30e législature, 3e session

L097 - Thu 15 Jul 1976 / Jeu 15 jul 1976

The House met at 2:05 p.m.



Mr. Speaker: Just before we commence the business of the afternoon, I want to inform the House that I have received, on behalf of the House, the report of the Ombudsman relating to the North Pickering project, together with his letter of transmittal, which I feel I should read to the House. The letter is addressed to me.

“Dear Mr. Speaker:

“Re the North Pickering project, on June 22 last I sent my report in connection with the North Pickering project and my recommendations as Ombudsman to the hon. John Rhodes, Minister of Housing.

“On July 7 last, Mr. Rhodes wrote to me rejecting my recommendations for the reasons he amplified in a press statement of the same date. Subsequently, on July 8, I delivered to the Premier, the hon. William Davis, a copy of the report. I did this pursuant to the provisions of section 22, subsection 4, of the Ombudsman Act.

“In my letter to the Premier I urged him to accept my report and its recommendations. I had useful meetings with the Premier on Wednesday, July 14, and a further meeting at 10 a.m. today, Thursday the 15th. I feel encouraged by these discussions, and feel they should continue for a reasonable time and so long as hope exists that a resolution of the problem arising out of my report can be worked out.

“However, I have a dilemma. The Legislature is now in session. Section 22, subsection 4 of the Act also authorizes me to make such a report to the assembly itself on the matter as I see fit. The statute reads as follows:

“‘If, within a reasonable time after the report is made, no action is taken which seems to the Ombudsman to be adequate and appropriate, the Ombudsman in his discretion, after considering the comments, if any, made by or on behalf of any governmental organization affected, may send a copy of the report and recommendations to the Premier and may thereafter make such reports to the assembly on the matter as he thinks fit.’

“If I do not report to the assembly forthwith, the whole affair could not be dealt with by members of the Legislature until October when the House resumes again. This delay would be unfortunate from the point of view of the Pickering landowners. If I report immediately, the present sitting of the Legislature becomes seized of the matter and in the event that my discussions with the Premier do not result in satisfactory solution, the matter could then be dealt with either later this month or very early in August, assuming the members of Legislature are agreeable to such an arrangement.

“Accordingly and pursuant to section 22, subsection 4 of the Act, I am now therefore reporting to the assembly through you. I am enclosing a copy of my report in connection with the North Pickering project and I am also enclosing a copy of my letter to the Premier, dated July 8, 1976.

“Notwithstanding this, I would very much hope the Premier and I be given the fullest possible opportunity to continue our discussions and that any review of the matter by the Legislature would be held in abeyance until our discussions are concluded. I would be grateful if you would forward a copy of this letter and the enclosures to the Leader of the Opposition, Stephen Lewis, and to the leader of the Liberal Party, Dr. Stuart Smith.

“Additional copies of my report on the North Pickering project are being distributed to all members of the Legislature.

“Yours faithfully,

“Arthur Maloney,


Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the matter now being in your hands and so in the hands of the Legislature by virtue of the statute, could you tell the House how you propose to deal with it? The statute is silent insofar as to what happens after the third step has been taken. The first step was, a report goes to the minister. If the minister does not concur with it, it then goes to the Premier. If the Premier does not concur, it then goes to the House. It is here now, having taken that route. With great respect to the Ombudsman, I don’t think it lies within his mouth to suggest when it be dealt with.

I see the Premier has a piece of paper there; perhaps he has a resolution. In the absence of something positive, perhaps I could pursue this point. But I’ll gladly give way to the Premier if he wants to speak in regard to that.

Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have a statement related to this matter which has been discussed by the House leaders. As members are aware, the Ombudsman has recently filed a report with the Minister of Housing with respect to land acquisitions in the North Pickering area.

Pursuant to the report and the response setting out the position of his ministry by my colleague, I met with the Ombudsman twice yesterday and once this morning to consider the most appropriate fashion for dealing with the recommendations in his report.

As members are aware, the Act establishing the Office of the Ombudsman, which provides for filing with the Speaker any report which the Ombudsman believes should be filed, after consultation with the minister involved and the Premier, does not provide for remedy thereafter.

While report might be debated that would not necessarily provide for the remedy suggested in the Ombudsman’s report for the aggrieved citizens. Similarly, while a vote in the Legislature might approve a report, while that vote may or may not be deemed by the Legislature to be a matter of confidence, the end result could still fail to achieve any of the remedies suggested in the Ombudsman’s report.

In essence, therefore, the real purpose of the Ombudsman’s office, namely to identify administrative injustice and recommend ways for justice to be done, might ultimately, in terms of the individuals involved, still be frustrated by events beyond anyone’s control.

This government believes it is critical that the Ombudsman’s office not only have the capacity to bargain, persuade and play the role of advocate for the private citizen who feels aggrieved but that the Legislature should as well have the capacity to consider in a thorough and thoughtful fashion any of those recommendations or findings of the Ombudsman that the government has not, through negotiation, been able to accept. A similar view was, in fact, expressed by the committee on the Ombudsman and listed in Votes and Proceedings, Dec. 11, 1975, and was a procedure in which the Ombudsman expressed positive interest on Nov. 13.

It is therefore the intention of the government, with the co-operation of the House leaders, to strike a select committee of the Legislature which shall meet when and if it is impossible for the Ombudsman and the government to reach an equitable agreement on any findings or recommendations in any report.

With respect to the North Pickering situation, I will continue to discuss the matter with the Ombudsman in an effort to find the equitable solution which I still believe to be possible. If, however, it becomes clear that both the Ombudsman and the Premier must agree to disagree, the matter could be dealt with immediately by the select committee appointed by this House to deal with specifically this type of circumstance. The report of that committee would then be formally before the House to deal with as it felt appropriate.

It is the view of the government that this mechanism will, in fact, provide a formal legislative vessel in which the recommendations of the Ombudsman can be conveyed to the Legislature for discharge as members of this House feel appropriate, based on the assessment of an all-party committee of this Legislature, a procedure which I understand to be acceptable to the Ombudsman.

This procedure enhances the capacities of the Ombudsman to place matters of urgency on the agenda of the Legislature while ensuring the Legislature’s right to participate in the process of ensuring equity and protection for the broad public interest in the assessment of all recommendations in any report of the Ombudsman which the Ombudsman, in his wisdom, refers to this assembly.

Mr. Lewis: I gather there will be a motion moved later on the Ombudsman and that will open up an avenue for debate?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes.

Mr. Lewis: Fine.


Mr. Lewis: A question to the Premier, if I may. What possible rationale is there for providing an avenue of reprieve, about which all of us are pleased, for Doctors Hospital in Toronto without providing the same avenue of reprieve for the other community hospitals which have been closed down by the government? How can the Premier justify the further discriminatory treatment against Clinton, Durham, Paris and Chesley?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think that matter might be more properly answered by the Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller). I would make a technical correction to the Leader of the Opposition’s question; the government has not closed those hospitals.

Mr. Bain: Not because you didn’t want to.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, I would turn to the Minister of Health, but he’s not here.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He will be here.

Mr. Lewis: This may be the last day for a bit. Let me hope that he comes in; if so I will revert.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of the Environment a question? He is aware, I take it, that deep in the catacombs of his ministry there is something called “Alternative Proposals for Pollution Abatement in the Ontario Pulp and Paper Industry,” by Jack Donnan and Peter Victor, dealing with northwestern Ontario in a way highly critical of the government; that the report has been available to the ministry since 1973 but not yet released? When is it to be released?


Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I think that report was made available in 1974. I’m not exactly sure of the date. I haven’t seen it, but I question whether it is highly critical of the government. It does make certain observations regarding our dealings with the pulp and paper industry and what methods we should use to make sure that they are adhering to our standards -- effluent standards and emission standards -- and it makes certain suggestions.

The report, as I understand it, is basically an in-house report. It was commissioned for the purpose of establishing policy within the ministry and with the government, and apparently there was no intention of making the report public or releasing the report.

I have discussed this with the officials in my ministry as a result of a letter from the environment critic in the NDP caucus and I hope to have a decision on that. I think the report will have to be released and discussed, but as I say, some of the observations made in the report regarding how we should deal with the paper industry have been, in fact, implemented and some have been rejected, but I would expect the report will be released.

Mr. Lewis: The minister has an astonishing grasp for someone who hasn’t read it, but then that’s understandable.

I must ask, by way of supplementary, could the minster treat it as a matter of some urgency, given the Reed Paper negotiations at the moment, the incipient agreement? I understand that the way in which the report deals with the pulp and paper industry is such a departure from the fashion in which it has been dealt with hitherto that it might bear on those negotiations. Could he therefore get it out quickly?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’ll get it out as quickly as possible.

Mr. Lewis: Oh I’m sorry, the Minister of Health isn’t here. Where is the House leader? He’s not here either, my goodness.

Mr. B. Newman: He is hiding.

Mr. Conway: Giving Lorne Henderson a Wintario grant.


Mr. Lewis: I’ll go back then to the Premier, not reluctantly but forcefully: I want to know why the government is removing from the other hospitals a further non-legal route of appeal which it is clearly giving to Doctors Hospital by including it appropriately in a new survey of beds and utilization rates in this area? Why should those outlying community hospitals be chopped off through the court process when we have opened up an alternative process for one?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think if the Minister of Health were here he would explain to the Leader of the Opposition that they are quite different situations. We’re dealing here in Metropolitan Toronto with a study that encompasses several thousand beds, a number of hospitals and a very large population.

Mr. S. Smith: And a lot of votes.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m trying to explain it as logically as I can. I think the minister contemplates in his study, hopefully, other information that could assist in the rationalization of health services in Metropolitan Toronto. I don’t think it can be related to the situation of Durham and Clinton. I really think we’re talking about different issues and, with great respect, I can’t really see the parallel the Leader of the Opposition is attempting to draw.

Mr. S. Smith: It feels different being sick in Toronto, I suppose?

Mr. Conway: Anything to save Grossman.

Mr. Lewis: Is the Premier trying to put upon the House that the health needs and the health priorities in Metropolitan Toronto are somehow more sacred than they are in Durham or Chesley, or Clinton or Paris? Why is he making this invidious distinction? They all went to court. We’re giving special rights to one of them, which we agree with. Why don’t we extend it to all?

Mr. Conway: Anything to save Larry Grossman’s political neck.

Mr. S. Smith: The others are in Liberal ridings. It is very simple.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the Leader of the Opposition, of course, as is his custom on occasion, has asked a question that is totally unfair and totally inaccurate.


Hon. Mr. Davis: It isn’t apparently a fair question. This government has made it very clear over the years that it is concerned about health care, educational facilities and every other aspect of government programmes throughout this province, as it is in Metropolitan Toronto. Any suggestion by the Leader of the Opposition that some preferential treatment is being given to Metropolitan Toronto is untrue and is a point of view that I just cannot accept.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Given the obvious confusion that existed in terms of trying to establish a proper number of hospital beds in various areas in this province, and the fact that this is now to be studied in Toronto, why can a similar study not be mounted which would take into account Brant county, Grey county, Huron county, and the other areas that have been involved so that there can be a sensible description of how it is that hospital beds are arrived at in each area now that the department of the ministry has been disbanded, the ones responsible for that hopeless regression analysis?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Those assessments by and large have already been made. I think even the member for Hamilton West, who should have some greater knowledge of this than he is demonstrating, realizes there are some significant differences.

Mr. S. Smith: There are more voters in Toronto, aren’t there?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Nonsense.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Roy: I have a supplementary for the Premier, who prides himself on his government’s ability and foresight and capability. Will he explain to me again, as I tried to get it yesterday, how is it that the government would embark on a programme of closing hospitals across this province prior to that type of study? What kind of planning is that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I certainly agree with the first part of the hon. member’s question. It is a delight to hear him acknowledge that this government has been foresighted, farsighted, responsible and all the rest of it. What was the other part of his question?

Mr. Peterson: You are too much.

Mr. Roy: Does the Premier want me to repeat it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure the Minister of Health would be delighted to enlighten the member further.

Mr. Roy: No, you are confused.

Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition have further questions?

Mr. Roy: No, he forgot the second part of my question.

Mr. Speaker: No, the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Roy: May I ask the Premier a question?

Mr. Speaker: No. You might have an opportunity later perhaps, but the Leader of the Opposition has another question.

Mr. Roy: No, he forgot the second part of the question.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I call upon the Leader of the Opposition for his question.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Premier a separate but related question? When did cabinet make the policy decision and what spawned it, to embark on this new Wintario extravaganza with the designated moneys to be used for medical research and health facilities, and what exactly does the government mean by health facilities?

Hon. Mr. Davis: These matters are still being finalized by cabinet. The Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Welch), I am sure, would be able to give some broader outline, but the general concept is that the proceeds would be used for certain health purposes possibly and certain environmental purposes. If the member asks me to give a specific example, I think in the area of health perhaps some of it might be allocated for specific areas of medical research, perhaps even in the areas of occupational health.

The fact is that we are going into this other form of lottery. The Olympic Lottery comes to an end and this government has determined that it will move in. I think ultimately perhaps so will the other provinces. The funds could be used from the proceeds for those two areas of interest. It hasn’t been defined or finally settled, but I think those are two of the very real areas where the funds could be allocated.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary. Does the government intend to seek legislative approval for this change in this new lottery or does the Premier feel that the present Act that was passed some time ago in this House is adequate to permit the government to proceed with this type of lottery? Has he sought the legal opinion of the Attorney General on this?

Mr. Reid: Test it in the courts.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will say to the member for Ottawa East that this additional lottery will only he established if we have the legal basis to do so. I can give him that assurance.


Mr. Lewis: I think my friend from Ottawa East has fastened on to something rather useful because doesn’t the Act as it now stands provide money for recreational and cultural purposes? Would the government, therefore, not need another law so that the opposition could have asked about the way in which this government is ordering its spending by priorities in trying to hail itself out of certain parts of the health mess this way -- which may be one way, but shouldn’t we have a chance to comment on it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think if a decision is made by the government to have the funds from this additional lottery allocated into certain areas of government expenditure, the members opposite certainly should have every opportunity to comment on it. If the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting that some of the existing proceeds from the Wintario lottery are not going in the areas that the Leader of the Opposition would say have priority --

Mr. Moffatt: That’s a cheap shot.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, it’s the only inference one can get from the question. I am glad to have that reaction, because if that is not the inference, what the member is then saying to me is that he agrees totally with where the proceeds from Wintario are presently going.

Mr. Lewis: No.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s what he is saying.

Mr. Speaker: Any further questions? The Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: There are several inferences, and I am not sure I understand any of them. I simply wanted to get a sense from the Premier of new legislation. Has the Premier not been burned or embarrassed sufficiently in the events of the last 72 hours that he would bring these things before the House?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as I say, there has been no final determination made. I don’t feel burned at all by events; because of proceedings here, even by the sun. I don’t feel burned at all today. I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that there will be ample opportunity to discuss whatever government policy decision is made. I have tried to be helpful to the member for Ottawa East in just assuring him that if there is need for legislation, we will have legislation. There is no problem.

Mr. Roy: How is it, then, that when the Premier says there is no final determination, Marshall Pollock held a press conference and said the first draw will take place on Oct. 31? What’s going on?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the question, if memory serves me correctly, was where the funds were going. As I say, that has not been finally determined.

Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition have any further question?

Mr. Lewis: I don’t think I should ask any more.


Mr. S. Smith: I will ask a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Is the minister aware that today at 10 a.m. there was a hearing chaired by Mr. Aiken and two other members of his ministry to cancel vehicle permits issued to Heaton Truck Rentals Limited because of the fact that Mr. Heaton had a number of convictions for operating without a PCV licence, even though he claims to be a leasing company? Would the minister not agree that this is precisely the subject matter of the committee’s investigations, and should people be put out of business while this committee is going about its deliberations?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I was not aware of that particular hearing and, of course, it would be dealt with by my staff under the administration of the laws of the province as they stand today. I would presume that under those laws, this action would be taken. But I do not have details on it, and wouldn’t wish to comment further.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary, if I may. Would the minister not agree, since previous decisions of people in his ministry have been struck down by the courts, and in fact the courts have found that these people were operating legally under existing laws, that his people should not continue to harass these people until the select committee has made its report and the government has changed the legislation?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I think there are a lot of assumptions in that question. The hon. member seems to be assuming what the select committee will recommend and what laws may be changed. Because there is a select committee studying the trucking industry in the province, I don’t believe that should mean that the ministry should not proceed with prosecutions where they are warranted. I am not sure at all that this particular case that has been mentioned is in any way similar to any previous cases that are being referred to.

Mr. Reid: One further supplementary, if I may. Would the minister not agree that he withdrew Bill 4, which was supposed to clear up this situation, and set up a select committee to look into it? He introduced Bill 4 to clear it up and then withdrew it, and the purpose of Bill 4 was to clarify the situation which is still unclear because he didn’t proceed with the bill. Therefore they have no legal stance to continue these kinds of actions against these people.


Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t agree at all with that statement, Mr. Speaker. First of all, the bill was not withdrawn; the bill is still on the order paper of this Legislature.

Mr. Reid: It hasn’t been proceeded with.

Hon. Mr. Snow: It has not been proceeded with. There are other bills on the order paper as well.

Mr. Cassidy: You fell back by standing still.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, that does not mean at all that Bill 4 was designed to deal with one particular aspect of illegal trucking.

Mr. Reid: You said that yourself --

Hon. Mr. Snow: There are other aspects of illegal trucking and this may --

Mr. Reid: -- that that was the purpose of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: These charges which are being referred to may very well relate to some other aspect completely unrelated to Bill 4.


Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Attorney General: This follows to some extent my question of June 15 to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman), which he answered privately but not in the House, and relates to the Etobicoke Olympic Facilities Fund Ltd. You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that I inquired of the ministry whether it had some information as to why that fund was able to keep from revealing any information about how it used its funds or how it elected what use these funds were put to.

Can the Attorney General tell us whether he is in a position to report on this fund in keeping with the fact that a group of citizens from Etobicoke have requested him to look into the matter?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this matter was first brought to my attention this morning. A letter was received in my office yesterday from the group of citizens to which the leader of the Liberal Party refers. It is my intention to do what we can within our ministry to investigate the matter or at least to report back to the citizens as to the appropriate avenues they might pursue if we are unable to assist.


Mr. S. Smith: A separate question to the Minister of Housing. I feel I should ask him a question during his remaining days in the ministry.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Don’t worry about him.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He’ll be around longer than you.

Mr. S. Smith: If I’m to your right, Darcy, you might be right.

Is the minister concerned about and will he please comment on the device of lot levies being adopted by many municipalities to meet the cost of services, particularly in the city of Mississauga? Has he considered establishing a maximum standard -- there is a minimum standard -- for hard services so that municipalities can’t make increasingly large demands in order to expand their property tax base and increase the price of housing?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you saying Mississauga’s are too high?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, we certainly have been concerned about the lot levies which have been imposed and the increasing size of these levies. One of the problems which I think the hon. member is probably aware of is that the moneys realized from lot levies are not necessarily for hard services. Many municipalities are simply placing that money into their general revenue funds and using it to supply what we might refer to as soft services which they feel are required as a result of the increased populations created by new subdivisions.

We certainly have been attempting to find some solution to the problem which, I suggest, is certainly adding to the increased costs of housing in this province -- these continually increasing lot levies. It’s a system that’s spreading right across the province; it’s not only in one or two municipalities. Frankly, we had hoped to place some sort of maximum on the levy which can be charged or to stipulate where those moneys can be used, say, for hard services rather than for the soft-service type of facility.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Attorney General, a brief one on Browndale: Is he in a position to tell us the results of the Ontario Provincial Police investigation into the fact that Browndale Ontario has been leasing from a profit-making parent company? I believe the rackets division was looking into this. Could he give us any report on this now that the audit has been available for some time?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I’ve had no recent report in relation to this investigation. I’m afraid I have no information that would be helpful to the House at this time.

Mr. Eakins: Why doesn’t the minister release the document?


Mr. Grossman: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that Toronto Refiners and Smelters Ltd. won’t be meeting the July 21 deadline for installation of new pollution controls, I wonder what steps the ministry is taking to make sure that these works are undertaken and completed shortly. Specifically, I would be interested to know what arrangements are being forced to be sure that the soil in the area is replaced, as recommended by the report.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is referring to an article in this morning’s newspaper which refers to Toronto Refiners and Smelters Ltd. and talks about a July 21 deadline. That has been delayed for about two months because of the city of Toronto’s 45-ft height limit bylaw which is having some effect on a stack we’re requiring the company to install. We feel the company will do this and the company has assured us that the contract has been let. It has an approval, a permit, although the OMB hasn’t approved it yet and we hope there will be no problems there.

Regarding the removal of the soil, I’m meeting with the heads of the companies next week, hopefully, to discuss steps and procedures with respect to removing the soil as recommended by the hearing board report.

I would like to say that there have been some newspaper reports to the effect that the arrangement will be a shared-cost one between the province, the city and the companies. I have said in this House on a number of occasions -- and the reports also recommend this -- that the companies would be responsible for removing the soil and for paying the costs of disposing of that soil as recommended by the hearing board report. I did indicate in a press interview that if, in effect, we are not able to force the companies or to require them to remove the soil we may have to get into some type of shared-cost basis. The first priority is that the companies are responsible for cleaning up and removing the contaminated soil.

Mrs. Campbell: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. The minister has referred to a meeting that is to take place with the company. Could he also advise us as to the status of the meeting with the local board of health as promised by the Premier to Ald. Johnston as of June 18?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Toronto has been invited to this meeting. At that time I hope to be able to discuss the possibility of meeting with representatives of the board of health.

I’ve also asked the members of the hearing board if there is some possibility that they could attend a meeting which might be arranged with the Toronto Board of Health because it’s that report about which there has been some criticism. It’s questionable whether or not it would be proper for the members of the hearing board to attend such a meeting. I’m trying to get that straightened out because I think it’s important that they be here. After that, I hope to arrange the meeting to which the hon. member is referring.

Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister then advise whether the board has at long last had before it the statistical information of the task force which it seemed so urgently inclined not to look at in arriving at its conclusions?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That, Mr. Speaker, would be part of the documentation, shall we say, that will be included in a meeting between the board of health and the representatives of the hearing board.


Mr. Bain: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of National Resources. Will the minister indicate to the House if any of the readings, whether personal or area air samples taken at United Asbestos since the mill resumed operation, have exceeded two parts per cubic centimetre?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, the particular plant at Matachewan is still in a startup stage. They are at about a 30 to 40 per cent production capacity. I am told that they are exceeding the two fibres per cubic centimetre as of last week and were told to cut back on their production capacity and production levels. We are monitoring it very carefully. I don’t have the exact details, but I would be pleased to supply the member with all those facts as soon as they become available to me.

Mr. Bain: Supplementary: Will the minister table in the House all the readings which have been taken at the mill since the mill resumed operation?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would be pleased to table the information that I have.

Mr. Laughren: Will the minister consider as well continual monitoring in the mill in view of the fact that the production levels now, while he may regard them as startups, are higher than they have ever been? Will he agree to establish continual monitoring, both air and personal, in the mill?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, that is an arrangement that we have already insisted upon and certainly we will continue to do so in the future, as the mill is in operation and if it comes into full operation.


Mr. B. Newman: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in regard to the second serious accident that took place at the amusement park on Bob-Lo Island: Is the minister considering requiring the display of a certificate of mechanical fitness or of safety inspection on each ride at an amusement park, so that the citizen would be assured that that ride is safe and has been inspected either by the municipality or by the minister’s own officials?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, we have suggested on a number of occasions to the municipalities that because fairs move from one place to another a provincial inspection would serve no purpose unless we followed them right around the province. We have suggested to the municipalities that they undertake the inspections. We have prepared a model bylaw for their adoption. We hope that after they review it through the municipal liaison committee they will, in fact, adopt the bylaw. The argument has been put to us, of course, that the municipalities have no expertise in this area. I want to say that neither has my ministry and that they would have to buy it from the same people that we would, who would be engineers.

Mr. Conway: Send Frank Drea.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I have no objection whatsoever, Mr. Speaker, to reviewing the bylaw to ascertain whether or not a certificate of inspection is required. I would assume if a ride is inspected and found to be safe, there would be some proof of that given to the owner and operator of the ride. But we do not feel this is a provincial initiative that should be taken, because we simply could not follow every ride, which is usually dismantled one weekend and installed in another location on the following Monday.

Mr. S. Smith: You’ve been taking the province for a ride for quite a while.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Is the minister prepared to have his ministry provide instruction to municipal inspectors so that they could familiarize themselves with the requirements of safety inspection of the various rides? Would the minister also consider the requiring of the operators of these amusement parks to report to the police any accident or injury that may occur as a result of the use of the ride, rather than as at present requiring them to report to the ministry or to the local police only in the case of a fatality?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: With regard to the first part of the question, Mr. Speaker, I don’t think we could instruct the municipal inspectors because we don’t have that expertise ourselves. What we would suggest to them is that they do buy that kind of expertise from engineering companies and charge the ride operators for the inspection, just as we, in the case of elevators, charge the owner of the elevator an inspection fee which covers the service.

As far as the second part of the question is concerned, I don’t know what the law would be in reporting of accidents, and perhaps we could take a look at the bylaw to see whether or not there is a requirement. But certainly I would assume that any responsible businessman who has an accident on his premises will protect himself by reporting the circumstances which led to the accident.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, shortly before the House recessed in June, the hon. Leader of the Opposition asked me to investigate the claims of certain Elliot Lake workers who had acquired lung cancer in their work in that area. I have done so, and I would like to report to the House that this problem has been one which the Workmen’s Compensation Board was aware of for the past year. They’ve had some correspondence with the union and I know have had recent discussions with the unions about this problem.


The reliability of working level month calculations, I think, was the main problem raised by the union. The board recognized the lack of absolute reliability of the working level month calculations and certainly assured the union at that time, and has reassured the union recently, that each claim would be adjudicated on the individual facts of the case, rather than specifically on working level months, and that the benefit of reasonable doubt would apply in all cases. This is still the basis for all the board’s decisions.

The benchmark of 120 working level months is the point beyond which it is generally accepted that the incidence of lung cancer in uranium miners begins to exceed that of the public and is therefore a significant figure. But it is only one of several factors in the guidelines for adjudication which were established in 1976. The individual working level month’s records have not been taken as mathematical absolutes in any of these instances.

In fact, in the claims already allowed, several have had individual working level month’s records much below 120 months, and this did certainly not adversely influence the decision on behalf of those workers. It’s only where there is no other basis for allowance that working level months are considered as well, in order to raise the basic figure to the realm of probability on the basis of the benefit of doubt. In some cases, however, a causal relationship cannot be established and in that case an adverse decision is reached. Those who are concerned with these specific cases have been advised and are being advised of the decision and of their right to appeal.

The United Steelworkers presently are appealing the rejected claims which the hon. member referred to and they will most certainly be reconsidered in the light of any additional information or submissions which are made. The matter has been discussed with the unions and they are agreeable to this procedure.


Ms. Sandeman: I have a question of the Minister of Housing. In view of the building freeze imposed by his ministry on Cavan township pending the implementation of proper land-use planning, municipal zoning bylaws and so on; and in view, too, of the minister’s own state of concern with the rational growth of urban development and preserving agricultural land in that township, could the minister please explain why, after a request for the development of a new subdivision in that township on productive agricultural land and removed from the centres of population had been turned down by the appropriate people in the ministry earlier this year, a request for draft approval for that subdivision has now been received directly from the minister’s own desk?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’m at a bit of a loss to understand which subdivision request the hon. member is talking about. I’ve had a number of requests come in from that particular township, some of which have been endorsed by the hon. member as should be supported. Would she be good enough to tell me which she is referring to?

Ms. Sandeman: I refer to the Murray development on the border of Cavan and Manvers townships which it is understood the ministry is pushing as a kind of pilot project for a development in that area. If it all goes well, the development will be increased even more than what is being asked for at the present time?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’m familiar with that application, but I would like to check on the details of it. I don’t believe that the member’s information is correct, that I have requested that draft approval be given to that. I would like to look into that particular subject and report to her. If the House is not sitting, it will certainly be by letter.


Mr. Reid: I have a question to the Premier in regard to the Ontario home buyer’s grant and my letter to him of July 5. Has the Premier had time to consider my letter and will he consider amending the legislation to give those people in northwestern Ontario a chance to get the home buyer’s grant, which I believe they’ve been denied because of the length of time it has taken various government agencies to give them approvals for severances so their deeds could be registered before the Dec. 31 deadline?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I just happen to have the letter from the hon. member here and I have a two-page memorandum which I have not yet carefully considered but which I will do. Perhaps if we don’t stay too late this afternoon, we might have five minutes just to glance at it before the hon. member returns to his constituency.

Mr. Reid: I appreciate that the Premier has it because I gave him notice of it, Mr. Speaker. He’s not that well organized over there, believe me.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Personal attention.

Mr. Reid: Would the Premier not agree with me, or would the Premier agree with me philosophically, that it’s somewhat unfair that people in northern Ontario, who don’t have the services at their fingertips, where their severances take so long because of government inaction, should suffer because of this government inaction and lose the home buyer’s grant?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am just glancing at the memorandum now and it would appear as though there were others involved in the process and that the delay was not totally that of government.

Mr. Reid: In some cases it was the government, though.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, if I could ask just a quick supplementary on this. I will just ask the Premier if, on principle, he feels that the point raised by my colleague, the member for Rainy River, has more merit, for instance, than considering giving home buyers’ grants to people like Michael Pitfield and Otto Jelinek.

Mr. Speaker: I don’t see the connection between that and the original question. The member for Lakeshore with a question.

Mr. Lawlor: As a matter of fact, neither do I, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Lawlor: To the Minister of Labour: The Canadian Coleman Co. Ltd. of Etobicoke won the “A” for Achievement award for its contribution to the Ontario economy last year. What interventions or steps has the ministry taken or has it attempted to take in the proposed move by this company of its international sales and manufacturing operations to Wichita, Kansas?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t catch the last part of that question.

Mr. Lawlor: The last part had reference to the removal by the Canadian Coleman lamp company. Lamp isn’t in the title, but I put it in there so the minister will know what I am speaking about. It is moving its international and sales operations out of Ontario to Wichita, Kansas. I just mentioned that the ministry had given them a particular award for its services to the export industry of Ontario last year.

Mr. Moffatt: Claude Bennett put it on a moving van.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I thank the member for all the documentation of the company. I have not heard from the workers within that company, which I would gather would be my source of information about this proposed move. To my knowledge I have had no letter from them as yet requesting intervention on our part. I thank the member for raising the issue, because I was not aware that they were proposing to do so. But I shall most certainly speak to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) about this, and we will have a discussion.


Mr. Lawlor: The minister is so informed and clued in at this particular time; move.


Mr. Shore: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In the spirit of openness and fairness, I wonder if the minister would agree and would he make available the instruction manuals given to rent review officers for their guidance and monitoring, so that all parties

-- landlords, tenants and others -- who may have an interest in this, may have some help in making decisions before they have to actually present their case.

Hon Mr. Handleman: There have been some applications to the courts asking that this be done. I think the words of the Ottawa landlords who asked that this be done, were that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations “cease sending guidance to the rent review officers.” I don’t know how I can stop doing that.

During the examination of the estimates, Mr. Speaker, I offered all members of this Legislature an opportunity to review the manual. One member of the Legislature accepted that and now has in his possession a copy of the manual. It’s our view that the rent review officers are simply not equipped to match the expertise, the sophistication of resources available to the landlords, and therefore they have to be given some internal guidance as to how to flag possible inconsistencies in applications for rent review.

It’s our view that if the manual were to be made public it would not be in the public interest, because it would permit the tenant to be in a far less advantageous position than he is now through the rent review officer, who represents the tenant. If, however, it is ordered by the courts that it be made public, or if we can edit the manual in such a way that some of the inside guidance -- and that’s all it is; these are not rules, but simply guidance for rent review officers -- can be published without harming the programme, I have no objection to it. I am discussing that with the executive director at the present time.

Mr. Shore: I don’t follow the rationale that the minister is making it available to individual members of the Legislature but not making it available to the public.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, we offered it to individuals of the Legislature so they themselves could ascertain whether or not its release was in the public interest. The hon. member who asked the question and the supplementary has not taken advantage of that. The member who had obtained a copy of it has not asked it to be made public; if he were to do so, I would certainly take it under advisement.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since I am the member who did take advantage of that and since I have now read the manual in its entirety and since the earth did not open up when I read it, would the minister not agree that the ridiculous secrecy of the programme is one of the main factors which is harming rent review at this time? Since I am now prepared to make it available -- it being so innocuous -- to any tenant or landlord who wishes to examine the document in my office, will the minister not agree to make it public and make it available to anybody who wants to examine the document at appropriate times in rent review offices across Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, this was the condition on which we asked members to look at it. If the hon. member wants to take the responsibility of destroying the programme -- I think that’s exactly what will happen but I don’t think he quite understands it. The member for London North would -- no question at all -- because of his expert knowledge in the field of accounting.

I don’t think the member for Ottawa Centre understands the significance of what he has read but if he wants to make it available to landlords -- I don’t mind any tenants seeing it, quite frankly, because I don’t think they can use it to their advantage -- but I think any landlord can use it to his advantage. That is exactly why we feel that the rent review officers, who are not all chartered accountants, who are not all lawyers, should have some equalizing information which would enable them to note discrepancies in applications for rent review.

If I may give an example to the hon. member -- I don’t know whether he even read this one -- on refinancing, we have flagged a percentage of refinancing which a rent review officer should know about in the event the landlord has gone about that percentage. It will not help the tenant in any way to know it but it will help the rent review officer. I’m sure that if that is made public every landlord in this province, quite rightly, would say, “That’s the percentage I’m going to use.” Many of them are under that now.

Mr. Shore: What is wrong with that?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Because they are under that now.

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

Mr. Cassidy: This is a matter of urgent public importance, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Mr. Cassidy: Will the minister allow the tenants to photocopy the material if he thinks the landlords are getting an advantage?

Mr. Speaker: Presenting reports.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister is irrelevant.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved that when the House adjourns today, it do again stand adjourned to a date to be named by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor by her proclamation.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Davis moved that a select committee of this House be appointed to review from time to time the reports of the Ombudsman as they become available; to report thereon to the Legislature; and to make such recommendations as the committee deems appropriate; reports and recommendations of the committee to be placed on the order paper for discussion after presentation; and that the select committee have authority to sit during recesses and the interval between sessions and have power to employ such staff as it deems necessary and to call for persons, papers and things and to examine witnesses under oath; and the assembly doth command and compel the attendance before the said select committee of such persons and the production of such papers and things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations for which the hon. the Speaker may issue his warrant or warrants. The said committee to consist of eight members as follows: Mr. Renwick, chairman; Ms. Sandeman, Messrs. Davison (Hamilton Centre), Grossman, Hodgson, Norton, O’Neil and Ruston.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, there may be a few words people would like to express and I would appreciate being allowed a moment. I seconded this motion after consultation with the House leader and, obviously, the chairman of the proposed select committee and some others. I seconded it in the spirit of goodwill but I do have a serious reservation which I would like to express on this occasion, and which I did express previously to the Premier and to the House leader of the government party.

This select committee process obviously comes about as a result of the impasse reached over the Pickering report, and partly also as a result of the anomaly which has appeared in the legislation, drafted in good faith but apparently with a loophole. In a sense the loophole, the deficiency -- and I suppose there will be many deficiencies emerge -- that has emerged in this case is that the Ombudsman can have a difference of opinion with a minister of the Crown, and that is clearly true; a subsequent difference of opinion with the Premier of Ontario, and that is progressing, hopefully to a resolution; and would then present the report to the Legislature which could be debated but then be entirely unresolved.

The Ombudsman makes his report, it is tabled and there is no avenue for subsequent resolution. I think what in a demonstrably useful way the government was trying to do and the Premier was trying to do, is to provide in this motion a route by which a resolution could be achieved on an ongoing basis if there is an impasse around the Ombudsman’s reports.

I think it has in it a very good concept and it is probably worth trying. The idea of the select committee was initially proposed some months ago so it is not new in any sense. I further have to concede that if the Ombudsman himself feels comfortable with this, although it is a legislative decision not his, but if he personally feels comfortable with this then that, too, is a considerable plus. We are feeling our way, almost desperately, almost anxiously, as to how the whole Ombudsman process will work and to the definition of his rights and his recommendations.

The one serious reserve I and some of us have, and are willing in a sense to forfeit now in the hope that this will work, is that even this process doesn’t necessarily bring a resolution of an Ombudsman’s report. There are select committee recommendations by the tens of thousands bringing dust to their pages in the confines of Queen’s Park; and because a select committee meets on an Ombudsman’s report, makes a series of recommendations, brings it to the Legislature, has it debated, that does not mean the government is obligated to pass the recommendations of the select committee or to bring them into law. Therefore, there is still, here, no obvious way for the House, as it were, to vote on the findings of its select committee.

On the other hand, I concede that there are some difficulties inherent in that, in minority government; there are some difficulties inherent in that around the expenditure of dollars -- I don’t want to seem inflexible about that, I understand that. So I suppose that the mere reality of minority government, the central focus of this particular dispute, and the fact that we have been guaranteed that this report will come to the Legislature very quickly after it convenes; all of that probably means in the political circumstances of Ontario that it will be resolved one way or another, even if one of the opposition parties is forced, or we are forced to combine to confront the government after the debate if it chooses not to move on the recommendations of the committee. Those options are open to us.

I like to support it, I am pleased to second it and express a certain tentativeness about it, but understand that the whole experiment is new; that the solution is being offered in good faith and that if it works in this instance we may indeed have found a tremendously useful route.

I don’t know whether the Minister of Housing, in the extraordinary repudiation that the select committee implies, gets to speak or to resign or to engage in public antics. But I assume he approves of this route as well and I assume he will go before the select committee and argue for an inquiry or whatever it was that he had argued for that was not part of the resolution. In any event, I hope it passes but I sense that we may not have resolved it, even though we think we are on the way.

Mr. Singer: When this resolution was mooted about earlier this morning, I promised my colleagues that I wouldn’t say I told you so more than 15 times this afternoon. So I will start it off and say to the Premier I told you so a long time ago. In December we suggested this. It was a unanimous report of a special select committee of which I was the chairman, and even the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), with some reluctance, signed that report.

The method of setting up a select committee to deal with problems raised by the appointment of the Ombudsman was mooted some time ago. However, I have certain substantial reservations as to the form in which the resolution is placed. I would ask you to recall with me, Mr. Speaker, a substantial recommendation of the select committee which is reported in Votes and Proceedings of Dec. 11 last. I think it’s sufficiently important that it be read into the record yet once again. The committee recommends:

“The committee believes that a permanent committee of the Legislature should be established immediately so that it may review from time to time the following matters:

“(a) Reports from the Ombudsman as they become available from time to time.”

That’s the first category. The second category was the estimates, his budget, call it what you may; and the third category was the actions or lack of action taken by those persons referred to in the Ombudsman’s report.

I think it’s important immediately to establish the distinction between the general kind of report, the Ombudsman’s annual report, his summary of a complaint that he has reviewed that has now been remedied, and the particular one wherein he chooses to differ with those branches of government that he has had to report to by section 22(4) of the statute. That’s really the one that has brought this matter to a head now. Insofar as his annual report goes, I think it is of great significance that the committee review annual reports of the Ombudsman, examine them as they see fit, comment on them to the House as they see fit and so on.

I draw your particular attention to section 22(4), Mr. Speaker, and also to the Premier’s preliminary remarks when he made his statement before the orders of the day. I suggest, sir, that these are of substantial significance.

Here we have a situation in which the Ombudsman has made a report, as section 22(4) requires, to the Minister of Housing. He and the minister did not see eye to eye and he then took it to the Premier, again as section 22(4) requires. The Ombudsman, for whatever reason, chose then to take the third step. The Premier has said his discussions with the Ombudsman are continuing. However, I am very concerned as to whether or not once the report has been given to you, Mr. Speaker, whether those discussions have any right to continue any further.

There are three steps. The Legislature says there are three steps: First, to the minister; second, to the Premier; and then to the House. It is in your hands. Those first two steps are over. I am disturbed by the Premier’s suggestion that when and if he is unable to resolve the present problem with the Ombudsman, then and only then should the committee address itself to it. I don’t think this is the kind of a threat that some of us had in mind when we voted for or talked about this Act. We felt that if matters got to the point whereby the Ombudsman was not happy with the minister’s opinion, was not happy with the Premier’s opinion, he then had the third avenue of appeal to the Legislature and to its members. What we’re now determining, and which we didn’t express in the Act, is how the Legislature is going to react to these things.

The fact that you were given that report, sir, and you read to us the letter of transmittal, I suggest this now places this particular dispute in the hands, not of the Premier any longer, but in the hands of the Legislature. The fact that we are establishing a select committee to deal with it is most appropriate, because I don’t think 125 members can or should sit and hear all of the evidence in relation to this.

How many members have we got? Eight members on the committee can appropriately deal with this and in due course make their report to the Legislature. I think that’s the route it should take. Therefore, I would think that some amendment to the wording of the motion be put there to the effect that whatever this committee does has to be in accordance with the provisions of the statute, and particularly section 22(4).

I don’t think it can go both ways -- let me try to come back to that again and try and make it as clear as I can. I don’t think it can go both ways. If the Ombudsman is unsatisfied, as apparently he is because he’s taken the three steps, and he’s reported to you, then I suggest the first two are completely gone, and that the Legislature is now seized of it and through its arm, this select committee, it should examine further and report back to the House.

Then I think this, sir -- and I don’t know whether you can do this in resolution or whether or not the statute shouldn’t be amended. I think that once this has been done and the report comes back to the Legislature it demands some sort of action. There should be written into this resolution and perhaps at a later stage into the statute, that the Legislature, once it has received, in this kind of case, the report of its select committee -- it’s not the government’s select committee, it’s the Legislature’s select committee and we have to be meticulous about this at this point -- the Legislature then has a right and a duty and a responsibility to vote on it.

I don’t know whether we should write this in or not, but I think perhaps it can and should be understood that whatever voting we’re going to do should not be a matter of confidence. There should be an ability to have a free vote of the members of this House in regard to such a matter.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right.

Mr. Singer: It’s a distinct and separate matter. The process has been established, and that’s why I say the Premier should be out of it at this point; it should be turned over on the motion of the House to the select committee which will come back to the House. They report, and then the House has the right, the duty and the responsibility to deal with it, not as a matter of confidence but to deal, in relation to the report of the Ombudsman, with its recommendation; and as I say it be recognized and/or accepted, and if necessary written, that such a vote would be not a matter of confidence, not a matter of anything else other than a determination of the House and a matter that would be governed by the rules of the free vote.

Having said those things, Mr. Speaker, I think these are very important. I hesitate to raise this again but I don’t think we can let it go without mention. There’s the question of the estimates. I think, notwithstanding the fact that the motion was passed by a majority of this House earlier, sending the estimates of the Ombudsman to the Board of Internal Economy was an illegal and an improper move.

The government should by now have accepted the fact -- after all, it was nine to zip, to coin a phrase -- that if they act illegally somebody is going to strike them down. I would think that if it went that far it would be nine to zip again, that the examination of the estimates of the Ombudsman by the Board of Internal Economy as the legislation presently exists is improper, illegal and beyond our statutory power.

So, while we are establishing a select committee would it not be sensible --

Mr. Lewis: No. No.

Mr. Singer: -- that the House adopt the full recommendation of the select committee which reported to this House on Dec. 11?

Mr. Lewis: It must be separate.

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, it’s important that we get on with this problem and that we not have a lengthy debate with amendments and subamendments. I’ve sounded what I think are important warning notes. I don’t propose at this time to move any amendments, but I put these suggestions forward as matters which I believe are urgent and important and that should be considered; and perhaps some of them can be adopted quickly and the amendment put forward in that way.


Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have two or three thoughts on the matter that I would like to express at this time. I did mention to the Premier and the House leader of the government party my own reservations about how one comes to a conclusion about matters referred to a select committee. I felt, as was expressed by my leader, the need to have some way of expressing the opinion, not just simply giving the opportunity for debate but expressing the opinion of the Legislature on matters referred to it. I am, however, prepared at this point to accept, somewhat reluctantly, but accept the motion that’s before us in order --

Hon. Mr. Davis: You always do things with enthusiasm.

Mr. Deans: No; I sometimes do think with enthusiasm, strangely enough. In fact, I was enthusiastic when I argued with you that there should be the opportunity for a vote, let me tell you, but now I’m reluctant to say that I accept there won’t be right now. All right?

I do want to make some comments about one of the matters raised by the member for Wilson Heights. It is also a matter that I raised with the Premier and the government House leader during some discussions we had before the motion was placed before the House?

I believe that within the interpretation of the motion before us the select committee is now seized of or already has had referred to it -- or will have had immediately after this committee is set up -- this report of the Ombudsman. I don’t deny that for a moment and I hope everyone understands that, but by virtue of tabling the report, and by virtue, then, of the passage of this motion, that report will automatically go to the select committee.

The question before us isn’t whether that is correct or otherwise, but whether the select committee is of a mind to give the Premier and the Ombudsman some additional time in order to try to find the resolution to matters still in dispute. I have it on good authority from my colleague, who is to be the chairman of the committee, that he thinks the committee probably would be prepared to do that; but he, of course, would not be expressing that opinion until such time as the committee makes its own deliberation.

Nevertheless, if we were to adopt the position that the committee had to be meeting immediately, then of course we wouldn’t be recognizing what is actually happening here today. This is the last day of a short session. There’s no other alternative but to present the report today or wait until the fall. The fall would be too far removed from now. It would be silly to suggest that the Premier and the Ombudsman should not continue their discussions in an effort to find solutions immediately. It would be equally silly to suggest that the report ought not to be before the House until the fall, because between now and then a great deal of work could be done. So what we’re faced with is, again, at the end of the session unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, a need to have the committee structured for the purpose of dealing with the report; the need for the report to be on the table before the committee can, in fact, take advantage of the opportunity to review it, while at the same time recognizing that the Premier and the Ombudsman may well be able to resolve their particular differences at or during the course of the next two or three days, or even weeks.

I would like to ask the Premier, therefore, if he would be kind enough to express to the House, or tell us, how long he anticipates these discussions with the Ombudsman might go on, so that the committee might give some consideration as to when it could commence its work. Secondly, the Ombudsman in his letter, as my colleague mentioned to me, said early August, and I hope the Premier sees that as the timetable. Thirdly, I don’t think anyone should be of the opinion that simply because the Premier and the Ombudsman come to some kind of an agreement that automatically ends the possibility of deliberations by the committee with regard to that report, since in fact they could, if they so desired, proceed with the report in any event, given that they already have it before them.

Mr. Singer: What about section 22(4)?

Mr. Deans: I want that to be true. As for the legal interpretation placed on section 22(4) I listened carefully to what the member for Wilson Heights said and whether the Ombudsman can speak to the Premier about a matter after the report has been tabled I don’t believe is specifically dealt with.

It says that if the Ombudsman is dissatisfied he may then table his report for deliberation. It doesn’t say that he need at that point cease all discussion with the Premier. Therefore, I would like to think that two reasonable people looking for the solution to a very difficult problem would be prepared to continue to debate and discuss the matter, even though the select committee may be technically seized of the report, in order that some kind of reasonable and sensible solution can be found without undue delay.

Mr. S. Smith: I want to speak briefly, Mr. Speaker. Basically, I want to support what the member for Wentworth has said. I certainly would hope that the Premier and the Ombudsman would continue their discussion and naturally we all hope that the resolution of this problem will be forthcoming.

However, I think it’s important we avoid a dangerous precedent which was implied in the Premier’s statement before the orders of the day. I understood from the Premier’s remarks that the select committee would meet only if the Premier and the Ombudsman had failed to resolve their differences. I think, however, that once this committee is set up and once the Legislature has had the report put into its hands, for whatever reason, be it the summer recess or anything else, the committee has an obligation to meet and to look at the report, and for that matter to look at the resolution which may even be accepted by both the Ombudsman and the Premier.

The committee should have the opportunity to look at that solution and to see whether it agrees with the solution because the Legislature has now, willy-nilly, become involved. For whatever reason, we are involved and I feel, therefore, the committee must meet. It is not an if-and-or-but situation as suggested by the Premier. The committee must meet anyhow and report to the Legislature its finding with regard to any hopes for a solution which may be forthcoming from the continuing discussion between the Premier and the Ombudsman.

As my second point, I would like to say that I believe the House, in general in these matters, should have some recourse other than merely discussing it and having the time run out on a discussion. I am not suggesting that the House should be able to force the government to apply the remedy suggested by the Ombudsman -- or any other remedy for that matter -- because that would be usurping the prerogatives of the government and, clearly, would have to be a confidence matter.

I do think, however, that the House ought to be able to express the sense of the House regarding a matter of this kind and the Ombudsman will function best in an atmosphere which is not partisan and not politicized, in which each of us comes as a representative of his constituents rather than as a party person. Therefore, I think it is terribly important for future generations and for future operations of the Ombudsman that we agree to have some form of expression of the sentiments of the House but not in a matter of confidence way -- it should never be taken as a confidence matter.

This is an opportunity to incorporate that particular principle. I think members must be permitted to have a free vote on this matter so that they can operate strictly on behalf of the ordinary citizens without regard to partisan matters. I think these are very important matters which I would certainly like to see accepted by the other parties in this House. Frankly, I think it would be good to put it in either resolution form or statutory form. Basically I am here not in an argumentative way but rather to make a contribution to what I think would be the better functioning of the Ombudsman’s office. I think probably one of the best things this government has done has been to create the Ombudsman. I accept the Premier’s point that he wants it to function well. I would like to help him in this regard.

I feel, to summarize my two points, the matter having come to the Legislature I don’t think we can accept the Premier’s suggestion that the select committee meet only if he and the Ombudsman fail to resolve their differences. I think the committee must meet no matter what and it must present something to the House.

My second point is I think the House should have the opportunity, all of us as individuals in a free vote and not as a confidence matter, to express a sense of the House. Then, of course, if the government fails to introduce the remedy which the House suggested is its sense and its preference, it would be open to anyone to move a non-confidence motion at that time. But that would be a separate issue which would then be a choice which people could make at that point.

I think, even in a majority government situation, that would protect the function of the Ombudsman. Those are my suggestions, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. MacDonald: With all of the reservations that were expressed by the Leader of the Opposition, I would support this as an interesting experiment to work out our own approach to an effective Ombudsman’s process in the Province of Ontario.

If I may just speak to a point that has emerged, and the leader of the Liberal Party just pointed to it, namely that this committee should meet irrespective of what happens in the continuing negotiations between the Premier and the Ombudsman, whether they happen to resolve the differences or whether they don’t, one of the reasons I think they should meet is an aspect of this whole situation which has developed which absolutely puzzles me. It puzzles me beyond belief.

I thought the universally accepted concept of an Ombudsman was an official appointed to espouse the cause of an aggrieved citizen who would have the power to go into a ministry and get any information that might be available anywhere with regard to the source of the grievance. Therefore I just can’t understand the kind of situation that has developed and the confrontation between the Minister of Housing and the Ombudsman.

I find it inconceivable that the Ombudsman’s office would be engaged in a six- to an eight-month investigation, at the end of which one of the ministers of the government would say: “I have a lot of information which disputes your conclusions.” If he has a lot of information, he should have submitted that information. Surely that is implicit in the whole traditional operation of the Ombudsman. Therefore, without necessarily going into any full investigation, it seems to me one of the purposes of this select committee with reference to the specific report in the instance of the Pickering situation, is that it has to resolve this difference between the Ombudsman’s report and these unstated conclusions -- I guess the conclusions have been stated, but the evidence upon which the conclusions have been stated by the Minister of Housing.

I hope in the process we all learn a little bit of a lesson, namely as to what have been the traditional acceptance and operation of the Ombudsman concept, that if any ministry is being investigated and has got information, it doesn’t have to be asked to provide the information, it automatically does provide that information. Otherwise, what is the purpose? It’s almost, if I may put it in somewhat provocative terms whether he intended it or not, as if the Minister of Housing’s approach to this whole process appears to be a calculated effort to undermine the operation of the Ombudsman’s office.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Nonsense.

Mr. MacDonald: Just a minute now. The Ombudsman has the right to get any information that is available. If the minister is sitting on information and doesn’t provide it, then I come to the conclusion that it at least appears to have been a calculated undermining of the operation of the Ombudsman’s office.

I’d be very curious to find out from the Attorney General as to whether he disputes my basic thesis that if the Ombudsman is looking into a situation that is centred in a given ministry, there is an obligation on that ministry to see that the Ombudsman gets all of the information that it has, and doesn’t hide some of it, so that when the report comes out, the minister cannot then say the report is unbalanced, it’s incomplete, and its conclusions are wrong.

Ms. Gigantes: Shame on you!

Mr. MacDonald: If there is any other concept of an Ombudsman’s office, I invite the AG to enter the debate and to expound it.

Mr. Roy: I don’t want to be repetitious, but I did want to make certain comments on the record, because I’ve been concerned about the whole aspect of the Ombudsman, the operation and how there seems to be a void, legally; first of all when we are dealing with the aspects of estimates; and now in the interpretation of section 22(4).

I do want to say that I see the debate is not proceeding in a partisan fashion. I think all members are striving to make some positive and objective comments to enhance the operation of the Ombudsman.

I would like to suggest very sincerely to the Premier that he accept the comments of my leader. I would like to hear some undertaking of this. First of all, if the Ombudsman is a servant of the Legislature, surely then as legislative members we should not be constrained by party lines; it should be a type of a free vote in this House.

I think all of us should be put into a position where we can make our own objective decision as to how we should support him, or not support certain recommendations that are made.

Secondly, surely as the Premier said, if this is not to be a partisan sort of approach, that it should not be a matter of confidence; it certainly should not be a matter of confidence.

If it is a free vote in the House, if the Ombudsman is our servant, surely once we make a suggestion here and we vote freely on it, it should not be a matter of confidence. I would like to hear the Premier’s comments as to those two aspects.

There is another part that I was bothered about, Mr. Speaker, and I would just comment briefly on it. I think the member for York Centre touched on it. It’s not a very good precedent that we have here in the sense that -- York South, I am sorry --

Mr. MacDonald: York South. York Centre is one of your colleagues, in case you didn’t know it.

Mr. Roy: The member for York South, that’s right.

The member for York South, Mr. Speaker, mentioned that certainly it’s not a good precedent to be setting in this House that the first major report made by the Ombudsman on a problem in this province gets a hit of stonewalling, I suggest, from the Minister of Housing.

Looking at the Minister of Housing across the floor, I appreciate his concern about accepting sort of holus-bolus some of the recommendations and some of the long-term implications of the report. But it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that if there were evidence that could rebut what the Ombudsman stated, it was the minister’s duty to make it available. It was not the minister’s duty at that point to be presumptuous enough to say that the Ombudsman would probably have disregarded it. I think the minister should have made it available. And if it was disregarded, then he would have been in a position to dispute the Ombudsman’s conclusions. But surely he should have co-operated to that point.

I think many constructive suggestions have been made, Mr. Speaker. There is the fact that the Ombudsman feels, because the House will not be sitting for any length of time, that he should present his report now, and that his discussions continue with the Premier. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that either through an amendment to the Act or otherwise, that certainly the report of the Ombudsman should not be constrained or stopped from being presented to the Speaker of the House because the House is not sitting.

We should propose an amendment of some sort at a later date to make it very clear that when the Ombudsman has a report, that it proceed through the channel of section 22(4). If he is prepared to present it to the House, he should not have to wait for two or three months if the House is not sitting. There should be a mechanism, Mr. Speaker, whereby the report is presented to you, and then from you to the select committee. I think that’s important.

I think that in many cases the recommendations of a report will require some haste. Time may well be of the essence for some of the solutions that he is proposing; the action required in his recommendations should not always require that the House be sitting. I think there should be that provision that it go to you, Mr. Speaker, then to the select committee.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I very briefly wish to touch on the several points that have been raised, in particular one raised by the member for York South. The hon. member has indicated in his comments that I was not prepared to accept the recommendations of the Ombudsman. Certainly, it is not my intention at any time -- at that particular time, now, nor in the future -- to undermine the office of the Ombudsman, nor the work that the Ombudsman does. I think this is evident.

It can certainly be shown that over the past number of months that the Ombudsman’s office has been in operation, there have been a number of occasions where he has had to inquire into matters involving my ministry. I think he would fully agree, as would members of his staff, that he has had the utmost of co-operation at any time. We have been able to resolve a great many of the matters that have been brought before us, either through discussions with the staff or by accepting the recommendations that were sent to us from his office, and I want to state very emphatically that at no time have I ever had a desire to undermine the Ombudsman’s office or the work being performed by that office. I totally and completely support it.

Mr. Lawlor: But you withhold information.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, that’s exactly the point that I wanted to touch upon. Without going into detail here, I would like to state that it is not a question of withholding information. Understand that a very extensive investigation was carried out by the Ombudsman’s office. How that investigation was carried out is a matter that I think will be discussed by the select committee or whatever other forum is used to determine the eventual recommendation.

I don’t want to take the time of the House in this area. Suffice it to say that during some of the time that investigation was going on, the staff of the particular project and of the Ministry of Housing were not totally aware of exactly what type of investigation was being carried on. I think the Ombudsman and his staff will fully agree that at any time they went to the offices of the project or to any member of my staff in the Ministry of Housing they received the utmost of cooperation and were presented with all of the information that they requested. They were allowed to go through all the files, as is certainly permitted, and they were not in any way prevented from receiving information.

Mr. MacDonald: But did you volunteer all the information you had?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: They were given all information that was there. Remember that we were not totally aware, and quite properly so perhaps, at the beginning of that investigation as to what total information was being gathered by the Ombudsman. Remember, too, that over 500 pages of evidence was gathered by the Ombudsman, and eventually condensed to the 129 pages that was presented in the report that has been presented to this Legislature.

We have not had an opportunity at this stage to go through all 500 pages of that evidence. It has been offered to us recently by the Ombudsman’s office if we wish to peruse it, and perhaps we will have to do that. I suggest to you that there was no intention to withhold information.

Mr. Roy: You were just following the law.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It was after the final report was made to us that we were able to determine what information the Ombudsman had gathered and had put into his report. Again, understand that it was a condensed version of the total investigation; those matters which he felt he could incorporate into his report to substantiate the position of the recommendations that he’s taken. It was then that we were able to determine what matters were being brought to our attention as matters that he took exception to or felt had not been dealt with properly. It was then that we started to look for responses to those particular charges and it was during that time, with respect, that the report eventually was brought to me in its final form and we were obliged to proceed along the trail that we find ourselves at now.

The only area, and I emphasize this again, where the Office of the Ombudsman and the office of the Minister of Housing -- not individuals or personalities -- have any disagreement is in the proposed recommendations to resolve the problem as he perceives it. It is not a matter of questioning the integrity of his office or the integrity of the people who work in that office. It is a matter on which he and I have, I think, a disagreement, and a quite proper disagreement, on how the problem should be resolved. I suggest to you that the matter of a select committee is a good vehicle in which to present that evidence before this committee and allow them to determine for themselves whether that recommendation is good. That’s exactly what I said in the recommendation.

Mr. Roy: That is not what you said in the press conference. You went further in the press conference.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That’s exactly what I said in the recommendations.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Singer: You said the evidence was suspect because it wasn’t under oath.

Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. member for Lakeshore wish to make a comment on this motion before the House?

Mr. Lawlor: Just a comment, Mr. Speaker, first of all, about the retention in the Premier’s hands for the time being, I trust, of this particular matter. I see nothing in the legislation that proscribes that. I think that is perfectly all right. I would say, if I may presume to give a word of advice to the Premier of this province, don’t retain it too long. Not because I would think that there would be any element of a delaying tactic involved, God forbid -- I mean, the thought wouldn’t enter my mind -- but for this reason, and having read the report with some assiduity, I think the positions are very moot, and could go either way depending on the issue.

There are some cases which, on the face of the report, seem to be very deserving indeed but other cases perhaps are not quite so deserving. This has to be worked out and filtered out and the select committee vehicle is the best way to do it.

One final word: I and the committee that met previously did submit to this Legislature the business of a free vote. It is obvious that you can’t have it divided on partisan lines on issues of this kind.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak very briefly on this and on what I think is a fundamental problem here. We are now into the second or third day of discussing, after the adoption of this Act last fall -- as I recall -- ways to patch up the problems which have arisen now subsequent to the passing of the bill.

As members recall, before the session adjourned we discussed how we would handle the estimates and many of the arguments and things we were concerned about I think are real today. I think we didn’t have the foresight then and I don’t blame anybody for this. I think all parties agreed to this and I would have to submit respectfully that certain contingencies have arisen subsequent to the passing of the bill which weren’t contemplated. We have all been patching it up and we have all been attempting to adapt it as the circumstances have arisen I would say very respectfully that I think we have a little more judgement now; we have some hindsight and we have some experience with this bill and it seems to me it is going to require a redrafting of the bill.

Already in the discussions today -- I am sure we are going to support the bill; that is not the problem -- there are certain differences of opinion on how a disagreement of this type should be handled. Certain people feel that the Premier as well as the select committee should be dealing with it and there are various other options and points of view.

If harmony works and people can get along by just talking about it, then we don’t need to go to the law, but the law as it is written is there for when we run into a head-on confrontation such as we have in this particular case. I say with great respect that I understand and I respect the right of the Minister of Housing to disagree with the Ombudsman. I think that is perfectly legitimate and I would never for a moment suggest that it is done in bad faith or for any other reason as my friend from York South is suggesting. I don’t think that is the case. I think it is legitimate when two strong men disagree on certain facts.

The point is, as I see it, we still have not got the method to resolve this question. I don’t see really, and I say it with respect to the Premier, that he has got it in his proposal and his suggestion for a special committee today. I really believe very strongly and I would like to recommend that he rethink some of the holes in this legislation; one in particular is the estimates.

Now that he is going to start this committee -- this is something our party suggested in the last debate on how the estimates should be handled -- why not clean up the whole operation at once and let us redraft the bill? Let’s redo it, let’s do a good job on it and avoid this kind of problem because I respectfully submit that every time the Legislature has this kind of debate we are undermining the authority of the Ombudsman. We are causing him harm and we all have a commitment to his principles and to the principles of his existence. I think we are not serving his cause or the role he should be playing in this province.

Because of the bad drafting, when the Premier involves the government in a partisan way, when he gets in a fight with the Ombudsman either the Premier is going to suffer or the Ombudsman is going to suffer. There is no reason for it; there is no reason whatsoever because he is a servant of this Legislature and the people of the province.

I would suggest that this is a fine short-run solution, but in the long run -- probably in the short run more than the long run -- we should redraft this Act, taking into account all the possible contingencies. I think the Premier would find unanimous approval for that kind of thing and we would avoid this. We would avoid embarrassing the Premier, embarrassing the minister, embarrassing to Ombudsman and, more important, embarrassing the principles for which he stands in this province.

I think it is a sloppy piece of work and I am sorry about that, but maybe it is understandable, none of us having any experience with this. For God’s sake, let’s recognize it; let’s clean it up and let’s not have to be involved in this kind of a debate any more.

Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to comment. I speak both as a member of the committee struck last fall to set up the rules and regulations for the Ombudsman and as a recommended member of the select committee we are now discussing.


The member for Wilson Heights was suggesting to the Premier that he told him so. He said, “I told you so.” I think some of the members of the committee now must say to the member for Wilson Heights, “I told you so,” because at that time last fall we suggested that that was the appropriate time to set out the rules and regulations governing the operation of the office.

Quite frankly and openly, the Ombudsman himself suggested it was premature at that time. The office had not been in operation. Everyone was new to the operation and the office and no one quite had the experience yet to know how exactly the procedure to report to the Legislature, including free votes, should be handled.

I might say it was no secret that the chairman of that committee, the member for Wilson Heights, in his usual heavy-handed fashion as chairman of a committee, made it quite clear that he quite agreed with that suggestion of the Ombudsman. Consequently the members of the committee --

Mr. Singer: I took your hand and forced you to sign the report.

Mr. Grossman: -- out of respect for the Ombudsman went along with that suggestion. We had reservations.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s a nice tie.

Mr. Grossman: Thank you.

Mr. Drea: How much did you pay for it?

Mr. Grossman: Why did we go along and why did we object? We went along out of respect for the office. But why did we object? I think the member for Rainy River agreed with us at that time. I suggested that if we waited until there was a confrontation, then one of two suggestions would be made a year from that time when it did come time to set down the rules and regulations which would now govern what was going to happen. Either the members of the committee or the Legislature would be accused of trying to fetter the Office of the Ombudsman by setting out too stringent rules or regulations or we would be accused of giving him the key to the Legislature by giving him wide-open rein on what was going to happen.

What has happened? There are no rules and regulations to govern what has happened. The member for York South and even the leader of the Liberal Party suggested last week in the press that, going through these uncharted waters, any suggestion contrary to the suggestion of the Ombudsman is an attempt to get rid of the Ombudsman and destroy the office. This is exactly what we said would happen unless we set out rules and regulations when we were given the job of doing that last fall.

Now the suggestion is made -- and I have to laugh at the suggestion -- that there be a free vote. That may be a good idea. I haven’t resolved that issue in my own mind as yet because, like all others, I am just getting familiar with the operation of the office and what should happen.

Mr. S. Smith: What do you have to laugh at about it?

Mr. Grossman: I will tell you why I have to laugh at it because the suggestion comes from the Liberals and the last free vote they were involved in wasn’t really a free vote. That was the capital punishment issue in Ottawa. It was in name a free vote only. The Liberal cabinet in Ottawa which formerly had a lot of retentionists in that cabinet suddenly had only abolitionists.

Mr. Deans: But they all agreed.

Mr. Grossman: So I wonder what kind of free vote we are talking about.

Mr. Deans: Did it ever occur to you that they all shared the same view?

Mr. Grossman: Maybe they all felt the same way suddenly. You can never tell. It could happen. We heard about the member for Windsor-Sandwich on the teachers’ bill. We heard about his free vote on that. I understand.

Mr. S. Smith: All votes are free votes over here.

Mr. Grossman: I want to wind this up by saying that the whole point of the resolution of the committee last fall was that the Ombudsman himself wasn’t sure. He wanted to learn about the best procedure to follow in getting to this Legislature. We went along with that. Now the Ombudsman together with the Premier of the province has suggested a pattern to be followed in this, the first major confrontation. I suggest that it all lies in the mouths of those who were part of that committee and agreed with that sort of pattern now to be standing up and suggesting that all sorts of different procedures be followed and a second look be taken, not by that ombudsman committee that was struck last fall but now by a second committee that was struck for a different purpose.

Surely we ought to do what we said we were going to do last fall. We said we would see how it worked; we would see what the Ombudsman felt with regard to the proper procedure to be followed. In the first opportunity the Ombudsman has agreed to a certain procedure to be followed. Surely, having taken that step last fall, we should follow the procedure that he and the Premier of this province have agreed upon, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, quite properly, and then work it out with that same Ombudsman committee at the end of the first complete calendar year as was always anticipated by that committee.

Mr. Singer: It was never anticipated.

Mr. Grossman: Of course it was.

Mr. Singer: You didn’t even read what you signed.

Mr. Grossman: That’s exactly what you said.

Mr. Singer: Read it! You signed it but you should read what you signed.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Godfrey: When the reports are presented they should be brought forward as speedily as possible, and I would echo my colleague’s plea to the Premier to bring this report forward as quickly as possible so that the select committee can act upon it. I’d like to put it, in the terms of the present Ombudsman’s report, in the human dimension.

This particular report with regard to the Pickering land problem represents the result of many months of inquiry, where many individuals have been involved and at last their hopes have been raised. For the first time they see that somebody has come to their aid and has listened to them. They sat and listened to me in the House in November when I asked the Minister of Housing if he was going to do anything about land which was being acquired under duress, and they heard his answer that he denied land was acquired under duress. At that time presumably he had the information and did not send it forward to the Ombudsman.

They also heard me in December put the same question, and at that time once again their hopes were thrown down by the response from the Ministry of Housing that there was no duress involved in these things. Now their hopes have been raised again by the publication of the Ombudsman’s report. Once again, they’re cast down because the Ombudsman has spoken and he’s been countered by a minister who doubts somehow that this report is a valid report and will not accept the recommendations.

So I would urge that in order once again to give justice to the people in this particular instance and those who in future instances will be subject of the Ombudsman’s reports, that the matters be brought forward very speedily and a decision he made. I am concerned as to whether the same practices which are pointed out in the Pickering report as to how the province acquires land when it’s expropriating or trying to get it for some project, are not being carried on today in other parts of the province and are really not generating more human discomfiture and possibly a future Ombudsman’s report in the same manner.

I would point out the urgency to have these matters solved, because there are legal matters which are going on. There are, for example, writs returnable in the Supreme Court which are being acted on at present which hinge upon whether or not the Ombudsman’s report is accepted. There are notices of arbitration before the Land Compensation Board which hinge upon whether this report is acted upon speedily or not.

I would support the resolution and would urge that some decision be brought back so that we can give some gratification as quickly as possible to these people, who I feel have been injured.

Mr. Nixon: Just briefly, Mr. Speaker, I believe the recommendation from the original select committee should have been followed and that the committee that had been established under the statute, if the recommendation had been followed, would have been a standing committee with powers of a select committee to continue its deliberations as necessary. I wish that had been done. I am glad that this resolution will establish something close to it.

I have a couple of concerns, however. The Leader of the Opposition indicated that in our own way we are groping towards a procedure that might be very effective indeed in dealing with the recommendations that come from the Ombudsman from time to time. I personally have a concern as a member of this Legislature with a procedure that puts us, as members, in an administrative capacity. I am concerned that as we move in that direction we are making problems for ourselves.

While this select committee is a competent one indeed, the idea of them spending the summer reviewing each of the 44 cases that have been a part of the recommendation of the Ombudsman, with the opposing, or let’s say parallel, information from the Minister of Housing, concerns me. It is almost as if we are establishing ourselves or a part of ourselves as a royal commission investigating into this specific area.

I am just indicating that if the committee does proceed that way and makes a final recommendation to this House that case A is good, case B is half good and case C should be decided in a certain way, then we are moving in a direction which I simply say is more judicial than legislative, it is more administrative than legislative, and I think we must be aware of it.

I would also say that the only strong feeling I have in this connection is that the concept of the Ombudsman and the concept of responsible government do not mix in all respects, and as we move further and further to the actual implementation of a procedure --

Mr. Cassidy: You can never stop having two positions, can you?

Mr. S. Smith: Oh, Cassidy, you’re such a nit-wit. He is making a very reasonable statement.

Mr. Nixon: I don’t know what’s relevant about your comments. Oh, he doesn’t matter.

Mr. Speaker, just in closing, let me say this, as for myself, and I’m sure many other members of this House, when it comes to the point when an administrative decision has to be made then obviously it is not the Ombudsman who can dictate that decision. Of course, there will be politics involved in this as well as the individual judgement of well-motivated people, but every attempt we have to divorce this matter from polities, or partisan politics, while it’s admirable that we can do our best so to do, in the long run it becomes almost impossible.

If it were going to come to a head now it would be an issue of is the government supporting the Ombudsman or is it not, and this could be a rather inflammatory issue and a political issue. But I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and I know you’re very interested in this, when it comes down to the final analysis it’s got to be the government that makes the disposition of the matter and then stands or falls on its political basis and there should be no apology for that on the basis of the decision.

I’m concerned that we’re setting up a committee of competent, well-motivated people who, in fact, are going to be acting as some sort of a royal commission. They may even be asked to make administrative decisions, or, in fact, dictate administrative decisions, and I am concerned about that as a member of this House.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, perhaps just to respond very briefly to two or three of the observations, I listened to 90 per cent of it. I must say that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk -- I never get them in the right order but I hope I have today -- some of his observations, of course, were quite valid but not necessarily consistent with some of the other observations.

I think, from our standpoint, we are still feeling our way in the concept of the Ombudsman and how these things are to be dealt with, and I would be reluctant to see the select committee, without in any way prejudging its activities, necessarily reassessing all 44 cases, sort of becoming a forum of inquiry in that sense of the word. I visualize it functioning on a somewhat broader basis dealing with matters of concept, of principle, rather than having to make determinations on 44 oases. That is not the way I would see it. I presume to say this because the chairman of this proposed committee is here.

I must say that I share the point of view of the member for Lakeshore, not being nearly as knowledgeable in the law as the member for Wilson Heights or the member for Ottawa East, as to whether the Premier should or should not be able to tarry on discussions in that the report is now before the House, except to say that really what the government has, with the support of the opposition, introduced has been as a result of discussions with the Ombudsman, knowing that the House would probably adjourn today. For very good reasons, reasons which I supported, his report should have been filed and yet the legislation provided no vehicle to do anything about it once it was here.

It would have been, I guess, possible for the government to have put it on as an order. We could have called it at 8 o’clock tonight and debated it for 2½ hours and perhaps that might have satisfied the situation. But I feel very keenly that some vehicle should be found, some way that people would have an opportunity to express points of view here in this House and that, in a report of this nature at least, the more rational way would be to have a select committee assess it first. But I would be somewhat disappointed, and I don’t want to lead the members of the House astray -- the Ombudsman and I may agree to disagree, I don’t know -- but I think it would be unfortunate because I think that part of the function of the Ombudsman is to investigate, lay out a problem and, by persuasion as much as anything else, get his point of view accepted by the ministries and by the government. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is quite right, at some point in time, some of these things could become partisan. I would be reluctant to see that, but it is possible. There is no question about that.


I was intrigued by the observations about a free vote but then I ask those who suggest this to us to take this particular situation; I think it is conceivable. The minister has acknowledged yes, some without question and he has accepted in terms of a principle -- and this is where, really, there has been more agreement between the ministry and the Ombudsman than some people realize -- that his view was that, where in fact a person had been persuaded to sign an agreement on the basis that expropriation was just around the corner, the February 1974 date would apply. I think it’s a question of finding a vehicle to make sure that all of this is understood and is acceptable.

But if there was an agreement to a free vote, I am sure the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) and others would realize that we are talking, too, about perhaps very significant sums of money. It is not an issue like capital punishment. It is not an issue that I could see being part of an Ombudsman’s report to this Legislature where we are talking maybe about a social problem or a matter of some policy. Here we are potentially talking about the expenditures of large sums of money. Is it technically possible? I want to be very careful about being right in the parliamentary process. I listened to the lecture from the member for Sarnia very carefully.

Mr. Bullbrook: It was not a lecture.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, it wasn’t; I am teasing.

Mr. Bullbrook: And I am short-tempered.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand that. I say to the leader of the Liberal Party who raised it, can a government, in fact, say there will be a free vote on a matter involving several million dollars of potential expenditures? I am not going to give you the answer because I don’t know. I raise it as a question. I am dubious that we can discharge our responsibilities as ministers of the Crown in a free vote where we are talking about millions of dollars.

Mr. S. Smith: It is a sense-of-the-House vote.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think with respect that when you talk about the sense or the ambience or the feelings of the House, that is different from saying: “Yes, it’s a free vote. I would like to support the Ombudsman because I don’t have to worry about the consequences in terms of expenditure of funds.”

Mr. S. Smith: Then it is up to the government and it can be followed by a non-confidence vote.

Hon. Mr. Davis: We have been discussing things that aren’t going to be solved here this afternoon. There is no intention of solving them, but I just raise for your consideration some of the things that I have had to consider in the past two or three days. I felt, and I still feel, that this is the best interim solution so that the House will have an opportunity, if necessary, through the select committee to deal with this while we are in recess.

I think it would be unfortunate -- we could call the House back, I guess, in the first week of August if the Ombudsman and I have agreed to disagree and we could have a three-hour debate on his report. It would accomplish nothing -- and I don’t mean to be misunderstood. I am not sure that every member can talk with total knowledge of what was in the report even if we had that three-hour opportunity. And so I rejected that. We could have done it today; we could do it tomorrow morning. I have discussed this procedure with the Ombudsman. He will be speaking for himself but I think he feels relatively comfortable as an interim step with this cost of approach.

I have taken notice of the points raised opposite of the need to look at a more permanent vehicle. I have listened to the member for Wilson Heights. I would like to give him credit for part of this in some respects. As I heard it on the radio apparently this morning, they really had made this determination to a certain extent. I am delighted that the Leader of the Opposition is going to support this motion and, I assume, the members of the Liberal Party, because I think probably as an interim vehicle it is the best route to go.

I can assure the member for Lakeshore or whoever, the Ombudsman and I will not be delaying it. I have made known to the Ombudsman that I do have certain commitments of a semi-official or non-official nature for the next few days and I will not be dealing with it for about a week approximately. I do have those other responsibilities. But we will not be looking for ways and means to prolong it.

Mr. Roy: Are you in shape to take that on?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I certainly am.

Mr. Singer: For 1,500 metres?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will conclude my very brief observations by saying I have listened to and I think we have all learned something from the views expressed by the various members and hopefully this will be at least a step in finding a more permanent route for the Ombudsman to function properly here in this jurisdiction.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Bounsall: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I just want to bring to the attention of the House a reference in my remarks in the debate yesterday afternoon relating to the anti-inflation bill. The bringing to my attention of a 40 per cent increase in sandpaper and 52 per cent increase in screws at a particular Canadian Tire store within a week, was incorrectly attributed to my neighbour, George Horobin. It was, in fact, brought to my attention by my Queen’s Park assistant, Betty Bib. It was she, herself, who was doing her own home repairs over Thanksgiving weekend. I ask, Mr. Speaker, that the record be corrected.


Mr. Speaker: Introduction of bills.


Mr. Deans, on behalf of Mr. Foulds, moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act respecting Special Educational Programmes.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, the member for Port Arthur would have me point out to the House that this bill could also be entitled a bill of educational rights for handicapped children. It would, if passed, guarantee access to education to all children of compulsory school age who suffer from any kind of learning disability including but not confined to the blind, deaf, autistic, mentally handicapped and perceptually handicapped. It would require boards of education to provide special education services for all those children under their jurisdiction who require such services. In the event that the board does not have the resources to do so, because of its size, the board could purchase the service from neighbouring boards, or a provincial institution adequate to meet the needs of the children in question.

It’s outrageous that in this day and age, in a province with the resources of Ontario, that all children are not guaranteed the right to an education. This bill would remedy this situation.


Mr. Cassidy moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to provide Political Rights for Public Servants.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, the decision of the government to overrule the Supreme Court of Canada and to put public servants back under the wage controls of the Anti-Inflation Board has deprived these public employees of the only vehicle they now have to influence the government -- that is, their right to bargain collectively. It seems to me, therefore, that it is more imperative than ever that action be taken by the Legislature in order to permit public servants their full political rights, which are open to any other group in society.

Mr. S. Smith: This is not the principle of the bill. This is his opinion of the bill.

Mr. Speaker: We do not debate the bill we --

Mr. S. Smith: The principle of the bill; not your opinions about it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, this bill is designed to give full political rights to public servants. Right now they cannot even write a letter to an editor on any matter regarding the platform of a provincial or federal party.

Mr. Speaker: All right; that is part of principle -- but the other is not.

Mr. Cassidy: The bill provides that public servants will be able to write, speak, contribute, solicit funds, work, join, hold office, and vote on behalf of, in, for or to a political party or candidate in a federal or provincial election. It protects public servants from punitive action by their superiors or from being forced to carry out partisan duties as a condition of their employment. We believe this is a fundamental right and move its adoption by the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker: I should again remind the hon. member, although it should not be necessary, that the statement accompanying a bill is supposed to announce a principle, what the bill does, and it should not be substantiated --

Mr. Cassidy: That was their reaction.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, order. It should not be substantiated by argument.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I want to table the answers to questions 103, 105 and 134 standing on the notice paper.


Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I want to draw your attention to the transcript I have here, which is H-2155-3 of yesterday, where I was accused by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) of the most heinous crime, which is the accusation of high treason.

Mr. Breithaupt: No, it was just ordinary treason.

Mr. Drea: Well, I regard this as very, very, very serious, all right.

Mr. Lewis: You should not press it as lightly as that.

Mr. Drea: Oh, I am going to press this.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will state his point of privilege.


Mr. Speaker: Order, order. We are wasting time. Order.

Mr. Peterson: Why didn’t you give notice last night?

Mr. Cassidy: You know you are going to dig yourself in deeper.

Mr. Lewis: Resign, resign.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.

Mr. Drea: Wouldn’t you love that?

Mr. Lewis: Shall we take a vote?

Mr. Speaker: Order please. The hon. member is rising on a point of privilege, will he please continue and the rest of the House please refrain from interjections?

Mr. Roy: Plead insanity, Frank.

Mr. Shore: There are two people talking.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. I am well known in this House that --


Mr. Drea: -- in terms of fair comment, Mr. Speaker, I very seldom say anything. But Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Shore: That’s right.

Mr. Roy: Plead insanity, Frank.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Scarborough Centre has the floor.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s so characteristic of a Tory back-bencher.

Mr. Peterson: Drunkenness is a legitimate defence.

Mr. Mattel: You will never make it to general manager of Inco.

Mr. Drea: I wouldn’t want to be the general manager of Inco and neither would you if you had a brain in your head.

Mr. Shore: Who wrote this for you, Frank?

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, the accusation has been made against me on those particular pages about treason. As a matter of fact, on page A-6 of the Toronto Star today there is a suggestion -- as a matter of fact it is printed, and that is the matter of treason.

Mr. Peterson: Do you believe in the death penalty, Frank?

Mr. Drea: Well, of course, if I were in your position maybe I wouldn’t wonder about the seriousness of this.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not a debate, I point out. The member should just simply state the point of privilege which he feels he has, and I notice the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot is not in the House so there cannot be any correction of it. If the hon. member has a point of privilege he wishes to make, would he do that without any debate or argument, please?

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to make a point of privilege. I have been interrupted rudely a number of times by other people.

Mr. Speaker: Would the hon. member continue with his point of privilege, please?

Mr. Drea: The point is that I regard the charge that I am somebody who is treasonous to the Crown to be a most substantial one. I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Shore: We took a vote on that. It was 9-8.

Mr. Drea: -- that I want, at the very least, that accusation withdrawn. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you, and we are talking as one member to another in this House, to accuse another of treason, I find that that is the kind of irrational, contemptible statement that really should result in the vacation of a seat.

Mr. Breithaupt: Then resign.

Mr. Drea: I am suggesting to you, Mr. Speaker, and I will put my record of service before you, I will put my record of service to the community, I will put my military service record before you --

Mr. Shore: Show us your medals too?

Mr. Peterson: Which war and which side?

Mr. Drea: I think this is a most serious and a most despicable charge that has been levied upon me. I realize the particular member for Kitchener-Wilmot has chosen for reasons best known to himself, and I don’t know why, not to be here at this time --

Mr. Breithaupt: No, that’s foolishness.

Mr. S. Smith: Because he is afraid of you, Frank.

Mr. Drea: -- and I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that on the first day we meet again, I not only want the comments that were made on this page withdrawn --

Mr. S. Smith: Get the Attorney General to defend you against the charge.

Mr. Drea: -- I also --

Mr. S. Smith: You will probably get off with 20 years.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that I want the member for Kitchener-Wilmot called before the bar of this Parliament --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Drea: -- to explain exactly why he drew those --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the hon. member has made his point of privilege. The hon. member who is the subject of his point of privilege is not here and therefore there can be no correcting action at this point.

Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, it is very easy not to have to answer for what you have said.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Orders of the day.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved third reading of Bill 127, An Act to ratify the entering into of an Agreement under the Anti-Inflation Act (Canada).

The House divided on the motion for third reading of Bill 127, which was approved on the following vote:






























Johnson (Wellington-Dufferin-Peel)















Miller (Haldimand-Norfolk)

Miller (Muskoka)


Newman (Durham York)

Newman (Windsor-Walkerville)






Reid (Rainy River)









Smith (Hamilton Mountain)

Smith (Hamilton West)











Yakabuski -- 75






Davidson (Cambridge)

Davison (Hamilton Centre)


Di Santo




















Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, the “ayes” are 75; the “nays” are 28.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the legislative assembly and took her seat upon the throne.


Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the legislative assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed a certain bill to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said legislative assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.

The Clerk Assistant: The following is the title of the bill to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:

Bill 127, An Act to ratify the entering into of an Agreement under the Anti-Inflation Act (Canada).

Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to this bill.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Just before moving the adjournment of the House, I’m sure that all members would like to join with me in expressing our very best wishes to Her Majesty on her anticipated visit to the Province of Ontario and, in that I will be seeing her on one or two occasions, I will take the best wishes of all members of the House to her.

I am also sure that members would like to join with me in wishing the Canadian athletes who are starting their competitions in the next couple of days at the Olympics great success, particularly those from the Province of Ontario. I have to confess that I don’t know enough about them to be making any wagers on any of those particular events --

Mr. Reid: It never stopped you before.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I know that all members of the House will join in wishing them well and express the hope that the Olympics will be as successful as has been the case in the past. I think we’re all looking forward to it. Once again I made the mistake of wishing you all a very pleasant vacation some three weeks ago. I won’t do it again.

Mr. Breithaupt: See if you can get it right this time.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Have a good holiday, for whatever length of time is involved.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the House would join with me in extending to the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) best wishes for his coming marriage on Aug. 14. Presumably we won’t be reassembled before then, and everyone is invited, I suppose.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Have you checked with John Smith?

Mr. Roy: Any advice?

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

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Speaker: This House stands adjourned until a date to be named by the Lieutenant Governor by her proclamation.

The House adjourned at 4:55 p.m.