of that airport about six months ago, with whom is the ministry negotiating and what is it negotiating about?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Over the past few months, I have had two meetings with Hon. Otto Lang, federal Minister of Transport. I think, as I reported to the House after the initial meeting, there has been general agreement entered into between the federal ministry and my ministry that a full study will be carried out by the FP-CORT committee, which is a joint transportation planning committee of the provincial government and the federal government. This will be a full study of all modes of passenger transportation for southern Ontario to be completed prior to any major decisions being made on new facilities.

Mr. Godfrey: Supplementary: Will there be opportunities for citizen participation in that inquiry?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m sure there will.


Mr. Godfrey: Could we have a definite statement that there will be?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, there will be.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Stong: Could the minister indicate when those hearings will begin?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I haven’t had a report for the last few days, but meetings have been taking place between senior officials of my ministry and senior officials of the Department of Transport in Ottawa setting up the final guidelines and terms of reference for this southern Ontario passenger transportation study and I expect the study will get under way very soon. I can’t give an exact date, and at this time I can’t give any date as to when the committee will be ready to hear the public input.

Mr. Stong: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we’ve had quite a few supplementaries. We’ll allow one more supplementary from the member for Etobicoke.

Mr. Philip: Can the minister assure the House that no action will be taken on the construction of any airport until after the study is completed?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No expansion at all?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I certainly would hope that would be the case. It’s certainly the general intention that this study will be carried out before any major decisions relating to new transportation facilities are finalized.

On the other hand, airports do not come under the jurisdiction of my ministry or of the province, and I cannot give the hon. member the assurance that the federal ministry will not take any action on any airport prior to the completion of this study. They are working right now while major construction work is going on at Malton.


Mr. Bain: I have a question of the Attorney General; the matter is of concern to both his ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources that has been handled by the two ministries for the last three years.

What steps is the government willing to take to resolve the caution that was placed by the Bear Island Indian Foundation in 1973 on all unpatented lands in 110 townships in the Timagami area? The caution has resulted in a building freeze and great difficulty for the people of the area. When will the caution be resolved? Specifically, what is the government going to do to resolve it?

Mr. Laughren: Consult Ed Havrot.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am sorry, I can’t assist the hon. member at this time as to the state of those proceedings. I will make inquiries and report back to the member as soon as possible.

Mr. Bain: Thank you. As a supplementary, when the minister reports back, I was wondering if he could clarify a problem that has bothered me greatly? In my contacts with officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources, they told me that the caution was going to be resolved through the courts by the Attorney General’s ministry. In my contacts with the Attorney General’s ministry officials, they told me the Ministry of Natural Resources was going to resolve it through negotiations. Who is going to resolve it and whose responsibility is it right now?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I indicated before, I will endeavour to have an answer to both these matters for the House as soon as possible.


Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Can the minister justify the new amendment to the Liquor Licence Act which will permit people to walk down the street or sit on park benches with open bottles of beer or open bottles of liquor as long as they are not caught sipping by the policeman? How can he justify this in the light of the tour around the province by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) examining the problems of youth and alcohol; and how does he justify this in view of the drinking problems in our provincial parks?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, of course, was not in this Legislature when those amendments were being debated. They are not as new as he is. Those amendments were brought forward here last year and debated at great length; and they went through committee of the whole. Nobody in his party or the other opposition party moved any amendments to them; they accepted them and voted for them. We think it is good law, and if there are weaknesses in it we are prepared to amend it; but, as far as we are concerned, the amendments that were passed by this Legislature are supportable and they were supported by everybody in the Legislature.


Mr. Moffatt: A question of the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that a lockout of 225 workers by ITT at its Ontario Malleable Iron plant at Oshawa is in the 11th week and those employees locked out are being denied unemployment insurance and welfare payments? What is the ministry doing in order to correct that situation?

Mr. Laughren: What a great company that is.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I will have to confess, Mr. Speaker, that we have not been actively involved in that dispute, but I shall make some investigations in that area.


Mr. Riddell: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food; things are a little too quiet over there for me: Would the minister not agree that the ministry’s intentions to cut down provincial loans available to farmers for tile drainage installations is in contradiction to the government’s Throne Speech promise to increase productivity of agricultural land?

Hon. W. Newman: First, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is making a lot of assumptions. The budget has not been brought in yet, and the hon. member is assuming that certain things will happen that may or may not happen --

Mr. Nixon: You have run out of money this year already?

Mr. S. Smith: Borrow it from the hospitals.

Hon. W. Newman: Let me say that we realize the benefit of tile drainage in parts of this province. We know it extends agricultural production. We know the farmers know how to use it to make their land more productive.

Mr. Reid: You have spent $1 million confirming it.

Hon. W. Newman: We are fully aware of the fact there is a need for tile drainage in this province and that there will be a continuing need for tile drainage for many years to come.

Mr. Bullbrook: You made Lorne a cabinet minister.

Hon. V. Newman: The productivity of agricultural land has doubled in some cases by the use of tile drainage.

Mr. Nixon: What about the question?

Hon. W. Newman: All I am saying is this: The tile drainage programme will be going further in the coming years.

Mr. Ruston: We knew that before.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I believe there is time for a short supplementary.

Mr. Riddell: Having said all that --

Hon. W. Newman: Doesn’t the member agree?

Mr. Riddell: I do. But having said all that, will the minister not see that the money available for loans is increased rather than decreased?

Mr. S. Smith: That is the question.

Mr. Roy: Answer the question.

Hon. W. Newman: I think the hon. member will find the answers very shortly when the budget comes in.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Presenting reports.

Mr. B. Newman, from the standing procedural affairs committee, presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee has carefully examined the following applications for private Acts and finds the notices as published in each case sufficient: Welland Area YMCA-YWCA, Rancheria Mining Co. Ltd.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.

Introduction of bills.


Mr. Leluk moves first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Public Health Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to ensure that prescription drugs in liquid form, certain over-the-counter drugs, patent medicines and household chemicals that are for sale in Ontario, will be packaged in child-resistant packages.


Mr. Swart moves first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Welland Area YMCA/YWCA.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide exemption from property tax for the Welland YMCA/YWCA.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.

Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to 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. Speaker: I believe the hon. Attorney General has the opportunity to continue his remarks.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, Mr. Speaker. At 6 o’clock last night, I was indicating some of my concerns in relation to the difficulties of establishing a mutually acceptable definition that’s acceptable to the judiciary and to the government with respect to their mutual responsibilities.

Mr. Speaker: Could we have a little order in the chamber please? Would you conduct your private conversations elsewhere?


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It’s a matter of arriving at a mutual agreement and a satisfactory definition of areas of responsibility relating to courts administration. That is the responsibility, of course, of this Legislature and of the judiciary. I indicated at the time of the adjournment that the delay in the disposition of cases in this jurisdiction is not only a chronic problem in our court system but also one which exists in virtually all common law jurisdictions of the world.

I indicated that the current case load crisis was a result of many factors such as population increases; the advent of the automobile; complexities of modern business; growing recognition of individual rights; the continued expansion of the regulatory powers of government; and, of course, the acceptance, and I hope the continuing acceptance, of legal aid as a pillar of our administration of justice.

At the same time I must recognize -- and we, as a government, having accepted serious government spending restraints -- that it is unlikely there will be substantial increases in spending for the administration of justice in the foreseeable future. The public purse, as we all know, simply cannot meet the demands of every worthy cause, although I’m confident that there will be an increasing percentage of the provincial budget allocated in the ensuing months to the very fundamentally important area of justice.

In any event, I have suggested that we must resolve our case load crisis by reviewing existing procedures with a willingness to innovate and to adapt alternative methods and techniques for effective court administration, while at the same time maintaining public confidence in the independence of the judiciary. My ministry is, therefore, constantly seeking new ways to absorb work load increases within our existing resources, together with the minimum additional resources which will be available.

One of the major challenges, therefore, facing my ministry, is to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the administration of justice. I would like to take but a few moments to relate to members some of the efforts which are being made in these areas.

Some time ago the whole question of the court system was referred to the Ontario Law Reform Commission which came down with a series of reports and recommendations. One of our responses to the report was to set up a developmental project in an area known as the central west region which clusters around Hamilton, to test out in practice the feasibility of the Law Reform Commission proposals.

The cornerstone of this project is to apply modern management techniques to the court system under the supervision of a management team of professional administrators. The basic initiatives are being made in the area of case-flow management and, generally, the more effective utilization of human and other resources. The project is developing time targets for the completion of cases and is developing annual case load targets for judges.

The programme involves an increased use of justices of the peace as substitutes for provincial judges in handling pre-trial procedures and disposing of minor matters. The project also involves a rearranging of the business of the criminal courts so that each day, before the regular commencement of the criminal courts, a justice of the peace handles the pretrial matters which need not be dealt with by a judge.

As the objective is to maximize the effective use of all the resources which we employ in the operation of court offices and other support services, it involves also the standardization of court office procedures and the development of formulae based on ease load to provide the basis for staff allocation. It also involves the development of cost accounting techniques to determine the cost effectiveness of various types of court operations as well as an attempt to break down the traditionally rigid and hierarchical structure of court administration to permit the use of court personnel in a variety of functions in different court offices.

For example, it is proposed that court reporters within a particular area be available as a common resource to avoid the possibility of one judge’s reporter being idle while another judge’s reporter is unable to cope with the work load. Various forms of electronic equipment are being utilized to reduce court attendance and unnecessary transcription by reporters. We are examining the feasibility of doing away with the traditional assignment of a particular courtroom to a particular level of court, to permit the use of courtrooms by any level of court to promote the most effective use of our courtroom space.

Other initiatives now being undertaken include the computerization of court-scheduling activities and the greater use of pre-trial conferences to cut down on the length of trials. I have also established committees to achieve the streamlining of the rules of civil procedure and to review appeal jurisdictions. We are also working on a revision of summary conviction procedures to divert more of the case load out of the formal court structure.

Disparities between how things should be and how things are in practice are now subject to relentless scrutiny via modern modes of communication, as indeed they should be. Today’s informed citizen, Mr. Speaker, no longer regards as self-evident the justification for many traditional arrangements that owe more to longevity than they do to the needs and legitimate expectations of the people of Ontario.

Mr. Roy: About time you started talking about those things.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It has been said by the great jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., “Tradition eventually tends to override rational policy.” It therefore follows that in order to keep the system by which justice is administered abreast of present and responsive to future requirements, it is incumbent upon the Attorney General for Ontario to ensure that every aspect of that administration is effectively dedicated to the end it serves.

Nevertheless, experience has indicated clearly that the judiciary has a very significant and important role to play in case-flow management. It must never be overlooked that it is the judge presiding in court who has the ultimate right to determine which individual cases shall be heard in that court on any particular day. This is an essential and fundamental premise of our system, because it is only the trial judge who is made aware in open court of all the facts and circumstances relating to a particular issue, and it is only he who can make the judicial determination as to whether or not any particular case is ready for trial and adjudication. It is this decision which will dictate the degree to which we can make effective use of all our resources.

Again, let me say that it is only proper that such a determination rest with the judiciary in order to ensure that the public continues to have an impartial administration of justice.

In result, therefore, many aspects of case-flow management, which is at the very heart of our court administration, must, in my view, remain within the control of the judiciary. The public must recognize that what we strive for in our system is justice in each individual case. Each case does have its own unique features and points of reference which will dictate whether or not it is ready for trial. This in turn will impact directly on the utilization of resources. In this context, therefore, it is essential to recognize that the authority which controls case-flow management must at the same time play a significant role in all aspects of court administration which relate to case-flow management.

My ministry is currently considering alternative vehicles for the administration of the courts which will recognize the interrelationship between the courts of the province and government, in order to ensure appropriate recognition of the fundamental principles I referred to a moment ago.

Mr. Cassidy: You won’t crack down on the lawyers, that’s the problem; just like the Health Ministry and the doctors.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As a first step in dealing with our case load crisis, this government has requested the federal government to appoint five Supreme Court and nine county court judges. To save time it must be recognized that the greatest impact --

Mr. Cassidy: You won’t crack down on the lawyers.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- of the case load crisis is felt in the provincial courts of this province.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s right. They are being abused by people who are earning money from the Ontario government.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We propose, therefore, to appoint 16 additional provincial court judges in the criminal division and 10 additional provincial court judges in the family division. We recognize, however, that this is simply one of many steps which will have to be taken in order to meet the problem of delays in the courts.

We must be prepared to consider changes in basic procedures which cut down the time between the happening of the event and the actual trial of the issue. The recent amendments to the Criminal Code and the Jurors Act will result in the dismantling of the grand jury. Quite frankly, it has always concerned me that a victim of a criminal offence in many cases has had to testify at a preliminary hearing, and then before a grand jury before the matter even comes on for trial.

The traditional concerns of lawyers have been directed largely toward the accused rather than to the victim. While this is understandable, it cannot always be justified and it would appear certainly not to be in harmony with the current mood of the public. These amendments will cut some of the fat out of the criminal process but we wonder whether we have cut out enough.

For example, we question whether the whole process of the preliminary inquiry is necessary to serve the interests of the administration of criminal justice as a whole. Members are, perhaps, familiar with the recommendations of the federal Law Reform Commission with respect to eliminating the preliminary inquiry and substituting a fairly elaborate system of pre-trial discovery.

As a former member of the defence bar, I am familiar with the importance of the preliminary inquiry in affording an opportunity for a complete discovery of the Crown’s case, which is certainly absolutely essential to the conduct of any case of any accused person before our courts. As the Attorney General, I trust that I shall never overlook the rights of an accused person. However, so long as the accused is given an adequate opportunity to discover the Crown’s case, some of the existing elaborate machinery might well be dispensed with.

However, the elimination of the existing machinery of the preliminary inquiry would make little sense if it only means the substitution of an equally elaborate process. I know these concerns are shared by the present federal Minister of Justice and are under careful review by members of his ministry as well.

It is also important to recognize that administrative changes must be accompanied by substantive law reform in order to ensure the effectiveness of our administration of justice. To this end, I will be introducing legislation in this session in relation to estates law and to the matters of children and spouses in property matters as part of our continuing reform of family law.

It has become increasingly clear that the traditional legal concepts governing support obligations and the division of property between spouses needs re-examination in light of major social and economic changes --

Mr. Cassidy: You’re damn right.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- which have effected modern family life.

Mr. Cassidy: You have been dragging your feet on it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In response to this need for reform, the Ontario Law Reform Commission undertook a study of the present system of family property law which exists in the province, as well as some alternatives for change. This study, along with the commission’s proposals, was presented in a report to the then Attorney General and tabled by him in March, 1974.

Because family law is so fundamental to the community as a whole, the government felt it was absolutely essential to ascertain the views of the public before making any decision on the future of the specific recommendations proposed by the commission.

Public participation in government is a much-touted ideal. However, the realization of this kind of co-operation is very difficult to achieve in a mass society.

Early in April, 1974, the policy development division of the Ministry of the Attorney General began to work on the problem of involving the public in the consideration of the commission’s proposals. This undertaking became known as the family property law project. Since the report of the Law Reform Commission consists of almost 500 pages of text, it became clear that the essential problem would be the development of a programme which would offer the public access to the recommendations and an appropriate means of expressing response to them.


To resolve this problem, the ministry through consultation and co-operation with the Ontario Council on the Status of Women and other interested groups, produced a brief summary of the present law and the recommendations of the Ontario Law Reform Commission. Over 35,000 copies of this summary have been distributed. In addition, a film entitled “Family Property Law,” was produced and shown to the public in a number of widely advertised public meetings held throughout the province. Prints of the film have been made available to the media and the public at large. As a result, there has been considerable response to this programme, most of it favourable.

While discussion of the overall approach to be taken to changes in family law was going on, it was apparent that certain existing anomalies should be corrected before awaiting the completion of this large task. As a result, on July 10, 1975, Bill 75, the Family Law Reform Act, was proclaimed in force. It is designed to repair inequities which women have experienced in the past, which result entirely from their marital status. It corrects the familiar Murdoch situations and also allows spouses to sue one another in tort.

Now that the public has had an opportunity to express its views, the government intends to introduce legislation to rationalize and make consistent the factors a court must consider in adjudicating claims to property and support so that the financial impact of dissolution of marriage through death or marriage breakdown can be dealt with in a comprehensive manner. The government will be bringing forward a bill effecting comprehensive reform of the law of estates as part of the government’s continuing programme of family law reform.

The bill which we will bring forward this session has four main themes: First, the equalization of the treatment, in estate matters, of legitimate and illegitimate children; second, the recognition of claims of dependent common law spouses to support survivorship benefits; third, the removal of matrimonial misconduct as an absolute bar to the recognition of property rights; and fourth, a general modernizing of the law of succession to bring it into line with the values and the expectations of the 20th century.

The bill which we will introduce will amend and consolidate in one Act the provisions of the Wills Act, the Devolution of Estates Act, the Dependants’ Relief Act and the Survivorship Act.

The provisions relating to intestate succession will entitle the widow to the benefits of the Act without regard to marital misconduct. The distribution of estates will be altered to increase the rights of surviving spouses and to restrict the benefits now accruing to distant relatives. The rules of inheritance under the Act will also be rationalized to eliminate arbitrary and unfair results. The dependants’ relief provision will be extended to permit dependants to apply for support when the person on whom they depend has died intestate.

Common law spouses and illegitimate children will be allowed to claim benefits under the Act. The concept of matrimonial misconduct as a bar to an application will be eliminated. The sections relating to wills are largely technical in nature. The government proposes the adoption of two uniform Acts to bring Ontario law in line with the law of other jurisdictions. An important consequence of the adoption of the new legislation is the recognition of two new forms of will, the holograph will and the international will.

Under the existing Survivorship Act, the rules often result in a windfall in favour of the descendants of one family member where that family member died in a common disaster with others in the same family. The new survivorship provisions will allow the property of the deceased family members to be distributed separately to the beneficiaries of each.

In addition, the legislation will remove inequities and anomalies which now result in the application of different rules under several statutes to determine whether common law spouse and illegitimate children are entitled to benefits which are available to a deceased person’s family or dependants. In particular, illegitimate children of the deceased person will be entitled to exactly the same rights as legitimate children.

With respect to marriage breakdown I expect to be introducing legislation which will allow the spouses to have all outstanding issues of property, support and custody dealt with in one action, if they so desire. The principal reforms to be undertaken will relate to the following matters: 1. Division of assets on marriage breakdown; 2. Support obligations of each spouse; 3. Rights of the parties in relation to the matrimonial home; 4. Rules regulating marriage contracts.

Mr. Roy: Why don’t you set up one family court?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I anticipate that the legislation and the initiatives which I have outlined will produce some vigorous discussion and debate on all sides of the House. I welcome the contribution of all members of the Legislature in relation to these matters which are all so essential to maintaining the public’s respect and confidence and support for the administration of justice in this province.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, would you allow me to ask the minister a question about the introduction of this legislation -- when the reforms might come about?

Mr. Speaker: As long as it is brief.

Mr. Roy: It is very brief. Realizing that different bills are required to accomplish some of the things the minister has been talking about, when can we expect to see this legislation?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would certainly anticipate that the legislation will be introduced this spring. I am sorry I can’t be more specific than that.

Mr. Roy: In a month? Two months?

Mr. Moffatt: I gather that it is appropriate to congratulate the Speaker and I certainly would like to congratulate the Speaker on the performance of his duty and so on. I think all of the members of the House have praised your activities and obviously the praise is deserved.

I would also, at this time Mr. Speaker, like to congratulate the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) for the remarks he has just made. I have no connection with the law, other than to try to remain within it from time to time, and it seems to me that law proceedings in this province have indeed suffered from a proliferation of too many legal minds which affirm that the only people who know anything about law, or could in fact have any input, would be lawyers. I welcome the comments the Attorney General made with regard to the general public as well, because from my own experience over the past six months there have been many items which have involved his ministry which have had solutions proposed by lawyers which have been far too convoluted to really get through to the ordinary person the way they might. So I welcome the comments the Attorney General made this afternoon. I hope, as I am sure all members do, we will see the legislation shortly.

I want to deal with three or four items. I would like to start with two days of Throne Speech debate and comments that were made by the former leader of the Liberal Party and by one of the members of that party yesterday. I would like to use the two comments that take us back to last August, because I think what is happening within that party and within the electorate at large is something that all of us should view with some degree of alarm.

What I refer to is the very good comment made by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) in which he tried to solve the dilemma that I think all members of the House are faced with when dealing with the question of how to deal with alcohol consumption by young people. Every person has some difficulty in coming up with ready answers and I noted the difficulty with which the member tried to get to some kind of possible solution to that problem.

He ended his search for a solution by saying that what we probably need is really to deal with this whole question in educational terms, and to try in the schools to have some way of making people aware of the dangers of the abuse and misuse of alcohol. I think a lot of people feel that is a good position to take.

However, the next day -- and I think probably two or three speakers from that same party later -- we had a member stand and really say that the problem in the schools is the fact that we have too many frills, too many courses, and obviously courses such as the one that the former leader of that party was talking about. That’s exactly what’s happening in the community with regard to education.

A number of people feel that some glib and facile statement about the three Rs will perhaps solve all of the problems. Somewhere along the line the teachers have all done the wrong thing by attempting to follow the directions of the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells). Everyone then comes along and throws rocks at the teachers and at the system for attempting to do what society asked it to do. I don’t think we can have this equivocation take place much longer.

Mr. Laughren: The Liberals can.

Mr. Moffatt: The Liberals perhaps can, I agree. It seems to me that what happened in last fall’s election, though, when those kinds of statements were made, did more to hurt the educational system than it did to throw kind of the light of darkness -- if you will -- on education such as we haven’t seen for 25 years. Those people are now saying that we should immediately get rid of all the courses in schools which have brought some people who, before, were disadvantaged to a place where they thought that school at least meant something. Some young people in high school particularly were able to have something to look forward to in their day.

When we hear that kind of statement made -- that those courses should be taken away immediately in order to save money or whatever -- I suspect those kinds of statements will cause grave problems in the future. That’s the kind of rhetoric which led to the present mood of restraint by the government. The government, in reacting to the claims of the Liberal Party during the election, I think has over-reacted and has gone beyond the bounds of common sense.

We see areas where logical programmes have been implemented by various regions and various local municipal governments, encouraged and aided by previous provincial governments. Those programmes are now being terminated and the termination is caused because the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) or various other ministers will write a letter to the local regional people and say, “We have implemented this programme on an experimental basis over the last few years. It is a good programme and it works well; the people obviously enjoy it. Therefore, since it’s such a good programme you, obviously, as the local municipality, will enjoy carrying it on and paying for it yourself.”

I submit to the House that that’s an entirely ludicrous situation to have in the Province of Ontario. Certainly there are areas where moneys could be saved but that’s false economy and it serves no purpose other than some crass political purpose.

I would like to refer to other crass political purposes briefly. I would like to quote from a letter which I received from a group of people in eastern Ontario. The letter was addressed to the Premier (Mr. Davis). Copies were sent to various ministers and a copy was sent, legitimately by the writers, to me. It’s dated March 15, and the letter comes from Brighton. It’s a gathering of the people who work, who are farmers, who have various cash crops in our area. They quote a statement made on Sept. 9, at Ridgetown, Ont.:

“I propose to introduce an income tax rebate policy for any person employed on a seasonal basis in the harvesting of agricultural crops. Thus, anyone so engaged in seasonal work on the farm could claim a tax rebate representing his or her provincial income tax payable. The more income the worker earns, the longer the period of his employment, the I greater the rebate which could amount to as much as $150 for a full season’s work.

“Additionally, we would propose to the federal government that as a matter of national policy it extend a $1,000 tax exemption to any Canadian engaged in seasonal work on the farm. But whether or not the government of Canada responds to this, the government of Ontario is prepared to rebate its share of provincial tax to those who are seasonally employed in agriculture.”

The statement was made by the Premier at Ridgetown in September.

Last week when the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) what had happened with that programme -- he had to ask because there was no mention of that programme or of that speech or anything like it in the Speech from the Throne -- the Minister of Agriculture and Food in response to the member for York South, said, “That’s an interesting proposal. We’re still working on it and it is going to take some study.”


If it gets the kind of study which we have seen in the past with that kind of proposal, it will never happen. It’s a false and a biased use of the electoral politics by the Premier to try to make people believe that when he says something, he really means it. I wish the Premier were here now, so that he could either confirm or deny that they are going to go ahead with that statement.

Mr. Laughren: Perhaps the Speaker could tell him.

Mr. Moffatt: Perhaps the Speaker could tell him? I think maybe the Speaker has other things to do. Perhaps the Premier has other things to do as well. He doesn’t seem to be here.

I want to deal as well with a situation which, during the last session, was of great consequence to people in the Legislature and to people in my riding and in eastern Ontario generally. I refer to the problem in Port Hope, where over a number of years the Atomic Energy Control Board, a federal agency, failed dismally to carry out its mandate and failed dismally to enforce the law which is part of the law of Canada, which requires it to post and control the use of materials which have been contaminated by radioactivity.

This situation in Port Hope has, at the very least, turned Port Hope into an area where people no longer want to live or to work, and we find extreme problems faced by homeowners and by people in small businesses in Port Hope because of the cavalier treatment by the Atomic Energy Control Board of the people in that area.

I’m sure all members are reasonably familiar with the situation, where emissions of radon gas from radium which was improperly handled has managed to contaminate the air in various homes, in schools, and in some cases businesses in the town of Port Hope. What made this particularly miserable was the behaviour of the Atomic Energy Control Board, which really felt there was no problem and convinced the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) that there was no problem. The Minister of Health -- unwisely, as it has turned out -- believed the Atomic Energy Control Board and his own people when they told him that the problem was not serious and would go away.

Over the next several weeks after the initial problem arose, the minister had to retreat from that statement and we now have the situation where the Ministry of Health is very carefully watching the Atomic Energy Control Board, because I detect from the acting Minister of Health’s (B. Stephenson) statement this afternoon that it’s just possible that they don’t really believe the Atomic Energy Control Board gives a full and adequate disclosure of facts at any time.

I don’t think, though, it’s enough to stop and say we have detected a problem in Port Hope and there needs to be a cleanup. It seems to me a great deal more needs to be done in Port Hope, and, as a result, on March 2 I wrote a letter to the Premier (Mr. Davis) in which I suggested to him that he read a report which was at least partially funded by the previous government and which was carried out in 1973 and 1974, called “Inter-Design,” in which industrial designers and planners from all over the world met in the town of Port Hope and Cobourg and attempted, as a theoretical exercise, to plan the most expedient use and development of that particular area, keeping in mind the needs of the people, the topography, the geography, the industrial potential and so on. It was an expensive and exhausting procedure. It went on for 1½ months and the exercise was concluded by the publishing of a document by Macmillan and Co. It’s a major publication, it was funded by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and it dealt, as I said, in a theoretical way with the towns of Port Hope and Cobourg.

Oddly enough, since the situation with the radiation exposure occurred in Port Hope, the theory is no longer only a theory, but the report now bears some real looking at in order to find I solutions to the present problem. In my letter to the Premier, what I requested that he do was to dust off that report, which obviously must be lying around in somebody’s office -- I know one copy is in my office -- and have some person from the various ministries responsible read the report and then work with the towns of Port Hope and Cobourg in order to implement some of the recommendations of that report, which, as I say, were made in advance of this present problem.

I am a little bit sad to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that either my letter didn’t get to the Premier, or he can’t read it or hasn’t read it, because I have received no answer at all -- not even an acknowledgement. As a result of not having received an acknowledgement, I sent a further letter to the Premier in which I asked if anything had been done and I sent him a copy of another proposal for the Port Hope situation. In this letter, I simply said:

“Further to my appeal of March 2, I am enclosing a series of recommendations made by the citizens of Port Hope in the Pigeon Hill area, which is one of the areas most affected by radiation.”

I really can’t understand why at least a letter could not be sent back to say, “We are investigating it,” or, “Go away, your proposal makes no sense,” or, “Yes, we will do it,” or something. It’s as though one were talking to a marshmallow. You say things and the dust seems to move; then it settles very nicely back and the marshmallow remains as before.

Mr. Laughren: The benevolent marshmallow.

Mr. Moffatt: That’s probably what it is. I’m not sure how benevolent it is either; it may be a malevolent marshmallow. Actually, I like “malevolent marshmallow” better; there’s a certain alliteration there that makes sense.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to make sure that one of the pieces of legislation, which was announced in the Throne Speech as being on the way, really gets some consideration on the basis of what has happened in the past. I refer to the announcement in the Throne Speech that we are going to have, at long last in this most progressive of provinces, a system whereby homeowners will be protected from shady and unscrupulous business people by a warranty programme. That legislation, if indeed it comes in, is long overdue.

Mr. Speaker, I want to display for your edification a collection of letters which I received from one small street in the town of Bowmanville. The street is named Vanstone Ct., and it has 82 houses on it. All of the houses are less than a year old, all of them were built by the same person, and every one of them has significant defects that would, in a lot of cases, require that the houses be declared unsafe.

In one case, in one particular house, the driveway is built on the side of the house opposite to the garage and the builder refuses to correct it. That is a significant error, it is the kind of error that I didn’t believe --

Mr. Davison: That’s rather obvious.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s perverse.

Mr. Moffatt: Oddly enough, it is not as obvious as you might expect because it hasn’t been corrected yet.

These letters -- each one is a separate letter from a different person on Vanstone Ct. in Bowmanville -- document such things as the previously misplaced driveway or garage; I don’t know which one was constructed inappropriately.

They document areas where a house was built 4 ft higher than it should have been, and the people can’t get their car into the garage from the street without putting some kind of grappling device at the front of the garage and winching the car in.

They document things such as a hole in the plaster in one of the bedrooms. I thought that when a person said “hole in the plaster” it meant that you could see into the insulation under the window. I was surprised when I went to the house, because the hole in the plaster is not just a hole in the plaster; it is a hole in the plaster of about 6 in. x 4 in. and it is a hole in the insulation and a hole in the metal cladding outside. It is also so completely open that birds can fly in and out of this room.

Mr. Makarchuk: It is really meant for Santa Claus, you know.

Mr. Moffatt: The price of this house was $52,000.

Mr. Bullbrook: How much without the hole?

Mr. Moffatt: The hole added significantly to the ventilation, I might add. With the hole, it was $52,000. I don’t know what it would be, in answer to the hon. member, without the hole; it might be $75,000 at today’s prices.

The list of defects in these houses goes on and on. In one instance, the people moved in. They had bought a house. The typical way of buying a home today is that you go to the open house and see a display model. These people had bought the display model in July and the house would be constructed on lot number so-and-so three or four months later. They signed the agreement to purchase. They put down significant funds. They then waited until the builder told them that their completion date had arrived and so on. They were to move in some time about Oct. 15.

When they went to move in, they had to terminate the lease in the apartment they were living in, so the apartment was rented to someone else. They attempted to move in, went to the house and, lo and behold, the house wasn’t even half-ready to move in. It hadn’t been plastered. The electrical fixtures were not installed. It was not suitable for habitation. They had already cancelled the lease on their apartment. What were they to do? What they have to do is they have to back up the whole process. They refused to vacate the apartment. They forced the landlord to get a court order to evict them. That takes about 14 or 15 days. The landlord then has to back up the other people who have already contracted to rent the apartment. In the meantime, the people can’t move into the house. Where is all this going?

After all of these people had written to me. I went to talk to them. I brought all of their letters in -- and these are only copies because all of the letters are in the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have the most amazing story to report about that ministry because what happens when you send a letter to that minister, he says “Thank you very much for your documentation on this particular problem. I assure you that the people in our ministry will investigate immediately.” They investigate.

Do you know what they did, Mr. Speaker? Three weeks later, one of the people from that ministry went to the builder and asked him what had been done. The builder said: “Oh, well, we are fixing up the problem and as soon as it is corrected, we will report to you.” That’s what the builder told the inspector. The inspector came back and told the minister and the minister told me, expecting that that would placate and satisfy the people who live on Vanstone Ct.

Now what kind of activity is that for a Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations? That’s not activity at all. That’s just passive reliance on the problem going away. That’s the problem with that ministry. It does not do what it says it will do. It does not even live up to its own mandate. It simply sits there and hopes that problems will go away and, if people get sick of complaining that maybe -- just maybe -- they will not bother calling the minister’s office any more. But these people in Vanstone Ct. haven’t done that. Every time there’s a new problem, they simply write to the minister. They phone the minister’s office. I am sure that he is getting sick and tired of the words “Vanstone Ct.”

I know the people who live there are sick and tired of the problem. The unfortunate thing is that it is now four to five months since the ministry was first notified and nothing has happened. We still get letters saying: “These things are still a problem.” We still send them to the minister and still nothing happens. What should have happened is that the people who are in that particular ministry who have the responsibility, who are charged with the responsibility, should have gone to those people in Bowmanville, looked at the defects, ascertained whether they were verified or not or whether they should have something done, and then ordered the builder on penalty of a fine or taking away his licence or whatever, that the problem should be made better, that the defects should be rectified.

One of the things that hasn’t worked for these people is going back to their lawyer and saying: “We bought the house and the house isn’t properly fixed,” because the lawyers really can’t act on it -- either can’t or won’t. In all cases we have found that the legal processes here are so long and involved that the people either have to fix the defects themselves and then try to recover the cost from the builder, which is a long and involved process, or they have to put up with it. In most cases, the people have just simply given up, their houses are for sale and they are trying to move out.

All of these people are young families. They all have small children and, in most cases, it has been their first experience in trying to purchase a home. I am glad to see the Attorney General is here. I submit that that kind of experience does more to break down the kind of legislation that his ministry and others are attempting to put forward. Those people have no confidence now at all in the fact that the law ever works for the ordinary working person. They think that the law is devised and it is put in place and made to work only on behalf of the developers and the big businessmen. When one hears that comment made over and over again --


Mr. Laughren: You are right.

Mr. Moffatt: -- one begins to believe it oneself.

Mr. Laughren: Of course.

Mr. Moffatt: One says, “What is wrong?” One brings the problem to this House which, to most people in Ontario, is supposed to be a last resort, a place where you can finally get something done, and nothing happens.

I am just appalled at the way the whole problem of homeowners’ warranties has been allowed to slide. I really hope the minister is sincere and is going to bring legislation into this House which will really do something to protect the consumer.

It seems to me that the legislation should take as its first premise that the consumer is right and that the builder must prove that he has done what the law requires. I know that’s a convolution on the way it works now. The way the situation is now, the consumer is supposed to be wrong except when the builder can be proved to be wrong by the consumer. This leaves a whole area of contested cases going through the courts which really is expensive and, I suspect, clogs up the courts with a great many cases which should not be there.

One final thing I wanted to mention was that if we are going to make this kind of legislation work, one of the areas where the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) perhaps can do a great service to the people in this province is to update the small claims court, and to make sure that the level at which the small claims court can function is raised to be kept in line with current living standards. The limit on a case which can be taken to those courts now is, I gather, $400 and that has been so for a number of years. Members may find this hard to believe but a judge phoned me --

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s pretty good advice.

Mr. Moffatt: -- and said that should be changed. I expect that will happen very shortly and it will be tied somehow to the cost of living or the cost of the kinds of things which go through those courts.

Also, I would ask and urge that, if at all possible, the small claims courts which exist in small towns be kept open if it means -- and I suggest it does mean -- that the people who are employees of those courts, instead of being on a fee-for-service basis, be made civil servants. Instead of going around and trying to drum up business and getting the various finance companies to come to them with their claims in order to keep a small claims court open those courts should be made impartial and put on an employee of the government basis, rather than a fee-for-service basis.

It’s been a pleasure this afternoon to share some of the problems I faced in my first six months after my election in September. I simply hope we can continue to work toward legislation for consumers, particularly, which places the onus on the business community to do the right thing and, when it does not, allows the consumer to have first recourse rather than the other way around.

Mr. Ruston: I would like to join in this debate at this time and speak on a few concerns which are facing people in Ontario and, of course, in the riding I represent. I think a person in this House must, of course, always consider the province as well. It is awfully easy to get up and say we have certain problems in our own ridings but I have always felt very strongly -- I guess it’s the way I was brought up -- that if one part of the province is in bad financial straits or has high unemployment it’s not good for the rest of us in the other parts of the province because maybe then we can’t manufacture the goods and they don’t have the money to buy them.

It’s the same as being a Canadian first. I think if we have poverty in one province to a very high degree it reflects on the rest of us and I think it should be upon all of us to take steps to right this throughout the whole country. I don’t think we can have what we classify as generally full employment without having it throughout the whole of Canada.

I suppose we could look at Alberta and see the situation they’re in with their great oil income -- the funds they are collecting in taxes and royalties and so forth. They are sitting in an exceptionally good financial position. However, since it is a commodity that will run out, I suppose they are trying to get everything they can now to protect themselves in case it does run out in the next 10 or 15 years.

I would suppose though that if that situation comes and we’re still affluent -- I don’t know if we will be with the price we’re paying for their natural gas and oil, but if we are and they are a little down, they will be looking for assistance from us. I don’t know if we’re getting that much from them. Maybe in the past we have kept our natural resources pretty well within the province, although no doubt much of the profit went out of the country.

The contents of the Throne Speech and the government’s actions over the past few months have been of great concern to many people. 1 suppose that hospital closings and so forth, cuts in Children’s Aid Societies, and cuts in social services affect most everybody in Ontario.

In our own area, of course, we’ve had cutbacks in hospital beds. I had someone call me 10 days ago; a man called me and said he couldn’t get his wife in the hospital because there wasn’t any room. When I called the hospital administrator to find out what the situation was, he said: “That’s right, we have no vacancies right now.” It so happened that she did get in within 10 days; I think there was some damage done because she wasn’t in on time.

That reflects on what the government is doing. I don’t think it is planning or knows what it’s doing. I think myself that after the Henderson-McKeough report they wanted to come out in shining armour as people going to save the taxpayers money. What they were looking for was publicity more than anything else.

I think it was a gimmick really because within the first six months or less they will probably save somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million, so they claim, in that particular area. That’s not very much when you figure an overall budget of $11 billion. It’s not very much even when you figure what we have lying around from Wintario funds.

So what I’m saying is that I don’t think the cutting of hospital beds and the cutting of social services, in the way they are doing it, is really well planned. I think it was well planned to achieve what they had in mind and that was to gain publicity with the average taxpayer -- trying to let on to the taxpayers of Ontario that “We’re the savers. We’re going to save your money. We’re the people responsible.” Well, heaven help us. They were those people who were so irresponsible for the last five years. You couldn’t get them more irresponsible.

It’s a funny thing, just last year we had a little problem with the car industry in Windsor and Oshawa and different areas and many of the cities had representations to the government to cut the sales tax on cars. Well, they cut it on everything from seven to five per cent in April, but then in July they decided to take the sales tax off automobiles.

I happen to be connected in the automobile industry as far as my family and my friends go, and they have been quite fortunate in having good employment in the area since they’ve been there. A young chap I was talking to, who was an automobile salesman, said, “We’re selling cars, but when you go where the people are making them, last summer and last spring you’d find they weren’t being made in Canada.” The trouble was in the United States. The Chrysler plant in Windsor, for instance, makes 1,100 cars a day and only 160 of them are for Canadian use. If they can’t sell automobiles in the United States, naturally we have some unemployment.

What the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) did was take the tax off cars and say, “That will be great.” But the silly thing was that he should have made the regulations so that when you sold the car, you didn’t collect the sales tax. He didn’t want it that way. He wanted to get that cheque back to the guy who bought the car about a month after he bought it and say, “This is Bill Davis and Darcy McKeough with the $200, $300 or $400 and trying to help you along. Maybe you can go on a little vacation. You probably have the financing all arranged now so this will be something a little extra.” This is the cynical part of it -- that this is what they were working on. There were a lot of cars sold in Ontario, but if we look at the record for all of Canada, there were more cars sold in all of Canada than before anyway, so in Montreal, Quebec and the western provinces the automobile industry was very affluent in Canada last year. But the key part of it was the Treasurer taking the tax off then cutting down the money for municipalities this year. The mayor of Windsor comes down and says, “Gee, you’ve got to give us more money.” Darcy says, “Gee, we cut the sales tax off cars and we took $300 million less in sales tax. You’re going to have to raise your own taxes now.”

He went in a complete circle. He took it away from one time and gave it another time, but that was all just a cynical part of an election year. The Treasurer and the Premier (Mr. Davis) are the two responsible. It’s not anyone else. As far as the rest of the fellows over there -- well, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) --

Mr. Spence: He’s not too bad a fellow.

Mr. Ruston: -- sitting there; he’s a pretty good fellow.

Mr. Spence: You’re not too bad.

Mr. Nixon: He didn’t even know what was going on.

Mr. Ruston: But that man from Chatham-Kent --

Mr. Bullbrook: It’s not Auld’s fault. It’s that fellow Darcy.

Mr. Ruston: The hon. member for Chatham-Kent and the Premier are responsible. Of course, the Treasurer before that -- I could call him now a lunatic from London -- talked of putting on your sweater and putting a seven per cent tax on heat, and our party got wind of it and voted against that bill on the first reading, caused an uproar and they took it off. Although some people say they were cynical then -- that they were putting that on, intending to take it off, and at that time they raised the sales tax from five to seven per cent.

It gets so that one doesn’t trust very much people in government who operate that way. The public loses respect for them because of that type of dealing. They just can’t accept that.

With regard to the hospital in Paris -- and I’m not interfering with the former leader of our party -- the day that closure was announced I got a telephone call from a man in my riding who had a close friend -- I think it was a brother -- in the hospital. He asked, “Where is this man going to go?” I was home at the time, and, with our office here in Toronto having a very alert secretary, got hold of people in the hospital in St. Mary’s in the same day and we ended up talking to the mayor of St. Mary’s. I understand there were 67 people in the hospital that day, registered in the hospital, a 61-bed hospital, and they’re going to close it.

If I have a bus and I’ve got a bus route running someplace and I’ve got full capacity on it every day, I’m not going to close that bus line down. If there’s something wrong it’s wrong someplace else, it’s not right there that something’s wrong.

Mr. Spence: Right. Good boy.

Mr. Ruston: As far as the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) going around, he had a meeting in Windsor and he talked about cutbacks. One of the welfare administrators from one of the counties -- I’m not sure which it was; Lambton, Kent and Essex counties and the city of Windsor were represented -- asked: “We have some new regulations coming out with regard to unemployment insurance which may be a little stricter. We may have a reflection of that on the welfare rolls, and if my welfare rolls go higher than they did the year before, if I have an extra 100 people come in and demand care -- and under the Act I have to give them this care; after all, I can’t allow people to go hungry -- are you telling me that I’ve got to restrict my budget to 5½ per cent?”

The minister hummed and hawed in his usual way. He danced around some but he said, in effect, “Yes, that’s right.” That’s not satisfactory at all.

The point that really hits me, the way I have read it anyway over the past few months, is that what this government was trying to do was to get back into the good graces of the people of Ontario for making a mess of the financial conditions with their high deficit.

I can go back to a few years ago when I had a conversation with a man who ran for office in Essex county as a Conservative -- he was on the Ontario Water Resources Commission at that time, and he was defeated; but however that’s all right, everybody has his ups and downs -- a very good businessman in that area, Mr. Bill Conklin. After I got nominated, I was talking to him one day -- in fact, I think he called me the next day to congratulate me on winning -- and he said, “You know, there’s one thing governments must do in financing -- never have a big deficit when times are pretty good. Our job in government is to see that when times are tough we have money available to put into the economy and get it moving.” But this government -- or Ontario -- over the last five years has had pretty good times running the highest deficit we ever had.


So now we are having a borrowing problem with these people in New York and different places who are lending us money and talking about changes. I see the city of Detroit which used to have a class A rating has been put into a 3B. That’s one of the rating groups of Standard and Poors in the United States.

We know from what’s going on in some of the meetings of the select committee on Ontario Hydro that there have been rumours and warnings that if our budget deficit continues at the rate it’s going -- 20 per cent of our expenditures -- we could be in a similar position. This shows the mismanagement this government has had over the past five years.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Ruston, you would be a good Treasurer.

Mr. Spence: That’s right.

Mr. Bullbrook: Because you are a penny- pincher.

Hon. Mr. Meen: How can you ever draw that conclusion?

Mr. Kennedy: Triple A rating member.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I’ll answer with any more remarks with regard to that interjection.

Mr. Bullbrook: Last year he gave it to 16.

Mr. Ruston: But 20 had the same job probably.

On a more serious note -- I have some other things later but I have kind of an order here. There’s one thing I spoke on a few years ago -- I think once or maybe twice -- about the appointment of judges and so forth and our judicial system in Canada and Ontario. Of course, being a dropout from very low grades I don’t pretend to know much about the legal system and so forth. I have read considerably about it and my wife always told me I should have been a lawyer. I have said, “It’s great training that a lawyer gets” and I think of the member for Sarnia, sitting in front of me; what a capable man he is in his field and in this area, too.

Mr. Bullbrook: I take that back. He is not a penny-pincher.

Mr. Nixon: He got his PhD in common sense.

Mr. Ruston: I am sure that anything I say in the next few minutes with regard to our court system will not reflect on what the member for Sarnia might be if he was in that position.

Mr. Spence: That’s right.

Mr. Ruston: What I’m getting at is not the position itself but the method of how we handle it and how we make the appointments. I don’t think the method of appointing our judges in the provincial counts and in the county courts and all the way up is really satisfactory. I don’t think that we can accept it any more, in my opinion, because there are too many areas which I think can be abused.

I certainly don’t want to go to the way they have it in the United States -- I have mentioned this before -- by which judges have to be elected I suppose at a time like this the hanging judges would get elected, if that’s the sentiment of the public, and so forth and we don’t want that.

I think what we have to do is something similar to what they have in the United States where they appoint people to the Supreme Court. When an appointment is made, they go before a committee of the Congress and that committee has the right to interrogate them and find out their ability and so forth. In that way I think we would have an input into it.

Mind you, I would suppose that the judges who are appointed do the best they can under our laws and maybe our laws aren’t all -- there’s no doubt they are not all perfect either. We, as legislators, do what we think is right in passing laws but maybe we don’t always get them just perfect.

I think that when we have what just recently happened -- the judge’s case in Ottawa and in Quebec -- we’ve been reading a number of articles on that. The last article I read, or one of the last, was in the Globe and Mail just a week or two ago -- the date’s here -- on the judge’s affair and the crackerjack lawyer who plays the clown, Mr. Holden, and Justice Kenneth Mackay. I read that article in the Globe, last Saturday, by Richard Cleroux. In fact, I read it twice, I guess. Then I handed it to my wife and I said, “You read that,” and to my son who is only in grade 12 in school. They just didn’t think that was the way things could happen in our court system. And then we see where Judge Mackay hired Mr. Holden, a former partner to prosecute. Then he couldn’t get his $20,000 paid, and sent the bill to the government.

There are too many political connections, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think we can accept any more. I feel very deeply about this. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I think that if there is an appointment to be made it should be recommended possibly by the bar association. I think they should make the recommendation. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) would then bring them to the justice committee of the Ontario Legislature if they are a provincial appointee, and similarly in the federal.

I think that would clear the air when the appointments are made. I think people would respect it from then on. I really think that’s a very important part of clearing any doubt about how our judicial system works.

Hydro rates and so forth, Mr. Speaker, have been of some concern to many of us. We have, in Windsor, a small steam generating plant that’s been operating for 25 years. Ontario Hydro has seen fit to close it down as of April 30. That worries many of us in the area. It is a generating plant that could supply the area in case of emergency, such as storms or other catastrophes.

We realize it is more expensive to produce this hydro than other power but, at the same time, they’re building a new power line through prime agricultural land. They are tearing down farm buildings, cutting right through some of the choicest land in Kent County, through the riding of Kent-Elgin, through very choice land in Raleigh township, and through Essex county some of the high production land in Ontario. They’ve got most of the route bought now. They did that within the last year and a half.

Now, they come along and close an electric power plant in Windsor, and this new power line is to supply power to Windsor.

The average layman wonders what this means. You spend millions of dollars on new power lines and the government comes out and says it is going to save $6 million by closing the power plant. Why wouldn’t you use the power plant and forget about the power line? It just seems logical.

I’ve been writing letters to the chairman of Hydro and the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell). So far I haven’t gotten much of an answer. I got one letter back from the chairman of Hydro. He didn’t answer half of my letter so I had to return it and ask him to answer the most important parts about the amount of power produced, the cost of the line, and so forth. I don’t know whether it went over them too fast but they didn’t answer my letter.

These are the things that make us wonder how you’re operating. It seems like you want headlines to say you’re saving money but, you know, there’s really no depth in it to show and prove that you’re really saving anything. The headlines say you’re saving money but, really, you’re not proving that you are.

Mr. Laughren: They’re backing off. Taylor is backing off.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: We’re taking a lot of flak.

Mr. Ruston: Well, that’s another thing. Someone says he’s backing off, and that’s what I say. I don’t trust the fellas over there. They’ve already closed about four hospitals. Now the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor), is saying to the Children’s Aid Societies that no child shall go without help. Isn’t that what you said?

Mr. Laughren: Double talk.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: They will never suffer. I have always said that.

Mr. Ruston: They will never suffer. Well, there again, I think he was looking for a headline. Probably before the year is out he’ll realize he’ll have to come and see that these things are taken care of.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: There, the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) is saying they suffer. She wants us to spend more money.

Mr. B. Newman: One meal every second day instead of meals every day.

Mr. Shore: Something like essential services.

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

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, we’re all concerned about the power rates and the natural gas prices in our area and in Ontario. They’ve gone up considerably, as everybody is aware. We get people sending us a gas bill and where a year ago it was $35 or $40, now it’s $70 or $75. No one seems to want to take the responsibility.

Maybe someone will send a letter to someone in Ottawa and they’ll say, well, natural gas rates are controlled by the Ontario Energy Board. Of course, the Ontario Energy Board only approves natural gas rates along with TransCanada Pipe Lines. The general policy of the federal government is to increase natural gas and oil prices to the world market price. This is pretty hard to accept, so we are ending up with much higher heating bills in Ontario.

Of course if we had hindsight, we could say natural gas is cheap. We build houses and never worry too much about making sure they are properly insulated. We have a new building code now that says you have to have a much higher maximum insulation in homes than it was a few years ago. These are areas we are certainly going to have to cover -- better insulated homes, better insulated buildings.

But this world price of oil and gas seems to be an area that we can’t accept. I suppose there again it is a Canada-wide situation. People in the western provinces are paying $13.00 a barrel for oil and Alberta is paying $8.00 -- and what you do for the in between becomes a federal responsibility. I certainly don’t agree that it will have to come up to world price -- especially at the rate they are going. Maybe we could all accept it at an annual percentage -- five or 10 per cent a year -- and eventually get to it. Maybe part of the problem is that we are going too high too fast. The Premier of Alberta, of course, is pushing this all the time.

Mr. Laughren: When you Liberals get together it is a bad act.

Mr. Ruston: I don’t know. Maybe we will separate. They have their responsibilities and we have ours. Hearing the NDP speak, there is one free enterpriser and then another guy gets up and says the government should take it over. Another one gets up and says the company should sell it to private industry, and you are not sure what they are all talking about.

It is the same with the AIB. Now they are not --

Mr. Makarchuk: We are not hung up on ideology like you guys are.

Mr. Ruston: They have this problem with wage and price controls or guidelines and so forth. There is this problem in Windsor in the automobile industry this fall where we are going to have new contracts coming up. The union accepted a three per cent increase over each year -- which means $1.03 an hour for a man working in a factory. Now they are saying, “We are not going to pay any attention to the AIB in Ottawa.” We have a contract to make with the United States.

I was figuring with one of the chaps that works in there the other day -- and in my interpretation of the AIB, our wage guidelines actually are higher than most settlements made in the United States. Now they are wondering if maybe our guidelines allow a higher rate than what they are even going to be offered in the United States.

Mr. Laughren: What is your point?

Mr. Ruston: The point is that the prices offered in the United States in most settlements have been less than what our maximum allowed under the guidelines.

Mr. Good: And you won’t accept the guidelines.

Mr. Ruston: You say you won’t accept the guidelines and yet you accept them in the United States.

Mr. Moffatt: But they lose their cost of living.

Mr. Laughren: No provincial Liberal can accuse anybody else of flip-flopping.

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

Mr. Makarchuk: Are you accepting the guidelines now?

Mr. Ruston: We always have accepted the laws of Canada until they are changed by election, if the people want them changed, we will change them and I accept the election results as to what happens. I accept whatever happens in any election.

Mr. Bullbrook: He accepts his very happily every time, I will tell you. Goodness gracious, his majority keeps going up all the time.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I am getting a little away from what I was discussing I think.

Mr. Makarchuk: You were right on.

Mr. Ruston: Anyway as has been mentioned in the House, we have a strike in the city of Windsor. It doesn’t affect my own area -- actually the majority of people in my area go to Essex county and the teachers teach with the Essex county board of education. They settled their negotiations without a strike, but the city of Windsor is now in its third strike in four years. That is of great concern to many people because they don’t know when the next one is coming. In Kent county the board and the teachers agreed to go to arbitration and they are all back to work now.


I think there is something that all of us are going to be Facing eventually before too long. Even some of the teachers are starting to wonder whether we shouldn’t have province-wide negotiations. I see that in Manitoba the teachers at their meeting turned down the right to strike. I don’t mind about the right to strike and it wouldn’t matter to me if you had it in there or not, but I think province-wide negotiations are not all that bad.

In fact, if everybody would have had the same rates that Windsor settled for a year ago, they would have all been really happy. That was the highest, I guess, or one of the highest. Now they are trying to take some of it away from them and that’s something you can’t do. How they have straightened it out is hard to tell because of the different reports you get from the board and the teachers. As a negotiator, you can’t settle a contract in 1974 and then come back the next year and say: “We gave you too much last year.” You just don’t do that. If you made a mistake last year, you accept it and go on from there. I don’t think you can do anything else in that case.

I would think that province-wide negotiations are something that are going to have to be considered. I don’t know if there is anything all that wrong with them. If you work for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications as an engineer and if you have the same qualifications as other engineers, whether you are in Windsor or in North Bay or Ottawa, you get the same price. There is nothing wrong with that.

Mr. Bullbrook: Yes.

Mr. Ruston: I was a customs officer for the federal government for a number of years and I got the same pay in Windsor as a man here in Toronto or Montreal did or wherever it was, and I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. You might say different areas cost more to live in. They don’t go by that in the civil service, and companies pretty well pay their people the same rate of pay for the same job whether in Toronto or Windsor. If you have an area like northern Ontario, I could certainly say that what we should be doing there because of the higher cost of living is that a person should get a higher exemption for income tax purposes to offset that. That is the solution in areas like that where it costs $150 to $200 a year more to heat a home and other items are dearer.

Mr. Bullbrook: A very valid point.

Mr. Ruston: That’s where we have got to even up some things. I am speaking on this thing as a layman, seeing what goes on in the schools and having had five children go through the school system. This is something the public, the teachers and all are going to have to look at very seriously. I think it would be acceptable and can be worked out. Probably the first contract would have to be negotiated. I imagine the Ministry of Education and the teachers’ federation and some board members would set up the first one to get it started, but they would probably try to level off the top one which would be a matter of negotiation.

If the teachers had a right to strike and if their contract came up in the summer, if the schools didn’t open for a month I guess some of the farmers would be happy because they would have more help to do their work, but I don’t think that is what we would want. If it did happen, that’s what would happen. That’s something that governments are going to have to consider very seriously.

I really don’t have too much more. I want to make one or two remarks and I want to put this in these terms and I am not in any way criticizing anything with regard to the Ombudsman himself. But there are just one or two things and I suppose we will have an opportunity to discuss this when he brings in his report to the Legislature. I discussed it briefly when we went through the bill when the bill was passed. I heard the Ombudsmen speak in Windsor when he was there at the Rotary Club. He gave a very good talk and explained his position and so forth. He is a very capable man.

The thing that concerns me is the size of his staff and how it is going to operate as it keeps growing. My idea of an Ombudsman was that his staff would be kept reasonably small and he would deal with things that concerned people who had been aggrieved by some government agency or something and they would come to his office as a court of last resort. I think he himself then would almost have the opportunity to deal with every serious case himself. I think then the people would be much more satisfied.

But what concerns me is, if he has the staff that he is going with now and which looks as if it may increase, we are going to lose that personal touch. I really think that is something that we will be discussing, I am sure, when his report comes into the Legislature, but I want to say that now. It is no reflection on the man himself because I think he is a most capable man from hearing him speak and from what I have read about him. That’s just one of the things that I think we will probably be discussing at a later date.

Mr. Laughren: The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) has doubled the Ombudsman’s work load.

Mr. Ruston: I should have a few remarks with regard to the farming industry. It has been spoken on at some length here by different members and I am sure that other members in our party will be discussing it as well. The member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Gaunt) today questioned the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) about the money available for tile loans and was concerned that it was being cut down from $16 million to $10 million for 1976, when some report came out.

Mr. Riddell: The minister is going to take that up to $20 million.

Mr. Ruston: We are in a flat country. I had the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) down last week to my annual meeting and had him over to the home for dinner. We took a little drive around and he was amazed at the flat country that we have there in Essex county. So we are the ones that use tile to great benefit.

I would suppose that if every farm in Essex county was tiled to its best potential we would probably increase production by 50 per cent. We have many that are properly tiled, of course. I have heard of some that are only one rod apart where there is a high concentration of tomato production and such things and the possibility of high income.

Mr. Laughren: Don’t tell the Tories it’s flat; they will build an airport there.

Mr. Ruston: The majority of them are two rods apart, but the tiling on some of the older farms that were tiled years ago is only 50 ft apart, while on some of them it is as far as four rods apart. Some of the tiles on my brother’s farm are four rods apart; they were tiled 70 years ago, and they are still working, but he will probably be making an application.

Mr. Moffatt: Oh, sneaky!

Hon. W. Newman: Conflict of interest.

Mr. Ruston: Anyway, I think it is very important, when we talk about the shortage of food and so forth, to remember that we are far from what we can produce in terms of the potential of farm land in Ontario. Certainly, we don’t want to take away the prime land, and I am thinking of the class 1 and class 2 land, where we grow peaches and things like that. It’s interesting to note that the Ontario Tender Fruit Institute, in one of its news releases, stated that acreage in the Niagara Peninsula has been frozen for agriculture uses under land-use controls brought into effect in 1974. The release states:

“Sam Piott, chairman of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers Marketing Board, has stated that the orchard operators support the zoning controls, but adds: ‘Now we must see that markets are available for our peaches, pears, plums and cherries that will allow the growers to make a reasonable living.’”

I have been saying that for years; the farmers tell me that. And, of course, that’s why we will probably need a stabilization fund to guarantee that we don’t lose our shirts when we get an oversupply in the world.

In the last year or so, the President of the United States clamped down on exports because he was afraid that if they kept on making those large exports to Russia and other countries, it would raise the grain prices, which would force food prices up. And he didn’t want that to happen, with an election coming within a year.

A large trade union in the Florida area refused to load boats for export because they were afraid that it would force these commodity prices up and there would be a higher cost of living. The prices of soya beans, corn and many commodities are down below the cost of production, and that was one of the things that caused them to go down.

We must have some security if something the President of the United States does can lower prices to such an extent. We just can’t stand that type of thing. We don’t know how much of it had to do with it, however, because we do know that there is quite a surplus of many commodities. In Brazil last year, I believe they produced 350 million bu of soya beans, which are a high-protein feed; this year, in the harvest they are starting now, they expect to harvest about 450 million bu. They are producing to a great potential, and we find the same in other countries.

We have to really say that the potential of producing foodstuff is still there and still on the land we have. No doubt about that. As long as we can be sure that the price will be there so that the farmer can come out with a reasonable profit, why, we’ll be able to produce it, no doubt about that.

Another thing, this year, the tomato and vegetable marketing board has gone to arbitration for tomato contract prices and they got two dollars less than last year. That would be similar to the teacher-board negotiations in Windsor, where the board was trying to cut down some. Actually they ended up $2 a ton less for processing tomatoes this year than last year from $83 down to $81 a ton. So we’ll have to accept it, but it’s not good.

However, farmers, being as they are, will overcome. There are not many people who can keep losing money and still keep living. But sometimes you can do that for a while.

I don’t really have too much more to add at this time. The thing I want to stress is the mismanagement of this government in its financial affairs for the last five years. I think that’s very important. I think that’s the most important part.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Oh, no. Just a minute. And you are pushing us to spend more money.

Mr. Ruston: I also think that the headline hunting that they were trying to find by cutting back a few of what we call the emotional areas -- hospitals and social services --

Mr. Roy: Right, redneck, right there.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: You keep pushing us to spend more money.

Mr. Ruston: These to me are the emotional things, and this is what they were looking for. This is what they were looking for with headlines. They were saving us money. “We’re the saviours of the taxpayers.” Well, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a bunch of hogwash.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: That is not parliamentary.

Mr. Ruston: That was just looking for headlines to go to the public.

Mr. Good: But it is true.

Mr. Ruston: So be careful.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The Speaker said it was not parliamentary when the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) used that.

Mr. Ruston: We’ve got to be careful that we don’t go to the public and they suck us in. That’s all. We’ve just got to be careful. Thank you.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the member thought I was sitting here just to listen to him this afternoon.

Mr. Ruston: Yes, I thought you were just here to hear me.

Hon. W. Newman: Yes, I was. I was.

Mr. Gaunt: Bill, I will be right back. I want to hear you.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne expressed the government’s determination, I think, and I feel --

Mr. Roy: “I think,” yes. You are not sure. You are not really too sure.

Hon. W. Newman: -- to protect and strengthen Ontario’s agricultural production.

I don’t intend to discuss our legislative intentions in detail today --


Mr. Makarchuk: What legislative intentions?

Hon. W. Newman: -- but I’d like to show how the measures we plan will fit into the overall policy of this Ministry of Agriculture and Food, especially as it has developed in the last five years.

At the risk of oversimplifying, our policy might be summed up in three sentences. We want the best agricultural land in any area used for food production. We want that land to yield as much high quality food as possible, at prices everyone can afford. And to make sure farmers stay on the land producing our food, we want them to earn a decent return on their heavy investment in money, time, effort and labour.

Mr. McKessock: That’s a statement, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: The objectives are clear. But some of the problems in achieving them are enormously complicated. My ministry already administers 50 pieces of legislation and many more will be needed as new problems demand new solutions in the future.

Mr. Laughren: Start with saving agricultural land.

Hon. W. Newman: Perhaps the thorniest problems lie in the area of land use. With all the competing claims for land in this province, how do you maintain prime agricultural land for food production without state control of agriculture?

Mr. Roy: It’s obvious you don’t have the answer.

Hon. W. Newman: The trouble is, I don’t believe in state control, and I hope the member for Ottawa East doesn’t either.

Mr. Roy: I don’t. You are talking to the wrong guys.

Hon. W. Newman: Certainly the answer is not through a provincial land freeze, the simplistic solution which some people advocate as though a policy of zero growth could be imposed on Ontario. Instead, there are sensible, equitable, reasonable approaches to this problem and this government will soon make a major statement on land use policy in this province.

Mr. Roy: We want action, not statements.

Hon. W. Newman: We have certainly demonstrated our willingness to tackle this problem, as witnessed by the positive approaches to urban encroachment on the rich Niagara fruitlands, which were just mentioned, along the Niagara Escarpment, in the Toronto-centred region and other areas.

Mr. Laughren: Tell us about Nanticoke.

Hon. W. Newman: Yes.

Mr. Shore: Is this question and answer?


Hon. W. Newman: A foodland development branch was established in my ministry in 1974. This is a very hard working branch. It develops land policies and programmes throughout this province and it reviews those of other provincial and federal ministries to help co-ordinate new programmes related to Ontario farmland.

It reviews municipal, county and regional planning documents to make sure that the municipal authorities are aware of their prime land and of our concerns for its use. The branch performs similar functions in the case of Ontario Hydro plans, power corridors, highways, airports, pipelines, parks and industrial developments.

The food land development branch has other responsibilities, too, including the administration of three Acts which cover draining water off farmland. The importance of proper farm drainage can hardly be overemphasized. It can increase production of some crops by as much as two-thirds, depending on the soil and the year. We have seen a tremendous upswing in draining installation in recent years.

A select committee on land drainage was appointed in 1972 and most of its recommendations for changes to streamline the present Drainage Act were incorporated in whole or in part in the new Act passed last year. The Act has been proclaimed today except for two sections which will become effective in the future when funds are made available.

The Act provides grants amounting to one-third of the cost of a municipal drainage works for agricultural land; two-thirds of the cost to a territorial district or a provisional county, and up to four-fifths of the cost in some northern areas without municipal organization.

In 11 eastern Ontario counties an additional one-third grant has been provided through the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Agreement, better known as ARDA. I have recommended that this federal-provincial cost-sharing programme be extended for another two years to March 31, 1978. Altogether the Ontario government has contributed more than $14.2 million toward these larger drainage projects in four years.

Mr. Martel: How much has the federal government given in the same period?

Hon. W. Newman: If you know anything about ARDA, you know exactly how it works. If you don’t you should read about it.

Mr. Martel: I am asking you. Obviously you don’t know.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: It is usually on a 50-50 basis unless the federal government decides, for special reasons, to pay more.

Mr. Martel: How am I supposed to know that?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Maeck: He just told you.

Hon. W. Newman: If you would go to school --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. minister continue?

Hon. W. Newman: While the Drainage Act helps provide municipal drains in rural areas the Tile Drainage Act helps individual farmers to have smaller connecting drain systems installed on their land.

Under the latter Act, the municipalities may grant farmers 10-year loans to cover up to 75 per cent of the installation cost. The municipalities issue debentures at the same rate of interest as the Treasury of Ontario and the interest subsidy is paid through my ministry. We estimate that approximately 60 cents of every dollar spent on tile drainage comes from provincial assistance.

There has been an astonishing increase in the use of this legislation since 1971, when it was substantially realized that debentures have added up to more than $41.6 million in the succeeding four years, which means that tile drainage work done per year has almost tripled.

In 1975, the Act was revised so that farmers in unorganized areas and municipalities may get loans on the same basis as those in organized municipalities throughout the province. Under the other cost-sharing agreements, the provincial and federal governments have jointly spent more than $60 million on the development of rural Ontario in this decade.

The farm consolidation and enlargement programme enables livestock farmers to expand and improve the value of their farms by leasing or buying lands from ARDA. It also enables elderly farm people to sell their farms to ARDA on retirement but to lease the house for their own use. ARDA leases the remaining land to neighbouring farmers at a subsidized interest rate for five years thereby guaranteeing that it is maintained for agriculture while at the same time helping the lessee earn enough to buy land in the future. To date, 2,769 farms have been purchased under this programme at a total cost exceeding $28 million.

In addition, nine community pastures have been established to provide grazing for 5,000 cattle. These are some of the ways the government helps conserve and improve agricultural land.

Of course one of the surest ways to encourage foodland production is to make agriculture a worthwhile business venture. We have a wide variety of programmes that help offset the risks a farmer must take and improve his opportunities to earn a decent living. During this session we will take another major step forward by introducing legislation to offer farmers voluntary income stabilization plans.

This legislation will be designed to dovetail with the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act, but it can function quite well on its own if it proves necessary. The federal floor price under Bill 350 for certain commodities is supposed to represent 90 per cent of their market price averaged over the previous five years, with the production cost figure also brought in. Unfortunately the federal government keeps stalling instead of publicly announcing support prices that could have been calculated last fall.

Mr. McKessock: Let’s not wait on them, Bill.

Hon. W. Newman: I guess not, because I was promised a date and I was promised a deadline. But don’t get me wrong, I think the federal Minister of Agriculture really means well -- and that’s something for me to say in this House -- but I do say that he means well. I am not sure that his cabinet colleagues agree with him and that’s one of his problems. I was promised a deadline on this and that deadline has passed, which does kind of upset me as today I expected I would be able to announce what they had announced in Ottawa. I understand that some announcement is coming tonight and maybe it will be included at that time.

Mr. Roy: Did you call them?

Mr. Riddell: Do you want me to give them a call for you, Bill? I’ll call Eugene.

Hon. W. Newman: I probably talk to him more than you do.

Mr. Roy: Kissing cousins.

Hon. W. Newman: I still think a basic income stabilization programme should be national in scope and should apply realistically to as many farm products as possible, but it will take a greater sense of commitment than Ottawa has shown so far to get all the provinces pulling together. The Ontario government is going ahead because the time for action is long overdue, not because we want to establish any separate jurisdiction. Our legislation won’t put any obstacles in the way of a national stabilization programme and it will include farm products that would not be covered on a nationwide scale.

Our goal is to provide a base level of support for commodities that are not already under supply management. Producers who want to be partners in a plan for a specific farm product will join the provincial government in contributing to a stabilization fund for it. The minimum support levels will be tied to production costs, including allowances for farm family labour, management and new investment costs. In a year when income from a commodity falls below the established support level, payments will be made from the fund to all participating producers. In years when prices are above this level, the fund will build up.

Thus farmers will have a safety net, if they think they need it, under our plan and through the government contributions the consumers as a whole will assume a share of the risk-taking to maintain a healthy industry that will keep food coming on to their tables. The increased stability will benefit everyone in the province, not just the farmers.

I am confident we can achieve the same kind of success we have seen since we introduced a type of stabilization plan for the beef-calf producers last year at a time when market prices were so low that some farmers were paying truckers almost to take their calves away from the stockyards.

Mr. Wildman: It cost you twice as much.

Hon. W. Newman: It sure did.

More than 12,100 producers enrolled in this plan, with 313,000 cows the first year. Payments to them totalled $22.5 million based on an average weighted price of a 450-lb calf at 50 cents per lb; and the average weighted price of course turned out to be 29.83 cents and thus there was a pay-out this year of $22.5 million. My ministry is conducting a painstaking study, at this time, of various production costs across Ontario to help us arrive at this year’s guaranteed price.

As I said at the outset, Mr. Speaker, the consumer has a vital stake in keeping the farmer on the land. It is only fair that he should contribute to a stable agricultural industry through the tax-supported share of stabilization and other programmes. Canadians have always enjoyed food at bargain prices, but far too few of them realize it. The average family spends, today, between 18 and 19 per cent of its income on food. In most countries the percentage is considerably higher. In some it is as high as 80 per cent of total income spent for food.

The greater share of income we can spend on other things is a major factor in the high standards of living most Canadians take for granted -- most urban Canadians, but not most farmers. They are traditionally the poor country cousins in our affluent society.

Now that farm gate prices are becoming a little more realistic, shoppers will just have to face the fact that the country cousin deserves his fair share too. Such a sense of justice is sadly lacking, however, in many of the complaints about food prices that I keep hearing and reading.

I am particularly annoyed by the publicity given to critics who persist in portraying marketing boards for various farm products as the main villain behind rising food prices. A recent example was the final report of the federal food prices review board, issued long after the board itself ceased to exist. There should be no mistake where the government of Ontario stands. It stands squarely behind the marketing boards and the concept of collective action by the farmers of this province.

Over the years, more and more farmers have voted for such boards. Today, we market more than 40 farm products in Ontario. The 22 boards offer a unified system for negotiating with buyers for the major chain stores and food processors. They eliminate wasteful duplication of marketing and supply systems. They protect the grocers, the butchers and shoppers, as well as farmers, from wildly fluctuating prices.

In the era of marketing boards, food prices have gone down in relation to wages, while farm operations have grown steadily more productive and efficient. If there are any rip-offs along the road from producers to consumers, they obviously don’t occur in the operation of Ontario’s marketing boards.

I am proud that our province is recognized as a leader and innovator in the development of organized producer marketing in North America. Every year experts come from around the world to visit Ontario to study our methods, and to find ways of applying our expertise to their own problems.

I am equally proud of our other programmes. In the remaining time I would like to touch briefly on some of those most important programmes in the ministry.

In 1973 the farm tax reduction programme was improved to rebate 50 per cent of the property taxes paid by genuine farmers who produced at least $2,000 in farm goods annually. In effect, this is virtually equivalent to a full rebate of all property taxes, since 50 per cent of the grant includes the house and all farm buildings.

The Succession Duty Act was adjusted to forgive succession duties on farming assets that are bequeathed to farm family members. When a farmer dies and his heirs use his assets to continue farming, the succession duty is registered as a claim on the property, but is forgiven at the rate of one-tenth each year. This arrangement makes it possible for family farms to continue from generation to generation. In 1975 the basic allowance for forgiveness was increased to $250,000 from $150,000.

The Gift Tax Act was amended last year so that a farmer may make gifts of farming assets up to a total of $75,000 to help a family member get established as a farmer. These lifetime gift exemptions are being widely used as another aid in preserving the concept of the family farm.

Like any other business, agriculture requires increased capital to expand and meet continuing economic and technological changes. Our grants programme for capital improvements was updated and expanded in 1971. So far about $118 million has been paid in capital grants.

Agricultural development grants for northern Ontario were doubled in 1975, to $420,000 per year. They are distributed to the 11 northern districts, each of which forms a local committee to allocate these funds.

Another very important programme was launched last year, the Ontario Young Farmer Credit Programme. Farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 may obtain provincially guaranteed loans for farm development purposes from banks and designated credit unions. The loans are for periods up to 10 years, with interest one per cent above the prime rate. The amount, terms and repayment schedules are based on individual production plans and ability to pay.


Mr. Laughren: With policies like that you would think southern Ontario would vote for you.

Hon. W. Newman: This new intermediate-term credit programme ties into our policy of maintaining government-owned land in agricultural production in situations such as the North Pickering and the Townsend projects. By providing the opportunity to rent farmland, the credit package generates sufficient cash flow over a period of years to assist a young farmer in the eventual purchase of his own farm.

So far, 152 applications have been recommended for loans totalling well over $4.3 million. The Ontario government also provides individual credit counselling and farm management advice for thousands of farmers and would-be farmers. In many cases these services have helped farmers obtain extended lines of relatively low-cost credit. In addition, my ministry has conducted hundreds of seminars, short courses and workshops on credit management; and we have also printed and distributed very popular publications on this subject.

The Crop Insurance Act of Ontario is 10 years old this year, and now it provides comprehensive insurance plans for all major crops. Last year more than a million acres were insured, with the government of Ontario paying all administrative costs.

The Industrial Milk Production Incentive Programme was established in 1973 to enable Ontario farmers to expand their output of manufacturing milk at a time when the federal government was calling for increased production.

It also assisted dairymen in converting from milk cans to bulk shipments. Now that we are in an over-supply situation instead, this programme, of course, is no longer operative. At the time the programme accomplished what we were asked to do and what we asked our farmers to do, and 1,524 loans were made for a total of $8.6 million.

The IMPIP programme provided for a five-year guarantee on bank loans designed to increase production. No repayment of principal was required in the first year and a borrower who met his increased production targets received a rebate from the province of up to 20 per cent of the amount that he borrowed.

To help municipalities and conservation authorities provide flood protection measures for agricultural land in southwestern Ontario, new agreements have been initiated since 1970 with the federal Department of Regional Economic Expansion and Environment Canada. The senior levels of government share equally to cover 90 per cent of the cost. In addition to the $18.7 million authorized under these agreements, we have approved $13 million worth of new flood protection works and are awaiting federal approval of these projects.

Last fall, the government of Ontario came to the aid of the grape growers who produced a crop of remarkable quality but found themselves with a huge surplus through no fault of their own. The government supported the Grape Growers’ Marketing Board by guaranteeing loans to purchase all 11,500 tons of surplus grapes for $2.25 million. They yielded about 54,000 gallons of brandy which is being aged. The balance of the surplus crop has been converted into concentrate and juice. Just remember that when it is ready for market.

To help achieve better markets and greater future stability, the government also initiated a three-year programme to convert 3,000 acres of Labrusca grapes to French hybrid varieties in keeping with the trend in consumer tastes in table wines. For growers who want to switch and who qualify, the government offered 10-year guaranteed bank loans up to $1,500 an acre with the first five years interest free. The goal is to convert 1,000 acres a year for three years. Discussions with bankers on this loan programme are almost complete and detailed information on it will be available within a few weeks.

In five years ARDA grants totalling $4 million have helped small industries locate in rural Ontario or modernize their plants. Another $9 million has helped rural municipalities develop parks and in the process provide jobs and give local businesses a boost. Forestry programmes on Crown land accounted for another $8 million; and projects to help Indians, with projects such as wild rice and cranberry industries, accounted for another $2.5 million.

My ministry’s manpower services branch recruits and places farm labourers: it also helps with their training and housing. This year, farmers who build new accommodation for seasonal workers are eligible for federal provincial grants covering half the construction costs up to a maximum of $3,000. The programmes I have mentioned and others like them provide straight dollars and cents assistance to the agriculture and food industries, We also operate many other programmes, where the benefits are less tangible perhaps but certainly not less important.

For example, the Ontario Food Council works constantly on improving the co-ordination between all segments of the food production chain from producer to consumer. It identifies and promotes markets for a wide variety of Ontario food products, domestically and abroad. Since 1970 the Food Council has sponsored more than 40 sales missions to foreign countries and taken part in four international trade shows. In 1970 exports of food and agricultural products from Ontario totalled $420 million. In only three years they rose to $599 million, almost a 50 per cent increase. The Food Council’s work certainly played a large part in this improvement, and we intend to pursue our export campaign vigorously.

The Ontario Food Council will also strengthen its research and information programmes to tell consumers of good food values, products in abundant supply and the factors behind some price changes. I’m sure all the hon. members will be happy to learn they have been added to the Food Council’s mailing list as of this year so they will be informed of all its material directed to consumers. This programme provides almost 100 articles each year promoting various Ontario food products.

Another vital function of the Food Council is to institute projects in Ontario which by the late 1970s will replace more than $5 million worth of imported food products with products grown in this province. Considerable success has already been achieved in growing and marketing pickling onions and future prospects are very promising. We have shown that peanuts can be grown successfully in the Delhi area. The Food Council will continue working with co-operating peanut growers to increase the acreage and help with marketing problems. Other current programmes are designed to cut into imports of baby carrots and frozen vegetables and to make Ontario self-sufficient in feed grains.

My ministry recently established a trade and tariff committee because of the importance of tariffs to the future development of agriculture in Ontario. The Ontario government also has an inter-ministerial committee to present its concerns to Canada’s negotiators in the so-called Tokyo Round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in Geneva.

Mr. Roy: Did you write that speech yourself, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: Pretty well --

Mr. Roy: I thought so.

Hon. W. Newman: -- because you ask me a question about any part of it and I can answer it.

Mr. Martel: Continue the rest of the speech without the notes then.

Hon. W. Newman: I want to assure you --

Mr. Martel: Give me the notes.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Makarchuk: He is going to get his pages mixed up. Don’t touch it.

Hon. W. Newman: I want to ensure that Ontario farmers not only have reasonable access to foreign markets but also have adequate protection from low-priced imports in cases where this is required. I have taken these matters up with the federal Minister of Agriculture, since this area is in the federal jurisdiction.

I want to tell you something about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. All the fine programmes we have in the province, all the great programmes we plan in the future, all we plan to do about agricultural lands and all of the things we are trying to do to help the farmers to make a decent living off the land, can all go down the drain. We can lose it all without proper agreement under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

We are not asking for a lot around this province. All we are asking for is a fair shake. When we want to ship our corn out of the country we have to pay a tariff of 25 cents a bushel.

Mr. Martel: The Berlin wall.

Hon. W. Newman: Corn can come into this country at eight cents a bushel. On peaches shipped out of this country there is a tariff of $1.93 a case; to come into this country from the US it’s about 63 cents and from Australia seven cents. If you think those are fair tariffs, I don’t. I am really concerned.

I could go on about other tariffs. For too long we have been trading off Ontario’s agricultural products for other items in this country, and I say it is time we did something to protect the agricultural industry.

Mr. Roy: Why do you follow the tariffs, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: Now I’ve left my notes, I have forgotten where I left off.

Mr. Ruston: You made that up on the spur of the moment?

Mr. Roy: Why do you follow the tariff?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The NDP don’t have any friends in Ottawa.

Mr. Roy: If you don’t keep quiet we are going to give you a shovel.

Mr. Makarchuk: You wouldn’t know which end to use.

Hon. W. Newman: Shall I tell you something? I am concerned about the agricultural industry in this province. I see what is happening in the food industry; I have seen what is happening in the greenhouse industry; and I see what is happening in many other fields in the agriculture industry. We are not asking for any special treatment, just fair treatment. I think we have been ripped off too long in the Province of Ontario on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. I am not necessarily blaming Ottawa, but I think we have to really make our case.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Blame Ottawa, that is where the responsibility rests.

Mr. Ruston: You must accept the high price if that is the case.

Hon. W. Newman: Are you saying we should have differential tariffs?

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. minister address his remarks through the Chair?

Mr. Ruston: Let’s be honest about it, eh?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: I tell you that Ontario farmers are not getting a fair shake with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade --

Mr. Ruston: I agree. Imported tomatoes are killing us.

Mr. Riddell: Bill, you were doing better when you followed your notes.

Hon. W. Newman: Our market information service is the envy of every other province for its accuracy, scope and popularity. It provides farm weather reports, fruit and vegetable market analyses, feed grain reports and summaries, hog reports, road reports and information on commodity movement and prices. More than 30 Ontario radio stations broadcast our reports one to three times a day.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food also maintains offices in each of Ontario’s counties, districts and regions. In effect, every one 55 a mini-ministry for the area it serves; a wide variety of information is available there, with special emphasis on farm management and rural youth programmes.

We have in our ag offices some of the most capable, conscientious, hard-working people you would find anywhere in this great province of ours, looking after the concerns and the needs of the farmers. I don’t think there is an ag office in this province you could walk into and not get some very helpful, friendly advice as far as agriculture is concerned.

Mr. Riddell: There have been some great men in that department too that are no longer with it, great men.

Mr. Kennedy: I would go along with that.

Hon. W. Newman: I have heard a great deal about your first cue.

Mr. Riddell: And they have left some great offspring.

Hon. W. Newman: We provide feed testing and soil testing services on a province-wide basis, together with related feed and fertilizer advisory services.

Our inspectors monitor operations in the all-red meat slaughtering plants in the province. This work will be stepped up during 1976. We license and inspect community livestock sales. We analyse milk on a regular basis for quality and nutritional content. We train and license the people who work in dairies and edible oil operations, as well as inspect their work.

We license fur farms, fruit and vegetable dealers, nurseries, apple packers and controlled atmosphere storage plants. We maintain a year-round inspection and grading service for fruits, vegetables, honey, maple syrup, tobacco and even Christmas trees.

We have initiated a pest monitoring service to advise the farmer of the critical time for using pesticides. We have demonstrated that our advice can reduce the number of times he sprays. This saves him money and protects the environment from an unnecessary load of chemicals.

Our veterinary laboratories in various areas of the province offer diagnostic and consultation services to veterinarians, livestock owners and poultrymen.

We provide compensation for the loss of livestock to wolves, bears, rabies and trigger-happy hunters. This cost the province almost $250,000 in this last fiscal year.

Among other activities, our agricultural and horticultural societies branch helps finance the annual fall fairs throughout Ontario. These fall fairs are wonderful institutions for promoting greater understanding between our urban and rural people, and I’d hate to see them vanish like so many of our other rural traditions.

Our agricultural research budget was increased by nearly $3 million last year to a total of $15.8 million. In spite of our austerity measures, I hope we can maintain a similar level of research in the coming year.

The areas of special emphasis in research change continuously in response to new problems that arise, and to the need to adapt research advances made elsewhere to suit Ontario’s purposes. Naturally, a great deal of emphasis is being placed these days on ways of conserving energy in various phases of agriculture. Farming itself consumes only 2.5 per cent to three per cent of all the energy used in Canada, but the different processes that bring the food to the table consume 12 per cent to 15 per cent. At various institutions supported by my ministry, nine research projects are currently under way on energy management to improve the efficiency of production systems. They emphasize conservation methods in the areas of grain drying, tobacco drying, tillage systems, forage harvesting, barn ventilation and greenhouse vegetable production.


A new energy management resource centre has been established at the Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology to provide an ongoing educational programme on energy conservation for farming communities. The centre will evaluate all the new technology that comes out of the research studies I mentioned and relay the information to the agriculture industry. We will also have a diesel van to travel across Ontario lecturing special groups on energy conservation this year.

Among other research projects, I might mention livestock programmes, experimental feeds, pesticides and the broad area of crop production. In fact, our research interests embrace every area of agriculture, and the potential benefits to both producer and consumer are incalculable.

My ministry is keenly interested in the calibre of young men and women who will be the farmers -- and farm leaders -- of tomorrow. We have a continuing involvement in the 4-H programme for rural youths between the ages of 12 and 19, and in the 4-H homemakers clubs for girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 26.

We provide guidance and assistance to the many junior farmers’ clubs which offer members a variety of educational, social and recreational activities. Each summer our junior agriculturalist programme offers about 200 youths from towns and cities the chance to live, learn and work on farms during the school vacation.

Mr. Riddell: Bill, what are you going to leave the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) to say in his Throne speech?

Hon. W. Newman: Listen, if I did all of the things I wanted to do, I’d be going all day.

An hon. member: Better not do that.

Mr. Martel: Why don’t you play tennis for a while?

Hon. Mr. Meen: No, there is another expert at that

Mr. Ruston: Sounds as if it is a lead off for the estimates.

Hon. W. Newman: Last year we had four times as many applicants as placement spots, and all indications are that the programme is as successful as it is popular. More and more young people are moving from the big cities to the country, just as I did as a young man, and I believe the steadily mounting interest in the junior agricultural programme is indicative of this trend.

My ministry supports agricultural diploma courses at the University of Guelph and in the colleges of agricultural technology at Ridgetown, Kemptville, New Liskeard and Centralia. Enrolments in these courses have increased 43 per cent over the last five years to an all-time high of 1,143 students. About 80 per cent of the students come from farms, and about 50 per cent of the graduates go straight into farming. I consider that another encouraging sign for the future of agriculture in Ontario.

I recently invited about 250 young farmers to a conference in Metropolitan Toronto where they discussed --

Mr. Gaunt: The federation of farmers unions were very upset with that.

Hon. W. Newman: There were many groups upset about it and I’ve talked to them and explained the purpose to them. Maybe I’ll just stop here and tell you about what I did.

We decided that we have some very fine farm organizations in this province. We have some very fine marketing boards in this province, all of which I think are great. But let me say this: I decided to have a group of young farmers in.


Hon. W. Newman: Some of them were probably members of the NFU, some of them were probably members of the OF of A. Some of them were probably members of various other organizations, the CFF and so on and so forth. But they came as a group of young people to express their views on their own. The staff were not involved except to organize, to set it up. They did their own thing; they discussed what they wanted to discuss.

Mr. Riddell: What did they say about the farm income stabilization programme?

Mr. Worton: I am glad you asked that!

Hon. W. Newman: All right. These young people came in with some definite and positive ideas of their own; I just have received -- I understand they were put on my desk this afternoon -- a summary of the conference they had. This was not a conference to take away anything from any other organizations. It was to get a group of young people together and let them hammer away at their thoughts and their ideas.

Mr. Moffatt: But they don’t believe it.

Hon. W. Newman: They had a very useful and worthwhile day and I think if you talk to any of those young farmers who were there, they would agree with it. Even some of the ones from your county didn’t agree with each other; and that’s good, that’s a heathy sign. I don’t mind that. I told them I wanted to hear what they really had to say; and I did. They said exactly what they wanted to say; they were frank and open and honest about it, and I admire them for doing it.

Mr. Riddell: You will find that is typical of all people from Huron.

Mr. Martel: Even Charlie MacNaughton.

Hon. W. Newman: I won’t say what some people from Huron county said about him. I won’t do it; no, I won’t.

I’m going to set up a committee, also of young farmers, who will meet me from time to time to give me their ideas. They’re the farmers of the future; they’re the ones who have to look down that road and plan. They’re the ones who are going to be in the business 30, 40 years from now, long after we’re all out of here.

Mr. Worton: We hope you will be, Bill.

Mr. McKessock: Is this an appointed committee, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: I think it’s important that we get their ideas.


Mr. Ruston: The president of my riding association, he came down.

Hon. W. Newman: In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that of all the economic structures in Ontario, agriculture is the only one that has increased its percentage share of national productivity during the 1970s. Ontario farmers receive a bigger share of Canada’s total cash receipts than farmers in any other province. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is proud of the part it has played in their accomplishment; it will continue to lend a helping hand, wherever and whenever it can, through the policies and programmes I have discussed here today.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to say this; and I say this in all sincerity. I’ve travelled around this province. I’ve talked to various farm groups from north to south, and east to west; I’m very proud of the farmers in our province and the great job they are doing. Thank you very much.

Mr. Laughren: I was very glad to have heard the Minister of Agriculture and Food’s remarks. We were hard pressed to understand how he can rationalize the loss of good farmland in Ontario, but I suppose over the years he has learned how to do that.

Mr. Makarchuk: He’s serving us food and hot air.

Mr. Laughren: We, in this party, know that you have done nothing, but I’ll comment more about that a little later.

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I take part in the Throne debate. I mean that. I’ve always felt that the Throne debate is an opportunity, particularly for opposition members and back-bench members of the government, to get a lot of things off their chests.

When we serve as members of the Legislature we do bottle things up. There are frustrations we need to express in a forum such as this. I can assure you that when we, in this party, put an amendment to the Throne Speech it was not done to posture, it was done because we feel very strongly against the way this government is expressing its goals, and the method by which it is attempting to reach those goals.

The purpose of our amendment, Mr. Speaker, was to indicate very clearly to the government, and to others, that we are fundamentally opposed to what they are attempting to do, because the goal of this government has always been to maintain the status quo at virtually all costs. They wish to maintain the status quo in a number of areas, including the distribution of income; including the management of our economy; the role of labour, whether organized or unorganized; to maintain the status quo in our educational system, including its role in restricting the mobility of lower income groups in our society; and finally, to maintain the status quo in the economic development of this province, not just in southern Ontario, but in northern and eastern Ontario as well.

As opposed to those goals of the government, the goals of this party would be to redistribute income in Ontario to the best that we could do, given the jurisdiction of a provincial government. We know that in the last 10 years the distribution of income in this country has discriminated against the bottom 20 per cent of income earners in Canada. The bottom 20 per cent earns less now, as a proportion of the rational income, than it did 10 years ago, and the top 20 per cent earns more. We would use the taxation system to redistribute income.

When talking about management of the economy, we certainly would not approach management of Ontario the way this government has done. We see this government restricting the delivery of health and social services because of their mismanagement of the economy. We would differ from the way the Liberals would manage the economy because we see, as one of the keys in managing the economy, the resources of Ontario.

We know, Mr. Speaker, that the latest figures available show that the return to the people of Ontario of our resources is 1.9 per cent of the value of those resources. That’s the highest it’s been as far back as the figures go that I could find. That’s a very small return on the resources of this province.


Mr. Laughren: I must say, Mr. Speaker, that the Economic Council of Canada has been warning the provinces that we simply must get a better return on our resources; that we simply must use the resources as the key to unlocking the development of the various provinces. In Ontario we are not doing it.

Mr. Speaker, since 1966 in the resource sector in northeastern Ontario, which is where most of the non-renewable resources are located, employment has declined 10 per cent. At the same time, output of minerals has increased 27 per cent. So in absolute numbers, employment has gone down in the resource sector and product and output has gone up dramatically. Surely, Mr. Speaker, that is not the way to develop an economy.

And it is closely related, Mr. Speaker, to the provision of services, because as long as the people in Ontario are demanding the kind of social services and health services they are now, the private sector and the public sector that is responsible for creating new wealth simply must continue to create more new wealth. And one of the key ways of doing that is through the development of our resources; not the way we do it now, but by fuller processing and by manufacturing finished products in the Province of Ontario. That will never happen in the private sector.

Mr. Speaker, there is a relationship between the closing of hospitals and the ownership of our resources. Only when the people of Ontario own the resources and the people of Ontario get the maximum return on those resources will we be able to afford those kind of services which the people in Ontario have a right to expect. Well I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that in the riding of Nickel Belt which I represent, there hasn’t been any hospital closing at all. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago I attended the opening of a new hospital. I would like to tell you what happened there, Mr. Speaker. I think you would enjoy that.

It was in Chapleau, and I flew on the very fine norOntair service to Chapleau. One of the things that I very much appreciate is the norOntair service in northeastern Ontario; and you never hear me calling it a Kamikazi airline that specializes in controlled crashes; never, Mr. Speaker, I am a great fan of norOntair.

At the opening ceremony, there was an assistant deputy minister from the Ministry of Health, and of course there was the chairman of the local hospital board, the vice-chairman and all other dignitaries in Chapleau. Mr. Speaker I know that you know what the politics of Chapleau are and how for many years it was a Progressive Conservative stronghold. That has shifted in the last election, but nevertheless there is still a very strong Conservative element in the establishment in Chapleau.

Hon. Mr. Meen: And they will be at the polls next time.

Mr. Laughren: At the opening ceremony there was a very fine speech as the ribbon was cut by the assistant deputy minister. Then they moved over for the unveiling of the plaque, and of course traditionally the plaque has the names of all the boards of directors on it and the vice-chairman who was unveiling it was making some very nice comments about this plaque. I am paraphrasing now. I don’t remember exactly what he said; but he said more or less that this plaque would show, not just to the people here today, and there were several hundred local residents, but future generations who it was made this fine facility available to the community of Chapleau, who it was who had put in so much of their own personal time and effort, and had served beyond and above the call of duty to provide a facility such as this to the people in Chapleau. He pulled back the curtain from the plaque and there, covering the entire plaque, was a picture of Stephen Lewis and me, and vote NDP at the bottom.

Mr. Speaker, I did not do that, but I can tell you it was one of the more delicious moments of my short political career.

Mr. Martel: Kind of embarrassing though.

Mr. Laughren: If I could get back to the more serious part of my remarks, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Laughren: Besides the redistribution of income and the management of the economy of Ontario, we in this party see labour as playing a different role than does the government. We believe that labour must share in the decisions that are made that affect labour and that affect the economy of Ontario.

We see this government doing the most incredible thing, which is reducing the minimum wage for people who serve alcoholic beverages and food.

Mr. Speaker, if ever there was a regressive move on the part of a government it was reducing the minimum wage for people because they happen to receive tips from their job. Why does this government think that they receive the tips? It is because their wages are so low; so the government lowers their wages even further. What a lot of nonsense.


Isn’t it remarkable that the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), herself a woman, knowing full well that most of the people employed in this capacity -- who receive tips and serve food and beverages -- are women, would take this regressive step? That says something about the Conservative Party in Ontario.

Mr. Martel: Live on tips.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, we also see labour playing a much more progressive role in the whole question of occupational health; the Workmen’s Compensation Board; public sector bargaining; the difficulties that the unorganized workers have in Ontario in forming a union -- certainly they are given no encouragement by this government -- and finally, the extreme difficulties faced by working women in Ontario.

One only needs to look at the cutbacks of this government to see who that is going to affect. Out of the 4,000 to 5,000 people who will be put out of jobs as a result of the restraint programme, I suspect that between 80 and 90 per cent of those will be women. This government, at the same time, has a Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) who claims that women must get back to work. There are obvious contradictions there.

We see our educational system playing a different role than does this government. I certainly see education as still being elitist from the elementary system right through to post-secondary education. Partly because of the failure of this government to provide universal day care in Ontario, children from low income families are starting out with less opportunity than children from middle and upper income families.

We know that the educational system has done very little to remove sex stereotyping from the school books in Ontario, particularly at the elementary school level. When a group in Ontario called “Before We Are Six” did attempt to introduce some non-sexist books, particularly for kindergarten and nursery schools and for the home, the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) refused to provide a penny of support to that group. This was, to top it all off, in International Women’s Year.

Neither has the real story of labour in Canada or in Ontario been told in our schools. Unless organized labour itself can convince the educational bureaucracy and the school boards at the local level, no seminars are held in the schools to tell them the true story of the struggle labour has fought over the years.

Mr. Speaker, we see the educational system as being quantified and bureaucratic, measuring education in Ontario in terms of days and weeks and months and not on either the contents or the quality of content of the education that the children receive. That was evident when the debate went on about legislating teachers back to work. The major concern was that students in Ontario, in this particular district, had missed too much school and their educational career would be in jeopardy. It really does say something about the educational system if a student can spend 12 or 13 years in it and have it all jeopardized by 40 days. There is something wrong with that kind of educational system and we would attempt to do something about that.

I mentioned the economic development of Ontario as being something on which we differ fundamentally with the government I was really thunderstruck by the previous speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), when he talked about protecting farmland in Ontario. I looked back for a landmark, and I think the Nanticoke decision was a landmark in Ontario. The decision to allow that steel company to develop a complex on Lake Erie was one of the most serious mistakes this government has made.

An hon. member: Using ore from the north.

Mr. Laughren: Using ore from the north? Using good farm land in an area that is already congested -- namely, the Golden Horseshoe -- was a very serious mistake. That complex could very well have been developed on the north shore, or in Blind River, that area, or Thunder Bay even. But no, it was developed and allowed to go ahead at Nanticoke and I think that’s a very serious mistake. History will tell, I suppose, but I really think that economists will look back in years to come and really pinpoint that as being one of the major failures of this administration. It won’t cost the Tories an election itself, I understand that, but in terms of the development of Ontario, I think it was very serious. There was an opportunity to redirect growth in Ontario and the government failed.

Another area that bothers me is the whole York-Durham water and sewer project. At a cost of $200 million -- in the neighbourhood of $200 million -- they’re going to put in a sewer and water system that will service anywhere between a half a million and a million people. Talk about sewer pipe planning and that’s a classic in its time.

Not only that, but now we have small communities -- I’ve got a couple in Nickel Belt -- with no water supply or a polluted water supply, one or the other. I’m going to talk about one of those communities in more detail later.

In the town of Chelmsford there are three subdivisions servicing 1,200 people and the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) says they will not be able to have sewers and water because under what they call the management by results weighting system, they don’t qualify. They don’t have enough points. Why do they not have enough points? Because supply of water does not receive a very heavy weight. In other words, if the water was polluted, it would get a high rating and the people would get their sewer and water system; but they have no water, therefore they don’t have a high weighting system.

Mr. Wildman: Can’t be polluted.

Mr. Laughren: They do not have enough points under the management by results system the ministry uses. Therefore, the people are carrying water -- 1,200 people in three subdivisions and they’re carrying water. What a lot of nonsense. At the same time, they tell the people -- when we ask the ministry about the York-Durham region -- the people aren’t even there yet -- what do they tell us? That it wasn’t evaluated under the MBR system. There was no management by results rating for the York-Durham system but those existing communities, where the people are already, must fall into the MBR system now.

That’s not the way to do it. The government services an area which is not even populated at the expense of areas which are populated. I don’t know whether this government understands what it is like when people don’t have water; or what it means to a family to have to carry water for every purpose.

I was in a home a week or two ago and a woman was melting snow. You can’t do that in the summertime. She was melting snow because there is no water supply at all. What a lot of nonsense that is.


Mr. Laughren: The government says, “Sorry, you don’t have enough of a rating system.” No water for washing for families with small children. Can members imagine the amount of water they’re going to have to carry? No water for drinking unless they carry it all themselves. And then the government wonders why its popularity in northern Ontario has reached an all-time low. Maybe the Tories don’t wonder; maybe they understand.

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that there were ample reasons for our amendment and I might add there were ample reasons for the Liberal Party to support that amendment. It’s not a question of whether or not the Liberals want an election or whether or not the riding associations want an election. It’s a question of whether or not the people of Ontario have had enough of the insulated, aristocratic and arbitrary stewardship of the Premier. We think Ontario has had enough of that and the Liberals really should reconsider their position.

Again, there me a couple --

Mr. Martel: Fire them all.

Mr. Laughren: There are a couple of issues I would like to spend a little more time on. One is the whole question of occupational health.

In the fall of 1975, during her estimates, the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) indicated that there was going to be a new accord. I shall never forget those words. “Don’t he worried,” said she, “there is going to be a new accord among the various ministries of this government to deal with the occupational health problems.”

Well, we’ve seen some of the results of the new accord. It’s the same old story. Nothing has changed, simply nothing at all. As a matter of fact, if you really want to get to the source of the problem -- well, there are a couple of sources. One is the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier). Another is the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) and his occupational health branch. There needs to be massive housecleanings there.

Mr. Martel: Fire them all.

Mr. Laughren: They could certainly start with the Minister of Natural Resources. I’m going to say more about the Minister of Natural Resources in a few minutes. I will have difficulty restraining myself.

Today, in the question period, the leader of the NDP raised, once again, the problem of asbestos pollution at the Matachewan mine of the United Asbestos Co. I have never been so incensed in all the time that I have been in the Legislature -- well, I suppose there was one other time when I was as incensed, and that was during the battle over Elliot Lake. The battle at Matachewan is just as serious. As a matter of fact, the dangers of asbestos pollution are more certain, we know more about it, than we knew about the problems at Elliot Lake and of uranium mining.

When we talk about occupational health, there are certain options available to any government in dealing with the occupational health problem. One option is to simply sit back, do nothing, and pay more in benefits as time goes on through the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Another alternative is to prohibit the use of dangerous products, the manufacture, or the mining of dangerous products. That’s extremely difficult to do because how do you prohibit the use of polyvinyl chloride? Or uranium? It is very difficult and really not feasible at this time in the development of a society such as we have in Canada.

Another alternative is to regulate, and control, occupational health dangers until they’re no longer a hazard. The solution is that one along with enforcement with incentive. Without incentive the private sector will not develop the kind of technological changes that will clean up the dangerous work places, such as those involving asbestos and polyvinyl chlorides.

Industry should also be required to pay into a research and development fund which would go toward research on occupational health problems. As well, a separate ministry should be created, with special powers enforcement. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that makes a lot more sense than a Ministry of Northern Ontario. The member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) was tripping across northern Ontario a few weeks ago, telling everybody what he thought we needed was a Ministry of Northern Ontario.

Talk about flim-flammery, Mr. Speaker: Tell people you’re going to create a new Ministry of Northern Ontario so the people in the north will think suddenly their problems would be solved. Is he implying that he’s going to have the expertise in that ministry that’s contained in all the other ministries of government?

As a matter of fact, I happen to have a lot of respect for the civil service in this province. We have a very knowledgeable, well trained, skilled civil service. There is a lot of capability in that civil service but it’s spread among the various ministries of the government. Now, we have the member for Algoma-Manitoulin saying that a Ministry of Northern Ontario would look after the problems of northern Ontario. It would only be a referral agency.

Mr. Roy: He was looking for a job.

Mr. Laughren: Yes, probably he was looking for a job. As a matter of fact, isn’t he the only Conservative backbencher in northern Ontario without a cabinet post now?

Mr. Roy: Probably.

Mr. Laughren: I think he must be. I never thought of that before. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. That’s probably why he raised it.

We, in this party, don’t see the creation of more bureaucracy in Ontario as being the solution to solving the problems of northern Ontario. If we did have a separate Ministry of Occupational and Industrial Health it would have the expertise and the kind of powers of enforcement that would not allow things to happen such as happened at the Reeves asbestos mine up near Timmins, or is happening right now at Matachewan, or as happened at Elliot Lake or at the Johns-Mansville plant in Scarborough.


What’s required in Ontario is a whole new approach to occupational health. If you check the schools of medicine in Ontario you’ll find that they don’t really have the expertise either. As far as I know they don’t have any full-fledged faculties of occupational health. There are different programmes and there is a programme being developed at one of the community colleges as well, but there’s really very little expertise, despite the fact that the experts tell us that they suspect about 80 per cent of all cancers are environmentally caused. That includes smoking. I appreciate that, but there are many, many types of cancer that we simply don’t know how to cure. Perhaps we could be more productive if we spent time on preventing cancer rather than trying to cure it.

I think that’s really the direction we should take in Ontario. Those research dollars are not being pumped into it. In 1975-1976, the occupational health branch had a budget that as far as I can figure was 0.05 per cent of the total health budget. Well, that’s not a serious approach at solving the occupational health problem in Ontario.

I’d like to talk a little bit about that Matachewan mine, partly because it’s a repeat of what happened at the Reeves mine which is in the riding of Nickel Belt. On March 10, 1976, an air quality assessment report was made by the occupational health protection branch of the Ministry of Health. I’d like to quote from that report. This is on March 10, 1976: “1. Generally the personal samples were higher than area samples.”

For your enlightenment, Mr. Speaker, they are talking about area samples and personal samples. Area sample is a sample taken at a particular location in the plant; a personal sample is a sample taken from your lapel -- it could be on a jacket -- which is very close to the mouth and nose of the worker, and that indicates whether or not there are asbestos fibres on the worker’s person.

“1. Generally the personal samples were higher than area samples. Some operations in the quality control room, particularly the dumping of asbestos on benches without local exhaust, could be hazardous.”

Mr. Speaker, if ever I’ve seen an irresponsible statement, it was that “the dumping of asbestos on benches without local exhaust could be hazardous.” We know it’s hazardous, and here we have the inspector saying “it could be hazardous.” That’s irresponsible.

“Also dry sweeping is carried out in the mill by cleaning crews. Industrial vacuum cleaners have been purchased and are in use.”

If the industrial vacuums have been purchased and are in use why is dry sweeping being carried out? It’s as though they didn’t understand what the dangers of asbestos dust are. There are certain causes of asbestosis and of lung cancer, and it takes very few fibres to cause those diseases, and once they get in the lungs they stay there forever. They cannot be taken out.

“Incoming air through vents without baffles on the fifth floor agitates the dust on the floors, machinery, etc. This is shown in the area where air sample was taken.”

Can you imagine that, first of all, there are no baffles on the vents, and secondly it agitates the dust on the floor? Why is the dust on the floor to start with? Obviously it shouldn’t he.

Here are some of the air sampling results, Mr. Speaker. The number of fibres, the threshold limit value as they call it in Ontario, is two fibres greater than five micro-metres in length per cubic centimetre of air. In other words, in Ontario in a cubic centimetre of air there cannot be more than two asbestos fibres. These are some of the bad ones.

On the fifth floor I-beam No. 12, 2.6 fibres. That was on the area samples.

Personal samples: There are names attached to these samples; I won’t give the names. Floor attendant, 3.8; instrumentation technician, 4.5; cleaning, 2.5; floor attendant, 6.3; conveyor attendant, 5.5; quality control room, 2.9; and a towmotor driver, 1.8. That was on March 4 and 5.

Mr. Martel: I think that’s when they shut down for the weekend so they could clean it up. Yes, they shut it down.

Mr. Laughren: That was after having shut down for the inspection, of course.

Mr. Martel: They cleaned it up first. What else is new?

Mr. Laughren: That was on March 4 and 5. On March 16, in a report -- I will quote some comments:

“The results showed that 12 of 21 samples were in excess of the standard of two fibres per cubic centimetre of air. At the time of the survey the plant was processing from 70 to 130 tons of ore per hour compared to a designed capacity of 175 tons per hour.”

So you see that those kinds of levels were reached by only operating at approximately half capacity. Also, some other observations from the report:

“The major source of dust appeared to be leakage around vibrating screens and faulty or punctured flexible connections on screens, sifters and other equipment. [Further observations.] During the period of the survey, it was noted that general housekeeping improved considerably due to the conversion from dry sweeping to portable vacuum cleaners, one of which was assigned to each eight floors.”

I ask you, why was it necessary to convert from dry sweeping when it should never have occurred in the first place and they know that? United Asbestos knows that. Every company involved in the production of asbestos knows that. They couldn’t help but know it.

“A wet plugging mill designed to mix the dry tailings with water prior to discharge to the tailings conveyor was malfunctioning and at times resulted in dry tailings being delivered to the outside dump area.”

I am going to come back to that one. Results of the survey:

“It can be seen that of 12 personal samples, nine were above two fibres per cubic centimetre and out of nine area or fixed position samples, three were in excess of the recommended standard.”

I can tell you that that’s an extremely dangerous situation.

In a report by the Minister of the Environment dated Nov. 10, 1975, Mr. P. R. Williams, a professional engineer of the ministry office in Timmins, had this to say when writing to the mine manager, Mr. Dave Cook. He said:

“After the end of December, 1975, all this work having been carried out in accordance with the specifications laid down by the Ministry of the Environment and the provisional certificate of approval, should a failure occur of the plug mill, subject to the preamble under section 9, regulation 15, of the Environmental Protection Act, it may be found necessary to cause your operation to be shut down. This would be the case should the plug mill fail and no other suitable means of controlling the dust at that time can be made available. I must therefore advise you to look seriously into the possibility of installing a second plug mill if at the end of December it is found that such occurrences have become quite frequent.”

That’s why I said I was going to come back to that comment. I quote again -- and this is dated March 16:

“A wet plugging mill designed to mix the dry tailings with water prior to the discharge of the tailings conveyor was malfunctioning and at times resulted in dry tailings being delivered to the outside dump area.”

So, in November you have the Minister of the Environment telling the mine that they must do that or they will be required to shut down. Then in March a report by the same Ministry of the Environment -- no, Ministry of Natural Resources, saying that the plug mill is not operating. If that isn’t justification for requiring United Asbestos to shut down the operation immediately, maintain all the workers on full salary and clean up the operation, I don’t know what further proof we need, because that really is what must be done.

Obviously, the companies in the asbestos field are irresponsible. In Ontario, in 1976, we don’t need this kind of buccaneer and they simply must be given the proper kind of incentive to make them clean up. I see no other incentive than to tell them, “You pay those workers full salary and you clean up. When you meet the standards set in Ontario, we’ll allow you to open and operate.”

Mr. Martel: I consider them criminals. Maybe the government is, too, though, for allowing it.

Mr. Laughren: The government in this province has always ignored the role of the worker in occupational health. That’s a serious mistake because no one has more at stake in good occupational health practices than the workers themselves. It simply does not make sense to continue to ignore them. Not only that, there’s the simple case of the dignity of the worker. He simply must have a say in those factors which can affect his life. It simply is ludicrous to continue the way we’ve done. We really must do what Saskatchewan has done, which is legislate occupational health committees in the workplace. It simply must be done. We must get tougher in Ontario with the offenders.

In British Columbia, Mr. Terry Ison, who was chairman of the Worker’s Compensation Board last year, penalized Cominco, the subsidiary of CPR, $28,000 a month until it cleaned up its act in its smelting plant; $28,000 a month. The company surely had to think about that. I probably don’t need to tell members that when the government changed hands in BC, regretfully, Mr. Ison was fired by Bill Bennett. We can’t treat companies like that in a Social Credit regime or in a Progressive Conservative regime.

Mr. Martel: Those inspectors ruled.

Mr. Laughren: The government’s attitude seems to be always one of protecting the worker and --

Mr. Cassidy: Protecting the company.

Mr. Laughren: I’m sorry; protecting the company.

Mr. Cassidy: Never protect the worker.

Mr. Laughren: Thank you for correcting me on that.

Mr. Wildman: Subjecting the worker.

Mr. Laughren: Subjecting the worker and protecting the company, and it carries through the different ministries.

It was interesting a couple of weeks or a month ago, my colleagues and I met with a doctor from the Workmen’s Compensation Board to talk about chronic bronchitis. The smelter workers in Sudbury, at the Inco smelter, have a very high incidence of chronic bronchitis and he admitted this. As a matter of fact, there is a relationship of 22.6 per cent versus 7.8 per cent of workers with chronic bronchitis in the smelter versus those not in the smelter.

I asked the doctor why he did not make a rule or suggest to the Workmen’s Compensation Board and to the Minister of Labour that, if the incidence of an industrial disease was statistically significant, the employer be required to assume that all incidences of that disease were caused by the workplace and compensate the workers accordingly. He said that some of them perhaps didn’t get it because of the workplace conditions. There’s a knee-jerk reaction to protect the employer rather than the employee. I can’t think of a better incentive for an employer than to be told, “Even though we know that some workers will get chronic bronchitis if they never went near the smelter, the chances of them getting chronic bronchitis are double or triple if they do work in the smelter, and were going to assume that everybody with chronic bronchitis who works in the smelter will receive compensation benefits.” I can’t think of a better way to have the company clean up its act than under those kinds of conditions.


I really must say a few words about the Minister of Natural Resources. I shall attempt to restrain myself, but I can tell you this much. I don’t need to look at the financial contributions to his election campaign to know where they came from.

Given the Elliot Lake conditions; given the Reeves mine; given the Matachewan situation, that man has lost the respect of the workers and, I suspect, if they were honest about it, the respect of his colleagues and certainly of us. He really has no right to continue as the Minister of Natural Resources because of the control he has over the mining industry, and the lives and health of workers in that industry. He is simply a blemish on the body politic in Ontario.

He spoke so clearly serving the interests of the mining companies and of the pulp and paper industry, that I’m offended by his presence in this chamber. The sooner he’s got out of it, the happier I would be, and the better off the workers in Ontario would be. We can have no respect for someone who has prostituted his position the way the Minister of Natural Resources has.

We expect to differ ideologically with the Minister of Natural Resources on the ownership of those resources in Ontario. We don’t think we forever have to witness the blatant disregard for the health of miners in Ontario, those same miners who create so much wealth and have given Ontario the standard of living that it has.

I’d say without any hesitation, Mr. Speaker, that I regard the Minister of Natural Resources as symbolic of the internal rot of the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario.

It’s more than that, Mr. Speaker, and I will try to restrain myself. He is the reality in Ontario of the subservience of this government to the private sector at whatever that price has to be. If that price is more expensive private labs rather than the more efficient public labs, so be it. If that price is private cable TV operators at the expense of a proper ETV system in Ontario, so be it. And, regretfully, if that price is the health of the workers, so be it as well.

I tell you, Mr. Speaker, he must be removed from that portfolio. One of the biggest surprises I had after the election was when the Premier left the Minister of Natural Resources in that portfolio, because he clearly cost the government a considerable number of seats in Ontario, certainly many in northern Ontario, and he will continue to do that for them. I won’t say more, because I simply can’t contain myself when I talk about that man.

A problem related to occupational health is the Workmen’s Compensation Board. All members here agree there are administrative problems with the board. I could tell you many honor stories. I won’t, but I’ll give you one example.

I wrote to the Workmen’s Compensation Board in December, 1975, to appeal a decision of the board not to pay benefits for a silicosis claim. I was very surprised when I received a copy of a reply which awarded that worker a claim for industrial hearing loss.

That’s the kind of thing we cope with with the Workmen’s Compensation Board. We simply must replace that board with a comprehensive social insurance scheme like they have in New Zealand. That is the policy of the New Democratic Party in Ontario. That simply must be done. We can’t continue with the maladministration of the compensation board as it is now constituted.

There are policy problems with the board as well as the administrative ones. Their policy on compensation for industrial accidents is bad enough, but when it comes to industrial disease they are simply terrible. It’s partly because they do not have the expertise. They know it, and they feel vulnerable.

I think they feel a sense of not being able to cope with the problem. I think that’s one of the reasons for the incredible delays of six and eight months when it comes to industrial disease problems.

The pre-silicotic problem is an example. Miners have worked at Elliot Lake. They go to work at Sudbury. The doctor examines them and finds out that there is dust affecting the lungs; they call it pre-silicotic. The doctor says, “You’d better not go back underground any more.”

He applies to the compensation board for a pension. The compensation board says, “No, that is not nearly enough indication of silicosis. Go back underground.” They beat him with a stick to go back underground.

“Come back when you’ve got full-blown silicosis.” This is virtually what they are telling the man. And the doctor says, “Well I don’t think you should go there.” The company says, “You are not going back underground because we don’t want a compensation case on our hands and we don’t have any surface work for you.” And the man is unemployed. No compensation available to him, despite the promises of the various ministers about Elliot Lake.


Mr. Laughren: They have reneged on their promises to rehabilitate people who have worked at Elliot Lake and have dust effects on their lungs. They don’t know how to deal with the whole problem of silicosis, particularly when it’s pre-silicotic, the early stages.

There are others, of course. The whole problem of chronic bronchitis, which I mentioned. There’s every indication that that is caused by occupational health problems and the government really isn’t dealing with that. The whole industrial deafness problem the government hasn’t dealt with. It had a beautiful opportunity to establish a rehabilitation centre in northern Ontario at the Burwash facility. No way, the government just ignored it.

They won’t do anything about it, despite the Premier’s promise on the eve of the election that there would be a rehabilitation centre in Sudbury. They have totally reneged on that. Now they will say there will be a few beds in the new hospital. That was not the promise; the Premier has reneged on it.

I shall try and be quick. There are a number of other problems which bother me besides the occupational health and the compensation. Before I leave compensation, I really must say something about total disfigurement.

When a person is totally disfigured in an accident it destroys that person emotionally, psychologically and almost physically. I know someone with gross disfigurement very, very well. That person received a cash settlement for gross disfigurement of $29,000 and now receives a pension of around $600 a month -- $600 plus. It is still based on his earnings at the time the accident occurred. Compare that to an incident in the United States where someone who had his leg amputated in an accident received over $1 million settlement through the courts.

I am not suggesting we go back to the court system for settling compensation cases; on the contrary, I wouldn’t do that. But it’s an indication that the board doesn’t seem to appreciate what gross disfigurement does to someone. I have seen a case close up and I know the person very well; it bothers me a great deal to see that kind of a settlement, and what that disfigurement has done to that person in terms of being a human being. I don’t want to dwell on it but I can tell you it bothers me more than any other aspect of the compensation board.

One of the issues I would like very much to dwell on is the whole question of unorganized communities in northern Ontario. We have talked about this before in this chamber. Indeed, a couple of years ago a bill was introduced -- the Northern Centres Act, I think they call it, Bill 102 -- which was to recognize the needs of some of the small communities. Many of us took issue with that bill because it really didn’t suggest that there was a solution to the problem; they just said we would recognize community councils and give the right to collect taxes locally. This, I suppose, in a way, was a beginning, but a lot of the communities felt that really wasn’t enough.

The government conducted some hearings all across northern Ontario and I think they were horrified at the enormity of the problem because they came back down to Toronto and at the next session of the Legislature they let that bill die. They never reintroduced it to this chamber, and it should have been reintroduced in an improved form, that’s what those public meetings were for.

Now, when we question the Treasurer about the bill, or when letters go to him, he writes back or responds in the Legislature that “they are furthering the consultative process.” Well, that’s not a bad phrase I suppose, but it doesn’t mean anything, and the northern communities are still there, they are not going to go away. There is no proper method of servicing them or indeed there is no proper method of controlling growth in those communities, and that’s one of the failures too.

The problem, very simply, is that they lack services -- fire protection, health, water -- and some kind of voice they can speak to government with. We know all the arguments, those of us who have been here for a while at least, and how the residents in those communities pay the same sales tax, same income tax, same gasoline tax, same OHIP premiums as the rest of us, but don’t get the return in services.

Back in June, 1973, the Ministry of the Treasury and Economics presented a brief to the Ontario cabinet on the problem, keeping in mind that was three years ago, before Bill 102 was introduced, and in that brief they made some recommendations about the problem, and as a result of that brief Bill 102 was born. I assume that’s how it got there. The brief that was presented to cabinet made sense, indicated what the problems were, why the people in those communities were dissatisfied and what could be done about it. But then the government, when it does understand the problem and goes across northern Ontario, backs off because I think it is afraid it is going to cost the government too much money.

I simply say to you, Mr. Speaker, that the government simply must get on with some kind of legislation to provide a voice to those northern communities and to provide some kind of services to them. They simply must do that. By avoiding it, the problem is getting worse. It really is. There are people moving into those unorganized communities. The more the people move into them, the more demands are going to be placed on the government for services. My phone rings continually with calls from unorganized communities because they are not getting the services that they think they are entitled to.

Right now I can tell you of a community where there are going to be six new homes built this summer, with no controls on the area at all, no proper road into it, no hydro in it, and no water supply. Yet there are going to be six new homes -- five or six new homes -- built in there this summer, and the government sits back and watches it happen. It’s going to continue to happen, it will accelerate, unless the government moves in with some kind of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I see that it is 6 o’clock.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member have further remarks to make?

Mr. Laughren: Yes, I did have a few, not many.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.