30e législature, 3e session

L059 - Mon 17 May 1976 / Lun 17 mai 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order, I would like to introduce to the House, Mr. Speaker, in the gallery to my left, the Minister of Public Works and Supply from the Province of Quebec, the Hon. William Tetley.

Mr. Lewis: The Hon. William Tetley has doubtless learned that we are out of money, although he is more than welcome.

Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.

Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: A question first, if I may, to the Minister of Transportation and Communications, as he takes his seat. What kind of contractual arrangement has Ontario entered into through the Urban Transportation Development Corp., which involved the expenditure of some $6 million in the last year, I gather from news reports, and with no estimate of money in the forthcoming three years as yet, to -- quoting the information officer of the corporation -- “pick up the pieces of Krauss-Maffei”?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, there’s no secret about what the Globe and Mail published very factually last Friday. This is exactly the proposal that was announced by my predecessor about a year ago. I believe it was April 14 of last year that my predecessor made a statement in the House announcing the steps that were to be taken; that there was to be a research and development project carried out by the Urban Transportation Development Corp. and that the corporation would report to the government at the end of stage two -- I believe that was the terminology -- at which time a decision would have to be made as to whether funds would be made available for further development. At the present time, as reported in the Globe and Mail, that year or 13-month period is up. They are approaching the end of the phase two part of the project now, and I expect the corporation’s status will be considered by cabinet in the very near future.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, since Mr. Brezina, the information officer, indicated this was not an off-the-shelf project, that it was a high-risk project, is there any way of recapturing for Ontario part of that $6 million, or future expenditures, if the result of this project is as ill-fated as Krauss-Maffei was, even though we are now using wheels’, which is an innovative thought?

Mr. Breaugh: Round ones?

Mr. Lewis: What contractual protection is there for the public of Ontario as the ministry continues to experiment with these abstract alternatives rather than simply developing a light-rail transit system for the public transit needs of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I think the government made what I guess one would call a contractual relationship with the Urban Transportation Development Corp. a little over a year ago and funded the corporation to the tune of $6 million to proceed with research and development of new modes of urban transit vehicles. I think it is high time we proceeded with the development of this type of technology in a country the size of Canada, in a province the size of Ontario, and considering our needs for transit vehicles.

I for one, as a resident of this province, want to see this technology developed in Ontario so that we can manufacture here, the needs for Ontario at least, if not for all of Canada. As I have said, the corporation has been carrying out its mandate to date. There is a time coming now for a decision by government to carry on with this type of research and development.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Since much was made of the fact, at the time of the withdrawal from the Krauss-Maffei deal, that their test facilities in West Germany would be available to us, do we still have engineers working with Krauss-Maffei? If not, can the minister tell us how much of that $6 million was spent in West Germany for this kind of engineering liaison?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I haven’t got an exact breakdown. I would doubt whether it was very much --

An hon. member: It could be built in Oshawa.

Mr. Lewis: It will never be built.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I think there was a decision --

Mr. Lewis: This is just another unnecessary expense.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- made and announced some time ago as to the discontinuance of the Krauss-Maffei project. The decision was made to proceed with other lines of research and development.

Mr. Nixon: Are there any engineers over there?

Hon. Mr. Snow: No. I do not believe there are any engineers in Germany; nor has there been for some period of time. I’d have to verify for sure when the last person was over there. The new research and development is on a facility which would be truly developed and manufactured here in Ontario -- or at least in Canada -- with probably some components from other areas.

Of course, we have had engineers and people in Europe working on the new streetcar project which is under way at this time.

Mr. Singer: It is a round thing.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Most wheels are round. They have been that way for some time now.

Mr. Singer: You’ve just discovered the wheel. That’s your secret weapon for the next election.

An hon. member: Why don’t you hit him ever the head, Margaret? Quiet him down.

Mrs. Campbell: That makes him transportation man of the year.

Mr. Shore: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: As a member of a party which believes in the private free enterprise system, has the minister totally satisfied himself that there are no free market companies available to investigate and pursue this matter without the government getting involved in it?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I believe that is the case. I believe I’m totally satisfied in that regard. I think government at one of the senior levels has to fund this type of research and development.

Mr. Lewis: Shocking!

Hon. Mr. Snow: Obviously the federal government has no interest in research and development of this type.

Mr. Nixon: You wanted to invest in Krauss-Maffei.

Hon. Mr. Snow: It prefers to buy foreign-made products.

Mr. Nixon: Like Alberta did.

Mr. Lewis: Your dependence on the public sector will bankrupt us all.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It won’t bankrupt you, though.


Mr. Lewis: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to address a question to Bill -- to the Premier, I’m sorry. If I remember his memorable “Go Spadina” speech of Aug. 8, 1975, he said that there would be no paving of the Lawrence to Eglinton extension until certain conditions had been met -- one-lane exit ramps; the province taking the property south of Eglinton; a 3-ft buffer strip transferred to the city of Toronto -- none of those things has happened as I understand it, yet the paving is proceeding. Can the Premier indicate when the government intends to act?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m meeting with the mayor of the great city of Toronto plus, I gather, representatives from York, some citizens, around 3:30 this afternoon --

Mr. MacDonald: The great borough of York.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The great borough of York -- around 3:30 this afternoon, at which time we will be discussing a number of these matters.

As I recall the statement I made in August and a further letter from the Minister of Transportation and Communications to the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto, certain conditions were set out. There are some questions as to the exact location, for instance, of the 3-ft reserve where the geographic limits of the city of Toronto begin or end. There is no problem in terms of the government’s commitment with respect to that reserve. If it has to be in some other location, I understand there’s no problem with that. I think it’s quite possible that we can give a 3-ft reserve as well to the borough of York if that is helpful.

The understanding, and I didn’t bring the correspondence with me, was with respect to other parts of the right of way where probably the province would take title and lease back. There may be some discussion as to whether the leasing back should be to Metro or to the city for the housing component because I’m not sure who is best able to deal with it. I think that’s a matter which can be negotiated. The other significant part of the understanding, as I recall it, was that there were to be two ramps, one southbound and one northbound, and they were in fact to be single ramps. I just heard a rumour that there had been some design sent forward that there were to be two ramps. I think that too could be rectified, because my recollection of the announcement in the minister’s letter was for a single ramp. I am quite satisfied that the commitments made by the government can be met.


Mr. Singer: Supplementary: Is it fair to assume that the commitment given by the Premier remains substantially as it was, subject to whatever negotiations he was talking about?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I think so. I expected the member for Wilson Heights, after a phone call from a very active alderwoman in that area related to this issue --

Mr. Singer: No, she hardly ever talks to me.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I understand she was in touch with him last week before she went away for a few days.

Mr. Singer: Before she went on holidays.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes. She got in touch with me after she was in touch with him and I indicated that it was to be basically that which we said it would be last August; and again I think the letter went in November.

Mr. S. Smith: Un ménage à trois.

Mr. Singer: Is she going to be a candidate this time?

Hon. Mr. Davis: What I found a little bit intriguing is that all of this was stated and documented; but according to some of the news reports I have heard and read and some of the discussions, that letter couldn’t have been read by too many people, nor the statement that was made in August. I am meeting with them in any event.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the acting Minister of Health in the spirit of the new freedom of information and requests for the freedom of information which surge through her party. Can the acting Minister of Health now table the rationalization study for the psychiatric hospitals in Ontario, which premised the closing of Goderich and Northeastern and which has been requested unsuccessfully for several months in the Legislature?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It was my understanding that in fact the Minister of Health had responded rather fully to the question of the hon. Leader of the Opposition in the House.

Mr. Lewis: No.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, I stand corrected.

Mr. Lewis: With respect, I don’t think that is accurate. Can the minister find that rationalization study?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I can certainly attempt to.

Mr. Lewis: In the same spirit, does she think she can trust us with the regression analyses for the various hospitals that resulted in the ward closings and reduction in dollars about which we have spoken in the Legislature?

Hon. B. Stephenson: As I have said to the hon. Leader of the Opposition previously, I most certainly can explore the possibility of releasing that information to him.


Mr. Lewis: By way of a related question in the same spirit, can the acting Minister of Health release to the Legislature the material on vinyl chloride, whatever it is, that exists within the occupational health branch of her ministry?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this spirit is always very willing, and I shall be happy to release whatever it is we have within the Ministry of Health regarding vinyl chloride.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Why does she continue, I guess as recently as last Friday on the CBC, to speak of a tentative threshold limit value in the United States when, in fact, the threshold limit value in the United States has been one part per million since Jan. 1, 1975, is down to zero in other jurisdictions, and Ontario still manages to maintain a highly hazardous level of emission of 10 parts per million, even though the ministry has a study now of vinyl chloride as an airborne hazardous contaminant, which shows that even in airborne emissions the levels allowed by government have been exceeded?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is my understanding that although the level of one part per million has been recommended in the United States, it has not been accepted.

Mr. Lewis: Her understanding is unreliable.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that after the appeal was defeated in the United States, the level of one part per million has been in force, not since Jan. 1, as suggested by the Leader of the Opposition, but since April 1, 1975? The appeal, in fact, was lost and this has been in effect since April 1.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall certainly explore the information which I had developed which is, according to the leaders of the two opposition parties, incorrect. But it was my understanding that it has not been universally accepted within the United States at this point.

Mr. S. Smith: Just call the occupational safety and health administration in Washington.


Mr. Lewis: In fact, it is the established level. But leaving that, one last question for the acting Minister of Health. Can she also, then, table with the Legislature the material which has been prepared for her by Dr. Stewart of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and Dr. Ritchie of the University of Toronto, indicating, I believe, that stomach cancer is a compensable disease consequent on asbestos exposure and upon tabling that material, institute compensation for workers who have died from or are suffering from stomach cancer induced by an asbestos environment?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Leader of the Opposition is labouring under some kind of misapprehension. We do have an interim report from Dr. Ritchie, which at this point I believe is not entirely directed in the direction which the hon. member would lead us to believe that it is. That report will be available to me shortly. I have not seen it as yet. I have been told about it, and when I have seen it, perhaps we are going to have to move to further research in this area, because I gather that the report is somewhat ambivalent right now and I would like to read it first before I make any commitment about it.

Mr. Lewis: Can the minister, in the interests of public security and information, table these most important documents, like that of Prof. Ritchie and the comments which will accompany it by Dr. Stewart and Michael Starr, chairman of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, so that we can be privy to some of these internal discussions upon which the livelihood of working families is then based?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this is a philosophy which I think has been pretty much evident within the Ministry of Health of this government at any rate.

Mr. Lewis: It certainly has not.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We have had some internal studies which are not as yet completed. When they are completed, the results of those studies may most certainly be publicized to the members of the Legislature.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, disappointed as I am that some chap by the name of Bill doesn’t bear me sufficient warmth, I am concerned that he may not permit me sufficient heat either. I would like to ask the Premier, with regard to his marvellous energy policy, considering that Premier Lougheed has now not denied that he has threatened to keep his oil in the ground, would the Premier recommend that the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Parliament act under section 92(10c) of the British North America Act and declare the oil in Alberta as “a work for the general advantage of Canada,” and in that way prevent the Premier of Alberta from withholding his oil, and in that way also not give him any more money than the Premier has already offered him in his blended price scheme? Wouldn’t that be one way of keeping the price of energy down?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must say to the member for Hamilton West that if he --

Mr. S. Smith: The leader of the third party.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- sensed any lack of affection or warmth or enthusiasm in my remarks on Friday, I guess it really comes from my not knowing him as well as the Leader of the Opposition yet. I am sure that affection will develop over the years, as he retains his position where he is and I am here, as we get to know one another.

Mr. S. Smith: The Premier may be Stephen’s opposition but not my competition.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am intrigued by his continuing to question on this issue, and one might almost feel that he is asking questions on behalf of the Prime Minister of Canada. I am very suspicious.

Mr. S. Smith: Why don’t you answer on behalf of the Premier of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am very suspicious, after the luncheon or whatever the member had with him on the Friday after the meeting. I think if the hon. member will look back he may find that the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) has already suggested, and so have I, that the Act dealing with this is available to the federal government and that is what federal governments are all about.

Mr. S. Smith: And the Premier recommends that, does he?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think if the hon. member really had thought of his question last Thursday he would have recognized that even if there was some threat -- and I question the use of that word -- it’s quite obvious there is a very simple solution, and he has touched upon the solution which is known to all of us.

I would say this, I think it would be regrettable if the federal government and the Prime Minister were forced into that position, but that really is what it’s all about.

Mr. S. Smith: As a supplementary, to be sure that I understand the Premier: Is he saying that in the regrettable instance that Premier Lougheed stays firm and refuses to give up oil at the price the Premier of Ontario is offering him, that is what the federal government ought to do and that’s what federalism is all about? Did I understand him correctly?

Hon. Mr. Davis: First, I didn’t offer the Premier of Alberta anything. I want to make that abundantly clear.

Mr. S. Smith: The blended price.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t offer him a price at all. I offered the other first ministers of this country what we thought was a pretty logical approach to this question of pricing of energy, and if the member wants a long dissertation on that, I will tell him just why I think it’s very good.

Mr. Shore: No. We want a short yes or no answer.

Hon. Mr. Davis: But Ontario did not offer a price to Alberta. We did not offer to Alberta a price. If the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) is once again attempting to get me to say what the Prime Minister should do to help him, if he has to do it, I’m just intrigued. I really wonder if there isn’t some form of direct communication with the Prime Minister of Canada’s office.

Mr. S. Smith: This is what federalism is all about.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have simply said that the federal government is there to govern. If it has responsibilities and if they become complicated in this area, I can only assume, as a citizen of this country, that it will exercise that responsibility if necessary.

Mr. S. Smith: This is what federalism is all about.

Hon. Mr. Davis: And you knew that last week.

Mr. S. Smith: I am tempted, of course, to continue this line of questioning to find out whether the federal government should declare our uranium and our nickel also something to the general advantage of Canada, but we’ll move onto another area.

Hon. Mr. Davis: In answer to that question --

Mr. S. Smith: They have with uranium but not with nickel.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I would be delighted to say to the member for Hamilton West that if uranium became a much sought-after resource by our sister provinces and if they found this necessary to the general well-being of their economies, I would be very disappointed if uranium costs in the Province of Manitoba or any other province were in excess of those being paid by Ontario Hydro here.

Mr. S. Smith: I trust people will notice that this surrender of provincial autonomy is a remarkably interesting one and occurred on May 17.

A question for the Minister of Community and Social Services --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Some of us are Canadians first, Ontarians second.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of Community and Social Services: Is he not now prepared to admit to the House that as a result of the reclassification of unclassified project staff at Rideau Regional, and probably elsewhere, certain employees of his ministry will have an 8.5 per cent cut in wages? This is coming at a time when these same employees will also lose previously accumulated sick leave credits and certain vacation privileges as well.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: In answer, there will be some reduction in terms of salaries in regard to employees on contracts who have their contracts renewed. I may say that the reason for that, I think, is quite simple and should be obvious to the leader of the third party.

We have, as he may knew, a number of contract employees in our institutions for the mentally retarded who are filling in as counsellors or assistants to counsellors, pending training of a sufficient number of counsellors to take on those jobs. I may say there is a fairly high turnover also in terms of counsellors’ assistants. They are regarded as unclassified staff because they are on contract.

As a result of certain negotiations which have taken place with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, these unclassified staff are now covered in the collective agreement. In providing for that personnel in the agreement the union did not see fit to provide for certain fringe benefits which we were providing under the individual contracts or individual agreements. Therefore, as the individual contracts expire and the collective agreement or contract takes place, they will not be covered as fully in terms of the fringe benefits as they were previously.

I’m not saying that was an oversight on the part of the union. It may be perceived as an impetus to ensure that unclassified staff become classified staff and, therefore, permanent employees who would experience the same deductions in terms of union payments -- I think it is $2 a week. So that is a brief explanation, Mr. Speaker, of the problem there.


Mr. Cassidy: Neither brief, nor adequate.

Mr. Reid: Must be one of your students.

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

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Do I take it from that long-winded answer that this is now the ministry’s way to motivate people to become classified -- that is, to take low-paid people who are getting $4.05 or $4.19 an hour and reduce their salary in 1976 to $3.83 an hour? How many members of the government’s front bench are also going to get motivated to improve themselves by reducing their salaries?


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We did that last year -- tell them about last year.

Mr. Reid: It didn’t help any.

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

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We did it last year when the member for Hamilton West was water skiing in Mount Royal.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, no, I think that is an obvious misunderstanding by the leader of the Liberal Party as to the true picture, because this unclassified staff actually was working on the basis of a classification, or a pay rate that was applicable to the hospital system as opposed to our system. In some cases, the salaries would be almost equal to what we would be paying for a fully-trained counsellor; so it is not a question of that at all. It’s a matter of making sure that there was equity, and this very point was discussed with the union and the classification was agreed upon -- so there was no problem there at all.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary, if I may: Is the minister saying that the Ontario Public Service Employees Union willingly and knowingly negotiated a reduction in fringes and wages for people simply because they could be absorbed on the classified staff? Was there no effort to red circle or to maintain the wage levels and fringes as they presently exist?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I presume they willingly and knowingly did that, because they were actively involved in the whole process and understood the personnel arrangement -- the terms of the individual contracts and what would happen upon the expiration and what would happen upon the expiration of those contracts and those employees then covered by the collective agreement. Now, as to the motivation, presumably from a union point of view it would be better for them to have the unclassified staff become classified staff, thereby qualifying for the deduction of union dues.


Mr. S. Smith: Another question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Is he aware that there are presently group homes operating in Ontario in contravention of zoning laws, fire regulations and without licensing from his ministry? And will he tell us what became of the promise by Assistant Deputy Minister John Anderson on Aug. 21, 1975, as reported in the Globe and Mail, that legislation would be drafted to make licensing mandatory for all homes, not just the ones with four or more children?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, in terms of group homes, I think the leader of the Liberal Party may know, or he may not, that group homes are usually operated by some agency, often other than the government. We do some financing -- for example, the group home may be owned and operated by a Children’s Aid Society. In terms of compliance with the local regulations and zonings, I would expect that before a group home was operated by an agency, whatever that agency may be -- and there are a number of them in Ontario, as the member may know -- then they would clear it with the local authorities to ensure that they operate in compliance with the local regulations.

In response to the second part of the question, the whole area of residential care is currently being reviewed. I don’t have any amendments presently in regard to that field but when we are in a position to do something then of course, that will be brought forward and presented to the House.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: It’s hard to know, with this droning answer, whether the minister cares about the fact that these group homes are operating in our province in contravention of the fire regulations and zoning laws --

Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary?

Mr. S. Smith: -- but let me ask the minister this: Is he aware that Viking Homes in particular has licensed only five of its 17 homes in the Viking One programme? Can the minister tell us how often inspections are made of all unlicensed homes; whether more than four children have been found; and, finally, how many convictions have been registered for those instances where more than four children have been found?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, may I apologize to the leader of the Liberal Party if I speak in a droning way? I tolerate his manner of speech without criticism, but I was speaking slowly so that he may perceive what I have been trying to get across.

The point is that group homes, of course, are physical buildings that are either purchased or erected in local municipalities that have their official plans and their zoning bylaws. They also have their codes which determine the type of services that are necessary.

We have, I may say, a provincial building code that applies now and covers such things as wiring and plumbing and fire prevention and so on, so these local ordinances or bylaws are usually enforced at the local level. Surely if there is some question as to a breach of a bylaw then that should be prosecuted at that level.

Sure we’re interested -- the province is interested, my ministry is interested -- in ensuring that anything that we fund is properly operated. There is a difference; we have to license it then, of course, we have the further controls in terms of the licensing -- whether it’s approved for licensing, the inspections and so on. If the hon. member has some problems in connection with any one of these homes, whether it be Viking One or Viking Two or what have you, let him please let me know and I’ll check that particular establishment and ensure that he has a report on it.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I just point out that there are practically 33 minutes of the question period gone. The questions are lengthy and some of the answers are lengthy as well so --

Mr. S. Smith: The questions are lengthy?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. There are offenders on both sides of the House, I assure you.

Now, does the hon. member for Hamilton West have a further question, because there are many more around the room?

Mr. S. Smith: I’ll call it a further question. Does the minister care that Viking Homes has licensed only five of its 17 homes in the programme? I ask the minister the question -- and I’ll put it differently so as to be a supplementary -- can he tell us again whether the ministry inspects unlicensed homes; whether it inspects the ones that are not licensed -- and whether it ever finds more than four children there, which means they should be licensed, and whether that violation is prosecuted? If so, how many times?

Mr. Warner: In 25 words or less.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: Again, Mr. Speaker, there is a distinction between those homes that have five or more residents in them and those that don’t. If they have five or more, then they are licensed by the ministry and certainly we have inspections in those cases.

Mr. Shore: Why is it so difficult to answer?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: It’s not difficult, it’s --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Do you have any further questions?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: -- a simple matter that the Liberal leader should understand. He doesn’t know anything about the problems.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on May 11, the leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. S. Smith) asked me if I was aware of the dust problem in the Fort Frances paper mill and could I tell the House why the Ministry of Health’s procedure for inspection was such that it couldn’t get inspectors there at some point during a three-day run of TV Guide-type paper.

It is well within the capability of the Ministry of Health’s occupational health protection branch to carry out testing at any specific time. However, the facts of the case to which the leader of the Liberal Party referred are these:

On March 13 the Ministry of Labour received a union complaint regarding dust conditions at the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. at Fort Frances. The complaint was general and did not refer to any specific run of paper. The occupational health protection branch was requested to carry out tests in this plant and did so on April 21. These tests indicated that the dust levels were within the threshold limit value for paper, dust of 10 milligrams per cubic metre of air. In fact, the levels were five.

I understand that the union wrote to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) on May 4 expressing appreciation for the testing which had been carried out and asking if further sampling could be done during a run of TV Guide-type paper. In accordance with this request, arrangements have already been made for a return visit of the occupational health protection branch during a run of the specific paper about which the union inquired.

Mr. Reid: A supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker: I’ve been in touch with some of those people who work in the mill. Will the minister give us the guarantee that her people will contact the union when they go there to do the inspections and get their side of the story about the times in which the dust levels are hazardous and how it is affecting the men, because some of them have got sick from it?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Health is most certainly going to carry out an inspection during a run of this specific type of paper, which was at the particular request of the union.

Mr. Reid: But the ministry people don’t always contact the union when they go there.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The Ministry of Health inspectors do not always contact the union, because they may go at any time. The Ministry of Labour, however, does attempt to contact the union when they make inspections. We can co-ordinate that, if the member wishes; but the Ministry of Health inspection will be at a time when, I’m sure, the union will be present.

Mr. Reid: I would appreciate it.


Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware of the statement by Dr. William J. McCracken, executive director of the WCB rehabilitation services division, that the board intends to crack down on the various treatments in cases of backache? Is the minister aware of the great difficulties already experienced, whether by individuals or union safety committees or members of this House, in establishing back claims at present?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have not heard that statement, which is alleged to have been made by Dr. McCracken.

Mr. Mackenzie: A supplementary: His statement is well covered in an article in last Thursday’s Hamilton Spectator, and quotes him directly. I’m just wondering, in as much as over half of the cases in Toronto’s Workmen’s Compensation Board hospital are back cases, if this is another example of the cutbacks in the hospital field?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. number well knows the rehabilitation hospital at Downsview has nothing to do with the Ontario hospital system. However, I am not sure of the figures regarding the numbers of back cases in the hospital. That I will check, and I shall most certainly find out the information that Dr. McCracken has released publicly. I doubt that there is any intention at all to decrease services to patients under the Workmen’s Compensation Board.


Mr. Reed: I have a question of the Premier. Is the Premier intending to allow Ontario Hydro to short circuit the democratic process by successfully petitioning the Lieutenant Governor for an order in council changing the official plan of Esquesing to allow the Hydro transmission corridor to pass through?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think there is some question as to whether, in fact, it is the official plan of Esquesing. I think that question should be directed to the Minister of Energy.

Mr. Speaker: Does the member wish to redirect the question?

Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I will so redirect.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows there are two bylaws in question. The one which has been appealed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council is a bylaw passed in 1974. As I recall, it’s bylaw No. 51 of the town of Halton Hills. There’s a bylaw of the former township of Esquesing, bylaw No. 69-51, which is also similar to that. But the matter is before the cabinet. Hydro, as is its right, has appealed the decision of the OMB. As I understand it, the council of the town of Halton Hills has directed its staff to prepare a reply, or rebuttal if you will, to Hydro’s appeal; all of this will then be considered by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Mr. Reed: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister consider that the rights of the citizens of this province are being protected when actions of this nature take place?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: What if it happens in reverse?

Mr. Lewis: It is all right in reverse. The reverse is valid. Hydro should not be given the right of appeal on this.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the hon. member would care to read the Ontario Municipal Board Act and would care to look at the deliberations of the select committee on the Ontario Municipal Board, of which the hon. member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) was a member as well as the hon. member for Armourdale (Mr. Givens), his two colleagues, he would find that, in fact, the process does protect the rights of the people.



Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is he aware that the prospect for an adequate supply of home sealer lids is even more dismal than when I raised this question some six or seven weeks ago? Is he prepared to reconsider his decision not to intervene?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, no, I am not aware that the situation is more critical now than when the question was first raised. We have investigated the matter thoroughly. There appears to be sufficient supply. The province does not propose to get into either the manufacture, distribution or rationing of this particular product.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would he care to comment on the fact that Murray Food Market in New Hamburg -- the area of this province where a great deal of home canning is done -- ordered 150 cases and has received only two cases to date, and that the vice-president of Anchor Cap and Closure Corp. has stated that the company is holding them off the shelves at the present time because it is afraid there will be a run on them and that it won’t be able to supply them?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the fact that the manufacturers are very concerned about the kind of hoarding that went on last year and, yes, they will be phasing in deliveries to ensure that there is no hoarding.


Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy, if I could get him in his seat, in regard to the Ontario Hydro annual adjustment. Can the minister explain why Hydro bills the municipality PUCs for the deficit Hydro has run up in the year and why the direct consumers of Hydro are not so billed?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this relates to what is known as the 13th billing process. I am not so sure that the direct customers aren’t billed. I will check into that and come back to that in a few days.

As for the rest of it, based on the fact that at the beginning of a year Hydro’s rates are based on projections in costs, and if at the end of a year the costs were in fact higher than anticipated and revenues didn’t meet them, then there is a 13th bill. Many times though, any one or all of the 353 municipal utilities would get a cheque from Hydro. It works the other way as well. If their estimates are higher on costs and their estimates of revenue lower, it can work the other way.

Let me check on the other aspect of direct industrial customers.

Mr. Reid: One quick supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker. Can the minister explain why the annual adjustments only reflect changes in the non-common cost function? Secondly, why should a municipal PUC have to pick up the costs of what went wrong in Pickering through someone’s negligence?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member well knows the system is based on the principle of power at cost. A problem at Pickering is no different than if the line into Fort Frances or into Atikokan goes down and has to be replaced or repaired by Ontario Hydro. All of this is part of the cost of maintaining the system and is borne by the users of the system.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on April 26 the leader of the Liberal Party directed a question to me regarding the federal labour department’s wage survey and possible infractions of our legislation in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

In October of each year the federal Labour department forwards questionnaires to all employers in the province having more than 20 employees, except for the construction industry. It does this on a community basis. In March of the subsequent year the results of the survey are tabulated, and information on various job categories within a particular community is returned to the companies involved.

The Ministry of Labour in the province has been in contact with our officials in Kitchener. At the present time, although we have tried, we have not been able to obtain any information on the firms surveyed in the Kitchener-Waterloo area which would indicate that equal pay for equal work violations are in fact existent in that area.

The employment standards branch of the Ministry of Labour is continuing to pursue any equal pay violations which can be identified through routine or complaint investigations.

I think the members of the House should know that the acting chief of the data branch of Labour Canada has stated publicly that figures in the federal wage survey showing women earning less than men in comparable jobs do not prove discrimination. He goes on to say, with respect to the Kitchener-Waterloo survey, that there a number of possible explanations for the difference. He suggests, for example, that two firms could be paying both men and women exactly the same rate for a given job but if one firm paid less than the other firm in that job category, the figures would show women on the average I making less. These are figures and statements made by the acting chief of the data branch of Labour Canada in Ottawa. Differences in wage rates between two companies do not necessarily comprise a violation of the equal pay provisions.

The women’s bureau of the Ministry of Labour analyses data and surveys from various recognized sources and publishes information sheets explaining the province’s legislation. I think these fact sheets are very informative and I’d be very pleased to give this set to the hon. leader of the third party.

Mr. Speaker: The question period has expired.

Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On May 3, 1916, I asked the Minister of Transportation and Communications if he could give the House an up-to-date report on the Urban Transportation Development Corp. and its new programme on the ICTS. The minister has not yet replied to me but in the Globe and Mail of Friday, May 14, the headline is “$6 million spent on Successor to Magnetic Train as Ontario picks up the Pieces of Krauss-Maffei.”

It seems to me that the information requested by me some 11 days before was not forthcoming from the minister but was partly answered by a press release through the UTDC. However, such information was not forthcoming from that source when our research office phoned.

I would appreciate it if you’d look into that matter, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member, I’m sure, is free to ask questions. If he’s not satisfied with the answers at any time there’s a procedure to raise it in the proper form,

Presenting reports.

Hon. Mr. Handleman tabled the 26th annual report of the Ontario Racing Commission for the year 1975,

Mr. Speaker: Motions.

Introduction of bills.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I want to table the answers to questions 42, 72 and 87 standing on the notice paper.

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.

Clerk of the House: The first order, resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.


Mr. Speaker: Did the hon. member for Halton-Burlington complete his remarks?

Mr. Reed: I completed my remarks, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is the member going to read both those volumes?

Mr. McClellan: Not only will I quote them, I’ll read them as slowly as James Taylor speaks.

Mr. Speaker, let me first of all, since I have not had the opportunity to do so previously, congratulate you on your election and congratulate you and your deputies on the fine job you are doing in your office.

Before I move to the main body of my remarks with respect to the budget, I want to speak at least briefly about a matter before us again today. That is the matter of the extension of the Spadina Expressway.

In a very few moments there will be a delegation meeting with the Premier of this province, composed of municipal elected officials and concerned citizens; composed of people who are anxious about the future of the city of Toronto; composed of people who are anxious to preserve this city from the destruction that will result from a continuation of this government’s transportation policies unless those policies are changed and changed very quickly.

An opportunity presents itself again today for the government to return to the principle stated in 1971 that cities are for people in this province; cities are not for the automobile.

There will also be people gathering outside this Legislature to dramatize their concern to the people of this assembly and to the people of this province about the future of the city of Toronto.

Let me suggest that as a bare minimum the Premier should insist that with respect to the Spadina Expressway no access to or from Eglinton Ave. be permitted to vehicular traffic; and secondly, let me suggest that as a bare minimum to preserve this city, the Spadina ditch should be paved only to driveway standards and what should be established in the Spadina ditch is quite simply a park-and-ride facility that will make it possible for the new rapid transit system to be properly utilized.

To do otherwise, to fail to block the expressway at Eglinton or to fail to construct park-and-ride facilities, is virtually to destroy this city, to open all of the neighbourhoods south of Eglinton to simple devastation from the automobile. To do otherwise is to guarantee that the new multi-million-dollar rapid transit facility will be utterly useless. The money spent on it will be as useless as the money wasted on Krauss-Maffei or the money that will be wasted on some other Krauss-Maffei.

In the name of sanity, we ask the government to return to the principles, for which it was acknowledged by transportation experts across the world.

In the debate on the budget to date, our speakers have spoken a number of times about what we consider to be a major failing of this budget, and that is simply in the area of jobs and job creation. Unemployment in the Province of Ontario has been hovering consistently above six per cent and is now in the vicinity of 6½ per cent, which represents approximately 275,000 people in this province who are out of work. Not only does the Conservative budget fail to deal with this overwhelmingly urgent problem, the budget, in fact, serves to increase unemployment. The particular set of fiscal solutions in this budget is simply a response to the Conservative-created debt crisis in this province, a response to the fact that we now have a $10 billion funded debt and still have a $2 billion deficit after all the restraint.

The government has chosen to deal with this debt crisis of its own making, not by dealing with the real problem, which is a revenue gap, which is the tax holiday that the corporate sector in this province has enjoyed for the last 10 and 15 years; on the contrary, the government has chosen to deal with its own fiscal mismanagement through destructive cutbacks, and one effect of those cutbacks has been to increase unemployment. I need only point to the health sector, where at least 4,000 health workers are being thrown out of work.

Other NDP speakers will deal with various aspects of the budget as it relates to the unemployment scene. I want to talk about one particular aspect of our employment policy. The area that I want to talk about, within the context of this budget’s total failure to address itself to the issue of jobs for Ontario’s people, is day care. It may seem odd to be talking about day care within the context of a debate on the budget or within the context of a discussion of economic policy, but for us in the New Democratic Party, I think it is important that we establish our social development policy, that we try and explain to the people of this province that for us day care is not simply a social service like other social services. It is not considered by us to be solely a specialized support service for a disadvantaged minority, although it certainly is that. Day care is more than that. Daycare policy has to be seen within the overall content of a provincial manpower policy, within the overall context of a provincial employment policy and a provincial job strategy. Day care, for us in the New Democratic Party, is a necessary condition to achieving our basic economic goals.


For us, it should go without saying that our basic economic goal is to achieve full employment for the people of this province, and our basic economic goal is to achieve a condition of full participation of both men and women in the labour force. To achieve this goal of full employment and full participation of both men and women in the work force, day care is quite simply a necessity, and the cost of daycare services must be viewed as a necessary cost of that policy of full employment and full participation. It is a necessary cost in exactly the same way that roads, serviced industrial land sites, community infrastructure of other kinds, vocational training and the like are now accepted by all of us as a necessary cost to the achievement of economic goals. Day care is no different.

We are prepared to meet the costs of providing adequate day care to the people of this province, because we believe that it is the people of this province who are the real wealth of our society, and that the source of our wealth is the work of our people upon the natural resources with which we are so blessed. That is what produces our wealth, not the shares of the government’s friends in the multinational corporations and not the government’s pals in this province’s corporate boardrooms. It is the work of the men and women of this province that produces the wealth of this province.

No society can afford to deny itself the productive contribution of the 50 per cent of its members who are women. That is a cost that no society can afford. Full and equal participation is a necessity in economic terms, both in terms of the growth and development of the wealth of this society and in economic terms, in terms of the abilities of individual families to survive in increasingly hard times. It is necessary as well in human terms, in terms of personal fulfilment, particularly of women.

Day care is also a children’s issue. It is a matter of the rights of children as well as the rights of families. The reality is that female participation in the work force has grown so dramatically in the last few years that women now compose 30 per cent of Ontario’s work force. In 1970 -- which, unfortunately, is the last year for which the Ontario Ministry of Labour has prepared adequate statistics, which is a commentary in itself -- there were 700,000 married women in the labour force, with 715,000 children; 330,000 married women in the work force had children under 16, and of those 110,000 married women in the work force had children under six.

In the category of women with children under six, there was a total of 135,000 children whose mothers were working in the Province of Ontario. That was five years ago. We can assume that in 1970 there were some 330,000 working women in this province who had to make some kind of child care arrangements, and of these some 110,000 women had to make arrangements for preschool children.

Again, that was five years ago. It is absolutely safe to assume that the need has continued to grow and that it has continued to outstrip the provision of needed daycare spaces by this government. In 1974, the Daycare Reform Action Alliance estimated on the basis of somewhat adequate updated statistics that there was one daycare space for every 37 potential daycare users in this province.

In the absence of updated statistical data, it is difficult to give accurate figures. It is safe to say there are tens of thousands of children in this province who lack adequate child-care arrangements. We know how unstable private daycare arrangements are. They are fantastically unstable. Kids are bounced around from one care facility to another during their early formative years on a hit-and-miss basis. We in this province are going to pay heavily for that kind of child neglect in the years to come.

Mr. Breithaupt: The government is listening carefully.

Mr. McClellan: Yes, they certainly are.

Mr. Samis: There is one Tory here.

Mr. McClellan: It is an indication of the seriousness with which government takes the daycare issue and women’s rights issues that there is only one government member, the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr), in the House at this particular point in lime.

Mr. Breithaupt: He is the leader.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Let George do it.

Mr. McClellan: And I am sure it’s safe to say he hasn’t understood a word I have said.


Mr. McClellan: Day care is an essential social service --

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Clean will hold the fort.


Mr. McClellan: -- both preventive and rehabilitative.

An hon. member: Ah, here comes the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Irvine).

Mr. Breithaupt: They just doubled their numbers.

Mr. McClellan: What a joy it is, Mr. Speaker, that there are now two members of the government on the benches opposite.

Mr. Foulds: Now there are two. Keep it up and we can get to A. A. Milne’s “Now We Are Six.”

Mr. Samis: Where is “seatbelt” Johnston?

Mr. McClellan: The instability of private ad hoc child care arrangements will have the inevitable result in years to come of high social costs to the people of this province, high institutional costs as a consequence quite simply of emotionally damaged kids. That is quite simply inevitable. It is important as well to keep in mind that kids of single-parent families can only hope to escape from the indignity of substandard living on family benefits allowance through the provision of day care -- enabling the parent either to remain in employment or to re-enter the work force.

Thirdly, single-parent mothers rely upon part-time daycare services to relieve the kinds of stresses and tensions that otherwise result in complete family breakdown. We know without any doubt at all that day care is the most effective preventive social service in our current array of social services we can make available to people. Yet rather than provide this essential means of keeping families together, this government seems positively to prefer institutional alternatives to the natural family.

There is absolutely no doubt in our minds, even apart from the economic justification for a dramatic increase in the number of daycare spaces available in this province, that the effectiveness of day care as a preventive social service is such that it deserves priority on that basis alone.

When we turn to look at the record of the Conservative government with respect to the provision of daycare services, the record is utterly dismal without relief. The capital expansion programme of 1974 has turned out to be an incompetent fiasco. Let me quote from the final report of the advisory committee on day care which was submitted to the ministry in January, 1976. This is a group of volunteers who worked on behalf of this government, on behalf of the people of the Province of Ontario, to look at all aspects of the daycare question. It is an eminently responsible and respectable group of people.

Their criticisms of the Conservative government’s record with respect to day care, while couched in the most gentle of terms, are, nevertheless, absolutely devastating.

Here’s what they had to say on the now infamous capital expansion project:

“Any capital programme on a large scale, such as the recent daycare expansion project, should be thoroughly prepared in advance of any announcement with clear priorities established, both regional and varieties of programmes, application procedures determined, administrations established, approval systems organized and with the involvement of programme staff.”

Quite clearly none of those things was done with respect to this daycare capital expansion project and that is why it has been such an utter fiasco.

They go on to say:

“There were, undoubtedly, faults with the execution of the last capital programme [I may say, in an aside, that has to be one of the understatements of the year] and the council has not had the opportunity to study this in sufficient detail to comment on the advisability of allocating resources in this way. We would urge that serious consideration in planning be done before any further capital programmes are instituted.”

One of the reasons the council has not had sufficient opportunity to comment more fully on the field of day care, is that this government killed the committee when it became clear that the committee was doing an effective job of raising some pretty fundamental questions about how day care is provided in this province. This government has consistently shirked its responsibility for giving leadership in helping prospective day care providers negotiate their way through the nightmare tangle of red tape and regulations at both the provincial and municipal levels.

The government has failed to provide sufficient funding. Moneys coming onstream this year were originally allocated in budgets in 1972, 1973 and 1974 and now, in 1976, all new funds are either frozen or cut. This government’s preoccupation has been with a quailing and timorous obsession with costs which has led to a succession of utterly ludicrous ideas.

There was the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) and her proposal to increase staff ratios to such a level that quality day care would be utterly destroyed; Maxwell Henderson and his preposterous suggestion that senior citizens should run the daycare centres of this province on a voluntary basis; the Minister of Community and Social Services’ ludicrous praise of the pathetically inadequate and dangerous private day care arrangements which are the plight of most children of working mothers in this province.

This government offers day care subsidization under the meanest, most demeaning and humiliating of means test procedures requiring a microscopic probe of a person’s personal life by welfare bureaucrats in order to acquire a subsidy. Now, thanks to this 1976 budget, we have new stringency and a complete halt to day care expansion.

Day care remains important to us in the New Democratic Party, even if it is of no further interest to the Conservatives, and we would accord it priority, as I have said, because it is seen as an integral part of our economic policy. It is seen as a pre-condition to achieving the goal of full employment and full participation. As well, it is the preventive social service par excellence, in terms of preventing family breakdowns and in terms of helping people to return to productive employment. For the government to be talking at this time about a welfare policy, which helps people to return to jobs while at the same time cutting back on day care and cutting back on day care subsidization is the most cynical kind of political fraud.


In the matter of daycare-facility construction to meet the need, our commitment as a government would quite simply be there. We would undertake a meaningful daycare capital expansion programme along the lines and within the parameters suggested by the Advisory Council of Day Care to provide sufficient day care in this province to meet the need. We would strive, in so doing, to reduce the currently high capital cost of new daycare facilities by stressing conversion as opposed to brand new construction, by stressing the use of available vacant school space for daycare facilities and by fostering employer-employee arrangements through the collective bargaining process.

In the matter of the operation of daycare programmes across the province, we would remove the burden of subsidization from municipal governments. It has no place there on the property tax. It makes no sense at all to be subsidizing day care out of the property tax. We would establish a subsidization programme which would permit access to day care for all children who need it, quite simply. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

It is clear that the basis of subsidization of day care has got to be changed from the present demanding, humiliating and bureaucratic procedure. Every single daycare applicant for a subsidy has to reveal his or her budget in total, and each determination is made individually on the basis of an individual financial report by a welfare bureaucrat. The cost of administering this subsidy programme must be staggering.

It should be very easy to implement an alternative. We are at the present time considering a two-tiered support method which would establish a base subsidy rate and a secondary subsidy based on income and family size.

Finally, we would put an end to what has got to be one of the most odious developments in this province in the last decade, and that is the move to reprivatize social services and human services and turn the provision of essential social services over to free enterprise. This government has permitted the Great West Life Insurance Co. to come into this province and establish a chain of daycare centres called the Mini-Skool chain. They make their profits for the shareholders of the Great West Life Insurance Co. in the same way that any other good business does it, by keeping their costs down, by cutting their costs.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Efficiency, efficiency.

Mr. McClellan: That’s the same thing, isn’t it? I’m sure the minister would agree that an efficient business is one that keeps its costs down, and the only way they keep their costs down at daycare centres is at the expense of kids.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Oh no. No.

Mr. McClellan: That’s absolutely true, and the minister well knows it. They have permitted a kind of regression in this province that is quite simply intolerable, and it would not be permitted for an instant -- let there be no mistake about it -- under a New Democratic government. There is no room for private profit at the expense of kids in this province.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: There goes Brown!

Mr. McClellan: The principle is universal. Let me make that perfectly clear.

Mr. Foulds: You’d better believe it.

Mr. McClellan: Let me refer you finally, Mr. Speaker, again to the Advisory Council on Day Care’s third report. On page 32 they give what is, in a sense, a plea to this government and I’ll add my voice to theirs.

They say:

“This is the third and final report by the advisory council since its formation 18 months ago. Each report contains a series of recommendations for action by government in a number of areas including fire safety, private home day care, qualifications for staff, training opportunities and research [and as well the material covered in this, the third report].

“We respectfully request that the minister respond to these recommendations, advising the community about the government’s responses to these matters and any action which has been taken or is planned.”

Again, in its gentle way, the Advisory Council on Day Care has issued what is a scathing indictment of this government’s whole attitude toward day care and has highlighted its complete paralysis.

It is now 18 months since it began its work. The recommendations which have been thoughtfully and carefully prepared and submitted to the minister and to the government as the basis of rational policy decisions have been ignored. The response has simply been the social service cutback programme. Even Maxwell Henderson himself, the great guru of austerity and cutbacks, called for an increase in daycare expenditures.

Now that the Conservatives have returned, like so many Attila the Huns from the meetings with the golden horde over the weekend, at which, I understand from the press, their paleolithic welfare policies and social development policies were greeted with great approval and esteem by the assembled multitude, we hold out little hope for the reintroduction of rationality in the development of this province’s social development policies and programmes. I suppose we can continue to hope with whatever vestigial optimism is left to us, that this government will somehow come back to its senses and will stop listening to Godzilla the ape.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: People, people.

Mr. McClellan: We can hope it will start to address itself to the real needs of the people of this province and not to the ranting and canting of free enterprise ideologies.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The Premier was right; you are a bunch of gloomsters.

Mr. McClellan: That, I think, concludes the remarks I wanted to make and I appreciate the opportunity to set before this Legislature one piece of our own economic policy. It is perhaps a small piece, the matter of day care, but I hope I have shown how it fits in to our employment policy and how crucial it is to this party and, I think, to the people of this province. Without adequate daycare services we are never going to achieve the goal of full and equal participation by men and women in the work force of this province.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, having counted assiduously for the last half-hour, I can see no quorum. I think there are only two government members of the 12 presently in the House.

Mr. Speaker ordered that the bells be rung for four minutes.

[On resumption:]

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to congratulate you on the fine job you are doing as Deputy Speaker of the House in this 30th Parliament of Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: He’s doing a great job. A great man.

Mr. G. I. Miller: It is a privilege to rise and speak on the budget debate in the 30th Parliament. This is my second opportunity to do so as a new Liberal member for the Haldimand-Norfolk riding, which I am proud to represent, after so many years of it being served so ably by the former James Noble Allan of the Conservatives. His shoes are big to fill but it is obvious, too, as I sit on this side and watch the government work, that there is nothing to compare between today’s government and the Conservative government back in the 1950s and 1960s, of which he was a key figure.

Mr. Ruston: It’s gone down the drain since then.

Mr. G. I. Miller: While he sat as the Treasurer of Ontario, I don’t think he came in with a deficit budget at all. In the last two years we have had the highest deficit budgets of any in Ontario’s history.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Sunshine budgets.

Mr. Sweeney: He rode off into the sunset.

Mr. Foulds: Is it the worst budget in Ontario’s history?

An hon. member: An election budget.

Mr. G. I. Miller: That is true. We are faced with serious problems today. We need new ideas and new approaches to questions of health, energy, agriculture, transportation, jobs for our young people, housing and the survival of the free-enterprise system on which our country was built.


Now with respect to the budget, this new budget conceals more than it reveals. During the last election, Liberals went across the province stressing time and time again the necessity of exercising financial responsibility, of streamlining government programmes and the need to cut down on waste and extravagance. So what has the government done? They have run around Ontario closing hospitals, putting nurses out of work and upsetting communities without any consultation with the people concerned -- without study of the ultimate result. They would not discuss or debate this in the House, once again showing the arrogance of the government.

When hospitals are closed and hospital beds are taken out of service, it is surely an admission of poor planning -- an admission that somehow we ended up with more hospital beds and facilities than required to service the surrounding community. In certain parts of the province we have too many hospital beds, while in others there are too few; clearly something must be done to equalize hospital facilities to some extent throughout Ontario.

The problem cannot be resolved by closing down hospitals, without any thought of the consequences -- selecting the victims with no real justification or reasonable explanation. There seems to be no clear-cut criteria or objectives in the government’s hospital closing programme -- no standards which must be met; no community needs taken into consideration. Surely a more sensible approach to reducing hospital overheads would be to decrease the number of beds in larger hospitals, and increase overall hospital efficiency. Durham, Clinton and Chesley, and the Doctors Hospital in Toronto, stood up in court and the decisions were reversed. More power to them.

The government went about it in the wrong way and would not listen. Our party wants to be responsible and fair to people. I think they would accept restraints if approached in a proper manner.

What is the budget for agriculture? Very little. The tile drainage programme has been brought to a standstill by government restraints and, again, with no planning, leaving a lot of farmers in a very sad situation financially.

Mr. Ruston: Listen to that, Lorne.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Until recently the province encouraged farmers to apply for loans and funding, for the programme was open-ended, with some municipalities having passed burrowing bylaws of up to half a million dollars to accommodate the programme. Thus, any tile drainage project approved by a municipal council was funded by the province. But this year, just as most municipalities reported the programme was finally beginning to catch on with area farmers and the applications for tile drainage loans started to pour in, the ministry announced spending ceilings on the programme as part of the province’s austerity cutbacks.

Municipal officials said they were given very little warning for the province’s decision. This resulted in every rural municipality in my region being caught with over-commitments in tile drainage loan applications which will now probably have to be rejected out of hand. This is responsible government?

In the town of Haldimand, in my riding, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has allowed the municipality $20,300 for 1976-1977 tile drainage loans, while the backlog of applications currently on file amount to $82,000. In the town of Dunnville, where council has approved drainage loans amounting to $74,450 for the upcoming year, the allotment is $29,300, only 37 per cent of the total already committed by council.

In agriculturally-dominated Nanticoke, where the allotment is $87,200, officials say they will be unable to accept any more applications for the drainage loans for at least the coming year.

The township of Delhi faces a similar situation, where council has already committed its $50,000 allotment for the 1976-1977 year. The township of Norfolk is already over-committed by $41,000, based on an original allotment of $75,300.

This programme has been good for farming, improving production by draining low areas which are more easily cultivated. Tile drainage opens up areas of land previously unavailable for agriculture because of drainage problems. Until recently the province encouraged farmers to apply for loans and funding for this programme -- but now the plans are jeopardized by the budget cutbacks. Once more the government encourages taxpayers to become involved in a provincially-sponsored scheme only to pull the plug without warning.

I believe there is cause for alarm about the rate at which land is being removed in recent years from its traditional function of producing agricultural crops and livestock both in Ontario and in the rest of Canada. Urgent government action is necessary if we are to arrest and perhaps reverse the decline in agricultural acreage.

The present government has shown an appalling lack of leadership in this connection taking an irresponsible, “I-don’t-care” attitude. Land is being regarded simply as a commodity to be bought and sold rather than a valuable resource which must be protected. Apparently the government’s policy has been that land is a resource to be drawn upon as and when it is needed for orderly urban expansion.

Last year the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough), the unofficial chief planner for the province, indicated his government was prepared to establish policy guidelines on the subject but added: “We don’t want anything with great teeth in it.” This attitude on the part of the government must change. Already here are statistics which show that Ontario is in danger of losing the favourable position which it held previously in relation to the agricultural productivity of other Canadian provinces.

The conclusions drawn in the report of the central Ontario lakeshore urban complex are very damaging to the government’s policy. For example, the report states:

“Both provincial policies and provincially-approved municipal official plans reflect an urban bias exhibiting little concern for rural resources priorities. Agricultural designations are often regarded as an impermanent holding category. Ontario cannot afford to gamble with the future and risk losing a significant portion of its good agricultural land. With a growing population and with a declining land base, Ontario may have to import 60 per cent of its food requirements by the year 2000.”

The government has been warned that prime agricultural land must be preserved, a warning endorsed by the government’s own report produced at considerable expense. However, in 1976, while valuable farm land continues to vanish, there is still no substantial reaction from the government, and there is still no effective master land-use plan for the Province of Ontario. We have studies and more studies. We have predictions by commissioned experts on how much agricultural land will disappear unless something is done. But we have no action by the government, no province-wide land-use plan which will effectively preserve our prime agricultural land.

The policy of the Liberal Party in Ontario has always been and continues to be that class 1, 2 and 3 agricultural land must be clearly designated as special crop lands, as land to be preserved for the production of food now and in the future. We realize that special situations may arise when it may be justifiable to use agricultural land for other than food production, but potential users must be prohibited from taking out of production anything but the poorer class agricultural land.

A major thrust of Liberal policy would be to steer growth away from class 1 and 2 farm land. The growth pressures which contribute to urban sprawl, especially in “the golden horseshoe” area, must be decentralized to eastern and northern Ontario. This decentralization can be accomplished by creating much-needed industrial development and employment opportunities in those areas.

A few years ago a government committee on farm classification released a report to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food on the question of land use. It recommended that our farm land be classified into five categories: agriculture, agriculture-residential, rural-residential, rural-recreational and rural-speculative. The committee stated that an inventory of current land use is necessary if farm land is to be classified. This would mean that all people who own farm land would be required to file a return indicating how the land is used. Another recommendation of the report was that the responsibility for land use planning with respect to farm land should be transferred from the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs to the Ministry of Agriculture.

We in the Liberal Party favoured the land use controls recommended in the report and urged the government to adopt them. In almost every attempt to implement meaningful land use control in North America, the question of compensation for permanent zoning of agricultural land has been an important issue. This is, of course, only to be expected because it involves the most sacred of jurisdictional rights, that of the private ownership of land and the belief that private ownership implies the right to use the land in one’s own best interests.

If farm land is to be zoned for permanent agricultural production farmers will no doubt demand some form of compensation for the loss of development rights. Compensation for zoning has never been practised successfully on a large scale either in North America or Europe. I believe that serious consideration must be given to this matter, preferably in consultation with interested and knowledgeable groups such as farm organizations.

In the past, the financial return from food production in Canada has not been sufficient to enable the food producer to compete in the market with other potential users of land, such as industry and urban development. Consequently, much foodland has been lost and food producers have been forced to move to other and less productive lands. We must initiate policies to assist food producers to keep valuable foodland in production.

An effective provincial agricultural policy must contain measures which afford farmers adequate income protection combined with the means to preserve prime agricultural land specifically for food production. Clearly, any policy which neglected the welfare of the farmer would not only be unjust but would also be ineffective and would ultimately fail in its objective of ensuring our food supplies and protecting our agricultural land.

There is increasing evidence of the need to ensure farm income stability in this province. For a long time, farmers have struggled to gain economic and social stability and many farmers have only obtained income security upon retirement, after they have sold their holdings. Economic pressures have forced thousands of farmers to leave farming and many thousands more have had to supplement their farm income with off-farm employment, at least on a part-time basis. Moreover, young people are not being encouraged to go into farming.

The federal and provincial governments must work together to bring some stability into the agricultural industry so that farmers may at least be certain of a basic income, taking into account the cost of production and tremendous fluctuation in input costs. The cost will have to be shared by the government, by the farmers and by society generally. However, the cost is surely worthwhile.

Income stability is more important today than ever before because of price uncertainty. Farmers cannot be expected to continue investing in new machinery, in buying more land and in all the other production costs in an effort to increase production unless and until they receive some guarantee and some assurance that increased production will not lead to short-term surpluses which ruin prices and force them into bankruptcy.

The Liberal Party is in favour of a farm income stabilization programme on a voluntary basis which would guarantee a viable income to full-time farmers who are prepared to enter into such a plan and contribute premiums. Such a plan would be financed by a combination of farmer payments and contributions from provincial and federal governments. This would only be possible on a nationwide basis of federal-provincial cost sharing, and the plan would have to be co-operative. If this were not the case, we might well be faced with provincial wars because provinces would pour provincial money into some segment of their agricultural industry in order to support it. Producers in some provinces would therefore gain an artificial and competitive edge over producers in other provinces where no such assistance is given.


The cost of production for each commodity would be established co-operatively by farm organizations, by marketing boards and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Rather than being a subsidized programme, when market prices fell below the established cost of production a makeup payment would come from the insurance plan and the plan would provide insurance only against the failure of a policy. It would be directed toward having the consumer pay the legitimate cost for quality food supply.

Farm marketing board procedures would be utilized to gear production to consumption, with the understanding that food prices must reflect the cost of production plus a reasonable profit. Under this scheme, the farmer would not have to worry about his increasing input costs because he would have a reasonable assurance that he would at least recover his cost of production.

In regard to the IMPIP programme, which was instigated in 1973, in the first 11 months of 1975 total milk marketed by the Ontario Milk Marketing Board was 7.7 per cent greater than the milk marketed in the comparable period of 1974.

The increase in milk production has resulted from a number of factors, a major one being that the provincial government has fostered industrial milk production through its IMPIP programme. These loans were introduced on July 1, 1973, for a one year period and they were renewed to the end of June, 1975. In that period, 3,168 producers borrowed some $41 million to upgrade their production and the average loan was roughly $14,000. The loans have resulted in overproduction, cuts in quotas and stiff penalties have placed farmers in an impossible situation. Producers have been deprived of the income to repay these loans.

The ministry has never set long-term policies in this province for agricultural production. The government has merely reacted to situations. What is needed is the adoption of consistent operative principles which guide subsequent decisions.

The outlook for the dairy industry in Ontario for 1976, as analysed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, is for an increase in milk production. Clearly, a large share of the problem is lack of government foresight and policy.

The fishing industry is of real concern to me, which is perhaps not surprising when you consider that I have some 80 miles of Lake Erie shoreline in my riding. Harvesting fish from our lakes by fishermen is similar to farming the land, in that both industries are dealing with vital food resources. I share the concern of the fishermen throughout the province and believe that they themselves could contribute a great deal to discussions about the fishing industry generally, with respect to the best methods of harvesting the catch, processing and distribution, restocking of our lakes, etc.

Ontario’s total investment in the fishing industry is $16,779,000 of which approximately half -- some $8,580,000 -- is invested in Lake Erie. Total employment in all fishing in Ontario is approximately 2,280. For Lake Erie, the total number of fishing boards is 193 and the number of men employed is 643. More than 50 per cent of Ontario’s total catch comes from Lake Erie.

There has been some discussion in recent months about the question of perch size, and there is every indication that conservation officers intend to be quite firm about enforcing the 8-in. size limit for these fish. It has been estimated that approximately 90 per cent of Ontario’s perch are caught in Lake Erie, of which 70 per cent to 80 per cent were between seven and eight inches and the rest over that 8-in. limit. Understandably, fishermen in the province are anxious about the possibilities of strict enforcement of the 8-in. limit, because they are only too well aware that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to survive in the fishing industry if this was the case. I have been told that if this law was strictly enforced for all bats there simply would not be any perch for sale because fishermen could not make a living in July and August catching 8-in. perch.

Back in 1959, Lake Erie was full of perch. There were so many perch in May of that year that fishermen were picking them and selling them for 2½ cents per lb. Some of the larger boats took on more men and brought in as many as 100 80-lb boxes of perch per day, seven days a week. In the 1960s, perch prices ranged from five to seven cents per lb and sometimes the fishermen couldn’t give the fish away.

While this was going on, the federal government came out with loans and subsidies to build bigger boats. Many took the money and began building 80- and 90-ft fishing boats, freezers and processing plants so that they could catch five times as many fish and process them cheaper. However, the more fish that were caught, the lower the price went, until about the year 1968 the government was persuaded to buy the surplus perch at a minimum price of 10 cent per lb.

So many fish were caught that freezers all over the country were packed full. The government had tons and tons of round perch for which 10 cent per lb had been paid. In the spring these fish were sold to the fur breeders by the ton for one or two cents per lb. Then the fishermen went out again and caught thousands of fish, and so it continued.

All through this period, no one -- not even the biologists and experts of the Ministry of Natural Resources -- thought of putting a quota on each boat, dividing up what the market could handle, getting a fair price per lb for the perch and leaving the rest in Lake Erie for next year. This would probably have solved the problem, but too many people wanted to catch a boatload of fish even if they had to be given away.

Now we are hearing about phosphates, raw sewage, fertilizer and other pollutants in Lake Erie, and it seems that even if Lake Erie were closed to fishing for five years, only about 50 per cent of the perch would reach 8 in.

In 1960 the government brought trawling to Lake Erie. This was introduced to stop the spread of smelt because they were overrunning the lake so badly. It was impossible to fish with gill nets in over 24 ft of water at some times of the year. Since 1960, thousands of tons of smelt have been caught in Lake Erie. Had this not happened, it is quite likely the lake would have been so full of smelt that it would have been impossible to go swimming because of dead fish.

However, there is a drawback with this kind of fishing. The smelt are going into a bag of 1-in. mesh and with the smelt also go any other small fish. At certain times of the year the small perch move out and mix with the smelt and there have apparently been instances of about one ton of 3-in. perch in one day from one boat taken to freezers for animal food. This has been going on for approximately 15 years.

Obviously, we have to take action to protect our natural resources. The pity is, of course, that for so many years we have been neglectful in this respect. The question of the fishing industry and the harvesting of our lake fish is a very complex one. I think the government must be careful not to make hasty decisions that will ultimately have a detrimental effect. As I said before, I think it is very important that the province’s fishermen be involved in consultations and plans for the industry, because after all, they are vitally concerned and have the day-to-day knowledge that is so important.

There are many other things of interest as far as my riding is concerned. I represent perhaps one of the largest ridings of the tobacco growing industry. I am concerned with that but I will not cover it in any great detail. I had an opportunity to speak on it when government brought in its tobacco tax.

The seatbelt law was of concern to many people in my riding. I think I had a petition from something like 8,000 who are against the seatbelt law. I would just like to point this out to the Legislature: They are not so much against the fact of wearing the seatbelts, as against having the law to enforce it.

As for the city of Nanticoke, the Townsend townsite, housing and development for the industrial park in my riding are a concern, but again I will leave these issues to discuss later and for the other members of my caucus to debate. I would just like to say thanks for having the opportunity to debate the budget for the coming year and it has been a pleasure on behalf of my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Thank you.

Mr. Breaugh: I wanted to participate in this budget debate and to engage in some discussions about what kind of a budget this one is, what kind of a budget procedure the government in power uses, and how a budget can affect the economy of the Province of Ontario.

I think in essence though, we have some basic problems with this particular budget. To be specific about it, does it really provide a balanced and stable economy for the province? Does it really do anything significant to alter, if you like, the economic affairs of the Province of Ontario? What kind of a role does this government see a budget playing? I feel perhaps we might find in that some differences from the kind of budget procedures that we would use.

I want to address myself too, Mr. Speaker, to, if you like, the government’s taxation target. Who gets identified to pay the bills and in what order and to what degree?

In Ontario I guess there are many areas that are defined as being acceptable tax targets. Certainly there are capital gains, corporation taxes; there is a bit of an attempt at a resources tax. In Ontario it has been traditionally somewhat different, but these days they seem to have zeroed in on one target, that is people taxes, taxes that ordinary working men and women could pay, and it hits them in a great number of ways. It hits them substantially in an income tax. It hits them substantially in a sales tax. It also gets them in taxes which they don’t see; in commodity taxes, if you like -- in gasoline, in alcohol, in tobacco and in a number of other areas that manufacturers are, in theory I guess, taxed for but which are in reality taxed out onto the consumer.

So in Ontario we have that taxation target, if you like, clearly identified. We are going to work in this province on the working people. That may be a matter of numbers. It may be that there are substantially more of them than of anybody else. But at any rate, for whatever reason that seems to be the current target.

It wasn’t always so. There was a time in Ontario when corporations picked up pretty much 50 per cent or so of the taxation budget. That isn’t true anymore. That’s down to about 15 per cent. So clearly we have identified that group of people we want to tax. I’m not particularly sure why they are identified so well and so clearly, but in this budget as in previous budgets of this government, they are the ones who pay. They are the ones who cough up the dollars. It may not always be dollars, it may be a few cents here and a few cents there, but it certainly does add up.

I want to address myself to a kind of assessment of priorities, because I think that one of the ways in which a government speaks to its electorate, very clearly, is in the way that it strikes a budget -- in what it decides to spend money on and what it decides it will hold back on; in how it raises that revenue and how deeply it goes into debt and how long it finances that debt; on its fiscal policies; on its taxation policies; on policies for buildings things or not building things. I think in this budget we can see pretty clearly something that has been true for some time. The priorities of this government are in real hard things.

If you want to take the obvious example of roads -- and I don’t just mean the Spadina expressway because that’s topical today -- in the building of roads, provincial highways, back roads, city streets, the amount of money that is spent by all levels of government in Ontario is phenomenal. When you go and look over the municipal budget in almost any municipality you’ll find that usually somewhere between 60 and 70 per cent of the money that is spent is for, if you like, hard services and by and large, roads. By and large too the reason for that is essentially the Province of Ontario has a tendency to loosen up the purse strings when you want to build a road. It’s not nearly so free with its funds when you want day care and to keep that going past the initial ribbon-cutting ceremony and was quite prepared to pay $1 million to give somebody a chance to cut a ribbon. But after that happened, after having to try to keep that thing in operation, the funds disappear.


Basically, we go back to an old Tory tradition in Ontario, and that is to build roads; that that’s always a good thing. We have examples all over Ontario. I remember one just outside of my riding; it happened when there was a county of Ontario. They used to take the money that the province coughed up in the roads budget and build things. They didn’t want to build them all at once and get into debt, so they’d build something with whatever moneys they got from the province in any given year. One year they decided they would build a bridge, which they did. They built a nice little bridge, one of the best-looking bridges in Ontario county, all the way across a creek. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that except that in that instance there wasn’t any road on either side of the bridge. So far a couple of years we had the great honour of looking at this rather fine structure, set in the middle of a cow pasture and crossing a nice little creek. It was one of the best looking bridges you could find; there just happened to be no road on either side of the bridge.

The bridge followed the great Tory tradition in Ontario of building things. It doesn’t matter how or whether you need it, or really to what standard or how the contracts are let or good things like that. But the Tory party in Ontario has a wealth of tradition, particularly about building roads. I often wonder if they could have survived even two or three years at the outside had they not embarked on that. I can’t find a construction project in the Province of Ontario that isn’t built by a corporation that has known members of the Conservative Party at its head; it is rather difficult to find a municipal council building those roads that doesn’t have considerable influence from the Tory party there. The whole exercise seems to have been to build a vast system of roads throughout Ontario, some of which are quite good and quite necessary and some of which are not. But that criterion about whether a road is needed or not is not always considered.

The plain fact is that the Tories have discovered that building a road is a good deal. You can find some roads that are perhaps a little better than the standard in an area but happen to lead up to a particular person’s cottage or a particular person’s farm. I think we could all give a little chapter and verse on that particular instance in the history of Ontario, where the reeve got a road built to his house and it didn’t go past his house. But it follows that Tory tradition of building roads.

On the other hand, I guess the legitimate thing to say is that that wouldn’t be our emphasis. We would move in different areas; we think that fundamentally there is certainly a need for roads in Ontario, but there is also a need now in Ontario to provide people with services. Some of those are not popular services; that’s true. Some of those are not concrete things that you can see forever and a day. It is difficult to conduct the kind of public relations campaign around people services that you can do about building roads; that’s true enough. It is also difficult to make the case -- but I think it can be made -- that daycare centres, senior citizens’ homes and things like that, as functioning entities, are every bit as important as the construction of those facilities in the first instance.

I think what we probably need here is some device that allows us to cut ribbons every day and get our pictures in the paper as politicians. If that were the case, if there was some political gain to be salvaged out of that situation, I’m sure we’d be far more active in Ontario in providing services to human beings on a day-to-day basis.

In Ontario too there seems to be -- and I think it not unfair to lay this one at the Tory doorstep as well -- a good deal of cooperation, if you like, on one level; that is, with the corporate entity in the province. There seems to be not a great deal of difficulty in establishing what the corporations want in terms of tax incentives. There seems to be not a great deal of difficulty in at least sympathizing or approaching whatever problem might be before the House, or before the government, from a corporate point of view. But there seems to be a great deal of difficulty in approaching that from the workers’ point of view.

I think examples have been quoted at great length in this House of places where there’s an unsafe work place. It might involve lead oxide levels, dust levels or asbestosis; it could be a number of things. But I think one will find, in all of those instances, that the corporation that is quite happy to receive some tax incentives from the Province of Ontario also gets pretty good co-operation from the government of Ontario in dealing with those items as well. There is great reluctance on the part of the government to move in and shut down a corporation or to enforce meaningful control legislation on that particular thing. That’s a last resort.

I’m not suggesting that every time we find a lead oxide level or a dust level that’s 0.1 over whatever is the acceptable limit we shut everything down until they rectify the situation. That’s not the point at all. The point is that there are ongoing difficulties in the work place, I think rather extensively documented by the public at large, by various interest groups, by the unions involved and by the workers involved, where the government is clearly dragging its heels.

I suppose we can find, too, the one or two corporations that from time to time do cease operation and clean up their act. That may be acceptable in some quarters. To me, it’s not. Quite frankly, that isn’t the point at all. Even if the government is prepared to shut somebody down, that’s an unfortunate approach to it all. What at least strikes me as being a particularly sane approach to it is that the work place is monitored regularly and that those results are made public so that everyone who either works there or who controls that work place knows what is going on, can identify what the problem is, and that it’s kept to be a safe working place.

By that I want to use both words emphatically: that it’s a safe place for somebody to work, and that it’s a working place; that the work carries on and we don’t have to shut it down once a month or every six months and clean the joint up; that we allow it to continue to function but that it functions at safe levels. There is, of course, some argument about safe levels and I’m quite prepared to deal with that and to accept that problem. But where we have consensus, where we have overwhelming evidence, if you like, that something is unsafe -- and we’ve had indications of that in the Province of Ontario in the last three years -- I don’t think it’s satisfactory for the government to wait until there is some kind of public pressure or even until the matter is raised in the House before it deals with it.

I frankly don’t see why the government of Ontario is not prepared to deal with that thing on a day to day basis as, if you like, part of the workings of government. Why does it have to be a scandal? Why does it have to be front-page headlines before anything ever happens? Why do we have brand new plants -- and we’ve seen several instances of that; one in my own riding -- brand new multi-million-dollar plants put up supposedly under the guidance of the Ministry of the Environment and in co-operation with the Ontario government, that aren’t a safe place to work from day one? How does that happen in Ontario?

We have the money. Clearly the money has been spent putting up the facility. We have the expertise in terms of making it a safe work place. Why didn’t it happen? Why do we always have to go through this process -- the nice term for it is a shakedown period -- where we have people work for six or eight months in a plant that everybody agrees is an unsafe place to work, but the excuse is, “Well, we’re just shaking the place down. Give us a year or so and we’ll clean it up. It’ll work okay.”

I really wonder whether corporations in that sense would be happy if the people who supply them with equipment said, “Well, take this equipment on delivery now, let it shake down for six or eight months, but let it cost you a few hundred thousand dollars, and then if we don’t get it fixed in a year or so, well, we’ll take it back and give you something else.” I don’t think they would. I don’t think that’s a very businesslike attitude on anybody’s part.

To take another issue, this government has dramatically and consistently dealt with the entire problem of providing affordable housing to the people of Ontario from the industry’s point of view. It has consistently provided those people who are in the housing industry with incentives, it has provided them with mortgage money, it has done promotional jobs for them, it has set up OHAP programme and NIP and RRAP programmes and provided them with the big blue pipe in my area. It has done a number of things to deal with this particular problem, but all from one point of view essentially. I suppose one could make the case that when they attempt to provide mortgage money through a developer, as they do under the OHAP programme, that sooner or later a consumer benefits, and that may or may not be true. Not very many of them, but some of them might.

The fact is that the perspective is to work through the industry first, from its point of view, to provide it with the things that it needs, the mortgage money, the sewer and water services, that kind of stuff. That’s where the emphasis is, that’s where the priority is, that’s how this government approaches that problem. It does not approach it from the point of view of those who need housing and it does not consider that need to be the priority item in this whole approach to a housing problem.

If they were actually trying to identify those people who can’t afford housing now, would they be satisfied, for example, in the OHAP agreement to give them 10 per cent of the housing? I am not particularly concerned about those people who earn $30,000 or $40,000 a year; they can buy whatever they want. But those people, for example in my riding, who earn less than $15,000 a year -- I want to point out that the average wage for the city of Oshawa is $14,000; that is virtually, 50 per cent and probably far more of the people in that particular municipality -- can’t afford to buy a house in Oshawa.

They can’t even afford to qualify for the mortgage let alone carry it. Those people who can are qualifying because both people in the family are working. What happens when one of them faces a strike situation or ill health or loses a job or gets laid off is rather devastating. People in my riding, earning collectively less than $20,000 a year, are facing $500 to $600 a month in carrying charges on a house. That’s ridiculous and there really has not been a movement on the part of this government even to approach the problem from that angle because the priority lies in a different area -- helping industry. The assumption is -- and it is nothing but an assumption -- that if we help industry, sooner or later we will help somebody who needs a house. That’s not necessarily true and, frankly, I would be hard pressed to find an instance in which it is true.

In terms of dealing with another aspect if we like, of corporate life in Ontario, I see the government attempting to help corporations and I don’t disagree with that. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. I have just come from listening to the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and I don’t have any bone to pick with a government which tries to help industry or tries to help corporations. All I am saying is there ought to be equal emphasis on the people who buy their products, that is on the consumer; and that’s not there.

I have heard the minister say repeatedly, “The people have somewhere to go. They can get a class action suit going or they can get a lawyer and sue the company.”

I suppose from one point of view that’s valid. If one is not happy with whatever was bought or the service which was purchased one can get a lawyer and sue them but in practical terms for the people who buy the stuff that’s no alternative at all. To say to somebody who has made a major investment in something which is faulty -- we could run through the list from automobiles to houses to any kind of goods -- that he can go off to court, grab a lawyer and go to court for two or three years and then get some answer, is no answer. That’s no answer at all.

For the rich, that’s a workable solution. Someone who is wealthy can afford to hire a lawyer, romp off to court and sit around for two or three years, not particularly concerned about what the outcome would be. Someone who is not at that level of income just can cope with that situation at all.

I had a lady call me this morning at my constituency office. She happens to be one of those unfortunate people who bought one of those expensive houses in Oshawa. The developer who built it really didn’t do much of a job on grading the property so her backyard is kind of the cesspool for the neighbourhood; that’s where all the run-off water goes.

We had to explain to her, “In Ontario, the laws are such that you have the right to sue the guy.” She was making the case to me, “How do I sue this guy? Where do I get the money for the lawyer? What do I do for the two years it takes to get it to court? What do I do afterwards?”

Frankly, there are some alternatives -- there is no question about that -- but certainly they are not desirable ones and maybe not even efficient ones in Ontario because basically the thing is geared to the producer. Whoever builds the house has got the ace. The consumer at the other end has an up-hill battle.

One can hear the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) saying, “We did this. We put a cease and desist order on Vic Tanny’s,” but that’s rare in Ontario. One can hear the defence mechanisms that everybody has a right to get a lawyer and take him to court. That’s true but that is also rare and that’s also not much of an answer for most human beings.

We were discussing in there the kind of hidden warranties which some automobile manufacturers supposedly were using. It’s fine to say that if one is Ralph Nader and has a team of lawyers or is prepared to stick it out for six months or two years and chase whatever corporate entity it is around the block, one might get a warranty but for most people that’s not a practical solution. That isn’t an answer for them at all.

The point I am attempting to make concerns the priorities of this government -- and they are, I think, well displayed in this budget -- the priorities of this government are really set from a corporate point of view. If they want to do some good, that’s the approach they take; that’s where their perspective lies, that’s clearly where their priority is. It is not at the other end of the scale. It is certainly not with the consumer. It is certainly not with working people, and in terms of the taxation process I find it phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal, that that process is reversed -- that when it comes to taxing, then the priorities seem to be ordinary working people. That’s when they get their just desserts I guess, according to this one.


I might say that even in terms of influencing a government that seems to be true. It seems to be not too difficult, and I’ve heard ministers say it in the House many times. They are about ready to meet with the heads of that corporation; in the pulp and paper strike, they meet with the executives in the pulp and paper industry. In any other kind of a problem, they grab the industrial people first and they bring them into the room and have a little discussion with them. They might -- just might -- go and talk to the union as well, if there is a union in that situation, but that’s a little on the rare side.

The only time they get much attention is when they parade on the front lawn out here, but on a day by day basis, this government deals with the corporations, on a day by day basis, this government deals with their executive. That’s just the information source, if you like. The only other source of information or influence that comes in here is kind of when public pressure hits a certain boiling point, and that’s not all that often. It happens once in a while but it isn’t really all that often. When it hits the boiling point and then pops open, then the government is prepared to react, but not before it does that, not until that particular thing happens.

I suppose we could hear chapter and verse from the other side of the coin, that in Ontario there are a number of good laws in the books. There are, without question, good laws in the books in Ontario, but unfortunately that’s where they are. They are in the books. They are not in the streets and they are not in action. If we left Ontario, we could probably take our statute books out somewhere else in the world and say, look at what a great province Ontario is. Look at all the statutes we’ve got, because we have certainly got them, but we don’t use them very much. We don’t see that they are thoroughly enforced. At that critical point where we have to make that decision, do we enforce the laws we have or do we interpret the laws we have? In Ontario, this government always opts for the latter. They always want to interpret the thing and see how valid things are.

I want to deal, too, with some things I think are observations of one form or another. There is a form of aristocracy at work in Ontario and most of it is sitting on the empty benches on the other side; and I don’t begrudge them that, they are quite welcome to that one. What I find is ludicrous, though, is the definition of the work ethic that’s coming out. With the great Tory turn to the right, there seems to be at the same time a great return to the work ethic. “Everybody be good and work hard 12 or 15 hours a day and don’t grumble about your pay,” that kind of thing.

I accept that from people who really have spent their lives working their way up through a system. I really accept that from people who are self-made men and are just totally devoted to that. I think it’s a little nil perhaps, but for most of us on this side of the House, particularly in this caucus over here, that’s where we spent most of our lives. There are very few millionaire sons over here, not that there is anything wrong with being the son or daughter of a millionaire, but there aren’t very many of us over here, and certainly the people we represent are the workers. They are the people who spend their time making cars or whatever it is, producing steel or making pulp and paper. I find it odd that we’re made the subjects of great long lectures on the work ethic. I don’t really see how that falls into place at all.

We have this commitment to the kind of human needs and the understanding of those things. I’ve heard the Premier (Mr. Davis) say a number of times that we don’t have a monopoly on caring for people. That’s true. That’s certainly true. The problem this government has is when it gets past that point about caring, when it gets into the realm of actually doing something, that’s where the problems arise.

This government has a great tendency, and it used them in this budget, to make a decision based on some kind of statistical analysis, and it doesn’t really matter whether the analysis holds water or not, or whether or not it is true, or whether it is relevant even, but if it gets something that has a bunch of numbers attached to it with some kind of a formula, that’s what this government loves to have. When it closes hospitals, it likes to have that kind of an analysis. It doesn’t matter whether it is fair. It doesn’t matter whether it is accurate, as long as they have some kind of a report somewhere that says something they can use.

I am told that there are entire files of analyses of this, that and the other thing, and statistical evidence which will prove almost anything, and that the government is quite prepared to pull whatever analysis proves the point it is trying to make at any given moment. I really don’t doubt that; I really don’t doubt it at all. This government, I think, has displayed a rather courageous stand in spots about ignoring reality. It doesn’t want to deal with real situations; it wants to deal with numbers and is not terribly concerned -- or at least deals as an after-thought -- with what the consequences of its government action really are.

Let me get back to this basic point that I want to make about zeroing in on working men and women. I would understand too that there is some rationale behind this. There are more of them; there are more people working now. If you want to tax each one of them a little bit, as opposed to taxing one group a lot, that is perhaps a painless way to do it. There is that theory of taxation that you should tax everybody a little bit equally and not really go at those who make rather large amounts of money.

My concern essentially is that I think there has been a mistake in judgement made. I really think the government has hit the saturation point at certain levels, that there are working people in Ontario who are taxed right to the teeth and there isn’t any room left. This government, in this particular budget, has hit them in several ways, some directly and some indirectly, and I am not terribly sure that it is going to be able to do that successfully this time.

I recognize the success that this government has had in doing that a number of times previously -- of hitting everybody a little bit -- not enough that it hurts, but just enough to generate considerable millions of dollars of revenue and no one even notices that he has been hit. This time I think it might have done it. This time I think it hit its base group in a number of ways, some of which are indirect, I know, but I think it hit them just a bit too much. I think it gilded the lily a bit.

Let me nail down a couple of things that I think the government did do right. I think that when it got into that area of what we call the sin taxes, I guess -- taxing beer, liquor, all forms of alcohol and cigarettes and things like that -- it probably hit them a bit. It certainly didn’t come anywhere near the mark of what they did in Quebec this past week where they doubled their taxation proceeds on that. I think perhaps this government’s judgement in those areas was not that bad. It probably could have squeezed a bit more in taxation purposes on those items.

Let me tell the government what my concern is. What is it doing with that money? Where does that money go? Is that a legitimate source of revenue for the Province of Ontario to spill into its general funds and use as it sees fit, or when the government collects that kind of taxation money does it have -- if you want, a social obligation; if you want, a moral obligation -- to use those funds derived from those particular sources to deal with the problems produced by those sources at the end of the process?

Is the government really doing very much pursuant to the problems of alcoholism in Ontario? I guess it is all a matter of perspective. My opinion is no. It is continuing to allow millions of dollars to be poured into advertising to convince people it is a really good thing to drink whatever beer happens to be on or whatever kind of alcoholic beverage is being touted at the given moment.

It strikes me that is a particularly useless exercise, at any rate. Most of the people in that kind of industry with whom I have discussed the matter seem to agree they are not increasing their markets; they are really all fighting for a set number of people who will consume alcoholic beverages, and the game after that point really is to see who can get the largest share of that set market. That seems to me to be a useless exercise, frankly, and yet no one seems quite prepared to deal in a meaningful way with the problems that alcoholism causes in the home, in the work place, in the society as a whole.

There isn’t any reallocation of funds that are generated from that kind of taxation into that kind of research, that kind of education, that kind of corrective process, if you like. That transfer is not made. The government views it as a source of revenue and I think that is wrong. All right, it puts money into the coffers for sure, but if it is to do that, then I think the government has a moral obligation to see that that money is spent to correct the problems it has caused.

Maybe we are into a kind of esoteric argument about degree, the amount of money spent, and the kind of money that is put into it. We might even get into the argument about prohibitionism or things like that. I don’t think all of that is necessary. I think, frankly, in realistic terms we are talking about the people who abuse these things. We are talking about taking set amounts of taxation moneys raised from those specific items and channelling that money back into corrective programmes -- to correct abuses, to be very specific about it, At some point in time you are going to hit a critical reaction point in that kind of taxation, in taxing the little things.

I could quote some instances -- I suppose we all could -- of people who said, when the government went the extra measure on the cigarettes, “That’s it for me. I am not smoking,” is probably a good thing. From the government’s point of view, the problem is that when that critical point is reached, it starts to lose revenue. If the purpose of the tax in the beginning is to generate considerable amounts of funds for the coffers, when we hit that critical point, we start to lose money. I think the government is not too far off that one; it could probably get on the sin taxation process a bit more, but I don’t think so.

Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, about one of the things in this budget that caused quite a little furore in my riding. I really hadn’t anticipated the kind of furore it caused when the government raised the OHIP premiums. That got them. I listened to the Treasurer make his spiel in the House, and I thought that while he got a little carried away with himself and was given to his usual kind of excesses, that that wouldn’t hit too hard. But it did hit -- and much harder than I anticipated. And the public reaction is a little larger than I had expected.

It is true -- and I have some difficulty rationalizing this -- that it’s double what the Anti-Inflation Board is supposed to allow for any kind of price or wage increase. I have great difficulty explaining to people, “Yes, your wages are controlled. Yes, there is supposedly some price control, although I can’t tell you what prices they have ever controlled. But, on the other hand, taxation can kind of roll on. They are exempt.” That’s the nice thing about the whole anti-inflation programme.

It makes no sense to me. Frankly, I have had no success in convincing anybody else in my riding that it is even logical, let alone right. But that OHIP premium hit. And in my riding for some reason, perhaps because there is a strong trade union movement there, the whole argument about the employer picking up his share didn’t wash a whit. I don’t think I have met one person who has accepted that the employer is going to pick up that money and that he shouldn’t worry about it. They all know that they are going to the bargaining table this fall; and whether they are working for General Motors of Canada or somebody else, there are very few people in my riding naive enough to think that they don’t pay for that in some way. At some point in time they’ll get hit with that particular increase. They might not get hit now, but they will get hit.

Directly or indirectly, the government is again hitting at the wages of those very people that it expects to carry the taxation load for the Province of Ontario.

In a very indirect way, I suppose -- at least I thought it was set out to be an indirect way -- the Province of Ontario, in this particular budget, has managed to raise substantially municipal taxation. What I think is unique about it all is that I would guess it would work in most times in the history of Ontario. I would bet that if the government had tried this number 10 or 15 years ago about holding the line to increase the ability to raise revenue at the provincial level and to sock it to people at the municipal level, that would have worked. Oddly enough, that one doesn’t seem to carry much water locally either. Perhaps it is because it is an election year for municipal politicians. There are a number of Tories on municipal councils as well, but there are very few of them who are willing to take that one on the jaw for the government. They are quite prepared to tell their own people where that increase in municipal taxation came from and what that cause was -- the kind of restraints that were put on municipal programmes, despite what I thought was a rather firm commitment not to do that; to adhere to the Edmonton commitment; to see that a number of programmes -- and this is where we get into the irony of it all.

In my area, and I suspect it’s true across Ontario, there were a number of great projects that went up with a great flourish last year just before the election -- things like a little daycare centre in Bowmanville and a number of other things. Last year, there were lots of building in Ontario and lots of funds to put up that kind of stuff. This year, on the other hand -- and in some cases it’s not for a full year; it’s for four, five, maybe six months -- the municipal council now has to roll in there and pick up the operating costs for those.

Last year, the Province of Ontario was quite prepared to build this particular project or that particular project, to cut the ribbon, to get pictures in the paper and to announce to everybody at large that the Province of Ontario funded it either in whole or in part.


This year the Province of Ontario is not prepared to fulfil its commitment and to keep that particular project solvent, so the local council is, I think quite rightly, going through the throes of a very difficult situation. Let me give a couple of examples of that.

One of the things which is most dramatic in and around my riding lately is the matter of the Whitby police station, where the police commission locally was directed by the local council that everybody has to cut back this year. These are tough times in Ontario. We can’t make it any more as we once used to do it. We can’t live high off the hog. We have to practise restraint or constraint, or whatever the current term is. So they decided to close a little police station in the town of Whitby. Frankly, I could never figure out why it was built in that particular place, but nonetheless it was, about five or six years ago. It was virtually a brand new building, though it had some other problems surrounding it.

They are going to close that down because they can’t continue to operate. In a sense, it is kind of like the hospital closings. The people in that particular community -- and I imagine we will hear from their member when he speaks on this -- are very upset about that. There was not a substantial saving in dollars involved, and that I think is the crucial point. They are putting municipalities in a position of cutting not only worthwhile projects -- I don’t like that term -- but things that they need in their community, and they will not save substantial amounts of money in the long run but they have to cut it somewhere. They have to nickel and dime the thing, and that becomes a vicious process.

It becomes vicious in the sense that much needed services in the community are curtailed or cut off altogether, because they have to at least appear to save money somewhere. It doesn’t matter whether saving $30,000 or $40,000 out of a municipal budget of $15 million to $20 million is for real. It doesn’t matter whether that saves any of the taxpayers in that municipality one red cent on their taxes. That local government has to fall in line with the provincial government. It has to say: “We made the effort to save money.” Whether they really did or not is a good question.

The entire debate that we have had in this House over health care really hasn’t got the bottom line attached to it yet. At the end of this year, if the orders in council are upheld and the government is allowed to close those hospitals, it might be able to say with some accuracy how much it has saved, but up until that point it is all talking about projections. That’s the problem with this kind of budgeting procedure that we use in Ontario, it is looking at projected savings. Not real savings -- we won’t know that for a year or so -- but projected savings. The government may or may not save that money. In fact, what most often happens is that it may well save that money in that area but it costs it far more somewhere else.

If we look at things like social services, which we have discussed at length, we may well save some money in the social services budget. I will wager quite readily with anybody that they won’t save any money out of their total budget at the end of the year. In a number of instances -- and I see them in my riding now -- there are people who need assistance, and I like to hear the Minister of Community and Social Services speak. I think it’s one of the highlights of the House when he gives one of his answers to a question in the House. I like to hear him say things like, “No person in need in Ontario will suffer.” That’s good. I feel warm all over when he does that number in the House, because that’s quite true and I have a list of people in real need.

Oddly enough, I have never had, in my constituency office since I have been a member of this House, or in my municipal office when I was on that council, a deadbeat come in and say, “They have cut off my source of revenue.” I have never had anybody come in and tell me that. Perhaps somebody from the stock market would say, “Well, I had a loss today.” I am told that there are all kinds of people ripping off the welfare system. I have never met one.

I have even had a couple of phone calls from people who say, “I know somebody across the road who is ripping off the welfare system,” and I say, “Good, you tell me his name and I will go and see him and we will find out whether he is or not.” At that point they always want to hang up. They always want out of the action there. They don’t want to give me anybody’s name. They don’t want to tell me anything about anybody. They aren’t sure.

One of the things that I find reprehensible about this entire approach, though, to that kind of social care, is that it preys on some of the baser instincts of mankind. We all have that little gut feeling that somebody else is ripping somebody off somewhere. We don’t trust other people, and this kind of breeds on that and I find that really unfortunate.

I find it unfortunate from several points of view. First of all, for those people who are in real need, the government creates several problems not the least of which is financial but more than that it singles them out and makes them the centre of ridicule. In terms of those people who are working in social service or social delivery, if one likes, locally, the government has created some monumental problems.

Let me tell members something which I think is really sad. I visited the region of Durham social services office quite a few times when the cuts were being discussed in the House. I think they have implemented the provincial guidelines and they’re following those -- they have pretty well for the past few years so it’s not really very much new. In practical terms, there isn’t much money saved because they always did that.

In practical terms, there’s no real change in the policy because essentially that’s what they did. The government did two or three things in this budget which are really unfortunate and which come out at the other end, I’m sure -- at least I hope -- in a way totally different from what the government supposed.

Let me list them. First of all, I found an amazing little statistic given to me by the people who work in that social services department. The number of threats on their lives -- get this -- threats on their lives has doubled since the restraint programme was announced. That’s a ridiculous thing yet I recognize that they are very often dealing with very desperate people and I think it very fortunate that it’s nothing, I hope, but idle threats. That kind of abuse which those people working in that social service delivery system have to take is unfortunate and the government has made a very difficult job which they have executed, I think, with considerable care, even more difficult.

Secondly, one of the few things -- in Durham this was not a big deal but I must tell the House it’s been a lifesaver for a number of people in the last few years -- they did have some optional programmes. They did have some occasions on which if there was a particular need to be met by an individual -- at least through my office whenever we could make a case that a real need existed and it could be solved with a few dollars, whether that meant buying some food, providing some transportation or getting somebody some furniture -- whatever it was and in whatever way it was, they had a small fund over which they could exercise their discretion and make that happen. That fund is no longer there.

There’s an instance in which that social service department, in order to come within the guidelines, made those cuts and did not save a substantial amount of money. In that instance, I think less than $25,000 was set aside in their account to deal with such things. They just wiped out that entire account. It’s not there anymore.

I understand the argument that maybe we have to push people back to traditional forms of relief and traditional forms of charity. I want to remind members that they are not always there in every community and that they are provided on a volunteer basis and can’t be as comprehensive as they ought to be. Perhaps what’s even more pertinent is that whenever I go to any of the meetings, whether it’s to the men’s hostel meeting or any of the charitable institutions around my riding, I find sitting there the people from the regional social services department -- the same people.

I understand, because I serve on a number of those agencies and boards and whatever, the kind of financial problems they are having. I also understand the kind of added impetus this restraint programme has given their work. It has increased their workload without doubt.

I think, too, that this indirect form of taxation has not really been as indirect as the government would have liked it. It is being seen and, I think, understood quite clearly where that local property tax increase comes from.

I noticed as I read the newspaper accounts of the city of Oshawa and the region of Durham setting their budgets, not one local budget chairman stood up and said, “This year, guys, we’re only going to have an increase of $98 in the average property tax in the city of Oshawa. We think we’ve done a good job.”

To a man or to a woman, they’ve all stood up and said; “This year, because of the restraint programme of the provincial government, your taxes will go up $98.” They all were extremely careful to identify who had caused the increase in taxation. I saw that from the school board; I saw that from the police commission; I saw that from the hospitals. Everyone, I think, is extremely cautions and maybe even a little overzealous to nail this government as being the villain that caused the problem. I think that’s relatively fair.

What I’m concerned about is that it did not substantially reduce taxes; that, in fact, it substantially increased taxes, and that in a time when we have to look very hard at our priorities and how we collect and spend our money, it really did very little in terms of relieving anybody. It didn’t even address itself to the question of spurring employment or job activities in the Province of Ontario. That’s a toughie. I don’t know how they do it, because they’re sucking and whistling at the same time. That’s an exercise that’s interesting to try, but I don’t think they can do it. I don’t think we can throw people out of work on the scale that this government has done with its budget and really expect to save money on, for example, social services costs. I really see some problems entering into the picture there.

Let me say a few words, too, about something that we always got thrown at us. It’s inherent in this budget -- I’m sure it’s been thought of, but it certainly has not been the subject of much consideration -- and that is an administrative review of the Province of Ontario.

I was really interested when that special review committee tabled its documents before the House. I was really interested in the way it went about its business. It, too, seemed fascinated with nickel and dime things. I didn’t really see any substantive movement to reduce the costs of administration for the Province of Ontario. I didn’t see that at all. I didn’t even see them looking at that. I didn’t see any evidence that that cost could be reduced, or should be reduced, or even what the cost was, because, in frank terms, even when looking at them through the estimates, it is very difficult to find out the exact numbers. It’s almost impossible, in fact, to find out what the administrative costs for most programmes are.

We can get a number, that’s true. We can get whatever the minister is prepared to tell us. What we can’t get is the actual cost. We have some difficulty. There is just a multitude of ways to hide it. There are ways to hide administrative costs in terms of contracting out, or in terms of allocating costs that went to one project in somebody else’s budget.

There is just a wealth of techniques available to any government to hide its bureaucratic costs. This is the government that really made bureaucracy a bad word in Ontario. I find that unfortunate, because a number of the people whom I know who work in the civil service are really totally devoted people. They are trying to do a good job. Unfortunately, the process is not clearly defined and there does not seem to be -- there’s no delicate way to put it -- nobody ever seems to look at anything. After it’s been set up and running for a number of years it’s there forever. Nobody looks to see whether it’s necessary, or wanted, or working, or whatever.

In one of the estimates we were dealing with, the Ministry of Correctional Services, they were explaining to us how much money it cost them to move last year. Somewhere in the process of moving from downtown to Scarborough they lost four people. I assume that it was just because the papers weren’t at hand, but they didn’t really know whether the people had retired or were waiting out there at Bloor and Yonge for a ride or what. They were just kind of lost. It’s so typical of the bureaucracy.

When I was on the municipal council I always loved the developers coming in and crying on my shoulder about how the Ministry of Housing was handling their plans for a subdivision. I used to get a good chuckle out of that, but I had to admit they had a case. They had a case when they explained to me that their files went from Oshawa, to Durham, to Toronto, to Richmond Hill, to Cobourg, to Kingston and then came back. The chance of making that cycle is next to nil for a number of people who had plans of subdivision. What I found most infuriating is that those plans were held locally and dealt with, and sometimes at great length, for six months, sometimes longer than that. Then they came down here and sat on somebody’s desk or got lost. It’s an unreal thing to have happen. That is, frankly, the sign of an administration that’s been kind of abandoned. No one pays particular attention to whether that administration works or works well, or to what happens in that particular department in order to reward those people who do a good job. Frankly, there’s not much incentive in that.

There are a number of bright spots in the bureaucracy in Ontario. I think one can find senior civil servants who do an excellent job, who make their case, but one little indication that something’s wrong are the brown envelopes, without question. Those little brown envelopes do not come from a happy civil service. They come from people who are frustrated in their positions, who find it too difficult, too unreal, just a bad place to work. I think there has to be some serious understanding and review of that entire administration process. There is, frankly, in my view anyway, no need to consider bureaucracy to be a bad word. That doesn’t necessarily have to be true. In my view, those people are there working for the people of Ontario, and I want to emphasize that they are supposed to be there working for, as opposed to working against, the people of Ontario.


We had a small instance on the weekend of some people from my riding and from adjacent ridings who have a thing called the Big Game Association. They wanted to have a little meeting at the Legion Hall in Lindsay on the weekend. It was 9 o’clock Sunday morning. I asked the member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) to represent the party. We asked some people from the ministries to attend; in particular, we asked someone from Wintario to attend. On Tuesday or Wednesday of last week I think it was, they said, “Sure, we would love to go there. We’ll be there.” They said so Thursday and they said so Friday. But Friday they called the guy from the Big Game Association and said, “We can’t make it because we need to establish the criteria for giving out Wintario grants.”

This guy has been around for a while and he understood what was going on. The old bureaucratic shuffle was at work there. Somebody had hauled out some criteria that they don’t use for anything else or anybody else I’ve ever seen. In fact, the same people from the same bureaucracy on Tuesday or Thursday night were quite happy to come into my riding and talk to anybody who wanted to talk to them at whatever length they wanted to talk to them about getting Wintario grants -- how to fill out the application forms; how to do this, that and the other thing; how they would be allocated; all this kind of stuff. They were quite happy to do that on certain occasions, but not on others. The whole bureaucracy, the whole setup of how this government administers the Province of Ontario is just rife with that kind of thing.

I guess, too, there is a measure in all of this of how to zero in on people -- how to make the cuts so that they don’t hurt big people, they hurt little people. I find that really unfortunate. I find that attitude right through the entire constraint programme. I find it right through this particular budget, and can give chapter and verse if anyone would like. “Nail the little guy. Nail the little group that everybody thinks is no good anyway. Don’t hit the big corporations. Hit the little people on welfare and always couch that in terms so you’re saying welfare abuse.’”

I wish the government just did that. I wish that it would just nail those people who abuse the welfare system, because they deserve it. But how in that process does someone up here set a little magic number, pass that around the Province of Ontario, and say that by any stretch of the imagination that’s a fair and reasonable way for the Province of Ontario to conduct its business. It’s unreal. It is so simple, it’s unfortunately a little on the sad side. It’s sad because it’s playing games with people’s lives.

There are little people who are being hurt by this constraint or restraint programme. The government, I think, has been retreating since the day it announced the thing. I think it recognizes, in many forms now, that it wasn’t a sensible programme for starters. But again -- and I go back to my original point -- it retreats when the boiling point is reached. It doesn’t matter whether it is right or wrong or makes sense or is a logical approach to it all; the critical thing there, the priority item there, is when does the public boiling point hit? Only when it hits will the government react. That’s sad. I don’t really think the Tories have mean streaks in them. I know some Tories who are nice guys.

Mr. Laughren: Name one.

Mr. Maeck: How about me?

Mr. Breaugh: Could I have a rep?

Mr. Lewis: There are none here now.

Mr. Breaugh: I think the problem is essentially that the party as a whole is committed to one perspective and it doesn’t allow the government to move out of that. It doesn’t allow the government to move away from its corporate friends. It doesn’t allow it to really deal with human beings on an individual basis. The kind of commitment that it has as a government and that it has exhibited over the years -- I give it full marks for being consistent about this part of it -- is that it really loves to get that little statistical analysis out. It hires a bunch of civil servants to produce this kind of an analysis, and in effect I don’t doubt that in many cases it tells them what it wants first and they pull out the statistics to prove it. Then the government sticks with that, and the flaw in all of that is that it is not dealing with real things and it is refusing to acknowledge the needs of real people.

I want to move into a couple of other areas in the budget. I watched with great interest the little problems that people had about their credit rating in Ontario -- about keeping it at triple A and little lunches that were held and little handholding exercises that were going on and the kind of discussions that we had about the good old $2 billion deficit that is sitting there staring everybody in the face. Remember last year -- what I always think is cute about this -- when that budget was out there, and the deficit was there looking everybody in the face, at that time, just before an election, that was okay.

In fact, I remember the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) and the Premier (Mr. Davis) and a number of other very prominent people in this government saying “What’s a $2 billion deficit? That is nothing, that is peanuts compared to the wealth of the economy of the Province of Ontario and we are all in good shape; no one has to worry, this province is well-managed and $2 billion is an acceptable kind of a deficit. Nobody is saying that is a small amount of money or anything like that, but it is okay,” and at that point they always wanted to drag out their rating, and say we are triple A, guys, you don’t have to worry about us.

I remember them feeling so strongly about all of that, so powerful about it all, that they went on this wonderful parade of giveaways, which happened to coincide with the provincial election.

I remember that was said to be, at that time, fiscal balance, responsible government; really dealing with the economy of the Province of Ontario in a very calm and rational and reasoned way. We are so well off in Ontario -- and this was last year mind you -- that we could laugh at, and they did on a couple of occasions, the $2 billion deficit. We were so well off that they could handle that on one hand and throw away money with the other one. They did this on numerous occasions and they gave everybody a little break here and there. That was last year.

This year, because I suppose in some senses there was a little quibbling about whether the rating was going to stay quite that high or, what is more likely I guess, that someone decided that having done that number last year you can’t play the same song again; this year you have got to go into a restraint programme. This year things are bad. Last year we tried to sell Ontario back to the people of Ontario and they couldn’t afford it and so this year we have got to pay the price for that. We heard, I think, a substantial amount about: “Well, things aren’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong guys, things aren’t really that bad; but there are some difficulties here and there, there are some problems. There might be a little downturn, we just have to tune the machine down a little bit. You have to get some grasp on things; we will shut down a few hospitals here and there, we will cut back a little social spending, we will get all that sorted out in due priority, and then things will be fine.”

I am not sure whether that was done because it was economically necessary or frankly, as I guess we would have to put it rather plainly, just plain political expediency. It seemed like a good idea politically instead of in economic terms.

I wanted to say a couple of words in this budget because some monumental things happened. For the first time, in the history of Ontario, the government of Ontario recognizes the importance of the auto industry. I remember in 1967, when there was a renegotiation of the auto pact between Canada and the United States, the Province of Ontario, at that time, was virtually adamant that it really had nothing to do with Ontario, it really was a federal matter; a matter of trade between two countries and they stayed out of it by and large.

I remember even last spring, when at one point we had 7,000 workers of General Motors of Canada in Oshawa out walking the streets, laid off. I remember we had a delegation of municipal councillors from the auto-producing cities in Ontario meet in Oshawa and I remember quite frankly that the response from the government of Ontario was pretty straightforward: “that is not our business, that is a federal matter.”

Well, I am pleased to at least see that the importance of that industry is now recognized and it is right in the old budget, and there is one of the little sub-budget booklets to go with it. It recognizes that the auto industry is pretty important to the Province of Ontario. I note, and I think with some wisdom, that nobody is purporting to have any easy answers -- no two or three points that will just womp the thing out.

I want to deal with some of the problems that are there. First, and foremost, a significant thing has happened; you have recognized the importance of that industry, not in just producing vehicles themselves but in terms of parts and associated items that have come along with the auto industry; that has been recognized. It is at least written into your budget this time and it is a major part of the Ontario economy. In Oshawa, one of the small charges I used to get is that in the Oshawa city budget, I think for about the last 15 or 20 years, there has been a report -- and, by tradition, is put into the city budget books -- on the state of the auto industry in the city, because that reflects substantially on our economy locally. When a big plant goes out, when there is a strike or a layoff or a shutdown, it affects the economy of the whole city -- and you can see it -- but in Oshawa at least the people who work and live there are prepared to accept that. When there is a major strike or a work stoppage in General Motors of Canada in Oshawa, nobody is running around trying to repossess houses. Nobody is running around trying to collect bills they know can’t be paid. The people have come to accept that when that situation occurs in our city, they have to deal with it in terms of special circumstances.

Mr. Laughren: Finance companies love it.

Mr. Breaugh: They do. Even things like finance companies, which are perhaps not nice, deal with that; they accept that in Oshawa. I don’t want to say that it’s the power of the trade union movement in the city, but I think without question there is a substantial influence there and I’m pleased to see that the Province of Ontario is finally recognizing that.

There are some areas that I would like to offer for the government’s consideration, because I have read several government documents which address themselves to the auto pact and the auto industry. There are some problems in terms of parts production, without question; there is a major problem in terms of capital investment, and there is a major problem in terms of price differential. Those are the three major areas that need to be looked at and, I think, some resolution reached. We could play with words and say that we really don’t want to open up the auto pact; we want to renegotiate certain parts of it. I’m not particularly sure, having read some of the American studies and seeing their point of view of the auto pact, that we should be all that anxious to renegotiate the pact in its entirety. But I think it’s true -- and it is stated quite clearly in the preface to the auto pact -- that from time to time certain adjustments have to be made. I think essentially that’s what we’re talking about.

The kind of jobs that are involved, and the related economic support and influence brought about by the entire automotive industry in the Province of Ontario, are substantial. We can trot out all the statistics about how many people are employed, how much capital investment is there and how much wages are earned, but from my point of view I think it suffices to say very simply that it’s enough to recognize that fact and it’s enough now to get very serious about dealing with that problem, because I think it’s a milestone to have the government of Ontario recognize the importance of the auto industry.

But let me throw a little tag on the end of that. Let me say that I think it’s time the government of Ontario dealt with the auto-producing companies in a significant way. Frankly, I find it abhorrent, every time we go to some kind of transit system, that we can’t find a vehicle produced in Ontario that’s satisfactory for the municipalities to use. Why do we have to buy vehicles from other parts of the world when the automotive industry is such a substantive industry in the Province of Ontario? Why do we have to set up and deal with, if you like, on a very expensive basis, some kind of transportation corporation? Why can’t we deal directly with people in the Province of Ontario who produce buses, trucks, cars or whatever?

I think it unusual and quite responsible that the United Automobile Workers themselves, for example, are quite happy to acknowledge that, in terms of economy and fuel consumption, we ought to be producing smaller automobiles, that we ought to move into mass transit and that we ought to find an acceptable means of doing so. Quite frankly, from the workers’ point of view, and without doubt, if you make it profitable, from the company’s point of view, I think they are quite prepared to enter those areas. In closing, let me run back over a couple of points --

Mr. Speaker: Can the hon. member finish in about 30 seconds or a minute?

Mr. Breaugh: I sure can; with ease.

The government seems to have identified very clearly the group of people in this society that it wants to tax -- working people, men and women who are out working and earning average salaries. The government of Ontario really has provided little direction, and on occasion I find it difficult to understand that it has even co-operated with the industrial sector. In terms of planning, whether that planning relates to land use, industrial growth or economic stability, the needed leadership is not there. I think it is unfortunate that we seem to be quite content to wait it out, to see what happens in the longer process of things, in the hope that some salvation will come from another quarter. I don’t think it will. I think the government is going to have some problems and think this budget will not really live through the year in its present form; there will be some substantive changes to it.

Mr. Breithaupt moved the adjournment of the debate,

Motion agreed to.




Mr. Laughren moved second reading of Bill 68, An Act to prevent Post-retirement Integration of Insurance Moneys and Pension Benefits with Increases in Government Social Security Plans.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, this bill entitled an Act to prevent Post-retirement Integration of Insurance Moneys and Pension Benefits with Increases in Government Social Security Plans, is a bill with a single purpose. The purpose of this bill is to prevent the reduction of moneys paid out under an insurance or pension plan due to an increase in a government pension or security plan, whether that increase be of a cost of living nature or a general legislated increase.

The problem at the present stage is that the two plans become integrated and the increase in the public pension is not recognized. By government social security plans I am referring to the Canada Pension Plan, the Old Age Security Act, the Department of Veteran Affairs Act, the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act and the Family Benefits Act.

Section 2 of this bill is its heart and it reads very simply:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Act, no insurance money or pension benefit shall be reduced by reason of an increase in any payment made under a government social security plan.”

This bill would legislate in favour of stacking pensions and against integration. For reasons which I shall outline I believe the present legislation discriminates against pensioners.

This bill is particularly opportune at this time because of the very high rate of inflation which we are experiencing in this jurisdiction and in others. It is hard to believe but when I was doing some reading on pensions I came across the following quote from the pensions division of the National Trust Co. Ltd. This is in 1960, “A 25 per cent rise in the cost of living in the last 10 years has focused attention on the serious threat of inflation to sound pension planning.”

Here we have a 1960 document decrying the rate of inflation at 25 per cent in 10 years. Today we see that kind of increase in somewhat more than two years.

Perhaps it would be appropriate at this time to indicate just what I mean by a pension and I have attached my own meaning to pension rather than just a dictionary definition. To me it is to provide a retired person with an income which allows him or her to live a retired life with dignity and, hopefully, with some relationship to the standard of living prior to retirement.

I know that may not be a technical definition and there’s certainly value judgement in the words “retired life with dignity and some relationship to the standard of living prior to retirement” but I don’t think that we can reasonably talk about pensions and about retired people without talking about their right to live with some degree of dignity.

This bill will not guarantee a reasonable standard of living for Ontario pensioners but at least it’s an indication that pensioners do need to be protected. In Ontario, as in other jurisdictions, there is no shortage of social security plans for pensioners, for people over 65. There are private pensions; there’s personal savings; there is the old age security, the guaranteed income supplement, the Canada Pension and the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income scheme known as GAINS. Yet, just as in the rest of Canada, that does not remove the problem for our senior citizens.

In 1973, the latest year for which I could get statistics, 21 per cent of families and 48 per cent of individuals over 65 were poor and over half of them were receiving the federal guaranteed income supplement. I know some people will argue that if these people would have only embraced the old virtues of saving and thrift and proper budgeting they would have been able to provide for their retirement in a better fashion. What people who say that are implying is that they should have set up their own, independent pension plan. The trouble with that is that with the way these private plans work, they’d benefit primarily and almost exclusively the middle and upper-income earners.

The ordinary working person simply cannot set aside a sufficient portion of his or her earnings to pay into a separate pension plan. As a matter of fact, those who do pay into the private pension plan, commonly known as the registered retirement savings plan, are subsidized by those who do not pay into it.

I say that because when someone pays into a registered retirement savings plan they deduct the payments before they pay their income tax and consequently their taxable income is lowered. Then, when they receive those benefits at age 65, if that’s the age they are working toward, they put it into the form of an annuity and draw it on a monthly basis. Then they only pay tax on it at that level.

Invariably the post-retirement income is lower than the pre-retirement, so obviously they are paying taxes at a much lower rate. It’s not unusual in the kind of society we have for low- and middle-income earners to be subsidizing these at higher earnings. But that doesn’t make it right.

As a matter of fact, back in 1973, two-thirds of all contributions made to registered retirement savings plans were made by those who earned over $10,000 a year. I suspect that if that same survey was done today, it would be close to $15,000. So you can see it’s not a privilege of the average working person in this province.

As a matter of fact, in all pension plans it’s similar to that. In 1973, of those who earned in the $20,000 to $25,000 range, 60 per cent contributed to a pension plan. At the $10,000 salary range only 50 per cent contributed, and at a $5,000 salary only 30 per cent contributed to a pension plan. Once again, those in the upper middle-incomes are those who can protect their incomes after they retire.

Without being maudlin about pensioners, it’s safe to say that they are not well looked after by our society, despite all those layers of income security programmes at both the federal and the provincial levels.

In the years to come, there’s going to be a larger proportion of our population consisting of citizens over 65. This, of course, is because people are living longer and because of the rapidly declining birth rate. For this reason the argument is sometimes made that a small portion of taxpayers will be footing the bill for a larger portion of the population. As a matter of fact, I read in Weekend Magazine just this weekend -- it goes with many of the daily newspapers in Ontario -- that this was the case. They were decrying what was ahead for us with the smaller number of taxpayers supporting a larger number of people who are not paying very high taxes.

In fact, that’s simply not true. The research in that article was deplorable. As a matter of fact, we’ve succeeded in this society in building the kind of system that is for the young and the swift, whether it be of mind or body. The young and the swift can cope with our system; obviously they can cope with it because that’s who the system was built for. They have no trouble coping with it at all. I often wonder what would have happened if we’d built a system for the people who are old and slow, once again either of mind or body.

I can’t help but draw a comparison with our educational system: In the classroom, if the teacher taught for the slow learners, what would happen to the ones who learn very quickly? They would become bored, restless and they would be dropouts. By the same token, if the whole system was geared to those who learned very quickly, you’d have the same problem with those who have difficulty learning. That doesn’t seem to have affected us, though, in looking after our population at large. We’ve definitely built a system that is for the young and the swift and pensioners get caught in that kind of situation.

I would say that for those people who are affluent there’s no problem at all. There are all sorts of choice out there in the form of consumer goods, many of them frivolous, but nevertheless there’s an enormous choice for them. That’s not true for pensioners. I’m not talking just about income. I’m talking about things like transportation, health care, housing and recreation as well. I suspect that in the years to come, the increased numbers of pensioners will partly solve the problem as they become more of a political force in this province, but it’s too bad it has to be that way.

If it wasn’t against the rules of the House, I would introduce to you in the gallery a pensioners’ club from Sudbury. They are down here today under the very strict supervision of Mr. Hannaway and Mr. Turkington. They are people who have got together and have become a very forceful lobby for pensioners in the Sudbury area. I might say probably their influence will spread beyond the Sudbury area. Certainly, one reason that I’m speaking on this bill is because of the work they’ve done in the past with the pensioners.

The bill we’re debating today isn’t going to solve all those problems I mentioned about pensioners but I would suggest to you that it’s the first in a long series of moves that are going to be made in this Legislature and outside the Legislature to demand a better deal for pensioners. If this government was more forward-looking and dwelt less on its past glories, we would have, at the present time, a serious study going on in Ontario to determine and anticipate the needs of pensioners in the years to come and to see what can be done by government. I believe it truly is the responsibility of government.

I mentioned before that the number of people over 65, while they will increase dramatically, will not, in fact, constitute an undue burden on taxpayers. The Science Council of Canada did a study. So did Statistics Canada, and Statistics Canada talks about participation rates, and I know, Mr. Speaker, with your experience you know what participation rates are. But there are people who don’t understand what participation rates are. Mainly it is the number of people in a certain age group between, say, 16 and 65, who are in the labour force. We know that that is increasing. For example, in 1953, 82.9 per cent of males were in the work force and working, and 23.4 per cent of females. For both sexes, 53.1 per cent of the total labour force aged 14 and over was in the labour force. In 1974 that had increased up to 58.3 per cent. So we have an increasing portion of the population working, primarily because of the increase in the number of women who are now in the work force.

The Science Council of Canada did a study which ties in very nicely with that and which counteracts the argument that was used in Weekend Magazine, namely that the number of old people would be a strain on the population. As a matter of fact, what’s going to happen is that the number of children will have declined so dramatically that it will more than offset the increase in those people who are over 65. We all knew the cost of providing education, and so forth, for children.

In 1961, the child dependency ratio was 0.83. In the year 2001, it’s anticipated by the Science Council of Canada, it’ll be down to 0.62. With those who are over 65, the aged dependency ratio was 0.15 in 1961 and it’s going to be 0.18 in the year 2001. The point is that when you combine those two figures you get what’s known as a total dependency ratio, in other words, the group of people in our society who are dependent upon the work-force for their support. This will drop from 0.98 in 1961 to 0.80 in the year 2001.

The Science Council did a couple of studies and that’s the one that is the least dramatic. They did another one in which the dependency ratio drops from 0.98 to 0.63. So you can see that there’s no question but that the dependency ratio is going to drop and there’s no reason why we cannot provide properly for our pensioners in the years to come. It’s not going to be an undue tax burden and we should address ourselves to the problems that are going to be with us.


This bill is, as I said earlier, not a cure-all for pensioners. It is one small step that will indicate to them that we are serious about their problems. The predicament in which many find themselves is one which requires a political solution. We surely have learned by now that neither the private sector nor people themselves can solve this kind of problem.

At the present time, a retired person with a work-related pension guaranteeing a certain level of income may not obtain the benefit of an increase in a public pension. This means, of course, that when a cost of living increase or a legislated increase is awarded, the private pension benefits are reduced accordingly. This is done so that retirement earnings remain at a level proportionate to pre-retirement earnings. In view of the fact that the work-related pension is funded on an actuarial basis, this reduction in benefits represents a windfall for the insurer and this, surely, is unfair.

The employer’s contribution to an employee’s pension is the cost of doing business, nothing more and nothing less. For the employee however, the pension contributions are deferred income and as such should be received in full during retirement years. Under our present system, unless the collective bargaining agreement negotiates stacking rather than integration, the public subsidizes that private plan.

Many pensioners were delighted when the federal plans were indexed to the consumer price index. Imagine their disappointment when they realized that their employment pension was to be reduced by whatever amount the federal pension was increased. I would like to very quickly read you one typical letter that was received from a pensioner. This was from International Nickel.

“Dear Mr. T.:

“We wish to advise that your early service pension will become effective Feb. 1, 1974. Your pension amounting to $321 monthly will be paid until you attain age 65. At this time you will receive your basic pension of $134 until you provide us with confirmation that you are in receipt of Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits. We will then determine the amount required to assure you of a monthly income of no less than $321.”

In other words, the private pension will be reduced by whatever amount that the public pensions contributed to their income.

What needs to be emphasized is that indexed increases are merely a way of helping pensioners keep even. It is not some kind of windfall for the private plan to be reduced accordingly, if it is not criminal or dishonest, it is at least immoral and is just totally wrong.

The time has come when we must introduce legislation to ensure that pensioners are not penalized while private insurers benefit. The time has come when we must address ourselves to the problems of senior citizens. I cannot say it better than the Canadian Council on Social Development and I quote:

“What is needed now is serious debate on these issues followed by appropriate action. This would be important even if the number of the retired in our population was relatively steady. In the light of the anticipated large increases in the numbers and proportion of the retired in the Canadian population, it becomes a matter of urgency.”

I urge this government to introduce legislation without delay. It will not cost the public treasury and it does, in some small way, provide a measure of justice for pensioners who are not responsible for our present rates of inflation. They are responsible, however, for the standard of living we now enjoy. It’s time we recognize the contributions and move to protect them in their retirement years.”

Thank you.

Mr. Gregory: I rise in support of this bill. Of course I do have some thoughts on it that I would like to voice. First of all, I should have said I rise in support of the principle of the bill. I think the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) was quite accurate in what he said. It certainly would not be the intent of any government to have old age pensioners lose funds that they would normally get. If these profits were going into the hands of a private insurance company or financial institution, this is certainly not the intent of any government anywhere.

Now, what he says is quite correct. Some action has to be taken to correct this error if this, in fact, is taking place. The fact of the matter is that there are very few instances of this at the present time, very few. I really don’t think that they have to be handled through a bill or through legislation. It can be handled by a simple regulation and this regulation, at the present time, is being considered by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It is being considered and it will be presented to take care of this very thing.

I think we’re losing sight of one thing. I would challenge your statistics on the number of people who take part in private pensions. You could be quite right when you say that 60 per cent of the people under registered retirement plans are people in the higher income bracket. When you analyse that, it’s quite understandable because there has to be a certain income before you can even make it worth your while to put a contribution towards tax reduction. That’s unfortunate because the amount of deduction those people in lower tax brackets would get would be inconsequential as far as taxes are concerned.

There is another regulation in a registered retirement plan that you mustn’t lose sight of and that is the fact that when you do register a plan, there is a penalty. That penalty is that the insurance benefits, if there are any insurance benefits, are locked in. A person in a lower income bracket cannot afford to lock in any death benefit, realizing that if he does die with a registered retirement plan, any death benefit is taxed. The lump sum is taxed at a minimum of 15 per cent and if death occurred one year after he started, that’s a tremendous loss. So there are reasons why lower-income earners do not take advantage of this particular type of plan.

I think the member for Nickel Belt is quite accurate in that if an insurance company is taking any increases from the GAINS programme or the Canada Pension Plan and pocketing these profits, that is entirely wrong. I think you’ve got to be very careful not to institute something that prevents a deliberate integration of pensions thereby enabling someone to retire early. This is done quite often where, due to the timing that a person got into the Canada Pension Plan, they must wait until 70 to get the maximum benefits. The man may still want to retire earlier than that, say at age 60. Through the use of a private pension plan, be it an insurance company, be it a trust company or what have you, they can, by integrating, retire him early and provide a level income, taking into consideration the then calculated amount of the Canada Pension Plan, thereby levelling his income out right from age 60.

But if that happens, any increases in the Canada Pension Plan benefits or GAINS benefits or what have you, must be paid to the recipient. I guess I am agreeing with the member. At the same time, I’m pointing out that we don’t want to put something in that is going to eliminate any possibility a man may have for taking early retirement. I think that has to be seriously considered.

Therefore, whereas I support the intent of the bill, I think it would be a little more accurate and far safer to do it by a regulation to the existing Act, and this, as I say, is being considered.

Nobody can argue with this. I think we all feel the same way. It’s a motherhood issue that nobody wants to penalize any older person, that’s for sure. I think you should examine again your statistics which show that only the poor people are suffering. I think this is not really accurate. I’m an old insurance man. I know, and any insurance company will tell you, that by far the vast amount of money they have invested or vested with them in retirement plans or even ordinary insurance contracts, with or without insurance, are invested by the small wage earner. By far, this is the main selling point of any insurance company. It is an investment that the small investor can get into.

I think if one investigates one will find that the vast majority of high income earners, people who have money, do not invest in insurance companies. They invest in stock. They invest in General Motors, which we heard about a short time ago. This is where they invest their money.

Mr. Laughren: They wouldn’t touch an insurance company with a 10-ft pole.

Mr. Gregory: But the smaller wage earner doesn’t have the large amounts of capital -- that’s the secret -- to invest in stocks.

Mr. Laughren: What you are saying is that the poor guy is getting ripped off again.

Mr. Gregory: No, he’s not getting ripped off again. I’m saying that under our present system of free enterprise he has the opportunity of reaching the point where he can get into this bracket. This is the place where a man can earn what he wants to; all he has to do is go to work. The member knows that. The insurance company offers --

Mr. Laughren: What?

Mr. Ferrier: That’s a myth.

Mr. Laughren: Horatio Alger is alive and living in General Motors.

Mr. Gregory: The insurance company offers a small man a chance to invest his money at a pretty fair return -- pretty fair -- when he can’t invest anywhere else.

Where can one buy stock and pay $5 per month? One can’t do it. I’m not defending insurance companies. All I’m saying is there’s a very --

Mr. Samis: Sounds like it.

Mr. Gregory: No, I’m not. I’m trying to point out the fallacy of what was said a little while ago about the only people who have any money to invest in pensions are rich people. This is ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous even to say that.

Mr. Laughren: Show us your statistics.

Mr. Gregory: I think probably my statistics are a little more up to date than yours.

Mr. Laughren: Let’s have them.

Mr. Gregory: We don’t have to use statistics and numbers. We can do anything we want with numbers. As a matter of fact, since I’ve been here I’ve noticed that you people do a lot with numbers, by manipulating numbers.

Anyway, the point of the matters is, I agree substantially with the member for Nickel Belt. I dispute his statistics and his logic but that’s not so unusual. I think we are basically agreeing but I am suggesting that it would be properly handled by regulations rather than the bill.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill 68 in principle, An Act to prevent Post-retirement Integration of Insurance Moneys and Pension Benefits with Increases in Government Social Security Plans, introduced by the member for Nickel Belt.

The purpose of the bill, as noted under the heading of “Explanatory Note,” is to prevent the reduction of moneys paid out under an insurance or pension plan because of a general increase or cost of living increase in the government social security plan with which it may be integrated.

To me, after due consideration of this explanatory note it does not permit the stacking of pensions in most cases, The bill does not permit the complete dovetailing of private pension plans into our social security programmes. Collective bargaining has achieved much in this field of pensions for employees in many industries in Ontario.

In many industries the purpose of the pension agreed upon at the bargaining table -- other industries have provided exceptionally good pension plans outside any bargaining structure -- was to encourage early retirement and to provide some means of annuity to the widow or widower of a deceased employee at the time when that person could draw or obtain old age security benefits. Of course, there are a few instances of pension plans already in effect by which some employees will be able to retire on a benefit equal to full pay; other plans reach or approach that level when social security is added.

Most pensions now in existence work in the reverse order. For example, General Motors Corp.’s pension plan: There is a letter here from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. advising an employee at General Motors in St. Catharines that due to his long term illness -- who has a heart condition and apparently will not be able to return to work -- he has been given notice that his sick benefits will be cancelled at such and such a date and that he’ll be going on a company pension. They also advise him to contact the Canada Pension so that he can receive his Canada Pension on early retirement. I suppose if one looks at the pension of General Motors, the gentleman has perhaps worked 10 to 12 years; he will receive a basic pension under the company pension plan of $100 a month and then there is a supplementary pension of $100 a month which will bring him about $200 a month. When he applies for Canada Pension Plan he will receive under that scheme $140 a month. But what happens in this case is that $140 a month will be deducted from his company’s pension plan so he gains nothing except about $40 more per month. So he is losing money.


Mr. B. Newman: He has paid into it.

Mr. Haggerty: Yes, he has paid into it behind the scenes -- perhaps it is a non-contributing plan -- but in the long run the consumer, and the employer of that particular industry, when he goes out and buys the product, is paying for that particular pension plan.

There are a number of cases that I have come across and it has been brought to my attention that persons are affected by it. The member for Nickel Belt has mentioned one of the plans at Inco, which is a non-contributing plan by an employee. He contributes nothing. But it is part of the bargaining process and I say this much about the International Nickel Co.; they had it long before they went to the bargaining table for it. It is an exceptionally good plan but it’s a wealthy and healthy plan for the company.

In many cases here, where this person is going to lose this $140 a month, it goes directly to the benefit of the private company pension plan or it may even be a private insurance pension plan. So there is a loss to a person who has become to some degree disabled in that short period of time while employed in industry, and this is the particular area that I wanted to discuss with the members of the Legislature this afternoon. I believe there is much to be desired in improving the pension plans in the Province of Ontario and particularly relating to industry, where many persons have had to take an early retirement and in the matter of the social security programmes that we do have here, that person has been penalized.

I feel that in no way should that person be penalized for that loss of income because over the years he has contributed into the scheme throughout Canada. I feel this is one particular area where we should be moving more in the direction that a person is not going to be pegged at that level of poverty and you can always pick out, in any of these pension schemes that we have presently, that it works to a level of about $5,000 a year. That is how they work it.

If a person has to receive an early pension retirement plan from an industry or a company, he may in many instances have to apply for some type of welfare assistance, and you can rest assured that that will be brought to the level of about $5,000 a year. Surely people working in industry today in Canada and in Ontario should be entitled to further benefits than that; that through some degree of disability he should be penalized. He has made every effort to provide a means of a fair living standard and I think that should continue.

I have a letter addressed to me from a Mr. Tom Hannaway, president of the pensioners’ club, and it says:

“Mr. Floyd Laughren, MPP for Nickel Belt, has introduced a private member’s bill which would require the stacking of pensions in Ontario. As you may know, at the present time when government pensions are increased due to the increase in the cost of living, private pensions are often reduced by a similar amount. [He is quite right in that] This procedure by the private insurance companies gives them a windfall at the expense of the taxpayers who support government pensions. [And I believe that he is right in this particular instance] In view of the fact that private pension plans are actually based on contributions into the fund by the employee, it does not make sense for those same pensions to be reduced when the government pension is increased due to the increase in the cost of living.”

That is the point and the intent of this particular bill as I interpret the intent of it in the second clause:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Act, no insurance company or pension benefit shall be reduced by reason of an increase in any payment made under a government social security plan.”

As the member has stated, this isn’t a cure-all for the many problems that exist in any pension schemes in Ontario, but it is a step in the right direction and I feel that we in the Liberal Party will support the bill in principle, but as I have mentioned before, I would like to see it broadened out to cover many areas that allow the stacking of pensions; not to say that the person is going to get rich on any stacking, but there are the inequalities in pensions throughout Ontario where you have certain groups that are allowed to stack pensions. I can relate to this particular chamber where members are allowed to stack pensions. I feel if you set the example, particularly in the Ontario Legislature, then we, as legislators, should set that example outside of this chamber.

I bring this to the attention of the Speaker; I think this is a valid point. We should be following in that direction and, based upon those comments Mr. Speaker, the bill itself does not go far enough in guaranteeing the employees’ rights to the accumulative pension benefits, but it is a move in the right direction. As I have said, we support it in principle and perhaps it will close some of the inequalities in pension schemes in Ontario. I congratulate the member for putting forth this bill.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the bill moved by my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren). Surely it is only justice, and fair play, that where an individual has purchased a measure of security upon retirement he is entitled to receive it. It is his money, whether he paid it out personally, or as part of the fringe benefits through negotiations in a collective agreement, or as part of the employee benefits package where no collective agreement exists.

If the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) were still here he might be asked why, if he is in favour of it, and it’s not such a major step, but is important to a lot of people, this bill that now has been brought forward by my colleague four times in this House; why, if it can be answered just by regulations, are we waiting? Why have we waited almost four years, with it coming in each year without some action being taken on it by this government?

The practice of reducing a benefit or annuities paid, for an employee by the amount received through a government pension is wrong. It is not just and as far as I am concerned, it borders on the dishonesty. This is particularly true when the benefits paid are not received by the employees but are the property of the fund, the company, or the insurance company. Anyone who has been involved in collective bargaining knows very well how difficult it is to get a true picture of the actual cost of a pension plan to the insurance company or to the management that you are negotiating with.

I think it should be pointed out, in terms of private pension plans too, that less than 40 per cent of the Canadian people in this country are covered by private insurance pensions or private pensions.

In most private plans negotiated, the employee contributes a certain amount and gets a pension at a fixed percentage of income based on actual age and years of service criteria. The employer’s cost is the difference, basically, between the total cost of a pension and the employees’ contributions. Under trustees’ plans, if there is a certain level of money in the fund, any savings that are made accrue to the fund, and almost invariably go to the companies involved that you have negotiated with.

Under other private plans where the employees are insured with a specific insurance company, the savings for any decrease in payouts through government plans, go to the insurance company. I have never heard of a plan where any savings have gone directly to the employees involved or to the people who bought the insurance.

Most unions involved in pension plan negotiations feel pension calculations should be made once only, when the man or woman retires at age 60 or 65, and their pension should not be reduced by any boost in government pension, nor should they be denied any increase in cost of living, or otherwise, that is incorporated in any government plan, or any arrangements made to deal with the cost of living or other special circumstances. This is an area in which you can be sure there are going to be stepped up efforts in the collective bargaining field in the next two or three years.

The intent of government pension plans, under our private enterprise system, has always been to provide only a floor or one tier in building an income level for people. The present Canada Pension and Old Age Security provides less than 37.5 per cent of the insurable earning level. Private pension plans have been promoted and held up as a shining example of private enterprise and individual thrift in this country, a commendable form of savings if you like.

All too often the result of this free enterprise myth has been to lose the advantages of the benefits of your private plan, to find that private plan cut by the amount of the public plan. I find it hard to accept this as anything less than deception. Having been conned in the first place, in effect the individual is then ripped off. Integration might have some validity -- we talk about integration -- if the integration was occasionally up; but invariably it’s level or down.

It is difficult for me to understand how hon. members of the other two parties can make the case they sometimes do for the insurance industry and at the same time allow the people, as was done, to lose the benefits of that private plan.

Seeing the hon. member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) in the chamber, I’d just point out to him, as I did at the beginning, that my colleague has had this bill on the order paper and debated in this House four times now over the last four years. If it’s simply a matter of regulation, why hasn’t this government moved on the issue before this?

Mr. Gregory: I just got here.

Mr. Mackenzie: I personally feel, rather strongly, that the soundest and most businesslike way and certainly the most progressive way to deal with pensions that are adequate and fair and completely portable in this country of ours, is for a public plan similar to that promoted by the Canadian Labour Congress over the last two or three years.

I feel, however, that even if the arguments were well made and if the plan should be actuarially sound, the philosophy of the other two parties just simply wouldn’t let them accept this. A complete public pension plan in this country would have about as much chance as the proverbial snowball in hell.

However, I also think my colleagues in the other two parties should be able to be coaxed into coming to the defence of their own system and to assure that the individual who’s put his money into a private plan doesn’t stand to lose it. Surely we have an obligation to ensure that all citizens have the right to expect their government to make sure that they retain those benefits that are purchased with their own money.

Leadership by government would see that a bill such as this is enacted to cover all Ontarians and not leave it up to the collective bargaining processes alone. The union people may have some clout there and may achieve what they’re after but unfortunately they only cover about a third of the Canadian people or less than that when you think in terms of those unions that may be strong enough to achieve this through collective bargaining.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I want to make it clear that the intent of this bill is not to prevent bridging in collective agreements. A number of collective agreements now provide for early retirement and while most people probably still retire at 62 or 65 years of age, the trend is to earlier retirement. It’s not uncommon, with the present trend to age and years of service combination, for people to be able to retire at 58 years of age with 30 years’ service in some of the more progressive plans.

The better negotiated pension plans may guarantee, just to take a set of figures, an income of $570 at age 65. They will provide a basic pension of $300 and they’ll provide a bridge of $270 from the time that they take the early retirement until they’re entitled to receive their CPP or their OAS benefits. At this point, the bridge is dropped and the $270, or whatever is required to make up the total, is not continued.

It would not be the intent to continue this because this guarantee, and the funding calculations for this bridge, were based only on the period of time it would be needed to cover the employee. On the other hand, the $300 is the basic pension and any increase to that pension negotiated after the fact --

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member has one minute remaining.

Mr. Mackenzie: -- and any amount that may be increased in government plans, should not be deducted. The person should be entitled to the entire amount.

I’m not sure that this bill is everything that is needed. It may well be that full stacking would require a change in the Pension Benefits Act to deny a reduction in private plans because of various government plans. It may be that a change in the Insurance Act is needed which says no annuity can be sold which would provide for a reduction in the annuity because of increases in CPP or OAS. Such a change could provide for the sale of a specific annuity covering just a certain period of time.

Whatever is required in this bill, it is important because the intent is simply to save and protect the hard-earned savings of people and the planning that went into their retirement, and to make sure that they are not conned out of the money they have spent. It is their money and it should be protected. I think such a bill -- or if it can be done with a regulation -- should be brought in and brought in very quickly in this House.


Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) has the floor. We have 14 minutes left. Is it agreed that he will share that remaining time with the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman)?

Mr. McCague: I will be glad to, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support Bill 68 as presented by the hon. member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren). I have received from Mr. Hannaway, as have all members of the Legislature, I presume, a letter supporting his bill, which I have acknowledged and which has been read into the record by the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty).

At the present time, there are a few pension plans which contain a provision which offsets the benefits under the plan of an amount that might be received under Canada Pension Plan or old age security when there is an increase though the process of indexing. Every time that such public plans are increased, which include the GAINS as well, the private plan is reduced by the same amount. The end effect is that the recipient’s income remains constant, but the insurance company backing the private plan pays out less money. The purpose of the bill is to prevent this practice and ensure that any increase in public pension benefits is retained by the recipient instead of in effect passed through the insurance company. I fully agree with that. The practice used to be widespread. Through a negotiation process there aren’t many of them left, but I agree that this bill or something of this nature should be passed.

As has already been pointed out to the hon. member for Nickel Belt, this change can be made by a change in regulations. I think it was pointed out to the member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) in the estimates back on May 11 that such a change was under very active consideration.

Mr. Speaker, with those few comments and not to add to what has already been, said, I again support the principle of the bill submitted by the member for Nickel Belt.

Mr. B. Newman: I rise to support Bill 68, an Act that would provide for better post-retirement pension plans for many who have made a great sacrifice and a great contribution to society in the years gone by. These people whom we now are considering are those who have gone through two world wars, have gone through one really serious depression and two others that may not have been quite as serious and have worked at times when for some of them even 15 cents an hour was the maximum pay. If we can in any way whatsoever alleviate the lot of those who have made that type of a contribution in the past, we in the Legislature certainly have that obligation.

Mr. Haggerty: We want to make up for the 10 lost years.

Mr. B. Newman: Not only has the group from the retirement club or the pensioners’ club in the city of Sudbury been in touch with us, but there are other groups likewise that have expressed interest and concern not necessarily only on this bill but on the principle of the bill itself. In fact, back on April 2 of this year, I did make mention of a pensioners’ group in my own community that was interested in the principle of this legislation and the idea of stacking pensions, because in the past we have not attempted to take care of those who have helped us so much when it comes to providing for their retirement.

Those who are presently working are a little more fortunate, because schemes have been developed in practically every one of the industries. For example, in the Chrysler plant there is now a 35-and-out scheme. After 35 years of work, the individual has the opportunity of retirement. And it isn’t too far in the future where 35 years may be considered a little too long to be working. It may get down to about 30 years of service.

Now, if an individual goes into industry immediately after completing high school, or at the age of majority, 18, you can see that at the age of 48, or if it remains 35 years of service, at the age of 53 they could retire at a maximum pension. We would certainly hope that the pension would be sufficient at that time so that the individual would not have to seek other means of employment -- that their pension would be their sole means of support, and it would be sufficient for to live on in dignity and provide a satisfactory standard of living.

The principle in here of not having one’s pension reduced by the amount that one receives from another type of pension is a sound principle. I did receive quite a few complaints over the years from people who reached the retirement age, then all of a sudden found that on retirement their pension was reduced by the amount that they were receiving in old age security. Now, they found their mistake 30 or 35 years after they first bought a certain type of insurance plan, and it was just a little too late to come along and do anything about it.

I can recall in my own community a plant called Auto Specialties; retired employees were receiving $167 a month. After the company folded, their pension was cut to one-third of that, a little over $52 a month. It was cut simply because the plan was not actuarially sound. So I can see that in pension schemes that are developed by industry throughout the province, that they have to be fairly well supervised. I think they are today; but they were not in the past. What happened to Auto Specialty workers back in the early 60s should not happen to any other type of worker, be he industrial, agricultural or otherwise.

One of the things concerning pensions today is that they are sort of a deterrent to savings. An individual who saves all his life finds himself, on retirement, not receiving old age security, a supplement, or GAINS -- simply because he deprived himself of a lot in the past in order to save. I think there should be some kind of an incentive built into retirement so that an individual who contributes X-amount of dollars, up to a maximum amount, would not be penalized when it comes to qualifying for the supplement or for GAINS. This would be an incentive to encourage them to prepare and plan for their future. Mind you, many of the senior citizens now on old age security didn’t have an opportunity to do that saving in the past; there was no Canada pension available to them. As a result, they are living solely on old age security, the guaranteed income supplement and the GAINS programme.

Government penalizes individuals on government pension schemes. Let me read this to you, Mr. Speaker, and you’ll see just what they do. “Even When You Win You Really Can’t Win,” is an article by Marilyn Malott in an Our Future Magazine, published in the city of Windsor, whose concern is the disadvantaged and the handicapped. I am not going to read the whole article but just one of the paragraphs:

“A young person on disabled person’s allowance won $1000 in the Wintario lottery and was full of excitement and plans, as all winners are. However, the excitement was to lead to disappointment and the plans were unfulfilled.

“The lucky winner was told that his disabled person’s allowance was to be suspended and he would have to live on the $1,000 at the same rate as if he were receiving a disabled person’s allowance until the $1,000 was used up and then he would be eligible for a disabled person’s allowance again.”

This government, Mr. Speaker, turned around and deprived that individual of a few of the pleasures, or maybe even the luxuries, that that person could have enjoyed. As a result of maybe someone buying him a ticket for the Wintario lottery, giving it to him or of purchasing it himself, he wins the $1,000 and then finds his own disability pension reduced by exactly the same amount. How small can a government get, Mr. Speaker? This would probably never happen again in an individual’s lifetime and there is the minister.

Mr. Ruston: There is the minister coming in now, blame him.

Mr. B. Newman: You giveth, he taketh away. Isn’t that awful, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Ruston: You read these remarks afterwards.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It sounds like the scriptures. Would you read me the passage?

Mr. B. Newman: I am really surprised that this minister’s government would come along and deprive a disabled person of the benefit of winning a prize in his lottery.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am the giver.

Mr. B. Newman: I surely hope, Mr. Speaker, that that doesn’t happen again.

Another thing that I did want to bring to the attention of the House, Mr. Speaker, is the concern of the utility workers. The utility workers have been attempting over many years to get greater consideration insofar as their pensions are concerned. They wanted flexibility in their pensions, because firemen and policemen can retire at the age of 60 but they don’t have that retirement privilege. I think we should encourage early retirement by allowing an individual, if he wishes so, to make a greater contribution. Instead of his, say, paying six per cent of his income toward the pension scheme, allow him to pay a percentage point more or even two percentage points more and allow that individual to retire at any age rather than at 65 or 60, providing he purchases that pension through a greater contribution.

There are many more things that one could say concerning this. I support the principle of the bill and seeing that all parties have supported it, I assume, Mr. Speaker, you are going to call second reading of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: This order is now discharged from the order paper.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment, I might indicate that tomorrow afternoon we will do legislation. In committee of the whole House we will do Bills 60, 9 and 25; and if time remains we then might go into second reading of bills such as 64 and 82.

Tomorrow evening, of course, the House sits and we will do some more budget debate.

Hon. Mr. Welch moved the adjournment of the House.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 6 p.m.