31e législature, 1re session

L012 - Wed 6 Jul 1977 / Mer 6 jul 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, this is not in the nature of a statement particularly, but I simply want to apologize to you, sir, and to the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) for being unable to be here at 10:30 last evening. I was detained on government business and I do apologize to the member.



Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present to the House today the report of the committee on the representation of children in the provincial court family division. The interest in the legal representation of children is part of the greater concern for the position and protection of children in Ontario today.

This report has considered the issue of child representation in the context of existing legislation; namely, part II of The Child Welfare Act and The Juvenile Delinquents Act. The committee has recognized that a children’s services division of the Ministry of Community and Social Services has recently been established and has responsibility to review The Child Welfare Act, and that legislative reform by the federal government may occur in respect to The Juvenile Delinquent Act.

In its review of the present position in relation to the representation of children, the committee has looked to developments outside Ontario and, indeed, outside Canada, to benefit from the experience of other jurisdictions.

Central to the inquiry concerning legal representation for children is the recognized necessity of striking a balance between two critically important issues: the interests of children to have legal representation, and the rights and responsibilities of adults to make decisions on behalf of children. This issue is especially important in the case of proceedings under part II of The Child Welfare Act. The committee makes reference to the statutory mandate conferred upon Children’s Aid Societies by The Child Welfare Act, namely, to protect children where necessary.

In particular, the report proposes that a judge of a provincial court family division should have the power to appoint counsel to represent a child at a hearing under part II of The Child Welfare Act. At present, this power does not exist.

As well, the report proposes the establishment of pilot projects for the purpose of providing information and experience that does not now exist so as to structure a system of legal representation for children. These one-year projects would be set up in connection with the provincial court family division. Among other tasks, the projects would determine under what circumstances legal representation for children should be required and assess the relative merits of existing methods of providing legal representation for children.

I will be studying the implications and recommendations of the report and will be discussing it with my colleague, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), who will have a major interest in these proposals. In addition, I invite public comment and debate on this issue. I recognize that much is yet to be done if an adequate system of legal representation for children is to be established in Ontario.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would also like to inform members that yesterday the Crown applied to a Supreme Court of Ontario judge for his consent to prefer an indictment in the case involving Abko Medical Laboratories and two of its principals. The application by the Crown was granted.

The judge of the Supreme Court ordered that his reasons for his decision not be made public in the interest of fairness to the accused persons in relation to the trial. I am satisfied that no judge of the Supreme Court would consent to such an application for the matter to proceed to trial unless the judge felt the procedure was fair to the accused persons.


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: During the debate on my ministry’s estimates last week, the hon. member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) raised the matter of a special warrant of $600,000 to the HUDAC new home warranty program. At that time, I indicated I would be making a statement in the House.

As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the HUDAC new home warranty program was introduced to protect home buyers from financial losses resulting from builders’ bankruptcies or other difficulties. The program as implemented contained a warranty to ensure against loss of down payments of up to $20,000 for all housing units sold after January 1, 1977. It also covers correcting any construction faults.

However, some purchasers of condominium units bought before the January 1 introduction date have not received their deeds. If a builder were in difficulties, it is possible these home buyers could lose their down payments.

A case of this type was brought to our attention. The condominium purchasers found their down payments were in jeopardy, and some of their deposits are quite substantial. It has been alleged that a trust account was violated, and the purchasers would be left with neither ownership nor their deposit money. At the request of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, my ministry had discussions with the Ontario Council of HUDAC, the warranty board overseeing the program and Consumer and Commercial Relations representatives to find a solution.

A special fund of at least $800,000 is being set up to cover any deposits that might be lost by condominium purchasers where the sale had taken place prior to the January 1 warranty introduction date but where deeds have not been received by home buyers. The funds from the Ministry of Housing budget will assist the warranty board to reimburse the deposits. Plans are also in hand to increase down payment protection insurance for units sold after a particular date, which has yet to be established.



Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the current strike of union electricians in Toronto and the allegations that this strike is beginning to have very detrimental effects in terms of subway completion as well as other construction projects and employment generally, can the minister tell the House whether she is thinking of taking any extraordinary measures to assist in the resolution of this dispute, apart from the mediator or arbitrator whom I think she has already appointed? Has she considered, for instance, a disputes advisory committee or some other mechanism that might bring this to a speedy resolution?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes.

Mr. Wildman: Which one?

Mr. S. Smith: I thought the question was worded in a reasonably open manner and was not intended to be in any way disputatious.

Mr. Hodgson: So was the answer.

Mr. S. Smith: Let me ask then by way of a supplementary, could the minister be kind enough to elaborate on her first answer in order to enlighten us as to whether she is considering having a disputes advisory committee specifically, or some other particular method, and what she thinks are the prospects for success in this case?

Mr. Wildman: Just tighten it up and say “no.”

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. minister has the floor.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have not decided on either of the two mechanisms which I think might be useful at this time because I feel there is a role for further mediation intervention at this point. That is the course we are pursuing at this time with some hope of finding a solution to the problem.

Mr. Bolan: You haven’t done anything.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, that’s not true, Mr. Speaker. Indeed the mediation process has been of some success thus far, and I think there is evidence that it can be further successful this week.

Mr. S. Smith: I will just ask a brief supplementary if I might. Let me ask it in the form of a question. Has the minister been in touch with the mediator and had some reason to be optimistic, and has she set a time limit in her own mind as to when she might move in with another method of settling the dispute, given the costs that will be incurred if the Spadina line is delayed in its opening?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I have been in touch with the mediator and I have had discussions as well with some others who are involved with this problem, either directly or tangentially, and it is my understanding that a further week of continuation of the dispute will have a potentially detrimental effect upon the Spadina subway line. I have some information that would lead me to believe I can be at least reasonably optimistic that this will not occur.

Mr. S. Smith: I want to thank the minister for the answer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. S. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services regarding the youth community service program, the home support program that he announced on April 21. Can the minister explain what the present status is, given the fact that he announced about 700 jobs to be created, and yet we heard from his ministry today that only 400 have been “designated”? How many people are actually working today as a consequence of this particular program in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not able to give the precise figure at this point. I will undertake to obtain that and provide it to the House and the Leader of the Opposition tomorrow. As for the numbers not being entirely filled yet, as I announced at the time, the program is being implemented through the municipalities and municipalities have picked up the program at different rates.

The figure the member quoted -- and I must say I did not see the particular statement he is referring to; I have been in a cabinet meeting all morning -- presumably reflects the numbers of committed positions that have been approved through the municipalities at this point. Whether that represents the number of people who are actually actively employed in the program right now I can’t be certain, but I will find out and respond further.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, in as much as the list his ministry was kind enough to give us contains these 400 jobs that are designated, is the minister not aware that the jobs designated for Toronto and for Ottawa-Carleton at least, which are the only ones we have got hold of so far, have not been approved by those municipalities because of two things? Can he comment on this? The two things they have told us are, first, the costs they have to incur to pay the benefits, and second, the fact that there is no guarantee this funding will continue past March 1978 and they don’t want to get into programs they are going to be stuck with?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I really have no further comment at this point. I will say, as I announced at the time and the position is still the same, that we made the commitment to contribute to the cost of the salaries of the individuals who would be hired in the program up to a per diem limit. The municipalities were, through their own administration, to deal with the question of overhead, and that’s the same position the program is in at the present time. I myself have not had any direct communications from the municipalities that the member has mentioned. I will also respond further on that tomorrow.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: In view of the minister’s last statement, is it not a fact that the minister did indeed write to Metropolitan Toronto advising that the program might continue beyond March 1978, but perhaps not in the form at present contemplated? Could the minister explain that letter in the light of his statement that he hadn’t been in communication with Metro?


Hon. Mr. Norton: My reference to the communication with Metro, I apologize, was specifically with reference to the Leader of the Opposition’s comment about the costs they would incur. I did, in fact, overlook a response to the other part of his question.

At the present time, we have made the commitment to follow through with this program throughout this fiscal year. It is a program I would like to see continue beyond this fiscal year, depending on our experience with it during the course of this next year. As soon as we are in a position to indicate to the municipalities our position beyond the end of this current fiscal year, I will do so. But until we have had an opportunity to observe the program in operation it would be difficult to make long-term commitments. I think that’s a wise position to take.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary: I would like to ask the minister how he expects to get any experience on this program in Metropolitan Toronto, when I have found from an organization in my riding, that wishes to hire a student under the program, that there are not even application forms available and the municipality is not prepared to say when they will be available. There will be no jobs this summer unless something is done. I would ask the minister, will he communicate with the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and find out how that roadblock can be unblocked?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, I will. I want to emphasize that this is not just a summer program, it is a year-round program.

Mr. McClellan: It goes until March.

Mr. Cassidy: Time will stop on March 31.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I was not aware of the problems that the member refers to in Metropolitan Toronto.

Mrs. Campbell: Following that question and answer, could the minister explain how it is going to be a program on a year-round basis when the municipalities cannot ascertain what kind of funding they are going to have? Municipalities must plan, even if the minister doesn’t have to.

Mr. Sargent: Touché.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not accustomed to such rather nasty questions from my good friend across the House.

Mr. Cassidy: You had better get used to it.

Mr. Roy: She wouldn’t do that.

Hon. Mr. Norton: We do plan, and the municipalities do know at this point what money is available to them through this program up until March 1978. In terms of most programs, one can really plan on that basis only for the current fiscal year. As soon as we have information going beyond that, I will be sharing it with the municipalities.


Mr. Deans: I have a question for the Treasurer. Since it appears to be an overwhelming desire of the regional council of Hamilton-Wentworth that there should be a review conducted of the regional structure, is he prepared to authorize that review?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I indicated that this was, of course, the point. We are waiting to hear what kind of review they want. I have not heard from them this morning nor have I read any press reports. I am interested to hear what the member has just reported. Yes, that is what I indicated in my letter to them of a month ago, that if they wanted a review they should say what kind of a review, and I would sit down and discuss that with them.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Is it possible for the Treasurer to make a commitment that the review will be conducted by people who reside in and have a stake in the regional government area being reviewed, rather than someone being sent in either from Toronto or from outside whose interest in it, though perhaps honest, certainly wouldn’t reflect the concerns that have been expressed by most of the residents?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Before I can answer that question, it may be that the regional council wants an outsider. I will determine that first. Then I would suspect that there would be some degree of consultation before a commissioner was, or commissioners were appointed who might or who might not be from the Hamilton-Wentworth area.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Could the Treasurer tell us how long he would anticipate it would be before such a commission might be established in order that submissions might be planned and presented and so that this mess might be straightened out?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I have no idea.


Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Further to the questions that I asked on Monday with regard to the Grove Park Lodge in Renfrew, has the minister had, from the inspector, the report that was to be sent out? Given what appears to be the serious nature of the complaints that are being lodged, doesn’t he feel this report that he’s awaiting should be delivered post-haste, and that he should conduct a review with some degree of speed in order to clear up whether there is an understaffing problem at the lodge; whether the 75 residents have available to them adequate provision for their well-being and whether the staffing and the firing of staff have detrimentally affected the level of care required to be provided under the Act?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I indicated to the member on Monday, an inspection was made on Sunday. This satisfied that particular inspector that the regulations under The Nursing Home Act were, in fact, being adhered to. The supervisor was going in on Monday and I haven’t had his report yet. What with Wednesday being cabinet day, I was in my office only a few minutes this morning and the report was not there. I haven’t had an opportunity to discuss it with my parliamentary assistant who oversees that part of the ministry for me.

I know that last evening there was a telephone exchange between someone in the local area and the gentleman who heads up the inspection branch, and he followed it up again and inquired as to the number of staff on duty last evening, which I guess would have been around 5:30 or 6 p.m. He was satisfied that there were enough staff on duty for the number of residents in the home, as of yesterday at 5:30. So we are, in fact, following up very diligently and very thoroughly.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Can the minister tell me -- surely even by a phone call this could have been found out -- whether there has been a reduction in staff from the 43 who were previously there to the 28 that was reported to us as being the number now in place and working?

Secondly, if that is true, can the minister indicate how it’s possible that 28 people can provide the level of care necessary if it required 43 people last week to do the same thing?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t have the figures in front of me, but my recollection is that there were 39 staff under the previous owners; that when the present owners took over they let 14 go -- which reduced the staff to 25 -- and hired 14 more. But I’ll confirm that once I have the report from the inspector.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Are you not aware that the situation was somewhat different from the way you describe it; that they were all let go and that they hired back 14; that everyone was released with the possible exception of the supervisor?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t have the figures in front of me; I’m going strictly by memory. The numbers 39, 25 and 14 are what recur to me. But, as I say, when I’ve got the final report, I’ll get into that with the member.

The point is that through two on-site inspections in the last few days and a phone check last evening, our staff in the inspection branch are satisfied that the staffing ratios are being met and that the patients are being well cared for.


Mrs. Campbell: My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware that besides the concern expressed -- by Metro, at least -- as to the costs of implementing the home support program, at least one of the agencies sought to be involved has expressed concern in these terms -- and I would like the minister’s comment: “To amplify -- short-lived services to elderly and handicapped persons are unkind and sometimes worse than none at all, setting expectations or making promises which cannot be carried out.” Could the minister comment on that statement coming from one of those supposedly implementing it?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I must say I would agree with the sentiments expressed in that letter if we were talking about what I conceive of as a short-term program. I do not believe the program we are discussing is as described in that letter.

It is intended to supplement existing services to the elderly and the disabled in their homes and to provide non-professional services to them in that setting. I would hope our experience over the next several months will be such as to encourage us to proceed further with that program. In other words, I hope it will be a success.

In further response, since answering the member’s question earlier I have some additional information that I might share with her. The figure that was quoted by the Leader of the Opposition is apparently the number of commitments we have received from municipalities as of this date. We are awaiting approvals from municipal councils on a number of other situations. Until we have heard from them, we will not know the number of commitments they are prepared to make as councils.

I understand some of the programs are already under way or activated. I believe all of the Indian bands are at present activated. The program of the city of Hamilton, as I understand it, is at present in operation. That is the extent of the information I have to this point.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: In view of the answer given, can the minister explain why it is that included in this list are both Ottawa-Carleton with 33 and Toronto -- presumably Metro Toronto -- at 90? Our information is that neither of these is approved because of the uncertainties as to financing and, particularly in the case of Metro, because they would have to expend far more than they would receive in benefits and administrative costs.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will attempt to confirm the information that the hon. member has and then respond further.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Given the fact that these are services to the elderly and handicapped and given the fact that this does require the agencies involved to screen people and so on -- one can’t send just anybody into people’s homes -- does the minister not accept that it is necessary to give some commitment for funding beyond March 1978 if the experiment which he wishes to carry out, and which we approve, is to have any chance of success whatsoever?

Mr. Sweeney: Ask the Minister of Energy (Mr. J. A. Taylor).

Hon. Mr. Norton: I can only reiterate what I said before, that if the program is successful, as I hope it will be, we will be in a position then to communicate with the municipalities as to the extent of the commitment we will make beyond 1978.


Mr. Breaugh: I have a question of the Minister of Housing regarding the statement he made today. Would he care to inform the House where this particular case came up? In particular, we are interested in knowing in which riding that particular case was found, and why it was considered to be appropriate in the middle of an election to respond to this issue, which had obviously been presented to the government at some previous time?

Mr. Warner: Good question.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: First of all, the response to this particular problem was not during the middle of an election. The information came to us prior to the election date. It took some time to work out the details of how we could go about being of assistance in a particular area.

As far as the properties themselves are concerned it is a firm known as Sherwood Properties. The building that was causing us the concern was located at 40 Chichester Place. I can’t tell you what riding; I don’t know.

Mr. Breaugh: What city?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: In Metropolitan Toronto or in this area; in the city of Toronto or one of the boroughs. I am not as familiar with the streets as perhaps I should be.


Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: Does this donation to the HUDAC fund cover all citizens who might have been caught in this particular set of circumstances or only this one particular project?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I think as my statement indicated, it is our desire to make sure in the case of those persons who have purchased condominium units prior to January 1, 1977, and whose deeds have not been registered for whatever reason, that if anything was to occur they would not lose their deposits.

I would advise the hon. member and others that in this particular situation we became aware of some cases where the individuals had paid 100 per cent for their particular units that had gone into this particular fund and the allegation was that the trust had been violated.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: The minister still hasn’t been very specific about whether it covers all people in that circumstance or just this one particular condominium project. Would he elaborate on that, and when he does, would he please give us some further information? In the last sentence he says he is going to work out the remainder of the program and, to use his words, “assist the warranty board to reimburse the deposits,” which addresses itself to one specific thing. He also says that “plans are in hand to increase down-payment protection insurance for units sold after a particular date, which has yet to be established.” When will we get that kind of information?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: If I can take them in some semblance of order. First of all, there have been no other cases drawn to our attention --

Mr. Breaugh: Oh yes, there have been.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I am saying to the hon. member no other cases have come to my attention as it relates to this particular problem. The particular statement that I’ve made indicates to him that for any units that were purchased prior to January 1 and the deeds not registered, the protection will be there. That’s the purpose of this fund; we extend it back beyond that date. If there are such cases, then they should be referred to us, but I am not familiar with them.

As far as continuing the program and the finalization of it, that is at present being worked out by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the board of the HUDAC warranty plan. This was a new area that we got into as a result of this particular matter being brought to our attention.

Mr. Breaugh: Six hundred thousand dollars covers the one project?


Mr. Roy: Mr. Deputy Speaker, can I congratulate you, as the hon. member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer), on the fine job you are doing?

Mr. Breithaupt: Now, don’t start it.

Mr. Ruston: Keep your eye on him.

Mr. Roy: No, I don’t intend to spoil things. I have a question of one of my colleagues, the Attorney General. Why will he not allow Gerard Filion, a Canadian citizen, charged with a criminal offence, to have his trial in French in this province, just as a citizen from Ontario if he were in Quebec would have the choice of having his trial in French or in English?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t accept the accuracy of my colleague’s statement. It depends on all the circumstances. Mr. Filion is one of 12 or 14 accused persons charged in a criminal conspiracy. As the member for Ottawa East is well aware, Mr. Speaker, the practice requires, in the public interest generally speaking, unless there are very unusual circumstances, for accused persons charged in a conspiracy to be tried together.

The member is well aware, I suggest, of the public interest in that matter. Furthermore, 95 per cent of the witnesses are English speaking; 95 per cent of the documentation, which is voluminous, is in English. As a matter of interest, Mr. Filion is perfectly bilingual. But notwithstanding that fact, we have indicated that simultaneous translation services will be afforded if they can be of assistance to him.

In our view it would be a very serious departure to separate one accused in a charge related to a conspiracy and have him tried separately simply because that individual wishes to have his trial in French or in English, as the case may be.

Having said that, I will say that I am very concerned about this whole issue of providing for French-language services in our courts. I think, as the member for Ottawa East knows, that the present Attorney General has made considerable efforts during the past year to extend these services in the province of Ontario. On Friday I will be making a statement to the House, an up-to-date report, as to what we’ve accomplished to date in relation to the extension of French-language services in our courts.

At the same time, I think that regrettably there is some misunderstanding about the manner in which the Filion case is being handled. There is misunderstanding not only in this province but in the province of Quebec. As a matter of fact, I intend to be in Montreal tomorrow and part of the reason for my visit there is to set the record a little clearer as to just what the facts are in relation to Mr. Filion’s trial, as well as what we’re trying to accomplish for our French-speaking citizens generally in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Sorry, Ottawa East. I made an error.

Mr. Roy: Please, you’re the third party now.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I was identified by you. Do you not know your own colleagues?

Mr. Roy: I think it’s a rule, Mr. Speaker, that the questioner has the first supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: Just keep him out of my riding, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Roy: There’s all sorts of potential on this side.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa East may continue with his question.


Mr. Roy: Supplementary: In response to the minister’s answer, recognizing the problem in the Filion case -- and I appreciated that with 14 accused, a conspiracy trial and all, the general rule is to try to keep all the accused together -- would the Attorney General not agree with me, whether Filion was alone or not, in this province because of section 127 of The Judicature Act he still cannot have his trial in French? Laudable as the Attorney General’s efforts are in the pilot projects -- and I congratulate him for that -- the fact still remains, does it not, that there is a problem. In fact, the rights of English-speaking Quebeckers as to trials in French or in English are legislated in the province of Quebec, whereas in Ontario we are still prohibited from having a trial in French, apart from the pilot projects in Sudbury, Ottawa and so on.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The member for Ottawa East is quite correct in relation to the section of The Judicature Act to which he referred, that English is the language of the courts in Ontario. There is no question about that.

Mr. Roy: Only English.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think it is one of the realities we have to face in this province, despite our desire to accommodate our French-speaking citizens, which is a very important and I believe a very legitimate goal. The fact of the matter is, despite the fluency of the member for Ottawa East in both languages, we do not have a bilingual bar in Ontario and we do not have a bilingual judiciary.

Mr. Roy: That’s not so.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: This creates some very serious practical problems.

Mr. Roy: In areas.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Even in areas for those lawyers -- a very tiny percentage -- who are fluent in both languages. Most of those who are fluent in the French language, for example, invariably have been educated at an English-speaking law school and feel uncomfortable pleading in French, as I’ve been told my many of our colleagues.

Mr. Warner: That is no reason to give up.

Mr. Roy: That is the next step, law school.

Mr. Cassidy: You hear what you want to hear.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We’re trying to remedy this situation. The Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott) has announced grants to the University of Ottawa to try to facilitate the education of law students in the French language in order to remedy this problem.

Mr. Cassidy: This sounds like the white Rhodesians.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But at the present time we do have a serious problem in respect to legal resources and judicial resources for people who are comfortable and are able to carry on in both languages.

Mr. Warner: You are going to give up; you are not going to do anything.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I find it hard not to be provoked by the defeatist attitude of the Attorney General. I want to ask this, though --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Oh, get off it!

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Are you running for leader?

Mr. Martel: I hear the Attorney General is.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You shouldn’t mention the two of them in the same breath.

Mr. Cassidy: Speak for yourself.

Mr. Martel: The member for Ottawa Centre is much more competent.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve got a $1 bill here that says the member won’t vote for him. In fact, I’ve got a $2 bill.

Mr. Mattel: It is your friend you want.

Hon. Mr. Davis: A $5 bill, actually.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it’s your House.

Supplementary: Given that the offer of simultaneous translation has been made to Mr. Filion, do we now understand that this will also be offered to other French-speaking defendants who have a case going forward at a higher level of the courts which are not under the jurisdictions of the pilot projects of Sudbury and Ottawa?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, every individual appearing before courts in this province has the basic right to an interpreter regardless of what the language is, if it’s necessary to have that assistance with respect to following the evidence or, indeed, giving evidence. As to the issue of simultaneous translation, it will depend on the circumstances. A lengthy trial, like what is anticipated in the Filion trial, in our view would warrant this substantial expenditure so far as simultaneous translation is concerned. In the average trial, it is not necessary. As a matter of fact, it was not requested by Mr. Filion at any time. I should make that very clear.

Mr. Cassidy: He asked for a trial in French, of course.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: So it would depend on where the circumstances warrant it.

Mr. Wildman: Why wouldn’t you give him simultaneous translation?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Final supplementary by the member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Cassidy: Is this the first time simultaneous translation has been offered to a defendant who is French-speaking; and if so, why is it that it was pressure in the French press in Montreal --

Mr. Roy: It is not.

Mr. Cassidy: -- created this, when years of efforts by francophones in Ontario have not been able to get that in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To my knowledge, it’s not the first time that it’s been offered, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, can I ask a final supplementary?


Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would say to the member for Ottawa East that I stated that would be the final supplementary. I recognize the member for Hamilton East.

Mr. Breaugh: Atta boy, slap him down. We’ll back you.

Mr. Roy: Did you say it was my final supplementary, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Hodgson: Come on, you said he was doing such a good job. Sit down, Albert.

An hon. member: Sit down, you frog.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I recognize the member for Hamilton East.

Mr. Roy: Can I get up on a retraction?


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Labour: I’m wondering if the minister is aware of the potentially ugly situation that’s developed in the last two or three days at the strike at Custom Aggregates in Aberfoyle, where the company attempted to bring out truck loads from the quarry on Thursday of last week and Tuesday of this week, and in the process nearly ran down one of the workers? And can she give us any further report on the strike and the efforts of her mediator, Mr. Ladd, that I had asked her about back in March, recognizing that the strike is now 11 months old and the workers who are replacing those in the plant in most cases now are from the province of Quebec; the local people are just out in the cold?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m not sure of the veracity of all of the remarks made by the hon. member for Hamilton East. I would have to check --

Mr. Wildman: You can be sure.

Mr. Cassidy: He is usually right and you are usually wrong.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The allegations regarding the site of origin of certain of the workers who are there now do not tally with some of the things I’ve heard. I don’t have an up-to-date report today, Mr. Speaker. I shall try to get one and have it for the member tomorrow.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Is it possible that she could have her ministry do something to try to defuse the situation, which I understand is rather nasty right at the moment?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we always try to do that sort of thing if we can.

Mr. Swart: Seldom with success.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, that’s not true --


Mr. Gregory: My question was for the Minister of Education, but he’s not in the chamber. Perhaps I could direct the question to the Premier. In view of the recent unfortunate experience we had in Peel with the work-to-rule campaign conducted by the Peel teachers, and in view of the possibility that this could occur in other parts of the province, I’m wondering if there’s a possibility of having a review of The School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act with a view to speeding up the negotiation process in an attempt to avoid further work-to-rule campaigns?


Mr. Gaunt: Ah, the Premier knows all about that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Having had some indirect personal involvement with the situation in Peel, I understand the question from the hon. member for Mississauga East. I think it is a matter, though, that the Minister of Education himself would like to deal with more directly, because I know he has a very great interest in the subject.

He has now arrived and, I’m sure, Mr. Speaker, in your new responsibilities, you would certainly like to give the member for Mississauga East an opportunity to restate his question to the minister now that he is present.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the member for Mississauga East like to redirect his question?

Mr. Gregory: The question is to the Minister of Education. In view of the recent rather bad experience we had in Peel region with the work-to-rule campaign conducted by the Peel Secondary Teachers’ Association, and because of the possibility that this might recur in other parts of the province, I’m wondering if the minister would consider a review of The School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, with a view to speeding up the negotiation process in the hope that this will not occur again?

Hon. Mr. Wells: If my friend is asking for a complete review of the bill, no, I do not intend to undertake a complete review of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act. We have had ongoing discussions with boards and teachers’ groups as to amendments that could be brought forward in this bill; that process has been going on. We are, of course, ultimately looking to correct any deficiencies. I’m sure we’ll be having a discussion later on in our estimates in this particular area.

I think it’s worth pointing out that, notwithstanding the very troublesome times that were had in Peel and several other areas, there were over 170-odd contracts that were negotiated between boards and teachers under the bill and agreements were arrived at without the unfortunate kind of circumstances that occurred in Peel.

The real problem in Peel was a work-to-rule situation, which in the wisdom of this government and this House was felt should be brought under the aegis of the bill and should be classified as a strike. I feel that decision was a right one and that a work-to-rule situation should be classified as a strike, that groups participating in that kind of a sanction should have to go through all of the processes of Bill 100.

I think the question of speeding up negotiations in any area is one which is of concern to us all. It is the responsibility of the Education Relations Commission, that is their job. They realize that and endeavour, in any area where a dispute is dragging on, to attempt all measures that will speed up negotiations.


Mr. Mancini: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. I wonder if the Minister of Labour can inform the House what action she has taken since she has become Minister of Labour to ensure that the injured workers of this province could make payments into the Canada Pension Plan and into the UIC scheme?

Hon. B. Stephenson: There have been negotiations going on in Ottawa between the Workmen’s Compensation Board and those with responsibility for Canada Pension and the unemployment insurance program for the past several years. There has been some accommodation made in the area of certain of the benefits which are available from the federal level, but indeed there has not been total accommodation in terms of the Canada Pension plan nor unemployment insurance. It is our hope that the ongoing discussions will bear some fruit in a relatively short period of time but this is a federal matter. It is a matter which we are attempting to resolve to the benefit of the injured workmen but we have not as yet been successful.


Mr. Bounsall: I also have a question of the Minister of Labour. What action has she proposed to the cabinet and what action is she prepared to take herself as a result of the Industrial Inquiry Commission Report by John Sheriff for the resolution of the now long-outstanding dispute between the public health nurses and the public health boards across Ontario, in as much as the Premier announced several times during the election campaign, and since, that action will be taken by no later than June 30?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s unfortunate that the hon. member was not in the House last week when I answered the question specifically for one of the members of the official opposition.

We have, indeed, received the report of Mr. Sheriff. It has been examined in conjunction with the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Association of Boards of Health. I have had some discussions with my cabinet colleague, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), and with other members of cabinet. We are proposing further meetings, I hope early next week. Indeed, there is a meeting tomorrow.

It is my understanding that the Premier said nothing about having a solution by June 30 but indeed promised on one occasion in Renfrew that he would meet with the representatives of the Ontario Nurses’ Association for that area before June 30. It has not been possible to arrange it by that date, but I think that meeting is this week.

Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Will the minister be supporting the very reasonable ONA position, which is the dropping of their request for arbitration and a return to the bargaining table provided it is ensured that at least parity with hospital nurses is paid for the year 1976 as a start?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the first statement in the hon. member’s reading of what is obviously a message from the ONA is one that I have not heard. I should be pleased to hear it.

Mr. S. Smith: Neither have I. You’d like them to drop arbitration?

Hon. B. Stephenson: They have not considered, to my knowledge, dropping arbitration.

Mr. Bounsall: That’s right, and return --

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not heard that from the Ontario Nurses’ Association.

Mr. S. Smith: Neither have I.


Mr. Sweeney: I have a question of the Acting Minister of Correctional Services, dealing with the recent event in the Kitchener jail whereby two male prisoners were forced to strip in front of a female guard.

Mr. Drea: A female guard?

Mr. Sweeney: Can the minister explain how his inspector, a Mr. Victor Villeneuve, arrived at his decision to drop all charges, when he did not question the two male prisoners involved and questioned only one of six witnesses?

Mr. Drea: This is a female guard?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what charges the member has reference to, but I will get some information on it.

One of our problems, of course, in dealing with correctional institutions is the matter of the fact that we are trying to hire and engage a larger percentage of women in the institutions. At the same time, the percentage we are trying to acquire is in no way a comparison with the ratio between men and women in those institutions. In other words, we have far more men in institutions than we do women, and if we want the women to do equal jobs then we get some troubles.

The matter mentioned here is certainly of concern to us and one that we try to handle discreetly, but as far as dropping any charges and what the member has reference to there, I will need to get information.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General, with reference to the deaths of three workers at the Sudbury Metals plant in October of last year as the result of an explosion. Taking into consideration the evidence that came forth in the testimony at the coroner’s inquiry and taking into consideration the verdict of the coroner’s jury, last March 1 asked the minister to consider launching criminal charges against the management of Sudbury Metals. Has he yet to consider the evidence, or has he made a decision whether to press charges? Otherwise, can he explain why he is dragging his feet?

Mr. Martel: Here’s your chance.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I recall that the member for Sudbury drew the matter to my attention some time ago and my last recollection is that I requested staff to review the transcript. I thought it was being reviewed by the local Crown attorney in Sudbury to see whether any recommendation should be made with respect to the laying of charges.

I don’t have any recollection of having received any report on the matter, Mr. Speaker, but I will endeavour to find out for the member what has transpired since he first broached the subject to me and I will try to report back to him in the Legislature as soon as possible.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: How much money has Gray Coach lost since the pending Greyhound takeover started, and also by using their lines? Also, when is the report coming down from the Highway Transport Board on the takeover?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, to the first question, I do not have any information relating to the financial operations of Gray Coach over the past few months. To the second question, I answered that question to the member’s leader, within the last two or three days I believe.

Mr. Sargent: Would the minister repeat the answer for me?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, if I may repeat the answer, I believe the chairman of the Highway Transport Board has now completed, or almost completed, writing his report and is about to send it to the printers within the next few days. As soon as the report is received I will be releasing it.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Will the minister be taking into consideration in his decision that Gray Coach has announced that up to 270 drivers may have to be released if the decision goes against them?

Mr. Drea: That’s not true.

Mr. Sweeney: Gray Coach has so claimed.

Mr. Drea: Not true, not true.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, as you know, the decision of the Highway Transport Board --


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please, the hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. Snow: As you know, the decision of the Highway Transport Board has been appealed to cabinet. Certain evidence or response by the petitioners has been forwarded to cabinet. The new hearing into the matter, under specific terms of reference, was carried out at great length. This report will be coming forward to cabinet and to the petitioners, and they will no doubt be responding to that report. I am sure all this evidence will be taken into consideration by the cabinet when the decision is made on the appeal.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: Is the minister contemplating any more such licences in any other part of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am not aware of every application that is made to the Ontario Highway Transport Board. I have no idea whether there are other applications by bus companies for such routes or not; there are none that I know of at this time.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Could the minister explain what connection Ontario Northland’s decision to cut one route between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie has with Greyhound’s increased service as a result of their application?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Would the member say that again? I am sorry, I didn’t understand just what his question is.

Mr. Wildman: Could the minister explain what connection Ontario Northland’s decision to cut one of their runs between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie has to Greyhound’s increased service, which is related to their application for the Gray Coach route between Sudbury and Toronto?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I was not aware of a decision by Ontario Northland to reduce any service between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie. I have not met with Ontario Northland for the last short while, but this may very well have been a decision of the board or management to make some cut. I think I can understand there is a possibility that because of changes in schedules, because of additional service along Highway 17 being offered now by Greyhound -- and I think the hon. member would be the first to admit that a tremendously increased and improved service is being offered all through northern Ontario by Greyhound Lines -- it may be that some adjustment in schedules was necessary.

I do not believe that particular route of Ontario Northland was very well patronized in any case but it was being run as a service to the public. It may be that now, with the increased Greyhound service, that is not needed; and it may very well be for economic reasons rather than just for reasons of service that an adjustment has been made.

Mr. Stokes: As a result of that supplementary answer, may I ask a brief supplementary?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon.


Mr. Stokes: Since it is the expressed intention of Greyhound to increase their services in northern Ontario will the minister see whether or not Greyhound, in concert with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, will establish feeder lines to connect with existing traffic along Highway 17 to serve the largest community in the riding of Lake Nipigon, namely Manitouwadge, and places like Sioux Lookout that find themselves anywhere from 40 to 50 miles off the main routes? Will the minister act in concert with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Are you coming to the question mark?

Mr. Stokes: -- and Greyhound to ensure they get that kind of service?

Mr. Wildman: Also a better time schedule.

Mr. Drea: It takes them a while. It’s free enterprise versus socialism.

Mr. Roy: I notice, Frank, you are back.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I would have to discuss this and get additional information before I could give an answer as to the availability of service or the possibility of improving service from certain municipalities out to the main line.

Mr. Sargent: You’d better check it out with Eddie Goodman anyway.


Mr. Davidson: A question to the Solicitor General in his role as Acting Minister of Correctional Services. Can the minister advise us as to the current status of the former Grandview School in Cambridge; and what plans, if any, is his ministry proposing for the buildings other than Churchill House on that complex?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I am not able to do that, but I will get that information, sir.

Mr. Davidson: Supplementary: Is the minister then aware of a letter dated June 15 to the council in the city of Cambridge from a Mr. John Jones, regional volunteer program co-ordinator, which contains the following line: “The repopulation of the total complex.” Is the ministry planning on turning that entire complex into an adult detention centre?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I’m not aware of that letter, but I said I would get the information on the status.

Mr. Warner: He doesn’t have anything over there.


Mr. Reed: I have a question for the Minister of Energy: Is Hydro’s recent offer to purchase outright, plus injurious affection, to certain landowners on the corridor route west of Colbeck, now going to be made to all landowners along proposed corridor routes in future?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: There have been guidelines circulated recently in terms of policy and acquisition of lands so as to have a minimum impact on the people and to assist them in their negotiations for settlement. Yes, those guidelines will have application throughout.

Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Could the minister tell us if this offer on this specific corridor does not prejudice the hearings of necessity that are now under way on another section of the same route, considering that a ministerial decision is going to be necessary after the hearings are concluded?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: I think the member is referring to the third section of the southern section of the route, which is currently before the inquiry officer. No, this is a question of amicable settlement with the landowners and, of course, when you go to expropriation and arbitration of course then that’s in the hands of the arbitration board. There’s no change in terms of that procedure, which is statutory.

Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Knowing that the results of the hearings have to be subject to a ministerial decision, and knowing there would be a ministerial decision involved in the offer to purchase along another section of the same corridor, would not one tend to prejudice the other?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: No, in that the northern two sections have in fact been expropriated. At that time, of course, prior to an arbitration, those acquisitions hopefully can be settled in a friendly fashion with the owners.

In regard to the southern section, that is presently before the inquiry officer. His report comes to me and I make a decision and issue reasons for the decision; following that, of course, the formal expropriation plan is signed and registered. At that stage, again, hopefully, those acquisitions will be made in a friendly fashion and the prices negotiated. If prices cannot be negotiated, then of course the procedure is to go before the arbitrator and the Land Compensation Board to have the price arbitrated.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Can the minister explain how it is, even though he stated in this House yesterday that MTC officials were to meet with both mine management and union representatives from Elliot Lake since the election to arrange a commuter service between Blind River and Elliot Lake, that one of the local presidents informed me yesterday afternoon that the unions have had no contact whatsoever from MTC on this since last February? Why it is that he waited from February until June 7 to move on this matter?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Another press release, eh? You’re all set now, Bud.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I haven’t had an opportunity since the question period, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Reid: My question, too, is for the Minister of Transportation and Communications, and it is in regard to speed limits through Indian reserves.

In view of the number of deaths that have occurred on Indian reserves where provincial highways have run through them, will the minister move his ministry to reduce the speed limits through Indian reserves and to post warning signs on both sides, entering and leaving reserves?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t know whether any are missing, Mr. Speaker, but it is certainly ministry policy that there be signs indicating the boundaries of reserves on provincial highways.

Mr. Reid: But the ministry won’t necessarily lower the speed limit.

Hon. Mr. Snow: If the member knows of some that are missing, then I would be pleased to know of them.

With regard to the speed limits, I believe we should be looking at speed limits relating to the particular situation in each reserve; I don’t think conditions are the same in all reserves. Of course, when travelling on a highway through a reserve there are usually vast open areas as well as areas that are more built-up. I think speed limits certainly should be established for the built-up areas to be compatible with that particular area, but not necessarily a special speed limit through a whole reserve.

I have been dealing with these particular requests from reserves on the basis of that specific reserve. In some cases we have lowered the speed limits and the chiefs have been quite appreciative of it and have been quite agreeable to what we have done.

Mr. Reid: Would you look into the Sabaskong reserve?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, if the member will send me copies of that correspondence he showed me a few moments ago, I’ll be glad to have that particular one reviewed specifically.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The question period has expired.




Mr. J. Johnson from the standing resources development committee reported the following resolution:

Resolved: That supply in the following amounts to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Housing be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:

Ministry administration program … $ 7,436,000

Community planning program … 109,469,000

Community development program … 8,024,000

Ontario Housing Corporation program … 134,002,000

Ontario Mortgage Corporation program … 99,810,000

North Pickering Development Corporation program … 2,761,000

Home buyers grant program … 20,897,000

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Motions.



Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 43, An Act to revise The Audit Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Members will recall that before dissolution I had tabled for first reading The Audit Act, Bill 24, accompanied by sessional paper No. 39, a compendium relating to it. I now have one minor amendment to section 1(a)(iv) of the bill as I presented it to the House on April 6. It was and still is the intent of this section of the bill that the Provincial Auditor will have all last audits of agencies of the Crown performed under his direction. Today’s amendment further clarifies this intention.

I would also like to inform the members that the Institute of Chartered Accountants will be submitting to me a report on this legislation, which will be considered prior to second reading.


Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 44, An Act to amend The Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Snow: The amendment to The Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority Act which I have just introduced extends the area of jurisdiction to include the regional municipalities of Durham, Halton and Hamilton-Wentworth. The amendment also clarifies the authority’s responsibility to carry parcel express and gives the authority the ability to enter into local service agreements with municipalities and municipal transit authorities.


Hon. W. Newman moved first reading of Bill 45, An Act to amend The Farm Products Payments Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. W. Newman: This bill is a result of the financial protection task force I appointed last year which made its report and the report has been tabled.

Mr. Sargent: Take the marbles out of your mouth. I can’t hear you.

Hon. W. Newman: You can’t hear me?

Mr. Sargent: Speak into your mike.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Put your hearing aid on.

Mr. Sargent: It isn’t working.

Hon. W. Newman: You need more than your hearing aid.

The purpose of this bill is to make it possible for farm commodity groups to set up producer and buyer commodity groups to protect producers from financial loss in the case of bankruptcies in the agricultural community.


Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 46, An Act to amend The Liquor Licence Act, 1975.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker there are two section in this amendment. The first would restore to the board the discretion to refuse an application where there is an existing premises within one-half mile of the new one.

The second subsection, which probably will entertain the House a little bit more, is to restore to the board what the courts took away, and that is entertainment standards. There would be an advertisement on the outside of the premises stating exactly what the entertainment consists of, and secondly the entertainment would have to be approved by the board. I think that’s in conformity with things being done in New York state at the moment, which is that ladies who are entertaining in licensed premises are going to wear clothing.

Mr. Laughren: Have you considered being a one-man judge, Frank?

Mr. Cassidy: Are you going to censor scripts as well as cut out political satire?

Mr. Drea: If you are the kind of person who goes in for that, I’m sorry to take it away from you.

Mr. Cassidy: That is potentially a very dangerous bill, very dangerous. It is the newspapers next.

Mr. Drea: You have always been soft on porn, Cassidy, keep it up.

Mr. Cassidy: Are you going to censor the newspapers next?

Mr. Drea: You have always been soft on it; that’s why the arrests are in your riding and you know it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Drea: Maybe we should censor a couple of yours, like The Brothers in Ottawa.



Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 19, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Do you have any opening comments, Mr. Minister? Order, please.


Hon. Mr. Snow: If I can get the attention of the House, Mr. Speaker, I might attempt to make some comment. I really don’t have very much to say regarding this bill Mr. Speaker. It is, I think, quite self explanatory. There are basically no changes in policy as far as the bill is concerned. The bill converts from the imperial system to the metric system the speed limits, distances and other regulations regarding the highway system. I will be introducing two amendments in the committee stage. Copies of these amendments have been delivered to the critics from the two opposition parties; and I will have these two amendments to introduce when we get into committee.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, very briefly I want to indicate that we will support the bill as it stands. I would like to make a couple of comments, though, on the legislation. One thing I would like to ask the minister; I hope he will consider an effective communications program when this bill takes effect so that the drivers in the province of Ontario are well aware of the changes we are contemplating here. I know that when you do move from the imperial system to a metric situation, there are a number of people, young and old, who find themselves somewhat confused by the change or are not familiar with it in any way.

With things as important as speed limits and distances on highways, I think it’s important, too, that options be available. I would hope that the minister might consider, when posting these changes, the maintenance for a number of years of the current imperial system as we know it. I know it is going to be very difficult, especially for people with older cars, to accommodate themselves to rapid overnight change. I know myself, even now I am still somewhat in doubt as to comparisons in temperature between Celsius and Fahrenheit and I must admit I’m much more comfortable with the old Fahrenheit system.

I hope that the minister will entertain these suggestions in the spirit I offer them. I would only say to him that we are in support of this legislation. In fact I’m not even sure that we need to go to a great deal of debate in committee.

Mr. Philip: We’re in agreement with the bill and, unless the minister can give us some reasons, like the member for Wentworth North I really question why there would even be any need for going into committee. We recognize the bills are primarily housekeeping bills, that they’re part of a gradual, evolutionary process towards a world metric system; in spite of the inconveniences that they may create for a few of us who are not used to the system, it’s a process that has to be continued and will be continued. So we’re in support of the bill.

Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to make a few comments concerning this bill. My big concern is its effect on the tourist traffic. I would suggest to the minister, seeing that the United States is not going to adopt the metric system at this time, that he have some type of literature provided at all points of entry into the province of Ontario, especially at the border with the US. It could be a simple conversion table so that American tourists would know definitely that 80 kilometres-per-hour is the equivalent of 50 miles-per-hour, so they don’t find themselves being penalized for not realizing that we’re dealing in kilometres and not miles. It could give any other conversions that are necessary.

Mr. Bounsall: I’d just like to take this opportunity with respect to this bill to congratulate the minister on making the conversion at this time. It’s long overdue, of course, and brings us in line with the European countries and most of the rest of the world. Also I would take this opportunity to congratulate the minister and the ministry on the excellent new province of Ontario road map which they’ve brought out, with the metric distances and the increased number of county roads and towns and villages on it. It’s indeed the best road map I have ever seen of any province, state or country in which I’ve been, and I hope the minister will pass that on to those persons in his ministry who are responsible for that.

Mr. Germa: I have just a couple of words with the minister in relationship to this bill. Maybe my remarks are not entirely related to the metrication.

I think the bill indicates there is going to be considerable expenditure on the changing of road signs in order to get them all reading in metric measurements. I would like to offset some expenditure that might take place as a result of another situation which I think the minister should possibly consider before he goes to this expense of new road signs. That is the predicament in the province that we face where, if you travel on one particular secondary road, Mr. Speaker, you’re allowed a speed of 55 miles-an-hour, whereas if you’re going on another road you are allowed a speed of 50 miles-an-hour.

Just to cite the discrepancy that certain citizens face when we have this problem is that a person leaving Toronto and heading for the city of Sudbury would normally use Highway 69, which has a speed limit of 50 miles-per-hour, whereas another person leaving Toronto heading for North Bay on Highway 11 would be allowed a speed of 55 miles-per-hour, despite the fact that both of these highways are to the same specifications. One highway is equal to the other as far as specifications are concerned and as far as safety is concerned.

I do understand how the differential came about in that the minister did say that the limit on Highway 11 would be 55 miles-per-hour because it is designated part of the Trans-Canada Highway system and in order to conform with the federal recommendation he would in fact change his mind about the 50 miles-per-hour zone there and increase that to 55 miles-per-hour. I’m asking the minister then to consider those of us who have to take a different route north.

Certainly I’m in agreement with the reason for the reduction in speed, the conservation of energy, but I’m wondering why certain people have to conserve more than others. I’m willing to save equally with anyone else, but I’m a little resentful that because of the place I live and the place I have to travel to and from, being Sudbury and Toronto, that I have to make a greater contribution to energy conservation than I think I should.

Ms. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I would like to register my opposition to the bill. I think that in the States, as I understand, some areas that were on metric have gone back to miles again. I think what is happening in this area is that if we get into the metric system as far as assessment is concerned, if we’re going to go the whole piece we’re going to be in a hell of a mess.

Mr. Bounsall: Vote against it.

Mr. Sargent: I’m not even going to vote. The party is going to support it. I’d like to know the minister’s reasoning for going this route. We sure screwed up the system on temperature control, Celsius and Fahrenheit, and I think it’s causing further confusion on the part of the consumer.

Mr. Bounsall: We know the real neanderthals now.

Mr. Cassidy: Just a brief point, Mr. Speaker. It’s my understanding that the minister’s intention is that all speed limits must be expressed in multiples of 10 -- 30, 40, 50, 60 kilometres-per-hour -- and it will not be possible to have any multiples of five, that is, 35 or 45 kilometres per hour. This has been raised by city council in the city of Ottawa with the ministry, I believe. I would like to ask the minister to make some kind of a statement during the course of his reply on second reading of this bill. It seems to me that if, in fact, the government has any respect for municipal autonomy a city as large as Ottawa or Toronto, or other places around the province, should be able to make that decision as between 30, 35 or 40 and should not be subjected to a rule which makes the intervals rather larger and, therefore, more difficult to play around with than they are under the present miles-per-hour system which we are having until this law comes into force.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. members for their contribution and suggestions regarding this legislation.

The hon. member for Wentworth North commented regarding communications. I must certainly agree that this is very important. This is why we have had the new road maps prepared in the metric distances. The road maps have conversion scales of different types printed as part of the map. Additional information will be made available to tourists through our tourist information centres and will be available, I believe, at customs where visitors are entering from the United States.

His suggestion regarding dual signing, I believe, would not be possible as far as speed limits are concerned. The speeds that we will be posting -- for instance, 100 kilometres-per-hour replaces 60 miles-per-hour -- are not exact conversions, and to have the new legislation dealing with this control of speed in kilometres and have signs remaining in miles per hour would run us afoul of the courts. It may be possible to have some phasing of the mileage distance signs but it would not be possible as far as the speed limit signs are concerned.

The member for Etobicoke suggested we might not even need to go into committee with this bill, but we will have to take it to committee because of the two amendments that I have to introduce. That is why I mentioned going into committee.

The member for Windsor-Walkerville, I think I’ve already answered his comments regarding information for tourists. This will be available through the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. Of course, our road maps are distributed at all those tourist information centres.


Mr. B. Newman: But not all tourists stop in for tourist information; and they don’t realize the difference between kilometres and miles.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I realize that all the tourists don’t drop into the tourist information centres, but also I don’t think we are going to put someone out on the highway to stop every tourist and poke something in their window either.

Mr. B. Newman: Distribute them when they pass through immigration.

Hon. Mr. Snow: We will do as we have done with the seat belt legislation. We will no doubt have some type of an informative sign at the border crossing points to remind the tourists that they are entering into an area which is on the metric system.

Mr. Sargent: Is every province doing this?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I will get to that, Eddie, if you will just wait a moment.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We don’t refer to the hon. member by name. Also, there will be opportunity for specific questions when it comes to committee of the whole anyway.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I thank the hon. member for Windsor-Sandwich for his comments regarding the new road map. It is an excellent production and I will pass on his comments to those who were responsible for it. We put a considerable amount of work and thought into getting this map ready. In fact, I think members will notice that the map has considerably more information on it than our previous editions. They will note that we have also increased the scale slightly, to allow us to have more information on it and more clearly define the roads and the classes of roads.

The hon. member for Sudbury mentioned the expenditures that would be involved in this. There is no doubt there will be expenditures, although considering the size of the province they will be relatively modest as the signs are being changed by way of an overlay decal that will be installed to the existing signs. The signs themselves as units will not be changed; and of course any new signs being installed will be in the metric system.

Regarding his suggestions relating to the speed limits, I am pleased to be able to say today that when we switch to metric in September I have recommended to my colleagues in cabinet, and it has been approved, that we will be changing the speed limit on Highway 69 from the Goldwater area north to Sudbury. It will be changed to 90 kilo- metres when it goes metric, which is equivalent to 55 miles-per-hour. The speed limit on Highway 11 from Highway 60 in the Huntsville area north to North Bay will also be changed to 90 kilometres at the same time as we convert to metric. This has been suggested to us by different people from the north, by some of the Chambers of Commerce and tourist centres. I recognize that basically the same type of travel as is involved on those highways also makes up the traffic on Highways 11 and 17 through the rest of northern Ontario, so similar changes will be carried out on those thoroughfares at the time of the conversion.

The hon. member for Grey-Bruce suggested there would be a lot of confusion regarding the change to metric. I would just have to say that the decision was made a number of years ago that Canada was going to change to the metric system. Agreement was entered into, I think about four years ago, by all transportation ministers in the provinces in concert with the federal government as to what the new speed limits would be and when the implementation would take place. It was agreed that all provinces should change to the metric system simultaneously. I believe most provinces have already passed their legislation and will be implementing the metric speed limit at the same time in September, as was agreed some time ago.

The hon. member made mention of the changes in the registering of temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius. I have to point out that that change was made some time ago by the federal Ministry of the Environment, which is responsible for the weather broadcast. It does not have anything to do with the principle or the details of this particular bill.

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre referred to the possibility of breaking down the multiples of 10 to a lower gradient, or more options for different speeds. This, again, has been the result of a study and an agreement between all provinces that as much as possible standards should be maintained the same. Ten kilometres is equivalent to about six miles-per-hour. If you were to break it down; in the old system the gradient was five, you had a 25 miles-per-hour limit or 30 miles-per-hour limit, or 35 or 40 or 45. These don’t vary too much to the pro- posed new schedule with the 10 kilometre changes. If you went to five-kilometre differences you would be getting down to about three miles-per-hour changes.

I think it is much better to have a standard system. In many of the conversions they are very close. There are the 100 kilometre limits for the freeways, the equivalent of 61 point some odd miles, maybe close to 62 miles-per-hour. The 50 miles-per-hour relates almost identically to the 80 kilometres. On the way down, I believe 50 kilometres-per-hour, which would be the standard speed limit in builtup areas, is about 31 miles-per-hour imperial. So taking into consideration the number of options based on the multiples of 10, I think, gives a very good system and will be common with the other provinces.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that responds to the queries that the hon. members had during the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 20, an Act to amend The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, 1974.

Mr. Cunningham: As indicated, Mr. Speaker, we will support the bill.

Mr. Philip: We will support the bill, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, this bill is just similar changes to bring motorized snow vehicles under the metric speed limits, compatible with the previous bill.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


House in committee on Bill 19, an Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to this bill? I understand the minister does have an amendment to section 3. Are there any comments, questions or amendments prior to section 3?

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

On section 3:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: May I have the minister’s amendment; thank you.

Hon. Mr. Snow moves that section 82(16)(a) of the Act, as set out in section 3(10) of the bill, be amended by striking out “$1” in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof “1.25.”

He further moves that clause (b) of the said subsection 16 be amended by striking out “$1.50,’ in the third line and inserting in lieu thereof “$1.75.”

He further moves that clause (c) of the said subsection 16 be amended by striking out “$2” in the third line and inserting in lieu thereof “$2.50.”

He further moves that clause (d) of the said subsection 16 be amended by striking out “$2.50” in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof “$3.25.”

Is there any discussion on the minister’s amendments?

Mr. Cassidy: I had a different matter to raise on the section, if I could raise it after the amendments

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The Chair didn’t hear the comments from the hon. member.

Mr. Cassidy: I’m sorry. I had a different brief matter to raise on that section but not related to the amendments, if I could have the consent of the House to raise it after the amendments.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The Chair will deal with the amendments first. Is there any discussion on the amendments?

Mr. Philip: We are in agreement with the amendments, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate the fact that the minister responded to a memo that I had. It was our one concern with this bill and this amendment takes care of the only major concern that I had with the bill. I appreciate the minister’s action on this, so we’ll support the amendments.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. member for Ottawa Centre wish to comment on any other part of that particular item?

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, with reference to the matter raised by the member for Sudbury I’d like the minister to seriously consider giving the same status he has given to Highway 69 to the highways in eastern Ontario which are well away from built-up areas. I have in mind in particular Highway 7, I think it is, running from Ottawa down past Madoc toward Peterborough. It seems to me that portion of eastern Ontario, plus the portions in Renfrew county, very clearly are similar types of areas and have similar types of distances for people to travel as exist in the portions of northern Ontario north of Coldwater or north of Huntsville and therefore should get the same treatment.

I make that representation to the minister. I hope he would consider it seriously and not continue to treat those areas, which are essentially isolated and sparsely populated, in the same way as densely populated areas in southern Ontario.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Would the hon. minister wish to respond?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I would just like to say, Mr. Chairman I do not really feel that the highways the hon. member has mentioned are in the same category as the two I have discussed with the hon. member for Sudbury. I would hesitate at this time to in any further way dilute the changes in the speed limits that we introduced at the beginning of 1976, which I think have significantly assisted in the reduction of deaths and injuries and damages on our highways.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any further discussion on any sections of the bill prior to section 20, to which the minister has an amendment?

Mr. Philip: Yes, just a question of the minister based on his answer to the member for Ottawa Centre in his comments on second reading. Do I take it that advisory speeds will end in the digit five, as recommended in the 11th annual conference of ministers responsible for motor vehicle administration, and that while all speeds will be in the digit 10 the advisory speeds will end in the digit five? Is that the intention?

Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I don’t believe so, Mr. Chairman. The only posted speeds that we will have and the only speeds provided for in the legislation are those shown in section 4 of the bill, which all end in the digit 0.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

Section 4 to 19, inclusive agreed to.

On section 20:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. minister has an amendment to section 20.

Hon. Mr. Snow moves that section 20 be struck out and the following substituted therefor: “This Act comes into force on the sixth day of September, 1977.”

Motion agreed to.

Section 20, as amended, agreed to.

Section 21 agreed to.

Bill 19, as amended, reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 19, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Bill 20, An Act to amend The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, 1974.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved second reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend The Legislative Assembly Act.

Mr. Renwick: We support Bill 26 on second reading. There are some minor changes in the grant of discretionary authority to the Board of Internal Economy with which our caucus is in agreement.

Mr. Breithaupt: As a member of the Board of Internal Economy, it came to our attention with respect to mileage rates and other items that would change from time to time because of increased expenses that this was a practical suggestion to make in these amendments to The Legislative Assembly Act. The members of the board have considered these matters and we certainly are more than pleased to support this legislation.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


The following bill was given third reading on motion:

Bill 26, An Act to amend The Legislative Assembly Act.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Before calling further orders for the afternoon, so that we might share the order with those who may be going to committee or otherwise, we thought we might proceed with orders 5, 6, 7 and 8 on the order paper, and then go into committee of the whole House to deal with revenue bills that are in committee. It is the understanding that if there are to be any votes they might be stacked to about 5:50 p.m. so that we could clear up the revenue legislation at that time.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend The Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I wish to thank the members who participated in last evening’s debate on this bill. There was some very interesting background material provided by the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) who gave us an historical background to the Act. He indicated that he understands the thrust of the Act and both he and the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) indicated that that party is in support of this bill. I was also pleased to receive comments from the members for Oriole (Mr. Williams) and for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), both of whom made quite pithy comments and who obviously had a considerable sympathy for the content of the Act.

Mr. Cassidy: But.

Mr. Maeck: Now we come to the “but.”

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Very considerable comment was made by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) who gave an historic background from the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism which was formed, I believe, in 1971 and carried on for several years producing reports before it produced a report on land ownership. I did intervene in the debate at a certain point on a point of order, which the Speaker ruled out of order, because I felt that an important aspect of the deliberations, both of that committee in its recommendations and by this government in its decisions, had been forgotten or ignored or overlooked. The member commented specifically on the fact that the government did not adopt the recommendation of the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism with respect to foreign ownership of land in Ontario.

In reply, I would like to say that it was not a case of rejecting the recommendations of that committee; rather it was a case of choosing a workable solution. As it turned out it was a tax system that was chosen, in face of the unsettled constitutional issue of the time.

In 1974, when The Land Speculation Tax Act and The Land Transfer Tax were introduced, the Prince Edward Island case on the right of a province to restrict foreign ownership was before the Supreme Court of Canada, as I noted last evening. Rather than await the outcome of that case -- and after all, it was not decided until well along in 1975 -- the government took more immediate action by introducing a 20 per cent tax on non-resident acquisitions of land in Ontario.

This course was considered to be more effective because outright prohibition as the select committee had recommended would have raised in Ontario the very constitutional issue that was then being fought before the Supreme Court. Indeed, even the tax on non-residents introduced in 1974 was objected to by some members of this House as being unconstitutional.

I think that the member would agree, if he were here, that a constitutional challenge to Ontario legislation similar to the Prince Edward Island statute would only have served to delay the very action that was required to resolve the problem recognized by that committee and by this government. However, the government was aware of the problem as a constitutional problem, and through the Attorney General did intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada.

During that year -- that is 1974 -- the constitutionality of the land transfer tax that was introduced was unchallenged and it was accomplishing the objective of the government in controlling foreign ownership of land and to a large extent was accomplishing the thrust of the recommendations of the select committee.

Control of foreign ownership of land, rather than its indiscriminate prohibition, has always been the aim of the land taxes introduced by this government. It has also been the aim of the foreign investment review board established for substantially the same purpose by the government of Canada.

The member also commented on commercial and corporate real estate ownership recommendations. In this connection, and concerning the 75 per cent ownership test recommendation, such a test, I think, Mr. Speaker, is quite reactionary. I think it is unrealistic in terms of business practice and would have been out of line with the federal foreign investment review program emerging at the time -- that is, in 1973 and 1974. Ontario currently uses a 50 per cent test for residency.

The member also commented on leaseholds, and cited several instances. In this connection, I think the Act provides for a tax exemption where corporations acquire leasehold interests of less than 50 years. Anything longer than that really does constitute ownership. Any longer period would destroy the purpose of the tax. This would seem to me to be exactly what the select committee recommended in its recommendations to the Legislature.

Towards the end of the evening the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) made an impassioned appeal concerning the ownership of land. He outlined his understanding of the intent of the land tax legislation which, briefly put, was to stop escalating land prices without a contribution to the value of the land and to place some restrictions on non-resident ownership of land for the same reason.

I do not argue his expression of intent. However, I do think that the hon. member goes on to relate land speculation and a prohibition of land ownership to non-residents and immigrants, and it is here where we part company.

Mr. Cassidy: It’s not the first time.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: We treat land speculation, whether by residents or by non- residents, alike. We do not discriminate. The legislation also encourages non-residents to become residents in this way and it permits immigrants to make an economic contribution through land ownership to our province without penalty.

Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The member for Wentworth said nothing about immigrants during his speech.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: In short, Mr. Speaker, we do not penalize foreigners, nor are we against them; and this seems to me to be the basic difference between this government and the third party in the Legislature.

Mr. Renwick: That’s just total nonsense.

Mr. McClellan: And it is vicious nonsense.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think the hon. members should read Hansard for last evening. In fact, various comments expressed by members of the third party indicate that the party is not just trying to maintain the status quo with respect to these two land tax bills, but it is advocating a much more extreme position with more stringent restrictions on immigrants and in a sense taking a reactionary approach.

Mr. Renwick: No restrictions at all on immigrants have been mentioned in the course of our debate on this bill.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.

Mr. McClellan: You are skating on thin ice.

Mr. Cassidy: You just fell over, as a matter of fact.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will continue. Everyone else had a chance to make their comments.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I think only two members of the New Democratic Party and one member of the Liberal Party commented on the amendments concerning the removal of farmers as speculators in the bill. I thought this was really one of the very important parts of the bill, and I was disappointed that there was no greater discussion of this particular aspect.

Mr. Breithaupt: You don’t want every member to comment, do you?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: No.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I just want to point out to the minister that the very first comment made on behalf of the New Democratic Party was to commend the government -- we don’t do that often -- on that particular reference to removing farmers from liability. She is certainly misleading the House.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. The hon. minister will continue.

Mr. Renwick: It sounds as though she is going to make this into a speech somewhere, sometime.

Mr. McClellan: She had better not.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I did note this in my preliminary remarks, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Renwick: I see this as the first version of one of her public speeches.

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

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: At this point, Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment further on the amendment to the farm property reduction provision in this Act because over a long period of time, it seems to me, there has been an unintended inequity for lifelong farmers and their spouses. I appreciate the support and the very favourable comments made by the opposition members but I felt that perhaps there should have been a rather stronger expression.

It often happens that a farmer of many years must retire from active farming, either because of ill health or age, but he wishes to keep his land; and ultimately he ends up renting it for a few years before he sells. In other situations the farmer may die, leaving his spouse to continue to hold his farm as her principal residence and as her lifelong residence, and she too must end up renting it for a time before she sells it.

It seems to me that it’s unfair and actually quite unthinkable that farmers and their spouses who have occupied and farmed their land for so many years should be classed as speculators merely because, through no fault of their own, they are no longer actively engaged in operating their farms.

The purpose of the land speculation tax is to penalize speculators in land. It is not to impose a burden upon people such as lifelong farmers who have contributed to their community and to their province. This amendment, I think, removes the existing unfair anomaly relating to such farmers.

Mr. Speaker: The motion is for Bill 14. Shall this motion carry?

Mr. Cassidy: No.

Mr. Speaker: As many as are in favour of Bill 14 being read the second time will please say “aye.”

As many as are opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.



Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved second reading of Bill 15, An Act to amend The Corporations Tax Act, 1972.

Mr. Breithaupt: With respect to the matters raised in The Corporations Tax Act, we are generally in favour of the changes that have been made, other than the one which is referred to in section 4. We believe that the increase at that point which re-enacts section 181 of the Act by having such a change of 50 per cent of the rate of tax on taxable paid up capital is an excessive change.

During the election campaign, this party had a strong opinion on the matters of changes of taxes and rates within this province. We still continue in that opinion and we think that to increase this rate by, in effect, 50 per cent is excessive.

Other than that particular item, we do favour the other changes that appear in the bill.

Mr. Renwick: I want to speak to the amendments to The Corporations Tax Act very briefly, but I do want to put a suggestion to the minister for subsequent consideration. When we have a budget which deals with a number of changes in the taxation of corporations or any other field, some of which require legislation and some which do not require legislation but merely changes in regulations of one kind or another, then it’s very difficult to get an overall view simply by dealing with the one bill in isolation.

Surely there must be some method by which these bills -- the budget bills -- could be sent out to some special committee struck for the purpose of looking at all of the implications in each of the fields of the bills, rather than dealing with them item by item.

I did want to make that comment, because on balance we support The Corporations Tax Act amendment, although we have reservations about some of the matters which were dealt with in the overall field of corporate taxation and that were raised in the budget. Rather I want to try to put what we’re doing in the perspective of the total package of the effect on the corporations of the tax changes recommended by the government. To do so, one can only refer, of course, to the way in which the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has dealt with corporate taxation in his budget. I think my remarks will provide the reason why we will not oppose the increase in the paid-up capital tax and why we will not support the amendment with respect to paid-up capital tax which we understand will be placed at some point in committee by the official opposition.

It is interesting to note that in the budget of the Treasurer relating to this whole question of the role of the corporate tax, we find that the budget anticipates a revenue from corporation taxes of about $1,256 million, which is a significant increase in the corporate taxation expectations of the government over the fiscal year which has just passed. That is broken down to $996 million in income tax and $260 million in capital and premium taxes.

We find, of course, also in the budget that the corporation tax structure -- that is both income tax and paid-up capital tax -- amounts to about 11 per cent of the revenue expectations of the government for the current fiscal year. Then, when we turn to the actual budget address of the Treasurer, we find that it is intended that the tax reductions to corporations will amount to some $126 million. There is a reduction of $42 million anticipated in the corporate income tax revenues and a further reduction in corporate income tax revenues of $84 million, making a total reduction of $126 million; less, of course, the anticipated increased revenue from the paid-up capital tax of about $50 million. This leaves a net corporate tax reduction proposed by the Treasurer of some $76 million.

This is explained by a series of comments made by the Treasurer with respect to the taxation of corporations; and be dealt with it under a number of headings. He dealt with it under paid-up capital tax, oil and gas taxation -- that is the depletion allowances -- inventory allowances, fast writeoff for manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment; and be dealt, also, with the specific tax provisions that will apply to the venture investment corporations and how corporations investing in the venture investment corporations will be entitled to further writeoffs or deductions in calculating their taxable income.

In the information bulletin which was put out by the government following up on all of these matters, we again find these same matters are itemized so that the overall effect of the corporate package of taxation measures related to corporations produces a net effect which is not reflected at all in this bill and which only deals with two aspects of it. That is the question of the capital tax, oil and gas production or resource allowances, and earned depletion.

These are significant changes which have been made by the government in those two areas. It seems to us, Mr. Speaker, that it would be advisable for each of the specific sections in the bill to be dealt with in committee, but I did want to have the opportunity of placing in perspective the whole of the corporate tax package and the net effect which it will have on corporations in all of its aspects, a number of which, of course, are not touched upon in the bill.

I do think it would be appropriate and in order for the minister to comment further about the question of the intentions of the government with respect to the fast writeoff for manufacturing and processing assets to be continued; and how that change will be affected, as I understand it, by change in the regulations. I would appreciate it if the minister would comment about the question of inventory allowance when three per cent of tangible moveable property will be allowed as a corporate deduction for tax purposes. There are certain other areas of changes in the overall effect of the budget on corporations which need to be dealt with.

I would further ask the minister if she would comment about when it is anticipated the legislation regarding the 250 per cent reduction allowed to corporations which invest in venture investment corporations will be introduced. Perhaps I have misunderstood it, but it’s my understanding that now that the corporate structure for venture in- vestment corporations has been established, or is in the process of being established by the bill which was passed earlier, that there is now going to be a specific tax bill introduced to provide for a 250 per cent deduction for those corporations with respect to their investment in those new venture investment corporations.

I may be wrong, and it may be possible that can be done by way of regulation, but when I referred to the information bulletin of April 19 on the Ontario budget dealing with corporation tax changes, there is the statement that legislation to affect these changes will be introduced following the passage of The Venture Investment Corporations Registration Act, 1977. I would anticipate that we can look forward to the introduction of some legislation, either later in this particular session or in the continuation or new session in the fall. I would appreciate the minister’s comments on some of those matters which I have raised.

Ms. Bryden: This bill, as my colleague has pointed out, does a number of things, some of which raise corporate taxes and some of which reduce corporate taxes. On balance, the reduction is much the greater; but the reductions are not mainly in this bill so that it is difficult to deal with it as a total picture of corporate tax changes by this government at this time.

The tax on paid-up capital is going up by 50 per cent. I don’t know whether the official opposition will feel that it must apply its eight per cent limitation to a tax of this sort, which is really on a sector of the economy that has been grossly undertaxed in the past. Therefore it seems to me that what we need is catch-up, not a limitation. In fact, with this increase in tax, Ontario will be ahead of the other three provinces which have a tax on paid-up capital by 50 per cent, but it still is really a peanuts tax. According to the budget speech, it is going to yield in this fiscal year a total of $55 million.

I would ask the minister to explain the discrepancies in the table on page 23 of the budget statement, which shows that the capital tax will yield a net increase of $50 million and that there will be a decrease of $3 million from the capital tax under the decrease column; which it seems to me comes down to a gain of only $47 million and is not a $55-million gain. The table is particularly confusing because the capital tax is listed under increases as net, and yet there is a further entry under the decreases which doesn’t appear to have been netted out.

At any rate, $55 million is a very small amount of increase on the corporations when one considers their contribution to total revenues in this province has been going down steadily over the last decade. They were about 17 per cent in 1965-66, and they are down to less than 11 per cent now. We would have liked to have seen the minister, instead of increasing this particular tax, looking at some other alternatives.

The Smith committee called the tax on paid-up capital a nuisance tax, and it really isn’t a good tax. It is not based on ability to pay, it depends on the capital structure of a corporation. For the large corporations with lots of income tax it is a tax deduction in calculating their income tax, and therefore it can be considered as partly a transfer of revenue from the federal government to the provincial government rather than an increase in the contribution of the corporations to the economy of this country. For smaller corporations, ones in a non-profit position, it can be quite onerous.

There is relief in this bill for corporations with paid-up capital of $100,000 or less, and that is useful for small businesses, but basically, it’s not a very good tax and it doesn’t yield very much revenue. I point out that a one point addition on the corporation income tax would raise approximately $80 million. Ontario is three points behind BC which has a 15 per cent corporation income tax rate.


In fact, on the corporation income tax, like on the minimum wage, we are close to the bottom of the heap. Our rate is 12 per cent and it hasn’t been increased in 10 years. Only Prince Edward Island and Alberta are below us at 11 per cent. Four other provinces are ahead, two at 15 per cent and two at 14 per cent. Three are even with us.

I suggest that it would have been better, instead of increasing the paid-up capital tax, to have increased the much more fair corporation income tax. That would have meant fewer taxes for the rest of the citizens of Ontario, who at the moment are considered to be among the highest taxed in the medium- and middle-income levels, according to recent studies.

For instance, there was a study that showed that in 1976 a family of four in Ontario making $8,226 a year would pay in income tax, property tax and OHIP, a total of $1,078 out of $8,226. In Manitoba, the same family would pay $682.

So we have some problems in supporting this bill because of the overall effect. On the other hand, any increase in the corporate tax we feel is justified, and therefore we are supporting this particular increase.

The other things the bill does, as my colleague has mentioned, is to parallel the federal tax concessions which came out in the last two budgets, for a revenue loss of $42 million. The 25 per cent resource allowance for oil and gas is part of it, and further incentives for frontier oil and gas and mineral exploration.

We note that the three per cent inventory valuation adjustment, which the provincial Treasurer announced he was going to adopt from the federal budget, is not in this bill. I would like to ask the minister if it will be done by a separate bill to be introduced later in the session or this Parliament, or if it will be done by regulation. It is estimated that it will cost the Treasury $40 million as a further concession, and I very much question the implementation of this proposal at a time when the Treasurer has just announced that he is having a committee study the whole question of inflation- accounting and whether such a thing as an inventory valuation adjustment is really justified or not. It seems to me it would be better to wait until that report is out before the province contemplates any sort of adjustment.

The other thing this bill does is to replace the automatic depletion of 33% per cent that this province has had with earned depletion, as in the federal Act. I must say that this comes to me with considerable surprise, because for years the Ontario government has fought the substitution of earned depletion for automatic depletion, yet the Carter commission report said that automatic depletion was really just a reduction in corporate tax for resource industries, that it really was not justified on tax measures or equity measures. As a result of their recommendations, the federal government finally adopted the earned depletion, but for years the Ontario government has opposed that tax reform. Apparently they have seen the light.

However, what we don’t like about this bill on the depletion question is that it is all to be done by regulation, so that this Legislature will never have an opportunity, until the regulations are tabled and before the committees, to study them; we will never have the opportunity, before the regulations are passed, to discuss the level of the earned depletion to be allowed. That is another trend in this government that we oppose. The question of depletion should have been written into the bill and the terms of it should have been here for us to debate.

The same is true of the continuing fast writeoff. It was all very well to put it in for a period of two years, possibly with the idea that it was needed at that time, but to continue it indefinitely without introducing an actual amendment to The Corporation Tax Act seems to me not giving this Legislature a chance to discuss the whole question of whether fast writeoffs are a proper incentive.

I’d like to draw the attention of the House to a recent study by the C. D. Howe Research Institute, which is not exactly a socialist organization. It examined incentives of this sort and came to the conclusion that in certain circumstances they were not likely to produce results in the way of stimulating the economy. This is what it says: “In a stagnant economy” -- and that’s certainly what we have right now, Mr. Speaker -- “or one fraught with uncertainties, any positive impact from further tax concessions is likely to be quite limited.” The provincial Treasurer doesn’t seem to have realized that situation or read that particular report.

What I’m saying is that the whole bill really is soft on the corporations. The share they are contributing to provincial revenues is really peanuts -- 10.4 per cent from these two taxes, the corporation tax and the capital tax in 1977-78. But, Mr. Speaker, personal taxes -- income tax and sales tax -- will contribute 43.1 per cent to total revenues; and if you add in OHIP they will contribute 49.9 per cent. That’s just under 50 per cent from individuals and about 10 per cent from corporations. No wonder the corporations seem to be contributing up in the maximum allowed under The Election Finances Reform Act to the Conservative Party; they’re being well looked after.

So those are really our comments on the bill. We would have liked to have seen a different sort of corporation tax. We feel that it means higher taxes for the rest of the population and we feel that it is moving in the wrong direction, but we are supporting it because there is a small increase in the capital tax.

Mr. Cassidy: I just want to make one comment in addition to the comments by the member for Beaches-Woodbine and the member for Riverdale. That is that there are misleading statements that were made in the budget with reference to this particular bill. I’m not quite sure, maybe the hon. minister can explain the curious omissions in the budget with reference to The Corporations Tax Act.

The budget refers to the adoption of the federal 25 per cent resource allowance for oil and gas companies, and the move to earned depletion several years after that change was made. In fact I think it was about six years ago that the federal government made this change which is at last being accepted by the province. The reference was also made to the new arrangements that will be made for frontier oil and gas exploration. I have to say that I’m not quite sure why the urgency of either of these things applies in Ontario, given the fact that we haven’t got more than three or four oil wells left in the province. I do understand that this is related to the calculation of income before its attribution to various sources.

However, what bothers me is the fact that in the course of making that amendment, the government decided in its wisdom it would propose reverting to regulatory powers in order to determine the amount of resource allowance or depletion allowance that would be given to mineral resource companies and timber-exploiting companies in the province. Whether it is Reed Paper or Inco or companies like that, they will no longer have to deal with the Legislature in trying to get a better deal from the provincial tax collector. All they have to do is deal with the member for St. David, with the Treasurer and with other members of the cabinet.

I assume, the 33 1/3 per cent resource allowance which they now have will be continued. However, there is nothing to stop this cabinet or a cabinet a year or two down the line, increasing that to 35 per cent, to 40 per cent, to 50 per cent; or even to a position where every nickel of their profit from exploiting the resources of the people of Ontario will be exempted from tax, courtesy of the Ontario cabinet, Bill Davis, Premier.

I think that is objectionable. Later on, in committee stage, I have an amendment to that particular point which I will put forward. I don’t propose at this time to enter into the issue of whether there should be a depletion allowance or resource allowance at all, but I would simply ask the official opposition to consider very carefully an amendment -- I believe they have already received a copy and if not I’ll send them one -- which will go along with the government’s proposals about giving regulatory powers for determining oil and gas income but will restore the status quo from the 1974 Corporations Tax Act amendment as regards the 33 1/3 per cent depletion allowance for mineral companies and timber companies, rather than giving the possibility of an unlimited resource allowance to be set by regulation.

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you are aware that we would like to join issue and maintain that that resource allowance be cut down to absolutely nothing, because it is a rip-off of resources which belong to the people of Ontario and certainly don’t belong to the companies that happen to have permits to exploit those resources on Crown land or underground. All I am asking right now -- and I say this to the official opposition -- is let’s go back to where we were before.

What has happened is that back in the palmy days when the Treasurer was Treasurer in 1971-72, there was ministerial discretion or cabinet discretion on these depletion allowances. Then in 1974, when the Hon. John White was Treasurer, he quite correctly put it into the legislation and brought a whole series of different kinds of depletion allowances into law and codified them into one figure of one third, 33 1/3 per cent. Now, as in so many things, the present Treasurer is trying to undo work which was done by the previous Treasurer; they flip-flop all over the place.

It is my opinion, and our opinion as a party, that this is a matter which should properly be subject to the Legislature. If we are going to give corporate welfare to companies like Inco and all of those other big mining and timber companies in the province, it seems to me that should be a decision that is made by the Legislature of the province and is not snuck through the back door by the cabinet through an order in council.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I would remind the members of the opposition parties of a simple statement set out in the budget which was first outlined by the Premier (Mr. Davis) when he went to New York in May to speak to a group of investors and to discuss Ontario’s economic situation. At that time he outlined a four-point economic goal for the province which he thought would take us well into the 1980s. These goals, very simply expressed, were: First, restraint in government spending; secondly, improvement of the climate for investment -- a most important one; thirdly, a need to increase the competitiveness in our world markets -- especially for our industry; and fourthly, to improve labour and management relations.

It seems to me that those goals are exceedingly worthy and must be borne in mind when one is examining the budget and its tax bills which are written in support of the budget. If we are going to balance our budget by the fiscal year 1981, if we are going to maintain a healthy economic climate for investment and business in this country and in this province --

Mr. Cassidy: Dreary years ahead.

Ms. Bryden: You balance it by increasing the corporate tax.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- I think that we have to bear those goals in mind and keep them always with us.

Mr. Cassidy: What about the human resources of this province?


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: With that as a background and relating that to this bill, it seems to me that this bill proposes amendments to The Corporations Tax Act which would give effect to two parts of this government’s budgetary policy concerning corporations.

Mr. Cassidy: Handouts and more handouts.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: The objectives of the changes are twofold and easily said, they imply simplicity and balance.

In terms of simplicity, this government is committed to a long-term program of tax simplification and to this end this bill proposes important steps. It would have the province parallel the federal treatment of resource allowances for oil and gas exploration and operation. The existing system of automatic depletion for firms in these areas would be replaced by a system of earned depletion, and in addition, --

Mr. Cassidy: The Gods are angry.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- special allowances announced by the federal Minister of Finance for frontier oil exploration would also be paralleled.

Secondly, the paid up capital tax for small businesses would also be simplified and reduced. Small companies with paid up capital of between $50,000 to $100,000 would pay a new flat rate of $100.

In terms of balance, I think it’s well known that this government is committed to balance in its tax system. Accordingly, the bill provides, and proposes to increase, the rate of tax for the paid-up capital tax for banks and large companies by 50 per cent. I don’t consider this is unreasonable at this time and I think that the comments that we have had in connection with it are not fair comments in light of the turn-around we have in our economy at this time.

The member for Riverdale raised a number of points to which he wanted to receive a response. He asked whether further legislation would be forthcoming in terms of the VICs. It is my understanding that the Treasurer will probably introduce some further legislation inter this year.

In terms of regulations to provide a resource allowance for oil and gas resources, these will parallel the federal regulations, which are found in section 12(ii) of part 12 of the regulations to The Federal Income Tax Act.

The regulations for automatic depletion allowance already exist in the regulations to The Corporations Tax Act, and this bill proposes to include the 33 1/3 per cent rate as part of its regulation.

The member for Riverdale also queried the two-year, fast writeoff. Simply, the government is continuing the two-year, fast writeoff indefinitely, essentially because it parallels Ottawa’s own setup. It has two effects: The first being simplification -- that word again -- and it avoids confusing differences between Ottawa and Ontario to provide an easier return for a corporation. Secondly, it reinforces incentives to encourage real job-creating investment. I think this is important because of the current economic slowdown which is related to low levels of business investment.

The member also commented and asked for a response on the three per cent inventory allowance. This is designed to counteract inflationary effects on cost and will ultimately have four effects, I think. First is the fact that it parallels the recent federal changes. Secondly, it is designed to reduce accidental taxes on so-called inventory profits, which are, after all, only bookkeeping profits and not actually realized. Thirdly, I think it’s, frankly, a useful piece of simplification. Finally, it is particularly useful to small corporations that have cash flow problems in carrying their inventory.

The member for Beaches-Woodbine raised some points. She criticized the paid up capital tax as a revenue source. I thought this was rather surprising. The 1977-78 projected capital tax revenue for this province is $230 million, the 1977-78 projected income-tax revenue is $996 million; the 1977-78 premiums of tax is projected at $30 million. This totals $1,256,000,000 -- that’s a not inconsiderable revenue.

Now the final speaker, the member for Ottawa Centre had some considerable comments to make on depletion allowances. I think that he should understand that in order to implement the budget announcement concerning depletion allowances, section 62(1) and (2) are being re-enacted, removing the 33 1/3 rate from the Act. This rate will be set out in the regulations, as I’ve already noted. The reasons for the re-enactment are as follows:

Firstly, to simplify the Act the alternative amendment would add two new subsections to the Act to permit the deduction of the earned depletion allowances, and would re-enact section 62(1) and (2) to restrict deduction of automatic depletion allowances to mineral resources.

Secondly it would parallel The Federal Income Tax Act. The re-enactment is required so the wording for the depletion allowance provisions will parallel the federal earned depletion allowance provisions, as announced in the budget. I think this re-enactment will permit two systems of depletion allowances to be used without increasing the complexity of the Act, and that’s a very desirable goal.

If the federal Act requires only two subsections to permit the deduction of a number of allowances, that is the earned depletion allowance is just one of several allowances, the same wording should be sufficient for the Ontario Act.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved second reading of Bill 16, An Act to amend The Gift Tax Act, 1972.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. minister have an opening statement?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Very brief remarks: This bill implements the changes to The Gift Tax Act introduced in the Treasurer’s budget statement. Under these amendments the exemption for individuals is increased from $5,000 to $10,000 and the exemption for the aggregate amount that one person can give in a year is increased from $25,000 to $50,000. The effect of this bill is to recognize the effect of inflation and to keep exemption levels under The Gift Tax Act in line with those under The Succession Duty Act.

Mr. Peterson: We don’t see any grounds for disagreement with this bill, and our party will be supporting this bill.

Mr. Roy: Great speech, way to go.

Ms. Bryden: We have the same dilemma on this bill that we have with regard to the corporations tax bill. There are a few things in it that we like, but the main thrust of it we do not like, and that is the doubling of the exemptions allowed under The Gift Tax Act.

I’m not surprised that the official opposition doesn’t find any difficulties with that; but we certainly do, because those exemptions are a further erosion of the taxation of inheritances, really, in this province, and a further casting of our tax system in the direction of looking after the well-off and not basing it on ability to pay.

I note that the provincial Treasurer, in his budget speech, gave us his reason for doubling these exemptions as simply “to permit the distribution of assets prior to death.” That’s the main reason for having a Gift Tax Act. It is to prevent the distribution of assets prior to death in order to escape estate tax or succession duties. While it is reasonable to allow small sums to be given to people who will be inheriting estates from, say their parents, to give exemptions of the size that are in this bill is, in our mind, excessively generous. It is really going to erode succession duties, because a great many estates will be distributed to the children before the death occurs. So we are unhappy about the bill from that point of view.

However, there are some other things in the bill that we would not like to see defeated, and so we would hope the minister would bring in two separate bills on this.

The other things, Mr. Speaker, are mainly amendments to The Gift Tax Act which were introduced last fall and which were allowed to die on the order paper because some of them depended on the new legislation on successions which did not pass last fall either. The ones we like are the ones which wipe out discrimination against illegitimate children. This has been in our statutes for too long, and there is an amendment in here that does that. I hope it won’t have to wait until the successions Act is finally passed. There was also an amendment extending gift tax exemptions to certain defined common-law spouses in situations where there were children and there was a fairly stable relationship. I think that sort of amendment also should be supported.

There were two other amendments in the bill from last fall which are also repeated in this bill. One is to improve collection procedures by enabling the minister to put a lien on land in Ontario for the collection of duties or gift tax. I think there was some question when this came up last fall as to whether this would be constitutional or not, but certainly if it does improve collection procedures and is constitutional we would support it.

Then finally there was a clause from last fall’s bill extending inter-spousal exemptions to certain trust arrangements. I’m told by people who go in for estate planning that the trust arrangements envisaged are practically never set up and that the legislation is probably almost a dead letter or perhaps out of date. I don’t know whether the minister agrees with that assessment; that really it is not particularly relevant and is not extending any benefit to spouses, because so few or practically none plan their estates under the kind of trust arrangements set forth in the Act.

At any rate we would support those particular carryovers from the bill that died last fall, but when the clause about the doubling of the exemption rate comes up we intend to oppose that in committee.

Mr. Cassidy: I just want to add a couple of points to the points made by the member for Beaches-Woodbine, Mr. Speaker.

You know, there are three parties in this Legislature. It’s certainly clear from the debate we’ve had over the last three or four days on the succession of budget bills, that there are two parties in this Legislature, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, which is the official opposition, that are dedicated to the preservation of capital in this province; and there’s only one party in the province which is dedicated to the interests of ordinary people.

Mr. Grossman: And the destruction of capital.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s certainly clear from the supine attitude taken by the member for London Centre in regard to this particular bill; it really is, and it pains me.

Mr. McClellan: Relax, Larry.

Mr. Ruston: Listen; think how painful it is to us.

Mr. Cassidy: Let me put some figures on the record about this particular bill to show who gets the tax exemptions, who gets the handouts from this particular bill.

A $75,000 gift currently bears $8,750 worth of tax or 11.8 per cent -- it’s not a heck of a lot -- but this bill will give a $5,000 tax cut on that particular bill, reducing the tax to $3,750 or five per cent.

On a $150,000 gift, the tax was $31,000 or 20 per cent, and it will be cut down to $22,500, for a saving of $8,750 to those very limited mortals who have it in their power to write a cheque for $140,000 to the niece, nephew, son or daughter of their choice. On a $250,000 gift, the tax is going from $76,000 to $63,000 or a saving of $12,500.

Under this bill, in 10 years somebody who wishes to, can transfer $1 million to their sons, daughters and heirs and the amount of tax they’ll have to pay is equivalent to the interest on that $1 million for one year. It’s ridiculous. But the member for London Centre gets up and says it’s a fine bill and the minister gets up and says it’s a fine bill.

Mr. Warner: Some opposition!

Mr. Cassidy: They’re quite prepared to give these kinds of handouts from these kinds of gifts to people with wealth in the province, when they’re not prepared to take necessary action in order to look after the ordinary people in the province who are being driven to the wall by the price of land, driven to the wall by inflation, driven to the wall because of the Anti-Inflation Board and driven to the wall because of the policies of this government which are endorsed by the official opposition.

Mr. Nixon: This reminds me of that speech on the Winter Palace steps.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s why we’re opposing this particular bill, Mr. Speaker, and I hope the message gets home to people like the constituents of the member for Ottawa East and the tenants in the riding of London Centre --

Mr. Mancini: Where is your majority?

Mr. Cassidy: -- that when it came to the crunch, they were prepared to vote for $5,000 handouts to millionaires when they weren’t prepared to vote for more than a plugged nickel for people in genuine need in the province.

Mr. Roy: The only comment that we would make is, very simply, that the policy of various parties has been clearly outlined by the member for Ottawa Centre. I’m pleased to hear him expound socialist philosophy because I think it clearly brings out the renegade, the radical, the man attacking the barricade. I would only say this, Mr. Speaker, in making comment. He said: “I hope the message gets through to the voters of Ottawa East.” I tell you, a few weeks ago I received a message from the voters of Ottawa East. I’d like to compare that message, Mr. Speaker, with the message --

Mr. Nixon: They didn’t even count the ballots; they just weighed them.

Mr. Roy: -- that the member for Ottawa Centre got, considering the type of opposition that he had.

Mr. Warner: Is this on the principle of the bill?

Mr. Roy: Yes, right on. Mr. Speaker, in closing, all I say is that considering the Conservative candidate he had against him, he can only be described as a turkey. He hardly got a 2000 majority.

Mr. Nixon: He just barely squeaked in.

Mr. Roy: Can you understand, Mr. Speaker, with your majority? We’re not afraid of the message we get from the voters in this party.

Mr. Mackenzie: What about the turkeys you ran in the north? There were some real turkeys in the north.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Do any other members wish to speak to the principle of the bill?

An hon. member: For a change.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: If not, the hon. minister.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I thank the members for their contributions. I thought it was rather appropriate that the member for Beaches-Woodbine should launch her remarks by quoting the Treasurer from his budget, which is that the purpose of The Gift Tax Act was to permit the distribution of assets prior to death. It’s very simply put in a very few words and is exactly what this bill does.

Mr. Deans: She thought it was appropriate, too. That’s why she did it.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: It also, I think, reflects a very human trait, one which is well acknowledged and understood –


Mr. Cassidy: What compassion you have for the rich.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- by many other provinces, inasmuch as only Ontario and Manitoba and Saskatchewan now have a gift tax Act.

Ms. Bryden: That’s because they think the federal government should do it.

Mr. Roy: Which provinces have the gift tax?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Mr. Roy: The socialists in BC didn’t bring it in.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think that the member should realize something about the doubling of exemption. Her remarks contained the statement, “Doubling of exemptions equals a further erosion of wealth and inheritance taxation.” She seems to lump inheritance in there, and I think she does this incorrectly. Or else, otherwise, it is just a philosophic difference between us in terms of the principle.

In any case, I think it noteworthy that Ontario has chosen to remain in gift tax and succession duties while it is a fact that most other provinces have opted out. Nevertheless, increased exemptions are mainly to compensate for inflation on estates and simply are similar to the federal indexing of personal income tax. There is one thing. I think the member has gained the impression or certainly she indicated that she thought the spouse trust of little value; it’s not useful, I think were her words. Actually, the spouse trust would be of immediate benefit to a donor who wants to provide benefits to his spouse, but it cannot be used for estate planning nor was it ever intended to be used for that purpose.

Mr. Speaker, I stand corrected on a previous statement. My staff remind me that it is not Saskatchewan, it is Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario which have maintained the gift tax system.

Mr. Deans: Wrong again.

Mr. Warner: You are always wrong.

Mr. Deans: It is bad enough when you can’t remember only three provinces.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved second reading of Bill 17, An Act to amend The Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Very briefly, this bill proposes amendments to The Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act which are designed to facilitate the even-handed and equitable administration of this tax.

Firstly, it proposes to register all suppliers of middle distillate fuels, principally diesel fuel and home heating oil. Secondly, it proposes to register with my ministry all commercial users of such fuel where it is used for taxable purposes. Finally, it proposes to clarify procedures under which taxpayers may appeal assessment and apply for and receive refunds.

I should stress that these provisions apply only to suppliers and commercial users of these fuels, not to private users or homeowners. Implementation of these proposals will help in assuring that all those liable to tax will pay that tax and that those who are exempt will not.

Mr. Breithaupt: I was interested; in the explanation given by the minister with respect to the bill. In reviewing the changes which are proposed, it would appear that these are to attempt to tighten up some of the administrative areas within the operation of The Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act. As a result we will support the bill.

Mr. Makarchuk: On the same bill, I have to make the comment that we intend to support it. But I think the minister is going about it the wrong way to try and resolve what has been a problem in Ontario for some time. There is no question that a lot of truckers have been operating, or try to operate, with fuel on which tax has not been paid, or they try to evade paying taxes. That stems from a lot of other problems, one of the big ones being the fact that the Ontario tax on motor fuel is high compared to some of the other provinces.

I can see that what this bill is going to do is create another level of ponderous bureaucracy that will be out on the highways harassing the truckers. I suppose one of the advantages of the thing would be that those truckers who used to vote Tory will, after this bill comes into effect, probably be voting some other way.

I think the minister did not in this case examine some of the possible options that are available. The problem here is the fact that if the fuel is used, it is difficult to decide which fuel goes into the track and which fuel goes for home heating. I think if some system could be devised where the supplier -- whether the refinery or the wholesaler -- would be responsible for all the tax on fuel. Perhaps some credit system or some arrangement could be worked out so that the homeowner can get the tax refund. Perhaps the minister then would have a fairer system.

Perhaps what would happen is that if she is allowed to have this rather ponderous bureaucracy that she is going to develop right now, she will be able to collect the tax at the source instead of at the various outlets that are in existence in the province. I think this system would work better.

I think in this case, some of the other options have not been examined. I think there are other ways of ensuring that the truckers pay for the fuel as they are supposed to and at the same time to ensure that the people who are using it for heating purposes are not taxed or penalized.

Mr. Cassidy: Just to add a note to what the member for Brantford said, in committee stage I think that we should take action to implement what the minister has said, at least with relation to the liability that exists in this bill for private individuals who are not operating a commercial truck. The wording is so sloppy in this particular bill that it can have the following effect. It says that anybody driving any kind of a vehicle in the province can be stopped and they can be asked to prove that tax has been paid on the fuel in that vehicle. The fuel by definition, by regulation, is diesel fuel, but there is nothing to stop the regulation from being changed to make it gasoline of all kinds.

We could have a situation, again by action of the cabinet with no control by the Legislature, where everybody in the province would be subjected to a kind of police state on the roads, where they will have to show that every ounce of gasoline, or other kind of fuel in their car, was tax-paid. I think that’s wrong. I think the Liberal Party at least, with their traditions of individual rights, should support an amendment which would make this apply for commercial truckers, but would exempt any vehicle that was private and not a commercial vehicle.

Right now, in fact, we have a number of diesel vehicles, such as Volkswagen, Peugeot and Mercedes cars --

Mr. Ruston: All imported.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s true -- Land Rovers and Jeeps. I believe there are other certain kinds of diesels now being planned by General Motors, so it isn’t more than a year or two hence before we will begin to see on the roads domestically produced passenger vehicles using diesel fuel. If the minister believes that everybody who buys a diesel-fuelled car should be obligated to stop and show a receipt for every gallon of fuel they bought for it then, she should say openly that she believes in that kind of limitation of people’s liberties. I hope that she agrees to accept an amendment appropriately to exempt people who are not commercial truckers.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I was pleased to learn from the opposition party that they support the bill and understand its import. I have to say, I was a little distressed by the remarks from the member for Brantford who suggests taxing at the source as an alternative. I think that he would just turn this province into a horrendous bureaucracy if we were to implement such a proposal. The same applies to the recommendation from the member for Ottawa Centre. Really and truly, he’d want to turn us into a police state. I think --

Mr. Cassidy: No, the minister is doing that now. She is doing that now. I am exempting the little guy.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: No, indeed, Mr. Speaker. This Is not the case at all. The fact is that he’s anticipating a situation which has not arisen, which is not a problem. The bill deals only with an existing situation --

Mr. Cassidy: She asks us to trust her. That’s very difficult.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- and I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this government and this province is sufficiently flexible; if we see a problem emerging at some time in the future we can take steps to head it off. But to simply amend the bill now in anticipation is to me, a ridiculous situation, and I would not accept such an amendment.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


House in committee on Bill 12, An Act to amend The Retail Sales Tax Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill prior to -- well, I guess there wouldn’t be, prior to section (1)(ba). I have an amendment from the hon. member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy).

Mr. Peterson: Has that amendment been moved, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I just have notice of it. No, it hasn’t been moved.

Mr. Peterson: I’d like to move it in the absence of the member for Sarnia. I would like to move that amendment. I believe notice has been given to all of the other members. I’m not sure, but it’s my understanding that that amendment went to everybody.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I believe it went not only to the Chair, but to the critics of the other party.

Mr. Peterson moves that subsection 1 of section 1 of the bill be struck out and that subsection 2 of section 1 be renumbered as section 1.

Mr. Peterson: The effect of that, Mr. Chairman, is to remove the retail sales tax payable on the extra amount that would have been eligible under The Environmental Tax Act.

We expressed some concern at that time about a tax on a tax. We also expressed some concern about the order of these bills, having felt that it would have been better for the government House leader to bring down The Retail Sales Tax Act after the environmental tax. Now, to the best of my knowledge at this particular point in time, the government will not be calling forward Bill 18.

I gather that bill is going to sit on the order paper. I really don’t know for sure the government’s plan on that. I understand only that it’s going to sit on the order paper for an indeterminate period of time. But it seems to me that that argument in itself supports our particular position that there’s no place in this bill for adding sales tax on top of the environmental sales tax, particularly when we don’t know if it’s ever going to come forward.

For that reason, I’d ask the third party members to think about that. There’s no sense cluttering up a statute with unnecessary words or sections. I hope that in all reasonableness they will look at it to support us.

Mr. Cassidy: I was aware the amendment was coming, although I haven’t received a copy yet. Incidentally, on a point of order, I believe that there may be some confusion about the new arrangements because I certainly suffered it. I consulted with the Deputy Clerk and I understand the Deputy Clerk would prefer to have three or four copies of any proposed amendments, but it then is the responsibility of each party to also distribute copies of proposed amendments to the various critics. I certainly ran into difficulty with that. That may have been what happened with the member for London Centre.

Mr. Peterson: I apologize. Unfortunately our critic had to go to Sarnia this afternoon and I was under the impression he had looked after that. I know we gave verbal notice. I am not sure of the extent of the written notice, and for any confusion I personally take the responsibility. I am sorry. The point is well taken.

Mr. Cassidy: Okay. That is fine. I think the procedure in handling these amendments is going to take a bit of time to get used to.

Having said that, I am afraid I am going to disappoint the member for London Centre at this point. We have had some consultation and some thought about this particular amendment and since the matter was raised the other night, and while wondering whether the proposed section was even in order and given the fact that The Environmental Tax Act had not yet been proposed, I would appreciate if the minister can say whether in fact it is the intention of the government to propose that bill. I noted that when the House leader announced the order, he did not include that bill in the bills that were going to be brought forward today by the hon. minister.

Our position about The Environmental Tax Act is already on record, Mr. Chairman. Since we assume that that is going to be the decision, and the opinion of the House is that The Environmental Tax Act is going to be defeated, what that means is that this particular clause is nugatory. It is simply a piece of legislation which will have no particular effect.

However, I am not particularly happy having the entire debate about the cans tax on The Retail Sales Tax Act. I believe that that debate quite properly belongs on The Environmental Tax Act, when or if that particular Act is brought forward. For that reason we don’t wish to have that debate now. Therefore we will not support the amendment. We will allow this particular piece of legislation to stay in the statute books although we assume that it is likely to be a dead letter.

Mr. Roy: I just want to say this. I find some inconsistency here in the approach being taken. First of all, on the government’s side: Why don’t you withdraw or take away that particular section and go along with our amendment if you are not going to go ahead with Bill 18? Because if there is anything that I consider to be somewhat improper it is that we start passing legislation for no purpose at all. That is always contrary to the things that we should be doing here.

It seems to us that we have enough things to do which we consider to be in the public interest than going through an academic exercise of passing legislation which apparently will have no application. So I must say to the minister that I really think what you should do is to be consistent and give some leadership in providing or bringing forward legislation. Do not have us go through an exercise where you are putting forward legislation --

Mr. Cassidy: Don’t expect any from her.

Mr. Roy: -- which will have no meaning. I think you would save a lot of grief on all sides if you just withdrew, or agreed with our amendment to just take that subsection out. Then we would have no problem and the bill could go through.

Having said this I am surprised as well at the position taken by the people in the third party, because I find again if they agree with the principle that I brought forward -- that we are not going through an academic exercise -- then they should support our particular amendment and assure that we are not going through an exercise for nothing.

On the other hand, if they oppose the other Bill 18, again they are giving some acquiescence to a piece of legislation which is in support of Bill 18, and that is inconsistent somewhat. I have some difficulty in understanding the NDP’s approach to our particular amendment.

I want to say to the minister: Please relieve us of this exercise. Withdraw or undertake to accept our amendment, or take out that particular subsection, and we can continue then in a procedural and logical discussion of this piece of legislation.

Mr. Deans: I didn’t, unfortunately, catch all of what was said by the member for Ottawa East. But why would the minister be doing this, since she doesn’t intend to proceed with The Environmental Tax Act anyway?

Mr. Peterson: You are supporting it, for God’s sake.

Mr. Deans: I’m just curious.

Are you back again? I learned something about you last night. I was kind of curious about you.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Perhaps we could return to the amendment.

Mr. Deans: I just want to know, why would you be putting this into an Act now, when it’s evident that you don’t intend to go ahead with the five cent tax on cans in any event? Why would you not simply delete this and if, as and when you arrive at some other appropriate measure to deal with the litter caused by cans and the reclamation processes that have to be put into place, you then come forward with some amendment that will accommodate your needs?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think some members in this Legislature are making certain assumptions and are asking questions which seem to stem from an assumption.

Mr. Deans: What is the assumption?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: All that you know and all that I can tell you at this point is that Bill 18 is not being introduced at this time.

In terms of the section and the amendment to the section that we are discussing, the whole point of this is to include the new Environmental Tax Act in the retail sales tax base in the same manner as the federal excise tax is included in the retail sales tax base.

There is nothing very unusual about it. It’s a very tidy piece of housekeeping. It makes provision for an eventuality. If the eventuality never transpires then, of course, it is unnecessary.

Mr. Roy: That’s what I mean.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: It’s an amendment which is not important one way or the other --

Mr. Roy: That’s right.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- but it does make a provision for some future point in time. That is all.

Mr. Roy: Don’t you understand our point?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I certainly do understand your point. I think you are labouring over something which to me is not very important.

Mr. Roy: Take it out then.

Mr. Chairman, I would say to the minister I think we are in agreement that we are talking about something irrelevant. What are we doing here then discussing a piece of legislation which may or may not have any application?

You know how responsible we are here as the official opposition. You’ve seen evidence of that. And what I’m saying to you, Madam Minister, is that any time you bring forward an amendment which in our opinion is sensible and logical, we’ll support you. But don’t bring us stuff here where we are going through an academic exercise.

Mr. Warner: It’s silly. It’s silly.

Mr. Deans: If you will forgive me, it is silly to go on debating at length something that everyone knows -- and the minister says that we are dreaming these things up, somehow or other. The fact of the matter is that you know and I know that The Environmental Tax Act is not going ahead. If it is not going ahead, why then would you write into law reference to an Act which doesn’t exist? It makes no sense. Surely to heaven you understand it doesn’t make sense to make reference to something that doesn’t exist.

Mr. McClellan: Bring it back when you bring the other in.

Mr. Deans: Why don’t you just agree to withdraw that section of the bill and then if you need it again some day, bring it back? I don’t think you are going to need it, because it is evident that the proposals that you had before the House are no longer applicable to the scene in the province of Ontario. Don’t ask us to pass legislation that applies to nonexistent legislation.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Again, the member is making an assumption.

Mr. Deans: I am not making an assumption. It’s a fact.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Most definitely he is, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Deans: I am not making an assumption. It’s a fact.

Mr. Warner: If you can’t get serious about the job, you should resign.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: The member is making an assumption and I think that this kind of debate is certainly academic. There is a point I would like to make. The point was made about responsibility; as a minister I feel a responsibility for bringing you the best possible legislation I can.

Mr. Deans: Then don’t ask us to support it.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: That is why this clause is included in this legislation.

Mr. Peterson: I fundamentally disagree with the minister when she says it is not very important. To me it is very important when you have useless legislation on the books. You have legislation that refers to a nonexistent Act. Good Lord, at some later time they could sneak out a bill completely different to the one contemplated in Bill 18 now, calling it The Environmental Tax Act. They can completely distort the picture. It wouldn’t be the only government that has tried to sneak through something like that.


Good Lord, they have an obligation it seems to me to bring in all the amendments to supporting legislation or corollary legislation at the time they bring in The Environmental Tax Act or whatever they call it that time. I think it’s extraordinarily bad principle to have a useless piece of legislation or a useless clause sitting in here. We are going to have to address the merits of that other Act if and when it is introduced. I just think it is fundamentally wrong -- and it’s not just a little thing it’s a big thing -- to have a statute like this referring to a non-existent statute.

That’s why we’re very much against it and I say with respect to my friends to the left, I do not understand why, in view of the sweet reason of the member for Wentworth -- I mean he’s absolutely right and I don’t see why you aren’t supporting us.

Good Lord --

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Perhaps you would refer to the Chairman just simply as the Chairman, not good Lord.

Mr. Peterson: I was referring to the Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Breithaupt: A simple “sir” would be sufficient.

Mr. Roy: You’ve been called worse names than that.

Mr. Peterson: Sorry, Mr. Chairman, but I just want to say to the minister I regard this as a serious matter.

Mr. Cassidy: I just want to say that the blandishments of the member for St. David have not moved me one bit. But on some reflection -- in particular on the information that that bill, The Environmental Tax Act, is not going to come forward at this time, which neither the member for London Centre nor myself were aware of at the time this debate began a few minutes ago, with that piece of information we are then being asked to make reference in this bill to a piece of legislation which may not come forward in the summer of 1977 and may in fact never come forward at all in the future.

Mr. Martel: You will have to amend the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister, of course, takes the view that legislation should only come in this place once every five or 10 years and should be drawn so generally that anything can be done by regulation without reference to the Legislature. However, we think that it’s important that these matters come before the Legislature. It’s a very routine matter to make a further amendment to The Retail Sales Tax Act, if that’s the government’s intention, if they bring forward an Environmental Tax Act in 1978 or in some subsequent year.

So I say with some credit to the member for London Centre, that in part because of your representations, in part even to the representations of the member for Ottawa East and as a result of our reflection on the matter, we’ll support the amendment. Let’s get on with the business.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps we should establish with the committee at this time there was some reference made by the government House leader prior to going into committee that should there be any division on any of the amendments we would stack them until the discussions are finished on all the bills.

All those in favour of Mr. Peterson’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Cassidy: One of the most perceptive chairmen in the history of the Legislature.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further comments, questions or amendments to any other section of Bill 12?

Mr. Roy: Are we going to the people?

On section 2:

Mr. Cassidy: Section 2: Just very briefly I think the Liberal Party should explain why it is that they’re prepared to see an increase in exemptions of far more than eight per cent when they have this absurd theory that no tax should be increased by more than eight per cent on an absolutely categorical kind of basis. I think they should be moving an amendment that that should only be $5.50. We support the exemption increase to $6, particularly because of the impact on the tourist industry.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Chairman, maybe I can help out the member. I don’t do this very often, but there’s very distinct difference between the government’s take and the private sector’s take.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Peterson: What our whole position is -- it’s very, very different and what you are suggesting, that we have suggested, which is not correct, is that everything should be tied to an eight per cent rule, be it exemptions or be it government take or whatever.

Our position is very clear -- there is no equivocation whatsoever -- that when the government is taking more out of the economy than eight per cent, it should be tied to the AIB guidelines like everyone else’s take. That is clearly our position. That has nothing to do with increased exemptions for taxes or whatever. There is absolutely no correlation whatsoever.

Mr. Mackenzie: Take away with one hand what you give with the other.

Mr. Peterson: Where your party and our party have quite a different philosophy is on what government’s role is, and how big a piece of the action out of the total gross provincial product or total gross national product they should take. We disagree about that. We will probably always disagree about that. But just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding in your own mind, what you’re suggesting has never been suggested by our party -- and never will be.

Mr. Cassidy: I can’t help feeling that what the Liberal Party is doing in supporting this amendment is actually condoning a 20 per cent increase in the price of prepared meals in the province. It seems to me that’s not a particular contribution to the fight against inflation.


Section 2 agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any other questions, comments or amendments to any other section of Bill 12?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: In face of the earlier amendment, I think I now must move an amendment to section 9 of the bill.

Sections 3 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 9:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moves that subsection 5 of section 9 of the bill be deleted.

Mr. Roy: We will support you on that one.

Hon. Mr. Welch: You should have spotted that.

Mr. Peterson: We said on the record yesterday, at committee time, that we understood that. But we had advice from the legislative counsel, very frankly, that it wasn’t necessary to do it.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, you did. My apologies.

Mr. Peterson: Had we had his advice we would have moved that as a corollary, but we did cover all the angles, Mr. House Leader.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: It’s just that the time element is irrelevant at this point.

Mr. Peterson: That’s right. No, I would have. If you want it out, that’s fine.

Mr. Roy: Have you checked with your back-benchers?

Motion agreed to.

Section 9, as amended agreed to.

Bill 12, as amended, reported.


House in committee on Bill 13, An Act to amend The Land Transfer Tax Act, 1974.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments prior to dealing with Mr. Cassidy’s motion, which deals with section 1, subsection 1? I guess not. Will the hon. member for Ottawa Centre -- East? -- read his amendment?

On section 1:

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, there is a very unfortunate confusion going on between the hon. member for Ottawa East and myself.

Mr. Roy: I’ll tell you, the people in Ottawa are not confused about it. I’ll tell you that.

Mr. Cassidy: We are as far apart on philosophy as we are contiguous in terms of boundaries.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The Chair apologizes for the confusion. Perhaps Mr. Cassidy will move his amendment?

Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to say that on section 1(1)(hb) I anticipate some difficulties with the definition of “residential”. Perhaps the minister’s advisers could send up an opinion to her on this particular matter, in relation to the definition of “residential”.

I’m not sure if I can find exactly what I want here. Chapter eight of the 1974 statutes refers to the acquisition of residential land by non-residents. And it seems to me that there is a very unclear and rather contradictory element in the definition of residential land here in this bill and the use of the words “residential land” in the existing bill as passed in 1974.

As I understand it, “residential land” in 1974 referred to land that could be used for residential purposes but was not at that time being used for residential purposes. In other words, developable land. This definition is rather narrower because it means residential land is land that is attached to a building that is the residence of the occupants, along with contiguous lands that are necessary and used for such residents. In other words, the front yard and the back yard.

If a foreigner, a non-resident, wishes to acquire a house in downtown Toronto, for example, that fits the definition of residential land that is in this Bill 13. But if you look at section 16 of the original bill, it seems to me that the definition of “residential” there is an awful lot wider, or needs to be an awful lot wider, and I think that difficulties have been created which should be avoided.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, I think the thrust of the amendment now, as explained by the member, indicates that his whole emphasis is on the definition of residential land. But the thrust of this amendment as contained in the bill is really to try very clearly to define the land that we want to preserve and protect.

The purpose of subclause (ii) in this definition of “unrestricted land” -- and that, by the way, as you have probably all noted, is a new phrase -- unrestricted land is to include all land that is assessed or used for commercial, industrial or residential purposes, whether or not so zoned. If you limit it only to zoning, that’s far too narrow.

A significant amount of land in Ontario is not covered by municipal zoning and assessment, and actual use is the only way to determine whether it falls in the restricted class of agricultural or recreational land. That is the heavy emphasis in this section of the bill.

The amendment proposed would make all residential land restricted land to which the high rate of tax would apply when purchased by non-residents. It would effectively restrict the definition to the narrow category of land municipally zoned for commercial or industrial uses, which is far too narrow to achieve the purpose of the bill. In other words, the bill would fail in its purpose.

Mr. Cassidy: I think maybe we should move on to the amendment given the time and given the fact that there is some hope that we can get this series of bills finished by 6 o’clock.

I’ve made my point. I hope that the minister and her advisers look at it because -- and this is quite apart from the amendment -- I think that you are creating difficulties for yourselves, with reference to section 16 of the Act in particular. I’m not a lawyer. I have, however, some experience in these things and I just think that anybody who is a lawyer could go to town on some aspects of the bill, because of the contradictions between the narrow definition of residential land in subclause (hb) and the apparently broader definitions which are entailed elsewhere.

On the amendment, Mr. Chairman, the minister has correctly indicated that, with some reluctance, we are going along here with the exemption of non-resident purchases of land for commercial and industrial use on the grounds that the exemption process, on a case by case basis, which exists right now, effectively gives that exemption in most cases. This simply broadens it from a specific exemption which is normally granted, as I understand it, to a more general one.

I realize that what’s being added in is the purchase of commercial office buildings as investments, even though no jobs are to be created as a result. Nevertheless, I’m looking for something which the official opposition might consider supporting. It is our opinion that it is wrong and unhealthy to have foreign, non-resident investment coming in in very large quantities into the residential sector of our cities, whether that’s in the acquisition of apartment buildings or whether that’s in the acquisition of residentially zoned land or land used for residential development which has not yet been developed.

The purposes of subclause (ii) are clearly to allow speculative investments in residential land by non-residents. It seems to me that the outcome of that can only be harmful as far as housing prices and as far as the development of housing on an affordable basis for people on ordinary incomes in the province is concerned. That’s why I commend this amendment and that’s why I hope that it is to be supported by the official opposition and, maybe, by the government.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Cassidy moves that section 1(1)(1a) of Bill 13 be amended by deleting the word “or” in subclause (i) and by deleting subclause (ii).

Mr. Cassidy: I believe I sent a copy of this to the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy). A copy will go now to the member for London Centre and you have a copy, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Yes. Is there any further discussion on Mr. Cassidy’s amendment?

All those in favour of Mr. Cassidy’s amendment --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, the minister.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I’m sorry, does the hon. minister wish to comment?


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I was just going to say that I appreciate the concerns of the member for Ottawa Centre, but I think that he is unduly concerned. The bill is exceedingly well designed to do exactly what we intend, which is to protect --

Mr. Cassidy: You intend but you are wrong.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: -- recreational and agricultural land. In terms of the definition of residential land, we do not see a difficulty in its relationship to section 16 of the Act to which we think the hon. member is referring. I am sorry that he is proceeding with his amendment because I do not think it is a correct one at this time.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Cassidy’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All these opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “nays” have it.

I declare the amendment defeated.

Section 1 agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further comments, questions or amendments to any other section of Bill 13?

Sections 2 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 13 reported.


House in committee on Bill 14, An Act to amend The Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments to any section of Bill 14? The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 6:

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I am sure that we could spend a lot of time on this. However, most of the points we wished to raise were raised previously. On section 6 I have a couple of questions for the minister which perhaps she would care to answer.

I would like the minister to explain how it is that her ministry was able to calculate three years ago that the revenues from the land speculation tax would be $25 million and yet the revenues only proved out to be a total of $3 million in one year and $6 million in the next. I would like to know the estimated revenue loss from these particular amendments and what is the estimated increase in speculative values which is being taxed. What is the universe that you hope to tax after these particular amendments?

I would like to know what is the current estimated rate of increase in property values which are being taxed according to this Act. What is the number of transactions taking place and what percentage of those transactions will be liable to the tax after these particular amendments? All of those questions relate to section 6.

Just to conclude, in the interest of brevity, I think that the minister has already perceived that we disagree with this softening of the land speculation tax. it is simply a further weakening of the bill. We are therefore intending to oppose section 6(1), which is the section that reduces the period in which you can work off the tax from 10 years to five. We will however support section 6(2) which relates to farming because of the support we indicated in debate yesterday.

I would ask the Chairman to take the vote separately on the two subsections of section 6.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the minister wish to comment?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, I believe figures were mentioned earlier in this debate to the effect that whereas there had been a projection for a very large income resulting from this particular part of the Act, actually that revenue was not forthcoming and it declined in the first year to $3 million and then rose to $6 million. I believe the projection now is $9 million.

Whether this amendment will actually have the effect that we hope it will of stimulating investment and development, I can’t say with all certainty because I am just not a clairvoyant. We are confident that the bill will stimulate development. I cannot tell you for certain that it is so.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. member wish to speak again?

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, the minister hasn’t explained how it is that this ministry and the Treasury could forecast $25 million in revenue from a bill which subsequently gave total revenues of about $4 million a year.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think, Mr. Chairman, the member knows full well the answer to his question and that’s why he asked it. It is that the bill was drafted in 1974 and approved in that year when there was a particular volume of real estate sales. That was one of the reasons why the bill was introduced, because we were so concerned about speculation that was going on in land. But the bill was effective. It did exactly what we intended it to do. It inhibited such speculative sales. The result was that the whole thing was crashingly limited. That, coupled with a declining economy, most definitely has limited our revenue from it.

All I am saying to the member, Mr. Chairman, is that the bill worked. It did what it was intended to do. It was successful.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman the bill worked, the minister is quite correct. It worked, but it had so many loopholes that it did not provide any effective deterrent at all to the speculation that was carried on by the large development companies in the province.

I agree with the minister, the bill had the effect of giving the illusion of action and giving no real protection at all to people who are getting ripped off by the large development industry and by speculative landholders across the province.

We will oppose this section. If you will divide it, Mr. Chairman, I do have a question on subsection 6(2).

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 6(1) form part of the bill?

All those in favour will say “aye.”

All those opposed will say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Mr. Cassidy: If I can refer the minister to the very bottom line in section 6(2)(b), this is the only place where the word “farming” is used. I would appreciate it if the minister could say what steps will be taken to distinguish between the people who put two cows on their 100 acres of speculative land and bona fide farmers. I am sure it is not the intention of the ministry to allow a sham to take place in order to avoid this particular tax, or take advantage of this exemption.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: If I could refer the member back to that particular section that he wished to amend, the one which was changed and deleted, where we defined very carefully what is unrestricted land and restricted land, we were introducing the tool of assessment in there, and assessment very clearly defined what is farm land. There has to be a basic or a minimum income derived from the land and that, I think, is $2,500 net. And there most definitely has to be a clear and working value of the land.

I have to say that having been a member of the rural community myself, I am well aware that assessors and many others are aware of who is a legitimate farmer and who isn’t. No one gets kidded around in the country, I can tell you that.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, the section that the minister referred to does not form part of this bill, because it is a reference to The Land Transfer Tax Act. Is the minister saying that the word “farming” on the designated land refers to farming as defined under The Assessment Act -- that the property must be defined as farm land for assessment purposes? If that is the case, would the minister consider putting that into the legislation so that it is clear, rather than leaving it ambiguous as it is right now? Because if that is the case, we could ask the officials to stand that particular clause to make the change and to come back to it in 10 minutes while we deal with another bill.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, I would be glad to consult -- I frankly think it is unnecessary, but I will consult with them. Excuse me.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. minister.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, the bill is well drawn, and is clear. There is one other factor, which is that applications of this nature, if there was anything at all irregular, would be directed to the minister for approval. So all the way through there are controls. I assure you no one is giving away the store.

Mr. Cassidy: Very briefly, we won’t move an amendment but I can’t say that I have great confidence in the fact that the matter will come before the minister even if she does claim to have a rural background. I think that this particular part of the legislation is not well drafted and that it’s wrong to leave it as vague as that. I just simply want to register our unhappiness at the way that this has been done. If it was another minister maybe in another government, we might have more confidence that the store was being guarded. That said, the basic purpose of protecting legitimate full-time farmers is one with which we agree and, therefore, we will support this section.

Sections 6 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 14 reported.


House in committee on Bill 15, An Act to amend The Corporations Tax Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I believe Mr. Cassidy has amendments on various sections. The first amendment that the Chair is aware of is section 2. We assume section 1 will carry. Does Mr. Cassidy wish to speak to his amendment and move it?

Section 1 agreed to.

On section 2:

Mr. Cassidy: In fact, that is the only amendment we have on this particular bill. In the spirit of co-operation I am prepared to confine my remarks to section 2(1). There is no evidence that we have that the minister’s answers are particularly satisfactory when we raise any other points anyway, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Cassidy moves that section 2 of Bill 15 be deleted and the following substituted therefor: “2. Subsections 1 and 2 of section 62 of the said Act, as re-enacted by the Statutes of Ontario, 1974, chapter 75, section 4, are repealed and the following substituted therefor:

“(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, there may be deducted in computing a corporation’s income for a fiscal year such an allowance, if any, in respect of an oil or gas well or the processing to the equivalent of crude oil or wellhead gas from a petroleum-bearing mineral resource, as is prescribed by regulation.

“(1b) There may be deducted in computing a corporation’s income for a fiscal year such amount as an allowance, if any, in respect of

“(a) a mineral resource or timber limit or,

“(b) the processing to the prime metal stage or its equivalent of ore from a mineral resource that is 33 1/3 per cent of the amount of the production profits or other subject of allowance for the corporation for the fiscal year as is prescribed by regulation.

“(2) For greater certainty, it is hereby declared, that in the case of a regulation made under subsection 1 or 1(b):

“(a) There may be prescribed by such regulation an amount in respect of any or all,

“(i) oil or gas wells or mineral resources in which the corporation has an interest, or

“(ii) processing operations described in clause b of subsection 1 that are carried on by the corporation and,

“(b) notwithstanding any other provision in this Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe the formula by which the amount that may be allowed to the corporation by such regulation shall be determined.”

Mr. Cassidy: The opposition critic, the minister and you, Mr. Chairman, have got copies of the amendment. I have to say that the last part of it, which is simply drafted or drawn from what’s in the bill already, is Greek to me. It certainly indicates that we cry out, in particular in the Ministry of Revenue, for a course in clear drafting of legislation because the stuff is more than even most tax lawyers, I suspect, can easily get their minds around.

I might say as well that I’m sorry that the minister was not particularly co-operative in requests to get further information in relation to these various bills in addition to the budget documents that were tabled some time ago, despite the fact that the extra information is in the hands of that phalanx of officials whom she has brought in in order to back her up.

This particular amendment has a very simple purpose. It is to respect the intention of the budget of giving power of regulation for determining depletion allowances for oil and gas exploration and processing of oil shale and that kind of thing, while maintaining the present 33 1/3 per cent depletion allowance for mineral resources and timber limits that are exploited apart from oil and gas.


Mr. Chairman, as I said in the second reading debate, whatever we may feel about that one-third automatic depletion we feel it is better to put it in the legislation than it is to give to this government the power to increase the depletion allowance to 40 per cent, 50 per cent, 75 per cent or even to 100 per cent. That is why we have put forward this piece of legislation.

I see the deputy minister looking at me. I did ask his people if they would draft this particular amendment. I have to say to the minister that I am sorry they were not prepared to co-operate. It seems to me that officials do work for the government of the people of Ontario and not for the Conservative Party and I regret that lack of co-operation.

If there is any technical problem with the amendment I am quite happy to accept any changes that may be necessary in order to make the amendment acceptable. I hope that the official opposition understand the purposes of this amendment, which are simply to segregate oil and gas from other minerals and from timber, and to continue to treat timber and mineral resources as they have been treated since 1974. And I hope the opposition will support this amendment.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, I regret the member’s remarks concerning my staff. I would point out to him that he placed them in a most difficult and embarrassing position inasmuch as he presented them with a conflict of interest.

How in the world could you expect the staff who are working on the development of legislation for our tax bills to also draw legislation for you, objectively? I am sorry, I think that you were advised to seek assistance from legislative counsel available for just that purpose. I think that was the appropriate thing to do, and I am sorry that you made those remarks.

Mr. Chairman, I would point out that there is an error in the amendment as proposed. The amendment includes an allowance for processing oil and gas. This allowance is disallowed under the present regulation 302 (2b) of The Corporation Tax Act, so I think that in itself places this amendment in jeopardy.

However, I would also point out that some of the changes are rather sweeping and that the member is proposing something which was not intended. Most definitely our amendment was kept as simply written as possible. We were attempting to keep it in line exactly with the federal recommendation, and this is in line with other provinces in this country. We are not out of step. We are in step, and maintaining that kind of simplification and synchronization. I deplore the member’s amendment, frankly.

Mr. Cassidy: With respect, Mr. Chairman, three points. In the first place, it is no conflict of interest to ask for officials of the government of the province of Ontario to give advice to members of the Legislature, whatever party they may happen to represent. I reject completely the statements by the minister, and it is the influence of this minister that leads to that kind of an attitude that civil servants who work for all of the people of Ontario --

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Perhaps the hon. member would return and speak to the amendment.

Mr. Cassidy: If I am irrelevant, Mr. Chairman, then the minister was certainly irrelevant. I really find that rather upsetting.

The second point, Mr. Chairman -- the points referring to the processing of gas- or oil-bearing mineral resources was something that I did get advised upon by her officials. If it is wrong, I am prepared to take it out. I will make that motion right now. But because of her influence in denying any reasonable kind of dealing with the officials, if it is wrong I am sorry about that. But I put the blame, not on the officials, but on the minister.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. The hon. minister has a point of order.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Chairman, I really can’t sustain the member’s comments. I have never instructed my officials either in this ministry, or in any other ministry, to ever be unco-operative with a member of the House, no matter from what party.

I was totally unaware of the member’s calls into my ministry this morning because I was in cabinet. I didn’t hear about it until just before I came in, so I gave no instructions to them. And I believe that they were co-operative and provided you with the information and answers to your questions as you asked them. The only thing they said to you was they thought that you should have someone else draft your legislation, and I think that was appropriate. You placed them in a position of having a conflict of interest. It was an embarrassment for them. I think that our legislative counsel, whom I am familiar with and have used many times myself in the past, are exceedingly competent and are there to be objective and provide independent and objective advice to members in the drafting of their legislation. That’s what they are there for. I think it was not correct to ask my officials to draft your legislation.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps we could return to the actual amendment.

Mr. Cassidy: The officials, as the minister said, were certainly very co-operative today in providing advice, as I may say officials usually are in the government. This is as a general comment. However, from time to time the influence of ministers does work in a rather negative direction.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Perhaps we could speak to the amendment.

Mr. Cassidy: The only point I wanted to raise before we take the vote on this was that if you simplify tax legislation the way this minister wants to act, you will simply give to the cabinet by regulation the powers to decree any kind of a tax in the province of Ontario without reference to the Legislature. That’s the simplistic kind of approach that she takes. We think it’s wrong.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Cassidy’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “nays” have it.

I declare the amendment defeated.

Section 2 agreed to.

Section 3 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 15 reported.


House in committee on Bill 16, An Act to amend The Gift Tax Act, 1972.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, in view of the time, we’ve already indicated our opposition to the basic portion of this bill, which is the reference to the giving a much larger exemption level on the gift tax. We think it’s wrong and we want to have a vote on it. It’s in sections 3 and 4 and, I believe, also in section 5 of the bill. In the interests of convenience, if the Chairman would like to call the vote on those particular three sections, I think that we have probably debated the principle of those sections fairly adequately.

As I said, we stand for the people in the province. The Liberal and Conservative parties in supporting those three sections will stand for the protection of wealth.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

On section 3:

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of section 3 forming part of the bill will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

Section 3 agreed to.

On section 4:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of section 4 standing as part of the bill will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

Section 4 agreed to.

On section 5:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of section 5 standing as part of the bill will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

Section 5 agreed to.

Sections 6 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 16 reported.


House in committee on Bill 17, An Act to amend The Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of this bill?

Mr. Cassidy: I want to raise a couple of points in relation to section 5 of the bill.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps we can carry the sections up to 5 then. Agreed?

Mr. Cassidy: Unless other people have comments, yes.

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 5:

Mr. Cassidy: I had thought of putting forward an amendment but perhaps the way to handle it is to ask the minister for an absolute and unequivocal assurance about this particular point.

I have to confess I am very unhappy about the proposal here. I said that when we were debating the bill in second reading. The idea that anybody driving a motor vehicle using diesel fuel -- and, if regulations are changed, anybody driving any motor vehicle in the province -- could be stopped and could be forced to show that they have proof by receipt where they had bought their gasoline or their diesel fuel, and, if they fail to comply could be subjected to a fine amounting to as much as $50 a day for failing to comply, it seems to me is quite unconscionable.

I understand, although we have reservations which we expressed, that a system of tightening up the enforcement of the diesel fuel side of things is being implemented here. We suspect that the coloration used in Saskatchewan is a better means of proceeding, but the government obviously thinks otherwise and apparently they have the support of the Liberal Party for this further extension of bureaucracy and red tape into people’s lives.


Mr. Cassidy: I would like the minister to give an absolute assurance that passenger vehicles and vehicles not used for commercial purposes, whether they be gasoline burning or diesel-fuel burning, will not under any circumstances be stopped, searched or subjected to this particular section of the bill without further reference and legislation in the Legislature.

Mr. Breithaupt: That’s easy enough to do.

Mr. Cassidy: If the minister would give that assurance then we don’t need to proceed on it further. But I think we have to have that assurance.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I can do that very simply, Mr. Chairman. The answer is yes.

Sections 5 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 17 reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendment and five without amendment and asked for leave to sit again.


The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 12, An Act to amend The Retail Sales Tax Act.

Bill 15, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act, 1972.

Bill 17, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved third reading of Bill 13, An Act to amend The Land Transfer Tax Act, 1974.

Mr. Speaker: Those in favour will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

I declare the motion carried.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved third reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend The Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.

Mr. Speaker: Those in favour will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

I declare the motion carried.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener moved third reading of Bill 16, An Act to amend the Gift Tax Act, 1972.

Mr. Speaker: Those in favour will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the “ayes” have it.

I declare the motion carried.


Hon. Mr. Welch, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Bernier, moved second reading of Bill 21, An Act to establish the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.