30e législature, 3e session

L084 - Tue 15 Jun 1976 / Mar 15 jun 1976

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, may I rise on a point of order?

Mr. Speaker: A point of order?

Mr. Roy: Yes, a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: How could it be a point of order? We haven’t really started the business yet.

Mr. Lewis: Is it a point of order or a point of privilege?

Mr. Roy: Actually, a point of privilege, if you like. It requires a wide interpretation, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis: That’s better.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: You want to be Attorney General.

Mr. Roy: The point is this, if I may address you, Mr. Speaker: For the first time since I’ve been here, today I find on my desk a cheque for $24,998.99.

Mr. Lewis: The generosity of it all.

Mr. Roy: It is emanating from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.

I understood, and I have the Hansard here from last week, that the minister said that all members would be treated alike. I’d like to know, Mr. Speaker, whether that means we are all going to get cheques from now on or, in the alternative, that we are not going to get any cheques and this is a mistake. I would like your direction, Mr. Speaker, if it’s okay for me to go to Ottawa and present the cheque --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member knows it is not a point of order or privilege. It’s probably just good news day for the hon. member.

Mr. Roy: I require your direction.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If the hon. member wishes to ask the appropriate minister a question that’s a different matter. I think it’s inappropriate to discuss such matters at this time.

Mr. Lewis: Are there no limits to the lengths they’ll go to curry favour with the Liberals?

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would like your direction.

Mr. Speaker: I just gave it.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Send it back.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Speaker has nothing to do with that and the member will have to deal with the appropriate minister.

Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) if it is a mistake.


Mr. Speaker: All right. Could we get started in a more orderly fashion, please? The hon. Minister of Government Services has a statement.

Mr. Bullbrook: She wants her cheque; cash it.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to inform you and members of the Legislature of the inauguration of the Ontario government communications technology satellite experiment, dubbed CTS, which took place at noon today in Toronto. Through telephone calls to Madame Jeanne Sauvé, the federal Minister of Communications in Ottawa, and to our ministry in Thunder Bay, I officially opened the system and declared it operational both at the centre here in Toronto and in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Foulds: Did that make it so?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: This system appears to offer great promise as a means of communicating with and within remote areas of Ontario where our own existing systems are often inadequate due to distance and low population densities.

I think it is not difficult to imagine the high degree of usefulness this system could have in the delivery of government services to Ontario’s farflung northern areas.

Mr. Conway: I can imagine.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: In the future, reliable, potentially inexpensive systems such as this one can provide an important solution to our current needs in these areas.

The multiministry programme plan, coordinated by the Ministry of Government Services telecommunication services branch, calls for a number of practical experiments to be carried out in two phases beginning today, continuing for 3½ months, and recommencing next April for a similar period. The experiments are to take place within northwestern Ontario and between there and Toronto using small earth stations exclusively.

Test highlights of the multiministry programme are:

Natural Resources: Forest fire control in remote areas where conventional communication systems are unreliable or non-existent. I must say, Mr. Speaker, how much I regret the system was not in operation last week.

Health: Emergency medical service, including transmission of vital sign data when the very ill or badly injured are being evacuated by air from isolated regions.

OPP: Establishing and maintaining contact with remote northern Indian communities otherwise devoid of good communications.

Environment: Transmission of meteorological and environmental data to Toronto from remote sites for processing and assessing pollution levels, etc.

Transportation and Communications: Establishing ready access to a Toronto computer for remote operational assistance.

In addition, these ministries and Government Services, the prime experimenters, as well as others will test the system’s potential for regular administrative voice, data and facsimile communications.

This has all been made possible, Mr. Speaker, as a result of a joint Canadian-United States experimental programme in which a satellite designed, built and funded by Canada was successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in January, this year.

This overall project began some two years ago with the commencement of the joint Canadian-US programme aimed at promoting the peaceful uses of outer space, and the launching of Canada’s first satellite, the Alouette I.

Currently, this communications technology satellite project represents a major breakthrough in communications technology, and will undoubtedly lead to a whole range of related services throughout Canada by the end of this decade.

We are pleased and honoured to participate in this experimental project not only because of the major significance of this rapidly growing field of man’s knowledge of technology but also because it will provide us with new and important ways of communicating to previously remote and inaccessible areas of our province, and so link all parts of Ontario to provide a communications network serving people wherever they may live.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that my ministry is issuing an immediate cease and desist order today under the Business Practices Act against Holloway Productions Inc. of Escondido, Calif., a fund-raising organization; against its principal, R. Eugene Holloway; and against Gary Sanderson and Jule Sanderson.

The order charges them with making false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable representations in their fund-raising operations around the province.

Mr. Cunningham: Sounds like Bill Kelly.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Consumers were persuaded to donate by means of a series of telephone solicitations based on a prepared script.

The consumers were told that their donation would help send eight deserving or less fortunate children to a circus. “Just return the ticket with your $8 cheque,” they were told.

The order describes these solicitations as a boiler-room operation where employees of Holloway used “pitch cards,” with telephone numbers of consumers who had been proven givers in the past.

In the course of these telephone solicitations the consumers were not told that the fund-raising was a profit-making venture nor was there any indication that a great part of the funds were going to Holloway and that many more tickets were sold than could actually be used.

The promotion dealt mainly with Big John Strong’s 1869 Circus, scheduled to appear during July in North York, Cambridge, Oshawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Catharines, Oakville, Peel county, Peterborough and throughout Ontario.

Often the promotion included the use of several service clubs’ names. The name was used to give the fund collecting an air of respectability so people would contribute. Only a small portion of the money actually goes to a service club or is intended to send children to the circus.

I can understand the dilemma in which these service clubs find themselves. It is difficult to get members out to raise money, but there are many ways to raise funds without getting involved with his kind of fund-raising firm.

At present many clubs are lending their good name because it looks like a simple way to receive a few thousand dollars. In actual fact, up to 80 per cent of all the money raised in this way goes to the fund-raiser.

My ministry is trying to stop this type of fund-raising but no amount of action on our part can work effectively if the service clubs continue to allow themselves to be used and if consumers continue to answer telephone solicitations with large contributions.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Today I will he introducing for first reading an important piece of legislation. The Consumer Products Warranties Act represents the position of the government of Ontario in the development of a consistent and uniform warranty system for Canada.

The existing legislation under the Sale of Goods Act relating to implied conditions and warranties is now 80 years old. It no longer provides adequate protection for consumers in this province. As a result, most consumers today do not know what their rights are because they do not understand the legal terms which govern consumer transactions.

Consumers generally think of their protection in terms of the so-called guarantees they receive from sellers and manufacturers. However, guarantee is not legal language. In fact, it’s a word which has been used by some sellers and manufacturers to escape their legal responsibilities.

The inadequacy of the existing legislation to protect the consumer is a matter of great concern to this government. It is fundamental to our society’s notion of honest business that the reasonable expectations of the buyer be satisfied by the performance of the product. Where these expectations are not met it is only right that the buyer should have easy access to legal recourse and that means having at his or her disposal legislation which is both understandable and easy to use.

Our main objective is to bring the law in line with the conditions of the marketplace. The specific purpose of the Consumer Products Warranties Act is to modernize and simplify consumer warranties. It does this by replacing the existing system of conditions and warranties with a new definition of warranty that provides a basic minimum standard to all transactions. This is called the basic statutory warranty.

The Act also provides for a supplementary warranty which the retailer or manufacturer may offer over and above the basic statutory warranty. The Act covers most products costing more than $25 which are considered movable possessions with the exception of such things as food, drink, medicine, cosmetics, clothing and securities.


In brief, here are the main improvements the new Act provides. The first is a clarification of warranties covering five essential aspects of consumer transaction. They are the following: A statutory warranty to cover products which are sold by description or sample rather than through demonstration of the actual merchandise;

A statutory warranty by the seller and manufacturer that both a product and its components will perform for a reasonable length of time, having account of the nature of the product;

A statutory warranty by the seller and manufacturer that spare parts and reasonable repair facilities will be available to the consumer;

A supplementary warranty of acceptability based on disclosure of all defects if a product is substandard. The onus is on the seller to disclose that the goods are not suitable for all purposes normally expected of them;

Finally, a supplementary warranty of fitness for a particular purpose which the consumer makes known to the seller, except where it’s clear that the consumer disregards the seller’s skill and judgement.

A second improvement the new Act provides is to prohibit the use of “disclaimer” clauses purporting to restrict or diminish any warranty or remedy under the Act.

A third is to provide remedies for the breach of statutory or supplementary warranty. These include the obligation of the seller to make good the breach and a right of action for rescission on the part of the consumer. Remedies may also include damages awarded to the consumer based on estimated losses which result directly from the breach. A very important procedure in all these remedies is to permit oral evidence even when a written agreement exists.

A fourth improvement provides that when there is a joint warranty by the seller and manufacturer, each is equally responsible in a warranty action.

The Consumer Products Warranties Act is a common-sense response to legitimate concerns. It will provide significant new protection with a minimum of inconvenience to those who carry on a business in a fair and reasonable manner.

The new legislation is completely consistent with the existing philosophy and methodology for dealing with consumer-related problems. It is expected to make a significant contribution in our efforts to remove the stumbling blocks from the path of the consumer.

It is not the government’s intention to proceed with debate on this Act at the present time. We expect response from the public, from business, from our sister provinces and from the federal government. The process of developing a high degree of uniformity across the country may not be as fast as some would like but the introduction of this bill in Ontario is a major first step in the process.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Health: Has the Minister of Health taken any specific personal initiative -- or has he ascertained where the area of potential, absolute breakdown exists -- as we reach the 11th hour in the possible hospital workers’ walkout across the province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have kept very well informed insofar as I could keep informed of the progress. I understand the Ontario Labour Relations Board sat until the small hours of this morning trying to resolve the technical or legal difficulties between the two parties.

I am still encouraged enough to think that perhaps a closure will be averted, simply because (a) the findings of the board may be made known before the strike deadline and (b) a settlement in the other 40 hospitals served by the Service Employees International Union has been reached by negotiation; I’m encouraged by that, because traditionally there has been some relationship between the two settlements. I would hope that both parties to this agreement would look at that agreement and would be relating their own demands to it, therefore avoiding a strike.

Mr. Lewis: That’s a useful reply. By way of supplementary, since the Service Employees International Union has negotiated a settlement, and one of the things CUPE clearly feels most aggrieved about is the matter of 11 cents which was awarded retroactively to the Service Employees International Union after the minister participated in the negotiated settlement last time but was not given to CUPE, can he perhaps make that suggestion to the hospital boards and simply by doing so avert what everybody would agree would be an unhappy and undesirable walkout?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I tried to make clear that I would not be involved in the direct negotiations this time. There is nothing in the negotiations to preclude that from happening if the people dealing with CUPE decide that they are willing to make that kind of offer. That’s their business. My budget to them won’t change; they know that.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, isn’t that exactly the problem -- that a differential has emerged between two major unions that have had strong wage relationships, and wouldn’t it be silly for the kingdom to be lost for 11 cents an hour which the minister awarded to one but not the other?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t award that to anybody, as the member knows.

Mr. Lewis: Yes, the minister did. I was there. I was at the other end of the phone.

Hon. F. S. Miller: We are talking about SEIU at the present moment are we not? We didn’t have any telephone conversations on that, as I recall.

The fact remains that I feel we are following a course of action which I believe the NDP supports and that is negotiation.

Mr. Mancini: Who’s the guy next to you?

Hon. F. S. Miller: It has been carried out in good faith with one union vis-à-vis the management group. I trust and hope it’s being carried out by the management group vis-à-vis the other union in good faith. I think that’s what the court’s trying to determine right now in one of its decisions.

I prefer to leave these decisions where they rightfully belong, to the hospital board, since we have made very clear this year the total amount of money they will have to operate.


Mr. Lewis: A further question to the Minister of Health, if I may, Mr. Speaker.

What happened in the case of the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital which prompted this ministry as late as March, 1976, to give them the go-ahead on their budding programme which had been in process since 1971 and then, at a 20-minute meeting in June, to reverse that decision so that the whole board of the hospital is threatening resignation, has pulled out of the building programme, is returning donations to the donors and is expressing extreme frustration and anger with the duplicity of the government?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have in front of me a copy, I guess, of this week’s local newspaper, Le Carillon?

Mr. Lewis: Le Carillon.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes. I’m reading the local reaction to the scene. I think the truth is that because of the magnitude of my budget this year and the fact that there will probably be some expenses which are difficult to control -- I think the ones we’re just talking about a few moments ago are some -- for the time being some of the capital projects have been embargoed.

Mr. MacDonald: Didn’t you know that in March?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, we did not know that in March.

Mr. Lewis: You didn’t know that in March?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I did not know that in March. At that point, I had enough capital to allow the projects we had defined and given priority to to go ahead this year. I did not know that until very recently.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: I understand the restraint programme. Doesn’t it seem nonsensical to the minister and destructive of a community to encourage them to spend nearly $200,000 already on consultants’ fees and all the related matters, to tell them as late as March to proceed and then, out of the blue, reverse it in June? How did that happen in this ministry?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a total budget I have to live within. The hon. member may recall I wasn’t permitted to make some of the savings I had calculated for this year.

Mr. Lewis: Because of the courts?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Because of the courts and because of other factors.

Mr. Roy: We’ve all got to follow the law.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact remains that --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: -- if I can’t save it on the one hand, I have to save it on the other hand. It’s as simple as that.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister prepared to make any assurances, which I hope can be taken as genuine, to the Hawkesbury Hospital Board which would allow them to plan for recommencement of the project within the foreseeable future?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope so. I’ve learned one thing: Capital expenditure is the most difficult part of a budget to guarantee. One assumes that operations will carry on but capital is often the one thing that varies a bit from year to year as the pinch from operating budgets gets tighter or as it releases a bit.

During my tenure as minister I have been very wary about encouraging hospitals to start upon capital projects. I have visited this one. I agree they need a new hospital. It still has priority and it’s going to be built. The planning money has not been wasted. I have had to delay its start.


Mr. Lewis: A question, if I may, of the Chairman of the Cabinet: What did the minister initiate following our last exchange in the Legislature about the putting up of the barricade on the Whitedog Reserve, which resulted in the putting up of a barricade on the Whitedog Reserve, I guess, just yesterday or the day before? Does he know it’s up? Does he know the protest is now in full throat, as it were? What is he about to do?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I think everyone is well aware -- it was mentioned in the press -- that the barricade is up. Following the question in the House, I did get in touch with the solicitors of Hydro and the band, trying to arrange a meeting. If the hon. member recalls, at that time the blockade was to take place on Thursday, June 10.

I did my best to try and arrange a meeting the day before, for the Wednesday, in order to have these issues dealt with. There are several issues that are being negotiated with the solicitors of the Indian band and with the solicitors of Hydro. However, through some misunderstanding, the meeting was not held on that Wednesday; it was held on the following day, Thursday.

I am told there is another meeting to be held this week to discuss various issues -- it’s quite a large package deal.

With reference to the blockade, I have been in touch with the chief. I mentioned to the chief that the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) and I would be willing to meet with him if this was agreeable, and I asked him if he would be willing to lift the blockade until this meeting was held. I mentioned to him the meeting will probably take place sometime this weekend. The chief replied that he would be willing to meet with us, but at this time he was not prepared to remove the blockade.

Mr. Lewis: I can understand the chief’s position, but may I ask about the minister’s? Is the minister pursuing that meeting between the Minister of Natural Resources and himself with the band at Whitedog?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Yes, as I just told the member right now.

Mr. Lewis: It will take place?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I indicated to the chief that we are prepared to meet with him.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Has the minister ascertained from the Minister of Health whether, in fact, there will be a ban on sport fishing, as we questioned on March 12 and April 29, and which the chief has again been quoted in newspapers as demanding as a condition for lifting the blockade?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: On that question, Mr. Speaker, I have had no communications from the chief or members of his band as to the discretion of closing. The only things that I know are what I have read in newspaper articles. When I did write to the two chiefs on April 9, I indicated at that time that the closing of the English-Wabigoon River system was a question that had been discussed at cabinet, and it was a very complex question. It has economic, social and other elements, and the question is still being actively pursued by cabinet. I indicated to the chiefs that no immediate decision would be made -- and that position still stands. I would like to reiterate that that matter is under very active consideration by our cabinet.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary; the minister will have nothing specific to tell them then this weekend -- he will simply talk to them about it?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I wish I was in that fortunate position of the Leader of the Opposition, who has instant solutions to complex problems. All I am saying at this time is that we are willing to meet with them on a rational basis.

Mr. Lewis: This has been going on six months; since October.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: If the hon. Leader of the Opposition has the answers, we would welcome them.

Mr. Lewis: Try facing it.

Mr. Speaker: Any further questions?

Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: In response to the minister’s comments about a specific thing, by way of negotiation, has he discussed with his colleagues the possibility of government policy adjusting so that a ban on sport fishing, as demanded very reasonably by the Indians, would be accepted? Surely, whether the minister knows it or not, this is one of the important areas in contention.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I am not sure if I understood entirely the question that the hon. member --

Mr. Nixon: Well, if I may clarify. Is the minister prepared to go up there able to make such a decision if it is put to him, or will there just be more of the very friendly talks at which the minister is adept?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Again, I would like to reiterate what I said before, Mr. Speaker, that this is a very difficult, complex question. The matter has been discussed and there will be a government decision. The matter will be discussed again tomorrow, so by this weekend we should be in a better position than we are now to make a decision. But it is a very difficult decision, as I think the hon. member appreciates.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of the Environment. Will he, in fact, be meeting with the board of health for the city of Toronto before the session rises, as he was requested specifically to do, on the smelter problem?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know if we will be meeting with the board of health before next Tuesday, I really can’t say, but certainly there is no reason why we can’t arrange to meet with the board of health.

Mr. Lewis: In his discussions around the replacement of the soil, is the minister prepared to pursue the replacement of the soil in all the properties of over 1,000 parts per million, and then insist that the companies compensate the government?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The figures I gave the hon. member yesterday deal with those properties that have lead readings of 3,000 parts per million. The recommendation of the hearing board is that the soil at those particular locations be removed.


Mr. Lewis: The task force said 1,000.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The task force said 1,000. That’s one of the reasons I feel the hearing board and the task force should meet even before we meet with the board of health.

Mr. Renwick: Where did the figure of $300,000 come from as the estimated cost of the replacement of the topsoil in the areas mentioned by the minister yesterday?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: This is an estimate by officials of my ministry together with some outside consultants, people in that type of work. It includes not only the removal of the topsoil but also its safe and complete disposal.

Mr. McClellan: May I ask the minister if he would identify, I believe it was 125 properties, which will have the soil removed and provide that information to us as quickly as possible?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, I would be happy to table that information.


Mr. Lewis: One more question, to the Minister of Community and Social Services: Is he aware that the federal Minister of National Health and Welfare, the Hon. Marc Lalonde, today tore this ministry strip by strip at his address to the luncheon of the Canadian Council on Social Development, saying he could think of no single significant proposal for reform brought to the table by the government of Ontario, saying that as active participants in a dialogue this ministry was nowhere to be seen? Did the minister know that this attack on the inadequacy of his ministry was about to be made? Has he seen the text of it?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No.


Mr. Cunningham: Now he knows.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: I guess this is what the minister meant in his memo by intelligence. May I ask him can we expect a response to the very, very tough charges -- I have seldom seen them as tough -- which the federal minister has levelled at the minister and his ministry?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: When I have read the remarks, I will consider my response.

Mr. S. Smith: I have a supplementary to this question.

Mr. Speaker: All right. It is your turn for questions as well.


Mr. S. Smith: All right then, let it be a new question but on the same topic to the same minister. Can the minister explain to us why Ontario is the only province that has absolutely gone back on its agreement with the other provinces and with Ottawa in terms of the income supplementation programme? Why has the government negotiated for three years and now said that it will do no further negotiating? What does the minister estimate to be the cost of this programme and can he explain this behaviour over the last three years?

Mr. Yakabuski: We can’t trust the feds. They will suck you in and then opt out.

Mr. Nixon: ’Bye, Paul.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: First of all, I would like to point out that my perception of the whole matter is that Ontario is not alone in its position or stance. Secondly, I would like to point out that, although the meetings or negotiations covering a number of areas have been carried on for about three years, there have been a number of variations over that period of time so that it wasn’t a question of taking three years to consider a single proposition.


Mr. S. Smith: I will have other times to deal with that. A question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Would the minister undertake to inform this House with regard to Etobicoke Olympic Facilities Fund Ltd., referred to in a column by Dick Beddoes today? Would the minister undertake to tell us what the explanation is as to why whenever one calls this particular firm to find out about its fund-raising activities, one gets a response from its solicitor basically refusing to give any information, and why the town council has been unable to have the books looked at? Could he undertake to tell us that? And why is it there’s nothing mentioned about fund raising in the charter of this particular company?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I haven’t seen Mr. Beddoes’ column. I will look at it and, if a response is required, I certainly will be prepared to make one.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of a brief supplementary, is the minister aware then that Etobicoke Olympic Facilities Fund Ltd. is alleged to have been raising funds for a particular stadium and that neither the town council nor donors have been able to get any information from this company?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I have to assume from the hon. member’s question that that is contained in the column. While I certainly appreciate his new-found faith in the media, I haven’t seen it and I’ll investigate it to find out if it’s true.

Mr. S. Smith: For the information of the minister, this is the result of a phone call to an alderman on the town council of Etobicoke. The information does not just come from the media.


Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Minister of Natural Resources. Does the minister agree with the statement by one S. J. Simons, president of Ontario Paper Co., that there are currently 30 million acres of Ontario forest infested by the spruce budworm and that the situation is, in his words, beyond control?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of those exact figures but I will tell the hon. member that at the present time we are spraying about 114,000 acres of northern Ontario’s forest land, mainly in the Quetico Park area. That’s going on at the present time.

Mr. S. Smith: As a brief supplementary: Will the minister consider allocating -- or does he think it’s necessary to allocate any more money for the spraying programme to control this infestation? Would areas other than forest and provincial parks be considered for this particular programme?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, our success with regard to the control of spruce budworm is excellent. In fact, we have jurisdictions from all across this continent looking at our successes in northwestern Ontario. I might add that we are doing spruce budworm protection in the Algonquin Park region. I’ll certainly make myself aware of any other areas which might need some further attention.

Mr. Nixon: Does the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) know you’re doing this?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He approved it.

Mr. S. Smith: We should ask the Minister of the Environment if he wants that spraying to go on.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment: On what basis has the Environmental Assessment Board decided to permit operation of a brine disposal well on land zoned as rural in the township of Moore, over the objections of both the township council -- the continuing objections of that council -- and the area residents? Does he know the basis for that decision?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: My understanding is, that that well has been operating for some time; it’s not necessarily a completely new operation. It is essential from the point of view of having a facility for our industrial liquid waste disposal, otherwise it will end up in some stream or probably the St. Clair River or Lake Erie. We’re satisfied that the disposal in the well is safe and under those circumstances we don’t feel that the objections were legitimate.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, is the minister aware that a considerable amount of disagreement with that particular position -- a considerable amount of exception -- is taken by the deputy reeve and the reeve of Moore township? Would he personally undertake to look into the situation, explain the precise rationale as to why they couldn’t come to an amicable settlement of this matter and inform the House accordingly?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, I’ll be happy to do that. We’ve had discussions with the councillors in that area. The local member has been in on these discussions, so has our regional office, and they’re quite aware of why the decision was made but I would be happy to meet with them further.


Mr. S. Smith: One last question to the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that at this time as many as 30 Browndale Haliburton employees are seriously considering a mass resignation to take place at the end of this month, partly because of government delays in handling the Browndale issue? What steps is he planning to avert the departure of what would probably be the most experienced senior people in the whole Browndale programme?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware of very real problems in the Browndale Haliburton programme. I’m aware that 32 children will be released to their homes very shortly in that particular area, having, in the opinion of Browndale, utilized or benefited from their programme to the maximum.

I am aware that our ministry has been having talks with Mrs. Brown and has recommended to her that she have a local board, similar to the one in Peterborough. Up to this point she has not been willing to do so. It’s my opinion that this would be improved by such a board and I am going to encourage her. I have to point out I have no statutory rights to insist upon it. I’m looking at what rights I might have in other ways if co-operation and discussion don’t solve the problem. If I think for one moment the children in that area are not getting the attention they deserve, then this government will act.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Is the minister having any second thoughts on the long-established policy of the government in maintaining the services that have been established by Browndale over a number of years in the private sector? Is he giving it any consideration to making it a direct responsibility of either his ministry or some other?

Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s a direct responsibility of my ministry. I’m so pleased that the member said second thoughts because he so seldom allows me to have first thoughts, or give me credit for them in any case.

Mr. Nixon: I give you all the credit you are due.

Mr. Samis: You walked into that one.


Hon. F. S. Miller: Once in a while, we’ll give you one.

Mr. Bullbrook: Not a bad response.

Mr. Roy: That’s very gracious of the minister.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The assumption from the Liberal Party that government should take over the provision of all services in the province is surprising. If it came from the other side of the House, I could understand it. It happens that a good quality of service is delivered by the many groups, not just Browndale, who are working with government financing but not directly as government employees.

Mr. Shore: When is the audit going to be released?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I would hate to see this government have to run every single operation. There is only one net result.

Mr. Haggerty: You are running them now.

Mr. Peterson: So would we.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not contributing anything to the debate.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Once government has to run the functions, we become bound to many rules and regulations that do not apply in the private sector. The volunteer component often disappears, the staffing ratios change and the service and quality do not necessarily improve.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Victoria-Haliburton with a final supplementary on this.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that this mass resignation would signal the opportunity for Browndale to close down the operation in Haliburton, which is something they probably have been wanting to do? What steps is the minister taking to make sure that this remains open?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Each specific location is covered by regulation. It designates exactly where the children may be, right down to street and lot description if possible. This is the change we made a year or two ago so that we could control where the services are delivered. I suspect they would not be permitted to do that under our current regulations.

If they, in fact, close down those operations, we probably would have the right to turn them over to somebody else.


Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’m replying to a question raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) last week concerning the St. Lawrence Resin Products Ltd. plant in Cayuga.

In further reviewing the plant operations, my staff have concluded that the aldehyde content is very small and the amount emitted to the environment is negligible. We plan to conduct air sampling at and around the plant this week to reaffirm this conclusion and to determine the exact nature of the compounds being emitted.

As we indicated in a letter dated Feb. 9, 1976, to one of the residents being bothered by odours from the plant, “fumes from aldehydes comprising the raw feed might cause some respiratory problems.” However, it now seems clear that any small content of aldehydes is most unlikely to give rise to any ill-effects on the health of persons living in the neighbourhood, as stated in the letter from Messrs. Marshall and Thibideau.

There is no question that the plant has had a history of producing malodours in the neighbourhood. We have prosecuted the company twice on this score. The first case in October, 1971, was lost. In the second in March, 1972, we obtained a conviction and a fine was levied by the court.

Mr. Smith: Yes, $100.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That is all, yes. The company has taken a number of steps to reduce odours since 1972. The last step, the installation of a scrubber, is scheduled to be completed at the end of July, 1976. Much of this equipment has already been delivered at the plant. The nature of the measures taken has been described in correspondence to the town of Haldimand and to the neighbours who inquired about the status of the abatement programme.

We will continue to report to the people of the town on our forthcoming investigations and on the completion of the abatement programme.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Given that this corporation and the president of this corporation also operate a similar facility in the city of Hamilton and it has emitted a great deal of solid naphthalene, and both these plants have resulted in considerable discomfort to the people who live around them, doesn’t the minister think that the time has come for some action on the part of his ministry to ensure that the people in the area aren’t subjected to further gases, be they from aldehyde, naphthalene or whatever?


Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that the hon. member does not overdramatize the situation in respect to these plants. I am not aware of any problems with the plant in Hamilton. Because the two plants happen to have the same president isn’t any reason to be concerned about both plants unless there are some concerns about the emissions from those plants.

If the hon. member has any information about the plant in Hamilton, I would be happy to appraise it and have my ministry comment on it. But just because it happens to be a similar type of plant, it’s important that we do not, shall we say, categorize them both in the same way.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Would the minister come with me to the plant in Hamilton, examine it and possibly report back to the House and favour us with some decision as to what his opinion would be, as the Minister of the Environment, with regard to the safety of the people who live around it? Because I want to tell the minister --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That’s practically a repetition of the first question.

Mr. Cunningham: -- if he’s not aware of the problem, I want him to know it exists.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’d like to have the hon. member tell me exactly what the concern is with the Hamilton plant, and then I will look into it.


Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Since the minister is aware of the very serious student unemployment problem for this summer, will he rescind the 10 per cent increase of the student earning requirement for OSAP, or will he simply drop the savings requirement for those who remain unemployed throughout this summer?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I think that would not be the appropriate thing to do at this time. I think the member is aware that we will review those cases; there is a very positive review mechanism. For those who are able to obtain jobs and for all those others who have applied to the Student Assistance Programme in the normal fashion, I think the rules should stay as they are, particularly when one considers the appeal mechanism that is open to all students.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. I wonder if the minister could explain the insensitivity of OHIP in refusing to cover the cost of reconstructive surgical operations to patients, following breast cancer operations, when clearly these costs and these operations are said to be necessitated not only by the family doctor but by opinions of psychiatrists?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, there is a mechanism for people to appeal on surgical grounds if the surgery was deemed by our staff to be cosmetic. This type of case comes up from time to time, and I’m sure that medical advice is taken seriously. OHIP does not cover all surgical procedures.

Mr. Roy: I agree.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It specifically does not cover those that are deemed to be cosmetic. This was probably deemed to be in that category. I know that emotional arguments will be brought in; in other words, the effects upon the emotional state of the patient will be brought to bear by the psychiatrist. We have to consider these, but in general the decisions of the appeal boards have been negative.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Apart from the fact that there may or may not be decisions from the appeal board, there is a policy decision that has to be made by the ministry. Would the minister consider giving some follow-up to the statement of the acting Minister of Health (B. Stephenson), who replaced him for a while, who said she was concerned about this problem and who, on April 8, said the ministry would be looking into this situation? Would the minister not feel that in circumstances following this type of surgery, where opinions are given from psychiatrists that this clearly is reconstructive surgery and not cosmetic surgery, perhaps his ministry and OHIP should review that policy?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The question is too long; the question is much too long.

Mr. Roy: If I may just add, and to be brief, does the minister not feel that it would be better to pay for this surgery --

Some hon. members: Question!

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Roy: Don’t they even know a question when they hear one?

Mr. S. Smith: What a bunch of trained seals over there!

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Peterson: Get your finger out of this, John. It’s not your business.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, The hon. member will complete his question.

Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, if he does not feel that it would be better to pay for the operation, rather than pay for years of psychiatric treatment to one of these patients?

Mr. Shore: How is your finger?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, that makes an assumption that years of psychiatric treatment will be required. That’s exactly why there’s a certain amount of discretion in the matter. I would have to let the medical people come to a conclusion, rather than myself. Reconstructive surgery is still cosmetic unless it returns the function of the organ reconstructed.

Mr. Roy: I have evidence here. One further supplementary --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications has the answer to a question asked previously.

Mr. Shore: You don’t know how valuable it is.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We don’t need the side conversations in here. The hon. member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski); order! The hon. minister. We’re wasting valuable time.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to respond to a question asked by the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) on May 21. The question was as follows:

“I wonder if the minister could supply me with information as to why so many people on Highway 35, at the Minden bypass in Haliburton county, have been turned down for access to that highway when, last August, the Peterborough Lumber Co. received permission to gain access to the highway?”

Mr. Speaker, the Minden bypass was purchased in the early 1950s and designated as a controlled access highway in 1955. Access was allowed in the original property agreements for existing land uses and a limited amount of commercial entrances were permitted at that time.

It is the intention of this ministry to improve the existing north junction of old Highway 35 and lands for the new connection were purchased some 1,000 ft south of the existing connection. The lands of Peterborough Lumber Co. are located directly opposite this new road connection and a future public road could be allowed at this location since it is not, in fact, creating a new intersection.

The Peterborough Lumber Co. has agreed that its access will be positioned on a 66 ft right of way, and that this access can be converted to a public road upon demand. This is in keeping with ministry guidelines and we would also have no objections to other development taking place via a municipal street system on the bypass.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a supplementary question at that time:

“Could the minister tell me what is the policy of his ministry in regard to controlled access highways? Does it vary from area to area, or is it the same across the province?”

Mr. Speaker, it is the policy of this ministry to append a controlled access designation on those highways where it is desirable to control the type and amount of access which will be permitted. While the formal designation never varies, the degree of control is a discretionary matter which can differ from highway to highway, depending on the function of that particular highway. All controlled access highways are evaluated prior to designation and written instructions are issued defining the degree of control to ensure the purpose and viability of these roadways are retained.

For example, no individual direct access is permitted to freeways, such as Highway 401, whereas access is permitted for the present use of abutting lands on highways, such as the Minden, Lindsay and Gamebridge bypasses, which were all necessitated because the existing sections had become heavily built up. The purpose of the controlled access designations in these instances was not to prohibit all access, but to limit the amount of access which is permitted.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. Could the minister explain why the Sault Ste. Marie regional assessment office is ignoring Judge Vannini’s decision regarding the assessment of mobile homes, despite the minister’s assurance to me in this House that the decision would be adhered to? Is this policy of ignoring the court’s ruling widespread through the province, or just a local Algoma problem?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge whatever of the allegation made by the hon. member. So far as I am aware, the principle laid down in Judge Vannini’s decision has been followed. It’s been the instruction of my ministry. However, I will look into the matter and determine whether or not the allegations are fact.

Mr. Wildman: If the minister finds that the decision has been ignored and that all mobile homes are being assessed, whether or not they have wheels, could the minister report to this House on whether or not it is the decision of the government to appeal the decision through the courts rather than leaving it to the local mobile home owners?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, when I’ve looked into this matter and determined whether or not there is cause for the member’s suggestion and allegation, I will report to this House as to what action I have taken. Of course, it is the intention that the principles laid down by Judge Vannini be adopted and they are being followed to the best of my knowledge. Obviously, if they aren’t, some action will have to be taken.

If they aren’t, it could be that there is some valid reason for it. It may be that there is a different situation pertaining to the portion of that district which doesn’t fall naturally into this kind of instruction. I will have to check that out. One way or the other if it is appropriate that that instruction be applied in that area in the consistent fashion in which I believe it is being applied across this province, of course, appropriate action will be taken.


Mr. Riddell: A question of the Attorney General: This is a question pertaining to the Essex Packers’ bankruptcy and the government’s involvement insofar as the Guelph plant is concerned. In view of the fact that the side agreement was made by DeJong on behalf of Essex Packers in order to pay a concern in the States known as Frederick and Herrod $142,000, which represented 100 cents on the dollar, and in view of the fact that this appears to be an irregular procedure, if not illegal, when one considers that the unpreferred creditors here, such as the farmers got paid only 15 cents on the dollar, would the minister not think that the time is ripe for a public inquiry into this whole affair?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, this matter has been within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Correctional Services.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do have some general history of the matter. Assuming that the member is alleging an irregularity, on the basis of his allegation I will be pleased to look into the matter and advise the House as to our views on whether or not there has been some irregularity as alleged.


Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, last week there was a supplementary question asked me by the Leader of the Opposition in reference to the commercial fisheries on Lake of the Woods, how many licences there were and their distribution.

There are 46 commercial licences in Lake of the Woods area. Of this number, 16 are held by Indian fisheries and 30 are held by white fisheries. During the past 15 years, four licences have been transferred to native people from non-Indians. Also, as I mentioned to him last week, there have been no new licences issued during the past 10 years.


Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Health: As this marks the last day of the three-month period of grace which his ministry gave to the Maclaren House Nursing Home in Ottawa, during which time it was supposed to comply with ministry standards, I wonder if he could report to us on what his decision will be about the Maclaren House Nursing Home?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t hear the question, I’m sorry.

Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. member repeat the question? Order, please, the background noise doesn’t help.

Ms. Gigantes: I will try to speak up, Mr. Speaker. As this marks the last day in the three-month period of grace which the ministry so kindly extended to the Maclaren House Nursing Home, in which period of time it was supposed to come up to ministry standards, I wonder if he would care to report to the House on what his decision will be about licensing or allowing that establishment to retain its licence?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the Maclaren House Nursing Home is not the only one in the province which has been given a similar time frame in which to come up to standards. I haven’t had an up-to-date nursing report. I will get one.


I can assure the member that while we don’t like putting homes out of business, any that are not making an honest attempt to comply with reasonable orders from us are asked to close. I would not see any reason to vary this particular case.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Could I also ask the Minister of Health to report on the progress of our 200 promised nursing beds -- promised since last November -- at the same time?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Not nursing beds, those are chronic care beds. Okay. I think I have about 189 of those allocated right now.


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General. In the light of the increase in charges of conspiracy, particularly drug-related charges, the normal length of trial of which is anywhere between six and eight months, and in view of the fact that businessmen, particularly the self-employed, are forced into near bankruptcy due to the length of service, when will the Attorney General consider raising the remuneration from $10 a day so that the jurors will not become the victims and will thereby be truly the triers of the facts?

Mr. Shore: Tell him you are on a restraint programme.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this matter was raised in the Legislature a few weeks ago and I indicated that this had been a subject matter of some discussion with --

Mr. Roy: We have been raising that for 10 years.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- the government and the municipal councils which have raised it from time to time. We have indicated that we would like to increase the jurors’ fees and we don’t doubt for one moment that jurors deserve a higher daily per diem rate than is now paid.

At the same time, I think it should be placed in context. I was looking at this matter the other day and many states in the United States pay less than we do on the basis that jury duty is recognized as a form of public service. And I can assure you, and I was discussing this matter as recently --

Mr. Cassidy: But not when it goes on for months.

Mr. Peterson: We’ll have Americans coming up here to do jury duty.

Mr. Reid: That is something you can do something about.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Do the members want an answer or not?

Mr. Reid: Are you going to get a headline out of this one? If you don’t get a headline you don’t do anything.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the member for Rainy River.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As recently as yesterday I met with the sheriff of the county of York and discussed this very problem, and this is a gentleman who is in daily contact with the jurors at least in the county of York, where more than half the jury trials in the province are held. He states there is very little complaining by jurors about the level of jurors’ fees because they recognize the important public service they are rendering and are content to do so.

Mr. Singer: Judicial district of York.

Mr. Roy: Do you think it is fair?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Nixon: Paid here as a public service and that explains a lot of your attitude.

Mr. Speaker: Presenting reports.

Motions. Would the hon. Leader of the Opposition please restrain himself?

Introduction of bills.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have introduced for first reading today an Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act. This amendment arises from the recent report of the Ontario Energy Board on “Customer Support for Arrangements to Secure Future Gas Supplies for Ontario.”

The government has previously announced its support in principle for the inclusion in the rates charged customers amounts to reflect the costs of investments to obtain additional gas supplies for Ontario. The question of the appropriate procedures and criteria was referred to the Ontario Energy Board. The board recommended amendments to section 19 of the Ontario Energy Board Act. This bill reflects the recommendations of the board with one significant exception.

The central recommendation of the Board was that the Ontario Energy Board Act should be amended to provide that applications might be made to include a reasonable allowance for an investment made by a regulated gas distributor to secure additional gas supplies for Ontario. This amendment will permit Ontario’s three major natural gas distributors to apply to have a reasonable allowance for the cost of their proposed investment in Canadian Arctic Gas Pipeline Ltd. reflected in their rates.

It is proposed that when the board considers the inclusion of the costs of such investments in the rates the distributor may charge its customer, the board would also consider the crediting of benefits from such investments to the customer.

The board’s report envisaged applications relating to investments in a wide range of gas supply related activities, including pipelines, the manufacture of synthetic natural gas, coal gasification and exploration and development for new supplies. The proposed bill provides that applications may be made in relation to specific types or kinds of investments that the regulations have permitted.

The policy decision to extend the possibility of customer support to a particular kind of investment therefore will be with the Lieutenant Governor in Council, rather than with the board. This is the one divergence from the board’s recommendations. Initially, it is intended that applications be restricted to those in relation to natural gas transportation systems or arrangements to acquire additional natural gas for this province by purchase.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to provide for Warranties in the Sale of Consumer Products.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: The Labour Relations Act doesn’t presently refer to petitions or statements of desire. This bill prohibits the board’s practice of considering petitions and statements of desire and thereby eliminates delays and reduces union certification costs.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: This bill prohibits the use of professional strike-breakers.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Lewis: Pretty incendiary stuff here. It breaks a lot of new ground.

Mr. Roy: Even you can understand it.

Mr. Lewis: Yes, I am understanding it.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, this bill treats a lockout in the same objective manner as a strike in relation to the test for determining whether or not a lockout has occurred.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: We’re going to get to the Workmen’s Compensation Act in October and the Industrial Safety Act in November.

Mr. Lewis: By then you will have expired.

Mr. Bullbrook: This bill limits the scope and extent of the supervisory exclusion under the Act.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

An hon. member: When are you writing the Magna Carta?

Mr. Lewis: This is pretty weighty stuff. You’ll probably bring in the whole trade union movement with these bills.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, if I may, if you feel the explanations are too short for the Leader of the Opposition to understand them, then please let me know.

Section 2 of this bill extends the protection of the board’s decision with respect to technical defects to the processing of grievances through to arbitration.

Mr. Renwick: Point of order: Isn’t there some rule of the assembly that prevents the introduction of repetitious matters?

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, if I may speak to that point of order. Obviously, if there were such a rule we’d hear far less from the member for Riverdale.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, by way of digression: Do you get a feeling that it’s beginning to hurt?

Mr. MacDonald: Too bad you’ve got nothing substantive to share.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Mr. Davison: How many more, Jim?

Mr. Cassidy: There are two supporting it, and we are not sure about the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini).

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The member for Sarnia has taken Morty’s place.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, this bill provides finality to the grievance arbitration procedures; subject, of course, to Jean-Luc Pepin.



Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, this bill restricts the availability of cease and desist relief under the Act in the case of organizational picketing which is carried on on a peaceful basis, and imposes a duty on the board to ensure, prior to its using cease and desist relief, that police assistance has been unsuccessful in controlling the problem.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, this bill enables the board to arbitrate a first collective agreement and thereby eliminates the irreconcilable differences between the bargaining process and the first agreement.

Mr. Speaker, there is a final bill that I would like to put forward, and in deference, if I may, to my colleague from Riverdale there is somewhat of a redundancy. Our colleague, the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall), put forward Bill 107 and we found it so inept and skeletonized that we had to put a new one in of our own.


Mr. Bullbrook moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.

Mr. Bullbrook: Mr. Speaker, this is a somewhat larger explanation, but I need, with your indulgence, to make it in view of the bill that I referred to previously. This bill adds to the Act a provision dealing with the rights and privileges of trade unions and employees in the event of an employer’s implementation of significant technological change.

An employer who is bound by a collective agreement and who proposes to effect a technological change that is likely to affect the terms and conditions or security of employment of a significant number of his employees must give notice of the technological change to the union at least 90 days prior to the date on which it is to be effective. An employer who fails to give such notice may be forced into compliance by the board.

When the union receives notice of the technological change, it may apply to the board for an order granting leave to serve on the employer a notice to commence collective bargaining for the purpose of revising the existing provisions of the collective agreement that relate to the terms and conditions or security of employment, or including new provisions in the agreement relating to such matters to assist the employees affected by the technological change to adjust to the effects of it.

Similarly, upon such application having been made by the union, the employer is not able to effect a technological change until the board’s disposition of the application. This reopens the collective bargaining for the purpose of negotiating the impact of the technological change and, where necessary, enable the parties to resort to economic sanctions.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, may I have your permission to file an annual report which should have been filed earlier, but you moved to bills so quickly? I think they’re in the process of being distributed to the hon. members.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry presented the annual report of the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day I should inform the House that pursuant to provisions of standing orders 27 and 28, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr) has given notice that he is dissatisfied with the response given to his question by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) on June 10, concerning the effect of fluorescent light on milk products. The matter will be debated at 10:30.

There will be two further items which will be raised as a result of question period of Monday, June 14. The member for Durham East (Mr. Moffatt) will debate the question of the Oshawa Second Marsh and Darlington Provincial Park with the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier). The matter of the closing of arenas will be raised with the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) by the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock).


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I want to make some references to question No. 29 which was on order paper No. 10. On March 30 this year a question was asked by Mr. Angus and on May 18 an answer was tabled. I wish to file a correction to that answer which I would draw to the attention of the members of the House.

Mr. Singer: Your research isn’t so good, eh?

Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.


Hon. W. Newman moved second reading of Bill 96, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, when I introduced Bill 96 I explained it would extend the protection of farm income stabilization to every producer of every agricultural commodity in Ontario. It’s a straightforward plan -- that’s one of the beauties of it -- but its provisions may have been obscured by some of the political confusion and misleading statements we have heard since. For this reason, I want to review very briefly how the Ontario Farm Income Stabilization Act will work.


Hon. W. Newman: A Crown commission of five or more members will be appointed to administer a permanent stabilization fund for commodities they name. These commodities will be supported at a level equal to 90 per cent of the average market price for them over the previous five years, adjusted for increases in production costs. This means farmers covered by the Act will be protected when market prices drop below that level.

The fund will make payments to tide them over until prices rise again. The government won’t interfere with the delicate supply and demand mechanism of the marketplace. When the market’s free functioning results in good farm prices the producers will enjoy their full benefit. The traditional farming cycles will continue but their low points will no longer threaten a farmer’s ability to keep producing food. Basically, the plan is as simple as that.

We have chosen to operate the plan at the same level as the federal farm income stabilization programme. We have always said stabilization should be a national programme and we will continue pressing Ottawa to extend and improve the scope of its legislation on a nationwide scale.

Meanwhile, the Ontario plan will not apply to farm products already covered federally. It would be superfluous. The Ontario Act has a distinct advantage over the federal one.

Mr. Lewis: It would be what?

Hon. W. Newman: In special circumstances the stabilization commission could provide extra support for specific commodities above the 90 per cent base level. This would be a temporary measure in hard times. It would not conflict with the marketing systems in other provinces.

Bill 96 also excludes farm products already regulated by producer marketing boards that both set prices and allocate production quotas in line with the market demand. Dairy products, poultry and eggs fall within this category.

This system is already working well. It has stabilized consumer prices considerably and brought the producers consistently fair prices that would make additional protection unnecessary. Take eggs, for example. Our producers have been able to earn a steady return of about seven per cent on their investment. The bottom won’t fall out of their market so they won’t need the stabilization plan.

The benefits aren’t limited to the farmer, of course, the consumer wins, too. In 1951, an hour’s average earnings would buy 18 eggs. Today, even with fewer farmers selling eggs, an hour’s wages on average will buy about 66 eggs.

However, as I said, these are unusual cases. Apart from them, the farmers of Ontario don’t want restrictions on their productivity and the government of Ontario doesn’t want to impose any such restrictions. We want to interfere as little as possible with the individual farmer’s production and marketing decisions.

If we brought forward the type of programme advocated by the New Democratic Party, and apparently supported by the Liberal Party, we would be heading down the road to overall supply management on every farm in this province. There are those who are free enterprise thinkers and those at the other end of the scale who want to push us down the road to socialized agriculture. These people would kill the farmer’s incentive to grow food for the remaining 95 per cent of the population in this province. They would tell the farmer what he has to do and how much he would have to produce.

Mr. Davison: Who wrote that for you?

Mr. Bain: We want to make sure they get a decent income.

Hon. W. Newman: That is the only way any government could guarantee --


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: -- the farmer his full cost of production without encouraging overproduction and flooding the delicate market mechanism with surpluses.

Make no mistake about it, if you made farming a sure thing, you’d have to make bureaucratic control of farming a sure thing. That’s the last thing the farmers of Ontario want. I know lots of them who would give up farming rather than submit to it.

Mr. MacDonald: Sounds like the same man who wrote the Premier’s speech in the campaign.

Hon. W. Newman: All they want is a helping hand when they have a bad year. That is precisely what we are offering and all we are offering.

Mr. MacDonald: It shatters my faith.

Hon. W. Newman: And remember another very important point, under the British North America Act the Province of Ontario has no control over imported farm products. Our producers control one-third of Canada’s agricultural output. Does anyone imagine we could subsidize our farmers’ full cost of production without retaliation by the US? Since the effects of that retaliation would be felt across this country, does anyone imagine the government of Canada could permit us to continue? Maybe those who talk glibly of the glories of socialized agriculture can ignore such unpleasant realities. But our farmers know better.

The NDP agriculture and food critic has claimed that Bill 96 would cover only 12 to 15 per cent of farm production based on value. The NDP agriculture and food critic is wrong again.

Mr. Lewis: Good grief!

Hon. Mr. Bernier: What else is new?

Mr. MacDonald: We will come to that.

Hon. W. Newman: The commodities eligible for coverage by this plan represent 27 per cent of Ontario agriculture. Apart from those covered federally and the special exceptions I’ve mentioned, we’ll cover everything raised and grown in this province.

We calculate that the proposed stabilization plan would have cost roughly $5 million to $7 million if it had been in effect last year. Adding the payments of $22.5 million under the cow-calf stabilization programme, this would have meant a total expenditure of close to $30 million.

In any year the programme’s cost will depend on changes in farm prices and costs. Last year prices were generally favourable. But in some years payments from the stabilization fund could reach as high as $36 million, not counting those under the cow-calf programme. In fact, I could cite a hypothetical example where poor prices for only two commodities could result in payments close to $10 million.

The cow-calf programme will operate independently until the government’s contracts with producers expire in 1980. We have allocated $25.6 million for the cow-calf programme in this fiscal year. If calf prices continue to improve and we don’t spend it all, some of that money could probably go into the general stabilization fund. If not, all the money we need for the first year will be available from the consolidated revenue fund.

We have a programme that fits the farmer’s need and fits the government’s anti-inflationary constraints on its own spending. I have travelled the length and breadth of this province talking to farm groups. There are certainly two schools of thought. Some farmers want a low degree of stabilization, some want a higher level. But, by and large, the farmers don’t want anything that smacks of handouts. All they want is a bit of help to let them keep doing their job during the lean years, and that is what we are providing.


Hon. W. Newman: I want Bill 96 to go forward in its present form to the standing committee on resources development. At that stage, I want all the agricultural groups and individuals to be given the opportunity and I expect them to exercise their rights to speak on this bill.

Mr. Lewis: That’s a deathbed switch.

Mr. MacDonald: You sound like Smith in Rhodesia -- you concede the right only after the war has begun.

An hon. member: One Smith or another Smith.

Hon. W. Newman: The executives of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture have publicly criticized the bill. They expect to discuss its details in committee and spell out their objections.

The provincial board of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have expressed full support of the principles behind this bill. But they too want to discuss its details in committee. Let me remind the House of their warning to the opposition parties in their own words:

“The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario is deeply disturbed that you and your party have gone to the brink of taking our present government down over a policy that is sound while your own ideas on stabilization are both vague and unworkable in the view of many of Ontario’s farmers.”


Mr. Bain: What about the Ontario Federation of Agriculture?


Hon. W. Newman: The message could not be stated more clearly; it must not be ignored.

The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association has presented me with a brief saying the majority of Ontario beef producers want an income stabilization programme that would protect them against a financial disaster but would not be an incentive to production. The association warned against letting the issue become a political football; that warning must not be ignored.

The politicians will be heard today. The majority in this House will decide whether political expediency is to deny the farmers their right to be heard through the normal democratic process.

Mr. Samis: Who wrote that?

Hon. W. Newman: Each member who votes on second reading has a decision to make: He can let the farmers of Ontario speak on a bill that affects them so vitally, or he can turn it into a political football and accept the consequences.

The line between right and wrong is clear-cut. No amount of clever talk or contrived explanations will serve to obscure that line after the vote is taken.

Mr. Foulds: That’s debatable.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, apart from the rhetoric and the political tub-thumping from the Minister of Agriculture and Food, I would say his comments on the introduction to second reading were superfluous.

Let there be no doubt from the outset that the New Democratic Party is unalterably opposed to this bill; and if this government has to take refuge in the fact that the smallest farm organization in this province is on its side, while the other two farm organizations are unalterably opposed, then the government is taking refuge in the little residue of support that it has, and it is a testimony to the position the government has taken.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: The farmers are with us.

Mr. Wildman: You’re in trouble.

Mr. MacDonald: We are unalterably opposed to the bill and, according to the media reports, so is the Liberal Party.

Mr. Deans: Up until now -- as far as we can tell.

Mr. MacDonald: That means this bill is going to be defeated.

Mr. Haggerty: Speak for yourself, Don.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

An hon. member: Aren’t you against it?

Mr. Deans: Here we go again.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for York South should continue.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I know that everything around Queen’s Park is subject to change without notice. I always thought it was more without notice in the Liberal Party; last week, I thought it was the Tories. Don’t you prove me wrong.

Mr. Riddell: Get on with it. Who are you to prejudge?

Mr. MacDonald: Are you disturbed? I have been reading --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member for York South direct his remarks through the Chair?

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I will direct my remarks to you. I was quoting what I read the leader of the Liberal Party had said, and therefore I didn’t think I was prejudging the Liberal Party. But if the agricultural critic thinks I am wrong, perhaps I should take his advice as a little bit of warning.

Mr. Sweeney: He didn’t say you were wrong; he said speak for yourself. There is a difference.

Mr. MacDonald: This is going to leave the government in an indefensible position. Having retreated from its earlier position of a contributory insurance plan and introduced a bill which this House cannot support, this government is going to leave the farmers of Ontario with no provincial farm income protection legislation.

Hon. W. Newman: That will be up to you.

Mr. MacDonald: That’s just the point.

Mr. Lewis: Thank you for the invitation.

Mr. MacDonald: Thank you for saying that is up to us; we accept the challenge, because so far the government has said it is not going to be a vote of no confidence in the government, which is what it should be. However, I think the farmers are entitled to something better than that. The paramount concern is not whether or not there is confidence in the government; the paramount concern is whether or not this Legislature, if not with the leadership of the government then at least with the leadership of the opposition, shall bring in legislation that meets the needs of the people of the Province of Ontario.

It is for that reason, Mr. Speaker, that I gave notice yesterday, as the rules require, that we will introduce a reasoned amendment, and I want to introduce it now.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Mr. MacDonald moves that Bill 96, An Act respecting Farm Income Stabilization, be not now read a second time, but be referred back to the government to have incorporated therein principles of a farm income insurance plan which would be open to the producers of all farm products on a voluntary basis with assurance that the government provide a public forum for full discussion with the farm community before reintroduction of the bill.

Some hon. members: Carried.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, let me --

Mr. Evans: You’re backing down.

Mr. MacDonald: Backing down? We’re reiterating the position that we have put down.

Mr. Lewis: We’re right on it.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, for the benefit particularly of the hon. member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. Evans), let me remind him of what has happened in the government’s position. It has altered it significantly. It has retreated from its original position -- don’t take my word for it; it speaks for itself. I have here, for example, the famous statement of a month or so ago, A Strategy for Ontario Farmlands, and on page 11 there is a paragraph which reads as follows:

“The second major policy concerns provincial agricultural development strategy and provides for (a) a provincial commodity income stabilization plan providing farmers with a contributory [may I repeat that] ... a contributory income assurance plan covering major commodities.”

Mr. Lewis: What happened?

Mr. MacDonald: It goes on, “The government will have more to say about this vital new programme during the next few months.”

I don’t know how much more we’re going to hear. It’s down the drain. It’s not included in the bill. It wasn’t only them. The minister has not only double-crossed the farmers, he’s even double-crossed his parliamentary assistant. On March 31, he was speaking to a meeting in Stoney Creek and at that meeting, as reported in the Globe and Mail, “Mr. Eaton said the plan would be voluntary and contributory on the part of the farmers.”

We have no contributory plan. The minister has come in with a different kind of plan. It’s not only different in that it lacks the contributory aspect which the farmers have been seeking but in many other ways. I’ll get around to that in a moment.

The Conservative government of Ontario now proposes to inaugurate a farm income stabilization programme along precisely the same lines of the Liberal programme in Ottawa, despite consistent criticisms --

Mr. S. Smith: Sometimes known as the federal government.

Mr. MacDonald: -- of that programme as being inadequate. It is not what organized agriculture in Ontario has demanded. It is not what the farmers need. For the second year in a row this government has deceived the farmers with promises and then it has sold out in the performance.

For these reasons, in summary, we cannot support this bill. To support it would be a betrayal of what we believe to be the basic needs of agriculture. It would be a betrayal of what we are committed to implement when the electorate grants power to the NDP in this province. With legislation like this being the best that the Tories are willing and able to offer, that will be sooner than some members of the front benches realize.

For reasons that mystify me, this government is arrogantly rebuffing the agricultural community which has traditionally been the sheet anchor of the Tory party’s political support.

Before I proceed further with a detailed critique of the principle of the bill, let me make two general comments. In one sense I want to congratulate the government. It’s about the only thing in connection with this bill I can congratulate it on.

For years this government has stubbornly refused to accept any responsibility for farm income levels. The Tories have insisted that this was a federal responsibility. They did so in spite of the fact that under our constitution agriculture is a responsibility which is shared between the two senior levels of government. Having finally accepted the principle of provincial government responsibility, they have proceeded to deal with it in a hopelessly inadequate way, but more of that in a moment.

The next general point that I want to make is this, Mr. Speaker. The time has come, I submit to members of this Legislature, for a clear distinction to be drawn between what the Liberals in Ottawa and the Tories at Queen’s Park now describe as farm income stabilization and the farm income insurance programmes which have been legislated by the governments of British Columbia and Quebec, and are under consideration by two or three other provincial governments. They have also been arbitrated in Ontario for more than a year by organized agriculture through the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union.

Income stabilization as operated by the Liberals in Ottawa and now proposed by the Tories in Ontario is a stop-loss programme. It proposes to subsidize farm prices from the public treasury whenever they drop below 90 per cent of the average of the last five years. As farm costs -- taxes, gasoline, oil, hydro, machinery, fertilizer and so on -- are rising every year, prices over the past five years are both irrelevant and inadequate. To take 90 per cent of those costs as a base for calculating this year’s prices is adding insult to injury.

In short, farm income stabilization is designed to keep farmers from going broke altogether, but it certainly is not going to keep them from forsaking the land in the fashion that over 40 per cent have done in the last decade. Nor is it going to reduce the growing majority of part-time farmers who must take a second job in order to sustain their families, although they would dearly love to spend all their time working on the farm.

In contrast, Mr. Speaker, farm income insurance is a programme which envisages ideally provincial and federal governments entering into equal partnership with farmers to build an insurance fund. Farm prices will be negotiated each year by the governments and the appropriate farm organization so as to cover the costs of production, plus a full return on investment, management and labour. When market prices drop below the negotiated price for any commodity, the difference will be made up from the fund. Just as crop insurance covers the loss of crops, so income insurance compensates for the loss of prices.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, from this point forward, the sloppy interchange of the words “stabilization” and “insurance” in reference to farm income should cease, for they are distinctly different concepts. The NDP opposes farm income stabilization because it is a stop-loss measure. The NDP pioneered farm income insurance in British Columbia. It is being duplicated in Quebec. It is a programme advanced by organized agriculture in Ontario.

Hon. W. Newman: What happened in BC?

Mr. MacDonald: I will tell the minister what happened in BC. Look, his ministry is so bankrupt that he has got to drag in irrelevancies to try to cover up the bankruptcy. If the minister is not aware of the fact, the one plank in the NDP platform and its legislative records which the Social Credit government pledged in advance to live up to and has lived up to since is to maintain and to strengthen and to expand their farm income insurance programme.

Mr. Wiseman: It was too rich for them out there and you know it.

Mr. Eaton: You quote my speeches from Stoney Creek. Why don’t you refer to the fellow from BC who --

Mr. MacDonald: Farm income insurance promises at long last, Mr. Speaker, to establish agriculture on an economically sound basis.

Mr. Wiseman: Too rich for them.

Mr. MacDonald: That is why organized agriculture is seeking it in Ontario, and that is why the NDP supports it.

Mr. Wiseman: That’s why the NDP were defeated.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the minister made a highly misleading statement on page 3 of the introduction of this bill. I have his original text, sir, referred to on page 3. After he had repeated all his discomfort and dissatisfaction with the inadequacies of the federal plan, he then said:

“In the absence of a comprehensive, meaningful national programme, British Columbia and Quebec have meanwhile legislated their own provincial programme. Reluctantly, the government in Ontario decided to do likewise.”

I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that is highly misleading. It suggests that Ontario is legislating the same kind of plan that BC and Quebec has done. It isn’t.


Mr. Lane: It is much better.

Mr. MacDonald: It isn’t. BC and Quebec have legislated farm income insurance to compensate for the inadequacies of the federal. This government has accepted the federal inadequate coverage and is just extending it to other products in the province.

Hon. W. Newman: Look what they did with the price of milk out there.

Mr. Ferrier: The Tories and the federal government are in the same bed now.

Mr. MacDonald: Which brings me to the scope of this bill. The minister once again, in his usual fashion, said we had done our homework wrongly, in terms of the fact that this bill only covers some 12 to 15 per cent of the farm produce in the Province of Ontario, the rest of it being covered by the designated products under farm income stabilization in Ottawa, and by those products which are covered under supply-management and marketing boards in the Province of Ontario.

Interestingly enough, the figure of 12 to 15 per cent was included in the public release that was put out by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture when the bill was first introduced last week. The government is insisting there are 27 per cent of products that are not covered. Let me just try to indicate to you, Mr. Speaker, so that we perhaps can avoid getting into another futile battle of figures, how that gap is bridged. The federal stabilization plan covers some 50 per cent, more than 50 per cent; the marketing boards cover some 20-odd per cent.

Hon. W. Newman: That is not correct at all.

Mr. MacDonald: That brings us to the gap -- brings us up to the 87 per cent that is covered some way or another. Culled cattle in the Province of Ontario represent 6¾ per cent and calves represent 1½ per cent. Apples represent one per cent and potatoes represent one per cent -- both of which are likely to be designated by the federal government this year to expand their coverage. Winter wheat is already covered by the federal government -- under C-19, as a supplement to Bill C-50 -- and it represents two per cent. Indeed, it is now said it is likely the federal government may move to cover dry beans and maple products.

In other words, the gap between the 12 to 15 per cent, which is all this government now covers, is likely to be covered either by the federal government in products that are now under consideration for designation, or has been covered -- such as winter wheat -- or is in areas where there is likely to be no insurance at all, such as, for example, culled cows and culled bulls, as farmers are weeding them out from their herds, so to speak.

I am not going to quibble on the figure, but the figure at this point is in the range of some 15 per cent, and the odds are very high that when the federal government has concluded its review for this year it will remain at that. That is the reason Gordon Hill, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, stated when the bill was introduced last week, and I quote:

“What the legislation provides is a stabilization programme identical to the federal stabilization programme, which Newman himself declares to be inadequate. ‘The provincial programme is to cover farm products not covered by the federal plan and not covered under the Ontario marketing boards, which set both prices and quotas. Preliminary calculations indicate this means that 87 per cent of the Ontario farm products will not be eligible for support under the legislation,’ and that, to say the least, is highly discriminatory.

“[Gordon Hill added:] I just can’t understand why the minister bothered to bring in such legislation. He is putting in place provincial programmes, identical to the federal programmes, because the federal programmes are inadequate. Surely, if the federal programmes are inadequate, the provincial programmes will be equally inadequate.”

There is an inexorable logic about that.

The New Democratic Party believes there should be a three-fold programme, a three-pronged approach: first, that farm income insurance should be based on the current year’s costs of production as negotiated by the farmers with their governments, so as to give the farmers a share in the decisions that vitally affect their lives; second, that the government should work with farmers, whose organizations have accepted the obligation, to develop effective supply-management programmes so that adequate prices will not lead to undue food surpluses; and third, in order to cope with surplus production while effective supply management is being developed, the government should establish regular funding which will assure systematic disposal of surpluses, at home through school milk programmes or provision of foods to needy families; or abroad through responding to the churches in their request for government dollars to match voluntarily raised dollars to assist in international food aid and development programmes in the third world.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to deal for a moment with the financial implications of this whole thing, because interestingly enough, when the minister was advancing this bill he contended he had chosen a programme, and I quote: “Tailored to our means as well as our needs.” I’ve indicated that it isn’t going to meet our needs, let me now just focus for a moment on our means.

What would an appropriate kind of farm income insurance programme -- such as has been advocated by organized agriculture with the exception of the Christian Farmers Organization -- what would it cost in the Province of Ontario? I just want to create a context without going into the detail.

Last year William Stewart, then Minister of Agriculture and Food, said that if a BC-style plan were established in the Province of Ontario it would cost in the range of $140 million to $150 million. That, incidentally, was because of the fact that the provincial government would be paying two-thirds of the premium since the federal government isn’t in the picture; it would be less, when and if, the federal government is willing to get into the picture.

This year the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, having presented a programme and then studied the implications of its cost in their brief to the government -- indicated that the cost would be in the range of $92 million. Indeed Mr. Speaker, it could be less than that, if you operate on the basis that is now operative in British Columbia, where if a product price drops and it’s one that is designated in the federal stabilization plan, what the BC government is doing today, the Social Credit government in BC, is accepting the support price of the federal stabilization price as the market price, and they supplement beyond that up to what they deem to be the appropriate support price after negotiation with the farmers within the province of BC.

Now here we have ball park figures. Bill Stewart said $140 million; the OFA said $80 million to $90 million, something less than that if you were to top-load in the fashion that is now being done in British Columbia -- apparently an acceptable procedure in spite of the past statements of the federal Minister of Agriculture.

Contrast that with last year’s budget of this government, when they brought in a sales tax rebate to industry on production machinery, which amounts to a $150 million handout to industry, presumably for the bolstering of employment opportunities in the Province of Ontario. You have a set of priorities. Nobody has yet come up with any convincing evidence that this government’s handout to industry has produced the jobs that allegedly was the reason for that tax concession. But it’s $150 million.

We are talking in terms of a figure that would be distinctly less than that, and which would underpin the security of the agricultural industry in the Province of Ontario. Now that obviously isn’t your priority. But, Mr. Speaker, let me say to the government and, through them to the people of the Province of Ontario, that is our priority.

If you want to judge just how inadequate is the programme that the government has brought forward, take a look, in context of those figures, at what the government says it’s going to be spending for the stabilization programme, covering only a small fraction of produce, something in the range of $5 million or $6 million or $7 million.

Hon. W. Newman: That is not right, sir.

Mr. Nixon: You said $5 million to $7 million.

Mr. MacDonald: You said that’s what it would have paid last year, you’re not sure exactly what it will be this year but that’s the sort of ball park.

Hon. W. Newman: You don’t know from year to year, that’s why you have a programme in place to help the farmers. It may be a lot more.

Mr. MacDonald: Let me make another point, if I may, Mr. Speaker, in the financial area. One of the problems today in agricultural production, when it gets through to the consumer, is the cost to some people in our society. I don’t want to get into an argument. I will agree with you that food, as a cost of hourly rating or as a percentage of income is no higher in Canada than any other country in the world. Indeed, maybe it is cheaper. That still doesn’t mean that it is not too high for those who are on fixed incomes and on low incomes, and sooner or later -- indeed before the last federal election we faced this in Canada; there was a public decision that something should be done to reduce these high costs to people for whom the price of food was getting beyond their budget and they brought in a consumer subsidy.

Farmers are opposed to consumer subsidies, and I don’t blame them for being opposed to consumer subsidies, because consumer subsidies are sort of a political weapon that is used at the appropriate time in the election cycle for vote-getting purposes, and after the government has given a subsidy before an election, it takes it off afterwards, and the net result is that the market price has to bounce up, not only to compensate for rising costs but to compensate for the consumer subsidy which is being removed. That’s what happened on the five-cent milk consumer subsidy in the year 1974.

I want to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that farm income insurance provides a more acceptable way of ensuring adequate farm incomes while holding consumer prices at a more moderate level, and just let me illustrate it another way. In 1950, in this province, 60 per cent of the consumer dollars spent on food went to farmers. By 1970, the farmers’ share of the consumers’ food dollar was reduced to about 35 cents. It has now risen, with rising prices of the last few years, to somewhere in the low 40s.

If the next time you as a consumer, Mr. Speaker, went to buy food and you discovered the $1 you were paying for food last week was going to be $1.05, you would likely mutter in the fashion that most shoppers do today, but if you were given some assurance that the extra five cents was going to get to the farmer, who does most of the work in producing the food, I suspect you wouldn’t object so much.

The fact of the matter is that today the farmers’ share of the consumers’ dollar in terms of net income, what’s left for him after he has paid his costs of production, is no more than 10 cents. So if the extra five cents that the consumer paid all went to the farmer it would increase the farmers’ incomes overnight by some 50 per cent; gross income and net income, by 50 per cent.

It is that kind of making certain that if we are going to meet the needs of those who produce the food that we all need we should, through any subsidy out of the general treasury of the province, out of the consolidated revenue, make certain that it goes to the people who are producing the food and not to all that growing myriad of middlemen who are eating up more and more of the consumers’ dollar.

Let me try to draw my remarks in terms of criticism of the bill, Mr. Speaker, to a conclusion. Ontario is always boasting about being the leading province, yet it’s unwilling to lead. It copped out a few weeks ago on the basic issue of preserving farmland and it is now proposing to cop out on an income programme to preserve farmers.

OFA spokesmen have accurately described this legislation. Said Gordon Hill: “It is of almost no potential benefit to Ontario farmers;” and said secretary-manager Jack Hale of the OFA: “It is not worth the paper it’s written on -- hopelessly inadequate.”

In contrast, the farm income insurance which organized agriculture advocates which the New Democratic party pioneered in BC and thereby provided a working model which we strongly support in the Province of Ontario would rescue agriculture from the boom-bust economy which has traditionally bedevilled it. It would assure the long-term security of the five to seven per cent of the population who produce our food and thereby serve the interests of the 100 per cent of the population who eat it.


That’s why, Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party opposes this bill, but I repeat, we not only oppose it but we want to present a positive alternative, and so we have brought in this reasoned amendment which states that the bill should be referred back to the government, to have its second thoughts so to speak, to have incorporated therein the principle of the farm income insurance plan which would be open to all producers of farm products on a voluntary basis and then finally, at long last and not as a sop at the end of the process, an opportunity should be given to the farming community to have an impact on the hill. This is not what the government is proposing as an eleventh-hour effort through the minister’s words this afternoon to be able to send it out after he has decided ex cathedra that these are the decisions and now they can come and respond to it.

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the kind of amendment which I have just submitted as a reasoned amendment is the kind of thing that the people in the Province of Ontario and the agricultural community will support and indeed want. That amendment was drafted yesterday. This morning I was able to get a copy of the latest current issue of Farm and Country dated June 15. On the front page, there is a story, one paragraph of which reads as follows:

“Hill [namely Gordon Hill] told Farm and Country on June 9 that the OFA still unequivocally demands that no commodity be excluded from provincial stabilization programmes, that farmers and government share the costs and that there must be a clearly defined role for farmers.”

Those are the three essential principles of our reasoned amendment, that it should cover all products, not just what is left over from Ottawa and the marketing board coverage in the Province of Ontario; that it should be a contributory plan so that the farmers are sharing in the costs; and, finally of course, that the prices each year should be negotiated with the farmers so that they have a meaningful role in it.

If the minister is a little puzzled as to how he can get a bill, I learned that the executive of the Federation of Agriculture met today and finalized something it has been working on for the past year, a model bill. I submit to the minister that he should get it because I think he would find that that model bill would be an implementation of our reasoned amendment.

Mr. Riddell: Before I launch out with my remarks on this bill, I simply have to hark back to the events which took place last Tuesday night when we seemed to have wasted an entire evening.

Mr. Wildman: I thought you would rather forget that.

Mr. Riddell: I’ve never seen such a look of dismay and disillusionment in all my life as I did on the face of the Leader of the Opposition when he learned that both opposition parties were going to oppose this bill and he suddenly discovered that this could well mean a vote of no confidence.

Mr. Moffatt: You misinterpreted that, my friend.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of privilege.

Mr. Riddell: So what do we see taking place now?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Point of privilege.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of privilege, it was quite the contrary. Had I realized that that’s what was taking place last Tuesday night, I would have been exultant. I didn’t understand what was taking place last Tuesday night. That’s why --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That’s not really a point of privilege.

Mr. Lewis: It was attributed to me and I’m correcting it.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is a point of misinformation.

Mr. Riddell: What we are observing now, I would say, is some political posturing on the part of the NDP because they have come in with a reasoned amendment which obviously has deficiencies which I will bring out later on in my speech.

Mr. Lewis: Are you going to support it?

Mr. Bain: Are you against the farmers?

Mr. Riddell: If ever any bill showed that this government was bankrupt of ideas and ways to maintain a viable agricultural industry in Ontario, this is the one. I talk about the NDP posturing --

Mr. Moffatt: But you are going to support it?

Mr. Riddell: -- but I think I can also make reference to the posturing that is done by the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In November last year, he gave a speech to the annual convention of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. I want to simply quote some of the remarks he made. He said:

“A true stabilization plan must assure the farmer he will receive a price based on the production costs of the day. In our view, this adjusted cost should cover all the farmer’s operating costs plus a certain percentage of family labour, management and net investment costs. And this is why I’m calling for a national formula for true joint funding at three levels, federal, provincial and farmer.

“We see this being done in two steps. First, Ottawa sets the floor on farm prices to prevent farmers being driven from the land. This could be 90 per cent of the average price or the past three years and the federal government would pay all producers when the price fell below that level.

“Secondly, any support above 90 per cent should be provided by the joint federal-provincial producer programme and would apply only to those producers who joined voluntarily. Every dollar paid in by a participating producer would be matched by Ottawa and Queen’s Park. A reasonable production cost figure would be established annually for each commodity; then, whenever the 90 per cent support is less than the cost of production and when the market price is less than the cost of production, a payment could be made from the fund to enrolled producers.

“Our proposal envisages a minimum 90 per cent guarantee to all producers plus a joint federal-provincial producer programme [plus a joint federal-provincial producer programme] to guarantee higher support to those producers who voluntarily contribute to an income stabilization plan for a particular commodity.”

The minister has done a 180-degree turn.

Hon. W. Newman: No, I have not done a 180-degree turn.

Mr. Riddell: You’ve done a 180-degree turn.

Mr. Nixon: Yes, you have. You’ve turned right around.

Hon. W. Newman: Did the member read my statement when I introduced the bill? We’ve been trying for three years to get his friends in Ottawa to move off their butts.

Mr. Nixon: That’s why we have a provincial ministry. Why can’t you save the farmers of the province?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order please.

Mr. Riddell: You are always trying to blame everything on the federal government.

Hon. W. Newman: No, I’m not. That’s why --

Mr. Riddell: And if they don’t act you’ll sell our farmers down the drain. That’s exactly what you’re prepared to do.

Needless to say, this legislation is a copout and a sham. It will be of little benefit to Ontario farmers and if any benefit does accrue --

Mr. MacDonald: The same as Ottawa’s.

Mr. Riddell: -- it will affect very few farmers. I’m not supporting Ottawa’s plan. We’re talking about the provincial one.

This bill is a deliberate plot on the part of the minister to lead Ontario’s farmers to believe that he has their interests at heart, knowing full well that he is hiding under the guise of the federal programme and knowing full well that funding from the province will be minimal because so few commodities will be covered under this legislation.

Unfortunately, the minister has been stamped with the same press as that of his predecessor. With all respect to his predecessor, as we all know, he did little for the farmers of this province by way of income protection other than provide loans so that farmers could borrow their way out of debt. “Prime Rate Plus One Willy” was the name which the former minister was tagged with.

Now, as a replacement at the helm, the farmers are blessed with “Stand Still Bill.”

Mr. Eaton: You’ll never make half the man he did and you know it.

Mr. Nixon: They didn’t consider you for the job.

Mr. Shore: You should hear what he said about you.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Eakins: You can learn something.

Mr. Riddell: You start working now on your next election, buddy, because I think you’re in trouble.

Mr. Eaton: Speak for yourself.

Mr. Riddell: The minister sure isn’t going to rock the boat with this legislation and, as has been so aptly put, the Ontario government has once again proffered its usual hollow carrot to Ontario’s farmers.

Mr. Shore: It wouldn’t be beet, would it?

Mr. Riddell: One thing we can say about the former minister is that he was consistent. He consistently denied the farmers any kind of an income stabilization plan.

Mr. Mackenzie: Try to understand it.

Mr. Riddell: The present Minister of Agriculture is anything but consistent --

Mr. Wildman: You should know about that.

Mr. Riddell: -- and I would like to give some examples of his inconsistencies in connection with a farm income stabilization programme.

Mr. Laughren: The pot calling the kettle black.

Mr. Riddell: I quote from an address given by the minister to the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association, in Toronto, on April 21, 1976:

“That’s why I will soon introduce a bill in the Legislature to set up the farm income stabilization programme in Ontario. It will be designed to dovetail with the federal agricultural stabilization Act but it can function quite well on its own if the federal government keeps stalling on its commitment of last July.”

Hon. W. Newman: Right on.

Mr. Riddell: The fact is that the provincial programme is to cover farm products not covered by the federal plan and not under Ontario marketing boards.

Mr. Shore: How do you handle that?

Mr. Riddell: Which means that about 87 per cent of Ontario farm products will not be eligible for support under the legislation. The provincial plan will not be able to function on its own without the federal plan.

In the same address he said, “My goal is to provide a base level of support for agricultural commodities that are not already under supply management and most are not.”

I underline that -- “and most are not.” The fact is that the provincial programme will also not cover products under the federal stabilization plan. In an address that the minister gave to the annual dinner meeting of the central Ontario branch of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists in Toronto, Feb. 16, 1976, and I quote:

“Ontario’s position is clear. We want the Act used to give meaningful support levels to as many commodities as possible. We think the floor should be 90 per cent of the average market price for the commodity over the previous three years, not five years as Ottawa proposes.”

The provincial plan states that commodities for which stabilization is made available will be supported at a level equal to 90 per cent of the average market price for the previous five years.

Mr. Shore: Darcy has conned you, Bill.

Mr. Riddell: What this legislation provides is a stabilization programme identical to the federal stabilization programme which the Minister of Agriculture and Food himself calls inadequate.

“The provincial programme is to cover farm products not covered by the federal plan and not under Ontario marketing boards which set both prices and quotas. Preliminary calculations indicate that 87 per cent of Ontario farm products will not be eligible for support under the legislation.”

So really this legislation is nothing more than a token gesture, and supposedly a fulfilment of the commitment made by the government in the Throne Speech that “provincial legislation will be introduced to establish a voluntary farm income stabilization plan,” as “the long-term security of Ontario depends in great measure on the protection of our agricultural production.”

I maintain that this bill is not going to do the job. The legislation for such a plan excludes commodities named under the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act as amended by Bill C-50 in 1975. The named commodities are those that must be supported by the federal government. For Ontario, those commodities are oats, barley, soya beans, corn, cattle, hogs, sheep and lambs, and industrial milk and cream. These represent about 51 per cent of farm cash receipts in Ontario in 1975.

Hon. W. Newman: It’s 32.3 per cent.

Mr. Moffatt: Only 26 acres of land.

Mr. Riddell: Well, where do you get your figures? Mine come from a fairly reliable source. If yours are coming from the government I can understand it.

The provincial Act also excludes crops covered by a marketing board that both sets prices and producer quotas. Thereby, fluid milk, eggs and poultry are excluded. These constitute 20 per cent of Ontario farm cash receipts. Now what figure are you going to toss out this time? No comment? Okay, I will carry on.

Hon. W. Newman: It’s 40.6 per cent.

Mr. Riddell: The minister said in a press conference that tobacco will not be covered under the plan, and this constitutes seven per cent of Ontario’s farm cash receipts.

Hon. W. Newman: About 7.4 per cent.

Mr. Riddell: The provincial plan covers potentially wheat, rye, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and minor crops and livestock, presumably mushrooms, rabbits, maple products and fish.

Mr. Cunningham: Parsley.

Mr. Riddell: However, Ontario winter wheat is covered under the federal Act to provide for payments in respect of wheat produced in Canada for human consumption in Canada. This support runs until 1980. Therefore, winter wheat, another two per cent of 1975 cash receipts, is effectively eliminated from the provincial plan for the foreseeable future. Spring wheat, used for feed, is a very small crop in Ontario.

The federal Agricultural Stabilization Act, Bill C-50, covers not only the named commodities which must be covered, but also specially designated commodities where support is needed at particular times. For example, greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are currently designated, and potatoes and sweet cherries were designated in 1975.

Hon. W. Newman: But not now.

Mr. Riddell: Presumably commodities that have national significance -- for example, those that are produced in several provinces and have interprovincial and/or international trade significance -- will be covered by the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act. Apples and potatoes would be prime examples, which represents another two per cent.

Hon. W. Newman: Now you are talking in favour of the federal bill and five minutes ago you were talking against it. I don’t know where you stand.

Mr. Wiseman: He doesn’t either.

Mr. S. Smith: He is just saying it is included in the federal bill. Just listen.

Mr. Riddell: That’s right, listen, just listen. Beef calves are not interpreted to be cattle. That is, they are considered not a main or mandatory but only a potentially supported commodity by the federal government.


Mr. Whelan has said repeatedly he intends to support beef calves but it is doubtful that he will ever do so.

Hon. W. Newman: Why?

Mr. Shore: Go ask him.

Hon. W. Newman: You know why too.

Mr. Riddell: At any rate, in Ontario beef calves are outside the Agricultural Stabilization Act until 1980. This represents almost another two per cent of Ontario cash receipts.

In effect and in actual practice, the provincial Act will cover no more than a maximum of 15 per cent of Ontario farm production by value in 1975. Even this 15 per cent will be whittled down when anticipated federal stabilization programmes are announced for such crops as apples, carrots, summer pears and prune-type plums. Growers of these commodities have already asked for a stabilization programme under the federal Agricultural Stabilization Board, and we know from past experience that the federal Minister of Agriculture and the board have responded to such requests.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario’s largest organization of farmers, opposes the legislation in its present form, as is well known. This is quite significant, as more than 23,000 farm families in Ontario are OFA members. On top of this, the OFA membership includes 45 county and region federations of agriculture plus 19 commodity marketing boards and associations. These include the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario Fresh Grape Growers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Grape Growers’ Marketing Board Processing Grapes, Ontario Greenhouse Growers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Tender Fruit Growers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Vegetable Growers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Fresh Fruit Growers’ Marketing Board and others.

The OFA’s June 4, 1976, press release said: “‘The Ontario government’s farm income stabilization legislation is of almost no potential benefit to Ontario farmers,’ says Gordon Hill, president of OFA.”

The legislation before us falls far short of what is needed. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture asked for a voluntary farm income protection plan, paid for by government and farmers. We support this.

The minister has said that he too supports a shared-cost programme. In his June 3, 1976, statement to the Legislature, he said:

“We envisaged a three-way partnership of the federal government, the provincial government and the Ontario farmers who chose to enrol in a plan covering a particular commodity.”

In spite of this, the minister reported that the federal government was not ready to enter cost-sharing and is using this as an excuse for the province to shirk its responsibility to the farm community in Ontario. The end result is a betrayal of the farm community by the minister. He promised a rose and he delivered a thistle.

What is needed, and what the Liberal Party would deliver, is for the province to take the lead and pay part of the premium cost with the farmers until the federal government gives the go-ahead to enter shared-cost programmes. We favour an equal contribution by the province, the federal government and the farmers. The Liberal Party advocates an income protection plan or a farm income stabilization plan whereby a programme for a commodity would be developed if the majority of producers of that commodity gave support.

Participation by individual farmers would be voluntary. An independent agency to represent farmers, and to bargain with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, would be established by the general farm organization and the commodity groups such as marketing boards, associations, etc. This agency would work with government to establish the index to be used to determine the support price, and then would bargain with the government to set the exact support levels. When average market prices for the year dropped below the support level, farmers would be paid the difference from the fund created by the premiums paid by farmers and governments. The Ontario plan would be devised to accommodate federal participation.

The legislation before us does not cover farm products already covered by federal legislation or products under marketing boards that set prices and quotas. As Gordon Hill says:

“I can’t understand why the minister has bothered to bring in such legislation. He is putting in place provincial programmes identical to the federal programmes because the federal programmes are inadequate.”

Surely if the federal programmes are inadequate the provincial programme will be equally inadequate. The minister himself calls the federal stabilization programmes inadequate. It is worthy of note that on Thursday, the day of the minister’s announcement, John Jansen, secretary-manager of the Ontario Chicken Producers’ Marketing Board, said that due to fierce competition from broiler chickens coming in from the United States the marketing board was forced to price birds at slightly below the cost of production. Obviously stabilization programmes are needed, even by marketing boards that set quotas and prices.

The commission set up by this legislation will make farmer involvement a farce. The commission of not fewer than five members will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Lieutenant Governor in Council will also designate who is chairman and who is vice-chairman. Three people will constitute a quorum. Put this together with the fact that the minister has said that a representative or two from the ministry will probably be named to the commission, and what is the result? At a three-man meeting, or a quorum, government officials could rule the show.

Mr. Nixon: Right out of their hip pocket.

Hon. W. Newman: Why doesn’t the member read the whole statement?

Mr. Riddell: The question in my mind is: How can a government-appointed commission, paid for by government on a per diem basis and partly composed of government officials, possibly negotiate for farmers with the government? How can an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food-mothered body negotiate with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food?

Now to make matters worse, this bureaucratic kingdom won’t even have much to do, says Gordon Hill. The minister says if it was operative in 1975 it would only have shelled out between $7 million and $8 million; which is one-third of the cost of the single cow-calf programme last year.

Having condemned the bill for its obvious inadequacies, I will admit that the plan would cover a few crops, mainly fruits and vegetables, which are not automatically covered by federal legislation. In a bad year the federal Agricultural Stabilization Board does designate these crops for payment if merited. The provincial legislation would give them ongoing protection, although this means little because the federal government has been pretty responsive in bad years, as the fruit and vegetable industries admit.

The bill says the commission could provide for surveys and research relating to farm income stabilization and to obtain statistics for other purposes. Surely the massive existing bureaucracy can do this. One valid point on the government’s side is that this plan will not disrupt trade between provinces.

In the 1976-1977 budget no money was allocated for this, the first year of the stabilization legislation. On April 22 the minister brought in a request for $25.6 million in estimates for a farm income stabilization programme. If the cow-calf programme costs the same as last year, it will consume $22 million of that $25.6 million; and I know the minister is going to say the calf crop is going to be much better --

Hon. W. Newman: The member doesn’t have any faith in the future of agriculture in this province, does he? He stands up there as a complete pessimist, as far as --

Mr. Riddell: Let’s just wait.

Mr. S. Smith: How much will it cost?

Mr. Nixon: We have no faith in the ministry.

Mr. S. Smith: How much is it going to cost this year?

Hon. W. Newman: I don’t know.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex has the floor.

Mr. Riddell: The little that remains could quite conceivably be spent to support the hollow carrot industry, which I referred to previously.

Now in summary, this bill lets the Lieutenant Governor in Council name a commission, of not fewer than five, to set stabilization support levels on farm products not covered by, first, the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act; or second, marketing boards setting farm-gate prices and quotas. The money for administration and pay-out comes from the consolidated revenue fund until March 31, 1977, and later will be passed by the Legislature.

Support levels will be based on 90 per cent of the previous five-year average market price for that crop or product. The support level can be adjusted up or down marginally from this figure because it is indexed to current cost of production. This calculation of support levels is the identical foundation of the federal legislation that the minister himself has been damning. It is a further example of the minister’s inconsistency. Let me repeat that the minister said, “There are inadequacies in the federal programme,” then he leaves anything that is covered by the federal programme under the inadequacies and sets up a provincial programme that’s identical.

Mr. Nixon: Equally inadequate.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I have to tell you that we oppose the bill, and as I’ve already indicated, we find there are deficiencies in the reasoned amendment because the reasoned amendment does not put a time limit on the reintroduction of the bill, so presumably the darned thing could sit for quite a period of time.

Mr. Nixon: Or forever.

Mr. Riddell: Or forever. It doesn’t indicate that the principles incorporated in the plan would be open to producers of all farm products on a contributory basis.

Mr. Lewis: That’s what insurance means.

Mr. Riddell: Oh no. The reasoned amendment does not refer; there is no reference made to a contributory plan.

Mr. Wildman: It’s insurance.

Mr. Riddell: You talk about voluntary but nothing about contributory.

Mr. Lewis: You are right on your first point, we accept it, but on the second you are deliberately fudging the issue.

Mr. Nixon: On the second one, you want to have it both ways.

Mr. Riddell: That’s right.

Mr. Nixon: You want to go to the farmers and say it is free.

Mr. Shore: You can’t suck and blow at the same time.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Riddell: Finally, the reasoned amendment doesn’t make any reference to the establishment of a legally constituted farm agency to negotiate with the government.

Mr. Nixon: Which is crucial.

Mr. Riddell: We’re going to have more to say about this as the afternoon and the evening wear on, but I’m going to end my comments now and let my colleagues, many of whom come right from the farm, speak on this particular bill.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Bill 96, the farm stabilization bill.

Mr. Moffatt: Shame. Resign.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have listened with interest to the hon. member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), I have listened with interest to the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), and I would have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I’ve listened many times to the farm people of this province from one end of this province to the other end. The farm people in this province want a fair price for the products they’re going to produce. They don’t want a subsidy from the government of Ontario or the government of Canada. They want a guarantee, they want to enjoy the farm life, they want the free life that goes with the farm life.

A few minutes ago the hon. member for Cochrane South (Mr. Ferrier) was in the chair and I was going to suggest to him that I believe he has more knowledge of the farm community than all the rest of his caucus put together -- all the rest of them.

Mr. Germa: I object.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The hon. member for Sudbury objects.

Mr. Nixon: He knows how limited that member’s knowledge is.

An hon. member: No, take a look at Sudbury.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will let him decide whether he has more knowledge than the rest of the House. I’m just comparing him to his own caucus.

Mr. Wildman: Whose figure is that?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: That could be debated too.

In listening to the member for York South, the asphalt farmer from York South --

Mr. Lane: The concrete farmer.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Oh, it is concrete now is it?

I always enjoy listening to the farmer from York South and his knowledge of the farm and the controls and what have you. What did we read in the paper this past weekend of his party? That they were going to take over the farmlands of Ontario and maybe sell them back to the farmer? Did I not read that in the paper?

Mr. Makarchuk: No, you didn’t read it in the paper.

Mr. Moffatt: Depends on how you read it.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Maybe. If he is going to do that, why do we come up with any plan? Let’s just think about that.

Mr. Nixon: That’s called nationalist resources.

Mr. Makarchuk: You’ve been reading your toilet paper again.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, that would take away all the free enterprise system that every farmer in this province has enjoyed. The reason behind them enjoying the farming is that they can sell their products and they can buy the farm they wish.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that if the New Democratic Party goes to the people with the type of ideas that they accepted at the recent convention, that they will not hold an agricultural seat in this province. I’m not sure, in looking over the speakers opposite, that any of them could really attach a tractor to a plough. I’m not sure.

Mr. Moffatt: We could put it in the right furrow, though.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: In fact, I am almost convinced that --

Mr. Shore: The NDP can shoot the bull, though.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- they might try to hook the plough to the wrong end of the tractor.

Mr. Moffatt: But at least we recognize a tractor.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The shameful part --

Mr. Lewis: The shameful part is that you won’t deal with your bill. That is what’s shameful about it. Forget all this perambulating nonsense and speak to the bill.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member for York South says: “Be not now read a second time.” A shame. He is opposed to the farmers of Ontario. It’s unbelievable that his party is opposed to the farmers of Ontario.

Mr. Nixon: My bird’s-foot trefoil is not even covered in this. We should not be voting for it, either.

Mr. Shore: He is earning every nickel as Minister without Portfolio, to get up and say the things he is saying. He is earning every nickel.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the member for Huron-Middlesex --

Mr. Eakins: How about the tile drainage money?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have been convinced over the years that the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex had the interests of the farmers at heart.

Mr. Nixon: And he still has.

Mr. Breithaupt: How do you feel now?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Today, I have to change my mind. I do so when he can stand up and say he’s not supporting this bill; when he stood up the way he did today and not support Bill 96 of this Ontario Legislature.

Mr. Eakins: He knows what he is talking about.

Mr. McKessock: Tell us, what does it cover?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, I am going to tell you. First off, Mr. Speaker, I want to make you aware of the Ontario receipts in 1975 that would not be eligible for the Ontario plan. This is what the member’s friends in Ottawa feel they should cover; what is covered by other people.

Now, I’m not sure whether the members of the New Democratic Party will know what produce we’re speaking about -- they’re not aware of them all. But No. 1 is supply management commodities. Dairy products, $575,000,060, or 23.2 per cent of Ontario produce. Poultry, $156,000,984, or 6.3 per cent. Eggs, $97,000,281, or 3.9 per cent. Tobacco, S188,000,756 or 7.4 per cent. This total of $1,018,081,000 -- or 40.6 per cent of the total farm income for the Province of Ontario is covered by supply management.

Now, just to throw a word in there on supply management, we all recognize the problem that the industrial milk producer is faced with. Let me tell you Mr. Speaker, that genuine supply management in this Province of Ontario to the farm community is the responsibility of the weatherman. I’m sure anybody who understands farming would agree with me on that.

Mr. Eakins: Need more tile drainage money?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will come to that.

Mr. Eakins: The farmers are waiting.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Now, here are items that are covered under Bill C-50 of the government of Canada: soya beans, $44,925,000, or 1.8 per cent; corn, $152,715,000, or 6.1 per cent; hogs, $236,000,000 or 9.4 per cent; sheep and lambs, $4,875,000, 0.2 per cent; feed cattle, $357 million, 14.3 per cent; barley, $7,000,532, 0.3 per cent; oats, $2,000,417, 0.1 per cent.

There are some small amounts of fruits that are added and will be added as I understand. Under Bill C-50 that’s a total of $805,000,753, or 32.8 per cent, for a total that are excluded from Bill 96 of $1,823,000,834, or 72.8 per cent. If my mathematics serve me correctly, that would leave very close to 28 per cent.

Mr. Wildman: Probably not.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Such interjections add nothing to the debate.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I enjoy them, Mr. Speaker, because as the time goes on I will look forward to the hon. members to correct my miscalculations.

Mr. Cunningham: Besides it gives you a little breather.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It gives me an opportunity to think of something else.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The farm people have an opportunity to think that the politicians over here are dumb. The farming community enjoy the hours they spend out on the tractor, they enjoy the hours that they spend and the long winter evenings when they are considering the crops they are going to grow the next year. This is all a part of the life of being involved in the farming community.

Mr. Makarchuk: They would enjoy it more if they had some money.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would say to the hon. member for Brantford that if he would speak to his colleague from Cochrane South he could sure inform him about the farming community.

I want to set out for the record for the House some examples of what Bill 96 would actually do. I am using totals here and I readily recognize that; in the area that I have mentioned here I just want to show the actual effect that the bill would have on these commodities.

I am not going to call the five-year prices. The price of potatoes in 1971 was $2.50 per bag; in 1974, $2.90 per bag; if the support price had been in effect in 1974, the potato growers would have received $3.90 per bag. Other examples are: Corn, 1971, $1.13 per bushel; 1974, $2.75 a bushel. The support price for 1974 would have been $1.85 per bushel. Hogs, 1971, $26 per cwt; 1974, $50 per cwt. The support price in 1974 would have been $45 per cwt. Soya beans, 1971, $3 per bushel; 1974, $6.30 per bushel. The support price would have been $3.90 a bushel. Winter wheat, 1971, $1.75 per bushel; 1974, $4.40 per bushel. The support price would have been $2.25 a bushel.

Apples, 3.2 cents per lb in 1971; 7.15 cents per lb in 1974. The support price would have been 5.3 cents. Beef, 1971, $35 per cwt; 1974, $50 per cwt. The support price would have been $45 per cwt.

In Ontario in 1965, my records show a production acreage of 7,488,000 acres. In 1975, they show me a figure of 7,665,000 acres.

Mr. Speaker, some of the members opposite have suggested that I get down to facts. What does the bill cover? Again, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Cunningham: In conclusion.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I’m a long way from conclusion.

Mr. Shore: What else is there?

An hon. member: Go ahead, Lorne, you’re right on.

Mr. Warner: Resign.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I looked over the records, Mr. Speaker, in some of the official opposition members’ ridings. And I looked for the agricultural products in the ridings of those members. You know, I searched for a day or two --

Mr. Cunningham: Is that what you do?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- and I can’t find one. I can’t find any over there.

Mr. Moffatt: Really? You have not looked at the right ones then.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I can’t find any over there, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Warner: No wonder you guys lost.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s a sad day, Mr. Speaker -- but that’s the opposition; that is the only opposition. There are no farm products that I can find in the official opposition.

Mr. Shore: They are looking for someone.

Mr. Kerrio: There is one. There is one, Lorne.

Mr. Riddell: The farm communities recognize that, too.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) -- yes, he’s here today.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m going to quote a few products here, Mr. Speaker, from the riding he represents. Potatoes --

Mr. Shore: Potatoes are cheaper.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- production in 1975, $2 million. Winter wheat, $5.2 million.

Mr. Nixon: I grow most of that myself.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would suggest that -- no, I won’t.

Mr. Nixon: Don’t bother.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I won’t. It is better not to say it, Mr. Speaker. Rye --

Mr. Young: Tell us about the rye.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- $0.4 million. Dry beans -- I couldn’t find any record.

An hon. member: There are some there.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Weaning piglets, $2.4 million.

Mr. Nixon: A lot of my neighbours make money out of that.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Very good, too. Weaning pigs has been a profitable business.

Beef calves and other cattle and calves, $2.4 million.

Mr. Shore: When are we going to get on to the bill?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Fruits, $2.4 million. Vegetables, $5.4 million.

Mr. Eakins: Are you talking the bill out?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Miscellaneous, $1.2 million. This is a total of $21.4 million. Now, the census of 1971 shows that that particular area had 3,403 farms.

Mr. Ferrier: Is bird’s-foot trefoil covered in that Act?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, I would hope it is. I’ll be in difficulties if it isn’t.

Mr. Wiseman: The others don’t know what bird’s-foot trefoil is. Tell them.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It just happens the next one I have is Lambton, and I know a little bit about that.

Potatoes, $2.4 million. Winter wheat, $4.7 million. Dry beans, $0.6 million. Weaning pigs, $4.2 million.

Mr. Nixon: And government cheques.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Beef calves, $5.7 million. Fruit, $0.7 million. Vegetables, $1.8 million.

Mr. Angus: How much manure did they raise?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Miscellaneous, $1.1 million.

Mr. Shore: What is that? Wintario grants?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No cheques that I can see. The total is $21.3 million. For the riding of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk it is $21.4 million. It is very close. There are 3,622 farmers in my riding.

Mr. Riddell: Fifty-dollar bills hanging from the trees.

Mr. Shore: What have you got for London North?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: London North, Mr. Speaker, is in exactly the same position as that group over there. Exactly the same.

Mr. Nixon: Oh? Bill Stewart lives right in there.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, if there are any of the members over here who would like me to go further, I can.

Mr. S. Smith: Heaping abuse on London North like that is very nasty.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Let’s get on to Huron-Middlesex. I’m sure the member for Huron-Middlesex is interested in these figures. I have a whole list of them and I’ll be glad to give them to any of the members. Maybe I should do Waterloo North. No, he’s not here today.

Mr. Riddell: He has gone to a funeral.

Mr. Eaton: That’s good for the record.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: He’s got a funeral, yes. Wellington South. Potatoes, nil.

Mr. Eakins: Turning the sod.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Winter wheat, nil. Rye, nil. Dry beans, nil. Weaning pigs, $0.6 million. Beef cattle, $0.8 million. Fruit, nil. Vegetables, $0.2 million. Miscellaneous, $0.1 million. The total is $1.7 million for 434 farmers.


Mr. S. Smith: Are you sure you didn’t bring in the wrong speech, Lorne?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, no. I will get to the riding of the official leader of the third party in a few minutes.

In Huron-Middlesex: Potatoes, $0.3 million; winter wheat, $1.7 million --

Mr. Wildman: This is ridiculous.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- rye, nil; dried beans, $3.7 million; weaning pigs, $3.6 million; beef calves, $6.8 million; fruits, $0.5 million; vegetables, $3.5 million -- for a total of $21.3 million for 2,759 farmers.

Mr. Shore: What about miscellaneous?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It was away down, exactly the same as Lambton.

In the riding of the leader of the third party: potatoes, nil; winter wheat, nil; rye, nil; dried beans, nil; weaning pigs, nil; beef calves, nil; fruits, nil; vegetables, nil; miscellaneous, nil.

Mr. Nixon: Did you pay some researcher to prepare this for you and were public funds wasted on this?

Mr. Shore: What is the total?

Mr. Wildman: Now I know why he hasn’t got a portfolio.

Mr. Nixon: Is this what the Minister without Portfolio does? Is this why we voted your $5,000?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the total of that particular riding is nil.

Mr. Kerrio: Did you have your researcher check that out?

Mr. S. Smith: That is not true; we have a nice garden.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think that fewer interjections will be much more satisfactory. The members can read it in Hansard tomorrow. Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member for Huron-Middlesex suggested that the minister’s facts are not correct. I may have made some slight mistakes, Mr. Speaker, but I think if you checked most of these out, you would find any statements I have made to be very accurate, very close -- in fact, as close as you could get them.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I have several more figures if any of the hon. members really want to know their ridings. I have them here --

Mr. Shore: If they were prepared by you, I feel --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this bill will cover $600 million of Ontario produce. Out of a gross total for Ontario produce of $2.5 billion, 28 per cent of the total produce of Ontario is covered under this bill. I would suggest to the third party, if they had any consideration at all for the farmers of this province, that they would support this bill in order that we could give the farm people of this province what is rightfully theirs.

Mr. Shore: Do you really believe it’s good?

Mr. Speaker: I have an announcement to make, but the Clerk is not at his seat, so I can’t make it. The hon. member for Durham East.

Mr. Moffatt: Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that I found that the previous speaker’s remarks, and the whole tenor of that contribution to the debate, is completely in keeping with what the government feels is the nature of agriculture and its problems in Ontario; that is, that it’s either funny or it doesn’t exist.

I think the ridiculous parochial exercise he went through to indicate that only those people who have a certain amount of agricultural production in their riding are the ones who would be concerned with farming, is short-sighted and should be considered to be reprehensible. I do happen to have farms in my riding, and I would like to point out to the hon. minister that he can come and take a look at them at any time. They are not floundering along or starving; they simply think that this government’s policies on agriculture have been totally irrelevant, as the member’s speech was totally irrelevant.

Mr. S. Smith: He can make a speech on fertilizers.

Hon. W. Newman: Why doesn’t the hon. member talk to some of the people in his riding -- not only agricultural people?

Mr. Moffatt: I want to refer briefly to the comments made by the minister when he introduced the bill and tried to point out that any changes in the bill, as proposed by this party originally and as have been discussed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and various other farm groups, would be totally impossible to put into effect.

That’s not particularly a brilliant statement to make either, because it seems to me in this province we can control the entry of food and food products in a variety of ways, if that indeed becomes necessary, to put a proper farm insurance programme into effect. There are health regulations. There are a variety of things.

Hon. W. Newman: Come on, grow up and learn a bit about agriculture. You have never heard about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. You don’t know what you are talking about.

Mr. Moffatt: There are a variety of devices which can be used. If the minister wants to trot out his irrelevant arguments about not having control over federal and foreign produce, those kinds of arguments can be made. The whole business of trying to defend an indefensible bill has taken all of the tones of statistical nit-picking that I don’t think is particularly good for agriculture or the citizens of this province.

It seems to me that we hear a lot of rhetoric lately about planning for the preservation of farm land. We hear a lot of people talking about the necessity of that. If you are ever going to plan to use farm land in its appropriate fashion as food production land then you must have some kind of stability in income for farmers. The bill that the minister has introduced did not include those kinds of provisions.

What we have attempted to do with our reasoned amendment is to put forward the kind of alternative the government could use. By consultation with the various commodity groups and people involved in agriculture, it would be possible to build into that plan the things which the farm community sees as necessary.

It is not by accident that the words, “full discussion with the farm community,” appear in the reasoned amendment. The minister insists on using this business of saying that every time we talk about farm income it’s some kind of socialist clap-trap that’s going to destroy the Province of Ontario.

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of foolish response that is going to get him and his government into more and more trouble every day.

Hon. W. Newman: But you don’t even want to give us that chance.

Mr. Moffatt: I talked to the minister or attempted to talk to him two days after the election at the World Ploughing match which, for the information of the member for Lambton, who has already left, was held in my riding last year.

Mr. Eaton: In yours the year before.

Mr. Moffatt: I’d like to point out that at that time, before the present Minister of Agriculture and Food was the minister, he was making statements totally counter to any kind of programme of farm income stabilization. That’s the reason that this programme is being brought in in such a niggling fashion by this government. They have no commitment to the farm community and they intend not to do anything to protect the farm income of the farmers of this province.

It is time we had something done to make sure that farmers can have the kind of planning that people in the industrial and other businesses are able to bring to bear to make sure that when they plan a year’s production they will know something about what they are going to have at the end of it.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Just before we continue with the debate I have an announcement to make. I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in her chambers.

Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which Her Honour has assented:

Bill 54, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

Bill 55, the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act.

Bill 64, An Act to amend the Housing Development Act.

Bill 84, An Act to amend the Judicial Review Procedure Act, 1971.

Bill 90, An Act to amend the Life Stock Community Sales Act.

Bill 102, An Act to repeal the Municipal Subsidies Adjustment Act.

Bill 105, An Act respecting the Township of North Plantagenet.


Mr. Speaker: And now the member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Moffatt: Wow!

Mr. S. Smith: I’m not sure if that’s for the hon. member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) or myself, but I’ll accept it. Thank you very much.

Mr. Lewis: It is for you.

Mr. S. Smith: I am pleased we are now addressing ourselves to the substance of this bill and that we have, momentarily at least, lifted our attention from whether or not corridor conversations are to be taken one way or another. We’ve come down to the real matter at hand, which is Bill 96. I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that I stand fully behind what I consider to be an excellent statement of position made by the member for Huron-Middlesex, one that I was very proud of.

Mr. Angus: Have you changed your position again?

Mr. S. Smith: I want to tell you that I will not and the Liberal Party will not vote for sham legislation, and that is exactly what Bill 96 is. It only pretends to be the farm income stabilization legislation that Ontario farmers need and deserve. I think you know that I am personally very committed and our party is committed to making sure there is a reversal in the trend in this province which is irreversible, according to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), and that is toward greater and greater urbanization, greater and greater urban sprawl in the area around Lake Ontario, the so-called golden horseshoe, as more and more young people find it impossible to take up agriculture as a career.

Although at the moment we are well aware that there are more surplus problems than shortages, and at the moment we are well aware that there is no real difficulty with the amount of land that is left in production, we have to look to the future. We have to look to a time when food may be to this province and to this country what oil is to the OPEC nations.

Therefore we have to consider a way, and it is a tricky matter, to make agriculture today a sufficiently reasonable livelihood to keep people involved in it, to keep the newer generation involved in it, and yet at the same time not to overproduce surpluses which cannot be marketed in present world conditions. It is a very difficult matter; but for sure if we want to preserve farm land -- although we have some differences with the official opposition in terms of having to freeze every single inch of farm land, we feel that is overdoing it, still we do believe we need to preserve our better farm land -- it seems to me the surest way to preserve farm land is by making agriculture produce the kind of income, the kind of living that a young person would want to take it up, that a young person could take it up without the fear of the ups and downs, the vagaries of nature making his life impossible and making it difficult to raise a young family.

At the moment we have to look at the fact that it’s easier to move into the city and take almost any industrial job that’s available, because it does provide more security than farming. This party therefore has been on record; my predecessor in the leadership, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), has gone up and down this province for years proposing a decent farm income stabilization or farm income insurance plan, whatever you want to call it, to make sure that the ups and downs of a farmer’s livelihood could be levelled out, to make sure that farming could be a decent living for more and more young people; and that surely is what we have to aim at.

We have a vision of the province not losing its shape completely as people collapse into the city, into this urbanized area, but rather where people can be self-sufficient in their smaller communities; and most of our smaller communities depend on a viable agricultural base for a decent living.

Therefore, we wish to have real farm income stabilization and not this sham of a bill. When the largest farm organization in this province says that this bill is “of almost no potential benefit to Ontario farmers,” we cannot in conscience support it.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has said, as you know Mr. Speaker, that it will only create, “more expensive, inefficient and insensitive government bureaucracy;” and calls the bill “a hollow carrot.”

It is time that this government stopped making empty promises to the farm community. It’s an insult to the farm community for this government to keep boasting that it is assisting farmers when it is not.

You know you would almost be tempted to pass this bill had it come in under the name of emergency help to some fruit and vegetable growers, but the pretentions of this government to bring it in under the name of farm income stabilization is so deliberately set out to mislead people that we cannot in fact vote for it. It is time, as I say, that they called their bill what it really is and not insult the farm community.

You know, in 33 years of Tory rule farmers have been though some gruelling times; and now Agriculture Canada predicts even as much as possibly a 25 per cent drop in net farm income this year across Canada, although frankly I hope that was a pessimistic estimate.

Violent jolts up and down in farm income have affected the province’s sugar beet industry, its processing strawberry industry and forced farmers who desperately want to farm to leave farming in order to provide their families the income security of a 9-to-5 job.


We will only be able to maintain a healthy farm sector if we do provide a reasonable form of insurance. The Liberal Party would replace this pathetic legislation, that gives token handouts, with a stabilization programme that both farmers and government would pay into.

You know, the farmers are not looking for spoon-fed programmes or subsidies or handouts. The farmers are not asking for the government to become bigger and bigger and basically to take over the lives of everybody in this province and somehow or other to bail them out of every difficulty. They are willing to make contributions when, due to the crop situation, there is some prosperity in the farm. They are willing to invest some of that so that when times are bad they have some support.

The farmers are a very independent group in this province. They are not out to have government take care of them but they are at the moment probably the only group nakedly facing the private enterprise system without some form of protection, without at least the opportunity to insure themselves against, as I say, the vagaries of that system and of nature.

The farmers want to take an active part in developing and carrying out programmes that affect the farm community. We in the Legislature should be grateful for that. We shouldn’t trample on them and set up bureaucracies and tell them to come and plead with these bureaucracies for so much money. That reduces the independence. That reduces the dignity of people. They want their own organization to stand up and make their case clearly. And they deserve to have that. It’s the minimum they deserve and we can’t vote for less.

There are several flaws in Bill 96 which have been listed very well by my colleague from Huron-Middlesex. The bill does cover a small percentage of the dollar value of Ontario’s farm products. It excludes all commodities covered by federal stabilization legislation, marketing boards, set quotas and farm gate prices. I think you have already heard the example of broiler chickens, which is proof that merely being under a marketing board does not provide sufficient protection for the farmers.

Hon. W. Newman: Why don’t you make the adjustments?

Mr. S. Smith: This bill also excludes any product brought under the federal Agricultural Stabilization Act and therefore it will mean even less to fewer farmers in the future than it does now. The support level in this bill will be set at the average market price for the previous five years. If farmers get less than that in the market place, then the government will make up the difference, as some adjustments permit it.

This is identical really to what the Minister of Agriculture and Food has already publicly labelled as inadequate, and we agreed with him when he did that. How can he with any feeling or concern bring in the identical inadequate programme? He contradicted his own promises on Nov. 25, 1975. Anybody can see that who reads that speech to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture in November, 1975. He said: “Our proposal envisages a minimum 90 per cent guarantee to all producers.”

Where is the flip-flop? We know where it is. It is in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The bill makes farmer involvement a farce.

Hon. W. Newman: Read the whole speech.

Mr. S. Smith: “The commission of not fewer than five members will be appointed by and paid by the government.”

Mr. Roy: I’d fire that speech writer.

Mr. S. Smith: The government will also dictate who is chairman and who is vice-chairman.

Mr. Hodgson: They change every day.

Hon. W. Newman: Does it ever.

Mr. S. Smith: On top of this, as you know, since three would form a quorum, there would be government officials with farmers who have no guarantee that they will have a meaningful input into this commission.

Let me say something about the matter of minority government. It’s a very, very difficult thing that none of us, I suppose, is used to since there haven’t been very many minority governments in the Province of Ontario, but in order to work in the public interest, it requires a degree of co-operation. It requires a degree of working together.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: The government has the responsibility to govern, and we recognize that.

Mr. Hodgson: Which hat have you got on today?

Mr. S. Smith: But they are only 51 members. They are no more than that. There are 74 of us here in the two opposition parties and we deserve to be consulted. We deserve to have a say. The government knows we can’t accept a bill like this. Why do they persist in pushing it forward in this form? Why could they not arrange to have proper consultation with the farmers’ representatives, the various organizations?

Hon. W. Newman: Because you stopped it yourself personally.

Mr. Nixon: What good is consultation after the fact?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: What is the point of bringing forward a bill of this kind without giving people a chance to have their input before the bill is drafted, before the bill is put on the order paper? Why should the onus fall totally upon the Liberal Party to make minority government work? Why should it be simply we that have to make minority government work?

Hon. W. Newman: You have to be kidding.

Mr. S. Smith: The government acts as though it still has a majority the way it used to. The official opposition is prepared to put this province through an election at any time of year over any issue at all. Why is it that only one party in this Legislature is attempting to make minority government work?

Let me say a few words about the reasoned amendment; presented by the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), was it not? Yes.

There is much merit in that reasoned amendment. I think that reasoned amendment -- the official opposition back-benchers seem so shocked to hear that something they presented has merit but don’t be too surprised; from time to time that happens. It may be accidental but it happens.

Mr. Bain: We didn’t think that you would admit the reasoned amendment was good. We didn’t know you were so impressed.

Mr. S. Smith: The reasoned amendment has certain merit, but as the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) pointed out, there are some serious deficiencies in it as well. Clearly it is an improvement over the bill itself. The logical thing for the government to do is withdraw the bill and have proper hearings. We all know that, everyone knows that; but in fact they wish to push ahead with it.

If that’s the case, the reasoned amendment makes a lot of sense. The problem is that it still does not point out that it should be contributory; although I take it it was the intention of the member to point that out and I’ll accept that was his intention.

Mr. Bounsall: That’s what an insurance plan is.

Mr. S. Smith: No; with respect Mr. Speaker, we have experts in the insurance industry here, it is not; but I accept that he intended it to be.

The fact, furthermore, is that in addition to being contributory there should be a time limit to make sure that they don’t go on forever with these hearings and bring in a bill before the season gets on too much further. I think it’s also important that the farmers have representation and be assured that any board will be a board that represents the farmers’ interests; in fact it’s particularly important that this happen.

We met with a group of farmers today who represented the fruit and vegetable growers association, and they hadn’t read the bill or had any real notion of what was in it. It was really embarrassing to even be a member of this Legislature when the government carries on in that way.

May I just say for a moment, Mr. Speaker, that many people who come to petition this Legislature believe that because the opposition parties are a majority we can somehow order the business of the House and bring in our own bills and so on. It’s not commonly understood by the citizens that we’re still pretty well dependent on what the government brings forward. It is disgraceful that they would not act in a way that would involve consultation with the very people who are the most involved in this.


Mr. Breithaupt: We’ll give the minister their names.

Mr. S. Smith: We’ll give him the list.

Hon. W. Newman: The secretary-manager is sitting in the gallery. I talked to him this morning, so don’t stand up there without making sure what you are talking about.

Mr. S. Smith: Let me say furthermore, Mr. Speaker, the rules of the House, as you well know, insist that at some point we will ask shall this bill be read a second time. After that is disposed of, at that point, there will come the reasoned amendment.

At that point it will be appropriate for us to make whatever improvements we think could be made, so that together we can bring to the farming community of this province something of which we can be proud, which is much more reasonable than the situation that’s being foisted upon them, or an attempt is being made to foist it upon them by the present government. I look forward to that part of the debate this evening, when we can in fact participate in attempting to improve the amendment, which in itself attempts to improve the bill which was presented.

Now I would just like to say, basically, in closing Mr. Speaker, that it is not easy to oppose bad legislation and yet not force the province into a summer election. It’s a difficult thing. Of course it’s a matter of judgement as to whether each particular bill is of sufficient moment, and sufficient weight and circumstance that it would be worthwhile provoking a summer election. This is the kind of judgement you must make.

I make no apology for the fact that our party has to make some unusual adjustments which are perhaps even considered humorous by some, but the fact is we are trying to make this government work. We are opposing bad legislation without bringing the whole House down around everybody for a summer election. That’s all we’re doing, that’s the only thing we’re doing; and I hope it will be understood by the citizens of Ontario, and particularly by the farming community, that we are making it impossible for the government to force through a piece of sham legislation.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, I guess it should be a privilege to follow the urban Eugene Whelan in speaking.

Mr. Nixon: They are both good speakers.

Mr. Eaton: But I just have to give warning to him that he better be careful of the members of his own caucus. Just a minute ago those people who take credit for, and rode on the coat-tails of the things that Eugene Whelan has done for the farmers -- and I give him full credit for it -- those people in his own provincial party over there turn around --

Mr. Roy: You just wish you had a Minister of Agriculture like Eugene Whelan.

Mr. Eaton: -- and disown him or discredit him for the farm stabilization programme that he has introduced at the national level.

I say they are pretty quick to take advantage of Eugene and the credit that Eugene gets for his work, and then turn around and go back the other way when they think it is politically advantageous.

Mr. Kerrio: Say something about the bill!

An hon. member: Sitting on the fence.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, in talking to the amendment that has been put forth, first of all I would like to say that we cannot support it.


Mr. Nixon: The minister’s going to vote for it.

Mr. Eaton: This amendment would delay the action of bringing this legislation forth. It would deny those producers who will --

Mr. Haggerty: You promised it two years ago.

Mr. Eaton: -- be protected by the legislation the right to have that protection now. In opposing this bill, both groups in the opposition are denying those producers in this province, who are not now covered by federal legislation, that protection.

Mr. Wildman: Talk about Stoney Creek.

Mr. Eaton: I think that each and every one of these members should think about that before they vote against the bill.

Mr. Roy: Our critics here know more about agriculture than you will ever know.

Mr. Eaton: I think that we can also say that the consultation will take place if the bill is allowed to go ahead. The minister himself has indicated that it will go to a committee of the House. Also, the inference that is made in regard to insurance certainly is inaccurate, and we cannot support that. So we will not be supporting this amendment that was put forth.

Mr. Wildman: You will regret that.

Mr. Riddell: Did you give him that authority, or is he speaking on his own?

Mr. Eaton: Once again I want to emphasize that this bill covers those commodities which are not now covered.


Mr. Haggerty: Yes, but the federal government is including vegetables and fruits.

Mr. Eaton: The leader of the third party indicated that our Minister of Agriculture, in his speech at the federation annual meeting, said that the products would be covered at 90 per cent. That’s exactly what has happened. Those products at the federal level are covered that way, with the cost of production factor built in. That’s exactly what we are doing provincially for those producers who are not now protected by that legislation.

I want to speak, too, on the remarks that were made in regard to the meeting at Stoney Creek. Reference was made that I announced at that time the plan would be coming forth and that it would have voluntary financial participation by the producers. That is certainly not the case, and I quote right from my notes at that meeting: “It will provide for participation with the federal government,” which we have done. There will be “voluntary producer participation,” which it provides. I said at Stoney Creek that “if a producer wants to accept the programme, if there is a payment to be made on that product, then he voluntarily has the right to take it.” Individual commodities will be covered, as I mentioned at the meeting, and those commodities that will be covered are those that are now outside the federal legislation.

The support level would relate to the cost of production. That’s exactly what is taking place -- a guarantee of 90 per cent, plus a factor for the cost of production. All those things that were brought up at that meeting are taking place.


I would also point out that some of the discussion at that meeting was on the problems and potential of stabilization. We went into a number of the problems that could be seen in stabilization programmes. The member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) was very quick to avoid the discussion of the BC programme at that particular meeting.

Mr. Eakins: Because it’s Ontario.

Mr. Eaton: He’s quick to point to it but he doesn’t cover the discussion at that meeting. I just want to go over some of the discussion that took place at that meeting. The article that came out is “The bloom is beginning to fade on BC’s farm income programme.” This quote is directly from a representative from BC.

“There are already signs that the programme has helped to inflate land and quota prices, and the government is unearthing a welter of administrative and regulatory difficulties. [It goes on to point out many of those problems.] The BC programme has, as a result, suggested that land costs be removed from the cost production formula.”

He also goes on to point out that the price of fluid milk quotas had doubled since the stabilization programme came into place, from $35 to $70 a pound. There are reports of prices even as high as $85 a pound. I think that’s one thing we must be concerned about, the level of value that is placed on quotas. Look at our tobacco industry at the present time. One-third of the cost of production is now the value of renting a quota for the right to produce that product.

Mr. Roy: You are doing a bad job of defending the bill.

Mr. Eaton: I want to refer from that stabilization programme to comments by the Federation of Agriculture by their president, Mr. Hill.

Mr. Haggerty: He is on your side.

Mr. Eaton: He points out that if we have incentive prices, which the programme we’ve been talking about will be, then we have to have controls to go with it. We have to have production controls. I’ll tell you I’m not against production controls, providing they’re implemented by the producers themselves, by producer marketing boards, by those producers who want them. To come out with a programme that sets such high values and high standards as far as the return is concerned that it becomes an incentive programme, and then if because of those incentives we get overproduction and have to turn around and put quotas --

Mr. S. Smith: That’s what the minister promised in November.

Mr. Eaton: That’s not what he promised. You mentioned the 90 per cent he promised.

Mr. Nixon: That’s what he did with the milk business.

Mr. Eaton: To turn around and have to impose all those quotas and decide how they’ll be transferred is going to be a monumental problem, and one that bears interest, in the future of agriculture. We hear a lot today about the young farmer getting started into agriculture. The federation is great to put that forth. People on the other side of the House are great in putting that forth. Where does the young farmer get started, in what products, in this province today? It is not where he has to go out and buy a huge quota at money he can’t afford, but in those products that aren’t under rigid quota controls where he doesn’t have to pay to get a quota to get into the business. I think that’s one thing to be considered in setting up quotas on every product, because if you set incentive prices you’re going to have to put those quotas on every product.

We’ve seen what happened just recently in the milk business. Young farmers got to thinking they were going to get quotas. They were encouraged by the milk board saying, if they produce over the next year they’ll have a quota and then they found out they haven’t got quotas now because we’ve got overproduction. That’s what those incentives caused, the kind of troubles we have right now.

I have to look at a situation like that of Gordon Hill, the president of the federation, and the whole view of the executive of the federation right now. I was criticized by saying they didn’t necessarily represent the views of all their members --

Mr. Lane: They don’t either.

Mr. Eaton: -- just as we members don’t necessarily represent the views of all the people in our riding.

Mr. Peterson: You sure do.

Mr. Eaton: Even those who vote for us sometimes disagree with the policies that come forth.

Mr. Bounsall: They sure do with this one.

Mr. Eaton: I can’t help but feel that I have a right to criticize somewhat the Federation of Agriculture’s executive and their stand right now. I happen to be one of the first direct members of that organization. I happen to have signed the papers that made it possible for Gordon Hill to stand so that he could become president of that organization. I have a lot of respect for him and his activities on behalf of that organization.

Since he went in there, and since the federation started to rejuvenate itself, it has been doing a good job; but in the last little while I think the federation has turned from some of its objectives. One objective that I know Gordon had at that time was to try to get the money out of the marketplace for the producer through the efforts of our marketing boards, using the finest legislation anywhere in the world. I think they have changed from that objective and now are coming here and saying, “We want to get all we can out of the coffers of the province.” And I am very disappointed in the leadership in our organization for that.

Mr. Riddell: He speaks very highly of you, Bob.

Mr. S. Smith: But your own minister promised this sort of legislation.

Mr. Eaton: I am talking about incentive prices -- not the legislation that we have here, but what it could lead to --

Mr. Bullbrook: He is not talking about the bill; he is out of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. S. Smith: He is out of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Eaton: I think that they need to reassess their position on those things, because their president himself has said --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: It might be well if the hon. member did speak to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Eaton: I am speaking to the principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker. The president himself said, “Well, we’ve got a minority government; we’re going to get everything we can.” I think that is a bad attitude that too many of the people of our province are slipping into today.

Mr. Lewis: Who said that?

Mr. Nixon: Are you quoting Gordon Hill?

Mr. S. Smith: Don’t berate the farmers now. Come on.

Mr. Eaton: I’m not berating the farmers. I’m berating anyone who is taking that attitude.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: What is the point of order?


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has a point of order.

Mr. Nixon: I wonder if the hon. member will permit a question based on his statement --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That’s not a point of order.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, sir, I believe, he is attributing a statement, a very serious statement indeed, to a citizen of this province, and he should be able to say where the president of the federation made that statement. I feel that’s a very serious allegation.

Mr. Eaton: Certainly. He made it to me personally. If he says not, he can say so right now; he is in the gallery.

Mr. Lewis: No, he is not.

Mr. Eaton: He left. He said he was going to stay around. That’s too bad.

Mr. Bounsall: He couldn’t stand you.

Mr. MacDonald: You drove him out.

Mr. Lewis: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. It wasn’t a point of order. The hon. member for Middlesex may continue.

Mr. Lewis: Well, I will wait.

Mr. Eaton: In continuing to refer to those activities, I mentioned that situation of the young farmers not being able to get into the business because everything is under quotas. I want to refer to the meeting of the young farmers. You know, the farm organizations --

Mr. Wildman: When are you going to talk about the bill?

Mr. Eaton: I am. The farm organizations made quite a to-do about that young farmers’ conference.

Mr. Deans: Where is that in the bill?

Mr. Eaton: I wonder why, because those young people were speaking out and saying some of the things that concerned them. They were saying some of the things that they, as young people, perhaps don’t often get a chance to do through our organization.

Mr. MacDonald: Do you think they are muzzled there?

Mr. Eaton: I am not saying they are muzzled at all. I’m saying that they don’t get that opportunity as much because they are young farmers coming into the business; they don’t speak out the same, as perhaps, some others. But that opportunity was given them and I think it is something certainly to be considered.

Mr. Warner: Ah, you guys have lost control.

Mr. S. Smith: Are those your views, Bill? Are you repudiating the OFA also?

Hon. W. Newman: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Eaton: I also want to refer to the statement that was put out by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, when Mr. Hill pointed out that the only benefit would be to the members of the bureaucratic kingdom to be established under the bill. Let’s just stop and think for a moment about the presentation that was given to us by the Federation of Agriculture in their proposal to set up the legislation. They were proposing that when the legislation was set up they would administer it for four per cent of the cost, the same as BC does.

Let’s just look at that. Four per cent of the beef programme last year, in which we paid out $22 million, would have been $880,000. That at the present time is the total budget of the Federation of Agriculture. That was done internally, with the staff that we already had in the ministry, no extra staff was added for that. So I think he needs to take a second look when he says that it would have been setting up a bureaucratic kingdom, because that certainly is not the case.

I also think that we need to look at what some of the members are saying about how much the programmes should cost. Everyone is assuming that the price of the agricultural product has got to be low and we have to make a big payout to have a programme. That certainly isn’t the idea of the programme. The idea of the programme is to protect producers when prices do drop. As a result, there would have only been a payout of $7 million last year, because there were only a few commodities that needed that kind of support, most of them were receiving reasonable returns.

I also want to look at the situation brought up in regard to commodities that are outside of the programme because they are under quota controls and price-setting regulations. Reference was made by the leader of the third party to the broilers. It isn’t necessary that we have a stabilization programme to protect a situation like that. We’ve had a promise federally that if we have supply management then we will receive protection at the borders; and this has been done with eggs. It certainly can be done with broilers in the same way. We have a supply management programme and there is no reason why the federal government cannot carry through that commitment.

With many of our products the problem isn’t the price we receive at home because of our production here, it’s the price we receive because of our low tariff protection and the fact that the tariff protection that we have is antiquated as far as agriculture is concerned. Every time there is a round of negotiations we get into a situation that agricultural products are traded off as far as protection is concerned.

As far as protection of our products is concerned the levels go back to the 1930s and are completely inadequate. I could go through the whole list of them, however I won’t take the time because I know there are other speakers who want to get involved.

I just want to conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying that I think it’s wrong for the members of the other parties to deny the producers in this province the same protection that is now provided under the legislation. I think it is summed up pretty well in a newspaper column I have here, written by a former colleague of Eugene Whelan who says: “I am certainly no supporter of the Conservatives;” and then he goes on to say: “But PC’s policies are sensible. I find -- ”


Mr. Nixon: They say so themselves.

Mr. Eaton: “I find that their policies on farm income stabilization and land-use preservation make more sense by far than those of either the Liberals or the NDP.”


Mr. Eaton: “Mr. Newman is absolutely bang-on correct in worrying that a farm income stabilization programme that is too generous will lead this province into disaster. Our main problem remains the potential to produce crippling surpluses.”


Mr. Eaton: “Farmers still respond to profits, and respond quickly and forcefully -- ”

Mr. S. Smith: Who is he quoting?

Mr. Eaton: -- “and that is the way it should be.”

Mr. Peterson: Who are you quoting?

Mr. S. Smith: My uncle writes good letters too.

Mr. Eaton: I’m quoting Jim Romahn.

Mr. Lewis: Who is that?

Mr. Eaton: Jim Romahn?

Hon. W. Newman: A former Liberal, believe it or not.

Mr. Eaton: Jim Romahn, who worked for Eugene Whelan.

Mr. Speaker, I conclude by saying that although some of our farm organizations do not like this legislation, there are many people within the ranks of those organizations who support the legislation.


Mr. Warner: Name them.

Mr. Eaton: You can go out and find them in your riding if you’re in the country. You may not be but you can go out and find many of them.

Mr. Warner: You got all the farmers out of my riding.

Mr. Eaton: There are many who support the legislation. The legislation should go ahead for those producers who are not now protected by the federal legislation.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Scarborough West.

Mr. Hodgson: He just sells houses for big money.

Mr. MacDonald: That’s cheap.

Mr. Lewis: I want to intervene in this debate, much, I think, in the spirit which both opposition parties have shown, which is to deal with this debate in a way which doesn’t reflect the irreconcilable adversary and often in a not very friendly tone, but deals with the debate and this subject matter on its merits and exclusively on its merits.

I want to put aside, if I can, for the moment, all of the swirl of commentary about confidence and no-confidence, about corridor discussions and their various interpretations and take a look, in concert with my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, at the substance of the bill and what is really at issue before us.

If I may say to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, there are two enormous problems in the bill, and I think he understands that. One is the simple compelling reality that it does not meet the need to which it is addressed. The second is the equally compelling reality that it defaults on commitments which were made and therefore stands as a repudiation of all that was promised and all that the farm community legitimately expected. In that context, it’s absurd to ask us to support a bill which is faulty in its principle and dishonourable in its introduction.

I want the Minister of Agriculture and Food to think back to the whole range of experiences which all of us have had in dealing with the whole farm income stabilization area. When William Stewart was Minister of Agriculture and Food and put a dollar figure to the cost of a farm income protection plan -- he called it stabilization -- he did so because it was part of a gradually evolving reality for the government. Ha was responding to what was happening in British Columbia. He was responding to the pressures in Ontario and he was showing how much it would cost, not to demean it or depreciate it or dismiss it, but simply to demonstrate its importance and its costs.

Subsequent to that, there have been two separate commitments in Throne Speeches from this government about a farm income protection plan. The Minister of Agriculture and Food has moved throughout the Province of Ontario speaking often and frequently of a farm income stabilization insurance protection plan. I was at the meeting of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which I think was the first occasion on which the new Minister of Agriculture and Food spoke to the Ontario federation. I think the former Leader of the Opposition was there as well. My colleague, the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), was there. Many members of the Legislature were there.

We all heard the Minister of Agriculture and Food make a public commitment which indicated all major commodities and a contributory plan. We were all there and we all heard it. We all know that the evolution of this discussion has resulted in many instances from the Minister of Agriculture and Food criticizing the federal plan defiantly and belligerently as inadequate and then, as a kind of finale, tabling a document in March, 1976, which said: “There will be a provincial commodity income stabilization programme providing farmers with a contributory income covering major commodities.”

How is it possible to reconcile the entire pattern of the last two years with the emasculated and vacuous piece of legislation which we have before us? And that’s why we can’t support it. It’s simply why we can’t support it.

I want to say to the Minister of Agriculture with respect, Mr. Speaker, that he should feel a certain shame, a certain embarrassment. As a matter of fact, the whole government should feel shame in introducing this kind of legislation.

It has nothing to do with denying the farmers a legitimate plan. The government is not denying the farmers a legitimate plan. It is denying the farmers what it promised them for two years, and has now repudiated in a public forum. That’s why the farmers are angry with this government and that’s why the opposition parties are not prepared to support this kind of legislation under any circumstances.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food said in his opening statement in introducing the bill on second reading: “I have talked to the farmers of Ontario. I have met with them all over the province and I know what they want.” Fair game; fair game.

Hon. W. Newman: I didn’t say that.

Mr. Lewis: I am sure he has talked to many farm groups. I have talked to a great many farm groups as well over the past several months. I don’t pretend it comes with the expertise or the knowledge of the Minister of Agriculture, but I too have perception. I listen to what they say, and two things have impressed me enormously.

First, the farm groups with whom I have met -- and they have been many -- are tremendously concerned about the gradual and irresistible disappearance of crop land. They understand what’s happening in Ontario and they therefore support the feds and the farm union and the agrologists and the small rural municipalities and everybody else who have asked for a piece of legislation to designate the protection of agricultural land.

But more than that, Mr. Speaker, the farmers of Ontario are saying, I think, that they want to be assured an adequate return on investment and that there’s something politically and morally wrong with a society which says to the farm community on whom we all depend, “You can blessed well go down the drain. We will intervene on everyone else’s behalf but we won’t intervene on your behalf.”

There have been some pretty vivid moments which stick in my mind about that. I was in Dresden, Ont., just a few months ago to meet with a number of farmers from Lambton and Kent counties about the laying of natural gas lines and what it was doing to the fields. It was a perfectly interesting and useful meeting, and I learned a great deal I didn’t know.

When the meeting ended, several of the farmers approached me and said: “Whatever you can do about the natural gas line, could you please help persuade the government to give us some kind of income assurance, or we can’t stay on the farm?”

I remember being out in Sharbot Lake in Frontenac township not many months ago, meeting in that marvellous little multi-service community centre which deals with a largely rural community, and sitting late one night with a number of farmers who had come from Frontenac and Lanark counties. And the thing they put to me most strongly was that beyond the cow-calf stabilization plan, there also had to be a farm income protection plan.

I can remember not so long ago, Mr. Speaker, going up to Manitoulin Island to deal on a number of matters. And the minister will know that in the Manitoulin area that not only is cow-calf stabilization a centrepiece of farm anxiety, but there is the whole business of expanding it into a farm income protection plan which will work.

Just a few weeks ago I was up in Durham in the riding of my friend from Grey at a public meeting which essentially involved the Hydro transmission corridor from Bradley to Georgetown and the public opposition that was being voiced to that corridor. When the meeting was over, and there were several hundred people present, I was approached by a number of farmers in Grey and in Bruce who put to me the proposition that whatever happened on the farm corridors, something had to happen on farm income insurance.

Wherever I have gone as a politician and a leader in the Province of Ontario, the farmers have talked to me about farm income insurance. They think this kind of a plan which you have introduced is, in fact, a betrayal of everything they wanted and everything they have been promised. What the leader of the Liberal Party said is entirely valid. The farmers are obviously an intensely proud and entrepreneurial group and they’re not begging for anything.

Mr. Lane: We agree.

Mr. Lewis: They are asking for decent civilized support. They are saying: “Why must we, practically as the only sector of society, be left utterly defenceless in the face of the pressures of this economy?”

Mr. Lane: No they’re not.

Mr. Lewis: They are putting to the government, therefore, that there must be a farm income insurance plan which gives them some kind of real support and real stabilization.

Now certainly the government comes at it rather differently than the opposition party, and I was astounded by the comments of the member of -- is it Huron-Middlesex?

Mr. Breithaupt: Middlesex.

Mr. S. Smith: Good God, no.

Mr. Lewis: Sorry. Middlesex. Just Middlesex. My apologies to Mr. Riddell.

Mr. Breithaupt: Thank you, thank you.

Mr. Lewis: That is defamation of character. The member, purely and solely, for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton).

A government which has had its roots with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, a government which has had its roots in the rural community, should surely be more sensitive to what the Federation of Agriculture is saying to the government. I think the hon. member’s gratuitous attack on Gordon Hill and the executive of the federation, and his unwarranted criticisms of that executive and that federation today, were profoundly misplaced and he will regret every word he uttered.

Mr. Eaton: Not a member of that organization criticized --

Mr. Lewis: Really, I am extremely surprised at what is happening here, because what the Tory party is beginning to do, and I am startled by it, is to turn its guns on the federation and its executive as a scapegoat and a whipping post for farm policies which are frankly insubstantial and inconsequential. The government is attempting to set up a straw man, which it is not going to succeed in doing, because with the farm community, irony of ironies, the Federation of Agriculture and the Farm Union together are stronger than the Tories are as a government party. That’s right; they speak to the farmers.

When we watched the events of the last week or so unfold, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Roy: You should apologize.

Mr. Peterson: You are going to lose, Bob.

Mr. Lewis: When we watched the events of the last week or so unfold, Mr. Speaker, and we tried to consider what was happening, we decided -- chatted first about it at our provincial convention over the weekend and then drafted it yesterday -- to submit a reasoned amendment, for what we hoped would be the best possible uses. In that context this is what minority government is all about.

We didn’t simply want to repudiate the government position, which obviously the opposition in concert wishes to do. We wanted to provide direction to government, with an alternative position; and a reasoned amendment which would contain not only all of the principles which the farm groups and associated groups would wish to have it contain, but also what the government originally promised. When government members vote against our reasoned amendment, they are voting against themselves. It’s as simple as that; because that’s what they promised, that’s exactly what they promised.

Hon. W. Newman: It is quite obvious you don’t understand --

Mr. Lewis: Now that seems to me to be getting the best, if I can put it that way, of minority government. You reject what a government has put in and provide the kind of constructive alternative which will bring to policy a focus and a substance it hasn’t otherwise had.

The Liberal Party has taken issue with some of the matters within the reasoned amendment. Can I say, in the spirit in which I put it, that none of us in the New Democratic Party feel dogmatic about these things. If there is a time limit to be inserted by a subamendment and if it’s fairly soon, which was our intention, I don’t see any difficulty in New Democrats accommodating that.


For us the word contributory was inherent in a farm income insurance plan, therefore clearly that is a matter that can be sorted out. When we said quite specifically it must go to the farm community for open, public hearings before it was reintroduced, we hoped that would be the vehicle, appropriate I think, for the groups with which negotiations would take place after the commodities were designated, that that would be the way you would work out those kinds of details.

Within those principles, within the reasoned amendment, we are more than happy to accommodate things that coincide and, therefore, presumably to pass a reasoned amendment in this Legislature and on this bill. I must say it would be an unprecedented moment but it would be a moment which I personally cherish.

I want to say to the minister he can’t denigrate the process that is happening here this afternoon by simply throwing across the floor the facile and fashionable political slurs. They just don’t work. “Political football,” “political expediency,” “socialized agriculture,” etc., all of that is so much nonsense in the context of altering the principles of a bill to meet the needs of this society. Can I say to the Minister of Agriculture and Food does he recall his peroration, does he recall how he wound up? He said the line between right and wrong is clear. Let me tell him the line runs down the centre of this Legislature and he is on the wrong side of it.

I would therefore be pleased if the government is defeated on the second reading of this bill, when the Speaker puts the proposition that the bill now be read a second time. I would be equally pleased if the government were effectively defeated again by having the opposition combine to place a reasoned amendment which ensures for the people and the farmers of Ontario a farm income protection plan which will give the farmers a guaranteed return on investment, make farming a viable pursuit, and give strength and resilience to the agricultural community which we have been promising for years and has eluded them for years.

The government, twice defeated effectively, will then presumably introduce its confidence motion and that will be another matter. But I want to tell the minister, as my final thought, the whole process of confidence and no confidence is set aside, that comes, and I am not terribly concerned in the avenue or the route by which it comes. But I do want to say to the minister that the reason we have wanted to introduce no confidence for some months now, the reason, I agree with the leader of the Liberal Party, that we have often called for no confidence in the government, even anticipating that an election might follow, is precisely because of the kind of thing that this bill represents this afternoon.

This is a government which doesn’t stick to its public commitments; it is a government which brings in legislation which is often destructive of the ends it presumes to meet; it is a government which does not handle things competently; it is a government which is systematically alienating whole groups and whole communities in Ontario; it is a government that is not fit to govern; and that is why we will vote against it on confidence as well as tonight.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I have more reason to be offended by the change in the stance and policy of the government than anyone here in this chamber. As Leader of the Opposition formerly and leader of my party during the last two election campaigns, I have had to contend with the positions put forward by the former Minister of Agriculture and Food and the former spokesman for the Conservative Party in matters agricultural, in which it was put forward without equivocation that the government stood in favour of a farm income protection plan. As a matter of fact, the term “stabilization” is relatively new and one that is used, I presume, to justify the government’s present bill, which the minister claims is simply an extension of federal legislation.

I recall on many occasions having to face -- with pleasure, actually -- farm audiences and the question was put forward, “How does your position differ from the Conservatives as far as income maintenance is concerned?” As we understood it then, our positions were very close indeed, because there had been a commitment made in the Throne Speech before the election. While we criticized it during the debates at that time for being somewhat imprecise, the talisman phrases, such as “farm income protection” were there, and certainly the stature of the then Minister of Agriculture and Food was such that many thoughtful farmers were prepared to say that if Bill Stewart said they were going to do it, then of course, they would do it.

Bill Stewart is not presently here to answer that sort of a charge, but I do not believe that the commitment of the Conservative Party has been discharged simply because we have a new minister.

I am not critical of the minister personally; he has to put up with all sorts of pressures. Someone, in an interjection, probably put a bit facetiously, blamed the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) for the change in the attitude of the government; that sort of rings clear to me, because the government has opted for the position taken by large number of farmers, which is that they don’t want any kind of an effective system of this type at all.

The minister knows very well that the Christian Farmers Federation has been extremely critical, not only of opposition parties but of the government’s commitment for a farm income stabilization programme. It is interesting that they are now strongly in support of the government position while they are vituperatively critical of the position taken by my leader and my colleagues in the Liberal Party who are opposing the government position.

We don’t want to impute motives -- as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we cannot do that here, and you would call me to order if I did so -- but I would say, from my understanding of the position of the Christian Farmers Federation, that their position has not changed; the fact that they do support the new position of the Conservatives means that in fact we do not have, in this bill before us, a farm income maintenance programme that is worthy of that name.

My leader made an excellent point when he said that if this bill had been introduced as some sort of stop-gap, short-term assistance for a very small group of farmers, then probably it could have been supported. But if this is to be put forward as the government’s answer to their serious commitment made to the electorate before the election last year, then surely it is completely insupportable and I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, it is seriously misleading.

I say again that I, more than anyone else, have reason to be offended by this far-reaching change in the government policy, and I regret that the minister was not strong enough to oppose the pressures that have come to him from the more reactionary members of his caucus and his party. I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it’s a serious mistake indeed; certainly the farmers will suffer and there is no doubt that the Conservative Party will suffer in the farm community as well.

I personally believe that the farmers are very much aware of what the government is attempting to do. The nice political balance that has been referred to by the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) and probably by the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson) that this is what the farmers want, certainly reflects the view that some farmers put forward, that they do not want the government involved in a programme that they might construe as some sort of a handout or artificial assistance.

I believe that the farmers who feel that way misconstrue the attitudes that were formerly expressed by the Conservatives and have been strongly expressed by my leader and my caucus colleagues as well as the NDP. It’s very easily misrepresented. I would hope, as the debate proceeds, that we are able to enunciate our separate and clear positions in as effective a way as possible, because I believe this bill is one of the more important ones that have come before us.

There is another matter that gives me a great deal of concern. The member for Middlesex says, “Oh, you’re turning against your friend Gene Whelan when political expediency calls for it.” I believe there is a serious misunderstanding of the circumstances here. Let me begin by reiterating an interjection from one of my colleagues, that we do deal with provincial matters. But let us look at the other side of the coin. Gene Whelan and the government of Canada deal with all of Canada, and the stabilization programme, whether you call it inadequate or not, is designed to deal with the needs of the farmers right across this nation. But under the British North America Act, we have legally constituted a Ministry of Agriculture and Food to deal with the needs of this province, just as they have in Quebec and BC and the other provinces.

We are a banner province when it comes to agriculture, and for this government to say, and by their actions support, the concept that we only come up to the minimum standards established by the government of Canada across this nation, is completely insupportable and unacceptable. The only reason we have a Ministry of Agriculture and Food here is to deal with the needs of our farmers, just as the governments in BC and Quebec, and to some extent the government of Nova Scotia -- and probably there are others that should be thrown into this list -- have done so frequently in the past.

I have been critical of the minister’s predecessor for being so unwilling to provide the initiatives which our farmers need. I might as well be frank, Mr. Speaker, now that I am trying to educate three kids in university and keep a home going on the indemnity paid to a private member, I realize just how difficult it is as far as farm income is concerned to maintain the responsibilities that go with the kind of investment and labour that are committed in that respect.

Perhaps by saying so I am revealing what is an obvious conflict of interest; but sorely there is no reason why farmers, including the Minister of Agriculture and Food, cannot express a personal view in that regard.

I believe very strongly, Mr. Speaker, that the government has completely negated its commitment to the Legislature and to the people of this province, made on two separate occasions in the Speech from the Throne and reiterated even by this minister. His clarion call, in the introduction to second reading, that what the opponents to the present bill were calling for was some sort of mad socialism in the agricultural field, of course, is not even justified when it is directed against the socialist party. Even they feel that the programme should be voluntary, and although the word does not occur in their reasoned amendment they put forward very strongly their protest that the reference to premium paying is implicit in the word insurance. Whether we argue that or not, an amendment could very well set that straight and it would be our intention, if we bring in an amendment at the appropriate time, sir, to see that that would be so.

For the minister to set up some kind of bogyman of a socialist intrusion into the farming industry is unworthy of him, surely. We are talking about a voluntary programme and that word has always been used in the description of a Liberal programme designed to meet these needs. We have talked, without fail, of the need for premiums to be paid.

Mr. Eaton: The controls have to go with it.

Mr. Nixon: There would be a nice distribution of costs, if, in fact, the government of Canada would see fit to recognize this sort of a programme, and the one in BC, and pay a third of the premium cost. I am not so pessimistic as to think that sometime in the future such a payment might not be possible. I would hope that the bill, when it is brought back into the Legislature sometime in the fall, or whenever the reasoned amendment as amended would instruct the government so to proceed, that there would be definitely room for this government to negotiate with the government of Canada in order to have their full participation in that regard.

There is a matter that I want to reiterate; and that is, it is not acceptable in this House, and surely not acceptable to the farmers of Ontario, that we direct our attention only to coming up to some federal level of stabilization and support. Certainly we believe there has to be co-operation between the two levels of government, but for the minister to lose sight of the mandate he must have, that is to serve the farm industry here and the individual farmers, is really reprehensible.

Why does he think we have a Ministry of Agriculture and Food here? Surely he can see advantages to the agricultural community in other provinces. It is not advantage by way of a handout, or it is not the kind of advantage which will dislocate interprovincial trade. These are the things that can be coordinated federally. The fact that Quebec and BC have taken these steps forward, surely is all the more reason we, Mr. Speaker, we in this province should stop dragging our heels and moving along so reluctantly as we have in the past, and move into the forefront of a programme that is going to be meaningful and effective for working farmers of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I see it is now 6 o’clock; I have a few more comments to make, sir, and would leave the debate in your hands.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: It being 6 p.m. I do now leave the chair. We will resume at 8 p.m.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.