30e législature, 3e session

L074 - Thu 3 Jun 1976 / Jeu 3 jun 1976

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Mr. Deputy Chairman: Continuing with the estimates of the Ministry of Education, the Chair will recognize the hon. member for London South.

Mr. Ferris: Mr. Chairman, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise and open this debate on the education estimates on behalf of my party. Because we in the Liberal Party believe that the education of the students of Ontario is of such great importance, these estimates and debates on where we are going with our system take on even more weight. As a personal comment, I must say it’s a little more relaxed now than doing it on the second day of being a rookie member, which happened in the fall.

First, I should say I believe it is most unfortunate that this debate will be working under severe time limitations, 5½ hours in total which is two hours less than in the fall. In an area which so directly affects the future of the province and which represents almost 17 per cent of every provincial dollar spent and, in total, probably $4 billion in the province when the amounts of the municipalities and universities are added in, probably 10 times this amount of time would still not be adequate. With this in mind we will try to limit these opening remarks to a few areas of deep concern and hope that with the co-operation of the members of the House we will succeed in covering at least the members’ major concerns in the item by item votes.

Although it has been only a few short months since our last debate, many things have happened in the interval. To put it mildly, there has been a great deal of turmoil and upset in education throughout Ontario in this time-frame. Certainly the most significant changes in education made by this government have been in its financing policies. I will return to that later but first, as it should be, let’s look at the most important part: What is going on in the schooling of our children and, as the minister says, where are we going?

As we travel and meet with people around the province -- teachers, trustees, students as well as parents -- we encounter what seems to be an even greater sense of frustration that the system still does not have what we might call an overall game plan. I am not sure the minister would agree with me that those people who are working within the education system -- teachers, administrators and trustees -- are overwhelmingly people who want to do a good job in a professional manner so that they can be proud of the product coming from our schools.

Without question, I support the concept that an education system should be concerned with allowing the opportunity to each individual student to meet his or her maximum potential. In doing this, surely it is not necessary to reach the point where people within the system itself are making comments such as that diplomas are meaningless.

It would be possible to stand here and read ad nauseam, I suppose, statements by individuals, results of surveys, comments of educational people, members of the business community and, most importantly, parent groups and what they believe is happening to standards. They believe it is their right to expect that as a student proceeds on the educational ladder, the steps in that ladder represent that some kind of consistent provincial level of mastery at least of the basics has been achieved.

There is no point in reading these reports. You and your staff are fully aware of these statements yet we really see no visible reaction to them. In your comments today, I was pleased to note that you say changes will be made. I believe and I sincerely hope that you are sincere when you make those comments.

Certainly we would not expect our schools today to be identical with the system which educated us and certainly we agree that the skills of the future will be different. The minister will say our comments on standards are just rhetoric but they compare well with what we hear when we ask for clear definitions and they are attempted in such statements as: “Products of the system today are better educated than their parents were”; or “the children of the future must learn how to learn”; or “students may not possess basic skills but they can think better.”

The skills of the future might be different but barring a breakthrough in mental telepathy, verbal and written communications will still be important. There must be some virtue in being able to perform mathematical calculations without total dependence on calculators. Future needs may be different but basic skills will still be necessary as a foundation for whatever additional knowledge or skills are needed at that time.

Education is bound to change and there is no reason this generation cannot be better educated than the last one. The problem today is the lack of accountability and hard evidence that we receive value for the amounts expended.

If it is unfair and wrong to measure success or failure in the basic skills in subjects, it is next to impossible to quantify objectively ability to think and the other vague virtues which are said to stem from this system. We must look at the causes of frustration and deal with these problems. No, it’s not a return to the lockstep approach but a co-operative plan with some guarantees.

In the 1974 estimates, Mr. Minister, you made comments regarding evaluation at the student level and of the system as a whole. Again last October, in the 1975 estimates, much of your comment dealt with the evaluation process. Today your major thrust, as I see it, is in the analysing of the system and evaluation. I wait most anxiously for the results of those various pieces of documentation and information that you have stated are being gathered and being compiled at this time. I am most interested in some of those reports, and I believe the people of Ontario are most interested.

It would be wrong not to comment at least briefly on the matter of strikes within the system. There are those who claim Bill 100 is dead as a result of what has transpired since January. I personally do not want to take that view. Without question, damage has been done to the educational programmes of large numbers of students. I am also willing to admit that I don’t have the answer to this very complex issue of strike or no strike; or better still, a solution that would not make it necessary at all to end in this position. We are discussing these positions and these possible solutions.

I would certainly welcome dialogue at any time with anyone, including you, Mr. Minister, in an honest effort to eliminate or reduce these interruptions in our educational system. Again, I believe the ministry has undertaken testing of the students who were subjected to these strikes, and it would be very informative to have the results at the earliest possible time to these questions.

We must also re-examine, I believe, the role of the ERC and question whether we are achieving consistency from our fact-finders or do we have proper guidelines for the commission to work under? I note in the estimates that the first full year’s operation calls for expenditures of over $900,000, compared to only $165,000 in 1975. This bears close scrutiny and evaluation as to what the performance of the ERC has been.

On the matter of trustees, I would also like to make some comments. I think that my friends in the NDP are not as nearly associated with trustees as perhaps the minister and myself have been in the past.

Mr. Ferrier: The chairman of our school board supports the NDP; what are you talking about?

Mr. Acting Chairman: Order.

Mr. Ferris: Obviously, some of the points that were proposed by the critic for the NDP have already been addressed by trustee organizations in the province. I would say to the minister that I sincerely support them, obviously, because I had a part in the formation of the group that represents the large boards of trustees in Ontario. I think that group was begun because of a sense of total frustration that their views were not being heard.

There are other problems that must be faced as we look at the trustee groups, though, and we must recognize that the legislation would have to come forward to bring into effect the recognition of these groups. While looking at that, Mr. Minister, you might want to comment later on what you feel is the value of trustee organizations. I would sincerely suggest that a total review of the structure of the OSTC should be made for minor modifications; or as some may suggest major modifications. The exact thing the critic for the NDP has been suggesting would then be met. In defence of them, I must also state they do worry about curriculum and things like this within the trustee groups.

I’d like now to address a few comments to the area of financing of our system. Mr. Minister, there are many points to be challenged in this area, but really they all come down to one very basic issue. This is the inability of boards to intelligently plan so that the educational dollar is most effectively used. In our debate last fall, we said that obviously ceilings had ceased to perform the function for which they were intended.


As a person who sincerely believes in local autonomy, I congratulate the minister on his action in removing the ceilings in December. However, I must seriously disagree with how it was done. First, I would say that I don’t believe the minister really was fully aware of the effect there would be on local tax rates as a result of the change in the support levels of the general grants, the declining enrolment grants and the transportation grants; and especially how it affects county boards. Dufferin, for example, has experienced a 45 per cent increase in their tax rate; the increase for the average board, I believe, could probably be set at around 30 per cent. This raises many questions.

If proper planning is to be carried out, it was a totally unacceptable adjustment -- one that should have been phased in over a period of time. Just as the increase to that level was not done in one shot, the reduction back to the lower level should have approximated the same time frame. Mr. Minister, you are fully aware that budget changes are extremely difficult to accomplish when this action is taken in December and when a board has already committed virtually 60 per cent of its next year’s financing and very little adjustment can be made to that portion. I believe it is incumbent upon you and your staff to provide information to boards earlier -- perhaps not later than October -- so that proper, reasoned adjustments can be made.

I think it is a very true statement that trustees of the boards across the province should generally be complimented for the level of constraint they have exercised. Overall, boards have maintained a very reasonable level of expenditure increase when one compares 1976 levels to those of 1975. The tax rate is a different question. The unfortunate point of this, however, is that the areas that should be cut least, in fact, did bear an overly large chunk of the reduction. Special education areas have been reduced -- an area where we can least afford to do it. Consulting psychologists have been released by boards. All of the preventive areas, or those where additional effort is really required, have suffered. In fact, we have reduced the possibility of certain students really being a part of a system where equal opportunity for every individual student exists. The very obvious area of supplies has generally suffered dramatic cuts. We hear of boards cutting by 40 per cent to 60 per cent, and I am sure the members of this House can appreciate how difficult it is to teach without supplies.

The final stroke was administered by making a major adjustment in the cash flow of grants to the boards, by cutting in half the amount they receive for the first three months of the year. I would hope the minister would give us some explanation of why this was necessary and why the memo from his ministry’s business section, explaining the cash flow for each year, could not be issued prior to March 26 or in some cases May or even later. Surely this does not allow for proper planning.

Previously in the House we asked why it was necessary to use Management Board orders for $77 million. The answer was far from adequate. I believe the statistics given by the minister today indicated 96 per cent of the ministry’s funds are dedicated for distribution back to school boards and various other groups, and these people are committed to a position whereby they must inform his ministry by June of their requirements for the year. I find it incredible then that the minister would take the action of going the route of Management Board orders and not come back to the Legislature with supplementary estimates. Obviously, there is very little flexibility or change in the latter part of the year in the spending in this area. The minister was able to go around the province with a document showing that increases of $77 million had actually taken effect in December, but this House sat many times after that.

To go back briefly to the effect of the cash flow problem, are we really saying that if we’d followed the previous year’s cash flow patterns, we would have exceeded the 1975-1976 estimates -- including the $77 million that was passed -- by $150 million? Or did we simply change so we would not have to increase the provincial deficit for 1975-1976 by another $80 million or so.

Boards have been forced to incur additional borrowing, and the paying of interest money, money that could be used in a much more meaningful way. Does this really allow for good planning?

Mr. Minister, I say to you, that you have not been totally forthright in portraying what is really going on in the financing of education in Ontario. No mention was made about the change in cash flow as you went about the province saying grants to local boards would be increasing by 9.7 per cent. If this change was not made, it would indicate in fact the transfers to local boards is really only an increase of $53 million, not $140 million, or in fact they were really given an increase of only 3.3 per cent. I am sure even you would have difficulty convincing anyone that this is reasonable. And does this allow for good planning?

Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, I will reserve my other comments for the individual votes. However, I would hope the minister would comment on some of the questions.

Just before concluding, would the minister or his staff advise us of the actual distribution of the Management Board orders, so that we can bring our estimates up-to-date for comparison purposes -- where the $71 million was allocated?

Mr. Acting Chairman: Does the minister care to respond?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, what was the last question that the hon. member asked?

Mr. Ferris: I believe these Management Board orders were not in the estimates for 1975, so for comparison purposes would you explain where they were eventually distributed?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The Management Board orders were under the general legislative grant, and I think Mr. Auld answered that question on April 22. They were for $76.4 million.

Mr. Ferris: And there were no others?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, only those two. And they really in fact came about because of the changes in ceilings and grants which were brought in last year, as my friend will recall. The supplemental was brought in some time in, I think it was early or mid-March, when the expenditure ceilings and grants were changed last year; that really was the reason for the supplemental expenditures.

I will just quickly comment on a couple of the things that were raised, and then we can deal with a lot of them in the section-by-section review.

I do want to comment on a couple of things said by my friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds). First of all, his comments about school trustees and school boards are very well taken. I think all of us believe that everyone in education should be co-operating with one another, not confronting one another. I have said this many times around this province. I have also said all of the things that he said I should say around this province, and I think that he knows that as well as I do. We have appeared on a few panels together and he has appeared at a lot of groups, I am sure -- teachers’ groups and so forth -- and so have I, and the message that I bring is not any different in any different place or to any different group. It is one of very much the same tenor of what I presented in opening the estimates today.

Insofar as trustee-ministry, school board-ministry liaison is concerned, I want to tell him that we do have regular meetings at the present time between the ministry and the Ontario School Trustees’ Council. Indeed, the trustees of this province have been far ahead of the municipal liaison committee because they had a co-ordinating body of school trustee organizations by statute of this Legislature way, way before the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee was ever thought of. The group has been meeting, albeit not on a formalized basis, such as the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee meets, but in previous years on a somewhat ad hoc basis and in the last few years on a fairly regular basis, with the Minister of Education, doing the very same kind of thing that the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee does.

Mr. Foulds: How many times a year?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Two or three times a year, whenever they are having their regular meeting here in Toronto.

Mr. Lewis: Not good enough.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They meet at that particular time and any other time they want to come in and see the minister. The door of my office is never closed to any of these groups. Unlike the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee, I am sure my friend, the Leader of the Opposition, knows this, there are other groups which also meet on a regular basis with us in the ministry and should meet with us. We meet four or five times a year on a regular basis with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation -- a regular meeting with agendas and so forth.

We meet on a lesser scale but one which will probably be increasing with the Ontario Association of Educational Administration Officers and with the Ontario Association of School Business Officials. All of these people are very directly concerned with the school board educational function in this province. Really, when I have any meetings concerned with anything in education, all these groups must be involved.

In the municipal field, as my friends knows, the so-called Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee, while its members are mostly elected people -- all of them I believe -- speaks on behalf of everybody. Its members don’t meet with employees of the municipalities or any of the unions which work for the municipalities or the kind of people that we, in the Ministry of Education, meet on a regular basis to talk about what is going on in education.

As well as those meetings with the school trustees’ council and the teachers’ federation, which are the co-ordinating bodies, there are from time to time individual meetings with individual component members of those groups. Part of that whole situation involving school trustees’ councils has to do with the individual rights that certain members of the school trustees’ council feel they must uniquely and on their own present to the ministry, not in conjunction with the coordinated school trustees’ council.

Really, I think, when you take it all together the kind of liaison we have established here is one we certainly are pleased with. There is always room for improvement but we believe in consultation. I think, as I said in my speech several times, a lot of the things and reports we are concerned with and which will be presented will not be finally acted upon until all those groups have had a chance to consult with us, to talk with us and give their opinions on the kind of things which are going to happen.

The other thing is concerned with training programmes and seminars for trustees. It has been a long-standing policy of this ministry to co-operate with the trustees’ council and trustees’ groups on their various programmes. We give a grant of something like $35,000 to the school trustees’ council in order to help it with programmes. We give a grant to the public school trustees; to the separate school trustees’ association; and to several of the other groups in order to help them with various leadership conferences and things they might be planning.

We also work with them on certain schools for new trustees. We provide ministry personnel; we sit down and help them organize if they wish. There has been a long record of co-operation and co-operative programming for trustees between the ministry and the trustees’ organizations.

This extends to the other organizations also, particularly the administrative officials and the school business officials.

I think my friend indicated some concern about the new larger school boards’ association. This group is in the process of being formed and the member for London South has had some interests in an attachment with this group. He knows they feel they can serve a useful purpose and I think this may be so. I think we are going to have to wait and see.

I think it does present problems. It may not perhaps smooth over some of the feelings between the larger and the smaller boards in this province if it looks as though all the big boards are ganging up to make their point of view known without a real concern for the smaller boards of this province. I think it is very healthy that both types of board know what the other’s problems are and what their concerns are so they can mesh those concerns and solve them together -- not each putting its problems to me and expecting us to solve them in isolation. Therefore, I have suggested to trustees’ council and will suggest to the larger boards’ association that they become part of the trustees’ councils. If they agree to this we will bring in an amendment to the Act and they can become another constituent body in the trustees’ council, being able to speak on behalf of the boards that they have as members, but also being part of the total school board trustee association and concern in this province.


Mr. Ferris: Thank you. Would the minister likely bring in other amendments to the OSTC governing legislation, such as removing the veto power at that time?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I was going to comment on that. You talked about a review of the OSTC structure. It’s my belief, and I’ve said this to the trustees’ council many times, that it isn’t our job here in the ministry to tell them how they should operate their organization. It’s the job of the trustees’ council, the trustee organizations, and the trustees of this province to tell us how they want to operate their organization and then come to us and ask us for changes in that legislation.

I don’t really think that I, unilaterally, should remove what is known as the veto power. In other words, if one of the constituent member associations of trustees’ council doesn’t want a matter discussed by trustees’ council they can veto it, something like the Security Council veto in the UN. It’s not a particularly good thing from the point of view of having good discussion on trustees’ council and from me, for instance, as minister, personally being able to ask them to comment on a particular situation or problem or concern. If one of the groups doesn’t want trustees’ council to talk about it well then they cannot comment on it to me.

We’ve had this happen. The most vivid example was the amendments to the Education Act concerning French language schools. At that time I was unable to get any input from trustees’ council on that because several of the groups didn’t want it even discussed or a position taken. But that provision has been put in the Act for the protection of certain of the members who belong to that group and I think that they, frankly, have got to come to their own conclusion that it shouldn’t be there before we can change it.

So therefore my answer is that no, we wouldn’t bring in that amendment, unless trustees’ council asks us for it. If they ask us for it we’ll do it. But I will bring in an amendment if the larger school boards wish to become a part of trustees’ council as I believe that they should; we’ll be happy to amend the Act in that way. I’m meeting with them in another week or so.

I think that the only other thing that I’d like to say at this point concerning some of the things that have been said, is in the area of evaluation; the hon. member for London South (Mr. Ferris) talked about evaluation and what we had said in our recent speeches.

We are going to be bringing in some proposals soon on this particular area -- the evaluation testing, reporting area. I just have to tell him that in our studies that have gone on since we started talking about this, this whole area is fraught with great danger.

We’ve been looking at what’s been happening south of the border, where in certain jurisdictions they sort of rushed into headlong, on the wave of emotionalism, some kind of standardized testing, evaluation of all pupils, by all kinds of mechanisms. Many of them were brought in under that very unique legislative system they have there where a legislator can get a bill passed to do something and force the state department of education to do something that they’ve perhaps never even considered or are not ready to do. This, of course, is part of the problem with the American system. But they’ve rushed into a lot of accountability testing proposals that have gone on the rocks, have fallen onto very tough times and have not done any of the things that they wanted to do.

One of the big dangers that we’ve got to watch is that we don’t in any way link evaluation and assessment and accountability with the kind of money that school boards get, such as, for instance, the Ontario Economic Council recommended in their report. This, I submit, would be disastrous, would be a danger, and is the kind of thing that we can’t let ourselves fall into. There are other things we can deal with as we get into the point-by-point discussion.

On vote 2901:

Mr. Acting Chairman: Shall vote 2901, item 1 carry? Carried.

Item 2. The member for Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: I just have a couple of questions that I’d like the minister to respond to on 2902, to do with the James Bay Education Centre. Can he bring us up to date on that as a result of both the internal and the external reports which were done on the centre? I noticed the amendments to the Education Act mentioned the James Bay Lowland Secondary School Board; I would like to know the relationship between the two and the ministry’s present position and status on that particular institution.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Following the internal and external evaluation of the centre and the report which was tabled -- which I’m sure you have had -- meetings were held in Moosonee with various groups. As an outgrowth of the report it was decided that secondary education should be provided in the area and that it should be provided by the James Bay Lowland Secondary School Board.

This board has been established. It has on it four members. These have been elected. They are now operating. There is provision for three more members to be appointed from the Indian bands in the area served by the board if and when they decide to begin negotiations with the school board.

This is an interesting point. When they decide they want to negotiate to have the school board provide secondary education, they can be appointed to the board, which is a little different from what the Act says in regard to the number of pupils. In the general legislation once you have the number of pupils in the system, then you have to appoint a trustee. They can be appointed as soon as they indicate they wish to negotiate for secondary education.

To this point, none of the three bands has indicated this -- but the board is presently in the process of setting up secondary educational programmes. They will have to find facilities for the secondary programmes and they have indicated their preference is for facilities at the old Canadian Forces base rather than in the Education Centre.

The Education Centre has offered or indicated its facilities would be available to the secondary school board but the elected board will have to make up its mind. I understand it wishes to operate at the old Canadian Forces base.

The James Bay Education Centre which, of course, is created by letters patent, not by an Act of this Legislature, continues to remain in operation for the various purposes it has. In these estimates is $504,000 for the operation of the James Bay Education Centre for the other programmes it will be operating. There is a continuing review of the structure and the future of that centre at the present time.

We haven’t arrived, with them, at any particular future pattern for the centre, whether it will remain exactly as it is or whether it will become some other type of organization. There are various alternatives which have been looked at. Perhaps it should come under Colleges and Universities as some kind of centre that it would operate. Perhaps it should come under one of the community colleges which also operates programmes in that area. There is still an ongoing look being taken at the future operation of that centre.

At the present time, it is legally constituted under letters patent and we will continue to make available the grant of $504,000.

Mr. Foulds: One of my colleagues wants to add something -- obviously several members of the Liberal Party do also. What are the programmes then? Could you very quickly, briefly, outline programmes remaining in the education centre? And could you indicate what proportion of the facility of the centre will now be vacant or not used if the secondary school board takes up residence or administers its programmes in the facility at the air force base?

Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, part of the total complex of the centre is being used by the elementary school boards, but that isn’t under the control of the James Bay Education Centre. There are two elementary school boards, but they are using physical facilities that are connected to the centre. There are academic upgrading programmes going on, nursery school programmes, some clerical training programmes going on, but the manpower training programme is not in operation at the present time.

Mr. Foulds: Could you give us your capital costs of that centre?

Hon. Mr. Wells: About $3 million.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Minister, under the heading of a northern education centre fighting for its life, I have a couple of questions. First of all, I notice that the budget was reduced from $580,000 to $504,000.

Now given the fact that this centre is trying to get back on its feet again, that would appear on the surface at least to be a rather difficult decision, or an awkward decision to make. The new director and some of the people who are trying to get the place going feel this is a little vindictive on somebody’s part, that they are being penalized; to use their own terminology, that they are paying dearly for past mistakes. And also given the fact they had a deficit of over $400,000 to try and do something with, I would like the minister to respond as to why that kind of a decision would be made.

Also it’s indicated here that $380,000 of the $504,000, is for operating expenses, and that doesn’t leave very much for other kinds of programmes which that area very badly needs. For example, it was pointed out that a recent visitor was shown unused classrooms in carpentry, welding and such, simply because they can’t get those programmes going.

Basically, Mr. Minister, the thrust of my question is: Are we doing the right thing at this time, given the attempts of these people to try and get this thing rolling again? It does seem to be the wrong decision.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I think that’s a very good question. I presume my friend has had a copy of the evaluation report. I guess your concern about being penalized for past mistakes is a valid one, because certainly there have been some past mistakes up there. Some pretty questionable management has gone on up there. In fact, if we hadn’t assisted financially, the whole operation could have gone bankrupt about six or eight months ago, because they were in debt and the bank was going to cut off their credit and so forth.

Actually we are not reducing their budget at all this year to any significant degree, because they had $580,000 last year. We started with $580,000; we deducted $100,000 because of the transfer of secondary school programmes for which they will not have any responsibility because of the new school board; we then added a five per cent increase -- which is what we were adding to a lot of the items in our budget -- and came up with the $504,000. Now we think that’s an adequate amount of money.

We think it’s necessary for that board -- and I know they are trying with the new director -- but it’s necessary for them to get down to business. They have to pay attention to the kind of budget they have and to cut their cloth to fit the resources they have. They have to cut their programmes and develop programmes within the resources they have. I think it said in the report:

“A review of the budget proposal indicates clearly that the board of governors has been unwilling to rescale and re-establish its programme priorities in order to meet the fiscal restraints that face every other sector of this province.”

That was in the evaluation report concerning the 1975-1976 budget, when they were so much over their budget and had to come to us for money in effect to bail them out. So we really think we are not in any way penalizing them, we are just giving them the resources and telling them to get on with the job.


Mr. McClellan: I would just like to ask a couple of brief questions while we are on the James Bay Education Centre. Is the board still an appointed board?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, it is an appointed board under their bylaws and charter.

Mr. McClellan: Right. I think I raised this in the last estimates or in the supplementary estimates; it’s a perennial question, I suppose. How much longer you are going to continue to appoint the board? Let me suggest to you that this costly, I suppose, and rather futile exercise need not have happened if the community in Moosonee had been consulted originally in a meaningful way around what the educational priorities were for that community. I think you would have found as long as eight or nine years ago that the priority in the area was for a secondary school to serve the east coast communities.

The failure of an appointed board has been almost complete with respect to this facility. I thought you had given some indication in the last estimates that consideration would be given to the establishment of an elected board. I’m not sure what the problems are in moving in that direction, in fact if there are any problems. But surely the lesson has been learned that it is not possible to plan for these communities on the basis of Toronto-based appointments. It is not possible to plan for these facilities other than on the basis of democratically elected community boards who can accurately reflect the needs, aspirations and desires of the local communities. I hope that we have learned our lesson from this rather sad experience and that we can go on to a more productive future in the area.

Can I ask you how long the process of deliberation determining the future use of the James Bay Education Centre will take? It seems to be an almost interminable process.

Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, let me say that we have done what we can within the parameters of this ministry’s control insofar as electing a board. I believe that’s the best way also. But the James Bay Education Centre is not a creature of this Legislature or this ministry. The grant to that corporation, created under the laws of this province, goes through our ministry and we make the grant to them. But, in effect, if they were to elect their board, they would have to change their bylaws; and I suppose we would have to say no more money unless you change those bylaws.

What we have done is, we have said we will set up a secondary school board, because there has been not wholehearted enthusiasm for the board’s running secondary school programmes in the area at the centre. Following this report and community involvement, we have instituted and set up the James Bay Lowlands Secondary School Board. It is elected and will run the secondary school programmes for which this ministry has responsibility. The school boards that run the programmes in the facilities attached to the centre, both Roman Catholic separate and public, are elected at the present time. That leaves a James Bay Education Centre board, created by letters patent under the Corporations Act of this province, to run a facility concerned with things that are not basically those of this ministry. That is why I suggested that the ongoing process now is to find out where and how that group should fit in to the total picture in this province. Personally, I don’t think they should remain in the Ministry of Education. The elementary and secondary programmes are here now. They probably should be in the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in some manner. Perhaps that manner could change the way the board is chosen, although I must point out to you, as you know, that community college boards across this province are not elected and I don’t think that has been particularly a disadvantage to community colleges.

Mr. Foulds: Oh yes it has.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Well that depends on where you sit, I think, but --

Mr. Foulds: That’s right.

Mr. Bullbrook: What criteria do you use?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Do we use for what?

Mr. Bullbrook: For the appointment of community college boards of governors.

Hon. Mr. Wells: That is not my responsibility.

Mr. Bullbrook: No, I know. But I would like to know what you regard the criteria to be.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t think that I should get into what the criteria for appointment to community college boards --

Mr. Bullbrook: Why did you bring it up then?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I used it as an example, concerning the James Bay Education Centre, which board we are now appointing.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s quite inappropriate.

Mr. R. S. Smith: What criteria do you apply at James Bay?

Hon. Mr. Wells: It is not inappropriate because that is under the Act of the Legislature of this province -- the community college boards. I am pointing out that as far as the James Bay Education Centre is concerned there isn’t any Act we can change to allow that board to be elected.

Mr. Wildman: May I just ask the minister, don’t you think that at this point in time, after the history of that facility, that it is really worth pursuing the matter of securing, with whatever leverage you can, a democratically-elected board for that facility? I say that simply on the basis of the rather sorry history of that facility over the last seven or eight years.

I frankly don’t hold much hope for any rational use of the facility until it does become accountable to the community in a serious kind of way.

Hon. Mr. Wells: At this point in time all I can say is that we are continuing our discussions about what is going to be the ongoing role, form and substance of that centre. We have created the school board and now we will see what happens with the rest. I can’t tell you anything else on that matter.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I just have a few questions in regard to the centre. Now that we have the separate school board and the public school board operating in the centre and we don’t have any retraining programme going in there, just how many students are left there -- in any programme?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The enrolment in the present high school programme, which they were offering in February before the new board was created -- and these students presumably will go with the new high school board -- was 33. There are 15 enrolled in the nursery school programme, and these are as of Feb. 17. The enrolment in the night school programme was 36 in the fall term and 82 in the winter term. As of Feb. 17 there were 10 people in various programmes in the trades and training section.

Mr. R. S. Smith: As I gather, even counting those that are in the high school programme, you have 58 students there. You had 58 students there as of Feb. 17, including those in the high school programme, at a cost of $580,000, or $10,000 per student. I don’t for one minute like to indicate that in that area you count dollars as the only criterion, but to say that the centre has been unsuccessful might be a real understatement, I would indicate.

I would like to ask you how many high school students from the area are obtaining their secondary school education outside of the area at the present time. In my community there are a very large number of students who choose to leave the area to obtain their secondary education.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I am afraid I haven’t got that figure right here, I can get it for you. But really, until that board is created and we see how many who are attending school in other areas come back and decide to come, they don’t have any accurate number, except for the 33 or so who are there. It has been the concern and the wish of the local people that they have their own school board in the area and that is why it is being created.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Are the four people who have been elected to the local school board now all native people?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Three of them are native people and one is not.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Is there an indication that with the establishment of this school board, those people who have chosen to leave, or those students who have chosen to leave for their secondary education -- and it is far more than the 33 who are there, because there are well over 100 in my community alone; and I would like to advise you as well that they are at the present time advertising in my community for homes for these students for next fall. So it appears that your secondary school setup, whether it be in the centre or elsewhere, is not proving to be successful; either that or they are advertising for places that are not going to be needed, one or the other.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The member is quite right, Mr. Chairman, there are, of course, people in his community and in other communities in the north; and of course that is going to have to be the decision that will be made. Those programmes, of course, will not be cut off. There are grants paid to those students, resident grants for them to come down and stay in North Bay and go to school there, and that will still be available to them. However, the school will also be available, the new secondary school programme will be available right up in Moosonee.

They are going to have to make the decision; and enrolment is starting now, as you have indicated, for next September. Really, we will not know until the school starts in September how many are going to be there. They did a survey, they tell me, and estimate about 120 were out in communities such as North Bay and other cities across the north where those students are now going to school and boarding in the communities.

There are 200 pupils, approximately, in the public elementary and 200 in the separate elementary, so there are a fair number there who could go on with a secondary school handy and available; and to some degree co-ordinated, we hope in the future, with the elementary programmes in that particular area. So the potential is there for a fair number.

Mr. R. S. Smith: Your ministry has always talked in terms of 900 and 1,000 students being the minimum in order to provide a functional secondary school, and obviously the best you can expect, if every one of those graduating from the primary level who are going on to secondary education come back, is that you would end up with 150 students. Are you indicating that board will be able to provide a full secondary education with that number of students?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would think that they will be able to provide, not the kind of school perhaps that is available where you have 900 or 1,000 pupils, but they will be able to provide a functional school. I think that they may, and I guess this is up to the board, start with only a junior programme in grades 9 and 10, beginning September, 1976. That is what they are going to have to decide and that may be what they do, and then provide the opportunity for the students after that to go out into the other schools in the other communities. Then probably as the years advance they will advance an extra grade on the programme.

But they should be able to provide an adequate programme. They will also have available to them the resources of the education centre, which has certain technical and other facilities that can be worked in. It is not going to be that far; even if the school locates out in the basin, they will be able to work something out to use some of those facilities, which would give added facilities that a normal school would provide. There are secondary schools in this province with between 100 and 200 students -- not very many, but I tell you if you ever try to close one you will find how valuable the people in the area think they are -- that wouldn’t have anything like the kind of facilities that might be available, taking the facilities that are at the education centre, if they are available on some kind of rental basis to that school board.


Mr. Nixon: Just briefly, I wanted to raise a matter I’ve discussed with the minister before which has to do with the $2.36 million awarded to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. First, may I ask him what the total amount of public funding will be for the institute this year?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The total amount, all things taken together, is $12,490,000.

Mr. Nixon: We can see that there is a small but significant reduction in the generally increasing trend over the years since OISE was begun. I’d like to ask the minister -- I’m sure he has made a public statement on this previously -- it seems strange that there hasn’t been some significant reaction to the recommendation from the special programme review chaired by the Treasurer, which made specific recommendations about the institute.

I’ve visited there, as have a number of members, since the recommendations came out. Certainly, the people working there who’ve done interesting and somewhat valuable work over many years are concerned about those recommendations but I personally feel that the recommendations, while they’re very tough, are still reasonable. They ask for the transfer of the degree-granting powers of the institute directly to the University of Toronto. I know the degrees are granted under the aegis of the university now but still the institute operates in a very independent way.

The second recommendation had to do with contracting out specific research which would not otherwise be done by the education faculty. Of course, the basic recommendation is very far-reaching indeed -- they almost say it should be closed down and the building rented out for whatever money could be raised.

While this might be something I would favour, certainly it would be an extreme economy but we’re still paying our $2,195,000 a year to whatever holding company through which Gerhard Moog operates the building. It seems to me there should have been a somewhat more substantial response by the ministry, particularly since the recommendations from the Treasurer were so specific and public.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, as the Treasurer has said in this House, as the Premier has said and as I’m going to repeat again, the Henderson report is a report to this government for study and consideration. It doesn’t represent government policy. It represents a group of suggestions of things which could be done.

They’re all being studied by various committees, groups and bodies in this government. The social policy field committee is looking at the relationships of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to see if the present relationships, the present way of operation, are the right ones. Actually, that study had been going on before the Henderson report.

I can tell you that my personal view is that while we want to look at ways to make the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education a better operation, I don’t think it should be so tampered with that it falls out of existence. I think because of a lot of things which happened in the past it has had rather a black cloud over it, some of it deserved, a lot of it not deserved. A lot of that black cloud over it is not deserved. After getting its growing pains -- let’s separate any controversy over the building that happens to house it and remember that what goes on inside the building is really what we’re talking about now.

Mr. Nixon: You can separate it but it’s costing us $2.1 million this year and next year and the year after.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly it’s costing us some money but the building is being rented out and I don’t think we should let that colour our judgement about the operation of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. It is doing some good work in the area of research; it’s providing a very valuable facility to give post-graduate degrees in education and I think it is serving a useful purpose.

As my friend has said, over the years we have cut back the amount of money made available through the block grant in the Ministry of Education for research. The big portion of the money, the $12,490,000 that the centre will get this year, comes from the BIUs, from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. The rest comes from our block grant, contractual research that the institute bids for and wins and the grants-in-aid programmes that they also apply for and are successful in getting.

As I say, we’re looking at the structure and ways that it can be improved, but I wouldn’t want to leave you with the impression that we’re in any way looking at significantly changing that organization so that it will vanish from the scene.

Mr. Nixon: If I might just follow up briefly, I was very impressed with the minister’s opening statement particularly where he said that statistics on a world scale show Canada is spending almost a full percentage point more of our gross national product on education than any other country in the world -- all of the great industrialized western countries as well as the USSR. I was quite impressed with that.

No one is saying that we should not have research in education. Quite the contrary. The minister, who was then chairman of the Scarborough school board, may remember the debates that took place in this House when there really was no research, and opposition spokesmen were urging that research be established. But I feel that the recommendations in this instance, coming from the committee chaired by the Treasurer -- I know the minister and others now refer to it as the Henderson report, but in fact it’s the McKeough report; it’s over his signature that it was presented to this House -- present a clear procedure for continuing a reasonable amount of research by moving the graduate facilities directly under the responsibility of the university. I think that perhaps would offer a better means of cost control than we have at the present time, where they have been operating practically independently. After all, they’ve gone through the formative years in the institute when money was no object; it was obviously a pet project of the former Minister of Education, and in many respects I feel that’s why it is still stabled with the sacred cows

Hon. Mr. Wells: I’d just like to say that switching the degree-granting programme for post-graduate degrees in education -- the programmes for MEd, MA, Doctor of Education, or PhD -- to the University of Toronto would not save one cent, because those are paid for by MCU on a BIU base as well.

Mr. Nixon: Perhaps you wouldn’t even need the building.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I have to tell you that the first thing that the University of Toronto would ask us, if we were to make that switch, would be to build a new building --

Mr. Nixon: They couldn’t afford to pay the rent on that one.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think they might. They’d either want to take that one over or have us build a new one, because they’ve wanted us to build a new faculty of education building for a long time.

Mr. Nixon: I think that’s a reasonable request.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They’re completely dissatisfied with the old building up on Bloor St., as far as I know.

Mr. Nixon: I don’t blame them.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The switching over really would not save any money for the taxpayers of this province; it might only change the ownership of the building or where the students are or how they’re connected.

Really, we’re talking about something around $3 million for research programmes in education that the institute is doing. When you look at the total money spent on education in this province, the number of students, the vastness of the enterprise and the capabilities of the institute, I can’t agree that that’s an exorbitant amount of money, considering the fact that we have really substantially cut back the research part from, say, 1970.

Mr. Nixon: It went from $11.7 million to $13.1 million in one year.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if we might discuss the miscellaneous grants to be paid at the direction of the minister. Earlier in the week, or during the past couple of weeks, the minister made a statement during the question period to the effect that there will be no denial of money on the part of the ministry to communities that need or feel they need schools, to ensure that they have the wherewithal to build these schools. Using the fact that you have allocated something like $3,723,000 here, I wondering if you have taken into consideration that in the city of Brantford you have two areas -- one that needs schools as a result of an Ontario Housing development programme that’s come on stream and has brought numerous families into the area; the other area is part of the city which is developing at a much faster rate than it has in the past.

I think I should bring to the minister’s attention the fact that when these subdivision development projects were being considered by the municipality, it was assumed by the local board of education that normal funding would be available from the ministry to build the necessary schools in those areas. Because of your restraint programme at this time, the funding, according to the school boards, is not available. Consequently, there are serious problems developing in those two areas. One is the Mayfair area and the other is the Briar Park area.

I wonder if the minister would be able to tell us or give us some indication of what he intends to do? I’m sure he has similar problems developing in other communities in Ontario, but in particular, what does he intend to do in this case in Brantford?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I just might say, Mr. Chairman, I’m happy to answer the question now, but it really isn’t under this vote. That programme is under the second part, the school business and finance section.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Chairman, the point is that the other part is statutory grants, and obviously the minister is not prepared to deal with statutory grants. But in this case he has the discretionary power to allow or approve spending a certain amount of money. I would assume from that that he has the discretion to use the money in such areas for such purposes as he deems are wise. If that’s the case, if he doesn’t intend to spend the money on schooling, can he tell us what he intends to spend that money on?

Hon. Mr. Wells: If my friend means the $464,000 under miscellaneous grants, no, these are grants to associations, groups and so forth, not for school construction. In fact, I would find that I wouldn’t have the legal right to use any of that money for school construction.

I would be happy to tell you the status of those programmes in Brantford and where they fit into the process. I just want to make one point, that what I said in the House the other day wasn’t that there would be money available for any community that needed school buildings. I think I said there would be money available for communities that needed school buildings because of the Housing Action Programme and new housing development subdivisions where the failure of a board to be able to get approval to build could cause that project not to be built. That’s a little different.

There isn’t enough money to provide funds for every community which wants to build a new school, for a variety of reasons; there isn’t enough money this year to allow that. We’re giving first and top priority to areas where new housing is being developed that could be stopped legally by a school board saying, “We can’t provide the school accommodation” -- and therefore the plan wouldn’t get approved.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Minister, the problem in this case is the fact that the approval for the housing development was given on the basis of the fact that normal funding would be available to the local school board to build schools in the area. When the municipality gave the approval, the municipality was aware that schools would have to be built. The school board was under the impression, when they gave the approval to the plans for the subdivisions, that funding would be available. Now the subdivisions have been built and people have moved into the areas, and what we find is that you have refused, or you deny them the right to build the schools. That is what we want clarified.

In the first place, they went ahead in good faith to approve the subdivisions. The various municipal groups in the community approved the plans on the basis of what they expected to get, and the subdivisions were built. Now when everything has happened, they find out they cannot get the funds.

What I’m concerned about is, are you prepared to keep to that agreement that you made us at one time, or you had and still have with the various school boards, to provide the school rooms for the people who need them?

Hon. Mr. Wells: If you will give me the names of the areas, then I can get the complete data and I can give you a logical answer. Because it involves considering whether there are spaces in any schools nearby and just what is the situation in those areas. I just have no way of being able to give you an answer without knowing the areas and seeing what the situation is.


Mr. Makarchuk: The two areas are Briar Park School and Coronation School in Brantford. One is in the Mayfair area and the other one is in the Briar Park area.

This is not something, I presume, that I have raised, I am sure the officials from our school board have raised this matter with you and they have been told by your ministry that they cannot get funding.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I will get some answer on that and perhaps we will have it a little later when we get to the other section of the estimates.

Mr. Bullbrook: I want to relate back to what my colleague the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) referred to in connection with OISE.

I say it is a generalization, and I appreciate the fact that you will regard it as a generalization, but I think it was about seven years ago that the predecessor in your office decided that we would begin the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. I recall it to be a result that Mr. Davis went down to Berkeley, California, and saw the experience of their institute of studies in education; on the campus, by the way, of the University of California at Berkeley.

I regard that as significantly appropriate, because the former leader of this party, my colleague to whom I just referred, many times has spoken about the question of the validity of the non-integration of the institute itself into the academic life on the campus of a university itself; strangely enough, now to some extent supported by Mr. McKeough and Mr. Henderson in their report to the Legislature.

But I harken back to that seven years ago with a red-necked, almost Jimmy Carter attitude, if I can say that; and I am not a peanut farmer, believe me. But that attitude is this, that we --


Mr. Bullbrook: I’m sorry? I don’t want to miss any good ones, there are so few in this Parliament, frankly.

Mr. Samis: It wasn’t kind, James.

Mr. Bullbrook: It wasn’t kind? Well, I am glad I missed it then. I probably wouldn’t have had an appropriate retort anyway though.

Mr. Martel: Claire Hoy would have written an article about you.

Mr. Bullbrook: As a matter of fact, I want to tell you it is very appropriate that you mention the Claire Hoy article in the context of my remarks, because it is really -- you sat there that night my colleague from Sudbury East, you sat there that night -- and I’m not digressing unduly, because I want to say this to you: That very night, one of the things I said was, “It has never been essential to me to value an individual, politically or otherwise, on his grammatical construction,” and it isn’t.

And so what I talk about is somewhat irrelevant, because that is what I want to talk about tonight, I want to talk about the quality of education somewhat; and about OISE and what they are doing with respect to it.

Because it is about seven years ago, I think, we began OISE; and now, year after year, we see the expansion of remedial programmes, with respect to pre-entrance to post-secondary institutions in the Province of Ontario. I want to say to you, as one individual parent in the Province of Ontario, it seems to be somewhat strange that the development of the need for remedial education in English and mathematics is almost concurrent with the esoteric development of curriculum and otherwise by the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. I want to know just where are we going in the field of education?

My colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk talks about the fact that we spend one per cent of our gross national product in the Dominion of Canada, more than any other country in the world, on the development of education and we are prideful of that and nobody would ever shirk that responsibility or better that right as we see it.

But what is the return? Is there a member in this House who can’t say to himself, as we put these estimates of the Ministry of Education, who cannot say to himself, I want to direct through the Chair, to the minister and to the minister’s colleagues who sit here in the operation of the Ministry of Education, just where are we going? Because I am extremely interested, as a parent, in knowing where we are going.

I don’t for the life of me, as I said in the context of the estimates of the Minister without Portfolio, believe that understanding what a subjective completion is makes my life full, whole or happy. I tell you this though, I kind of feel that we are depriving the children of something when they don’t have the right to know what a subjective completion is. That is the essence of what I am saying.

I really, truly, feel that somewhere along the line, the field of education has developed itself into such a monstrous thing, that the 125 of us collectively, or any one of us individually, cannot propel a feeling, an essential feeling that many people in this province have: “Let’s stop and have a look at it all.” Because when my colleague, the former leader of this party, talks about the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the response of the ministry is essentially this: Please do not denigrate them because they have to spend $2,195,000 a year of public funds for rent.

Of course, the point is, my colleague didn’t even attempt to do that. That’s a fait accompli. We have attempted to bring this to the attention of the people of Ontario for many years, that disastrous involvement that took place with respect to the building of that edifice and the renting of that edifice to house that particular operation. I don’t think it is of that he spoke, nor do I wish to speak of it.

Mr. Nixon: Neither of us wants to speak about it.

Mr. Bullbrook: No. Then we get the response about a cloud over the Institute for Studies in Education, some of which is justified -- the minister, of course, doesn’t say what he considers to be justified -- some of which is not justified. The minister, of course, does not say what he doesn’t consider to be justified.

I would really like to get a response in that connection, because as one of his colleagues I want to say this to the minister. I would really like to know what involvement the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has had with respect to the development of needed remedial programmes prior to the entrance into post-secondary education in the Province of Ontario. it is almost that one can say, unhappily so, that one of the outgrowths of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has been the need for the development of remedial programmes.

You know, last night in the Toronto Star you read: “Schools Neglecting Basics, Ex-teacher Says.” This is last night’s Star. I asked for it to be brought down because I imagine those of us who are prone to reading the Toronto Star had to read the following:

“‘The basic skills are sadly lacking in today’s schools, and showing enthusiasm for finger-painting is not an acceptable substitute,’ a former teacher said last night. Sheila Morrison, founder of Metro’s Parent Action League, told a panel discussion sponsored by the Toronto Council of Home and School Associations, that despite massive spending on education, levels of achievement have declined sharply in the past few years. ‘The schools have taken on any number of activities, none of which we asked for,’ she said. ‘They are concerned about students’ emotional needs, their social needs, and last of all, their educational needs. Discussions on family life, in most instances, are a euphemism for pornography in the classroom.’”

Now, maybe this lady goes too far in that respect, I don’t know. She probably does. But I tell you -- I won’t read further, because I don’t want to enlarge the debate unduly -- it does exemplify the thinking of many people who are parents of post-secondary education students in the Province of Ontario.

Her remarks do convey a certain pith and substance as to our feeling as to where, really, education is going, and whether we are truly getting -- not necessarily a dollar value, but an abdication on the part of the ministry, the profession perhaps, the trustees, and most of all ourselves, who appropriate the bulk of the funds on behalf of the taxpayers of Ontario -- that perhaps we are not getting, not necessarily our money’s worth, because that shouldn’t be the criterion, but whether our children are getting a most fundamental and essential opportunity to be educated.

Those are the key words that I want to convey: Opportunity to be educated. Not necessarily the ability on their past to be so educated, or the acceptance on their part of such an education. But the expression of a degree of wonderment at least -- especially in the context of, and let’s put it in the hardware context, of spending $2.1 million every year for rent, for in essence a research group to see in effect what has become an eroding of the quality of basic education in the Province of Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me just very briefly say that I think that in my opening statement I was indicating what I saw as the directions that education in this province was going, and some of the concerns, some of the things that had to happen, some of the things I hoped would not happen and because our time is limited I will not repeat those.

I want to say to my friend that I can’t help believing that the things which go on at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education are going to help solve some of the problems we face in education. There are 571 full-time students in the various programmes there; educational, post-graduate programmes. There are 1,626 part-time students and 1,313 summer students. All of these people will be going back into the system to transmit the kind of knowledge they got from their studies at the institute.

Also, as far as things actually happening in the school system are concerned they are taking the lead in developing some of the things which need to be done. Certainly, because they’re the experts in this area they have helped develop some of the remedial programmes community colleges wish to offer to some students who’ve come in. The whole matter of remedial programmes is a very broad subject which we could deal with at some other time perhaps. Universities were offering remedial programmes for their first-year students back in the early 1900s. They’ve always been doing that; it’s not some great new phenomenon which has suddenly fallen out of the sky.

The institute has developed -- let me give you one example -- the forerunner of the programme in moral education in schools. It is presently forming the base of the kind of things going on in school boards all across this province, to encourage the development of programmes in moral and value education as part of the total curriculum. Clide Beck and others at the institute have been in the forefront of developing the books and material to be used in this particular area.

Some of the most outstanding people in the area of testing and evaluation are presently at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and they are playing a role in developing the kind of things we’re looking at in regard to testing and evaluation in this province. They have already developed tests which can be used for student achievement testing and for evaluation -- tests which are Canadian, Canadian-centred and Canadian-based, not adaptations of American tests a lot of which are on the market in this country today and are being used by school boards. Some of them are under Canadian names but really they are adaptations of American tests. This kind of thing is going on at OISE and all of it, I think, will be very helpful to the school system.

Mr. Bullbrook: I want to say this if I may: Insulting as it may be, I expected that type of response. It had nothing to do with what I said; it didn’t even peripherally involve itself. Instead we got into Canadian content and moral education.

Hon. Mr. Wells: What did you want?

Mr. Bullbrook: I wanted you to talk about the basics of education. That’s what I really wanted. I wanted you to respond to that lady who was talking about the basics of education. Let me say this to you: Do you think I don’t know for a moment that remedial courses have been made available to people by universities since before the turn of the century? It had nothing to do -- it was a generalized need. In effect, it was for people like my father who had not gone through the system, when they wanted to enter the post-secondary field that was what remedial education was for. The minister knows that full well. To try to tilt the windmill -- it’s an entirely different thing now.

Mr. Breithaupt: It’s nothing like today’s pattern at all.

Mr. Bullbrook: Your post-secondary people are telling you right now that the people coming out of your secondary system are not educated in basics, in English and mathematics. They’re telling you this. Surely, you must say to yourself “What are we doing with these hundreds of millions of dollars if that is the situation?” To say that in effect the development, to begin with -- the minister said, “The development in the community college programme of remedial education.” I’m not talking about the community college programme. Surely to goodness, you realize that’s minimal compared to the university programmes in remedial education? I’m talking about the essential ingredient of the quality of education and I’m not talking about Canadian content or moral reconstruction whatever that is.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Of course, my friend can get very exercised and he’s good at doing that. He thinks he’s before the Supreme Court of Canada or something, as he does on many occasions.

Mr. Bullbrook: Especially when I’m dealing with you.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me say that he did touch on some of the things I talked about and he alluded to the probability that there weren’t some valuable things going on at OISE. Let me tell him, answering his question directly, I disagree with what Sheila Morrison has said. I think the basics are being taught in our schools. Sheila Morrison doesn’t know that but she should know it, because the basics are being taught. And I can tell they’re being taught when I look at my three kids and see what they’re getting at school, and when I look at their friends who come to our house. But I can also tell that the basics are being taught in school when I visit the classrooms of this province and talk to the teachers of this province. And let me tell you, every time you side with the Sheila Morrisons, and you say that the basics --


Mr. Bullbrook: It’s not so much a question of siding, and you should understand that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- that the basics aren’t being taught in this school, you can’t divorce yourself from saying the teachers of this province aren’t doing a good job and aren’t concerned about what’s going on. The basics are being taught.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s a beautiful Joe McCarthy trick.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The basics are being taught in our schools, we are emphasizing that, and the teaching profession of this province are doing a good job and they are suffering great --


Hon. Mr. Wells: -- great distress because people like yourself and others continually get up and try and allude to the fact that the schools aren’t doing a job and they aren’t teaching the basics.

Mr. Nixon: The teachers don’t report to you, you said that this afternoon.

Mr. Breithaupt: And the leadership is not coming from your ministry.

Hon. Mr. Wells: That is exactly what I said this afternoon.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.


Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend is completely wrong. You read “At What Cost?”, or anything. They say exactly what I said this afternoon. You see, you can get trapped into this whole business very easily. Everything’s black and white. Nothing is black and white and, of course, everything isn’t --

Mr. Bullbrook: You try to make it so.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Everything isn’t perfect, but you try to make it --

Mr. Bullbrook: You try to make it as if --

Hon. Mr. Wells: You try to make it as if there are no basics being taught in the schools.

Mr. Bullbrook: Nobody said that at all.

Hon. Mr. Wells: And that the schools are doing a terrible, terrible job, which of course is not --

Mr. Bullbrook: Let me ask a question; would you permit one question now? Let me ask you one question. And I’m not even going to entertain a response to that business of, “When you attack basics you attack teachers”; because that’s the oldest type of argument that’s available to somebody who can’t argue properly, that type of argument.

Why is there an expansion, in the postsecondary education process in the Province of Ontario, in at least three universities of which you’re aware, in the remedial education programmes in English and mathematics? Why has that taken place over the last five years, under your ministry? Why has it happened?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I’ll tell you why it’s taking place, because there are a lot more people getting into university today. There are a lot more people getting into university today, and the lower third are people who 10 or 12 years ago --


Hon. Mr. Wells: -- under the kind of system you would have us bring in --


Hon. Mr. Wells: -- wouldn’t even get to university. That’s why; they’re getting a chance.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right.

Hon. Mr. Wells: And let me tell you something.


Hon. Mr. Wells: At Huron College, University of Western Ontario, the dean was telling a group the other day that in the years 1960-1967, roughly that period, when we had the grade 13 exams, of those accepted in university in the lower areas, with an average of 60 to 65 per cent on grade 13 exams being given at that time, 48 per cent passed their first year university. Since 1968 to 1975, he said those who had been admitted to university in the lower categories, with the 60 to 65 per cent based on the marks that the teachers gave under their own exam programmes in their own schools, 56 per cent have passed their first year of university.

Mr. Bullbrook: The standards have lessened, that’s why.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You’re saying the university standards have lessened?

Mr. Breithaupt: I would say so, too.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Listen, there’s no way you can prove that. I’d be very interested -- and it’s too bad your hon. leader isn’t here, because I hear he made some statements last night. I would really like to hear him explain to this House what he means by this statement in his press release:

“Smith also attacked the school system for robbing the children of the disadvantaged and immigrant families of their traditional route to success and assimilation.”

Is that what you believe? Is that what you believe about the school system?

Mr. Lewis: What is that last phrase?

Hon. Mr. Wells: “Success and assimilation.”

Mr. Lewis: “Success and assimilation”?

Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s right.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s better than integration.

Hon. Mr. Wells: He also said:

“In our schools today, a child can write an exam four or five times until he passes. There’s no such thing as failure. Standards have gone out the window. Children aren’t forced to learn anything unpleasant, such as multiplication tables or proper grammar.”

Let him come in here and prove that statement. Let him come in and prove it.

Mr. Bain: He is a living success.

Mr. Lewis: That is the most philistine thing to say.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. member for Algoma.

Mr. Wildman: I just wanted to go back to what the member for Brantford asked about. Just in general terms, I’d like to know the role of the ministry in general planning as it affects development in small communities in the north. I would like to know whether or not the ministry budgets on the basis of what they consider to be probable development in small communities in the north, or whether that’s left completely up to the local boards of education.

In other words, if a board of education agrees to development in a particular community, is it possible that they themselves, then, will find themselves in a bind for grant money to expand the schools in that area, or is there some role that the ministry plays in determining whether or not they agree to that development? I could give some examples but I’m just talking in general terms really.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Could you give an example?

Mr. Wildman: For instance, in an unorganized community north of the Soo, Aweres township, there has been a tremendous amount of development which has been okayed by other ministries of this government -- the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of the Environment -- in some cases. In some cases, as a matter of fact, some of this development is illegal, but in many it has been agreed to by the ministries of this government.

Now, the Soo board of education finds itself in a position of having to provide schools for these children in these areas and they’re not prepared for it. Aweres school, in a township north of the Soo, already has three or four portable classrooms and is facing possible further development in the area and they apparently can’t afford to expand the school. As a matter of fact, they face a water and sewer problem at the school -- not being able to provide even basic services of that type for the school.

In other areas -- take Hornepayne, in the township of Wicksteed, for instance. There is a possibility of CN development in that area and I believe the ministry should have a more direct role in determining whether or not they agree to the expansion to the high school in that area, or what funds they’re going to provide in that area.

I would just like to know the role of the ministry in okaying or not okaying development. What role they play with regard to consultation with the local boards of education in giving them advice as to what kind of grants they will obtain in the future.

Hon. Mr. Wells: It’s very difficult to generalize on a question like that; it’s much easier if you could give us the specific examples. I can then tell you exactly what should or should not or could have happened if it didn’t happen and so forth. It’s very hard to generalize in those areas.

If government itself was going in -- if the Ontario government was causing some development to occur directly, and a ministry was putting up a facility that was going to cause a strain on the school, of course we would liaise and make sure that that board was taken care of. If there are things that have to be done because of health reasons, they get top priority.

Basically we try to work with the areas to develop the facilities, or to make the money available to the board for the facilities. But it isn’t always quite as clear cut as that because we don’t have a bottomless pit of money. Sometimes we have to study exactly what facilities are available and where the resources can be put.

It is hard to generalize about those things. If you’ve got some specific example, we can try and get you some answers.

Mr. Wildman: I can get specifics. If you take the Soo North example; development took place in that area. The area is under the control of the Ministry of Natural Resources. It’s unorganized townships. Some of that development was authorized, some of it wasn’t, but the point still remains that there is a school in the area which now has four portables, is facing possible further development if it’s okayed by the local planning board and Natural Resources, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Housing. I’d like to know what relationship you have with the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of the Environment when they decide whether or not they’re going to approve a plan of subdivision. What role does the ministry have or is that left up to the local board of education?

What input do you have into agreeing or disagreeing with possible further development? Do you tell the board that they will have grants or they will not have grants for the expansion of a local school?

Hon. Mr. Wells: All the developments that go in for approval here go to the various ministries for their comments, and those comments go back. Basically, as I said, we have been saying to the Ministry of Housing and to the other ministries that if it’s necessary that there be approval for a school for a housing subdivision to go ahead -- if it’s needed and there is no other way of providing those facilities -- that’s top priority at the present time. That’s what we’re operating under.

We also have to put the proviso in there that a fairly large embargo has been placed on the 1976 assignment of moneys until the summer, at which time we’ll be allocating capital moneys to the school boards. We’ve held up some of it to give some of them a chance to rearrange their priorities, but we’ve tried to pick out the ones that were necessitated because of housing programmes and not hold those up.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Minister, I intended to bring this up a little later, but you made what I think is a rather remarkable statement to my colleague from Sarnia just a couple of minutes ago, and I would like your reaction. If I understood you correctly, you indicated that the remedial courses which are being set up by the universities were necessary because a lower quality of student was coming in. That’s what I think I heard you say, that more students of lower quality are coming in.

Mr. Wildman: That’s the way you put it; that’s not the way he put it.

Mr. Sweeney: That is my understanding of what you said. I’d like to make two comments. First of all, my understanding is that at the present time there is somewhat less than 20 per cent of the population in universities. There is a total of something like 27 per cent or 28 per cent in all post-secondary institutions, according to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, but my understanding is that slightly less than 20 per cent of the population is at universities, even with the new figures. It’s somewhat difficult, even for the minister, to say that 20 per cent of the population of this province do not have the intellectual equipment to go through the normal school system and come out with the normal kinds of academic expectations. That’s the one point I’d like the minister to direct himself to.

Secondly, I have here a statement, which was delivered by P. D. Fleck, who is the president of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English and, at the present time, is also the president of the Ontario College of Art. This statement was delivered about three weeks ago at the University of Waterloo.

Mr. Nixon: A very well connected chap, actually.

Mr. Sweeney: I would like to make the particular reference because I do think it applies to the minister’s statement and I would like his reaction to it. He said, with respect to the kinds of courses we’re talking about:

“We do not use the term ‘remedial’ to refer either to the remedying of special problems or of problems experienced by students whose native language is not English. We use the term to apply only to courses designed for students who have come through the normal educational system and who are deficient in the basic writing skills which that system ought normally to teach them.”

Mr. Bullbrook: Oh, oh.

Mr. Nixon: That’s pretty clear.

Mr. Sweeney: I don’t think we’re talking about the kind of students you’re talking about, Mr. Minister. Would you react to that, please?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly we’re talking about the kind that I was talking about. The percentage of the total student population in university is greater now than it has ever been. We’re not saying that the top 20 per cent of students from the secondary schools necessarily are going on to university; there’s an opportunity for anyone to go on to university, and more than ever before are entering university. There are, of necessity I think, going to be more regular students who, in the eyes of those people in university, need some kind of remedial training. I suppose we might find people in industry who would say that people who come out of universities with BAs should be taking something else; they might wonder exactly what that BA had provided for that person.

Mr. Breithaupt: I’m sure there are.


Hon. Mr. Wells: I am sure there are. I am sure there are more people in university today who need some type of remedial programme because the universities are taking in a wider spectrum of people than they have ever taken in. That is the kind of answer that you will get from most of the university people.

You can take quotes from various people. They make quotes. I haven’t read his whole speech so I don’t know whether he talks about anything else in his speech which might relate to that particular quote but you can get quotes from all kinds of people. I don’t know what it proves, though.

Mr. Nixon: He was the president of one of your post-secondary institutions.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let’s get right down to brass tacks. What does it prove? Did you listen to my opening remarks?

Mr. Nixon: Yes. You said it should not be listened to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I acknowledged that there are people who are criticizing. I acknowledged that there are problems in the system. I acknowledged that we are going to take some action. I also denied any blanket statement that there are no standards and no basics are being taught. It is not accurate and not true.

Having said that, what are we doing about the situation?

Mr. Bullbrook: Nobody said that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We have an extensive study going on, by knowledgeable but impartial people called the interface study on colleges and universities and the secondary system. What we need is a little hard data, some real facts; not suppositions, ideas, personal opinions, comments based on some students people have come into contact with and so forth. What we need is some hard facts. We are going to get them from the interface study and then we are going to correct the situation if there is a problem to be corrected.

Mr. Nixon: Six hundred thousand dollars that is costing this year.

Mr. Haggerty: There is nothing wrong with it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Why keep arguing back and forth over whether this is right or whether it isn’t? You will always find somebody who will claim kids today are no good. Kids today can’t do this; kids today can’t do that. You will find other people who will say they are terrific. The fact remains we really haven’t got any real hard facts in a lot of these areas; we will get them out of this study.

Mr. Breithaupt: Will you get them from OISE?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly, OISE will supply them all.

Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot would like to pursue his point of questioning.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I would like to pursue it when we come to curriculum development. To follow the minister’s own question, what we are trying to get at and what we will deal with again later on is that the present organization of the system is faulty and needs to be corrected. That’s what we are trying to get at. That’s the point.

Hon. Mr. Wells: What do you mean by that?

Mr. Sweeney: The way in which the system in this province is set up now enables a fairly significant number of students to go through who are not adequately prepared for the kinds of skills they need. That is the point we are going to deal with.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You don’t have any proof of that.

Mr. Sweeney: We will come to that.

Mr. Bullbrook: Yes, just for a moment; I appreciate your indulgence. I want to put something on the record to be responded to by a statement from a minister of the Crown. To say some of the kids today are no good or some of the kids today are good -- nobody even inferred that. Nobody in their wildest imagination brought it down to the quality of the kids today. We are talking about the quality of education; we are trying to do something for the kids today.

I want to put this on the record, as I understand it. In response to my words with respect to the development of remedial programmes in post-secondary institutions in the Province of Ontario, the minister replied “It wasn’t as a result of the needs of those who are going through the mainstream of the elementary and secondary system,” that’s exactly what he said. It was those people outside that system primarily who needed the remedial assistance.

Hon. Mr. Wells: With respect, I didn’t say that at all. That’s nonsense; where did I say that? I said the remedial programmes were needed because there was a larger group of students going on to university and that the bottom third of those students who had the opportunity today to go to university were, by and large, the ones for whom the remedial programme was needed. That’s what I said.

Mr. Breithaupt: They were not being prepared.

Mr. Bullbrook: I am not going to carry it any further because the fact of the matter is every time you try to make a valid point with the minister, he completely subverts it and deals with something else. The fact is Dr. Fleck, in his comments there, unequivocally said the need for the remedial programmes results from the lack of basic education of those people going through the system which this minister and his predecessor developed.

Mr. Ferris: I would just ask a question of the minister. He just mentioned the interface study that is going on, and it came up to me that in the administration of this testing that it is my understanding, and perhaps the minister would give some further details, that the schools are being tested on a purely voluntary basis, and that actually once they have accepted this, times are set for the examinations or the testing to be done but there is no compulsion on the part of the students that they have to take it. So there could be a reasonable skewering develop if it is not properly controlled.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I happen to believe it is being done by competent researchers; the selections and sample will be proper and it will provide us with a valid piece of research.

Mr. Ferris: The voluntary aspect doesn’t present any problem to you?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know; I mean I am not an expert in research but I have to believe that the researchers we hire must know that they are doing it in a way that can be substantiated as valid proper research that will stand up to scrutiny. That’s the direction they have been given.

Mr. Nixon: But you say OISE was doing this.

Mr. Chairman: Shall item 2 carry? Carried.

Items 3 to 10, inclusive, carried.

Vote 2901 agreed to.

On vote 2902:

Mr. Chairman: Educational development and administration programme. Item 1, programme administration. Carried.

On item 2, curriculum development.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, just before you get carried away completely.

Mr. Chairman: I will recognize the member for Oakwood unless the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has a point of privilege.

Mr. Nixon: I thought you were looking right at me all that time when all these people on your left were saying “carried”; I thought they wanted to vote the whole $2 billion.

Mr. Chairman: We are down to vote 2902, item 2, and the hon. member for Oakwood indicated --


Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Does the member for Oakwood have something to say about vote 2902, item 2?

Mr. Nixon: He’s got a scripted speech which will take until sign-off.

Mr. Grande: Yes.

Mr. Chairman: You have the floor.

Mr. Grande: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The votes were going so quickly I thought I would almost miss it.

An hon. member: Yes; I thought I would too.

I am glad the Minister of Education did quote the statement that the leader of the Liberal Party made the other day, yesterday or the day before --

Mr. Nixon: One of those days.

Mr. Grande: I would also like to quote it, because it strikes me as almost an 18th century kind of a statement.

Mr. Lewis: And that’s flattering.

Mr. Grande: You know, back in the early --

Mr. Breithaupt: The NDP believe the more water you add to the gravy the more gravy you get.

Mr. Grande: -- in the early 1800s when immigrants started to come to this land, some of the educators said: “What do you want to do with these immigrants?” The only job of education is to try to make them Canadians or to try to make them Americans. Dispel all the qualities, their language, their particular customs that they brought to this land and make them American, Americanize them.

Here it developed the concept of the melting pot.

Mr. Nixon: They used to call it melting, we believe in mosaic.

Mr. Grande: And now the Liberal Party, in 1976, calls it assimilation of the immigrants.

Mr. Chairman, as the leader of my party said, that’s saying it mildly, but I think that those people on the other side are really back in the 1800s as far as education in this province is concerned.

I want to talk exactly on that particular point and I would like to ask the Minister of Education some questions in regard. If he remembers, back in November of 1975 when these education estimates were on last year, at that particular time, in response to a speech that I made, if I recall correctly the minister did say that transitional bilingual education classes were allowed in the educational system. I think I am not misquoting him. Soon after that, I placed a question on the order paper, and that particular question was answered on March 29 by the Minister of Culture and Recreation. This is what he said -- it is an exact quote -- “offer transitional language programmes in which children are taught their total school programme initially in their mother tongue. English being gradually introduced...’’

The first question: Is the Minister of Education in agreement with this statement made by the Minister of Culture and Recreation? In other words, is the Minister of Education accepting the General Mercer model as a way of integrating the new Canadian children and as a way of teaching them English?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The answer is yes.

Mr. Grande: Okay. Great.

Mr. Ferris: What does that mean?

Mr. Grande: I am really extremely pleased that you do say that, because in the past you have not agreed to that, and I am glad that you have finally seen the light.

Since you accept that, would you be kind enough to make sure, in your next issue of the publication Dimensions, that the school boards and the teachers of the province are knowledgeable of that particular policy? The school boards and trustees that I talk to always say to me that it is the Minister of Education who prevents these programmes from being started in the schools. Just make it simple: Put the policy down and say yes, finally, the Minister of Education wants these kinds of classes to go on.

Mr. Martel: And will fund them.

Mr. Grande: And, as a matter of fact, that the Ministry of Education will encourage these classes to go on.

Ms. Gigantes: And pay for them. That’s what he is saying.

Mr. Grande: We’ll come to that point in a minute.

Mr. Martel: I was afraid you might forget about it and leave that to us.

Mr. Grande: That is where the real difficulty lies in terms of getting these programmes under way. As long as they remain just a policy of the minister -- and I fully accept what he said a few minutes ago, that it is a policy -- unless the funds go to the boards of education, nothing will take place. You may have quite a lot of different kinds of policies, but the boards of education are just not moving in that direction.

Earlier in your speech you mentioned that this particular year it is in that kind of direction that you want to move. You mentioned multiculturalism as a matter of fact. If the word multiculturalism has true meaning to you, which is dissimilar or completely 180 deg from the thinking of the Liberal Party, then it seems to me you have to encourage it and you have to say to the school boards, “Get on with it. It’s long overdue.” And the funds have to follow because as you usually are prone to say, unless the funds flow nothing will take place.

You know, strangely enough, I agree with you on one point that you made earlier this evening: that is, that it is not money that produces good education. We know that. Back in the 1960s, the United States spent millions of dollars on compensatory education, but after five, six years or 10 years of those particular programmes, they found out that actually it made very little difference in terms of upgrading -- what was the term they used, “upgrading the child from this particular level to a higher level.” There’s a value judgement there that all the children have to be brought to a particular level, to compensate, as a matter of fact for their deficiencies, for their disabilities and disadvantages.


Now on this particular policy, as I said before, I agree completely with you. This particular policy will begin to say, for the very first time, that those linguistic skills those children have, those cultural experiences those children have, are going to be taken into account in a very serious way in the educational system; and that’s what good education is all about.

Could you give us some assurances that now that you have the policies, the funds are going to go to the particular boards? It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, just enough money so that the board will have an incentive, as you want to put it, to go ahead with these kinds of programmes.

Would you like to answer that now?

Hon. Mr. Wells: As I said, certainly it’s our policy, and I accept what you said about an article in Dimensions. If these estimates had been in another month or two from now, we would have had that already done.

As my friend knows, we are in the last stages of preparing our statements on the whole area of multiculturalism in education. It isn’t quite ready yet for these estimates, but it will be ready shortly and it will have in it these statements that we are talking about, particularly this one about the transitional use of the mother tongue.

I have to say that in our studies it hasn’t been particularly brought to our attention that boards need extra money to carry out this programme. The Toronto board has made presentations to us to get more money from the federal government, basically, saying that because of the total responsibility they have in this area they think that they should have some more money, but we haven’t really had any cost identifications of exactly what more money would be available.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, if I could pursue it for just a few more minutes, I realize the time constraints once again.

So you are saying that in a few months, as soon as your multicultural report is available -- I assume you are talking about the internal committee on multiculturalism -- as soon as that committee comes out with a report, which by the way was supposed to be ready six months ago, you said that in the estimates last year. You said that at the end of the year we are going to have that report and now we are in May and that report is still not around and you are talking about another two months. Anyway, let’s leave that aside.

In other words, am I to understand that in that report, which is going to be written up in two months’ time, you are going to be supplying funds to the boards of education to encourage them to move in this direction of bilingual education?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t think that you can assume that at all. As I said, I can’t tell you what kind of funding might be available or might not be available, that just hasn’t been decided at this point in time.

I am just saying that I don’t think that perhaps one of the major problems is particularly funding. A lot of the boards have said to us, those which have expressed concern about whether they could use this kind of transitional language programme, that really their concern has been whether they could use it not that they needed extra money to do it. A lot of the boards, I think, could accommodate it within their present programmes. Now that we will have to find out, but I can’t give you an answer on that at this point in time.

Ms. Gigantes: You have to put money into it.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I don’t think it’s proper to change the subject if other members want to continue on that particular matter, and I want to talk about educational television.

However, I do want also to say something about the topic which the hon. member has introduced, because I feel that it’s very important, that the position of our leader and this party not be represented by taking a couple of words out of a press release and going around --

Mr. Foulds: Read the whole press release.

Mr. Nixon: All right, all right. I’ll tell you, Mr. Chairman --

Mr. Foulds: Read that whole reactionary press release into the record.

Mr. Nixon: -- that there is absolutely no apology from this particular party. Our position has been clear that we believe in the education of the people of this province. There ought to be ready access to a wide variety of educational background material. We have said repeatedly, that the poetry of Taras Shevchenko ought to form a part --

Mr. Foulds: That is not what Stuart Smith said.

Mr. Nixon: -- of the curriculum for those people who should have the opportunity of pursuing at least the literature aspect of their education in the Ukrainian language.

Mr. Lewis: Do you believe that?

Mr. Nixon: There is not a thing wrong with that. And I will tell you, sir, that those who attempt to smear the whole party with that sort of an attitude are certainly irresponsible on their part.

Ms. Gigantes: You disowned him.

Mr. Chairman: Order please. The hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has the floor.

Mr. Foulds: Wait a minute. The member for Oakwood is not finished.

Mr. Nixon: Now, long before the hon. gentleman at the end of the row here who has introduced this subject -- and an important one it is -- there has been debate in this House on the necessity for upgrading the education system to meet the needs of all sorts of cultural groups within this community. We have certainly indicated clearly our support for any initiative the Ministry of Education or the various boards of education across this province would take, so I certainly want to be sure, Mr. Chairman, that the record shows that our position in that is abundantly clear.

Mr. Chairman: Does the hon. member for Oakwood want to pursue the question of multiculturalism?

Mr. Grande: Yes, I want to continue for a few more minutes. But what the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has been saying is nothing new in the sense that the members of the Liberal Party always disagree with their leaders.


Mr. Nixon: I don’t disagree with it. Immigration in this country is based on Liberal policies and surely you have heard what the leader of the Liberal Party has said, even in Vancouver the last couple of days. I haven’t heard any ringing pronouncements from the leader of the NDP about that.

Mr. Chairman: Will the hon. member for Oakwood confine his remarks to curriculum development, which is item 2 of vote 2902?

Mr. Nixon: No, I haven’t heard Broadbent calling for an expansion of immigration.

Mr. Grande: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The second area I want to touch on, is the area of ESL, English as a second language.

Mr. Foulds: What’s wrong with you and Cunningham now?

Mr. Nixon: He is appealing to the UAW mentality.

Mr. Foulds: What is wrong with the UAW mentality?

Mr. Nixon: Keep ’em out, keep ’em out!

Mr. Chairman: Order, please. Will the hon. member for Oakwood please proceed and ignore the interjections?

Mr. Grande: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, but I’m not being allowed to ignore them.

Mr. Chairman: You have the floor.

Mr. Nixon: Go ahead, try.

Mr. Grande: I would like to ask a few questions on ESL, English as a second language. I understand that in the past two or three months, Dr. Fisher from your ministry has been negotiating an agreement with the federal government for somewhere around $12 million that would come from the federal government to the provincial government for English as a second language.

Now my sense, if it is correct, is that throughout Metropolitan Toronto at least, boards are cutting back in this area. As a matter of fact, a couple of particular schools, schools that have two or three English-as-a-second-language classes, now find themselves with one and one teacher.

I just can’t understand that at the same time you’re negotiating an agreement with the federal government for $12 million for ESL and previously you had somewhere around $6 million or $7 million, teachers of ESL are going into other fields? Would you please explain what is going on here?

Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, we’re negotiating with the federal government but at this point in time we haven’t got anywhere. That’s the first point.

You’re saying that teachers of English as a second language are leaving that field and going into other fields or else boards are switching them out of that area?

Mr. Grande: Yes, that’s right, because of lack of funds. And that’s not the only area where that is happening. I would also like to comment on the area of special education which really seems to be in a turmoil at this particular point.

Okay, perhaps you can look for that information and I’ll go on to the third area.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I hear those statements being made but if we had any specific instances it would be easier to look into them. It’s very easy to say teachers of English as a second language are leaving those programmes and going to other programmes or boards are switching them but do you know where and how many and what boards is it happening in?

We have 198 enrolled in the English as a second language summer course this year. Last year it was 128 so these people must feel it is desirable to take that course. While I have heard this in some certain areas I haven’t seen any concrete examples.

If you can tell me that in Toronto they are taking teachers of English as a second language and putting them in other programmes or doing away with them perhaps we can find out why that’s happened. We have to remember that a lot of these decisions are the decisions of the local boards.

They know how much money they are going to get and if that is how they choose to handle their financial affairs, that’s the price of local autonomy. I may not approve of it; you don’t approve of it, but what are we to do? Tell them, “That is all the money you have but with this money you must not touch this programme or this programme”?

Mr. Grande: I would suggest to you that once you have this agreement between yourselves and the federal government --

Hon. Mr. Wells: There is no guarantee we will get that. That’s a very iffy thing. We feel there should be an agreement there and we are negotiating. That is what is happening now but we haven’t had any particular indication that we are going to be successful. We think there is a basis there for them to give money for these programmes but we have had no indication it will be successful.

Mr. Grande: Okay, let us assume that perhaps you won’t be getting any more than you got last year which, I believe, was around $6 million. When you do get that amount of money would you think carefully of this particular suggestion: That is rather than pumping that money, in the case of Metropolitan Toronto, through the Metro board and then the Metro board allocating teachers of English as a second language to the different boards of education, would you go the direct route according to the needs of those particular boards?

If the minister is thinking, I can go on to some other questions in that particular field.

Mr. Chairman: The minister cannot reply until you relinquish the floor.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The matter of what we will do if we get this money, I think, will have to wait until we see if we get the money. At the present time I am not aware that we are getting any money from Ottawa for teaching English as a second language to children.

As far as I know, all the money goes to the programme that the Ministry of Culture and Recreation operates on English as a second language for adults, which is operated outside the school system by its own group of people. It’s some night school but it is not part of this programme.

What we are doing is actually negotiating with the federal government and saying, “You give money for teaching English as a second language to adults; we think this programme should be expanded into teaching children.” That’s the kind of case we have been making there. As I say, I can give you no guarantee that we are going to meet with any successes. If we do, we will then have to work out how that can be handled.

Basically I support the premise my friend is putting forward. I think we have to give emphasis to this. This is all part of the total policy and the total picture that goes into the total package concerned with multicultural education. We have to be concerned with transitional languages, with English as a second language and with a third language or a second language other than English or French as a subject. They’re all part of the package that we’re working together to develop into a policy, that I’m sorry is going to be a little late, but better late than never.


Mr. Grande: Ten years later you will still be saying, “better late than never.”

Okay, so it seems that in this area, ESL, there isn’t very much that you can say or that you know.

Ms. Gigantes: You won’t put the money out.

Mr. Grande: The incredible thing I find is that when I talked to Dr. Fisher a few months ago -- and I’m sorry, I tried to follow it up but I haven’t been able to get in touch with Dr. Fisher -- he was giving me the impression they were just about at the end of those negotiations. They had been having negotiations with Ottawa and they were about to be coming to the end of those negotiations and the funds allocated to English as a second language were going to be substantially increased. However, I suppose in the next estimates we shall find out what has happened in that area.

The third area I want to talk about, and again I have several questions here, is the area of that third language which you just finished mentioning, third language courses or classes within the elementary public school system. I find it, really, very intriguing and strange, that when the Toronto Board of Education --

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me just answer those earlier remarks; I don’t like to leave any loose ends.

Dr. Fisher, who’s sitting here now, informed me that at the time that he was talking to you --

Mr. Foulds: He just came in now.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- he was indicating to you that we were at the point of drawing up a draft agreement and he had believed that we were practically on the verge of getting that agreement signed. For some reason or other, since that time there has been no enthusiasm, I gather, up in Ottawa, to proceed with that draft agreement. It’s just completely held up. So what he told you then was accurate but since that time it’s been held up and Ottawa has not shown any interest in it. We’re attempting to get it revitalized up there, but they haven’t shown any interest in wanting to continue.

As I say we got to a point, and when you were talking to Dr. Fisher he had the draft agreement drawn up that we were going to present to Ottawa, have both of us sign it and hopefully move ahead; but it is stalled.

Mr. Grande: I guess perhaps it’s a case of cutbacks and restraint, just like you’re doing in the province for the boards of education.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Probably that’s it.

Mr. Grande: Yes, it’s more than likely so.

Then let’s get on into the third area, and very quickly because other people will want to speak tonight. The third area is the area of third language classes for students in the elementary schools in the public school system.

As I was saying, I find it very strange that the Toronto Board of Education comes and asks for your permission to institute Greek and Chinese programmes at Orde and Jackman public schools. You give permission for the bilingual and bicultural programmes, then for some reason -- I suppose lack of money, the board did not give any money to these programmes -- the programmes died; but at the same time, while the board of education comes to you to ask your permission for those classes, classes in 13 or 14 different schools within the separate school system are already teaching 30 or 40 minutes of the third language in their classrooms.

Are the separate school boards under your jurisdiction or are they not? Why does one board have to get the okay to go ahead and the other board doesn’t? I don’t understand. Could you clarify that?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think the programme in the separate school boards is ostensibly, as you state, a third language programme, but it is a programme in the same sense that Ukrainian, Greek and other programmes are taught after school in public schools in Toronto and Scarborough and other places. It is an add-on, third language programme that is provided for the students in separate schools. That’s the rationale under which the separate school board began.

Mr. Grande: But my question is, did they need your permission to begin to do these kinds of programmes? Did you give them permission to do it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, they didn’t need permission, because it is an add-on programme. It is not within the regular five hours; it is an extra-curricular programme. Now, the separate school board has strayed from the traditional concept of having the five-hour day, and then adding the programme at the end. It is integrated, in some cases, into the school programme. But when we asked them, they assured us that they had five hours of school as well as that programme.

So, the answer to your question is, no, they didn’t ask us. They went ahead with those programmes. We are looking at the programmes now, but we don’t object to teaching of a third language in the manner that I have said. As long as it is added on to the curriculum at the end of the regular day, or if they integrate it in some way, but still the five-hour restrictions of our regulations are adhered to -- five hours of the regular elementary school programme.

Mr. Grande: Am I to understand that this is becoming another policy of your ministry; that as long as the third language programme is added on, or an add-on programme, you allow it to go ahead? So the York Board of Education, the Toronto Board of Education, the North York Board of Education could initiate these classes as add-on to the regular programme?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, it is being done. It is being done on an extra-curricular basis at the present time, and it could be done. That, again, is part of this total package we are going to present and study and we are looking at.

There are other things that concern us about what’s happening in the Metropolitan Toronto Separate School Board; and that’s being looked at also. They concern me very much. I want to know whether the teachers who are teaching those programmes are Ontario-qualified teachers, or not. That is a concern that we at least have to look at, and that’s what we are looking at -- who’s providing those teachers to the school board for that programme, and things like that.

Mr. Nixon: I just want to speak briefly to the minister about the educational television authority. It was discussed, of course, under the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, since the financing of the programme is shared among, I guess, more than two ministries.

I feel it is somebody’s duty to bring to your attention, Mr. Chairman, on all of these issues, the recommendation of the McKeough commission on special programmes -- the one that the minister calls the Henderson commission.

The committee, chaired by the Treasurer, indicated very clearly what they felt should occur with educational television -- I suppose in the short run, because we all hope that we can return to the palmy days which we have experienced over the last decade when money didn’t seem to be any object.

But we gather that educational television is being funded in excess of $18 million this year. The recommendation that interested me from the McKeough commission calls for the programming responsibility to be returned directly to the Ministry of Education. As a matter of fact, it seems sensible that that be so, Mr. Chairman, since it is educational television, and since we do already have a public network that serves all of the communities in Canada.

I believe it would be very advantageous, particularly for northern Ontario, to have another outlet for television programming, which educational television has really become.

The references are to the interesting programmes which, unfortunately, can’t be seen in all parts of the province, which are made up of top shows, such as “The Education of Mike McManus,” or the classic movies shown on “Magic Shadows,” with discussions, and so on. All of them are extremely valuable and, I point out to you, Mr. Chairman, very expensive.

As I said this afternoon, I suppose I do sound like a Conservative in that I do believe that the expenditure for an additional public network is unnecessary. The one justification for educational television is that it be an aid and adjunct to the education in our school system. This is the way it was conceived when it came about. I believe that, much to the detriment of the taxpayers, we have got away from this rather dramatically.

Mr. Foulds: Forget about adult education.

Mr. Nixon: The adult education that the gentlemen are talking about, as they interject, is undoubtedly interesting. As I pointed out, I would certainly look forward to seeing my friend Judy LaMarsh interview my other friend, Joey Smallwood; it would be educational and I know you would agree, Mr. Chairman, that it would be bound to be entertaining.

Mr. Breithaupt: And certainly adult.

Mr. Nixon: But as adult education of the type that is going to produce anything near a return on the payment of close to $20 million, I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that educational television is anything but a resounding success. I am not criticizing the management of educational television, as I and others have done in the past -- and I hesitate to mention this, because the minister responds so strongly -- but once again we are paying a great deal of rent for a facility that is handled by another one of those great corporations that in the past have done so much business with the Ministry of Education. I am not sure whether it is Transamerica, Crescent Corp. or whatever one it is -- It is the same one, I believe, that owns OISE --

Mr. Foulds: Didn’t your leader get up on a point of privilege this afternoon and --

Mr. Nixon: -- but I do believe that educational television -- has come along very much as one of the sacred cows in this ministry and that its education budget has grown out of control. I, for one, agree with the McKeough commission recommendation that it can have a real function in the school for educational purposes. I do not believe that we can have French-language education in many of the parts of this province except through adequately programmed educational television. We have discussed this in the past, but I do not think that we should go through the approval of this expenditure without drawing to the attention of anybody who will listen -- and there may not be anybody here; obviously the minister is concerned about it, but he is not taking any action -- that the recommendations of the McKeough commission are specific. They have been discussed here before: they call for a substantial cutback in that budget, so that the direction of the programming is for more formal education purposes, rather than being construed simply as a mandate, taken aside from education, for the development of a whole new education system for public programming in the province.

I personally feel that we have to give this some further consideration, and once again I would ask the minister for his comments.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, knowing my friend’s interest in television, I am sorry that both he and I -- well, I guess I am not sorry; we have to be here and this is where we should be, but my friend Bill Davis is interviewing Anthony Davis and Betty Kennedy on television tonight.

Mr. Nixon: Betty Kennedy signed the report that said this should not be done.

Hon. Mr. Wells: He may ask her about that --

Mr. Breithaupt: She should ask them and they could both get fees.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- but, I guess showing that wonders will never cease, the Premier of Ontario is sitting in while Morty Shulman is on vacation or something from his show and taking Morty’s place on channel 79.

Mr. Nixon: He was complaining about his indemnity last week.

Mr. Breithaupt: It’s like the Loblaw’s ad, you know -- price following pride.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me just say that the $7,588,000 in these estimates for the Ontario Educational Communications Authority is for the sole use of developing and maintaining programming for the elementary and secondary schools as an aid to the curriculum in this province. We feel that we have a high degree of accountability and control over how that money is spent.

I have made the point many times with people from OECA, just as my friend has done, that the money in this budget is not for the open sector part of the programme; that’s the responsibility of another ministry and another vote. This money is to provide service of an educational television nature to augment the curriculum in the elementary and secondary schools. It is doing that. About $5 million is for programme production and acquisition; $751,000 for the VIPs programme; $436,000 for utilization, workshops and activities to help teachers be able to use the programmes that are available.

The money represents a certain percentage of the cost of channel 19 and so forth, but I can assure you it is all for educational use and for producing curriculum aids for the school system. That is what this money is here for and, just as you have said, we believe there should be a high degree of accountability to us to make sure that’s what this money is being used for. That’s the way I feel about it and I feel that we’ve been getting that through the kind of co-operation and the kind of liaison we have with OECA.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall item 2 carry?

Some hon. members: No.

Mr. Sweeney: I move the adjournment of the debate, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think the acting House leader should move the committee rise and report.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved the committee rise and report.

Motion agreed to.

The House resumed, Mr. Deputy Speaker in the chair.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of supply begs to report it has reached certain resolutions and asks for leave to sit again.

Report agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow in the chair, morning we will continue, or recontinue, with the budget debate.

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

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.