30e législature, 3e session

L029 - Thu 8 Apr 1976 / Jeu 8 avr 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, signed by her own hand.

Mr. Speaker: By her own hand, Pauline M. McGibbon, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 13, 1977, and recommends them to the legislative assembly, Toronto, April 8, 1976.

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there are Iwo statements that are related today. Mine will be relatively brief and will be followed by a more comprehensive one by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).

My colleague, the provincial Treasurer, will lay before the assembly today, planning and development strategies that are critical to Ontario’s capacity to manage the growth that will take place in this province in the years ahead.

It would be naive for anyone to believe that this Legislature, this government or, for that matter, any government can ever hope to prevent growth either in an industrial or population sense. More to the point, it is not the view of this government that we should attempt to stop reasonable growth in this province. It has been and remains our view that moderate, well-managed growth is not just of great value to Ontario, and to sustaining and improving the quality of life of its citizens; it is a necessity. Therefore, the statement being made by the Treasurer today will indicate the clear priorities of this government, and is intended to elicit an open and public discussion of the assumptions, directions and priorities on which the management of growth in Ontario should be based.

Clearly, non-elected planners do not have the mandate to make decisions for the people of Ontario. Only the government and Legislature have that mandate. In consideration of the various approaches to planning necessary to cope with urbanization and with increased pressure on the environment, open space and food-producing areas, it is critical and basic to Ontario’s way of life that local levels of government, and concerned citizens at all levels, be afforded a real opportunity for participation and influence.

In this regard, it is interesting to contrast the various planning avenues available to the people of this province. One approach is that of concentrated central planning, in which a provincial government develops its own plan and implements it, without any particular concern for local or private concerns or without reservations. That approach, in our opinion, is not acceptable to the people of Ontario.

Mr. Riddell: You’re taking a long time to get around to it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sorry, I didn’t hear that.

Mr. Nixon: He said it took you a long time to get around to that.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, Mr. Speaker, I will ignore the opportunity to reply in a way that might be misunderstood.

Mr. Nixon: Go ahead.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It might even be provocative.

Hon. Mr. Davis: As the Treasurer says, it might even be provocative. The one thing that the third party in this House doesn’t understand is planning, whether it’s in a political sense, a land-use sense or any other sense.

Mr. Nixon: Okay, boys, get ready.

Mr. R. S. Smith: We have been waiting seven years for the northeastern one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: A contrasting approach, Mr. Speaker, is that of no real planning, and no effort at growth management, at the provincial level. It is an approach that gives rise to planning problems, while overlooking the local, regional or provincial authority necessary to resolve these problems. Concern about the disappearance of farm land, expressed concurrently with an attack on regional or provincial planning authorities, is typical of this type of planning attitude. That approach is, as well, not acceptable to the people of this province, simply because it does not provide for any overview or direction related to the broad public interest.

The planning perspective to which this government does subscribe places the provincial government in a co-ordinating role, assisting local and regional governments to achieve their own planning and growth management goals within broad outlines which are of overriding importance to the province as a whole.

Through various development incentives, housing programmes, planning instruments and programme alternatives available to the ministries of the government, much can be done to reduce overcrowding nod to spread the accepted benefits of growth yet preserve the particular qualities of local and community life which are important to the wellbeing rind self-respect of Ontarians.

There are some realities that our province and local municipalities can and must face.

According to our estimates, close to four million more people will swell Ontario’s population during the next quarter century. However accurate that forecast, in terms of either population expansion and/or time span, it does indicate that we must expert significant growth and we must be prepared for it.

For example, in direct terms, this government cannot allow Toronto or Metropolitan Toronto or any other area of southern Ontario to be the sole beneficiary or, in some cases, perhaps not necessarily a beneficiary, of such increased growth and the economic activity it will generate.

On the other hand, this government cannot tolerate or allow the quality of life of present-day Toronto or any other part of Ontario to be the victim of untrammelled growth caused by new inflow either from other sectors of the province or from abroad.

This must be a basic element of our growth management programme.

Mr. Cassidy: It hasn’t been up to now.

Mr. Reid: It sounds like the speech you gave when you introduced the Toronto-centred plan.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Which has worked relatively well.

The increased development of the north, diversified development in the east, and the development of more efficient industrial and transportation centres throughout Ontario are, as well, of critical priority to the government. Managed development of this type will mean more jobs, more income and a higher quality of life for areas that aspire to this type of improvement.

The enlightened use of our natural resources, the development of strategies for careful use of mining and lumbering reserves, the provision of an adequate supply of recreational lands, the assurance of food supply through a continued increase in per acre productivity of our farmland, prudent management of energy resources, all of these are key elements of our programme that will serve generations of Ontarians in the future.

The continued importance of the private sectors in developing Ontario, at the commercial, industrial and economic level, is also critical to this government’s view of Ontario’s future.

Economic viability, in terms of importance to the livelihood of people of all areas of Ontario, is a basic planning concern for this government.

Mr. Speaker, what my colleague, the Treasurer, will be placing before the Legislature are some basic elements of a broad planning strategy for the province. Some are general while others relate to specific areas and regions. They are not, I emphasize, etched in stone. On the contrary, they are intended to offer general direction and to provoke constrictive discussion and imaginative responses within the broad guidelines established.

Mr. R. S. Smith: So broad they wouldn’t hurt anybody.

Hon. Mr. Davis: At the same time, however, they indicate our firm commitment to effective provincial participation because provincial plans without province-wide commitment are of little use.

In their totality, these documents deserve the careful scrutiny of all parties in this Legislature. Toward that end, the government House leader will be consulting with the other House leaders to provide adequate time in this Legislature for members to offer their comments on these papers and to debate the question of what approach to growth our province should adopt.

I have every faith that local governments, regional governments, and private citizens understand the crucial importance of an Ontario that grows in a moderate fashion, based upon concerns for economic well-being, local quality of life and equality of opportunity.

I have every faith, as well, that whether it involves Ontario gaining a greater say in immigration policy, or securing more co-ordination with the federal government with respect to our planning goals, this government can expect fair-minded advice and comment from the other parties in this Legislature.

Now whether my good faith turns out to be justified or not, this government will continue to work with other levels of government in Ontario and with all other interests in this province to ensure for Ontarians the right to control and manage their own future to ensure the quality of life for future generations and, above all, preserve for the future the very best of life in Ontario today.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: Today, I am tabling a document entitled “Ontario’s Future: Trends and Options,” which is a statement by the government of Ontario on provincial and regional development strategy.


In addition, I am tabling eight reports, all of which relate to the pattern of future life in Ontario. I recommend all of these reports to the attention of hon. members. The titles of the reports are as follows: Ontario’s Future: Trends and Options; Ontario’s Changing Population, volumes 1 and 2; Northeastern Ontario Development Strategy; and an Appendix: Durham Subregion Strategy, Renfrew Subregion Strategy, The Northumberland Area Task Force Report, The Simcoe-Georgian Area Task Force Report, Programme Statement on the Toronto-Centred Region and A Strategy for Ontario Farmland.

Mr. Lewis: Where is that document?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Trends gradually become evident in any changing society. The direction of the trends can change the options that are available and, obviously, must influence the responses.

The design of appropriate responses is what planning is all about. Planning is not undertaken for the edification of planners or of municipal or provincial governments; it is done to improve the circumstances of the people.

Mrs. Campbell: After 33 years.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Disraeli, that great British Tory Prime Minister, defined our approach to planning in Ontario when, a century ago, he said: “I repeat... that all power is a trust -- that we are accountable for its exercise -- that from the people and for the people, all springs and all must exist.”

Planning, then, demonstrably must be for the people. It may be less obvious but it is equally true that it must be from the people.

Mr. Good: You made it for politicians.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Plans for the province -- the designing of the personal lives of people -- cannot be imposed by government. Equally, however, it will not result from the unplanned accumulation of unrelated decisions that are not influenced by one another. Successful planning is a joint undertaking of government and the people.

Planning is not a new concept in this province. Notwithstanding the importance of earlier initiatives, the most important document to that date was the white paper, Design for Development, released for public consideration by the then Premier, the Hon. John Robarts, in 1966.

This white paper was a response to the need for provincial government guidance in our changing and increasingly urban society. That report made explicit that the government must guide regional land use and economic development and ensure that all development in the province was correlated so that the interests of all would be served.

It recognized that government expenditures would have to be co-ordinated with provincial and regional planning objectives. It explicitly stated that the government proposed to attempt to reduce regional economic inequalities through the development of the special economic potential of each region. It challenged the pre-eminent importance attributed to exclusively economic considerations and argued the equal importance of social and environmental concerns. It established basic planning guidelines.

It noted the need to control random urban development in rural areas; it noted that unique natural features belong equally to all the people; and it noted the developing transportation needs in the Toronto region.

This last initiative led to the major provincial-municipal study that produced the important planning document entitled Design for Development: The Toronto-Centred Region.

This document, which has become known as the TCR, has become a fundamental part of the planning strategy in Ontario. it included such principles as the confining of growth first to a broad belt along the shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Oshawa, the structuring of this belt into a system of identifiable communities, the maintenance of an extensive area to the north as largely a rural and recreational green belt, and the encouragement of the growth of selected areas beyond this green belt and outside commuting distance.

The objective of the TCR was to relieve excessive development pressure on the main urban area along the shore of Lake Ontario. These planning principles have been applied to other parts of the province and have been elaborated in other programmes and reports. All have in common three broad themes:

Regional economic disparities must be reduced and the social and economic development of all of Ontario’s major regions must be encouraged; urban growth must be managed; the protection of areas and natural features of unique importance must be viewed as a provincial responsibility.

We are not, sir, proposing any new plan today or any fundamental change in the themes, objectives or policies. The objectives and policies --

Mr. Cassidy: Same old one, eh?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- of Design for Development, 1966, are as valid today as they were when they were first enunciated.

Mr. Cassidy: Far from realization.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: At the same time, 10 years have passed and change continues. It is only prudent to pause and take stock and, as necessary, to refine and expand those earlier guidelines and objectives.

Over the past generation there have been great changes in Ontario. Housing developments, apartment complexes, shopping centres and industrial plants have sprung up. Networks of freeways and public transportation services were needed and were provided. Areas that were remote and rural are now the home of large populations employed in local industries. Immigration has increased population, and has broadened and changed the character of our people and made it more cosmopolitan.

Growth is not always good, but growth we shall have in Ontario because that is the nature of our developing economy. Our goal should be the proper management of that growth so it meets our needs and desires.

Like growth, change is not exclusively positive. The growing urban population has increased the pressure on neighbouring rural areas and has generated other concerns that called for an expanded policy response.

It is the preference of a large proportion of our citizens to live within the major cities located in a relatively small part of the total area of the province. This collective choice of the citizens of the province places intense pressure on important open land. This pressure is not limited to the densely urbanized southwestern part of the province. Even in the eastern and northern regions, where population as a proportion of the provincial total is declining, there is an increase in the proportion of the regional population living in the major cities. Let me cite some statistics.

In 1951, 36 per cent of the total provincial population was concentrated in the complex along Lake Ontario, through Hamilton-Toronto-Oshawa. By 1971 this proportion had increased to 43 per cent.

Mr. Good: Because of lack of planning on your part. How can you keep them away?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the same interval the population of Thunder Bay grew from 44 per cent to 50 per cent of the northwestern region; the population of Ottawa grew from 32 per cent to 42 per cent of the eastern region.

A recent phenomenon has been the preference of many city people for a home in the rural areas, a fact that often has a negative component from the perspective of farm people, but the overriding trend is the relative growth of city populations. In 1951, 73 per cent of the people of Ontario lived in towns and cities. By 1971 the proportion had increased to 82 per cent.

Mr. Good: We have been complaining about it for 10 years.

Mrs. Campbell: They’re slow learners.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The trend in the direction of urban living must be expected to continue, although the rate may alter.

We expect total population in Ontario to reach approximately 10 million in 1986 and to approach 12 million by the year 2000, which implies --

Mr. Eakins: That’s an old speech, Darcy.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- a slower rate of growth than that of the recent past. This, coupled with public policy initiatives, may slow the rate of growth of the cities, but urbanization is a world-wide phenomenon and it reflects the demonstrated preferences of people. Provincial planning that assumed a significant short-term change in the public attitude in this context would be unrealistic.

It is our expectation that Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Windsor, which now collectively contain just over 60 per cent of the population of the province, will contain nearly 80 per cent by the year 2000.

The major employment opportunities will be in the heavily populated areas. The major increase in employment opportunities will be in business, financial, social and government services. Jobs in manufacturing will increase, but not as rapidly as in the service sector; and although production in agriculture, resource extraction and processing will increase, the high level of productivity in these sectors will mean that a proportional increase in the number of jobs cannot be expected.

The nature of the prospective employment opportunities will not tend to disperse population away from the growing urban centres. The major trends in our province are clearly set. They include: Increased urbanization; an increased proportion of the population in the heavily urbanized southwestern part of the province; increased pressure on open space, the environment and energy supplies. Total population will continue to increase, though at a somewhat reduced rate. Opportunities will expand and so will the need for future planning and management.

There is no reason to suppose that the people of Ontario want their future tailor-made by their government. It might be technically feasible to design the perfect plan and fit people into it, but it is certainly sot a practical option. The fact is that government does not have and should not have a free hand in dealing with people’s lives and plans. The existing pattern of urban development, which is nothing other than the implicit statement by individual people as to where they want to live, is nearly as intractable as the distribution of natural and physical resources, nor will the economic distribution and structure easily or painlessly shift from its traditional pattern.

If the people of Ontario are to enjoy democratic freedom, and no one would propose otherwise, planning must accommodate the free choices of the people who live here and who own this province. The role of government is to reinforce the chosen lifestyle. An important part of our lifestyle is to make our own choices, without arbitrary or dictatorial intervention by that very government.

Planning, then, is constrained on both sides by the fact that it must not be too much or too little. It must not transgress the right of a free people to choose the style of their own life; at the same time, it must direct and guide development to the extent required to ensure the optimum social, economic and physical environment. Failure to plan and to achieve this optimum may result in the preferred choices of many citizens simply becoming unattainable.

Within the constraints of the options that are open to government, I propose to restate and expand our planning objectives.

One constraint that I have not mentioned, and that must not be overlooked, is the financial constraint now applied to all areas of government. Not to put too fine an edge on it, there may be useful development opportunities that, at least at this time, we will not be able to afford. We still must prepare the plans and, within the constraints, put priority on those items which will assist in the achievement of our goals.

A primary objective will continue to be the reduction of persistent disparity in income and the access to services of the different regions in Ontario. We will seek to attain an even distribution of growth across the province. In many parts of the province this is made difficult because of the narrow local economic base. Policy will be directed toward attaining optimum local potential through the development of local resources and the involvement of local people.

We will reinforce our effort to conserve and protect our natural resources and will ensure that these resources are managed in the interests of all the people. We will continue to protect the rural and forest environment.

We will maintain the healthy and attractive urban communities that are universally recognized as a distinctive hallmark of Ontario. We will encourage the distribution of population growth, and so of urban development. We will ensure that the people of the province are all served by the best possible urban system. We will attempt to accomplish this purpose in a manner that avoids excessively rapid growth in major cities and will do so without destroying private businesses or ignoring the preferences and choices of the citizens.

We will be looking to the future of our province in the general context of our restated development strategy. As we progress, changes will be adopted that will reflect the expressed needs of the pec pie to be served by provincial and local development initiatives of whatever kind.

The achievement of policy objectives will be furthered through the use of two kinds of instruments.

The first includes the programmes and the expenditures of the government itself. Such government operational programmes as housing, services, industrial parks and the location of government functions will be coordinated with provincial and regional planning objectives.

We have established a regional priority budget whereby ministries can place special emphasis on activities of particular importance in helping to achieve the development potential of the economic regions.

The existence of restructured governments has been an essential aspect of the whole process of coherent development planning. Regional governments, particularly, are doing effective planning for their areas and are working with the province in the furthering of our mutual economic development objectives, something that was always a major purpose of regional government.


This relates, then, directly to the second instrument, which is the planning policies of the regional, county and local municipalities. Consistency with provincial policies must obviously be encouraged, but this does not imply dictating municipal planning. The clear definition of provincial objectives has been made to coincide with the withdrawal of the province in terms of the detailed overviewing of municipal plans. It persists, to a greater degree, in those cases where province-wide interests are involved or where it is necessary to ensure that the plans and programmes of both levels of government are consistent.

Policies and programmes can be divided conveniently into three areas: economic planning, rural and resource planning, and urban and demographic planning. I propose to initially discuss them under those three headings.

The basic objectives of economic planning will be to reduce income inequalities through the stimulation of economic growth in slower-growth parts of the province, especially in eastern and northern Ontario. The key principle will be to build upon the resources native to the area in question. Rather than attempt to import foot-loose enterprises that lack local roots, experience and acceptance, we will encourage the diversification and expansion of the existing base.

We will, in other words, increasingly adopt a grassroots strategy. We will encourage resource-processing industries to locate near to the resources, rather than near to the markets, particularly in the case of forest and farm-related enterprises. Subject always to the financial constraints to which I made earlier reference, we will provide assistance for the location of new industries where a long-term resultant benefit to the community can be expected.

Natural resources and the natural environment are of central and growing importance and their depletion or deterioration is not to be tolerated. Environmental quality must be enhanced and resources properly managed in the interests of both current and future populations. This implies that we must correctly define what we have in terms of landscape, natural resource components and unique features. We must ensure that the highest and best use is made of these public assets through the definition and redefinition of environmental management, economic development and related social concerns.

Rural and resource policies relating to agriculture, recreation and tourism, forestry, mining and aggregate extraction, and fish and wildlife, will be refined and policy amendments will be adopted as our work proceeds. Today, I would like to comment particularly on agriculture and more briefly on some aspects of recreation.

No one doubts the key importance of fond production. In Ontario we will continue to maintain a permanent, secure and economically viable agricultural industry as a source of food and, further, as a source of employment and livelihood f or people, and as the basis of the rural community and the rural way of life.

To the extent possible, we should in future, as we have in the past, protect the integrity of the use of fertile land for food production.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: There is a strong base of agriculture and agricultural lands in this province and although, as in any other expanding community there is a greater use of fertile land for purposes other than food production than any would prefer, Ontario is now and will continue to be an important food-producing area with a valuable and protected base of fertile food-producing land.

Mr. Cassidy: Population is up and land is down.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: An intensified preferred-use approach to prime agricultural lands will be applied. This policy will be matched by complementary policies and programmes to ensure the economic viability and stability of the agricultural sector, to ensure the improved use of good farmland that is now held idle or in parcels that are too small to be operated economically, and to reduce the social, financial and environmental stresses to which urbanization exposes farming and the farming community.

We cannot, however, insulate these policies and programmes from the broad needs of the people of the province. Policies and programmes for the agricultural and rural communities must support regional planning objectives. They must be closely meshed with policies and programmes relating to other kinds of development and land use affecting the rural environment. And they must be tailored to the specific circumstances and needs of the different parts of the province.

The impression has been planted in the minds of the public that within a generation farmland will be gone and food production in this province will have virtually disappeared; that industrial plants, residences and concrete will blanket the fertile portions of the province. That simply isn’t true.


Mr. Bain: It will be true if your government is around.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The fact is that in Ontario -- and it is typical in other dynamic industrial communities -- increases in population will be accommodated in an average of 4 persons per gross acre, which is 25,500 per square mile. We project that there will be an increase in Ontario’s population of approximately four million by 2001, requiring for housing a grand total area of about 155 square miles. Some might argue that an average density of 40 persons per acre is unrealistically high. However, even if this density were to be cut in half, to 20 persons per gross acre, this still only requires a grand total of about 310 square miles for housing.

Applying the accepted requirements of the additional industry, roads and other demands on land that will result from this population increase, the best estimate is that the land requirement for the projected increase in population in Ontario to 2001 will be between 400 and 580 square miles.

In this province, the total of class 1, II and III farm land is 25,500 square miles. If we include all soil that has a capability for agriculture, the total is nearly 83,000 square miles.

Mr. Lewis: As specious a piece of writing I’ve ever encountered.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We all regret that coy land has to be diverted from food production, but homes and industries must locate, and some 400 or 500 square miles out of the total production acreage in Ontario is well short of destroying our food-producing capability. Even that assumes that all land used for essentially urban purposes will be suitable for agriculture and so overstates the loss of farm land.

Mr. Wildman: Are you going to force developer and industries to build on low-quality land?

Mr. Lewis: This is the most ridiculous statement you’ve made in some time.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order. I think fewer interjections would be better at this time.


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

An hon. member: Mathematically, it’s very simple.

Hon. M. McKeough: In order to assure that misinformation is corrected, and to reassure the people of Ontario of the future prospects of food production in the province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is continuing to examine the whole question of present and prospective use of productive land, as well as related questions, and will be making periodic reports and recommendations. A progress report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is included in the material I have tabled today.

Mr. Lewis: By Hedlin Menzies and not by the government.

Hon. W. Newman: Why don’t you grow up and find out?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Recreational land is also important, because recreation and leisure account for an important part of the time of the people of the province, as well as our physical and mental health. The Ministry of Industry and Tourism is preparing plans and programmes dealing with the natural and recreational resources of the province.

The Ontario government has done a good job of providing public open space and we want to remove impediments, real or imagined, to the further development of private open space. There are literally thousands of locations suitable for cottages, for chalets, and for weekend retreats from city living. The government will encourage private and commercial developments, except where they might damage the environment or impinge on agricultural land.

There is and will continue to be a place for private and commercial recreational use and development, even in such locations as the Niagara Escarpment. It will be the objective of the government to maintain a balance between public and private involvement in, and use of, our provincial recreational resources.

Constrained only by what is possible and what will not contradict the choices and preferences of citizens, we shall attempt to gradually shift some population growth away from our major cities. The fact that the province’s urban system is strongly focused on Toronto tends to encourage further concentration in the Toronto area and so perpetuate economic inequalities and disparities in the delivery of services.

Within central Ontario, the Toronto-centred region policy is reaffirmed but alternative ways of deflecting a certain amount of growth from the Toronto area will continue to be examined. However, we must of necessity have a concern as to how rapidly such change will be accepted or can be adapted to by our people, our business enterprises and government.

Growth will be encouraged in other areas. In three regions, subject to further examination and further discussion with local governments, London and Thunder Bay and the two eastern Ontario cities of Ottawa and Kingston may be encouraged to develop as regional centres. In northeastern Ontario there are now four main centres -- Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. Because of the economic and geographic circumstances of the region, a single regional centre may not be appropriate and, though Sudbury may come to assume a regional city role, it is too early to make a commitment to this as a policy.

The designation of places or areas for special forms of assistance does not imply an effort to restrain development elsewhere through the reduction of normal provincial programmes. It will, however, continue to be the policy of the government to employ its programmes of housing, industrial development and transportation to support its urban and demographic policies and preferences.

The location of government offices can play a role in fostering or retarding urban expansion. The government is on record that no further major expansion will be permitted in the Queen’s Park area. The move by the Ministry of Correctional Services to Scarborough is a direct consequence of this commitment.

Mr. Foulds: That is what decentralization means?

Mr. Cassidy: They jump for joy in eastern Ontario when you do that.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: To take this a step further, the Premier (Mr. Davis) has asked the Management Board of Cabinet for a report on the feasibility of moving offices outside of Metro Toronto entirely and, perhaps, for a start, to the Oshawa/Whitby area.

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, Whitby, Mississauga.

Mr. Nixon: Are you going to move Agriculture from Bloor St.?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: A number of new principles, some of which are not specific to demographic planning will, none the less, have some impact on the location of people. These principles include basing economic growth on local resources and local potentials; the use of policy/programme packages devised specifically for each resource/environment area; the preferred-use system; the matching of agricultural support programmes to the preservation of agricultural land; the evolution of a pragmatic system of regional cities; the redirection of urban growth where and when we can, and the use of major provincial --

Mr. Lewis: Where and when you can!

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- programmes to achieve urban and economic development and demographic objectives.

Mr. Lewis: This is fatuous malarkey.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Guidelines and objectives must be matched by a process that makes things happen.

The government is already moving in a number of ways.

Mr. Lewis: Why are you reading this; you, an intelligent man?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: An important aspect of the Toronto-Centred Region, for example, involves the stimulation of growth to the east of Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr. Good: It hasn’t happened.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: As discussed in the Durham Subregion Strategy report, the government will assist the regional municipality of Durham to service 2,300 acres of industrial land and 6,400 acres of residential land by 1986, while still not restricting the access of the rest of the region to improve services and opportunities.

Among other programmes, the government will encourage the development and growth of economic activities suitable for expansion in the Oshawa area. This will include the diversification of transportation-related industry; the development of other kinds of manufacturing; and the stimulation of service activities, including finance, insurance, real estate, business services and public administration.

In the eastern part of the parkway belt, planning is proceeding in co-operation with the region of Durham. Hearings will begin on May 2 on the draft plan for the western portion of the parkway belt. Total land acquisition to the end of this fiscal year, for all purposes in the parkway belt, will cost about $100 million.

The government has announced its intention of proceeding with the development of the new town of North Pickering. It is estimated that by the end of the century the population will be some 70,000 to 90,000 people.

Mr. Lewis: I should hope so. You have spent $200 million -- $201 million, as a matter of fact.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We are determined to proceed, especially with the new housing components of North Pickering. We will use all available resources. One of the options that is being discussed is an expanded role for the private sector.

The expansion of growth to the east of Metro is expected to reduce growth pressures to the north. Further, as I mentioned earlier, estimates of the rate of increase in population in Ontario are down, and other second-tier urban developments contemplated in the TCR may not be necessary until well into the next century.

The population of the southern part of the York region, that which is serviced by the central York servicing scheme, will probably not exceed the capacity of that system in this century. That would imply a total population of up to 450,000. It is estimated that in the rest of the York region the population will grow to about 100,000.


Another important objective of the TCR is to ease the pressure in the Toronto area through encouraging development beyond commuting range in Simcoe and Northumberland counties. In this context I have tabled today the reports prepared by two task forces that grew out of the TCR -- groups made up of politicians and technical people from the municipalities concerned. The government accepts in principle the findings of both reports and will undertake a number of the recommended measures.

Northumberland county will be included in eastern Ontario for the purpose of the Ontario business incentives and industrial parks programmes. A doubling of the population is possible. The population of Simcoe county is expected to grow to 500,000 from the present 190.000, primarily in the principal urban areas of Barrie, Orillia, Midland and Collingwood. We hope that in both counties, county planning will play a role. The population increase will be tied to the creation of employment opportunities.

Mr. Nixon: That is not what the Toronto- centred region plan said.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: In Haldimand-Norfolk a provincial-municipal task force will shortly complete a planning strategy, designed to guide the growth in the region that will result from large-scale industrial development. Planning for the new town of Townsend has started, although the timing of developments may influence the rate of progress.

The preparation of a plan for the Niagara Escarpment is proceeding under the direction of the Escarpment Commission. Responsibility for this commission is being transferred from the Treasurer to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, since this is an area where the co-ordination of the activities of several ministries is necessary on a continuing basis.

Mr. Cassidy: That is a licence to blunder.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, he is back in trouble again. The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine) shouldn’t let him deal this on to him.

Mr. S. Smith: There goes one retirement.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I previously referred to the need for a periodic review and assessment of the Toronto-centred region. In the review of the TCR we shall broaden the area of inquiry to include neighbouring areas that are part of central Ontario, including Niagara, Waterloo, Peterborough and Victoria. The government is well aware of the continuing need for constantly improved co-ordination of planning at the provincial, Metro and regional and local levels in the Toronto-centred region. This however may be significantly influenced by the report of the Robarts commission. Formal action will await the delivery of that commission’s report.

The preparation of a draft planning strategy for northeastern Ontario in now complete and is horny released today for public discussion end input, and for review by the northeastern Ontario Municipal Advisory Committee. Key recommendations relate to the resource base of the region. The report advocates stimulation of economic growth with initial priority given to the four main urban centres of the northeast. It advocates improvements in social services and amenities and some decentralization and expanded local participation in decision-making.

A provincial strategy was developed for northwestern Ontario five years ago and it, like TCR, is under review. The report growing from this review and recommendations for any necessary changes in strategy will be released before mid-summer.

A strategy for eastern Ontario is partly developed and work is continuing. This report will be completed and available for comment before the end of the year.

Mr. Laughren: It should recommend a new Minister of Natural Resources.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The Ontario government undertook the preparation of a development strategy for Renfrew county prior to the completion of the eastern Ontario regional strategy. The proposals for Renfrew county are consistent with the regional approach that is now being developed. These proposals include the designation of the city of Pembroke --

Mr. Cassidy: Which we have been waiting for six years.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- as the major growth point in the county and the establishment of an industrial park in the area, as well as developments at Renfrew and Arnprior. The government will encourage the development of industries for the processing of forest products and magnesium as well as metal processing and fabricating industries. We will seek an agreement with the federal government jointly to pursue these and other objectives. This will include long-term resource development end the creation of a major historical tourist attraction based on the history of the lumber and forest industries.

A great deal of progress has been made and is being made in the direction of the achievement of the planning objectives of government.

Mr. Roy: Are you going to call it Maple Mountain?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Design for Development, 1972, announced a number of organizational changes in the regional development programme, including the consolidation of the previous 10 economic regions into five provincial planning regions. The Planning Act is being reviewed. The Niagara Escarpment Commission has been established and is preparing a comprehensive plan for the escarpment.

The adoption of the Toronto-centred region concept as the policy of the government was followed by a number of major actions. They included the proposal of the new town of North Pickering, the publication of the parkway bolt west plan, the studies and reports of the two task forces set up to report on the Simcoe-Georgian and Northumberland regions.

The central Ontario lakeshore urban complex task force, made up of provincial civil servants and planners from the six regional municipalities in the inner part of the Toronto-centred region, has recommended further measures.

In Haldimand-Norfolk we are, with the county, proceeding with development planning. The Townsend site has been purchased. We have accumulated land at Cayuga which, though it may not be needed in the immediate future, is an important asset that will contribute to the orderly development of the region.

Mr. Roy: That’s not what Henderson said.

Mr. Nixon: Your predecessor just had $20 million lying around.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We have accumulated an important parcel of land at Edwardsburgh, near Brockville. This site is suitable for major industry; industrial location in this area will, concurrently, strengthen the economy of eastern Ontario and reduce the potential pressures on the more densely populated urban areas in the province.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s not what they think up in eastern Ontario.

Mr. Nixon: You should be embarrassed.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Large-scale planning is also being undertaken by the various ministries of the government. I won’t do more than give a few examples. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, for example, is moving towards all-mode transportation systems planning --

Mr. Nixon: Except floating on air.

Mr. Lewis: Say that again. Let that roll off your tongue again.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The Ministry of Natural Resources is preparing a strategic land-use plan. The Ministry of Industry and Tourism, with other ministries, is carrying out its comprehensive tourism and outdoor recreational planning study.

Mr. Roy: Is Krauss-Maffei in there some place?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: A food lands planning group has been established within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food; and the Ministry of the Environment is engaged in river basin planning.

Mr. Roy: Is there room for Krauss-Maffei over there?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The fact that ministries are grouped into policy fields facilitates the co-ordination of their planning and programmes. This is important because, if progress is to continue, there must be co-ordination of objectives and programmes in all ministries and at all levels of government -- including the municipalities and the federal government -- in relation to ultimate policy goals.

It must, however, be made quite clear that the prime responsibility for development strategies rests at the provincial and municipal levels of government. But the planning will prove irrelevant if it is simply a government exercise.

Mr. Roy: You have a lot of experience in that.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It must reflect the choices and preferences of the people. There must be planning at the provincial and at the municipal level and co-operative planning between the province and the municipalities. The planning continuum must extend from the municipalities, through the provincial government and include the government of Canada.

The municipalities and the province must initiate plans. All ministries of the government plan within their own areas and, where these plans involve broad interests, the policy field committees of cabinet play a vital role in the co-ordination of related undertakings of none is this more true than the resource development policy field.

This co-ordination is absolutely necessary. Coed planning is not a luxury. It is central to the achievement of the best use of limited resources.

Effective planning is inextricably involved in the proper management of the affairs of the public on behalf of the public. It is regarded by the government as a central responsibility, fundamental to the protection and improvement of the quality of life that we in Ontario have come to take for granted.

Mr. Nixon: You should have tabled that statement.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would like to speak.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: I rise to advise the House that extensive investigation by my ministry has resulted today in a proposal for a cease-and-desist order against all Vic Tanny health clubs in Ontario and their directors. The order states that false, misleading and deceptive consumer representations, including misleading advertising, the “bait-and-switch” technique and high-pressure sales tactics, were used to persuade consumers to sign long-term contracts.

Mr. Nixon: Going to send back their donation, Bill?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The order becomes effective in 15 days unless Vic Tanny either appeals to the Commercial Registration Appeals Tribunal or signs an assurance of voluntary compliance. My ministry usually insists that if a company complies voluntarily, it must ensure that complaints are taken care of to the satisfaction of consumers involved.

Vic Tanny advertisements had offered “summer special, $5, one month, mini-memberships” for a limited time. Only 100 members were to be enrolled under this offer at each location. Our order specifies that this was only bait to attract new members who were then switched to longer contracts. This bait-and-switch technique was very well defined by the US Federal Trade Commission, which had the following to say, and I quote:

“Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell.”

Mr. S. Smith: Sounds like your last campaign.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We have here a classic case to fit that definition.

In addition, the Vic Tanny ad was misleading because the so-called limited time offer had no specific time limit and more than 100 members were signed up at various locations.

Further, the ads led consumers in Toronto to believe that squash courts were available in some locations when, in fact, the nearest club offering squash facilities is in London, Ont., more than 100 miles away.

An hon. member: How about tennis courts?


Hon. Mr. Handleman: The order also states that the health clubs increased and decreased prices charged for various membership plans without full disclosure to consumers. Conviction under the Act can result in fines of up to $25,000 for a company. A director may be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for one year, or both.

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to creating and maintaining an equitable balance in the marketplace between business and consumer interests. We believe it’s actions such as this which will enable us to achieve our goals.

Mr. Lewis: You will have to switch to your local “Y”.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Ministry of Transportation and Communications roads construction programme for 1976-1977.

This fiscal year, we are planning to spend an estimated $205.6 million on road construction. This figure includes new work on a total of 659 miles of the provincial highway system, with most of it on two-lane highways.

Mr. Lewis: Between Milton and Peel.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Construction work will, as in the past, be equitably distributed throughout the province.

Mr. Reid: Oh, come on, how can you say that with a straight face?

Mr. Nixon: They are going to pave Highway 10 again for the summer.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Though our total roads budget is down this year -- in keeping with the Ontario government’s policy of fiscal constraint -- my ministry has no intention of allowing Ontario’s excellent road system to deteriorate.


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

Hon. Mr. Snow: Thus, while our main emphasis, Mr. Speaker, will be on the maintenance of our highway system at its current high standard, we shall also give priority to the most urgent capital construction projects on a needs basis.


Mr. Philip: I rise on a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker.

In consideration of the remarks made by the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) concerning safety in the gallery, and in consideration of the fact that there are residents of the riding of Etobicoke in the public gallery today, can you bring us up to date on the investigation of safety conditions in the gallery?

Mr. Reid: That was opportunistic.

An hon. member: That’s grandstanding.

Mr. Speaker: I just wish to report we are keeping a very close eye on it, but the report is not quite ready yet. It’s quite an extensive report and you will see what it is about shortly.

Mr. Ruston: It will probably be expensive too.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food if I may, Mr. Speaker:

How does the minister reconcile this strategy for Ontario farmland tabled today -- the rewrite of the Hedlin Menzies document at $250 a page -- with the document which came from within his own ministry indicating that agricultural land was going out of production so quickly it could no longer be kept track of, and the absence of a policy to deal with it?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the document that was tabled today is the final document. Members did not see the final document the other day. There are 10 points on agricultural --

Mr. Mackenzie: You’ll have to rewrite it today.

Hon. W. Newman: -- use in the Province of Ontario in the strategy that we have planned. We have outlined it there.

Mr. MacDonald: Answer the question.

Hon. W. Newman: I am going to answer the question, but I want to make sure that the members understand it.


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


Hon. W. Newman: Today, Mr. Speaker, some controversy has arisen over the wording in tile most recent ARDA report released by my ministry last October, and the contentious words were, I believe: “Land is being converted from agricultural land to other uses so quickly that keeping an accurate figure of the land in agriculture is an almost impossible task.” As far as I am concerned, this wording is misleading because it implies that land being converted from agriculture to other uses is irreversible, and this is not true.

Mr. Cassidy: This is new land, yes.

Hon. W. Newman: No. The fact is that most of the land not now in active farm production can be returned to food land when it is economically viable. Also in this report, if members have read it --

Mr. Lewis: Yes.

Mr. Wildman: Are you going to cut down all the poplar bush?

Hon. W. Newman: -- it classifies 53 million acres of Ontario land according to its capability for agricultural use. Not all of this is available because it is in other uses now, but it outlines 53 million acres. Indeed, earlier today on radio, one of the authors of the ARDA report, Professor Doug Hoffman of the University of Guelph said that the famous 26-acres-per-hour figure is misleading.

Mr. Bain: Is that after or before?

Hon. W. Newman: The professor himself agreed with my earlier statement that since 1971 farm land has gone back into production at the rate of seven acres per hour.

Mr. MacDonald: It is only six.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Hoffman also said that the province needs a long-term strategy to preserve agricultural land, and I heard him.

Mr. Renwick: Don’t shout at us, talk quietly.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: Well, members opposite could keep their voices down too sometimes.

The government proposal is for policies which, taken together, will preserve foodland for food production in the future. I see no contravention in the policy that we have tabled today and I have explained that. Even the fellow who made the statement agrees with me.

Mr. Lewis: It all depends whether the minister was listening or not. May I ask a supplementary? Does he also agree with Dr. Hoffman’s assertion that nothing the government has done, by way of what it has tabled today or by past policy, indicates any legislative action to preserve the agricultural land which continues to go out of production?

Hon. W. Newman: We have the Planning Act. Every official plan and every zoning bylaw has to come before the Ministry of Housing, and we do comment on that. As I said before concerning the food lands development branch, on the Niagara region to date --

Mr. Lewis: Niagara region?

Hon. W. Newman: -- we have had a lot of discussions with the region regarding the preservation of that special land; we have had excellent co-operation with them in preserving this land in the official plan.

Mr. Swart: Now 80 per cent of all Niagara development is taking place on the prime land.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: There continues to be substantial confusion as to what is meant by the land that is going out of production. The minister has indicated much of it can be returned, although experts question this.

Mr. Kennedy: Not necessarily so.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, yes, experts in the ministry and at the University of Guelph have questioned it. They say if it is subdivided into 10-acre lots it will never be able to return to production, and the minister is aware of that. I believe he subdivided land like that himself. Would the minister not agree? And in response to the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) comment perhaps he should give some consideration, since the Premier said he is expecting a constructive discussion on this difficult problem from all sides of the Legislature that we should have a select committee of the Legislature review the matter over the summer months so that we can go out into the areas which are more directly concerned and get submissions from those people who seem to be opposing each other in their views at the present time? Why would this not be a constructive way to come to at least a consensus in this important matter?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question, first and foremost, I would like you to know that I am a farmer.

Mr. Peterson: You are a farmer, out, standing in your field.


Hon. W. Newman: And do you know something, Mr. Speaker? I am very proud of it too. Certainly I would just like to make it very clear to the former leader of the official opposition that I am not a subdivider. I have never subdivided.

Mr. Nixon: No, you sold your farm.

Hon. W. Newman: Well, I sold a farm; so I sold a farm one time. What’s wrong with that? Is there something wrong with that?

Mr. Nixon: Nothing is the matter with that but it is an indication of the problems that all farmers face.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: In these circumstances they can’t make any money.


Mr. Speaker: There have been so many interjections, does the hon. minister remember the question he has to answer?

Hon. W. Newman: We outlined our programme today on a strategy for preserving agricultural land. Because of all the interjections from the hon. members opposite, if the member has a further question I would be glad to try to answer it because I lost him part-way through.

Mr. Speaker: A brief question, please.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of clarification, if you’ll permit, the crux of the question is, with all those things being considered and with at least a partial government position before us, why could we not have a select committee of the House -- perhaps using that orange book, which we haven’t had a chance to look at yet, as a basis of oar review -- sit during the summer mouths so that we can come to some conclusion on this matter?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Why don’t you have a look at it first? Just read it.

Mr. Nixon: Well I’ll tell you, since the Treasurer is interjecting --

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

Mr. Nixon: -- he says the loss of the 580 square miles is not significant and we say it is.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. Order, please.

We’re wasting valuable time here from a proper question period. Does the hon. minister have a brief answer to that supplementary?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I’ll be glad to answer the question. We happen to believe in the democratic process on this side of the House --

Mr. Nixon: And that means you are in the minority, that more people are against you than for you.

Hon. W. Newman: -- and I would refer to the Lambton-Sarnia task force which looked at the agricultural needs as well as the residential needs in that area.

Mr. Nixon: Oh yes, let the bureaucrats do it, that’s democracy.

Hon. W. Newman: If the member has been at those meetings last week, when they had some very full discussions on how they were going to preserve the agricultural land and out the residential land where it should go, he would know that the municipal people who are involved, as well as the government people who were involved, are very sincerely trying to do a good job there and are doing an excellent job.

Mr. Nixon: So are we all.

Hon. W. Newman: Are you for central control at the provincial level?

Mr. Nixon: No, we are not.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: You are going to let them go at that?

Mr. MacDonald: In the minister’s rationalization of the reverse trend from the loss of 26 acres, what explanation has the minister got that in the Roger Schwass draft 1 he said that agricultural land was coming back at the rate of 7.8 acres an hour, but in the minister’s revision of it it’s now 6.6? The minister has lost 1.2 acres in two weeks.

An hon. member: That’s pretty bad.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You are becoming paranoid over there.

Mr. MacDonald: Are the minister’s figures as shifting as that?

Mr. Nixon: Oh, yes.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that that question was asked. As I said before, I and my staff did the final draft and we made sure we had the correct figures. That’s what you’ve got today.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Tell them you’re willing to accept either figure.

Mr. Lewis: And the minister and his staff worked all night

Mr. MacDonald: If you work on it for another couple of weeks do you suppose it would get down to zero?

Hon. W. Newman: Don’t be silly now. Ask a sensible question.

Mr. Lewis: Bill, you’re doing well.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question period is rapidly degenerating again; let’s just keep it orderly. The hon. member for Welland has been trying to ask a supplementary; we’ll allow it.

Mr. Swart: In view of the comments about the preservation of the agricultural land in the Niagara Peninsula, I’d like to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food whether he is aware of the fact that the percentage rate of growth on the prime agricultural land, particularly the fruit land in the Niagara Peninsula, has increased from something like 45 per cent to over 80 per cent in the last five years. Is he aware of that? Secondly, can he name one instance in which development -- either residential or the extension of sewer or water -- has been stopped because it was extending into good agricultural land; just one instance?

Mr. Lewis: Give us something concrete.

Hon. W. Newman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would be only too glad to. We’ve had negotiations with the regional municipality of Niagara; again, we believe in the democratic process. They have pulled in their boundaries to preserve agricultural lands, and that was as a result of a joint effort in which our food lands development branch worked with that regional municipality. We have excellent co-operation with them and they have drawn in their boundaries.



Mr. Lewis: A further question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Since last year’s Throne Speech and this year’s Throne Speech and the document he tabled today all guarantee the early emergence of a food income stabilization plan for Ontario, where is the money in the budget that was tabled by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) Tuesday night?

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary estimates, eh, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, that matter will be dealt with when the estimates for the resources policy field are tabled.

Mr. Cassidy: Where is it?

Mr. Lewis: Just a second, by way of supplementary: Is it true to say there is certainly no money that could possibly fund even the first year of a farm income stabilization plan? Is it true to say that is nowhere evident in any of the budget figures?

Mr. Shore: They’ll be in the supplementary budget.

Mr. Lewis: How come the government makes those promises and then repudiates them less than one month later?

Hon. W. Newman: You know, this gets a little bit ridiculous; I wish the hon. Leader of the Opposition would take a course at Guelph and find out about some of these things. We have Bill C-50, which is a federal bill that stabilizes eight commodities.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Hon. W. Newman: Just a minute. I’m saying I was promised that by March 31 of this year we would have the basic prices for those commodities. We had to work of our budget without knowing exactly what was going to happen there, because we didn’t have those figures -- and we still don’t have them.

Mr. Reid: Somebody else’s fault again.

Hon. W. Newman: As far as the final stabilization is concerned, I would like to assure this House that when the stabilization bill is introduced, and as the programmes move forward, the funds will be available for stabilization in this province.

Mr. Reid: Where are they going to come from?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.

Mr. Nixon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On a matter of clarification, can the minister assure us that this is not going to be a promise like the promise that appeared in the previous Speech from the Throne on this very mailer; and if it does come in, are we to assume that it will be financed, not from some estimate but in fact from a supplementary budget, and that it gives the Treasurer the opportunity to talk about the retrenchment and the reduction of costs when we know full well that if we do have a programme --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Don’t debate it. The question has been asked.

Mr. Nixon: -- we’re going to be committed --

Mr. Lewis: It’s $100 million minimum.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, neither one of the hon. members has much faith in the agricultural industry. That’s all I’ve got to say here.

Mr. Reid: We don’t have any faith in the ministry.

Mr. Nixon: I’ll tell you: It’s not the farmers fault, it’s yours. You are not backing it up with a dollar. It’s just words.

Hon. W. Newman: Just a minute, if you want to talk about the stabilization bill, the stabilization bill will be coming into this House --

Mr. Roy: We have no faith in you.

Mr. Lewis: It’s so much nonsense.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: The hon. members opposite don’t have any faith that prices of agricultural products are going to be lowered.

Mr. Reid: Where’s the money going to come from?


Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, if they want to hear it, that’s fine; I’m prepared to answer the question. If they don’t want to, that’s fine by me too.

Mr. Reid: We just want to know where the money is coming from.

Hon. W. Newman: The stabilization bill will be coming in --

Mr. Riddell: When?

Hon. W. Newman: I said it would be coming in very shortly; that’s what I said.


Hon. W. Newman: The hon. members opposite don’t even want to listen.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are too many interjections. If we’re going to have as many as this, there will not be time for new questions or supplementaries either. Now, let’s get back to an orderly question-and-answer period.

Mr. Shore: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Not just for a moment, thank you. The member for York South has a supplementary first of all.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary to the minister: Since his parliamentary assistant, speaking to the agrologists in Stoney Creek a full 10 days ago, on March 31, gave pretty full details of the farm income stabilization programme, doesn’t the minister think it is time this House might be informed both as to nature of the programme and the cost in rather explicit detail, rather than going outside the House?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say this about my parliamentary assistant, he is a very capable person and does n very fine job.

Mr. S. Smith: I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker: Does that help?

Mr. Roy: With you there, he is looking better all the time.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. W. Newman: As I said, Mr. Speaker, the stabilization bill will be coming in very shortly.

Mr. Cassidy: But no money.

Hon. W. Newman: Oh yes.

Mr. Speaker: The final supplementary, the member for London North.

Mr. Shore: Could I ask how this farm stabilization programme will be funded?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That question was asked.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Energy: How is it that the Ombudsman in Ontario engaged in a preliminary investigation of several months’ duration into the Bradley-Georgetown hydro corridor plan before he was informed that a cabinet minute dated May 29, 1974, precluded him from the inquiry which had accumulated many hours, indeed months, of his time?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, in answer to that question, I think in fact a number of months ago it was indicated to the Ombudsman or to staff in his office that there was some question in the minds of the officials of my ministry as to whether his Act did in fact give him jurisdiction. Somewhere in this file, I have the chronology of the contacts between the Ombudsman’s office and mine. If the hon. Leader of the Opposition would like, I can send him, later today or tomorrow, a letter indicating the chronology of the contacts on that.


Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, the minister will recall, then, that he wrote the Ombudsman in December, 1975, saying that he was seeking a certificate from the Attorney General to indicate that his investigation was precluded under the Act, which certificate never came. The Ombudsman’s right was reversed on April 5, by a reference to a cabinet minute of May 29, 1974, about which no one in this Legislature or the citizens’ committee or the Ombudsman knew anything.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, that last part is absolutely not true.

Mr. Lewis: Why?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Absolutely not true. The hon. member will know that on July 11, 1974, my colleague --

Mr. Lewis: You announced your decision.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- the former Minister of Energy (Mr. McKeough), did announce the government’s decision --

Mr. Lewis: But didn’t tell anybody about it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- which embraced the decision taken by the cabinet of Ontario on May 29, 1974.

Mr. Lewis: You didn’t have your environmental study.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The environmental study -- again, if the member will look at the statement of July 11, 1974, the now Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) indicated that study was, in fact, under way.

Mr. Lewis: It wasn’t completed.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member is quite correct in saying that it wasn’t completed.

It was delivered to the ministry in December, 1974, and released in January, 1975. The primary concern at the time, as the member will recall, was the portion of the route between section 33 and 95, as expressed, I think, by one or two of the members and certainly by the former member for York Centre. That was the primary concern. In fact, looking over Hansard for the last two years I would suggest it was the only concern ever expressed.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister prepare a full chronology of all of these events and table it, since it appears very clearly that the cabinet decision dated May 29, 1974, which precluded the Ombudsman’s investigation was taken before the intensive investigations undertaken by Mr. Caverly and others? It would appear that while the cabinet had made up its mind on this matter, they were allowing other interested citizens to think that the matter was not decided, and the government undertook expensive and lengthy investigations after the decisive fact had been achieved.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, let me just give the hon. member and the House some of the more important dates.

Mr. Nixon: We would like all of them tabled.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Well, fine. I’ll be glad to. Let me just say this, that in fact the decision was taken in 1969, the members will recall, to build the Bruce A generating station. In early 1972 the cabinet of the day decided that the terminus of the line from that station would be in the Georgetown-Milton area and that was announced at the time.

Mr. Peterson: How old were you then?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In 1974 we got into the Solandt commission on the Nanticoke to Pickering -- I’m sorry, that should be 1973 and 1974 -- and in 1974 he recommended there be no further consideration of a Bruce to Essa corridor. He gave extensive time to individuals who made representations for such a study and he specifically recommended against such a further study.

On May 2, before the decision was taken by cabinet, representatives of the interested citizens’ group in that part of Ontario met with ministers of the cabinet committee on resources development to put yet again their view that there should be a further study of a Bruce to Essa corridor, notwithstanding the recommendation of commissioner Solandt. It was not until May 29, almost four weeks later, that the decision was taken by the government and announced by my colleague, the then Minister of Energy (Mr. McKeough), on July 11 of that same year.

Mr. Speaker: Further questions. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk with his questions please.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. In view of the fact that 20 minutes has been taken with the first set of leadoff questions with their supplementaries, I think we should get on to new questions. If there is time, the hon. members may come back to it.

The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk with his question.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is leading off the questions for his party.


Mr. Nixon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I put a question to the Treasurer having to do with the decision to increase the OHIP fees. He is aware of the large proportion of municipal employees who have 100 per cent of their OHIP charges paid by their employers, a large percentage of hospital employees have 100 per cent of their hospitalization paid; has he calculated the impact of this decision on the already burdened municipal and hospital board budgets?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Not specifically, Mr. Speaker, but we will do so.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since the matter appears to be justified in the Treasurer’s statement that in fact somebody else is going to pay this for the individuals, and it turns out that the municipal councils and the hospital boards are going to be paying it, is this not simply another indication of the government’s readiness to shift the responsibility for its own budgetary requirements to municipal boards and other boards?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: If I followed that question correctly, the answer is no.


Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Is it not true that in the case of private corporations at least a portion of the cost attributable to premiums paid by the employer is tax deductible from corporate tax, so therefore they don’t have to carry the full burden of this additional cost; while in the case of municipalities and school boards the government has already reduced the amounts of money this year over and against last year, at least the rate of increase, and they’re going to have to transfer that additional cost, every cent of it to the municipal taxpayer, because they don’t benefit in the same way as private corporations?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, as a quick estimate, I think the member is talking about something which would probably be less than half of one per cent of payroll.

Mr. Deans: What difference does that make?

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: So that he need not guess, is the Treasurer aware of the fact that the calculations in Metropolitan Toronto alone for this particular item of his will cost approximately an additional $80,000? Is he prepared to make any form of assistance available to the Metropolitan Toronto people so they don’t have to suffer that additional burden after he has already limited them?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Perhaps the leader of the third party would like to put on the record the total budget of Metropolitan Toronto, and put these things in perspective.

Mr. Deans: What difference does that make?

Mr. S. Smith: What is half a million? Famous statement

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, is the Treasurer aware -- probably he isn’t -- what consternation he has caused at the Anti-Inflation Board by the arbitrary increase in OHIP premiums, which in many instances of contracts already rolled back, represents more than one per cent, or indeed the equivalent of the rollback? And what is he going to do now in discussions with the board about employers or employees who may be in violation of that contract as a result of this arbitrary imposition?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would find it hard to believe it is going to amount to more than one per cent.

Mr. Lewis: The contract is rolled back by one per cent.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Is the Treasurer aware of the fact that one small university in this province -- namely Brock, at St. Catharines -- had completed its budget and has just now calculated that this additional cost will add $50,000 that it doesn’t have? That’s just one small university.

Mr. Reid: That is a small amount.

Mr. S. Smith: “Look at their total budget,” he is going to tell you.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the budget of the --

Mr. Ruston: Going to get it back on income taxes.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am aware that the budget of colleges and universities in this province, with two exceptions, increased more than any other sector of total government expenditures.

Mr. S. Smith: And municipalities decreased.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Nixon: A final question of the Treasurer: I wonder if he can explain to the House why in his budget he revoked the financial commitment to municipalities that the general support grant would under no circumstances be less than 95 per cent of the payments made in the year previous?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, we announced that a year ago.

Mr. Nixon: It was a year ago that he announced they would not allow the grant to fall below 95 per cent, and in the statement that he made --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: For one year, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Nixon: -- last night he specifically revoked it; on page 14.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No.

Mr. Nixon: Oh well, I’ll read it to him. It says, “The 95 per cent guarantee applicable is terminated.” I would ask the minister a supplementary: How many municipalities are going to find that general grant is less than 95 per cent of what was payable a year ago?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, we made that announcement one year ago. It was announced in the budget one year ago.

Mr. Nixon: All right, here it is in the statement last night.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, we are confirming again that it’s terminated. But if the member looks in the budget a year ago, if he can read it, he’ll find it was said a year ago.

Mr. S. Smith: No longer operable.

Mr. Nixon: How many townships are going to get less than 95 per cent?



Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) asked a question on April 6 concerning the Ontario Housing tenants in Hamilton being asked to sign leases three months in advance of the commencement of the lease and also that rents were being indicated in the lease for an amount in excess of an eight per cent increase. Mr. Speaker, I believe there has been a misunderstanding between the persons gathering information and the person providing it.

Leases are being renewed; tenants are not being asked to sign new leases. An important aspect of the renewal process is the verification of income, as most of our units are leased on the rent-geared-to-income basis. Under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act, the landlord -- in this case the Hamilton housing authority -- is required to provide the tenant with 90 days’ notice of any rent increase. That increase does not come into effect, however, until the anniversary date of the lease.

With respect to increases in excess of eight per cent over the base rent, where our units are leased on the rent-geared-to-income basis, it may be that a tenant’s increase in income over the year would entitle us to collect an amount in excess of eight per cent. When this is the case, the tenant is provided with a letter of intent which states that an application will be made to the local rent review officer for the full amount, but that in the interim the rent increase will be limited to eight per cent.

Pending distribution in the near future of a revised lease form, applicants for assisted housing are asked to sign an offer of accommodation form, which states the rent within the limits of the rent review legislation. If it is the housing authority’s intention to apply for a higher rental in keeping with the applicant’s income this amount is also stated, so the applicant is kept fully informed of his or her position before making the decision on whether to rent the premises offered.


Mr. Ziemba: I have a question for the acting Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker; it’s to do with the Ontario Drug Benefits Plan. In view of the estimated expenditures in excess of $57 million for the coming year, half of which is made up of dispensing fees, could the acting minister tell us when she is prepared to renegotiate the Drug Benefits Plan with the Ontario Pharmacists Association with a view to saving on the cost of these dispensing fees by cancelling the present 30-day supply period?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I can’t tell you when the next group of negotiation discussions will begin with the OPA, but certainly that matter will be considered at that time.

Mr. Reid: Is the minister concerned about the study that was done at McMaster and also by the Drug Addiction Foundation about the increase both in medically prescribed drugs and non-prescription drugs in the Province of Ontario? Is she aware of those studies and is she concerned about the large increase in the amounts of drugs used by the population?

Hon. B Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member has read any of the small articles which I have written over the last five years, he will find --

Mr. Peterson: Don’t expect that of anybody, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- that in fact my concern about this began almost a decade ago and has in fact been publicized.


Mr. Reid: What are they doing about it within the Ministry of Health?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is a complicated problem of which we are acutely aware and we are attempting to find some resolution for this problem. Unfortunately, it has to do with the concepts of many of our citizens that there is a pill for every ill, and that any discomfort of any kind can be treated with some kind of medication.

Mr. Shore: What have they got for politics?

Hon. B. Stephenson: This requires a very large and broadly based education project --


Hon. B. Stephenson: -- which the ministry has begun; but it’s certainly not broad enough as yet


Mr. Reid: But what about the doctor-prescribed drugs?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware of the fact that druggists, by limiting the amount of pills they provide a patient, will gain more in terms of remuneration by refilling the same application over many more times? If the minister is aware of this practice, what does she intend to do to eliminate this method of ripping off the Ontario taxpayer?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this practice is in some areas widespread. The ministry is aware of it. There are some solutions which can be found, but there is not one single solution which will provide answers to all of the problems involved. We are looking at it.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we should get on to the questions. There are many more people with questions. The member for Halton-Burlington, please.


Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy.

Mr. Yakabuski: That is not a new question.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Really got you, eh?

Mr. Reed: On May 29, 1974, when the decision was made which affected the Ombudsman’s participation in the Bradley-Georgetown corridor, was Hydro’s environmental report available and, if not, on what basis was that cabinet decision made?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Finally heard about it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have indicated on a number of occasions to people in the area affected and recently, since the hon. member started to ask about this, in the last 10 days to him that the decision was taken a number of years ago -- in fact, it was over four years ago --

An hon. member: In other words --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- that the terminus of the line to bring power out of Bruce would be in the general Georgetown-Milton area, for reasons of system security -- reasons which are well known to him.

The member will know, as I indicated earlier, that the environmental reports prepared by Hydro on the Bradley to Georgetown corridor were completed and delivered to the ministry in December, 1974, and released to the public on Jan. 6, 1975. He will also know that in March, 1975, when the interested citizens’ group visited me in my office -- on March 25, I believe it was -- I ordered Hydro to cease all work on the line until I had considered their request. The member will know, of course, that my response to the request was to order the Environmental Hearing Board to investigate the portion between Points 33 and 95, that is between Colbeck and Limehouse.

I notice -- I have a copy of an advertisement of the hon. member from the last election -- and be was prepared to stop it altogether. I put to him again the question which I put to him in the letter which I sent him several days ago: is he prepared to make all power consumers of the Province of Ontario pay the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars that will be involved in such a delay?

Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, the minister has not answered this question. I asked him on what basis the 1974 decision was made?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I did, in fact, answer the question and if he will pay attention I will tell him again. The decision was taken --

Mr. Speaker: Perhaps you might read it in Hansard, thank you.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That the --

Mr. Roy: Don’t repeat it, you dummy -- my God!

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Albert, be nice.

Mr. Roy: Smart ass.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Watch your language.

Mr. Roy: Send him back to school and learn some manners.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the minister take his seat? If it’s the same question it was answered. I will have a supplementary --

Mr. Roy: Show a bit of modesty. Mr. Ruston: Send bins back to grade school.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Mr. Lewis: I want to ask --

Mr. Speaker: Order, the hon. member for Ottawa East. Order.

Mr. Lewis: Can I not ask a supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: Yes.

Mr. Lewis: I am sorry. I want to ask, relating back to the content of the question, what is he going to do as a minister, as a cabinet, to repair the obviously strained relationship with the Ombudsman as reflected in the letter which he sent the minister as a result of this preclusion?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Lewis: The Ombudsman was contained in the action.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, that’s an observation, I suppose, which the hon. member is certainly entitled to make.

Mr. Shore: Tell him you have got a very good relationship.

Mr. Lewis: I think you should be responsible for that.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have spent part of the morning rereading Hansard from last year with regard to the debate on the Ombudsman bill and I found it difficult to determine exactly where his party stood on that particular section.

Mr. Lewis: It was on the same issue that Jim Renwick had an exchange with John Clement.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I read 12 pages of comments from the hon. member and still couldn’t understand where he stood.

Mr. Renwick: There is no difficulty; you reread it tonight.

Mr. Roy: Why don’t you bring us --

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Calm down, Albert.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think that the relationship between the Ombudsman and the assembly and the government is as good today as it has ever been since he was appointed.

Mr. Yakabuski: Don’t destroy that image.

Mr. Roy: You appear like a nice guy, Paul, next to him.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It was a case that this was, I think, really the first occasion on which the Ombudsman had to answer for himself the question of the breadth of his jurisdiction particularly in light of section 14(b) of the Ombudsman Act.

Mr. Nixon: Is he that bad?

Mr. Roy: He is that bad.

Mr. Yakabuski: Be a good boy, Albert. You will be the leader in four years when your time is right.

Mr. Renwick: He spends most of his time writing.

Mr. Reed: Knowing that the cost of this delay, from 1974 to the present time, according to the minister’s figures would be from $25 million to $48 million as of April 5, 1976, and that further delays would mean additional costs and that availability of full power from the three generating units would be delayed, why were the government’s options not exercised at that time?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Sorry, Mr. Speaker, I don’t understand which options the hon. member’s referring to.

Mr. Ruston: Better go back to school.

Mr. Reed: By granting an independent study or telling the people that the government could not have any more public hearings.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have made it abundantly clear and my predecessor made it abundantly clear that we would not consider a corridor through Essa or to Essa from Owen Sound to Collingwood. I am sure if the member were to speak to the Ion, member who usually sits in front of him, he would find out what he thought of such an idea going through his area. That has been clear all along.


Mr. G. E. Smith: I have a question for the acting Minister of Health. In light of the recent tragic incident in Orillia resulting in the death of a female resident of the Huronia Regional Centre, is the ministry taking steps to provide for continuing psychiatric care for the mentally disturbed retarded at the psychiatric hospital at Penetang?

Mr. Riddell: They sure can’t send them to Goderich now.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Under the Mental Health Act of this province there is provision for transfer of a patient from centres such as the Huronia centre to the local psychiatric institution for assessment. There is also provision for retention of that individual within the psychiatric institution on the basis of the diagnosis made. I think the unfortunate thing that has happened in this instance is that the assessment did not apparently provide sufficient information to require retention of that patient at Penetang and unfortunately she was in fact returned to the Huronia centre. I think we must make some specific provision for this kind of problem and we will be looking at that in the Mental Health Act.

Mr. G. E. Smith: Supplementary: In view of the fact that this type of unfortunate incident has happened at least twice previously, would the minister assure the House that she will communicate with the staff at the psychiatric hospital at Penetang to encourage them to assess these cases a little more thoroughly so that perhaps a repetition of this type could be avoided?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall most certainly communicate with the staff at the Penetang hospital. There are grave difficulties with this specific type of diagnosis and perhaps we need more creditable guidelines, I think, for that sort of diagnosis.


Mr. di Santo: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. It is related to the statement she made last Monday at the annual conference of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association in which, according to the press, she noted, and I quote from the Star, “Italian workers are inclined to accept those jobs with the greatest safety hazard.” I would like to ask the minister whether she will tell us what is the factual evidence that leads her to believe that the Italian workers, and I quote her from the Star, “have an inherent aversion to the idea of governmental authority.”

Hon. B. Stephenson: The problems which led to the development of the pilot project, about which I was speaking on Monday, were established by a steering committee and an advisory committee made up of eminent citizens and of the Italian-speaking community in Toronto and Hamilton with representation from management and union sides and from independent workers as well. It was on the basis of their assessment of the problems, as they saw them and as transmitted to us, and upon the basis of the statistical information which we have about the incidence of accidents to that specific ethnic group of workers within the construction industry that the project was developed.

Mr. di Santo: A final supplementary: If, as the minister says, the programme is not working because the workers are not using the hot line, then will the minister inform the House whether it doesn’t work because the workers don’t want to use the hot line or because there has been a downgrading of the confidentiality of the programme under pressure of the employers? If that is the case, would the minister consider reporting to the House whether there was any change in that sense?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in actual fact, I said the programme was working and is working extremely well; we have been surprised by the response we have been receiving from the workers, specifically on the hot line. There has been no loss of confidentiality, because there has been no pressure upon the individual answering that hot line and those who are collecting and collating the information and the material.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Is the minister aware of the serious traffic hazard on that part of the Queen Elizabeth Way, generally referred to as Sand Plant Hill, where there have been 95 accidents over the past six years, five of them fatalities, and most recently a fatality in the first week in April? I would ask for the minister’s comments on that particular area.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, would the member repeat which bill he is referring to?

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, it’s referred to as the Sand Plant Hill; it’s between Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.

Mr. Nixon: Where the narrow railway bridge is.

Mr. Kerrio: There’s a railway bridge over it. You could touch the abutments on either side of that highway through the windows of your car.

An hon. member: Not if you’re wearing your seatbelt.

Mr. Kerrio: Even Bob Welch.

Mr. Lewis: The perfect picture of the Liberals: driving with both hands out of the window gripping the abutment.

Hon. Mr. Snow: If the hon. member drives with his hands out both windows at the same time, I wouldn’t doubt there’s a number of accidents.

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar with the particular area. In view of the statistics he quotes, I certainly will look into the matter and report back to him.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: That’s probably the reason we’ve been having so many accidents -- the minister isn’t familiar with it. I would ask the minister if he will advise this House, and in particular those interested citizens in that area, if he has any intention of inquiring into and correcting this very hazardous situation. I’ll send him the record. I would say to the minister that they don’t even have impact equipment and devices at that site -- not even a guardrail of any kind. It is most serious, and I would ask the minister’s co-operation.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I told the hon. member I would look into it. He held up what appears to be a newspaper clipping, and I will not accept that as a statistic. We do obviously have statistics of every area in the province as to the number of accidents and the number of injuries.

Mr. Roy: Obviously you are not familiar with them.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I will get those statistics and I certainly will report to the hon. member.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Presenting reports.

Mr. Lawlor from the standing private bills committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee begs to report the following bills with certain amendments:

Bill Pr7, An Act respecting McMaster University;

Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the borough of York;

Bill Pr10, An Act respecting St. Andrew’s Church, Ottawa;

Bill Pr22, An Act respecting Welland Area YMCA-YWCA.

Your committee would recommend that the fees, less the actual cost of printing and penalties, if any, be remitted on Bill Pr10, An Act respecting St. Andrew’s Church, Ottawa, and Bill Pr22, An Act respecting Welland Area YMCA-YWCA.


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:

Town of Fort Erie (No. 1); Town of Fort Erie (No. 2);

City of Windsor;

City of Niagara Falls;

City of Ottawa;

Institute of Professional Librarians of Ontario;

Napco Poultry Ltd.;

City of Burlington;

Dovercourt Baptist Foundation;

Welland-Port Colborne Airport;

City of Toronto;

City of Hamilton;

Township of Bosanquet;

Township of West Carleton.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.

Introduction of bills.


Mr. Mancini moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Napco Poultry Ltd.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Leluk moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Health Insurance Act, 1972.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is in short, to provide persons with plastic cards to be used on visits to physicians, laboratories or hospitals, so that the person would receive at the time of the visit a receipt indicating the services performed and the amount to be billed to the plan.


Mr. Haggerty moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Haggerty moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting the Town of Fort Erie.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Reed moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting the City of Burlington.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Leluk, on behalf of Mr. Morrow, moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Good moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Rancheria Mining Co. Ltd.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved second reading of Bill 34, An Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Energy Board Act requires that any proposed change in rates that Hydro is to make would have to be submitted some eight months in advance of the date for the implementation of that change so that they can be reviewed -- a procedure that this Legislature initiated a couple of years ago.

As hon. members of the Legislature are aware, a select committee is presently investigating Hydro’s rates. It has proved to be a very sizable task, and the original date by which we hoped the select committee could complete that work was the end of March. It is now not possible to get a final report in before the end of May.

Those amendments simply adjust the requirements of the Act by reducing the requirement from eight months to six months for giving notification of those changes in hydro rates that Hydro might have been considering for next year. In short, Hydro wants to have the benefits of the select committee report before it comes to a final conclusion as to rates for next year.

In short, in one sense it’s tidying, but it is only tidying for the purpose of meeting these particular circumstances this year. Therefore, I think the bill is worthy of support and I would certainly recommend to all members of the House that they do support it.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to object to the bill bemuse I regard it as a technicality and I accept the arguments of my colleague, but I would just like to take this opportunity to lay before the House some of the things that concern me very greatly about this whole procedure. It has become such a cumbersome procedure; it has become such a costly procedure.

I would just like to draw to your attention, Mr. Spanker, the events of the last price increase. When Hydro asked for 30 per cent, it went back to the government and came back at 25 per cent, back to the Ontario Energy Board at 27 per cent and then, through the select committee, down to 22 per cent.

I would respectfully submit that this is a wasteful, cumbersome, nonsensical procedure. I don’t think it is fair to Ontario Hydro. Poor Ontario Hydro was waiting until the very last minute last fall before it knew what the rate structure would be on Jan. 1. The report came down in the middle of December. No, it is not fair for anyone to ask an organization of that magnitude to plan on the basis on which the government has asked it to plan.

I would like to suggest this: I think it is time that this organization and the pricing structure become a responsibility of this Legislature through a select committee on a continuing basis or through the government, through the Ministry of Energy. Clearly this is a matter, in my mind, for legislative control. It has such important and profound ramifications on the nature of our borrowing, the financial life in this province and, indeed, the environmental and agricultural aspects, and the issues we were talking about today with respect to the corridors.

I know they are a little wider, the issues I am talking about, than just the pricing application but I would recommend this to the minister for his consideration. He should bring in the wider issues, clearly, to have successful resolution of a lot of these very difficult planning problems and financial problems which he and Hydro face daily. I think it is time to bring those kinds of problems under the control of the House.

I would like to leave that with you, Mr. Speaker. I can assure you that our party will support this particular bill but I think it is time to think of some of these wider issues’.

Mr. Renwick: If I may comment very briefly, I would like, on behalf of our caucus, to dissociate our caucus from the remarks made by the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson).

We have spent a long period of time over the years trying to persuade the government that not only natural gas but Ontario Hydro and, indeed, now the whole question of the pricing of oil and petroleum products in the province are quite legitimately a matter of regulation. The place to have them regulated are through the body which has the expertise and which deals with all kinds and nature of energy.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the members for their assurance that they will support the bill. I should point out to the hon. member for York South that in addition to changing, as he quite rightly points out, the filing date for the 1977 rates from eight months prior to the end of the year to six months, there is also the additional amendment, of course, for the reporting date -- at least, for an interim report if not a final report -- from four months to three months before the end of the year.

I must say I am pleased to hear the remarks of the hen, member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). I think what the hon. member for London Centre is implying is a complete and total takeover by the government not only of Ontario Hydro but, through that, of the local utilities.

This party and this government believe there is great merit in having Ontario Hydro set up as a corporate body in the way it is, with its own board of directors. We believe the 353 utilities that exist from one end of the province to the other do deliver a very valuable and efficient service to the communities in which they operate. We would not support the notion of taking them over completely.

The hon. member suggests a committee of this House was somehow going to deal on a regular basis with the question of rates. He will know from the few times he attended the select committee that this is not a very simple matter. He will know that last year the Energy Board spent 55 days on that. They are very expert people; with all due respect to the members of this House, I would suggest they are more expert than we in the various dimensions which affect the question.

Mr. Peterson: What kind of power do they have?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Probably they are more objective.

I think it is very important -- this is certainly straying away from the bill -- that the government give to Ontario Hydro very clear directions such as recently has been done on the question of borrowing. This has resulted in --

Mr. Peterson: Because your bankers made you do it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- a significant and large decrease in the capital borrowing programme to 1985.

Mr. Peterson: Your bankers are now running the province.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Within those bounds of government direction Hydro is in a good position to operate its own show and take care of itself. The Energy Board is surely the place where these rates should be reviewed. This year with the introduction of the anti-inflation programme following the Ontario Energy Board report there was a very peculiar and special circumstance which has resulted in the creation of the select committee. I must say, as I’ve said before, that I’m very pleased at the breadth of inquiry by the select committee. I think it has been a very beneficial exercise for members of dl parties, the government members as well as opposition members, in gaining a closer appreciation of the intricacies of the Ontario Hydro system and the problems which they confront and deal with on a daily basis.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?



The following bill was given third reading upon motion:

Bill 34, An Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act.


Mr. Norton on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough moved second reading of Bill 9, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.

Mr. Swart: It appears that most of the amendments in Bill 9 are technical and routine amendments. But I rise to express some rather serious reservations to clause 1 in the bill. As a matter of fact, I and my party have some reservations about the technique of even having an Escarpment Commission to preserve the Escarpment. We feel there are other ways that it could be done equally effectively or more effectively and a bit more democratically. However, I know, Mr. Speaker, you’ll rule me out of order rather quickly if I speak about the bill generally. So I’ll return to the reservation on clause 1, which provides for the transfer of responsibility for the Escarpment Commission from TEIGA -- really from Intergovernmental Affairs -- to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine).


We basically have two objections to it. The first is that it is administratively inappropriate. All of the land-use planning of the province now comes either under TEIGA, and that is regional planning, or comes under the Ministry of Housing, which has jurisdiction over regional and local municipal planning in the province. There certainly must be a great deal of co-ordination and co-operation between the groups that are concerned about planning in the Escarpment area.

There are three groups concerned: the Escarpment Commission, the local and regional planners and the provincial planning department. When the Act was originally written it gave recognition to this. It says:

“During the course of the preparation of the Niagara Escarpment plan the commission shall consult with the minister, provincial secretary or other person having charge of any affected ministry and with the council of each municipality within or partly within the Niagara Escarpment planning area with respect to the proposed contents of the plan.” [It also says:]

“In preparing the Niagara Escarpment plan, the objectives to be sought by the commission in the Niagara Escarpment planning area shall be:

“‘(g) to support municipalities within the Niagara Escarpment planning area in exercise of the planning function conferred upon them by the Planning Act.’”

Therefore, there is no doubt that the Act provides that there must be close co-ordination and co-operation between these groups.

I am aware that even at the present time there is some arm’s length relationship between the commission and some of the local and regional planning groups, but I suggest that if we move this to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development we’re putting the provincial level at further arm’s length. If this is going to be changed at all from one ministry to another, I suggest that it should go to the Ministry of Housing, which has responsibility for regional and local plans. The second reason we disagree with this clause is that we are afraid, and I think with some justification, that this will mean a shift in emphasis from preservation of the Escarpment to development.

Everyone who lives around the Escarpment and is familiar with the local municipalities and with the Escarpment Commission, knows that there are tremendous pressures by developers and pits and quarries operators to develop along the Escarpment. In fact it seems to be the policy of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) to permit any pit and quarry to expand as much as it wants to, even if it is in the Escarpment jurisdiction. In fact, in my area, in the town of Pelham, Steed and Evans, formerly Moyer Sand and Gravel, is going to ultimately achieve the total removal of the fruit land plateau of about two square miles. If they continue at the present rate, they’ll totally remove that whole plateau within a period of another decade or two. Against the wishes of the town of Pelham, even without consulting the town of Pelham, permits have been given to expand the gravel operation in that part of the Escarpment area.

It’s bad now, but if we change the responsibility to the Resources Development secretariat, even the present situation, we feel, will become worse. Perhaps they want to remove the embarrassment, because at this time even their own planners are opposed to what is taking place to some degree in the Escarpment area and they’re having battles within their department. I suppose if we move it away from the planning departments in the province it will remove that irritation.

Certainly the intent of the Act is to preserve the Escarpment. We read in clause after clause that the object is to protect the unique ecologic and historic areas, to maintain and enhance the quality and character of natural streams and water supplies, to provide adequate opportunities for outdoor recreation, to maintain and enhance the open landscape character of the Niagara Escarpment insofar as possible. That’s the purpose of the proposed plan.

I suggest it will not enhance this if we change it into that secretariat and we will oppose it for that reason. I have some questions about the intent in changing it, unless it is the last reason that I have given, and I suspect that is the truth. Or is it too controversial for the present minister -- we know it is a controversial subject -- and he wants to transfer it to an expendable minister? I’m not sure whether that may be part of the reason, but we are convinced that this move, far from doing anything to further preserve the Escarpment, will in fact make it easier for development to take place on the Escarpment, and therefore we are opposing this section of the bill.

Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some general comments regarding proposed amendments to the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.

First, of course, I suppose it is significant in some manner that there is a transfer taking place from TEIGA to the resources development policy field under the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Irvine). The only reason that I could find for the transfer -- there may be other underlying reasons -- is that TEIGA and the minister, the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), are overburdened with work and have too much. We in this caucus have said for a considerable length of time that the municipal affairs portfolio should be taken out of TEIGA and made a separate portfolio. Perhaps the whole municipal affairs arrangement should be taken from TEIGA and placed under the jurisdiction of some other minister.

I won’t go so far as to say that this is the proper resting place for municipal affairs or, in fact, for this particular Act, but in principle I do agree generally that the Treasurer can’t possibly keep his finger on everything that is going on within his ministry without delegating authority to his parliamentary assistant and now to the member for Carleton-Grenville, the minister responsible for resources development.

There is perhaps a danger in this, in that while major policy is made in TEIGA, when legislation comes before this House dealing with matters such as this and passage of the bill is in the hands of a parliamentary assistant, we find it impossible to argue effectively and point or to effect any changes in the bill; such authority is not delegated when authority for passage of a bill is delegated. We also run into this, of course, in the case of policy decisions that are made in TEIGA but implemented by the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen). We can’t get to the root cause of things. The Minister of Revenue has said consistently in this House, “I am just the cash register to collect the money; I don’t make the policy.” So we can’t argue policy with the Minister of Revenue. Perhaps the same complaint could be made here.

I don’t think we can enter into any debate on any proposed amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act without reminding this House and the people of Ontario that, had the Gertler report been acted on when it was first produced, by this year, the year 1976, the complete Niagara Escarpment would have been under the controls specified by Prof. Len Gertler from the University of Waterloo.

Mr. Nixon: It could have been done.

Mr. Good: It could have been done. The report was issued in 1968. It was an eight-year plan; it was going to involve the purchase of 90,000 acres by the province, and the total cost to the Province of Ontario over an eight-year period would have been $31.5 million. In retrospect, can we believe that the government was so inactive, so irresponsible, that it had its eyes closed so much to the need for some kind of action on the Niagara Escarpment that it missed the opportunity completely?

Mr. Nixon: They built Ontario Place instead.

Mr. Good: The three steps for controlling the Escarpment Commission would have been completed this year, 1976, if the plan had been started at the time Prof. Gertler indicated in his report. That report is being proved correct in every way.

John White, the former Treasurer, said just a couple of years ago that it would cost $1.3 billion for the government to control development on the Escarpment. Well, we knew he was exaggerating, as he usually did on certain matters when it suited the occasion; but certainly the people of Ontario must know now, and it must be reiterated again, that the Niagara Escarpment could have been completely under controls this year for a cost of $31.5 million by, first of all, purchasing certain selected areas that the report showed had to be purchased by the province.


There were other selective areas where options, agreements and future purchases could have taken place. Finally, for the rest of the Escarpment the regulatory matters, such as zoning and controls, could have taken place. This could have taken place all within the framework of the provincial plan at the time for the Escarpment which was laid out so plainly before this government in 1968. The local municipalities would have co-operated, I am sure, in their zoning.

We missed the chance and now we are still, eight years later, trying to bring some order, some reasonable approach, to the future development of the Niagara Escarpment. I talked the other day with the director of the Escarpment Commission and he confirmed my fears that the three-year target will not be met for the development of the plan for the Niagara Escarpment. They expect to have the draft plan completed by the end of this year, hopefully.

I am sure the provisions of the Act which then require the participation of the municipalities, the public and councils will take another six, eight or 10 years, and maybe another year after that. Certainly, the three-year target will not be met for the plan to be completed and the final plan turned back to the municipalities for administration.

Many of us feel very badly that we still have to deal with this legislation as planning and control legislation. It started out with the minister going to the commission; it is now part way through the process over which the commission has the control and, hopefully, it will end up back in the control of the local municipalities. That is where the final decision must rest, in the eyes of the people who live there and in the eyes of the people of Ontario.

One amendment here is most interesting. This is the amendment which simply says the commission is a body corporate without share capital; it’s an addition to section 5 of the bill. I gather that this stems from the fact that the Niagara Escarpment Commission, not being a body corporate, has had no standing before the OMB.

Many of us were startled about two years ago to learn that no unincorporated body has any status before the Ontario Municipal Board. Neighbourhood associations which were noncorporated or groups of people could not appear before the board. In some legal decision I think, if my memory is correct, the interpretation of the word person in the OMB Act precluded unincorporated bodies from appearing before the board. Now we have a situation in which the commission has no standing before the Ontario Municipal Board.

If, for instance, a land division committee allows this severance or separation of property within the Niagara Escarpment Commission, even though the commission has previously expressed its views to that body, the commission then may wish to appeal that decision of the local land division committee. Maybe it could be just as easily a zoning bylaw in a municipality or a change to an official plan or something of this nature.

The Niagara Escarpment Commission found that because it was not incorporated it could not go as a commission to the Ontario Municipal Board hearing to put forth its objections. Let me tell the members there are many people -- farmers and those who have land up in the northern end of the Escarpment particularly -- who think there’s nothing wrong with that position. They think it is just great if the commission has no standing before the OMB.

In other words, if the local board has approved the severance, they are saying why should the commission have authority to come in and fight against a decision made by a local land division committee or a local council in the case of a zoning bylaw? There’s perhaps a little more to it than that.

I think, personally, the commission does have to have corporate standing not only for that reason but for other matters which, I suppose, make it a little more approachable; make it, I suppose, subject to suit if you wanted to sue them or something of that nature. It’s an interesting amendment. It’s a wonder it wasn’t thought of in the first place when the bill went through, but I presume from the commission’s point of view it is a necessary amendment.

As to the status of the municipal bylaws, I was given to understand when the bill went through there was no problem about that in the bill. I always understood that once the plan was completed, all municipal bylaws that had been, one might say made dormant during this planning process, would automatically come back into being when the plan for the Escarpment was completed and turned back to the municipality.

We know that the official plans of the municipality also fell victim to the Niagara Escarpment Commission. All the planning that had been done -- and many of those municipalities were on the verge of coming forth with official plans -- went out the window when this grandiose plan was put through and when this legislation went through, which was in fact a complicated and costly way of doing what could have been done under the Gertler recommendations of 1968.

I can see the validity in the last amendment. If permission is given by the commission to do certain things with a piece of land, there is doubt that permission would carry on if the land is sold. As I read this, the authority to sever, the authority to build or the authority to change the status of a piece of land after this amendment will now follow rather than have to be renewed if the piece of property is sold.

While we have been critical of the whole Niagara Escarpment development plan, in light of the fact that it could have been done at much less cost and much more expediently if the government had taken up the Gertler report, we find we’re stuck with this thing now and we’ve got to make it work; so we will support these amendments as they appear before us.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate? The hon. member for Carleton-Grenville.

Hon. Mr. Irvine: I would like to say a very few words in relation to only a portion of the bill, in reply to the member for Welland (Mr. Swart) in particular. The transfer of responsibility from Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs to myself and to our policy people is very much in order. The policy field has the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of TEIGA and various other ministries which relate to resources development, as members are well aware.

The implementation of this plan is now under the jurisdiction of the commission, and I want to say at this time that the commission has, in my opinion, functioned very well in the past. It has had problems, like any other commission would with a very difficult situation to handle. But I do think the members of the commission are to be complimented at this time for what they have achieved.

I see the transfer of this responsibility as a very practical way to handle the situation. We are co-ordinating every week. We meet on Thursdays, and more often during the week if necessary, to co-ordinate the activities of the various ministries in our policy field. A matter of planning, whether it comes from Treasury or whether it comes from the Ministry of Housing or whether it comes from Natural Resources, naturally comes to our policy field. Therefore it’s not correct to say that the transfer of this responsibility is, as the member for Welland stated, I believe, for the sole purpose of making sure the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment was not preserved. That is not a true statement at all.

We understand that the Niagara Escarpment should be preserved in general, but we also understand that some building should be allowed. Any proposals will come before several of my ministries, and therefore will be dealt with on their own feasibility, whether or not any proposal will be accepted is very much dependent upon the views of other ministers. The Ministry of the Environment, for instance, would very much question whether or not a certain development should go ahead. Therefore, I think it’s not fair to say that we are trying to move the responsibility over because of the possibility that the Niagara Escarpment will not be preserved. That is absolutely false.

With regard to the member for Waterloo North’s (Mr. Good) comment as to the possibility of acquiring 90,000 acres for $31.5 million, I believe that’s a supposition that only he could come forward with. It isn’t a fact, as far as we are concerned. We believe it would have cost many millions of dollars more than that.

Mr. Good: That was before you were even around here.

Hon. Mr. Irvine: The former Treasurer said it would cost much more than that, and we think --

Mr. Good: It could have been done in 1968, and they didn’t do anything.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That was before the commission was established.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Good: Ask the member from Georgetown.

Hon. Mr. Irvine: The member for Waterloo North might restrain himself a bit. I didn’t interrupt lim. I was trying to listen quite carefully to him. What I am saying is this; we have decided upon a policy which I believe will work. My responsibility is to ensure that the development plan will be brought forward as quickly as possible in keeping with the aims of the commission and of the municipalities that are affected, and we will take this immediately under our jurisdiction once this bill is passed. We will make sure that the people in the area have their desires looked at very carefully, not only by the staff of the commission, but by the members of the commission, and we will ensure that the hearings are held on a regular basis, and that they will be held fairly, and to my knowledge they have been very successful up to this stage.

To suggest that the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) would be the one to take this responsibility is absolutely incorrect. The member for Welland (Mr. Swart) knows full well that the appeals --

Mr. Nixon: You have housing on the brain.

Hon. Mr. Irvine: The member for Welland mentioned that the Minister of Housing should be the one to take over this responsibility.

Mr. Good: Don’t look at me.

Mr. Nixon: We thought you were pointing that finger at our colleague.

Hon. Mr. Irvine: He has already left -- no, he has already left; I am just merely mentioning that the member for Welland stated that it should go to Housing. Housing couldn’t possibly handle it because it would have, I would think, a dual role to play. First of all, the Minister of Housing has to decide on the hearings that are held by the hearing officers, the decision is that of the Minister of Housing. What we are doing is playing a neutral role on the basis of whether or not a proposal should go forth, and I believe we can effectively handle this particular responsibility without any problem and without any handicap as far as the commission is concerned. I want to assure the hon. member for Waterloo North that I want to work with the commission, this government does’, and we will do so. I think we will find in the future that we have preserved the Escarpment and we have also had some development.

Mr. Good: From 1968 to 1972 you didn’t do a thing.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Lakeshore.

Mr. Lawlor: The handling of this, from beginning to end, starting many years ago now when we were all hoary young children, attending in our infancy upon this institution, has been a tale of scandal. The hiding, first of all, of the Gertler report, then the failure to implement it; the foot-dragging that has occurred throughout, the whole deportment of the ministry, of the Treasury or any other ministry of this government with respect to be Niagara Escarpment, has been a lamentable talc of deficiency and malfeasance and we can have scarcely anything but deep suspicion of the present moves. Because somehow I personally, and I am sure others in this House, feel that the present appointment system -- listen, if a number of local reeves, if a number of local municipal officials are caught up in the plan, their prime responsibility is to advance the social and economic viability and benefits to their regions. They are in a position where they are expected to do that. I don’t fault them on it, as they then make incursions upon the Escarpment itself in the interests of economic growth, to do the job they have been elected or appointed to do. They represent a very substantial portion of the members, purportedly, on the new corporation.

There is a kind of conflict concept worked into the very core of this thing and the government is working adversely to the interests of what was proclaimed in the Gertler report and what is wanted in an overall way by the people of the Province of Ontario for the preservation of that unique land scheme.


This is a great loss. I would like to refer the House to a letter -- to remarks as they are called -- by the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) at the annual meeting of the Sierra Club of Ontario, at King, Ont., on Oct. 25, 1975. He’s in good company on this particular occasion. He’s not with the financial interests of the province. He’s not rubbing shoulders with the magnates who couldn’t care less about what goes on in ecosystems or in any other way.

He’s talking to the people of the Sierra Club and therefore he accommodates -- as I read these remarks -- his whole attitude and deportment to a naturalist environment and to a sense of ecological responsibility. At the beginning he says -- no, a little further down:

“We are entering a period which, in my opinion, may well be characterized by greater economic stability, less growth, but more social instability with an increasing emphasis on individual human values in planning. This has been described as a shift from planning as an exercise in economics to planning as a study of man’s total individual and collective needs, social and cultural as well as economic.”

How enlightened can he get? What lip service is paid to the new idols of the tribe? He’s getting very good at that. I get the sense that he doesn’t mean a damn word of it.

We got this blatheration over here this afternoon and we get it in the budget debate. He makes posturings and pays lip service to the current ideology and the movement which have been creeping out of America now for 10 years. Finally, they hit the Treasurer and his speech writer: I suppose it’s his speech writer because I don’t think it emanates from him directly.

My feeling is that the government, basically -- and this determinant member for government -- has the attitude with respect to economic growth: “Blow the works and come what may” But these are the words of the good fellow and he went on to say:

“We heard much talk during the campaign about big brother government making too many decisions which are better left with individuals. In rural areas particularly there was a generally favourable response to the argument that government should not dictate how a person can use his land. A specific programme such as the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment lost the government many supporters and probably contributed to the defeat of several government candidates.”

“Let me quote from a brief prepared by the Grey-Owen Sound Planning Board on behalf of the affected municipalities within the county of Grey [he is quoting].

“‘The members of the commission should be clearly aware that public reaction in the county of Grey has been one of frustration, deep concern and, in some cases, overt hostility to what the commission is attempting to do. The content of this brief may really not properly convey the violence of the objection which is being voiced by many land owners and individuals who are involved in businesses associated with the development.’”

In other words, what the Treasurer is saying is: “Listen, we suffered some infliction of damage during the last election campaign because of our mooted moves with respect to the Niagara Escarpment, however justified they were. I don’t think they had really any basis for complaint. We haven’t done all that much, Lord knows. Nevertheless, this is the way it is now and we’re going to have to pull back and lift whatever onus we placed on this particular area in order to win more votes.”

I take it that what is happening here today is part of that overall strategy and plan. That’s the thrust. He’s removing it from his shoulders and from the areas of specific planning in this province over to other ministries which have no planning auspices and which haven’t got the vast resources of TEIGA. The political climate and the way the pressure will be lifted from these numerous areas are detrimental to any future prospects with respect to the carrying out of Gertler -- however belated, however truncated and however lost to future generations the recommendations of the Gertler report may be. This is the context in which we must locate this legislation.

The second thing is a form of subversion too. It is the appeal to local determinations in the matter. There must be some balance in this thing. One expects localities to have a certain sovereignty, a certain self-determination, but you must not use the municipality argument and the local argument as the stalking horse for hiding somewhat more nefarious purposes and particularly, as I said at the beginning of my speech, when doing so may very well undermine the principle that we are seeking to set up.

We are not talking for ourselves in this particular bill. We are talking 50 years from now. We are talking of a future generation who wants recreational land use to be exercise in this area. The big wigs won’t have to locate their houses up along the ridge of the Escarpment so that they can see for 25 miles as they look out their window in the evening over cocktails. That is not a requisite [or the future development of this province or for the good of an increasing and expanded region, as we heard in the statement today. That’s what has happened, very wealthy individuals taking their racehorses into their bedrooms with them are located along the escarpment and seem to be able to get the grants in this particular wise --

Mr. Nixon: What is that about racehorses? I thought they just took the heads in with them?

Mr. Lawlor: -- on the Forks of the Credit and up through the regions north thereof. You can locate them all the way through. Some of them are very powerful Tories incidentally. The present ministry that is taking over this particular function hasn’t got very much weight in this direction.

What do you do with respect to the plots of record? Are they going to remain plots of record on the books of the registry office in the way they have been? What happens -- and this is in the experience of the commission as it presently stands -- to those individuals who have been granted new zoning and new lot allocations? They don’t use it all. They turn around and they want to sell off the piece that they haven’t utilized because it’s very substantial. They have a vested right at that particular point.

It is very difficult for local bodies, planning or otherwise, and for the commission itself which really has no final authority in this matter anyway, and will not have, to say no, because the thing has already been designated for a particular purpose. If they want to sell off a portion of the land to somebody else to erect another building on or to utilize as they see fit, then the cat is out of the bag. It’s a foreclosed issue. That should be prevented. If, on allocations of land for zoning purposes, the full extent of the acreage is not to be used, then whatever they wish to sell must be given as a first option back to the government as the person who will take over and preserve the land.

There isn’t very much to indicate it in this particular bill, but the Bruce Trail people have asked for an awful long time for something called a primitive zone throughout the Escarpment. My information is that in instance after instance they have been frustrated. They thought they had the trail delineated and set up. The next thing they know there is a $500,000 fortress or mansion or whatever silting in their path. It has been granted away. The trail then has to be completely re-routed. There are very grave dangers of it not having any continuity at all.

These are the aspects of the Escarpment too. They want to do something now because they have reached a point of desperation. They point to the Appalachian Trail in the United States where what they have done there is to set up a primitive frail. This would keep these buildings and this development back from the very wide swath of the Escarpment, around the ridge particularly where this is taking place. As you drive by Highway 401 or out on the highway there, you see the great gaps chewed in the Escarpment by bulldozers and by great machines. Those gaps are ever-widening and the blue sky penetrates though the bosom of the Escarpment. You can see for 500 miles right where the Escarpment ought to be. This is an ongoing process and not a very strict limitation thing.

It is no good shooting it over to Housing, for instance, with the Housing Ministry under the enormous pressure it already is under with respect to producing housing. They are in such a position of strangulation they are likely to do anything to be able to come before this assembly and say, “We have increased the volume of housing for the province.” That position is so invidious and so self-serving as to completely undermine the purposes of the Niagara Escarpment zoning as it stands at present.

This is a retrograde move, Mr. Speaker. It is a move that ought not to be made. The whole gravamen of this matter ought to be left in the hands of the Treasury. Much as we distrust them, we distrust the others even more. At least they have people in there who know about planning matters -- a vast planning staff, as a matter of fact -- and here and there questions of conscience and questions of public benefits do operate. I can’t imagine this is going to be operative any longer as this thing is transferred into far less knowing hands and into areas which are already in vested interests in undermining the scheme itself.

These are a few thoughts that I have about what’s happening here today, and my understanding is that this party will vote against it and stand firm against it.

Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I’d just like to take a minute, with all due respect to our fellows on our right here, and say that I would have to disagree with them and agree with the amendment if there is anything in what they have said about the controls being slackened when they are transferred to the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development.

We who live in the Niagara Escarpment control area are certainly in favour of controls being reduced and the control area being reduced. It amazes me that the people from the urban areas and other areas are so interested in helping us preserve our land, which we have been preserving for generations and are quite willing to continue without any interference.

The Niagara Escarpment Commission suggested 75 per cent of the applications are being approved. The fact is that it is so complicated that it’s keeping hundreds of people from trying to make an application.

I would also agree that the development permit should go with the land when the land is transferred.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak, I hope briefly, on the bill. I can recall when the member who now sits for Burlington South, formerly the member for Halton West -- west?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Halton West, then Burlington South -- a growing area.

Mr. Nixon: He used to be a Liberal.

Mr. Renwick: I can remember something over 10 years ago when the now Minister of the Environment stood in the House and spoke at some length about the need to preserve the Niagara Escarpment. I would guess that was in 1965 -- it’s certainly well over 10 years ago -- and we are a long way from having made the kind of progress that was anticipated when the then Premier of the province announced that he was adopting the proposal of the then member for Halton West and proceeding to protect the natural environment of the Niagara Escarpment for all time.

Mr. Speaker, you can well recognize that when a bill comes to us in the guise in which this bill comes, we’re not only sceptical about it, we’re cynical and extremely suspicious about it. In the very words, the deprecating words which the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) used when he introduced this bill, indicating that it was dealing solely with the administration of the Act, this transfer of responsibility is simply a reflection of so and so and so and so and so.

We were alerted to the very real possibility, confirmed today by the Treasurer himself in his lengthy statement about the plan for Ontario, when he came to the four or five lines dealing with the Niagara Escarpment, that there was going to be a significant and substantial shift in emphasis away from the exact words as they are used in the statute for the protection of that environment.


I think it’s worthwhile in a debate such as true to state exactly what the purpose was when the bill was finally enacted in 1973:

“The purpose of this Act is to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with the natural environment.”

The shift of responsibility from the Treasurer to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine) of the Province of Ontario in this bill represents a shift in the policy of the government with respect to the Escarpment. The two are identical.

My friend from Waterloo North (Mr. Good), who spoke on the bill, said he couldn’t think of why the change was being made. I can think of why the change is being made -- it’ll put the Escarpment closer to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier).

Mr. Nixon: There’s another reason.

Mr. Renwick: The pits and quarries legislation will again become part of the economic development that we tried desperately to have at least curtailed --

Mr. Nixon: Oh, you are seeing bogymen. They just want to make a job for the provincial secretary.

Mr. Renwick: -- substantially curtailed. If it had come to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) as a responsibility, then yes. I could understand it. He’s keenly concerned end interested about it.

Mr. Nixon: He broke his arm pounding the desk.

Mr. Renwick: On the Escarpment too.

Mr. Nixon: Remember “The polluter must pay”? He’s got down physical violence, for heaven’s sake.

Mr. Renwick: But there’s no question that the electoral disaster for the Conservative Party along the Niagara Escarpment has led to the changes which are being made.

What better than to have the ministers who are involved in the Niagara Escarpment and its development come, one of them, from Kenora, one of them from Sank Ste. Marie, and the other one from Grenville -- we couldn’t possibly have found three ministers more remote from the Escarpment than the ministers who are now going to have this responsibility overall for the protection of that environment.

I had no really serious concern about it becoming a corporation. I can understand that. I consider that is a technical amendment.

I’m very concerned about the development permit following the land; very concerned about that. Someone gets the development permit for the land, then sells the land. What price is it going to be sold at? A development permit is going to be of significant value, and even under the Liquor Licence Act, we’ve had enough sense not to permit the trafficking in permits for licensed premises. By making the development permit go with the land, we’re just begging for an enhancement of the price of land on the Escarpment.

At least there should be some review and there should not be any substantial markup because some particular owner has been able to extract a development permit for the purposes of some kind of permitted development on the Escarpment.

I think the parliamentary assistant should take the occasion, rare as this is, to report to the assembly about the state of the plan, what the problems are, who are now the members of the commission, what progress is being made, why is it that 11 years after it was first raised in this assembly, and about 10 years from when it was adopted as a policy of the government of Ontario, were still where we are.

Everyone knows that what the member for Waterloo North said about the Gertler report is factual and accurate. The classification of the three types of land acquisition procedures set out in that report would have ensured by now the control of the Escarpment for all time at a price that the Province of Ontario could afford. This government is no longer in a position, because of its financial mismanagement, to provide the funds that will be able to implement the plan, if and whenever that plan is presented to the cabinet and adopted finally by the Legislature, for that environment.

The funds just will not be available. The conception of the preservation of the Escarpment, as set out and enshrined in the bill as it was originally intended, is not going to take place. If it were going to take place, it should have remained where it was; it should not have been transferred to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. With greatest respect to the incumbents, the whole of the provincial secretary-ships probably should have been abolished in the course of the so-called cutback of government spending.

There is just no way that we can stand here in the assembly and believe in the good faith of the government with respect to the development of that Escarpment in the way in which it was envisaged. The shift has taken place, the responsibility has been transferred, and the qualitative change in the attitude of the government toward that environment has changed. There is no need for the provincial secretary to stand up and tell us that it is a good commission. Nobody has questioned the good faith of the commission. The commission doesn’t have the kind of authority which ultimately will be required in order to ensure the preservation of that Escarpment.

Mr. Speaker, I really spoke relatively repetitiously, but simply to indicate that I feel very strongly about the issue. If I have repeated what my colleagues and others have said, then I know the House will forgive me for this expression of extreme cynicism about what the government is about in this bill. We intend, as my colleague has said, to vote against the bill, to divide the House on second reading, and to place the bill in committee to see if we can get some definitive answers from the government about its intentions with respect to the Escarpment.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of interest, as I always do, to what the hon. member for Riverdale has said. Once again I can assure him he was not unduly repetitious.

Mr. Lawlor: Are you waiting until we finish speaking all the time?

Mr. Nixon: As usual, he added, some interesting aspects to the discussion -- very much like the member for Lakeshore, who has telling us about his well-to-do friends, who take their horses into the bedroom. Is that what he said?

Mr. Davidson: Only the head.


Mr. Nixon: Really, I don’t know what his friends do, but I didn’t think that had happened since “The Godfather.”

Mr. Lawlor: Only the head.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we are honoured in many ways, I am sure, by having the chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission present and listening to these discussions. I am quite sure he wishes he had been more successful in competing for the Conservative nomination for -- what is it? Wellington-Dufferin-Peel -- and could have participated in this discussion directly. I see him leaning forward almost as if he’d like to get sip and express his views as the discussion goes on.

The former chairman, of course, is in the House, and perhaps we will hear his views. One would almost think it’s a Tory cabal running this thing, if one didn’t have a great deal of confidence that such was not the case. I am sure both chairmen, when they held those high and important positions, cast aside any of their political connections in serving the greater good of the community. I must say to you, Mr. Speaker, any time I have communicated with the present chairman I have got back a full and helpful answer which is certainly much appreciated.

I don’t believe the bill before us is the matter of high principle the member for Riverdale and his colleagues have tried to paint it. It has three important aspects to it and the one in which I was most interested is the fact that the decisions on the utilization of the various lots and parcels of land are henceforth going to go with the land and not with the individual who owned the land and applied for certain property rights. Our feeling is that any building permit or developmental permit ought to be based on the land itself and not particularly who applies or how capable might be the lawyer he hires to represent him; that the decision made by the commission should be based on the utilization of the land in their overall concept.

We have bad very far-reaching and strong misgivings about the concept to begin with, but it is in place and has been operating now for a considerable length of time. We must assume that those people who have these responsibilities are acting in the best interests of the principles of the commission, and as individuals with all of the good will that any of us surely in the same place would attempt to utilize. So I don’t feel there is a thing wrong with that particular section; if a decision is made with the proper access to the facts, it should be on the basis of the use of the land and not who has applied. Surely that is something that is supportable.

I am surprised that when the bill was first introduced it wasn’t thought necessary to give the Escarpment Commission a corporate status. Perhaps some of us in opposition should have noticed that was not granted and it might be that we thought that it was appropriate that it did not have full corporate status.

After all, conservation authorities and other agencies of government have the responsibility and the right to appear before many boards and are very influential indeed in putting forward their views. Conservation authorities, more and more, are getting involved in the planning process in a way that I think we may have to examine more fully -- hopefully at this very session. But since that is now considered to be an oversight, certainly we have no objection to the correction of that matter, which simply gives the representatives of the commission legal and proper status, particularly when they are appearing before the Municipal Board. And they are going to have more and more opportunities, I feel sure, to do so over the course of their expanding responsibilities.

The matter the NDP tends to feel is of deep concern as a matter of principle is the decision of the government to remove the legislative jurisdiction from the hands of the Treasurer and to put it with the present Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine). The gentleman is a man frankly held in high regard in the House. Because of his courtly manner of responding to questions in the past, we have had a few shouting matches when he was Minister of Housing, but I still feel that although we have had substantial disagreements over these many months that any thought that under his jurisdiction the principles and the goals of the commission are going to be subverted are unreal and probably unfair.

It may in fact be rather impolite of me to say more formally what I said by interjection -- that in the establishment of new positions in the cabinet, when the minister was replaced in the housing portfolio he was given this position which frankly we have said frequently we feel should not have been continued. We feel the whole experiment with policy secretariats has been a waste of money and in many respects demeaning to those individuals who have been given the responsibility to carry the conduct of the responsibilities, such as they are and whatever they are.

I really feel one of the reasons the hon. member did not continue as Minister of Housing is that he may have expressed in private the same views that he expressed in public about rent control -- and there is no doubt about his views. Coming from Prescott as he does, one might have even been able to predict them. But if he was not enthusiastic, as the present Minister of Housing is, for the rent control jurisdiction, then you can see why he was moved up where he is, and I have frequently thought: “I wonder what the devil Don does to pass the time.”


Mr. Nixon: Well, as a policy secretary he, I suppose, can just sit back as he might do and have regular luncheon meetings with a number of his colleagues, with some of their senior staff, and discuss the unfolding of the universe, which is one of the things that concerns politicians at all levels. But there might have been a feeling that here is an able person, a person who is able to maintain his popularity and support back home, and maybe even asking in a weak moment for additional duties, and by golly here we have an amendment which says that he is going to be the minister through which the Niagara Escarpment Commission reports.

Well I am not too much afraid of that. The idea that it means the pits and quarries interests are going to move into the Escarpment again, I believe, is unrealistic. I think beyond the minister there are certain safeguards --


Mr. Nixon: And even the member for Lakeshore who never hesitates to express his views, even when someone else is expressing his-


Mr. Lawlor: Speaking for Eddie all afternoon, even when he’s not here.

Mr. Makarchuk: Listen, there is an application before cabinet now.

Mr. Nixon: I’ll tell you, Mr. Speaker, I have participated in hearings before the Municipal Board and I’m not even a body corporate or whatever you call it. I was able to express views against certain applications for gravel pits and similar things in my own area. We all have certain duties to express public views and opinions in this regard.

I don’t share the trepidation expressed by the hon. members of the NDP which has led them to announce that they’re going to divide the House on this matter. I can tell you, sir, we will be as watchful as we always are in these important matters and, surely, that is the responsibility of all of us.

While I have said in this House before that I have sometimes doubted the judgement of the hon. minister who will have the responsibility for this commission in this House, I have never doubted his personal integrity our his ability to uphold the goals of the commission as they’re expressed in the Act.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate in this debate?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to take a few minutes to say a few words about this bill. I think the hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) is unduly cynical, really, regarding the implications of this bill or the result of this bill.

Mr. Reid: Goes with the party membership.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think members will find that since 1965 the Escarpment has been protected. There has been a great deal of legislation and amending legislation in respect to the Escarpment. There have been various types of control, both local and provincial.

As the hon. member probably knows, at the present time if one applies, for example, for any type of development or just a building permit one involves not only the Niagara Escarpment Commission but the local conservation authority, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Housing, the local municipality, the regional municipality and whatever planning boards are in existence as well as starting out by making the application to a land division committee.

I think the protection, the control and the assessment of any application would indicate that there won’t be the type of undue development or the type of development the member envisaged or that the hon. member for Lakeshore implied would result by bringing in this legislation which is actually administrative. It’s transferring some responsibility for the Escarpment and certainly there will be no difference in our concern about the Escarpment or the administration or control of its use.

Mr. Renwick: There has been very little of the land owned for the people of Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: In spite of the fact, as the hon. member has said -- and I will agree with that -- that we haven’t acquired or purchased the amount of land we would have liked to have done in the last five or 10 years or as recommended in the Gertler report, the fact is that because of the controls we have imposed on the Escarpment that land is still vacant land. It is still in its natural state and those conservationists in blue trailers and everybody else --

Mr. Lawlor: There are new subdivisions there.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, they’re not new subdivisions; not on the fringe of the Escarpment.

Mr. Renwick: The ordinary citizen will feel like a trespasser.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think the hon. members have to agree that the planning controls and the planning area as mapped out by TEIGA, and now being administered by the Niagara Escarpment Commission, are much more strict, much more controlled than ever was envisaged in the Gertler report.

Mr. McKessock: Too strict.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I don’t entirely agree with the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock) but I don’t want to get into an argument about that. There is a limit we can go to as far as developing the Escarpment is concerned, particularly up in the hon. member’s area. I don’t think that by passing this piece of legislation -- really all it does is move the planning phase and the administration and control of the Act, the commission and the Escarpment, from one ministry to the provincial secretariat, to the secretary himself and, as he has indicated, involving those ministers who are part of that secretariat.

The hon. member for Lakeshore mentioned that as you drive along Highway 401, you see the sun peeking through those large gaps in the Escarpment.

Mr. Lawlor: You can see forever.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That hasn’t happened in the last 10 years, and it won’t happen again. The hon. member might speak disparagingly of the Pits and Quarries Control Act; but that Act, coupled with the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, and the legislation we have in force at the local level, will mean that no more quarrying operations of the type that took place in previous years will in fact take place on the Escarpment again.

I think this legislation is a good move. It gives the responsibility to those ministers within the resources development secretariat who have direct concern about the future development of the Escarpment, and I am satisfied that in fact the Escarpment will be preserved.

Mr. Renwick: We have never doubted that it will physically exist.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to take part in the debate? The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I will confine my comments to the contents of the legislation that is before the House and try to make my comments as brief as possible. I think both the hon. Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and the Minister of the Environment hove commented on a number of points that I had intended to make. I will not be repetitious.

I must say that I think there has been a rather full discussion of the matter this afternoon, and I was particularly pleased -- to steal a word from his own vocabulary -- with the delightfully skillful blatheration from the member for Lakeshore.

Mr. Lawlor: I will remember that.

Mr. Norton: He almost accomplished his goal of carrying the whole thing through until 5 p.m. himself.

The expressed cynicism of the member for Riverdale does cause me some concern; but it would cause me more concern if it were not such an all-pervasive kind of cynicism that he resorts to so frequently that I suggest it undermines the impact of it.

Mr. Lawlor: He is a believing fellow.

Mr. Renwick: Too believing.

Mr. Norton: The legislation that is before the House --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Norton: I hope that I don’t stay around long enough to be that cynical.

Mr. Renwick: Even my friend the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) doesn’t believe I am cynical.

Mr. Lawlor: It grows around here.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the transfer of the authority in this particular piece of legislation, I think, does not at all suggest the kind of subversive plot that is being suggested by the members of the official opposition. I think that the purpose behind that has been explained both by the Treasurer, when he introduced the legislation, and reiterated this afternoon by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. I think I need not be repetitious and repeat that for a third time.

The question of the permits which, if this legislation is passed by the House, will go with the land as opposed to being attached to the individual, I think has been adequately answered. If one is going to have a procedure by which one applies for the approval of the development of a particular parcel of land, once that procedure has been followed through and the permit has been granted, I can see no sense whatsoever in having that permit expire if the property should pass through to other hands prior to the execution of the development.

Mr. Renwick: It’s certainly money in the pocket of the person who sells the land.

Mr. Norton: As far as I am aware, the purpose of development was never expressed to be primarily the prevention of anyone making any profit. It seems to me that it has something to do with the development of land and the protection of the natural environment. I suggest that by the attitude the hon. members are taking, they are injecting an ideological principle that is not part of the concept of land control and development in the province at the present time.

Mr. Renwick: The quality of the development is often and usually determined by the quality of the person who carries out the development.

Mr. Norton: That may very well be the case, hot neither I nor I think anyone in this side of the House would choose to take those decisions upon ourselves, to decide who is of adequate quality to carry on development in this province. If the member for Riverdale, from his ivory tower, purports to be able to sit here in this House --

Mr. Renwick: You do it and you grant the permit for the first issue.

Mr. Lawlor: You do it with used car dealers.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Norton: -- and talk about the residents of the Province of Ontario and categorize them according to quality and calibre, then I would like you to be more specific and break down his definitions of quality. As far as I am concerned --

Mr. Renwick: I am simply saying that you issue a development permit --

Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Norton: The residents of the Province of Ontario have equal right to make applications for such permits, in this particular case to the development authority, and I think it would be a travesty if that authority purported to make those determinations upon its subjective decision about the quality of the individual who is making the application. I think it is a tremendously offensive suggestion for him to even make, especially as a member of a party that purports to be an egalitarian party.

Mr. Renwick: Have you watched any of the major developments in Metro Toronto and what has happened to them after they changed hands? Have you watched what has happened to them? They have simply gone downhill. The work was never completed.

Mr. Speaker: Order please. The hon. parliamentary assistant will continue.

Mr. Norton: Perhaps I should move on to something less contentious, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lawlor: You are being provocative.

Mr. Norton: I, like my leader, will not be provocative. I think the other items in the bill have been dealt with pretty adequately in discussion so far. I might add that it is my intention to propose two minor amendments later, and one will deal with a clarification of section 3. We have decided that perhaps it ought to be a little more clearly stated and I will propose that amendment. For that purpose, I will ask that when this bill goes from the House it will go to the committee of the whole House for further deliberation, at which time I will introduce those amendments.


Mr. Speaker: The motion is for second reading of Bill 9. Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry?

All those in favour will say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Call in the members.

The House divided on the motion for second reading of Bill 9, which was approved on the following vote:

























Johnson (Wellington-Dufferin-Peel)















Miller (Haldimand-Norfolk)


Newman (Durham North)

Newman (Windsor-Walkerville)




Reed (Halton-Burlington)

Reid (Rainy River)







Smith (Hamilton Mountain)

Smith (Nipissing)

Smith (Hamilton West)











Worton -- 66.






Davidson (Cambridge)


di Santo

















Ziemba -- 25.


Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, the “ayes” are 66, the “nays” are 25.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?

Committee of the whole House, is it?

Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my comments earlier I would ask that this bill go to the committee of the whole House.



Hon. Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 10, an Act to amend the Gift Tax Act, 1972.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, this bill is largely tidying up two or three matters, particularly making certain that the contributions under the Elections Finances Reform Act are not considered gifts. We certainly support that principle. I don’t think it was ever intended that they should be but apparently it is necessary to amend the Act to make sure that they are not.

The elimination of the necessity to file returns and pay tax where there is going to be a refund under the Succession Duty Act seems like a logical tidying up. The change in the exemption under section 10, clause 1, subsection 1, mainly limiting it to Ontario residents is also, I think, a desirable change.

We support this bill and I don’t think I have any further comments.

Mr. Edighoffer: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a comment or two on this amendment to the Gift Tax Act.

Section 1, of course, is very straightforward as there are very few words added to subsection 1, adding the words “resident of Ontario,” which this party is in favour of. This, of course, as I understand the bill, means that the exemption is limited to a donee who is a resident in Ontario only.

I feel that the main purpose of the Act was to keep small business active in Ontario. I understand that this amendment will in no way affect or curtail small business continuing here.

Subsection 2, of course, is just tidying up and making it effective so that contributions under the Election Finances Reform Act will be exempt under the Act. Also, to section 2, this party has no objection as really, I hope, it eliminates some paperwork and inconvenience to the taxpayer.

Mr. Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to speak to the bill? Does the hon. minister wish to reply?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I must express my appreciation to the hon. members for indicating that both parties support these principles. They have been adequately summarized in the explanatory notes and by the members opposite and I don’t think it requires much more from me in unnecessary extension of the debate.

Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?



The following bill was given third reading upon motion: Bill 10, An Act to amend the Gift Tax Act, 1972.


Hon. Mr. Meen moved second reading of Bill 11, an Act to amend the Income Tax Act.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, this bill is largely bringing in certain sections to make it jibe with the federal Income Tax Act and it is necessary to preserve this uniformity if the federal government is going to collect our income tax for us. Our party has no objections to most of the clauses in this amendment.

The change in section 6(a) regarding the new way of defining how a person qualifies for the no-taxable capacity under the provincial income tax seems like a sensible way of approaching the issue so that we don’t have to amend the Act every year and it can be done by regulation. The principle is that people who are exempt under the federal Act will also be exempt under the provincial Act from any tax. That seems logical to us as well.

While we are discussing this amendment, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if he occasionally communicates with his colleagues in Ottawa who administer and collect this tax for us, regarding their vigilance in seeing that tax avoidance or tax evasion does not occur. I think there is still a great deal of concern about the way people are able to exploit loopholes in the Income Tax Act and more or less destroy its progressivity. I think even though we don’t collect it ourselves we should constantly be in consultation with the federal government about its vigilance in enforcing the Act and seeing that there is not tax evasion. It really affects our provincial revenues in the long run, to the extent that when other people evade or avoid tax, the rest of us pay.

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I would just observe that one is legal, the other isn’t.

Ms. Bryden: Correct. You deal with one by enforcing the law and by vigilance and investigation; you deal with the other by amending the law in order to close loopholes that allow legal avoidance but that more or less may offset the objectives of the Act, which are to have a progressive income tax.

I would also like, Mr. Speaker, to make a comment about the election contribution deduction, which is mentioned in passing in this bill so I think I can mention it for a moment. What is happening with our provincial tax credit for political contributions is that the rich are getting it; the poor, particularly the aged poor, are not getting it because it is not allowed until after they take off all their other provincial tax credits -- for property tax, for sales tax, and for being over 65. It seems to me this is very unfair. If an aged person wishes to make a political contribution out of his meagre resources, he gets no tax credit because he probably pays no provincial income tax after all those credits. He may have a small amount of provincial income tax before those credits.

I would like to urge the minister to consider bringing in an amendment so that the political contribution is allowed on the tax payable before those provincial tax credits occur. Certainly, their federal tax contribution is calculated, of course, only on their federal tax payable, because they don’t have those kinds of credits at the federal level.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member be more than a minute?

Ms. Bryden: No, I won’t be, Mr. Speaker.

There is one other point in connection with the administration of the political contribution and it is that where a contribution is made by a spouse who is not taxable, apparently the way it is being administered in Ontario there is no tax credit being allowed. Federally, administratively at least -- I don’t know whether it is legislatively -- but administratively they are treating political contributions the same way as they treat health payments and charitable contributions: If the non-taxpaying spouse makes a contribution, the taxpaying spouse is allowed to claim it. I think that should also be provided here in Ontario, if necessary by an amendment.

With those two suggestions, I would like to say that we will support the bill.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.