The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON PCV ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow: Various members of the general public, the Legislature, the highway transport industry, the shipping public and the news media have raised many questions over the operation of the public commercial vehicles system, specifically as such operations concern the Public Commercial Vehicles Act. No satisfactory overall response has been developed or offered to address the criticisms which have been directed at the system
As the members are aware, Bill 4 was an Act to amend the PCV Act and intended to focus on certain specific problems in this area. This bill was introduced on March 10. The Legislature has referred the bill to the standing committee on resources development.
Since that time, I have recommended to cabinet that the House appoint a select committee to fully examine the regulations and principles --
Mr. S. Smith: That’s what we said.
Mr. Reid: That’s what we told you to do.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- which govern the transportation of goods on Ontario highways. The government has agreed.
Mr. Roy: Who is running this province, eh?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Thus the House will be asked to establish at an early date such a select committee to investigate and make recommendations on the regulatory system governing for-hire trucking in this province.
Recommendations from this select committee could yield extremely valuable insights into the regulatory process. Public concerns could be allayed where they are unfounded. Should any adjustment to the present system be desirable, such recommendations would stem from this impartial group. This, I’m sure you will agree, Mr. Speaker, will provide a sound basis for future policy-making.
At this time, I would also like to request that the proposed select committee produce, if possible, an interim report by no later than Sept. 30 and a final report by the end of the calendar year. I should like to add that if any of the interim report recommendations are strong enough, the government is certainly prepared to react to them as quickly as possible -- and I’m referring to the fall session. To this end, I would also like to request, with the agreement of the House, that the standing committee return Bill 4 to the House so that it may stand on the order paper until the select committee has reported.
YOUTH AND ALCOHOL REPORT
Hon. Mrs. Birch: At the end of the question period, I will be tabling a report on alcohol and youth which was requested by the Premier (Mr. Davis). The report was compiled by my parliamentary assistant following a series of meetings across the province.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Lewis: Could I begin, Mr. Speaker, by directing a question to the Attorney General? How is it that such a large number of doctors -- I believe there are eight in total -- are now before the discipline committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, under explicit investigation for possible conflict of interest or related matters of abuse arising from investigation into private labs, and there are no equivalent or coincident activities before the courts? Must one await the other or has the Attorney General decided, on the basis of the evidence, that no charges are to be laid?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, no, there’s no reason why, to put it in the words of the Leader of the Opposition, that one must necessarily await the other. If we have evidence or if there is evidence of a breach of the Criminal Code, charges will be laid. I think it’s safe to say that to date there has been no such evidence or no such evidence has been made available to my ministry. But at the same time I should stress there are investigations pending and if we reach the stage where there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution, prosecutions in fact will proceed.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, it doesn’t follow then, if certain of the doctors are found in violation of medical ethics or practice by the discipline committee and are fined or have their licences revoked, that it means violation of the Criminal Code has taken place? They must be approached quite separately?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s correct, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Ziemba: Supplementary: Could the Attorney General tell us how the College of Physicians and Surgeons is going to come up with this evidence if it is not really looking very hard for witnesses?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I’m not in a position to speak or comment on what is being done or is not being done by the College of Physicians; it’s not a matter that really falls within my jurisdiction.
Mr. Singer: As long as they don’t play at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Could I ask the Attorney General whether he has anyone sitting in on these hearings, which are conducted in private, to see what does develop out of the material that is advanced?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Well, we’ve always requested professional disciplinary bodies to make known to us any information that would warrant the laying of a criminal charge. We can’t be assured that in fact this always does occur but that is the position we adopt. But I know of no practical way, legislatively or otherwise, to force them to communicate with us on each and every occasion which might well warrant such a communication.
Mr. Lewis: If I may, Mr. Speaker, one last supplementary: I take it from the Attorney General’s answer -- perhaps he can confirm it -- that in fact he has investigated the problems which arose from the relationship between the doctors and Abko Lab and, on the basis of the police investigation thus far, he sees no grounds for laying any charges, no violation of the Criminal Code?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Leader of the Opposition must be aware that one doctor has been charged already in relation to the Abko Lab matter, as a principal of Abko Lab. There are continuing investigations and, as I have already said, if there is sufficient evidence to warrant the laying of charges against any other doctor, such charges will be proceeded with.
YOUTH AND ALCOHOL REPORT
Mr. Lewis: A question of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Can she provide us with any more detail of the government’s intention or further opinions of the report which her assistant has produced for the government and the public? Is there one area or another on the alcohol report which the government intends to zero in on?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, the report has not yet had consideration by my cabinet colleagues in any real detail, but I do understand that the House leaders have agreed there may be an opportunity for debate in the House on the whole issue.
Mr. Lewis: The government wants to have a debate? Then let it introduce legislation; we will debate it.
May I ask, as a supplementary, can the provincial secretary explain why the report was so generous and tender when it came to dealing with the industry’s obligation, either by way of funding a public education programme or by way of giving the government additional revenue to do precisely that?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: No, Mr. Speaker. As I say, we haven’t had the opportunity to really review all of the recommendations. The hon. member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) just submitted his report over a week ago.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: In view of the answer given by the provincial secretary about a public debate on this report, would she advise whether we will be supplied with the report of the policy division of Management Board, which proposed policies for the cabinet back in 1970? In fact, one of the first recommendations of this report is that this is one of the options that should be considered. Will the provincial secretary make that report public and will we have a chance to see the various options available before we debate it publicly?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, as I recall those reports prepared by the Management Board secretariat, they really had to do with theoretical administrative policies for the LCBO. I am not prepared to say that they will be tabled, but that was really the essence of those reports.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary, if I may: If the government wants to give some weight to this report and feels we should consider this first recommendation, does she not feel that we should at least see what these policy proposals are before we debate them publicly?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, I am not prepared at this time to say that they will be tabled. Those were reports that were done by Management Board for consideration of cabinet.
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary; the member for Rainy River.
Mr. Reid: Perhaps my colleague and I are speaking about the same thing. Is there something called a red book report, which the provincial secretary received from, I believe, the Addiction Research Foundation on this very question about the same time, and will that be made available to us?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any report or so-called red book; no, I am not aware of that report at all.
BRADLEY-GEORGETOWN HYDRO ROUTE
Mr. Lewis: If I may, a question of the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker. Could the Attorney General look into the opinions expressed by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) in this Legislature around the Georgetown-Bradley consider to see whether in fact they have not entirely prejudiced the expropriation hearings, which are to take place in June of this year, and where an inquiry officer is to find whether the expropriation is fair, sound and reasonably necessary, whether, therefore, the opinions expressed by the Minister of Energy in the determined taking of the land have prejudiced that inquiry? Could he do that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I know of no such statements made by the minister that would prejudice such an inquiry. If the Leader of the Opposition would like to give me details of those statements, I would be happy to discuss them with the Minister of Energy because I’m absolutely confident that he would not want to make any statement that would prejudice or interfere with the fairness of such proceedings.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, he may not have wished to do that, but does the Attorney General know that the legal counsel for the Grey-Bruce and Wellington county associations, largely farmers, has now written to the Ombudsman suggesting that the Minister of Energy should be removed from his portfolio because of the prejudice done to the hearings by such explicit undertakings from government in advance of the inquiry? Can he perhaps look at the implications of what the minister has said in the light of the hearings which are yet to be held?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have no such information. As I say, I don’t think I have anything to add to my previous answer in relation to the position that may or may not have been adopted by the minister in this matter.
SCIENTOLOGY AND MENTAL HEALTH
Mr. Lewis: I have a final question for the acting Minister of Health, if I may. I don’t quite know how to phrase it but I’ll put it to her.
In the light of the story which appeared in the Globe and Mail this morning, the difficult case of the young mentally ill girl who was involved with Scientology, and since there is a kind of rhythmic repetition of the Scientology relationship to the mental health field, often I think with difficulty, has it occurred to the minister or to her ministry to take a look at this Scientology outfit and see exactly how bona fide are the activities in the mental health field which it undertakes and what some of the consequences may be?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. Leader of the Opposition that, in fact, a special committee on the healing arts did investigate Scientology at the time that it was developing its report -- which was finally tabled, I believe, in 1967-1968.
Mr. Reid: They weren’t complimentary either.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The special committee made some statements regarding Scientology which I believe are probably still valid. I think there has not been a farther investigation of this specific activity related to mental health except for an action which was brought by the Church of Scientology, which I gather has not as yet passed completely through the court mechanism. Whether it ever will or not I can’t say, but it certainly is something which is of concern to me.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, can I encourage the minister, in her capacity as the acting minister, to discuss with cabinet colleagues the possibility -- I don’t want to overdo it because I don’t think the activity of any group should be prejudiced -- of taking a look at the more worrisome aspect of Scientology’s involvement with mental health, which has caused intermittent concern for the profession and for many of us who watch it? Can I suggest that?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes.
ASBESTOS PROBLEM AT HEDMAN MINES LTD.
Mr. Lewis: Before I sit down, is the minister still in the process of getting me a reply to my letter of March 4 concerning Hedman Mines?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have not as yet received the final reports on the tests which were carried out. When we receive those, the member will have the reply.
MEDICAL INFORMATION BUREAU
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, regarding the medical insurance bureau: Will the minister please outline to this House under what circumstances an individual has the right to know what is stored in his record at the medical insurance bureau, which computer is in Boston, Mass., and which furnishes information to all insurance companies here? Does the protection offered by the Consumer Reporting Act, section 7, apply to persons whose medical history is on file in a foreign country?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to the Medical Information Bureau rather than the medical insurance bureau. The Medical Information Bureau is a computer data bank which is located outside of Canada, containing medical information compiled on a number of insurance applications with the consent of the insured. Any person who wishes to obtain the information which is stored in that data bank with relation to himself may obtain it.
No, the provisions of the Act do not pertain to companies outside Canada. However, the company has agreed to comply with all the conditions of the Consumer Reporting Act on request from anybody in Canada.
Mr. S. Smith: If I might just ask a supplementary question. I thank him for correcting the name; he is quite right. Could the minister explain exactly how an individual who suspects that there is some error in the information on file about him in Boston goes about getting the information corrected, because I have heard from some people who were refused such information?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that he would go about it in the same way as he would under the Credit Reporting Act -- that is, by writing to the company which has the information and preferably talking to my ministry so that we can follow up and ensure a response.
Mr. Reid: I would just like to ask the minister if he has considered my private member’s bill of last session, which will be reintroduced, which will restrict the transmission of information stored in computers in Ontario to persons outside of the country? Does he not think that is a valid principle?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I think it would be a valid principle, bearing in mind the consideration of cost benefits. I think we would have to ensure that the cost of storing information separately in Canada was not loaded onto the premium payers in Canada.
SUPPLEMENTARY FUNDS FOR EDUCATION GRANTS
Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of Education: Could he please explain why the government did not bring in supplementary estimates for education, and instead passed two Management Board orders -- one on Jan. 6 for $57.4 million and another on March 16, when the House was in session, for $19 million -- for a total of around $77 million to make up for an insufficiency of general legislative grants money?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think that question should rightly be directed the Chairman of the Management Board. We present to Management Board exactly, what the financial situation is in the Ministry of Education, and how that is then to be handled after that I think depends upon --
Mr. Lewis: On you and your board.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- the Management Board and cabinet decision. I think I would be quite happy to explain exactly what the money was needed for. I am sure that neither the member nor the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) would disagree with the need for that money. In fact, the grant system, as the member knows, to all intents and purposes -- at least to a large degree -- is an open-ended programme and it is impossible really to predict exactly what the final figure will be until all the school board estimates are in. As the year progressed, those estimates came in. Based on the supplemental figure that was announced in April, it revised the 1975 grant ceiling and we needed the extra money.
Mr. S. Smith: May I redirect the question then, Mr. Speaker, to the Chairman of the Management Board, who has arrived on the scene? I asked the question: Could he explain why the government did not bring in supplementary estimates with regard to education? Instead, it passed two Management Board orders. There was one on Jan. 6 for $57.4 million and another on March 16, when the House was sitting, for $19 million -- a total of $77 million.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I could start off by saying that in terms of the total budget it is a relatively insignificant figure, a relatively small proportion.
Mr. Singer: That is a great answer.
Mr. Shore: It is more than $450,000.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Reid: What’s $77 million?
Hon. Mr. Auld: It is a lot of money; but in terms of $12 billion, it is a small percentage.
Mr. Singer: What’s $77 million?
Mr. Mancini: What’s $77 million?
Hon. Mr. Auld: The policy regarding supplementary estimates has varied from year to year. Sometimes there have been significant supplementary estimates passed, other times there have not. I suppose one of the problems in doing supplementary estimates is the amount of administrative detail and paper work that is involved in presenting them.
Mr. Reid: What about responsibility?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Auld: The only thing I can say is, it was decided by the government not to bring in further supplementary estimates shortly before the budget --
Mr. Singer: The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) would have had to reflect it in his deficit, eh? Or his cash requirement?
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- after the supplementary estimates that were brought in late last year.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Does the minister not agree that instead of using estimates, these Management Board orders have the effect of hiding from the House additional expenditures until such time as the Auditor makes his report? Is he aware that between 1974 and 1975 the use of these orders more than doubled over previous years -- in fact, to a total of $235 million?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to go into a long discussion about the principle of Management Board orders. The select committee of this House looking at that, along with some other matters, has had the Treasurer and me meeting with it to look at the whole question of reporting Management Board orders.
However, I don’t know that the Liberal leader is aware that Management Board orders normally would be processed at the end of the fiscal year. Where a ministry finds it is going to be short of money in a vote, and under the policy that we presently follow over budget in another, an authorization for commitment may be issued for supplement the vote which is underestimated, but generally a Management Board order will not be issued until toward the end of the fiscal year when we are sure the estimated under-expenditure, in effect, was correct.
To give the hon. member one example, last December Transportation and Communications came to Management Board and indicated they might under-expend very significantly on King’s highway construction because of a longer than usual construction season in the fall. I can’t remember the exact figures, but when the smoke cleared away it turned out their original estimate on over-expenditure was about four times what it actually turned not to be. When the Management Board order was issued it was for the actual amount rather than the original estimate.
In many things, in welfare for instance, it is very difficult to estimate at the beginning of the year the proportion of money which will be expended, say under general welfare assistance on the one hand and family benefits on the other. It may well be that if there is an under-expenditure in one there is an over-expenditure in the other; and that would be dealt with by Management Board order.
Mr. Roy: That is why you have supplementary estimates.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I want to ask Anastas Mikoyan just one small supplementary to this question. It is in two parts.
First, why did the minister not stand and indicate to the Legislature, since estimates and supplementary estimates had both been though, that an amount of this very large dollar value was to be put through in addition by Management Board approval? Second, is it not true that given the additions to the supplementary estimates now indicated, plus the farm income stabilization plan as yet unbudgeted, we may well have an already predictable addition to the provincial deficit this year of close to $200 million, making quite a shambles of the Treasurer’s announcement on April 6 last?
Hon. Mr. Auld: To answer the second question first, Mr. Speaker; no. It may well be that if, as it appears, there will be over-expenditures in items presently estimated -- and the. Leader of the Opposition is aware that the estimates which have been tabled and will be tabled later on this week were really put together last fall; and finalized, say in January -- as I say, if, as it appears, there will be over-expenditures in some items there may well be offsetting savings found elsewhere.
Mr. Lewis: Where?
Mrs. Campbell: Like hospital spending?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Within the whole total of the estimates of the government.
Mr. Lewis: Where? Money from what source? Name one.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I can’t name one --
Mr. Lewis: Of course you can; that’s nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- that we will find, next fall, to look after an estimated over-expenditure; but I can tell the hon. member that last December, when we had an idea what some of the over-expenditures were, we went through the estimates of all the ministries and asked for explanations of whether the remaining funds would all be spent or not. In a number of cases they had not been committed. In effect they were embargoed and were not spent, so that we were able to cover some of those over-expenditures.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Could he explain how he could have permitted his colleague, the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), to go to a major federal-provincial conference on the guaranteed annual income and table a proposal which is totally based on an obsolete federal proposal, when he knew full well that a new proposal had come in in February and had all the figures attached to it? How could this minister let the Treasurer make a laughing stock of Ontario by presenting a detailed refutation of a proposal that had already been taken off the table? When he knew there was a new proposal, why couldn’t he tell the Treasurer about it?
Mr. Yakabuski: You are still in bed with those feds, aren’t you? That is where you get that kind of information.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Surely the leader of the third party realizes that I don’t keep the provincial Treasurer on a leash.
Mr. Sweeney: Somebody should.
Mr. Good: The blind leading the blind.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The Treasurer went to Ottawa with some very sound material. If I know the provincial Treasurer, he would have discharged his obligations with singular skill.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: I’m interested to hear that the minister doesn’t keep the Treasurer on a leash, but he might at least keep him informed.
Mr. S. Smith: Is it not true that the minister was in full possession of a document which was acceptable to all the provinces and to the federal government -- which accepted all the criticisms previously made of the original proposal -- and that instead of insisting that the Treasurer speak on that document the minister acquiesced and permitted him to present a refutation of a non-existent, basically obsolete, document and to represent Ontario’s position in this disgraceful way? Does the minister admit he had the information and can he explain why he didn’t use it?
Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I don’t accept that statement by the hon. member of the third party as being correct.
Mrs. Campbell: Answer it.
Mr. S. Smith: Call it the fifth party. I don’t care; get to the point.
Hon. Mr. Taylor: The fact remains that the latest proposal advanced by the federal authorities, in February, was a proposal for discussion purposes only. I think that probably other provinces in Canada had some concerns about it. I certainly expressed my concern in terms of that particular proposal. So it wasn’t --
Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- something which was universally accepted throughout Canada.
Mr. S. Smith: I have one final question. This is for the acting Minister of Health.
Is it still government policy that no one associated with Browndale Ontario, supposedly a non-profit organization, is to have a financial interest in property leased by that organization? Is that still the policy of the government?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge it is, sir.
Mr. S. Smith: As a supplementary: Is the minister not aware that documents sent to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) indicate extensive leasing to Browndale Ontario by several private companies controlled by John Brown and others, and by Deborah Brown. I wonder what became of the commitment made in June, 1974, by John Brown that certain of these properties would be sold to Browndale Ontario or to the public? Brown Camps Ltd., Brown Camping Supplies Ltd., Brown Camps Leasing Ltd. are all leasing extensive properties to Browndale Ontario.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware that the documentation has been sent to the Attorney General. I trust I shall be hearing from the Attorney General in short order regarding our actions in this area.
Mr. S. Smith: May I, at this point, direct the question to the Attorney General? Is it a fact that we’ll be hearing in very short order about this very interesting leasing arrangement going on between John Brown and Browndale Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as already indicated, certain documentation was sent to my ministry. There is, presently, an investigation into the allegations which accompanied the documentation. I would hope I’ll be able to make a statement shortly to the Legislature but I can’t guarantee that. It’s a fairly extensive investigation.
Mr. Speaker: Any further questions? The hon. Solicitor General has the answer to a question which was asked previously.
PROTECTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On April 13, the leader of the Liberal Party asked a question concerning a newspaper report about the residents of a housing project in Kitchener who formed a committee to protect their property because, as he stated, protection by the police was insufficient. The member asked if any other communities had set up such vigilante groups.
Let me say at the outset that the word vigilante, as used in the report, may have been used for dramatic effect. In fact, many neighbourhood groups, residents’ associations and cottage owners have developed ways to work together to prevent crime in their communities. The Ontario Provincial Police and the other police forces in the province are supporting them in their efforts, through informal advice and even more structured lectures.
To complain that police protection is inadequate is unjustified. I am sure members will agree that a constant police patrol of underground garages and apartment lobbies would require additional manpower, thereby increasing the cost of what is already an expensive service. However, private security guards are not available in all residential complexes; therefore, to have citizens assist the police and each other in protecting their own property by being watchful of their own neighbourhoods seems to me to be a most satisfactory solution.
I do not condone vigilante groups as common use of the term implies. Untrained and unsupervised citizens’ groups should not be, and are not, permitted to take the law into their own hands.
It is not known how many citizen groups have organized to assist law enforcement agencies in protecting property. However, if they conduct themselves within the recommended limitations of the powers extended to members of the public under the Criminal Code, they render invaluable aid to police forces in Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: In his condoning and congratulating these citizens for supplementing police work, do I take it the Solicitor General is also condoning and congratulating them for keeping three rifles and extensive ammunition in the car with which they are protecting their garages? At what point does he draw the line? When does action of this sort become something to be condoned as opposed to being something to be feared?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: No, I don’t condone that kind of vigilante work or action.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s what was happening.
LUNG RESEARCH ON STEELWORKERS
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question of the Minister of Labour, with reference to a question I asked a couple of weeks ago in the House: In view of the urgency and importance of the work, has the minister arranged any alternate funding for the work of Dr. Ronald Woulf at McMaster University on the lungs of workers in the steel mills in Hamilton?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To this date, no, that has not been possible.
Mr. Mackenzie: Does the minister anticipate that she is going to be able to do so before he leaves the country within the next month?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am still trying.
PROTECTION FOR WOMEN OF CHILD-BEARING AGE
Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware of the transcript of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health prepared for a US congressional committee that identifies 20 chemical agents, exposure to which might cause birth defects and miscarriages to women of child-bearing age?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, I am aware of that list.
Mr. B. Newman: Does the minister plan to introduce legislation that will protect women in the work force who are of child-bearing age?
Hon. B. Stephenson: This entire matter has been referred to the occupational and environmental health advisory committee for their recommendations.
TAX REBATE ON CONDOMINIUMS
Mr. Leluk: A question of the Minister of Revenue: Does the minister plan on meeting soon with the mayors and reeves of the various municipalities affected by the court decisions regarding tax assessment of condominiums to resolve the problem of tax rebates?
Hon. Mr. Meen: In short, I have made no arrangements in that regard and I was not anticipating any such meetings.
Mr. Leluk: Supplementary: Does the minister feel an immediate tax rebate, or a tax deferment plan based on future taxation years, is the most appropriate procedure for handling this situation?
Hon. Mr. Meen: I would anticipate the municipalities involved would have a number of ways in which they could work that out. In some cases the taxpayers have withheld payment audit in those situations they will receive bills for the years concerned that will relate to the net amount owing, together with accrued interest on that net amount. In other cases, I would expect they have paid the full amount of the taxes, notwithstanding appeals lodged by them. In those cases, they might seek a rebate of the overpayment from the municipalities concerned or they might simply determine they would leave that on deposit as a credit, perhaps against the current year 1976. I think again, that would be a matter that would be worked out between the taxpayers and the municipalities concerned.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Now that the courts have ruled that the condominiums were wrongly assessed, does the minister intend any action in order to compensate retroactively those condominium owners who were not covered by the court cases?
Hon. Mr. Meen: No. This matter was fully discussed by us during the debate last fall, and the answer is simply no.
Mr. Bounsall: I have a question of the Treasurer with regard to a couple of aspects of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. As most of the employees, and certainly their employee representative groups, have requested a change on the plan to a five-year terminal earnings average from the career earnings average, and since the OMERS board has also recommended that to him, when might we expect the Treasurer to give the favourable answer that that plan will be changed? Secondly, with six distinct employee groups covered by OMERS, when might we expect a change of employee representation on the board from four to six?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Answering the second question first, they have rotated among those groups from time to time. I can’t tell the member now who is represented and who isn’t. Some of them are much larger than others, and feel that they should be represented at all times.
I can only say in response to the second part of the question that changes are made from rinse to time in the board as appointments come up for renewal. I think they are all on three-year terms and we try and achieve a balance when those appointments are made. In response to the first part of the plan, I think it’s fair to say that the board had not, in fact, formally recommended to them.
PENSIONS FOR FORMER MPPS ON GOVERNMENT BOARDS
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Government Services: Would the minister advise me if former MPPs who have been appointed to certain tasks as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board or on the Liquor Licence Appeal Tribunal, or who have been named provincial judges, still receive their pensions from the government over and above the remuneration they receive in these new positions?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I would expect so, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: Doesn’t the minister feel that when people are being paid $35,000 to $40,000 a year from the provincial coffers, that this is sufficient and that the pension should not be paid as long as they are on the provincial government payroll -- and that that’s the policy that is adopted at the federal level in many instances?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Well, Mr. Speaker, I can’t tell whether the member has two standards; whether there shall be one rule for one group of people and one rule for the other.
Mr. Roy: One further supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.
Mr. Roy: This is a matter of policy. When people are on the government payroll, whether as judges or otherwise, doesn’t the minister feel that if they are drawing something like $35,000 or $40,000 a year they should not be getting further funds from the province through a pension -- and that the pension should be suspended during the time they hold that position?
Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, the member is working on the premise that these retired members actually do get the pension.
I cannot confirm that they do, and therefore I will report to the member.
Mr. Roy: That’s what I asked in the first place.
SELF-SERVE GASOLINE STATIONS
Mr. Philip: A question for the Treasurer: Would the minister kindly inform the House whether any decision has been made regarding the Dec. 9 resolution by the city of Windsor and subsequently approved by other municipalities which asked that the minister be requested to introduce an amendment to the Municipal Act to clearly establish the authority of municipalities to control the number and location of self-serve gasoline stations, as distinct from retail gas stations?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I think no decision has been made.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: Can the minister tell us then, considering his letter of Jan. 9 to the city of Windsor that stated that “careful consideration to an amendment would be given at the earliest possible time” -- can he give us some indication of what he means by the earliest possible time?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We are still on that timetable, Mr. Speaker.
ALLEGED KICKBACKS TO FOOD PROCESSERS
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Is he aware of the allegations of kickbacks required from the Omar food processers and the produce processers in Trenton, out., and if so, has he launched any investigation into that situation?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, to be more specific, is the member talking about the canning industry down there, or the fresh corn market for canning?
Mr. Peterson: I am talking about requesting kickbacks from farmers to bring the price of corn down per ton.
Hon. W. Newman: I am aware that there have been negotiations going on, but I am not aware of any kickbacks -- if that’s what the member is talking about.
Mr. Reid: Negotiations are now called kickbacks.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr. Peterson: Is the minister aware of any problems in that particular area with requests from the food processers to have a kickback from the farmers, in violation of the marketing board legislation? Is he aware of that situation at all?
Hon. W. Newman: I am aware that they have established a price for corn this year. I am aware of the fact that there will probably be overseas markets. I am aware they are negotiating, but I don’t like that word “kickback”. There is no kickback involved at all.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: The final supplementary on this.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: What is the minister doing to ensure that the farmers get paid for their 1975 crop, which matter is in contravention of the marketing board legislation?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, is the member referring to the 1975 crop at the Co-op plant down in eastern Ontario?
Mr. Gaunt: Yes.
Hon. W. Newman: I am not aware of any specific problem in 1975. I am aware of what could be costing up in the 1976 crop year, and I will be glad to look into that for him.
DREE FUNDS FOR KIMBERLY-CLARK PROJECT
Mr. Stokes: I have a question for the provincial Treasurer. Is the provincial Treasurer aware that the five communities affected by the $240 million expansion by Kimberly-Clark in northern Ontario are anxiously awaiting the details of a sub-agreement between DREE and Ontario for infrastructure money so that they can accommodate the 900 new employees who will be employed in that expansion by Kimberly-Clark? Is the minister aware that announcements have been made by the federal government that those funds will be made available, to the extent that the federal government is prepared to participate, as soon as the provincial government makes up its mind as to the degree of involvement? Is he also aware that the five communities can’t really strike a budget until they find out what the federal and provincial involvement might be in the infrastructure sub-agreement?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I was not aware that the federal government had made any announcements. I’ll be glad to look into that. I am aware or, at least, I assume that those municipalities are concerned. I can only tell the member, as I’ve already indicated to him, that negotiations are proceeding -- I think on a satisfactory basis -- and I would hope that within the next two months we would reach a conclusion to those negotiations.
Mr. Reid: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the Treasurer indicate what the government’s principles are in regard to expansion and founding of resource communities and the way in which the industry itself is to pay for the infrastructure, both social and otherwise, which has to be set up? What is the formula the government uses in approaching the expansion of Kimberly-Clark or the establishment of Umex or resource communities like that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the member might want to direct that question to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine) who has an ongoing oversight of this particular problem -- or challenge would be a better way of putting it.
I think, generally, if it’s a brand new town site our policy is that the originator of the town site, for whom the town site is created, is going to pay the shot. What complicates that rather simple formula is that often there are two in one place or there is an existing community which, perhaps, is sadly in need of infrastructure in any case and where the province and the local municipality have some ongoing responsibility or should have. Therefore, it would be unfair or wrong to ask the new industry or industries coming in to pick up all of the cost or the great proportion of it.
Generally, these matters are dealt with on their respective merits; there’s no hard and fast formula. We start from the position -- I think it’s fair to say -- that the originator of the condition is, in the first instance at any rate, asked to pick up the majority of the cost.
Mr. Cunningham: My question is to the acting Minister of Health. Given that she met with the Hamilton district health council on April 9 and that her letter in reply and in response to that meeting was dated April 14, does she find the short period of five days an appropriate amount of time to evaluate her decision as it would affect Chedoke Hospital and the delivery of health care in an area which affects almost half a million people?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the district health council of Hamilton is one of the oldest and most experienced in the Province of Ontario. Its members’ deliberations, I felt, were very worthwhile; the decisions and recommendations which they made, I thought, were very thoughtful and probably in the best interests of the people of that area. I do consider that they have spent a good deal of time and a great deal of intellectual effort in arriving at the recommendations which they made and I thought they were almost all valid. We have responded to it within a reasonable period of time as well, I think.
Mr. Deans: A supplementary: Since the minister has expressed such admiration for the work of the health council and since it did reduce the number of beds to the level which was indicated as desirable by the Ministry of Health, why does the Ministry of Health now find it necessary to encroach upon the jurisdiction of the health council rather than to leave it up to the council to decide how the bed distribution should be made in the city of Hamilton and the surrounding area and adopt what it proposes to her with regard to the Chedoke Hospital?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the letter which I sent to the district health council in Hamilton contained a counterproposal. I asked for further validation of support for their proposal. I expect to hear from them. I have not made any further decision since I sent that letter; and I simply announced to them that I was waiting to hear from them regarding my counterproposal.
Mr. Deans: May I ask a simple supplementary?
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Wentworth North who asked a question and wished a supplementary -- there is time for that, I believe.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, given that the letter stated that these bed cutbacks were to be made by June 1, doesn’t the minister think there is some sort of inconsistency in what she is telling us right now?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Since, Mr. Speaker, these gentlemen seem to have read my letter to the chairman of the district health council -- and I did not make it public, I sent it to him directly --
Mr. Deans: I haven’t read it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think that if they read the letter they will find that that is not what I said.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I received a notice from the Clerk advising that the standing committee on private bills will meet tomorrow to consider bills Pr5, Pr16, Pr17 and Pr15. Looking at my private bills book I find that bills Pr16 and Pr18 are not in it. Pursuing inquiries beyond that, I find that they are not printed. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, how the committee is supposed to be reasonably able to study these bills tomorrow in committee when the bills are not printed and won’t be available apparentljy until tomorrow morning?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Do you really look at them before tomorrow morning?
Mr. Singer: That’s how I found out they weren’t there.
Mr. Roy: Is the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) packing a gun yet?
Mr. Speaker: I understand that the bills you mentioned will be ready. They will be up either later this afternoon or tomorrow morning. We will get them to you just as quickly as possible; and beyond that I have no control over it.
Mr. Singer: But surely, Mr. Speaker, as is the practice with other bills -- in fact, there is a positive rule with general bills that they cannot be considered until they are printed. It’s only logical that that rule carries over to private bills. It’s unfair to expect members of the committee or members of this Legislature to deal with bills that aren’t before them --
Mr. Eaton: Stand them down.
Mr. Singer: -- and we are entitled to at least 24 hours’ notice, and that’s logical. I would ask you, therefore, sir, to order that the private bills committee do not consider bills Pr16 and Pr18, until copies have been made available to the members.
Mr. Speaker: I think the committee can deal with that tomorrow morning, if we haven’t got it solved in the next few hours.
Mr. Singer: How is it going to be solved if they won’t be provided?
Mr. Speaker: Presenting reports.
Hon. Mrs. Birch presented a report entitled “Youth and Alcohol,” which was prepared by the Ontario Youth Secretariat at the request of the Premier (Mr. Davis).
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
CONDOMINIUM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Leluk moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Condominium Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of proposed changes here. In section 1, the new subsection sets out qualifications to be met by a person serving as a director of a condominium corporation. A candidate for a directorship would, therefore, have to be 18 years of age or over, an owner in the corporation, and the holder of a condominium director’s certificate issued by a prescribed institution, where such a course is being offered, or such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the regulations.
The subsection would also allow directors to be paid, where the declarations so stipulate.
Section 2(1) requires that notices for meetings be in a prescribed form.
New subsection 5(a) is enacted to eliminate the expensive practice whereby corporations always have to call two meetings to get a quorum. The new subsection would allow corporations to call a meeting notwithstanding that a quorum of members may not be present. The subsection would therefore encourage better attendance at meetings of the corporation.
New subsection 5(b) provides that proxies must be in a prescribed form. The intention is to make owners more aware of what they are signing when they sign a proxy.
Sections 3, 4, 5, 6 and I have been changed so that, in order to carry out the particular business indicated in the particular section, the corporation need only get a majority vote at any meeting duly called, instead of the 66 2/3 per cent or 80 per cent, as the case may be, of the owners of the common elements agreeing to the proposal. These changes are enacted so as to encourage a greater turnout and participation at meetings of condominium corporations.
Section 8 is consistent with the changes in section 1.
CONDOMINIUM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Leluk moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Condominium Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide for a condominium registrar, who would be available for consultation and who would build up an expertise in the condominium field. Corporations would be required to file minutes of annual meetings, lists of directors, financial statements and any other documents required to be registered in the condominium register with the registrar.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
DEAD ANIMAL DISPOSAL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. W. Newman moved second reading of Bill 56, An Act to amend the Dead Animal Disposal Act.
Mr. Riddell: We certainly have no objections to this bill, Mr. Speaker. It seems to me that we had a bit of a problem a year or two ago with some people who were dealing in dead animals and disposing of the meat for human consumption. I know I brought this to the attention of the minister last session, for it was my understanding that the licences of some of those people had been renewed to establish slaughtering plants. I fail to understand why a licence would be renewed to a person who was actually found guilty of disposing of meat from dead animals for human consumption.
As I see it, this bill prohibits anybody who is dealing in dead animals from disposing of such meat for human consumption, and I’m a little surprised that this wasn’t incorporated into a bill some time ago. I think it is a very necessary part of the Dead Animal Disposal Act, and we certainly have no objections to it.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Beef Improvement Association has from time to time recommended that any company picking up dead animals should have to obtain a bill of lading for that animal and that those animals go to a rendering plant, at which time the bill of lading would be presented.
It seems to me that that sort of system would be a good one from the point of view of stopping a lot of the illegal traffic in dead meat, particularly as it moves through the human consumption channels. I am wondering has the minister given that any thought, and if so, does he consider it to have some validity?
Mr. Speaker: Are there any other hon. members who wish to speak to this bill? The member for Lakeshore.
Mr. Lawlor: The legislation bemuses me a little. I was around the back of the Throne trying to find the statute in question. Does it mean specifically what it says in terms of the Act: “No person shall give, sell, offer for sale, process, transport, or deliver to any person as food for human consumption meat obtained from a dead animal”?
I would have thought every meat we had to eat was so obtained in the first instance. What is the wider implication of the section? Apart from that, which is possibly simply a semantic difficulty, I think we can be brought, reluctantly and with great hesitation, to approve of the legislation.
Mr. Speaker: Do any other hon. members wish to speak to this bill?
Mr. Breithaupt: He seemed not to have heard the comment
Hon. W. Newman: I couldn’t hear a thing over here.
Mr. Breithaupt: I think not. I am wondering if perhaps the member for Lakeshore would repeat it, or I can attend to it. The point is surely meat used for human consumption must always come from a dead animal unless that is otherwise defined in the Act?
Mr. Worton: It depends how dead.
Mr. Breithaupt: It depends how dead, I suppose.
Mr. Gaunt: Real dead.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I suppose they have a very good point there, but this is to deal with animals that have died for one reason or another and not been slaughtered in the proper manner.
Mr. Gaunt: Other than from natural causes.
Hon. W. Newman: Right, other than from man-made causes. The intent of the original bill was exactly what we are saying here, and also under the federal Food and Drug Act we had some protection, but we felt that it should be put into an amendment to the Dead Animal Disposal Act to make this just a little bit tighter for our own inspectors as far as handling of dead meat is concerned.
We haven’t looked at the bill of lading situation. It might have some merit and I am quite prepared to look at it, but really this is to tidy up and tighten it up a little bit. As a result of certain charges that were laid earlier this year we felt that the Act could be tightened up just a wee bit. So the intent was there. There is protection as far as consumers are concerned under the federal Food and Drug Act, but we feel that this piece of legislation spells it out a little more clearly by adding this to our section 4 of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: The motion is for second reading of Bill 56.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill he ordered for third reading?
Mr. Lawlor: Committee.
Mr. Speaker: Committee of the whole House.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 27, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I just have a few brief comments on this bill. There is nothing in the particular bill that I would particularly oppose.
I am just a little concerned, relative to questions on another matter which I raised in question period today, that there be more changes in this bill than what we have before us, specifically the fact that the OMERS plan be changed to a five years’ average of your best or final five years as the means by which the plan should be funded. I was led by the executive director of OMERS to believe that that suggestion had already been formally presented to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). I asked the Treasurer today when we could expect that change to be made and he said it was not as yet formally presented. So one or the other of those two gentlemen is not being honest with myself, and I intend to inform myself further on that particular matter.
I have nothing against this particular bill as far as it goes. I would just hope that there would have been much more in this bill to make worthwhile its presentation; some real changes in OMERS, a decent, more equitable interest rate paid and some say by OMERS employees as to where some of that investment may go and that it should not be, as it is now, virtually all channelled into the government coffers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, the amendments to the OMERS bill before us do, in fact, broaden the whole principle of the OMERS legislation. As mentioned, it certainly doesn’t incorporate many of the things that are being asked for by various groups that are under the plan.
I understand the first amendment, which broadens the definition as to those who can be covered, will now include officials who work for any board or group connected with the municipality, and specifically I understand that a secretary or a union official working for a firefighters’ union or a police association could now be covered under OMERS, which was not permissible previously.
The expansion of the transferability, as I understand those amendments, would now mean that service with any board anywhere in Canada or with any municipality would now grant portability to one’s pension plan from other parts of the province or other parts of the country, as a matter of fact, if that particular board or commission or municipality was of a similar nature. We applaud that which makes it more portable.
The inclusion under OMERS which has been granted previously to the civil servants allowing them to make back payments for war service is good, and I believe practically every pension plan in the province now includes that principle except the one which applies to members of this Legislature. Maybe someday that will even be amended to give members of the Legislature that particular privilege, which is now enjoyed by every other civil servant in OMERS and everyone else.
On the retroactivity of regulations made by cabinet, I inquired about this and I understand there could be certain specific instances where cabinet would have to deal with individual problems and it would need the right to make the regulations retroactive.
There are certain things that do concern me. For instance, I understand the police and firefighters are the only groups that can gear their OMERS benefits so that they can retire at age 60 rather than 65. The utility workers across the province have been campaigning heavily for certain things which they feel should be changed in the OMERS legislation. While these amendments do, in fact, broaden the scope considerably there are still a great many things about the plan that could be improved, in fact, the OMERS board when it deals with them does make recommendations to cabinet and the legislation is changed.
I’m thinking particularly of the supplementary plans which are available to certain people and not available to others in the same scope. I believe police and firemen do have additional benefits under supplementary plans whereby they can pay an additional sum -- seven per cent rather than five per cent -- and then, therefore, enjoy an earlier retirement with full benefits.
I think in the time I’ve been here, every year there are changes asked for by various groups and they seem to be so slow in coming. We certainly support these benefits which do broaden the whole scope of the OMERS Act, but I see no reason why the OMERS board can’t deal more quickly and mere vigorously with the requests that come from groups such as utility workers, and then recommendations to cabinet should be dealt with end expedited. As has been mentioned previously this afternoon, these are important issues with the people, because their retirement depends upon them, and it’s unfortunate that groups are at the mercy of the slow mechanics of governments in this regard.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few comments on the bill. I’m sure the minister is aware, as are most members of the House, of the numerous letters and petitions from various utilities workers throughout the province in an attempt to get changes in the OMERS scheme.
One of the suggestions the utility workers make concerns reducing the retirement age from 65 to 60, as is enjoyed by both fire and police. Today, when unemployment is a major factor in some communities, earlier retirement would be another partial answer to lessening the unemployment situation.
I hope the minister, or the parliamentary assistant piloting this piece of legislation through the Legislature, will look seriously at the recommendations and suggestions by the various utilities employees and will do his best to convince his cabinet colleagues that changes in the OMERS scheme are long overdue.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, my comments will be brief. First of all, perhaps in response to the specific question of the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville, I should say that I personally am not aware of there having been any communication on the specific matters that he raised. I will, however, take that op with the executive director of OMERS and see if there was any communication that has not come to my attention and discuss those matters further with him.
Likewise, I appreciate the comments of the hon. member for Waterloo North and certainly I do undertake to follow up on the matters that he has raised as well. If the hon. members do have any other matters they would like to king to the attention of me and members of the ministry for consideration for subsequent amendments, I would encourage them to communicate with me on those matters and I would be pleased to discuss them on a policy level with the responsible minister.
With regard to the specific legislation before us, I think it’s apparent from the comments that have been made by the members of the opposition in the discussions up to this point that there are few questions or no particular questions with regard to the specific content. Therefore, I think little would be gained by my going through the matter at this point, discussing the principle on a clause-by-clause basis. I am very pleased there is obvious support from the opposition members for the existing legislation.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading upon motion;
Bill 27, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act.
PUBLIC UTILITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 41, An Act to amend the Public Utilities Act.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, I have a question regarding the principle behind this bill. This bill now eliminates the section which required the public utilities commission to pledge, as security, land or buildings it was purchasing and for which the municipality was issuing debentures.
As hon. members know, under normal circumstances, municipalities, when they are raising debentures, do not have to pledge as security anything other than that municipality’s ability to raise taxes and pay off its debentures. When a municipality guaranteed the debentures for a public utilities commission, there were requirements under the Public Utilities Act that such debenture issue would be guaranteed by the lands or buildings which were being purchased by the public utility. Now that principle is eliminated, so that neither the municipality nor the public utilities commission has to guarantee any property in the form of a mortgage or any other kind of guarantee against those debentures.
However, last fall, as I remember, we passed an amendment to the Municipal Act which completely reversed this principle. That took place when a municipality borrowed money from the Ontario Development Corp. or one of the Ontario Development Corps. under the Ontario Development Act. In that instance, when a municipality borrowed money from ODC or Eastern Ontario or Northern Ontario Development Corp. to buy land for industrial park purposes, we amended the Municipal Act so that the municipality then had to pledge and mortgage that particular land as security for the money borrowed from the ODC.
I find it strange that we should establish that principle as a new principle last fall in one instance when the municipality borrows money and gives the land as security, and now we wipe that principle out in the public utilities commissions to make it coincide with all other aspects of the municipal financing. Really, the security of a piece of land is not what establishes a municipality’s ability to pay off its debentures; it is that municipality’s ability to raise money and to raise taxes to pay off its debentures.
I agree with this legislation but I would certainly like an answer as to why we established that new principle last fall with amendments to the Municipal Act and now we eliminate the same principle under the Public Utilities Act?
Mr. Lawlor: Just a word or two about the legislation. It’s an advanced step into a more sophisticated financing area. When municipalities issue bonds, debentures or any notes, etc., placing them in species, placing them against individual objects and pieces of property, real or personal, is an outmoded and antiquated version which, as they point out, is not done within the debenture instrument itself. It is a blanket instrument; it covers all assets. It has full backing.
In the same way as the Province of Ontario borrows against its total acquirement and its total complement of assets, without allocating and earmarking this or that one, so, too, should municipalities -- and they do presently -- raise money through debentures in a blanket coverage situation.
All the legislation is doing is to give recognition to that particular financing principle, and certainly one can’t have any objection to it.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry I am not able to respond to the question raised by the hon. member for Waterloo North; I was not aware of the specific amendment he refers to. However, I will undertake to make inquiries about that and communicate to him directly on the matter or, should this come up again in the committee of the whole House, hopefully I will be prepared to respond at that time.
Once again, I think there is little I can add here except to reinforce what has already been said by the hon. member for Lakeshore, that this is a progressive step. It enacts in legislation what has already been taking place in practice for many years and reassures those persons who are engaged in the field of municipal finance of the kind of security, reinforced by legislation, which we have been proud to ensure in the Province of Ontario.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 41, An Act to amend the Public Utilities Act.
Clerk of the House: The second order, House in committee of the whole.
DEAD ANIMAL DISPOSAL AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 56, An Act to amend the Dead Animal Disposal Act.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The parliamentary assistant to the minister is here to take the bill through.
Mr. Lawlor: That’s nice. Hello, over there. What was the answer to the question having to do with all animals which, I take it, are eaten by way of beefsteaks or lamb chops in various forms of restaurant and are presumably dead at the time? The section as it reads would say that that’s quite illegal. Is it your intention to institute a vegetarian feast in the Province of Ontario?
Mr. Eaton: No, it means what it says basically and it’s interpreted in the Act under 1(b). Dead animal means the carcass or any part thereof of a horse, goat, sheep, swine or head of cattle which has died from any cause other than slaughter. It’s covered.
Bill 56 reported.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 25, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Mr. Chairman: Bill 25, I understand, is going to be dealt with jointly by the hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications and the hon. Attorney General. Does either of the ministers have any opening comments? The hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that when we come to the sections I will have amendments to move to sections 5, 10, 12 and 17. My colleague the Attorney General will be dealing with the debate on sections 3, 4 and 20, I believe it is.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, before the debate continues, can the minister advise us as to whether any of the particular amendments with respect to this Act would be matters he is considering with reference to the new select committee? In other words, are there certain things with which we would not have to deal at this time or are all of these amendments wanted by the ministry now, no matter what the work of the select committee may be?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, we would like to proceed with all the sections of the bill. I have given your colleague to your right a copy of the amendments so you have them there. Really, any action taken on this bill does not deter the select committee in any way from looking into these particular matters. I don’t know what particular sections the hon. member has in mind which might be deferred, but none of these sections really deals only with vehicles under the PCV Act. They may deal with the total class of thick, whether they be privately owned, leased, licensed PCV or not. There isn’t anything here that I would like to delay at this time.
Mr. Lawlor: Just one question if I may. Has the Attorney General amendments to section 3 or 4 of the sections he’s handling?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No.
Mr. Lawlor: You are okay? Fine. Thank you.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Chairman, the minister alluded to the fact that he would be proposing an amendment to section 5 in this bill, and I also have an amendment to section 5.
Mr. Chairman: I think I should start off by asking if there is anything on any previous section of the bill. I believe the hon. Attorney General indicated he had something on section 3.
On section 3:
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, the purpose of the amendment is to fill the gap with respect to the suspension of licences following conviction for a criminal offence involving the use of a motor vehicle, left as a result of clause 19 of the federal bill, C-71.
Clause 19 of the federal legislation repealed those provisions of section 238 of the Criminal Code which permitted a judge to make an order suspending a licence for up to three years where the person is not liable to imprisonment for life and for any period the judge considered proper where the person is convicted of an offence where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. Subsection 3 of section 20 will permit a judge to make such orders under the Highway Traffic Act instead of under the Criminal Code.
The purpose of this amendment, as the legislation states, is to safeguard the interests of the public using the highways and, therefore, to give a judge the power to suspend a licence, even though an accused may have been given a conditional or absolute discharge under the Criminal Code. Section 4 really is in furtherance of that same intent.
I might just say, as a matter of brief historical background, that at the federal-provincial meeting of Attorneys General and Ministers of Justice in Halifax in October, 1975, I indicated to the federal Minister of Justice that we in Ontario opposed the removal of the power under section 238 which gave a judge the power to impose driving suspension for three years unless it was an offence punishable up to life imprisonment. They took our objection under consideration and the last word we had, when they proceeded with Bill C-71, was that we could provide for this suspension under our Highway Traffic Act. We have moved accordingly.
I think most members of the Legislature would agree that in certain circumstances it is in the public interest to allow a trial judge, the person who actually bears the circumstances related to the offence, to impose a greater suspension than the automatic minimum suspensions that have been traditionally provided under the Highway Traffic Act. In view of the fact that this right was taken out of the code -- and I might say it was taken out of the code because of the conflict that you will recall existed between the intermittent driving privileges that were provided for in the code and the absolute suspensions which were provided for under the Highway Traffic Act -- all the provinces expressed their concern with relation to the conflict between the intermittent provisions and the mandatory suspensions provided under the provincial legislation.
The response of the federal government was simply to get out of the field of driving suspensions entirely. Therefore, we believed it was in the public interest that we fill the gap that has been left by Bill C-71, which, if it has not already been proclaimed, will be proclaimed any day. I’m sorry I don’t have the exact date of the proclamation.
Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Chairman, I want to ask a question of the Attorney General on a point I’m not quite clear about. In connection with the discretion that a judge previously exercised with respect to intermittent sentences, does this now remove that discretion from the bench?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.
Mr. Reid: So there is no such thing then.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is no such thing; that was under the Criminal Code, and I understand that is removed by Bill C-71.
Mr. Roy: That’s removed from the code.
Mr. Bullbrook: It was removed from the code, not because of a motivation on the part, as I understand it, of the Minister of Justice at Ottawa to fetter judges in exercising the discretion with respect to intermittent sentences. The motivation of the federal jurisdiction was that we shouldn’t be in there anyway. I think the Attorney General will agree with that.
I want to express some personal concern -- probably not caucus concern in this respect -- in not permitting the continuation of some intermittent driving privileges and some discretion in the bench. Frankly, I expressed this several years ago and it’s a very difficult and delicate subject. The very activist attitude of the present Attorney General in connection with those offences enunciated in subsection 3 is something very worthwhile and he is to be applauded by those people on this side of the House.
On the other hand, I want to go back to 1971 and 1972 when I stood in this chamber and said it seemed to me that justice isn’t entirely equal when someone who is wealthy enough to lose the privilege of driving is also concurrently wealthy enough to hire somebody to drive him. Yet it causes me no little concern, and I am sure it causes the Chair and other members of the House no little concern, to recognize that some constituent of mine -- without in any way defending his personal impropriety or minimizing the seriousness of the offence -- may lose his livelihood because of the lack of discretion in the court.
I am very interested, therefore, in attempting some type of debate in this respect. As I see the two balances, we have the understanding by the public that if we issue intermittent driving privileges we then don’t regard the fight on drinking and driving is a very serious one, and I want to say that I do regard it as a serious one.
But I am more concerned from a professional standpoint in the removal of the right that the courts had to recognize the personal implications of the penalty -- which in some circumstances don’t seem to be commensurate as between the same offence committed by two persons, so that the effect of the suspension is a personal and continuing family tragedy for one and is less than nothing for another.
Since it’s not our intention at this time to put forward any amendments, as I understand it from my colleague who is the official critic, I would like to get some response on balance from the Attorney General in that respect.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think the issues that have been raised are very legitimate ones and I know are of concern to any of us who have been called upon to represent people in the courts who are going to lose their livelihood by reason of a driving suspension. On the other hand, there is no doubt, without being overly critical of the provincial judiciary, in certain circumstances this power to grant intermittent driving privileges in certain areas of the province quite frankly was abused somewhat, so that the suspension became rather meaningless.
It’s a difficult question. I think because of the increasing toll of deaths and serious injuries on the highways there were many of us who felt that perhaps more Draconian measures were required. Notwithstanding that I think the issues that are raised are not easy to deal with as there is no question that there is a certain degree of inequality in the application of the suspension for the reasons that have just been mentioned.
I would think this might well be an issue that might be referred in some way to the select committee which, I understand, is going to be established in relation to highway traffic safety.
Mr. Bullbrook: In that respect, if we could just have for a moment some type of dialogue which I think is very effective and beneficial, I would really like to see that. Basically those people who are so adversely affected by the lack of elasticity in the bench are the people who are public commercial drivers, and those are the people who are mainly losing their livelihood. One can say legitimately -- and I am sure the Attorney General had to hold his tongue back in not saying that -- they are the very people who should not be convicted of impaired driving because they are professional, and there’s great merit in that. I’m glad he didn’t take it upon himself to say that, but that would have been a logical response.
On balance I would really like to see this; I would like to see the continuation of some discretion in the bench. I really feel it isn’t the function of the legislative process to assess the impact of sentences on an individual basis. I, as one person in this assembly, prefer to see the eyeball-to-eyeball approach that takes place in the courtroom. I prefer to see, on the basis of reports given to an individual judge, that when he’s meting out justice he metes it out with a discretion, and a temperance at times, that is more equitable on balance.
The Attorney General might turn to his colleague on the left and I think he might well consider as one of the terms of reference of the select committee, the implication of driver control programmes on those people employed under public commercial vehicle licences -- something of that nature.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, I would like to join in this debate on this particular point that’s being discussed. There are some questions of a more legalistic nature maybe rising out of the section itself. I’ve long felt that however Draconian, and how much of an iron rule is set up, the administration of justice in this province must, if it’s to be justice -- with the people leaving the courtroom with a sense that they’ve been fairly dealt with -- be somehow individualized to some degree. How do you do that?
You can’t do it by iron codes and by laying down sections as we do -- because the sections, by definition, are universal, categorical and impersonal, and they apply to all alike, right across the board. But there is an interposition there; there is such a thing as a judge. He’s between our laws and what we lay down in terms of strict strictures and the accused person standing in front of him. Every case is different and some provision must be made for that in the administration of justice. Simply to pick an iron rule is to create an iron cage in the society. Therefore, I’m in favour by and large of the widest possible discretion being conferred upon judges.
There are circumstances. You and I in our practice before the criminal bar over the years have had cases where, without being a bleeding heart, one’s heart bled after the case was over for the position, through his own fault, that a truck driver or a taxi driver or any number of people in the commercial field, driving for a livelihood found himself -- emerging from that courtroom with his family with his prospects not dimmed, but completely damned, blotted out. He pleads with you afterwards to take an appeal -- to do this, that and the other thing. With a driving-with-ability-impaired charge the chances of winning on those cases are 1 in 100 these days, particularly if you are over 1.0 -- 1.2 and you’ve had it. We will discuss this on some other occasion, but as a matter of fact it should be taken out of legal aid, probably -- representations under those particular sections of the code; 234, I think it is, and 235.
So, leave in some provision for the maintenance of a livelihood, not to send them out on relief, not to place them in the hands of welfare, not to exclude their future prospects of employment -- and that’s what’s happening. I’ve had an awful lot of these cases. It’s all right for the bone-headed or the hard-headed, or whatever heads they may have, to say, “Throw the book at them; throw them in jail.” They seem to think that they somehow go away. But the fact of the matter is they are plunged, with their whole families and whole futures, on the doorsteps of every taxpayer in the province. There are all those people who seem to be so oblivious of what the impact is.
Therefore let’s have an element of the intermittent sentence. It’s like the guys going in and serving the weekend in the Don Jail and serving their sentence by that particular process. Also, with respect to driving, if the people in certain areas of employment are fatuous enough, foolish enough, twisted enough, boonswaggled enough or idiotic enough to get themselves into a position, they nevertheless must not afflict the whole of society and we must not afflict their families and everyone else around them in this particular.
Haven’t we got sufficient confidence in our judges -- I have -- for them to weigh and assess this person, his characteristics, his predilection, what he is given over to and what he isn’t? Is he an alcoholic? Is he deeply addicted to the grape? How far has this gone? What is the impact? All these hundred factors, all the variables that make a human life, a judge can take, by representations from counsel, into consideration.
We have some obligation to give him that opportunity so that the very right and justice of the case is met in particular circumstances and that no lives are blighted because you say, in a blanket way, “We will damn well cut out this drinking and driving” and bring the full force of the law to bear as the sanction in this particular regard. The consequences of that are not just deeply looked at on the basis of that particular categorical imperative. That’s the trouble with categorical imperatives; when you set up things in terms of pure duty, you stop there. There is a whole school that says you ought not to go any further. But at least the utilitarians had this much good behind them -- they took a look at consequences to see what flowed from any action.
It is all right to damn a particular action and say that that Act is intrinsically wrong, the devil come what may, and what may flow out of it is not to be taken into countenance in judging the thing. Well, you and I don’t look at it that way. No lawyer really does. We are not moralists in those terms. We want to see how it creeps through society, and how the stream flows, and what the repercussions are, and what the ultimate effects upon a very wide body of persons may be, and we have to make provision for that. The way to do it is, with respect, giving some flexibility to the judge in this particular regard.
So far so good. A more legalistic point, under the federal legislation -- this legislation was visited upon me as I came into the House today; I have not had an opportunity, although I have in front of me the Criminal Code, 1975 -- it seems to me that the section with respect to roadside testing, winch I understand is a new section 234(1), that was subject under the federal bill to proclamation by the province. You have not, as I understand it, proclaimed that section yet. What is your intention with regard to proclamation? Does it involve the roadside testing concept? Just what is the weight of that? I mean, how broad is that roadside testing power, and is that part of this legislation in front of us at the present moment, the initiation and coming into being of that principle?
You won a certain amount of notoriety in the press around Christmas-time about stopping people and questioning them, and the police officer involved, on a quick assessment, on a shrewd appraisal of the individual’s deportment, his gait and other characteristics, could take him tight off the road. Is that all involved here today? I am not clear on the point.
Mr. Breithaupt: I have been interested, Mr. Chairman, particularly in the response which the Attorney General gave to my colleague from Sarnia and his view that in some areas, dealing in this particular section, discretion has perhaps been too widely used. The only unfortunate problem that flows from that is that the minister now apparently would replace the possible abuse of discretion with no opportunity for discretion. I think there should be some opportunity for discretion in this particular matter of intermittent driving.
The sentencing which has taken place has, of course, received wide support in most areas of the public, because it is clearly apparent that the drinking driver is a particularly serious menace not only to himself or herself but to the general public, considering the costs of hospitalization and all these other matters that so concern the members of the Legislature.
That being said, I am drawn to the comments by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) who says it may well be in the public interest to allow some form of balance in this kind of programme, rather than throwing entirely perhaps on the welfare system or on some other source of public assistance, the person and his or her family, who as a result, suffer because of the loss of livelihood; or the impossibility, because of education or skills, of obtaining any other kind of occupation commensurate with that which perhaps the person had, shall we say as driver of a transport truck or whatever it may be.
I agree with the comments, of course, that those persons are the last who should risk their own livelihood by getting in this kind of position, because they should be the ones most aware of the dangers of traffic accidents and the loss of life and injuries which result from this kind of problem.
However, I do feel, to repeat my earlier comment, that because some judges have, perhaps, given discretion too freely, it should not be the entire basis upon which we come to this conclusion. I would far prefer the matter of discretion to remain so that it is not, of course, abused but that it does exist for the occasional case in which justice would be seen to be done if that person is treated somewhat differently from his or her fellow citizens.
I agree, of course, that the matter of having the law as changeable as the length of the chancellor’s foot is not the answer. Surely, it is also not the answer to attempt to fit everyone into what becomes this Procrustean bed of making sure that each person is dealt with in precisely the same manner and so there is no balancing of the justice we seek, with the possibility of the application of some mercy which can also be important within our society.
I would prefer that some discretion would remain. I would prefer that those persons who are appointed to the bench, because of their learning and because of their abilities, should have left with them the opportunity to deal with these matters on occasion in a way they feel best fits the portion of the province in which they live and the persons who are brought before the bar of justice. I would encourage the Attorney General to consider this because I think we would have better legislation as a result.
Mr. Lawlor: The second major point I want to make in connection with the legislation is I wonder -- at least it should be perused in principle in this House; the point should be raised -- whether it is good in principle that a judge can come to the conclusion to give either a conditional or an absolute discharge. Let’s deal with the latter first.
An absolute discharge is under 661, subsection 1 of point 1 of the Criminal Code. A judge doesn’t easily come to the position of granting an absolute discharge. The point about an absolute discharge is to remove from that individual, with respect to employment opportunities and with respect to any stigma touching their character, the stigma vis-à-vis a criminal offence. Although the individual may be convicted of the offence, he receives a discharge from it and he then is clear with respect to his public presentation of himself.
It’s only under extraordinary circumstances that that is done. It’s done in cases in which a woman has done some shoplifting, for instance, and this is her first offence -- she’s never been caught, at least, doing this previously. She is a working woman and you make a plea to the judge and he says: “All right. You pleaded guilty or you’ve been convicted on the evidence, but the fact is, I will alleviate you from further harm flowing from this particular act by way of an absolute discharge.”
Having arrived at that, you are saying in your legislation that he gets an absolute discharge for some fairly onerous, even heinous offences under the Criminal Code: Causing death by criminal negligence, 203; causing bodily harm by criminal negligence, 204, with a 10-year maximum; manslaughter, 219; criminal negligence In the operation of a motor vehicle, 233.1, with a five-year minimum penalty; and so on. All these sections are referred to in the first subsections of the section.
You’re saying, despite that, if a member of the judiciary sees fit to grant either a conditional discharge or an absolute discharge, nevertheless a certain kind of penalty may be imposed. I don’t know how it applies in the case of the conditional discharge but surely, as a condition to the discharge, the type of penalty you are talking about would be that the judge would say, “Your licence is going to be suspended for a period of time, and While I give you a conditional discharge, this is the condition upon which I do it.” Therefore, there is no necessity for your section under that context. The only thing that would really arise would be in the case of an absolute discharge.
I can’t see how we can talk out of both sides of our mouths, saying on one side you get an absolute discharge and, on the other one, a penalty is to be served. Do you find no conflict in that mode of reasoning? Or is this simply a gesticulation towards getting tough and trying to prove to the world at large our machismo with respect to matters of highway penalties of all kind? If it’s a posturing, then why not have it out in the open and let’s say so? If it has real merit and will be efficacious in its operation and to one end, then okay. Standing here, I am not convinced of that, and I think you are going to have to make a bit more of a case than you have up to now.
Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. Attorney General have any comment? If not, the hon. member for Ottawa East.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, I think it might be quicker if the Attorney General would respond after we are all finished, because I think we are all pretty well concerned about the same area.
I am enjoying this debate in the sense that it is being discussed logically and coldly, and we are not getting caught up in emotionalism. I can recall that, a couple of years ago, every time we mentioned the objectivity or the worth of having sections that permitted judges to exercise discretion in terms of intermittent sentences, we were good for a couple of editorials in the Globe and Mail and in newspapers all over across the province, saying that we were soft on drinking drivers. I think the Attorney General will agree that the original intent of the intermittent term was to bring some kind of fairness into the sentencing process.
My colleague, the member for Sarnia, and the member for Lakeshore, as well as others, have mentioned that punishment must be made to fit the crime and that some discretion must be left in the court. I don’t want to dwell on that, although there are some instances where an individual obviously is not punished as much by losing his licence as somebody else who loses his job. I don’t intend to repeat that.
What does concern me is that not only is the discretion taken away on this point, as it was taken away -- in fact, this matter was followed right up to the Supreme Court of Canada -- between the provinces’ mandatory right or the right given under the section to take the licence away where at the same time, under the Criminal Code, judges have the right to exercise the discretion and give an intermittent term.
It was very confusing to the public. I think that the authorities and the judicial process generally across this province really confused the whole situation to the point where people were saying, “Yes, the judge could give me a particular sentence,” but it didn’t work out that way because the registrar of motor vehicles would be pulling his licence anyway.
The province has taken a hard line, I suspect, because any time we talk about intermittent terms, we get slammed around and told we are being soft on drinking drivers. I don’t think that’s the case at all. But the province is going much further here, as the member for Lakeshore has mentioned, in the sense that the effect of discharge provisions has been wiped out by section 3, subsection 4. Where it used to read that if a person was convicted, you now say that it’s not a question only of being convicted, but if he pleaded guilty or was found guilty then he is considered to have been convicted. So the whole effect of the discharge provisions, the conditional and the other discharge, is taken away. We have to be concerned about that, and I think it is worthwhile discussing this situation.
As the law progresses along the way, we have tried, and I think all levels of legislation have tried, to get away from mandatory terms. We’ve got away from these mandatory terms in a period when we’ve had better and better appointments to the bench. The people accepting appointments to the bench have been more capable and we’ve put more faith in our judiciary than before. But here we seem to be taking retrogressive steps in that we’re getting away from the discretion and getting involved in mandatory terms.
As our judiciary keeps getting better, we at the provincial level seem to be giving them less discretion. I think we have got to be concerned about that. The Attorney General, as one who has practised in the courts, has seen sometimes where mandatory sentences can do undue hardship. I can recall, for instance, under the Criminal Code, any offences against the post office involved a mandatory jail term of six months or something. That was unduly harsh because it involved a person who may well have taken one letter home one night when he was on a tear or might have been drinking or something or it could have involved another individual who had systematically been taking mail from the post office. In both instances, there was a minimum term of six months. In this case, a person may well be discharged. A judge exercising his discretion could give a discharge.
The basis of a discharge has been that the individual before the court is, first of all, not considered to have a criminal record; and secondly, is being treated by the court in such a way that we feel imposing a discharge, in the long term, is going to be to his benefit. Whatever the judge does at that level will have no application here because his licence is going to be taken away. I’m concerned about this and I’m glad we’re discussing it in these terms with the Attorney General.
I don’t think any of us here want to take a hard line and say civil rights are being flouted here by the government. But I think the Attorney General can see that we express a genuine concern about what happens once you take this discretion away in all these instances by imposing mandatory terms. Really, we’re doing this now because of public pressures. Everybody keeps thinking that the minute we talk about this discretion being exercised we’re being soft on it and that actually we must be getting harsher.
I think there is an area of being harsher in imposing sentences for drinking drivers without necessarily always affecting a person’s licence, especially when he needs his licence to earn his livelihood. There are other ways of doing it and I don’t think we are exploring these enough; and I don’t think we’ve put enough faith in the bench. As my colleague the member for Kitchener said, by trying to plug the gap between exercising this discretion too freely and moderation we take it away completely. This is not the trend that law has taken over the past few years. We’re getting away from these mandatory terms.
I want to put on record my concern about proceeding in that area at this time. Under the Criminal Code, at least at the federal level, there seems to be some enthusiasm to give judges more discretion, whereas we at the provincial level are saying no. Especially when we consider that it’s our provincial appointees who are most often imposing sentences, it is sort of ironic. The government appoints these people and they are supposed to be competent and so on. Yet at the time the federal people are giving them discretion, provincially, we are the people who are taking that discretion away.
There seems to be some inconsistency there. We should look at this and we should not get caught up in the tide of reading editorials and of people making comments when they don’t really realize that we’re not trying to be soft on people who are drinking and driving. We want to be as harsh as anyone else but there has got to be some justice.
We’re talking about justice now, and it’s not justice in many instances to have the same term for people in very different situations.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Chairman, it is rather interesting that I am the first member of the House to rise on this matter who isn’t a lawyer, but perhaps I may tread where others won’t. Hopefully I will be much briefer, but no less effective, than those people who have gone before in expressing my concerns pretty well along the same lines as they have been outlining.
As a provincial member one of the things I have a great number of constituents coming to me about is their licences being suspended for impaired driving. I must say that in many cases I have been less than sympathetic with them, but on the other hand I must balance that with the fact that, particularly in my area -- and I speak particularly of it but I think it would apply across the province -- many people have to drive long distances to work. They are not necessarily truck drivers or cab drivers; they are construction workers or miners or people who work in the forest industry. Their livelihood is taken away from them for a three-month or a six-month period.
It seems to me we can temper justice and balance it with a little bit of mercy and charity by leaving discretion in the hands of the judges. I, too, feel that the Attorney General is surely able to give directives and we are able to lay down guidelines exactly as to how the intermittent licences should be given out. It not only affects the man in his work, it affects his family. The breakdown in the family and in society generally as a result of that discretion being taken away, to my mind, is not really what justice is all about in this report.
Again, I feel somewhat strongly that the carnage on our highways due to drinking drivers is something we have to come to grips with. I am not sure that doing it in this Draconian way -- to use a phrase someone else has used -- is necessarily going to stop the problem. Surely we can find a better way of doing it? I would like to say to the Attorney General that I would hope he would reinstate discretion in the hands of the judges.
I believe it would only be fair, equitable and just to balance the offence with some kind of discretion My friend from Sarnia has pointed out that the law in this regard is somewhat unequal in that if a person who can afford to hire either a taxi or a chauffeur gets caught, it isn’t much of a loss to him. Rut for those people who completely rely on their personal transportation for their jobs, it is a great imposition. It is a loss of their earning power. They are thrown onto public welfare, or some other backup of society for these people, bat it leaves them idle. Often, the result of this is worse than the offence they committed in the first place.
I have been through the Criminal Code and as a non-lawyer, I am a little concerned about section 19, the conditional discharge. I can’t satisfy myself in my own mind as to what section 19 does when you are taking away the discretion in section 3 of the bill. On the one hand, it seems to me, as a non-lawyer, the judges have discretion to do one thing in offences causing death by criminal negligence -- we could go all through the Act; I don’t think that is necessary -- yet in another case, which is a matter of impaired driving, that discretion and the same circumstances do not apply. I would like to support my colleagues by asking that the Attorney General reconsider and give the judges discretion in regard to intermittent licences.
Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to melee a few comments on the bill because I can recall years ago speaking exactly to the point we are discussing today. I made mention at that time that I thought it was completely unfair to take the livelihood away from an individual simply because he was convicted of impaired driving. Not during the performance of his normal duties; it would be an evening operation; he happened to go to some type of function with his wife or alone and on his way home was stopped by a police officer and eventually ended up with an impaired driving charge against him. I thought it was unfair because at that time you were taking his livelihood away. If you, a lawyer, were caught impaired, we wouldn’t take away your right to practise as a lawyer. We wouldn’t do that to a doctor. If a doctor were caught driving while impaired, we wouldn’t take his right to practise medicine away from him. Yet you treat the professional driver completely unfairly, because you are taking away his right to a livelihood.
I would hope, Mr. Minister, that you leave some discretion to the judiciary in this instance, so that they can weigh the merits of the case. I hold no brief for the individual who is caught driving while impaired while in the performance of his duties, such as a driver caught while he is driving professionally. I would even go so far as to take away his right to drive at that time, but if he were caught not in the performance of his professional activities, I think it is completely unfair to take the right of a livelihood away from that individual and have him thrown on to the good graces of the community and welfare and/or other benefits that he may be entitled to.
I hope, Mr. Minister, you will consider discretion in the case of this section.
Mr. Chairman: Does any other hon. member wish to speak to section 3?
Mr. Bullbrook: I might want to speak to it several times, but since we are in committee, I would like to hear the Attorney General right now.
Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. Attorney General with to respond?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I must admit, Mr. Chairman, that my sympathy in relation to the vast majority of people who are convicted of impaired driving falls somewhat short of that of some of the members opposite.
Mr. Lawlor: Not when you were defending them.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: While I recognize that there is a lot of good sense in relation to judicial discretion and giving judges as much discretion as possible, I should remind the members that the purpose of these amendments is, in fact, to give judges discretion that they do not have now, rather than taking anything away.
For some years there have been mandatory three- and six-month automatic suspensions as a result of certain convictions under the Criminal Code. As you know, these suspensions automatically follow conviction under the Criminal Code, and they had nothing to do with the exercise or non-exercise of judicial discretion. The matter of intermittent sentences was introduced into the Criminal Code a relatively short time ago, a matter of several years or a little better perhaps, and that was the first time that the issue of giving judges discretion with respect to these minimum mandatory suspensions arose.
The proposed amendment that is before the Legislature is, in fact, in relation to giving a judge a discretion to impose a greater sentence than the minimum insofar as the driving suspension is concerned, greater than that which is provided by the Highway Traffic Act under the automatic provisions, and of course in relation --
Mr. Bullbrook: That’s like saying, “We have to kill you, but we are going to give you the option as to whether you want the electric chair or want to be hanged.” That’s the discretion you are giving now.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Not at all. In relation to the proposed amendments, in relation to giving a judge the discretion as to whether the judge wishes to impose a greater sentence, it’s a matter of complete discretion for the judge. The section says that the judge may make an order extending the suspension of the licence.
Experience, and information that has been given to me, would indicate that the success of the intermittent driving privileges that were granted widely throughout the province for several years, prior to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the history of that is not very satisfactory from the standpoint of discouraging people from simply drinking and driving. What I would suggest -- and I thought that this was what was originally suggested by the hon. member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook ) -- is that the whole matter of judicial discretion as to whether there is going to be, in effect, any suspension at all -- whether or not we retain these minimum periods is what we’re really talking about -- be referred to a select committee of the Legislature in order that we might have available to that committee all the available, necessary and relevant statistics which might assist the Legislature in coming to a proper determination insofar as these mandatory driving suspensions are concerned. I thought that was the suggestion of the member for Sarnia and I would certainly endorse it.
On the matter of conditional and absolute discharges I think there’s some considerable merit in the suggestions or statements or submissions by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) in relation to whether or not a judge would wish to give an absolute discharge for a driving offence. The judge would obviously be expected to take into consideration the effect of such an absolute discharge in relation to any driving suspension. This is, perhaps, a matter which would be clearly considered by any particular judge trying the case. It may be that the proposed amendments in relation to the absolute or conditional discharges are not absolutely necessary. Quite frankly I’m reluctant, on the basis of the information we have, simply to remove the minimum periods of suspension which for so long have been part of the Highway Traffic Act. I hesitate to suggest that is the proper course at this point in time, notwithstanding the very interesting contributions to the debate by members on all sides of the House.
Mr. Bullbrook: I wonder if the Attorney General would consider entertaining a response to the main burden of our comment with respect to what would appear to be an apparent inequity in all people being treated the same?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Inherent in any offence which carries with it a form of monetary punishment, of course, is an inequity because of the obviously varying abilities of people to pay -- if we’re talking about fines. You might argue the whole system of fines, in that respect, is inequitable because obviously some people are more harshly dealt with than others simply by their means or lack of ability to pay.
On the matter the member for Sarnia attempted to raise, which I did not raise initially, in relation to the greater onus and responsibility on a driver who requires a licence to earn his or her living, in my view they would normally be required to exercise greater care in protecting that privilege to drive. Whether or not my friends opposite would agree with me, I happen to be firmly of the view that when one considers the carnage on the highways every year the matter of driving should be considered strictly as a privilege and not as a right.
Mr. Roy: Agreed.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t think we should lose sight of that fact.
Mr. Roy: We don’t.
Mr. Bullbrook: I am sorry. Is the Attorney General finished?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes. I don’t think there is anything I can usefully add.
Mr. Bullbrook: This is a most interesting exercise and not just one of philosophy because I don’t regard it as a philosophical argument. I want to say that I’m not going to respond to the Attorney General’s comment that there resides a discretion in the legislation, because no longer is the judge forced only to a minimum of three or six months. If I did that, I’d be abrasive. If I were abrasive then he wouldn’t look, perhaps with some favour, on what I am going to suggest to him.
That is, that he entertain, in the context of a minority government -- because nobody wants to divide the House on a matter of this nature -- the suspension of these sections until we are able to look, by way of select committee, into the implications of them.
I want to say this to him if I may: The position we take surely is going to entertain the wrath of the editorial writers of the Globe and Mail. I am sure it is. The most attractive aspect of this argument is to say that we want to do away with all drinking by drivers, and that is something I am not going to take issue with because that is one of those widows and orphans arguments with which you can never succeed.
I want to tell you something else too. I don’t regard this legislation truly as the legislation of the hon. the Attorney General. I believe this is the legislation of the senior people in Transportation and Communications and some of the senior people in the Attorney General’s ministry. I can understand their reason for wanting this type of legislation.
Driver control is a very, very difficult thing. It’s something, almost, to be jealously guarded. In the past, I recall distinctly talking with the predecessors of the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). When that discretion was being exercised perhaps with too great a degree of charity by the bench, people were sent out from the ministry in Toronto to the various judges and they were being told and educated in what the Ministry of Transportation and Communications wanted. They didn’t want the exercise of that discretion.
I just cannot subscribe to the response of the Attorney General to, I think, the most pointed comments that have been made thus far. Those comments are those made by the hon. member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt). What he says in effect is this: “Mr. Attorney, what you tell us is, if the discretion has been exercised too broadly, too liberally, therefore throw out the discretion.” All we ask is don’t throw out the discretion, because you can’t overcome the argument that justice must meet the individual circumstances of a case. When you stricture a judge, either in assessing culpability or assessing what is a proper and appropriate sentence in the light of the individual circumstances, then you do justice no good.
That is the overriding principle as I see it. It comes down, as I said before, to a balanced scale. On one hand, you have the need for protection of society, and I subscribe and wholeheartedly support your views with respect to that need; but goodness gracious, we don’t live in a system, I hope, where because of that need for society’s protection we do away with what I consider some entertainment of the rights of the individual. Where is the right of the individual, the right to be judged on the basis of evidence and the right to be sentenced on the basis of the circumstances as they are dictated?
One of the intervening things over the years has been what now constitutes impaired driving. At least at one time you had some type of discretion to be exercised by the court, I put to the Attorney General, with respect to the question of culpability. That is almost gone because of what we have done for the protection of society already. We have said that we don’t care what your motivation was and we don’t care what your human frailties are. When you get to a certain reading on that machine, you are guilty. I want to say that, while I don’t practise in the criminal courts as much as I used to, to extricate any clients of mine out of that objective evaluation, I found to be an almost impossible task. I think it is important that the Attorney General listen to this, and I know perhaps that I go on too long and I apologize to you. The fact is that the federal government has for the protection of society in effect created what one can call a technical statutory offence; and because the courts don’t have any discretion there, I suggest to now take a discretion away from them with respect to the implication of that technical statutory offence removes something that is almost ameliorative to me and very essential to me.
I hope that what would happen would be this -- and I want to go this far to show, I hope, the integrity or sincerity I have in this respect that it would be far better that you permit a judge to say to a transport driver:
“I am sorry, my friend, but you are going to spend every Saturday and Sunday for the next four Saturdays and Sundays in the jail away from your family, incarcerated, but you are going to keep your licence so you can feed that family.”
As somebody else said here, the problem with this type of legislation is that it feeds upon a social tragedy. What happens is the fellow loses his job. He goes on welfare; he’s not able to support his family; there’s a disintegration of the family unit itself.
If we really are looking at justice to be done, then let’s say that to him. Let’s put some sections in this Act that make these offences more than quasi-criminal acts. If we really are sincere, let’s say to the transport driver: “There is no discretion; you’ll be given an intermittent sentence depending on the circumstances. And if you’re given that intermittent sentence, the judge has the right also to incarcerate you forthwith or on terms that he sees fit.”
That type of thing to me is what we want to put forward; and I’m not going to speak again on this section. I’ve appreciated the indulgence of the Attorney General. I’d much more appreciate -- and I know he feels this personally -- I’d really appreciate some reciprocity on his part.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, I would just again point out that these proposed amendments don’t remove any discretion. What you’re suggesting is that amendments be introduced that provide for a discretion in relation to the minimum periods that are already provided by the legislation and which are not affected one way or the other, really, by the proposed amendments, except for the absolute discharges.
I think what the hon. members opposite are doing -- and I appreciate their reasoning -- is introducing an additional dimension into the amending legislation; and that is again to reintroduce the whole concept of intermittent licence suspension. The difficulties that I face, quite frankly, at this particular point in time, is I’m just simply not prepared at this moment to say either aye or nay; I, for one, would not state that the concept of intermittent driving privileges should be totally abandoned.
All the federal government did was just get out of the field. It wasn’t a question of the federal government giving or taking away; they just simply said they were going to abandon the field to the provinces.
Now my difficulty, Mr. Chairman, as I’ve already indicated just a moment ago, if asked to introduce or reintroduce the concept of intermittent driving privileges as part of this amending legislation, is I just don’t think I’m in a position to do that at this particular point in time.
It may be that everything has been said that can be usefully said this afternoon in relation to the wisdom or the value of intermittent driving privileges. I’m not stating that everything has not been said. But I think it’s something that should be considered and that I’d like to consider further; which leaves us with the sections which are presently in the amending legislation.
I don’t know whether there’d be any purpose in standing these sections down for the time being or not.
Mr. Bullbrook: May I question the Attorney General for a moment?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Further interrogation is required?
Mr. Bullbrook: No, no. Surely, I don’t have that talent as far as you’re concerned; I know that. I’m interested in this: Since basically these sections are under your care and affect justice, would you consider the possibility of putting them down to the standing committee on justice for discussion with the senior administration of both Transportation and Communications and your own ministry? Because really, this becomes a questions of how we see justice to be done.
Mr. Roy: Just to be of assistance, Mr. Chairman, as the Attorney General has said, it will not change very much, will it? I think the Minister of Transportation and Communications can confirm that. The mandatory sentences of three or six months are still on the books now. The only thing that we’re really basically changing is in relation to, as you’ve said, section 238; and then the question of the discharges so that the law would continue.
You see, our concern is to deal wholly and completely and logically with the whole problem. All of us, on all sides here, have to be very careful, because politically we’re concerned about not only the problem as it exists but the reaction politically if we don’t deal adequately with this problem. The fact remains that the Attorney General does give discretion, as you said, in fines. You give it in fines. The judge has a wide scope in fines, and you give him a discretion for anything over three months; but you just don’t want to go all the way on the mandatory part of it. That’s where we see some measure of logic missing, and so I think we would want to deal with it completely and be very careful, because I think it may well be necessary, in fact, that if there is some discretion considered for that mandatory term we’ll have to look at special rules under which it can be exercised. If there is an abuse of that discretion, is that the reason we put in a mandatory term?
So I’m saying I think the suggestion by my colleague from Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) is a good one. We’re not advocating any leniency toward people or towards drinking and driving. You know, you were mentioning that the short experiment of the intermittent term did not seem to have been that good. You recall when they made it obligatory that you blow into the machine, the breathalyser. You recall the guffaw about that from the civil rights people and the whole bit. You recall as well that this was going to be the answer to drinking and driving. After a very few years we all realize that there seems to have been an original impact but, subsequently, not too much concern. I suppose the next concern is going to be in relation to roadside tests. Everybody’s going to get excited about that for a while and then back off.
So what we’re dealing with here, and I think we all realize it, is not only a legal problem but a social problem as well. I think we want to deal with it fairly and objectively, and I think the suggestion of my colleague is a good one; the law will continue, and we just want to make it very clear that we’re not asking for any more leniency toward people who are drinking and driving. All we want, all we’re suggesting, is that there be some flexibility for some specific occasions so that, in fact, some individuals are not dealt with unduly harshly by mandatory legislation, whereas somebody else in a different status in life or different profession is not too concerned about the mandatory term.
Mr. Deans: If I were forced to vote on it right now, I think I would probably come down on the side of the law as it’s written. But I’ve listened carefully to the comments made by a number of members -- mostly lawyers, I must confess, and that bothers me a bit, but nevertheless -- and I would really like if we could have further time to hear further arguments.
I’ve had the repentant driver on my doorstep, like everyone else, who just lost his licence and is about to lose his or her job because of it. My only feeling about the matter was that the chances are it wasn’t that this was the first time they had been driving while they were drunk or seriously impaired, this was only the first time they’d been caught; which makes me then concern myself about all of the other times when they were doing the same thing and could well have been involved in a very serious, if not fatal, accident.
I do have some serious concern about the discretion that’s being asked for. The reason I have that fear about the discretion is that, knowing that the courts are packed to capacity and that the judges are not hearing cases properly now, in my opinion, because of the administrative trivia that they have to deal with and because of the tremendous backlog and pressure that is upon them, it would be the parson who was able to hire a very good lawyer who would get the discretion. Instead of it being an exercise of discretion, it would ultimately become an exercise of discrimination.
As I said when I got up, if I were forced now to vote, I would tend to think we should leave things as they are. But I would like to ask the Attorney General, given that there might be good arguments for giving discretion and that there might be new ways of exercising it, whether we could put it to the standing committee and give everyone an opportunity to provide some real good input into the discussion. I think that would be a sensible way to deal with it, rather than forcing us to make a decision here today.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, I would like to see the matter of the discretion in relation to the minimum suspensions ref erred to either the select committee or the standing committee on justice. The select committee, having been established for highway traffic safety, may be the appropriate forum. I want to make it clear to the members opposite that, I think, there is a considerable degree of merit in the arguments that have been put forward. I am simply not in a position to come down firmly on one side or the other at this point in time, and I am sorry --
Mr. Roy: We understand that.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But I wonder if I might make the suggestion; that I am concerned about the fact that with the proclamation of C-71, a judge no longer has the right to impose, by proper exercise of his discretion, a greater penalty than the minimum mandatory penalty provided. I wonder if we could reach some sort of an agreement whereby the Legislature would consider passing part of the proposed amendments in relation to the extension of the suspension, which is clearly a discretionary matter, and I would be quite prepared to adopt the member for Lakeshore’s (Mr. Lawlor) arguments in relation to the discharge, whether a conditional discharge or an absolute discharge.
In other words, we could eliminate the sections relating to the absolute discharge or conditional discharge, assuming that is a matter that the judges are going to take into consideration if they feel it is appropriate to give an absolute discharge; and of course one would expect if they are going to give a conditional discharge flat the suspension would have something to do with the conditions that would be imposed.
What I am asking the members to consider is to proceed with section 3 and to eliminate subsection 4 of section 20; and, for the same reasons, it might not be necessary to proceed with an amendment to section 24 of the Act. Therefore, it would mean not proceeding with section 4 of the amending legislation.
Mr. Reid: Do we go ahead with section 19?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Section 19 is the warning section.
Mr. Deans: Wouldn’t it be better to stand it down for half an hour and bring it back?
Mr. Reid: All that does is give them notification.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Section 20 is the notification.
Mr. Breithaupt: Perhaps it would be practical to stand down this section so that the advisers of the Attorney General could ensure that any necessary details were attended to. We could then have the section, as amended, later and proceed with other sections. That way we might pick up assuredly all the changes the Attorney General wishes to make.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That would be quite --
Mr. Deans: If that can be done in half an hour we can come back to the bill this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We can perhaps proceed. The Minister of Transportation and Communications perhaps can proceed with the other sections.
Mr. Chairman: Does the committee agree to the suggestion that we stand down section 3 and that it be brought back and dealt with later in the committee?
Mr. Chairman: Proceeding with the clause-by-clause discussion, I understand that the Attorney General wishes to make comment on section 4. Does the hon. Attorney General wish to discuss section 4 at this time or will we come back to that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, that would stand down.
Mr. Chairman: We will just deal with the sections the Minister of Transportation and Communications wishes to discuss at the present time then?
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: I believe there are two amendments to section 5; the hon. member for Durham East has an amendment to section 1(a) and the minister has an amendment to section 1(b). Does the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville wish to discuss the generalities of section 5 before we place the first amendment?
Mr. B. Newman: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I want --
Hon. Mr. Snow: With all respect, should we not place the amendment so that the hon. member knows what he is talking about?
Mr. Chairman: Perhaps we should. Does the committee agree to what the minister suggests?
Mr. Moffatt moves that section 1(a) be amended by striking the words “when on a highway at any time and substituting thereof the words ‘every motorcycle manufactured after June 1, 1976, and offered for sale in Ontario shall not have any switch or device to turn off the lights while the engine is running.’”
This is the amendment to section 1(a). I believe the minister’s amendment is to section 1(b). Does the hon. member for Durham East wish to comment on his amendment?
Mr. Moffatt: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The purpose of the amendment is to accomplish much the same thing as the minister is attempting to accomplish -- that is, to make sure that while motorcycles are operating on the road it would be possible for any other person to distinguish clearly between a motorcycle and a bicycle. That’s obviously the problem right now. When either of those vehicles is approaching it’s impossible to distinguish between the two, but one approaches at a much greater rate of speed than the other.
What I am attempting to do is to make sure that those motorcycles which are presently in existence, either owned and licensed by citizens of the province or owned as inventory in the dealerships and showrooms around the province are, so to speak, grand -- fathered. They will not have to have expensive renovations and modifications before the vehicles conform to the Act.
I have looked at a publication entitled Cycle Age which was given to me by one of the motorcycle dealerships. I want to quote two parts from it.
The first is that there is some confusion about when a person who is operating a motorcycle within the law has an accident. As this legislation is written, if that light had been on when the accident occurred and the lights were shattered, would it be necessary for the driver to prove subsequently that he had had that light on or would it be assumed that the light was on simply because he had a licence?
This is one of the difficulties that I can see emerging. It seems to me that what we should try to do is to bring in some kind of legislation which will accomplish the safety feature of having the light on and yet, at the same time, make sure it is practical and that we’re going to gain the kind of public support that I’m sure the minister wants.
My amendment puts the onus on the manufacturers so that any vehicle which is offered for sale after the first of June this year will have to have that kind of device.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member but the proposal that he is making here has been law, federal law, since Jan. 1, 1975. It is not within our jurisdiction to change that. Since Jan. 1, 1975, motorcycles have been required to have this interlocking light-on device without a switch.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Chairman, that may well be. I thank the minister for the comment. I was not aware of that. The problem with it is, obviously, the legislation which is before us poses 1970 as the beginning date.
I would like to quote further from the article that I mentioned earlier. The people who are involved in the business of selling and servicing motorcycles quite categorically state that older machines previous to those now being manufactured, are incapable of keeping that kind of charge in a battery which will allow the light that is required to be operated on a full-time basis. Obviously, if that is the case, we’re going to have people either not conforming to the law because they can’t, or people having to spend significant sums of money on modifications for these motorcycles in order to see that the law is adhered to. I don’t think that is the kind of situation we really want.
The question of who is responsible in the event that a motorcycle is involved in an accident and the light is broken, is one which cannot be treated too lightly. I’m not a lawyer and I fail to find anybody who really can say, no, the motorcycle operator would not have to prove that he had the light on earlier. Nobody can give me a decision on that. I guess we will have to wait until there is a court case, and I don’t like to wait for that kind of precedent to have to be established.
The other thing that I think is important is the whole business of the mechanical fitness of the motorcycles which are presently on the road. I don’t think it is possible to insist at this point that all of those motorcycles which are presently on the road have the capability to have that light work at all times and visible from 500 ft. I can see what will happen if some person goes on an extended trip on a motorcycle in this province: the light will gradually deteriorate until, after five or six hours of constant running, the light will be just a glimmer. Will that person be conforming to the Act or not? Or will he stand a chance of being charged under this amendment?
I simply urge the minister to consider that. I support the idea of discriminating between a motorcycle and a bicycle for the protection of the cyclist. That has obviously been a very important feature of this legislation. All I’m saying is that what we’re attempting to do in this legislation may not, in fact, be saleable to the public, and if it is not, then we have to go through that whole business of letters and contradictions and people saying we opposed it or we didn’t oppose it, all of those things that have happened.
I remind the minister that a number of items which directly affect motorcycles have been brought in in the last five years and some of those items are still the subject of hot debate among those people. At this point in time, I think we would be much better to insist that for present vehicles we have a very concerned educational campaign to have those lights on on a voluntary basis, but that the lights on motorcycles from 1976 on shall not be capable of being turned off. That seems to me to get around a number of problems which I think the legislation will face.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to bring to the minister’s attention a series of petitions that I received concerning this specific section of the Act. I don’t know the merits of the petition, but I certainly think that it should be presented at this time and the minister can reply to it. This specifically opposes the idea of the lights being on a motorcycle at all times. Their petition reads, and it isn’t lengthy at all:
“Whereas it is mandatory under penalty of law in Bill 25 requiring all motorcycles to have their lights on at all times during operation, this imposes an unnecessary and unrealistic burden and liability upon the motorcyclist;
“And whereas if automobile operators claim they cannot see an adult on a motorcycle, how will they be able to see an adult or see a child on a bicycle?
“And whereas novice riders may get a false idea with the headlights on that other road users will be able to see them sooner, they may forget to ride defensively;
“And whereas statistics have shown that mandatory laws on lights have not decreased accidents involving automobiles hitting motorcycles, therefore we respectfully urge that this section of Bill 25 be not passed, and furthermore suggest that the automobile-motorcycle safety problem may be solved by better education of operators of both machines.
“The automobile operator can be educated to see and recognize motorcycles, not just as a headlight. Please consider the whole safety and not just enact legislation for the sake of legislation.”
This petition was submitted to me by 105 different motorcyclists. Not being a motorcyclist myself, I have no idea as to whether there is any merit in the suggestion that they do make. I would like the minister to respond to this so that the people can know just exactly why this section of the bill is being introduced.
Mr. Chairman: Any other discussion on Mr. Moffatt’s amendment?
Mr. Deans: Well, I would like to hear what the minister has to say about it before we decide if there is any other discussion.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, to respond to the two speakers who have spoken: As I mentioned, I do have an amendment to section 5, which I haven’t yet had an opportunity to place, so I guess we have to deal with the amendment that is before us. As I have this amendment, it calls for every motorcycle manufactured after June 1, 1976, to have an interlocking switch to turn its lights on. But I just have to say that that has been the law for every motorcycle manufactured since Jan. 1, 1975. That has been the law for 18 months. So I cannot see putting an amendment on the books of the Province of Ontario to do something that has already been done by the federal government 18 months ago.
Mr. Deans: That really wasn’t the intent.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I know the problem of the older motorcycles, and that will be dealt with by the amendment that I have already sent to the hon. member. I can’t understand what is happening here at this moment. This amendment moved by Mr. Moffatt is already in force right now.
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Chairman, if that is the case, as I said, I was not aware of that particular part of the federal section. If that is the case I will be pleased to withdraw that amendment. But what I am trying to do is to simply say to the minister that it is very important that that arbitrary date when motorcycles will have to conform be late enough that the people who have motorcycles in their possession will be able to conform without expensive modifications. I am aware of the amendment which the minister wishes to place. I will withdraw the amendment, if that is appropriate.
Mr. Chairman: Yes. The Chair recognizes that Mr. Moffatt withdraws his amendment.
Perhaps the hon. minister might wish to read his amendment to sections 1(b) and 1(d).
Hon. Mr. Snow: Perhaps I should try to comment, Mr. Chairman, to the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville. The reason for this legislation is safety. A motorcycle is much more visible to another motorcyclist or the operator of an automobile or a truck if the light is shining. The federal government brought in amendments to make it necessary, as I’ve already stated, as of Jan. 1, 1975, for a motorcycle to be incapable of being operated without the light on. When the motor is running and the motorcycle is in forward gear, I believe that automatically turns the light on.
Other jurisdictions have had legislation for a number of years requiring motorcycles to have their lights on. I understand some of the states in the United States have had this for quite a number of years. It had no provision for older machines, which many people tell me and have obviously told the hon. members opposite are not capable of continued operation with their light shining.
I understand from my officials that the Province of Quebec has similar legislation to this and has made no provision for the older vehicles and to my knowledge has not had any serious problems. But I understand, in talking to people representing the industry, that there is a problem. That’s why I bad the amendment to the bill which you have, Mr. Chairman, and I would suggest that perhaps you put that amendment. It allows for any vehicle manufactured prior to Jan. 1, 1970.
Mr. Deans: Why did you choose that date?
Hon. Mr. Snow: If you want to make it 1969 or 1971, I won’t argue with you too much. We had to come up with a date. The industry people I’ve talked to claim there is no problem with 1970. If you want to make it Jan. 1, 1975, then I suggest we remove the section, because it’s unnecessary. Every motorcycle since Jan. 1, 1975 already is shining its lights.
Mr. Deans: Since you have suggested that might be an appropriate way to deal with it, we would be prepared to accept that, if that’s what you’re suggesting. The problem with it is, that no one knows exactly what date to put on it. The only date that makes any sense is the date upon which the manufacturer was required to manufacture the motorcycle in such a way as to ensure that it couldn’t operate without the light. When they were forced to do that, they were also forced to make the modification necessary to ensure the light would remain on and the bike would be able to operate. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t decide to do that in 1970 or 1971 or 1972.
I agree with the minister that it would be worth our while in the Province of Ontario to have motorcycles run with their lights on. But since I can’t tell you whether 1970 is an appropriate date, and since I do know from discussions with people who own bikes that many of the bikes do not operate in such a way as to generate sufficient power to maintain the lighting system for long periods of time and since it’s difficult, particularly in the winter, incidentally, to kick them over all the time because it’s a pretty hefty operation, wouldn’t it make sense for us to make it the law in Ontario from 1975 on, which is what it would be in any event, and over the course of a short period of time all the old bikes would go off the road? We would attempt in the meantime to encourage everyone to use the light wherever possible and wherever it’s practical. The end result would be that sometime in the not too distant future every bike in Ontario would operate, light on, as we would want it.
Is the saving in terms of life and property sufficient to justify, on the one hand, the expense? I don’t know what it might be, because in some cases it might not even be possible to make the modification. Is the saving in terms of life and limb and health sufficient to justify the risks that are involved in someone having run all day with the light on, only to find when the darkness set in that they had used up all of the power they had and couldn’t run the bike?
This is a serious problem. Let’s be fair. If this person owns a bike and goes away for the day and on the way home, dusk settles in -- as it does every night in spite of the Conservative government --
Mr. Deans: It settles in every night. Does it make sense that we might then run the risk of that light not being sufficient to illuminate the road and to indicate the bike’s presence because we had a law which said they had to run it all day? Let’s use what’s in existence. Steps have already been taken to guarantee that in the future the lights will have to be in operation so why don’t we simply move toward that date?
I ask the minister because I can’t find the answer. We have tried. We can’t find when the cut-off date ought to be, so obviously the only one that makes any sense is the one by which the manufacturer was required to make that an integral part of the operation of the machine.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I find it hard to understand what purpose the minister’s amendment really serves. Attrition, surely, will take care of the problem?
One of the areas of safety I am concerned about is the whole aspect of driver education. Part of the key to the problem in any kind of driver education surely is the goodwill of those whom you wish to work with in the education programme.
The minister talks about other jurisdictions having introduced similar legislation. My only comment on that would be that if you looked through or even thumbed through some of the motorcycle magazines you can see that when such things have been introduced, it has certainly created a lot of anxieties and discontent among those motorcyclists. It has hardly prepared them or put them in the right frame of mind for the kind of safety education programmes and other safety programmes which I am sure the minister would like to see them involved in. I really see this as just more regulations -- really unnecessary regulations which in a few years’ time, will have served no purpose anyway since attrition will have taken care of the whole problem. They will merely create more hostility and anxieties among those using the vehicles.
Mr. Chairman: Would the hon. minister read his amendment so that it will be properly before the committee?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I thought you were going to do that, Mr. Chairman. The former chairman read the other hon. member’s amendment.
Mr. Chairman: You can move it if you wish and I’ll read it. If you move it, I will read it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Okay, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow moves that subsection 1(b) of section 37 of the Act, as set out in subsection 1 of section 5 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“1(b). When on a highway at any time every motorcycle with a sidecar shall carry a lighted lamp in a conspicuous position on each side of the front of the vehicle, which lamps shall display a white or amber light only, and a lighted lamp on the rear of the vehicle which shall display a red light only.”
And that section 37 of the said Act be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“1(d). Notwithstanding subsections 1(a) and 1(h), where a motorcycle that was manufactured prior to the first day of January, 1970, is operated on a highway, the lighted lamps required under subsections 1(a) and 1(b) shall be required only during the period from one half-hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise or at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 ft or less.”
Mr. Good: I would like to ask a few questions.
First of all, I can appreciate the problems which could arise with older vehicles which are operating simply on batteries. As has been mentioned previously, their lighting systems could very well run the batteries down during daylight hours and there would be no reserve for nighttime driving.
I am sure the minister has looked into the technical implications of this section and can answer these questions. Can he tell me: Is the problem with the older vehicles due to the fact that their lighting systems operate on batteries? Secondly, is the problem that the older vehicle does not have a generator or an alternator to recharge that battery?
If that is the problem, could there be some adjustment devised in the legislation to exempt any vehicle which does not have a generating system to regenerate the battery -- if that be the problem -- or which does not operate its lighting system with -- what would you say? -- a magneto arrangement so that the action of the engine generates the power?
If we are talking about year models some would be included which shouldn’t have been included; some would be excluded which might well have the capacity to generate enough electricity to run the headlights as long as the machine is running. If that is the problem, should we not then be looking at the specific manufacturing capacity of the machine? That is, whether or not it can regenerate power with a generator or alternator, rather than the year and model?
I am thinking of snowmobiles. There is no problem because those machines which are electrically started have a generator; those which don’t have electric starting systems have an arrangement whereby the power is generated by the machine. You can run them as long as you want and as long as the engine is going.
I presume the problem must be that some motorcycles do not have generating capacity. Why couldn’t the exemption be made with that point in mind, rather than the year of manufacture?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond to that.
We have done a considerable amount of investigation on this -- I have talked to people personally and my staff have -- and we feel there is no problem with the date of Jan. 1, 1970. All motorcycles which are that new have adequate electrical systems to meet the requirements. I cannot, as I have mentioned earlier, come up with an exact date, such as some time back, say, in 1958 or 1954 or some time, after which time motorcycles would meet this. There are, obviously, I am told, older motorbikes which belong to antique clubs and others in private ownership -- people have had them for a long number of years -- which do not have adequate electrical systems. They have the magneto system which generates some power but is not adequate to keep the headlight burning continuously.
The reason we have established what may appear to be an arbitrary date of Jan. 1, 1970, is to try to bring a large segment of the motorcycle population under this law and give them the safety provided. it is not to create a tremendous hardship on those people with older motorcycles which is probably a very small percentage and probably many of them -- especially the antique ones and the collectors’ items -- are not driven on the road that much; they may be on certain occasions.
I am convinced there would not be any hardship on anyone by the Jan. 1, 1970, date. Motorcycles manufactured since that time would have adequate systems. I understand there is a plate or some little marking on every motorcycle which says what the date of its manufacture is so it can be checked by the enforcement officer.
Mr. Good: Mr. Chairman, on that point, the minister, I am sure, remembers when turn signals became mandatory on vehicles. It was then explained that if a vehicle was not fully equipped there would be no violation of the law. Could this section not be changed in some manner so that motorcycles which are not equipped by their method of manufacture to comply with this particular regulation be exempt?
Then it’s a matter of the driver proving his bike can’t maintain a light all day and all night if he has to run it for that length of time. In the same way, a driver would be exempt if he did not have turn signals as standard equipment. If a motorcycle doesn’t have, as standard equipment, the capacity to produce light, whether it’s made in 1972 or 1962, it shouldn’t be required to do it. Maybe that would be a safer way of dealing with the problem than trying to set a date.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If one did that there would be no requirement -- I don’t think so anyway -- on anybody to keep his motorcycle in operating condition. He could let the battery wear out and the generator wear out and he would be able to say, “My machine isn’t equipped to keep the light burning.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.
On section 8:
Mr. Reid: On section 8, I wonder if the minister could give us a little clarification. I gather there’s been a problem in this regard and I assume he feels this amendment is going to tighten it up in that the consignor is going to be a little more careful than he has been in the past. What is the relationship between the consignor and the hauler -- you can’t hear me? Many would say you’re fortunate. Can you expand on section 8 and give us a little background on it?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, section 8 is when the shipper of a consignment of goods -- it would have to be a full load consignment -- knowingly gives a false weight. Basically, that is what it involves.
Mr. Reid: I am sorry?
Hon. Mr. Snow: If he knowingly overloads a vehicle, the shipper is responsible as well as the carrier for the overloaded condition. This affects all vehicles whether they are operating under the PCV Act or any other Act.
Mr. Reid: That’s what I thought it probably was. It raises a whole host of questions, of course. I gather that prior to this the shipper alone has been fined if he’s been caught. Has there been a shipper, an actual carrier --
Hon. Mr. Snow: The shipper and the carrier are two different people. The shipper is the consignor of the goods being carried. The carrier is the owner of the truck carrying the goods.
Mr. Reid: I realize that, but what I’m getting at is, I suspect there has been or will be some kind of collaboration between a consignor and a shipper in that they have, I suppose, in the past to some extent falsified weights and so on. Is this correct? Is this why we’re doing this? Maybe it’s a very technical, legal point but you’re talking about knowingly causing a vehicle to be overloaded. How are you going to prove something like that? How do you arrive at proving that, or is that a technical point we don’t have to worry about?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Of course, to convict anyone of an offence you have to have evidence to prove it.
Mr. Reid: How do you do it?
Hon. Mr. Snow: If I am a dump trucker and you’re operating a quarry and I go in and pick up a load of crushed stone in your quarry, I drive over your scales, you weigh my truck, find I’m overloaded and let me go on, you have the weight slip right there in your possession, you know what my truck is licensed to carry -- supposedly you do if I am operating for you -- you knowingly then contributed to the overloading. That’s one example.
There is another example where a shipper has a large crate of goods, one box of goods, and he calls a carrier and he says, “Send me a truck to carry a 24,000-lb crate from A to B.” The carrier sends an appropriate truck licensed to carry 25,000 lb or whatever the box may weigh, or a little more -- there’s a little leeway. The carrier goes, picks up the box, lifts it up with a crane and dumps it on his truck, and he goes down the highway, and he finds out when he goes over the scales that the box doesn’t weigh 25,000 lb, it weighs 35,000 lb. It then becomes a little bit more difficult to prove whether the shipper knew what the crate weighed or not.
I am not saying that it’s a common practice, but I am quite sure that some shippers would falsify the weight of a crate or something like that, where it’s very difficult to find out the weight, because they would be saving themselves a few dollars in shipping costs. This is a matter that hats been discussed with the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association, the Industrial Traffic League, the trucking association; I think everyone recognizes the problem and agrees that there should be some responsibility on the shipper.
We will come to another section relating to this later, where I have an amendment.
Section 8 agreed to. Section 9 agreed to.
On section 10:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow moves that clause (b) of subsection 3 of section 70(a) of the Act, as set out in section 10 of the bill, be amended by striking out “escort vehicles of” in the first line.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This is strictly a mechanical amendment: It’s a misprint in the bill.
Motion agreed to.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
Section 11 agreed to.
On section 12:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow moves that clause (a) of section 80(a) of the Act as set out in section 12 of the bill be amended by inserting after “limits” in the fourth line, “for weight other than actual unit weight.” And by striking out “74, 75 or 76” in the fifth line, and inserting in lieu thereof “74 or 75.”
Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Chairman, I think the amendment that the minister has proposed makes a good deal of sense. What I hope happens with this amendment is that it will, particularly in the aggregate industry, place the onus upon the pit operators to weigh the vehicles on the same basis as the government inspection stations weigh those vehicles.
As I am sure the minister is aware, what happens is that a vehicle is weighed on a platform type of scale at a gravel pit and then may well be within the law in the gross limit and as he gets to a government inspection station he finds that he is in fact outside the law, because he will have a different weight on the front axle than he was supposed to have, and a different weight on the back axle. The problem, of course, is that the load does shift and this has been a continuing problem. It is interesting to note that when materials are purchased by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications they are purchased on gross weight, yet when fines have been levied, they have been levied on an actual weight basis, so this does clear up that contradiction.
I hope that communication will come from the ministry to the pit operators informing them of the relative merit now, with this amendment, of installing bridge scales rather than platform scales at those locations. It’s going to be very, very important that the operative word in here, “knowing,” is adhered to, because it seems to me it’s still possible that a pit may continue to weigh on a platform scale and escape the penalties provided in this Act by saying it did not know that was the problem. I think the legislation goes a long way in correcting that inaccuracy that did exist in the past.
Mr. Chairman: Does any other member wish to comment on the minister’s amendment? If not, the minister.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I want to correct any misunderstanding that the hon. member who just spoke may have. This amendment does not require the shipper to be responsible for actual weight; it calls for the shipper to be responsible only for gross weight, because I think the carrier, who knows his own vehicle, must take the responsibility for distributing the load properly.
The hon. member spoke only about aggregate --
Hon. Mr. Snow: Go back to that 25,000 lb crate that I mentioned a few moments ago; the position of that on the flatbed trailer will greater affect the axle weight. I don’t think the shipping clerk or the shipper should have the responsibility for positioning that crate. I think the driver of the vehicle has to say, “You put the crate so and so. That would then fall within my axle limitation.” This does not require the shipper to be responsible for the axle weight; only the gross weight.
Mr. Moffatt: A question Mr. Chairman. Given that situation, and the fact that the operator of the vehicle is going to be the person who has to determine the placement of the load, and in a case of a hard, solid crate or something like that, a piece of machinery, that is obviously the place where the operator of the vehicle will have to say “Put it here not back there,” so that the gross weight will pertain.
But in the case of an aggregate hauling vehicle, which I mentioned in my comments earlier, what will determine whether the gross weight of that vehicle is within the law if the pit from which the vehicle is removing the aggregate maintains only a platform scale and does not use a bridge scale?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, I think the operator has to know a little bit about the positioning of his load. He’s not just hauling one load; he’s hauling a dozen loads, or 20 loads, or five loads a day, and the operator of the vehicle very soon knows the centre of gravity of that load of sand or gravel, or where his truck should be positioned under the chute when that load is deposited. If he’s going to be half asleep at the chute and be two feet or four feet too far back when he’s being loaded and get his load too far to the front, then I don’t know how we’re going to help that fellow.
Mr. Moffatt: Just one final comment, Mr. Chairman; the loading of dump trucks at pits with aggregate chutes is not done all across the province. In areas east of Metro, most of those gravel pits are operated with a mechanical loader or crawler or something like that, and it depends on the operator, who is an employee of the pit. The placement of the load is determined by that person operating the shovel, or the backhoe, or front-end loader, or whatever it might be. In that kind of situation, without the use of axle-weight scales, the operator of that vehicle is obviously going to be at a disadvantage. He’s going to say that’s where the load should go, and then he depends on some operator of a piece of equipment in the yard, an employee of the pit, who may or may not follow his loading directions. Then the load shifts; how do you get around that problem?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I happened to spend a number of years doing a little bit of driving of dump trucks and I don’t know what the member means when he talks about loads shifting. I’ve had a few arguments with truckers over that. I’ve never had a load of gravel shift on me yet. I recognize that in many cases the loading is done by front-end loaders, backhoes, shovels, conveyor belts, or I suppose it could be shoveled on by hand as far as that’s concerned. But the driver of that truck still has to be the best person to know whether his load is properly balanced or not.
When you get into another area, where the trucker is hauling from an excavation or hauling rubble from a torn-down building, obviously there are no scales and in that case I think the shipper cannot be held responsible for overloading, because there’s no way he would know that truck was overloaded. In that instance, if a trucker was stopped and his truck was found to be overloaded, I think it would be very difficult to show that the shipper knowingly overloaded that truck. I don’t think we’re going to be able to pin down the shipper in every instance, but this is something that certainly has been asked for by the trucking industry.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Snow’s amendment to section 12 carry?
Motion agreed to.
Section 12, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 13 to 16, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 17:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow moves that subsection 1 of section 120a of the Act, as set out in section 17 of the bill, be amended by inserting after “person” in the second line, “16 years of age or older” and by striking out “or authorized” in the second line.
Mr. Worton: Mr. Chairman, I wish to express my appreciation to the minister for giving consideration to the proposal that the Guelph Safety Committee made in regard to section 17. I contacted Officer Peacock just after receiving this amendment from our critic, the member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid). They still express concern about the age of 16 years being there, because they tell me there are students who act on this patrol who are in what I guess you would call senior schools and they have suggested they would rather have it as 18 if possible.
They feel that striking out “or authorized” has taken care of their objections that it would be mandatory that everybody would be there. But they would prefer to see the age from 16 to 18.
Mr. Chairman: Does any other member have any comments?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, there was no intention of this being mandatory in the bill before the amendment. We want to continue and to support the system of having boys or girls on school patrols; but while 14-year-olds may be very capable of standing on the curb and holding the younger children back until there is a break in the traffic -- that is their role -- we don’t feel someone who is not authorized to drive a vehicle should be able to walk out in the centre of the road and hold up a sign and create an offence against a licensed driver. That is why the age of 16 has been chosen. But there is nothing that would indicate that school patrol boys who are 16 or 17 would have to do that; they would only do that if they were instructed to do it by the school board or the municipality.
Mr. Worton: The thing is, Mr. Minister, that they want to be assured that their school patrols don’t go out into the middle of the street and they would like it extended beyond 16, because as they interpret it this could still mean that a person 16 years old could be put in this position. They want to guard against that, and I think your explanation of last Wednesday perhaps was clearer than the one you have just given.
At no time did they want the school patrols going out into the street directing traffic; they just want them to stand at the curb. While it was only a quick conversation I’ve had with the traffic officer, he still feels that 18 years would be more safe than 16, so that they will be adequately protected; or at least there will be adequate safeguards so that this won’t happen.
Hon. Mr. Snow: First, I would like to say that the school patrols are not employed to my knowledge.
Mr. Worton: They are going to be authorized.
Hon. Mr. Snow: We’ve removed the word “authorized” from the bill. It only includes people employed by the boards of education or the municipality as those who would have the authority to use the stop sign to stop traffic. If they properly use the proper sign and someone goes through it, then that’s an offence the same as if they go through a stop sign at the corner.
Mr. Worton: That is fine. I would appreciate that.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think all your concerns have been looked after.
Mr. Kennedy: I just want to ask the minister a question. As I understand this, it now gives school crossing guards authority to stop traffic which they were doing before, presumably without the authority of a statute. Does the power to stop traffic give them the power to lay charges or request that charges be laid; or is this equivalent to a stop sign that is on a street now and the penalty is imposed by some other method? Could you clarify that point?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, this does not give the school crossing guard the authority to lay a charge. It states that the sign will be prescribed by regulation and will have to be a certain size and have certain size lettering on it to resemble a normal stop sign presumably. If school crossing guards hold that sign in the middle of the highway, as they do now, and someone whizzes by them, that is an offence. But it is up to a police officer to lay the charge, not the school crossing guard.
Mr. Breithaupt: In that regard then, that charge would be laid no doubt on an information from the crossing guard who has made a note of the licence plate of the vehicle that has passed him. Is that the usual approach?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I wouldn’t think so.
Mr. Breithaupt: How else would it come to the attention of the authorities?
Mr. Kennedy: It is the same as a stop sign.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Someone has to see the person go through the stop light. If you have a stop sign at the corner now, going through that stop sign would be the same offence as going through this mobile sign held by the school crossing guard.
Mr. Breithaupt: In this circumstance, the fact that your mobile sign has a memory and could lay an information is not your expectation. I understand, then, that if a police constable happens to be in the vicinity and sees this thing, it is up to the police constable and there is no burden or expectation on the school crossing guard to be the informant in the case. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I believe the school crossing guard could lay the complaint or a citizen could lay the complaint, but he would have to be able to give evidence and to identify the driver. Getting the licence number of the car, to my understanding -- perhaps I should confer with my legal brains here -- does not identify the driver.
Mr. Breithaupt: I was just wondering what your expectations were?
Hon. Mr. Snow: My expectations of what will happen are that the school crossing guard holding up this mobile sign makes it a legal stop sign. It really would be the duty of a police officer to observe someone going through the sign, stop him down the road, get his licence number, identify the driver and lay the charge. But I don’t see how the school crossing guard watching the children get across the road, though he might conceivably get the licence number of the vehicle, will have any chance of going and stopping the vehicle and identifying the driver.
Mr. Mackenzie: I am not sure this is not a little bit of a weakness in it. It would seem to me that it’s not the same situation as a stop sign on the corner. It may be technically, but for somebody out there as a school crossing guard with that sign in his hand -- he may very well be in the middle of the road -- if somebody is going to go whizzing through, to me there is a little more weight to that than there would be to a post on the side of the road. I would hope the police would act on a complaint laid if they did get a description and the licence plate of that car.
I don’t think you can say it is exactly the same thing as a stop sign. To me it would carry a little more weight if somebody is out in the middle of that road with that sign in their hand. As I say, I am not sure of the legalities of it but certainly I would be concerned if somebody ignored that kind of a stop sign, particularly with a crossing guard.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Certainly we are concerned and that is why we are making it an offence. As I understand the present situation, if a person drives through the stop sign being held by a crossing guard, even if a policeman were standing there watching it happen, he could not make a charge stick because it is not recognized as a stop sign.
I think certainly if a custodian or school crossing guard observes someone drive whizzing by they are going to get the number if possible; they are going to report them to the police if there isn’t a police officer there. The police officer is no doubt going to go and investigate the situation and the person might admit guilt, “Yes, I did drive through.” But if the person says, “No, I wasn’t driving the car at that time” -- I don’t know how the police officer is going to prove to the judge that a certain individual was driving the car at that time even though he has as a witness the school crossing guard who says, “Yes, it was MPP 020 -- or whatever it might be -- which went through the lights.”
Mr. Moffatt: A brief question, Mr. Chairman. Will the proposed amendment apply equally across the province without reference to speed limits under 30 or under 50, that sort of thing? Will the enforcement of this Act be comparable to the school bus stopping bylaw?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It only applies to areas where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour or less. It is right in the bill.
Mr. Chairman: Shall the amendment to section 17 carry?
Motion agreed to.
Section 17, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Is there anything before section 20 of the bill? If not, I believe the Attorney General indicated he had a comment on section 20.
Sections 18 and 19 agreed to.
On section 20:
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know whether it is necessary for me to comment, Mr. Chairman. Section 20 simply provides for a warning to be read to any person who is charged with certain offences. It is something which doesn’t change the substantive law but just provides an additional warning for people who have not had the benefit of a warning before. It doesn’t change the law; it is something which perhaps should have been in the legislation some time ago.
Mr. Chairman: I am sorry, there was a prior commitment, I think, from the Attorney General, that you would revert to sections 3 and 4. Was that your understanding?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes. I have consulted with representatives of the parties opposite and we agreed, as I understand it, to proceed with section 3 of the amending legislation, which amends section 20 of the Act, but eliminating subsection 4 thereof.
Mr. Chairman: Do you have an amendment?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am sorry; I haven’t.
Mr. Breithaupt: You will wish to renumber them, I think, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It will need to be renumbered, of course. Subsections 5 and 6 would have to be renumbered.
Mr. Chairman: What sections do you want deleted?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We just want to delete subsection 4 of section 3 of the amending Act, which is subsection 4 of section 20 which has been substituted therefor.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that subsection 4 of section 3 of Bill 25 be deleted and that subsections 5 and 6 be renumbered accordingly.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. minister has another --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In section 4, I wanted to amend --
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. I have a few more remarks to make on section 3.
Mr. Chairman: Section 3; the hon. member for Lakeshore.
Mr. Lawlor: On section 3, reference is made in subsection 1 thereof of section 20 to numerous sections which have been modified or changed in the Criminal Code for the purposes of the record basically. Particular emphasis has been made to a new section 234, subsection 1, I guess -- it looks curious -- which is a new section having to do with a check by a police officer on the spot; roadside testing. I was wrong before when I was speaking about the matter.
In the interim I’ve seen the section, and it has to do with a specific testing device that can be used to test breath samples or blood at the side of the road. If an individual exceeds the 0.08, then he can be taken off the road right there and then. That’s a highly beneficial section, I’ve no objection to it. I just thought it should be mentioned, though. The question I have arising out of it is, does such a device exist in Ontario now?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No. Various devices are being looked at, and to my knowledge no device has as yet been approved. I’m also informed there is a device that will likely be proved and designated as a proper roadside testing device within the near future. But I’d be very happy to advise my friend, the member for Lakeshore, as a matter of interest, when such a device has been approved -- but it has not yet been approved.
Mr. Lawlor: It does interest me and I suppose a great many citizens enormously. In the kind of fluctuations and extremes of weather that we have, I would have real doubts about the scientific certitude of that type of device -- rather than in the moderate and even temperatures of the present device testing mechanisms of the various types of police stations. But in extreme cold and extreme heat 11 would just wonder how any fluid or any type of chemical crystals would be able to operate in all weathers -- but I suppose that’s the problem. Otherwise I’m okay.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that section 4 be amended by deleting subsection 2 of section 24.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: This means that the reference to subsection I will simply be deleted because there will be no necessity for it.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, it’s the same thing over again. The section as written is pleonastic, redundant and unnecessary, on the grounds that I gave wisest arguing previously that it seems to be a bit of a contradiction to have an absolute discharge and then impose penalties on top of the total discharge. We won’t go over the whole argument again; it’s in the sections later on.
Curiously enough, in this kind of offence, under section 24 here, it has to do with driving while under suspension, I think individuals in this context and in these circumstances who do defy the law to the extent of driving -- end there are an awful lot of people in this category now driving while they are under suspension -- ought to be subject to an additional discretionary penalty on the part of the judiciary. Far from trying to give any alleviation under this bead, utilization of this section with the full weight that is brought to bear, with the extra six months tacked on top simply because of defying this law in this particular way, seems to me to be an altogether good provision.
Motion agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Section 18 agreed to.
On section 19:
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is another amendment which has been drawn to my attention, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that section 19 be struck out and sections 20, 21 and 22 be renumbered accordingly.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It really is complementary to subsection 4 of section 20, as contained in section 3 of the amending legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Section 19, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 20 and 21 agreed to.
Bill 25, as amended, reported.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 9, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that section 1 of Bill 9 be deleted.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I spoke on this bill when it was given second reading and expressed the concern on behalf of my party that this was an attempt to downgrade the preservation of the Escarpment; that it was an action taken to give developers and promoters more opportunity to develop the Escarpment and perhaps extend the pits and quarries operations and, in various ways, destroy the nature of the Escarpment and the intent of the original bill.
Since I spoke on second reading, we have had further evidence to justify this contention. We have had tabled a so-called proposal for planning in Ontario which, by every measurement, has meant that the provincial government is going to take less responsibility for preserving the agricultural land and the natural assets of this province.
Also since I spoke on that bill there has been a report in the paper that the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs will be broken up and the planning section of that ministry will be abolished. It’s another indication that planning generally is being downgraded by the provincial government. That report, which was in the Globe and Mail on about April 12, states:
“The urban and regional affairs branch of the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs will be broken up under a still secret reorganization proposal. The changes will fragment the branch which has been responsible for preparing and implementing development plans for the province and planning major projects such as new cities. They also come at a time when the direct provincial role in planning for future urban growth is being de-emphasized.”
I am not sure whether by leaving this under the control of TEIGA, there will be any planning actually done in that department but certainly there won’t be under the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development.
Rather than being assured that we are transferring it to an area where it will receive less planning control -- and there certainly is evidence that the government wants to bypass its own planners not only in the Escarpment area but in many other areas of the province, including the preservation of good agricultural land -- we will run the risk of leaving it where it is.
There might be some merit in having this transferred to Housing. However, because of the statements of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) with regard to his lack of concern for preservation of agricultural land and in view of his letter to the regional municipality of Niagara, that as far as he is concerned they can keep on with the development of good agricultural land and the old pattern for lease tenures, I don’t think there is much use in transferring it to the Ministry of Housing either.
We oppose this on the basis that it is being moved to downgrade the preservation of the Escarpment land.
Mr. Deans: To tell you the truth there is no one there you could really transfer it to with any confidence.
Mr. Foulds: Lorne Maeck.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any other comments on the member’s amendment?
Mr. Deans: We don’t need any other comment.
Mr. Swart: Just put it in the bill.
Mr. Norton: In the absence of any comment from anyone else, perhaps I could at least respond briefly to the amendment of the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart).
Mr. Deans: We don’t need any other comment.
Mr. Norton: I’m particularly impressed by what strikes me as the lack of coherence in the reasons he has attempted to put forward in support of his post amendment. If anything else, he seems to have been carried away by the form of the proposal --
Mr. Foulds: He has been associated with us --
Mr. Norton: -- and looking at such things as the names of secretariats and so on without looking at the substance of the matter.
Mr. Swart: The commission is being taken out of a ministry which has planning responsibilities.
Mr. Norton: He has relied upon a newspaper report. However desirable he may think the substance of that report might be, certainly up to this point as far as I’m aware -- and I don’t know which newspaper he is talking about -- it may not be the most reliable source of information upon which to base an amendment.
Mr. Norton: The other thing he ought to bear in mind is that, as I think he is aware, the Escarpment Commission has now been well established. It’s now at the point where it is carrying out the preparation of its plan. It’s a stage where the considerations are mainly policy considerations, which clearly come within the purview of the policy secretariat to which it is intended to transfer it. He spoke of. a couple of ministries that he might prefer to see it transferred to and with some degree of scepticism seemed either to cast doubt upon them or cast them aside. I would point out to him that he ought to consider the fact that all the ministries he has cited as possible alternatives are also part of the same policy secretariat and come under the general co-ordination of the same provincial secretary. Housing is part of that secretariat, Agriculture and Food is part of that secretariat, the Ministry of the Environment is part of that secretariat and Natural Resources is part of that secretariat, all of which are clearly ministries that have an interest in the kind of planning that is necessary in the planning --
Mr. Swart: The Escarpment Commission won’t be reporting to those specific ministries.
Mr. Norton: -- of such an undertaking as the Escarpment. It seems to me to suggest that it ought to be left within TEIGA overlooks the fact that the planning has now reached the stage it has, that it ought to be more closely co-ordinated with the policy of those ministries that are part of this secretariat and that the transfer that is being proposed is both very logical and desirable at this stage of the development of the policies with regard to the Escarpment.
Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of section 1 standing as part of the bill will please say aye.
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.
I declare the amendment lost.
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Mr. Norton: I have provided copies of an amendment to section 2 to the representatives of the two parties opposite.
Mr. Norton moved that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(1) Subsection 5 of section 5 of the said bill is amended by adding at the end thereof: “and may designate the chairman as an employee and the commission as an employer for the purposes of the Municipal Employees Retirement System Act, and that the present section 2 of the bill be renumbered as subsection 2 of section 2.”
Mr. Swart: If my interpretation of this is correct, we have no objection to this. In fact, it seems to follow naturally after the changes in OMERS and is intended to do the same thing; that is to permit the chairman to be enrolled in the OMERS system. It seems reasonable, and we have no objection to it.
Mr. Good: I have a question. What is the purpose of singling out the chairman -- and, of course, then all the employees would naturally be covered under OMERS? But why the chairman and not other members of the commission? Now, generally speaking, we have permitted elected councillors to be covered under OMERS; but if I’m not mistaken, this could well be a precedent in having an appointed person covered under OMERS. Is he a full-time employee of the commission as well as being chairman? Or, why do you single out the chairman as being eligible for coverage under OMERS?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, if I might just have the indulgence of the House for a moment. The employees of the commission are public servants, of course, and are covered under the public service legislation, not OMERS. The other members of the commission. I have just been advised, are not covered. Now, I cannot answer the question as to why that is the case. I can say that at the moment the specific amendment that’s being considered arose from a situation where the particular individual in that position has up until the present time been a participant in OMERS, and this was intended to permit a continuation of that participation.
Obviously, we’re not going to complete dealing with this piece of legislation this afternoon. I think the matter that has been raised with respect to other members is something that ought to be checked into in the interests of consistency and fairness. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I will certainly be in a position to advise the House upon our return.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of the whole House begs to report one bill with amendments, one bill without amendments and asks for leave to sit again.
Report agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, just before you announce the supper adjournment, when we reconvene at 8 o’ clock this evening we will go back to the first order and carry on for the rest of the evening on budget debate.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.