31e législature, 1re session

L055 - Mon 21 Nov 1977 / Lun 21 nov 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Speaker: If I can have the attention of the hon. members for one moment, I feel that I should advise the House that I have asked each caucus to consider the advisability of continuing past procedures concerning access to parts of the chamber and its lobbies by members of the press and other strangers. I expect to hear through the usual channels from each caucus within the next day or two, so I would ask people to bear with us until such time as we get a clarification of the standing orders from the members of this House whose servant I am.

In my absence on Friday, the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) suggested that I was being heavy-handed and arbitrary in the way in which I was handling the question period.

I want to refresh the memories of hon. members as to what took place on Thursday after 59 minutes of the question period had expired. I had to make the decision as to whether I inform hon. members that the question period had expired or give the next member, who happened to be the member for Grey-Bruce, the opportunity to place his question.

I said, and it’s recorded in Instant Hansard, 1530-2:

“Mr. Speaker: We’ve got one minute left. The hon. member for Grey-Bruce with a short question to one minute.

“Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, you should be watching the Ottawa proceedings. The Speaker down there gives lots of laxity on questions. Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. The minister, over the years ...

“ ... I’d like you to tell me why every deal that Mr. Goodman brings to sell a bill of goods to cabinet they invariably buy it. It’s an insulting thing to me as a taxpayer, sir, that the Greyhound Corporation deal is a fait accompli, when you still say it’s coming before cabinet before it goes back to the Highway Transport Board ... ”

That was the sum and substance of the question put to the Minister of Transportation and Communications on that occasion. I had cautioned the member that there was one minute left in the question period and I take it that it’s my responsibility to abide by the rules of the House which say, “Oral question period will be limited to one hour.” I cautioned the member for Grey-Bruce and hoped that he would have had an opportunity to place his question within the one minute that was available to us. He failed to put a question in that time. I merely drew the attention of the House and the hon. member for Grey-Bruce that the oral question period had expired.

I want to assure the hon. member and all members of this House that I wasn’t attempting to be arbitrary. I was simply allowing him an opportunity to place his question in the time allotted. He wasn’t able to do it so I declared oral question period to be over. I think that I gave him every opportunity to place his question within the one minute. Unless I get some further direction from the House, I will continue to operate the question period within the time allocation provided by provisional orders.



Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the needs of the elderly in nursing homes are met, my ministry recognized some time ago a requirement to modify the Nursing Homes Act and the regulations under that Act. To reflect our concern, my ministry recently conducted a detailed review of existing legislative provisions relating to nursing home care, as well as proposals made by the 1974 task force to review nursing home legislation. This ministry review was assisted by the Ontario Nursing Home Association and consultants in medicine, nursing, pharmacology, environmental health, reactivation, fire and general safety.

I have recently received that report and I have ordered a review by my senior ministry personnel. We will discuss this matter again with the Ontario Nursing Home Association, and I expect that by early next year I will be in a position to propose changes to the Nursing Homes Act and regulations. I am concerned about this area, and invite input in response to these recommendations from all interested individuals, be they professionals or members of the general public.

I am tabling three copies of that report with the Clerk of the House today.


Mr. Conway: Where are the ministers?

Mr. Riddell: Whom do you ask the questions of?


Mr. S. Smith: I will ask a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Is the minister aware of the anticipated approximately 40 per cent or even more increase in reported cases of child abuse this year? If so, is he prepared now to tell us what his ministry is going to do about this, whether in fact we can expect to see the children’s services legislation brought before us this session, and how he expects to provide the funding for the source of personnel, the source of special teams and various committees to deal with child abuse in the various localities of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I can’t confirm the specific percentage cited by the hon. member, but I am aware of the increase in reported cases of child abuse. With respect, first, to the legislation that was referred to, I hope that within a matter of days we will be making available to the members of the Legislature and to the public generally for discussion our proposed package of law reforms for child welfare legislation. I do not believe it would be possible for us to present that to the House during this session but it is our intention to proceed in the spring. I think the member will see when the proposed amendments are available for discussion that in total there are in excess of 100 proposed interim amendments. We will be proceeding in the spring.

With respect to the current problem of child abuse, we have for some time been both concerned and actively involved in developing a capacity to respond in the case of child abuse. We have within our ministry a group engaged primarily in developing and assisting to develop this capacity across the province. We have held seminars in all areas of the province. I can’t give the member the precise number; I believe it’s in excess of 35 locations where such seminars have been held, involving persons from various disciplines who have direct involvement with children where they might be in a position for example to detect child abuse: Police officers, school teachers, hospital personnel, child care workers, and so on.

In many of those communities we have also assisted in the establishment of a child abuse task force, or child abuse planning team that is developing resources within the communities for, first of all, the further training in the detection of child abuse and for the development of preventive and treatment programs.

Whether or not that response will have an impact before the end of this year, I can’t be certain. But I am sure that it already is having a significant impact on the recognition and detection of child abuse which may well be reflected in the increased figures that the member cited.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary and giving credit for the program to the minister and his ministry, it may well be, as he says, that the work being done is resulting in more reports of child abuse occurring. However, that does mean more work; therefore, I have to ask the minister how the Children’s Aid Societies, which are expected, after all, to channel a lot of this work and to be the front line, are expected to handle this increase in work, given the ministry’s guidelines and restrictions on their staff and budget increases for this year. And, furthermore, how is it that even the demonstration projects will continue to be funded, given the rather low budget in the ministry’s estimates of, I think, $140,790?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Of course, not only the Children’s Aid Societies are involved in this. But insofar as the Children’s Aid Societies’ case work load may increase -- in terms of their being required in some instances to take children into care -- in that respect our approved level of funding is not restricted to what is approved. Through the supplementary estimate process, at the end of the societies’ fiscal year they are invited to submit to us supplementary budgets to pick up the growth that takes place, growth that wasn’t anticipated at the time they struck their original budgets. So in terms of that growth aspect, a significant portion of that would qualify under the supplementary process.

Mr. Cooke: With regard to Children’s Aid Societies, and since they are the agency that has to handle child abuse and the legal process in this province, and since it is recognized -- I think we had a fairly lengthy discussion in estimates -- that the employees or the social workers in these agencies are really not expert enough in the area of child abuse, what is the ministry doing to ensure that there is adequate in-service training in Children’s Aid Societies so that the workers will be able to handle child abuse cases?


Hon. Mr. Norton: If by “requiring” the member means making it mandatory that all child care workers receive such in-service training, we have no mandatory requirement as such. But I can assure the member that as these seminars and training programs that I’ve indicated have been held across the province, there has been heavy involvement on the part of child care workers from Children’s Aid Societies along with other professionals. As a matter of policy, we certainly encourage the involvement of child care workers in that training process.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: The minister has referred to the staff members working in this field. Is it a fact that he has three staff members working on the child abuse problem, that one has been on vacation, that another is a secretary, and that in fact there has been one person in the ministry working in this field?

Hon. Mr. Norton: It is correct that we have one director of the program. I cannot at this point give you details as to the breakdown that the hon. member has just related, whether it is accurate or not or whether someone happens at the moment to be on vacation. I certainly will try to get that specific information for the member.

I think if one looks at the very active role that group in my ministry has been playing and the impact it has had across this province, looking at whether one of the staff happens to be a secretary or not is not the most important factor. I think if the member looks at what has been done it is nothing less than very impressive.

Mr. McClellan: Is Chick Hendry in that program?

Mr. S. Smith: With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to reserve my question in the event that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) returns. I’ll take my place in the rotation later, if that meets with your approval, sir.


Mr. Lewis: May I address a question initially to the Minister of Industry and Tourism? Is there a public policy in his ministry which allocates specific public moneys to the underwriting of or participating in advertisements placed by private companies generally?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, Mr. Speaker, there is not.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: How does he arrive then at the kind of ad hoc contribution which his ministry made and of which he as minister was not aware, apparently, towards the Eaton’s ad, and I assume other advertisements of that kind? What does the minister exact in return?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, so that we have a full understanding of the participation that my ministry has had with the T. Eaton Company over the last three or four years in the field of both industrial and tourism promotion, we have participated with the Eaton company in what has been called Ontario Alive, which has been a tourism program that it has conducted --

Mr. Lewis: Better alive than dead, I suppose.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Well, I’ll tell the member, it’s a great deal more alive than sometimes I think the party he happens to be leading is, sir.

The fact remains that we have had the participation with Eaton’s for the last three or four years where we’ve had kiosks in all of their stores across the province of Ontario. We’ve had training programs as well as employing students in those kiosks to distribute information relating to tourism. In the initial years they worked for a six-week period per year, and in the current year of 1977 we’ve participated in 19 stores with a total of 38 student employees for a period of eight weeks.

We have had co-operation with Eaton’s -- you might say it is fantastic. Let me say that it is one of the retail chains in this country that has at least come forward to offer student employment and an opportunity to promote the province of Ontario to the visitors who are with us in those retail operations.

Eaton’s, sir, has run ads over that three-year period promoting the province of Ontario and its tourism. I will admit that the ad which ran yesterday in the New York Times, which has a circulation of 1.5 million, is the first time that we as a province have participated, for which we take no back seat because we think it’s interesting to find out what the response will be; I might say that to my understanding we are not the only party, other than Eaton’s, that participated in the ad.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: What was the province of Ontario’s contribution and how effective has this been in the past?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Our contribution to the ad that appeared in the New York Times yesterday would be approximately $2,000; about 10 per cent of the cost of the ad and the make-up of the advertisement itself. We have advertised in the New York Times before on various occasions and have found it very profitable. This is the first time this type of an experiment has been tried by my ministry or, indeed, by a retail operation in the province of Ontario.

They are exploiting, and I use the word exploiting, the fact that the Canadian dollar has sunk somewhat in value to 91 cents. We are going to use that as the leverage in trying to bring Americans this way to do their retail purchasing for the Christmas season. Indeed if members read the ad they will notice that they support more than just the retail industry. They support pretty well all of the entertainment factors in this great community of Toronto. They go into the areas of hotels, meals and so on.

I think the ad in itself is a very general one. It is one which I believe will be good for us. I’ll know better within the next week or two because they are asked to communicate with the Canadian Government Office of Travel in New York City; they are working with American Airlines and various other organizations that they would likely be in touch with. We think the ad will likely have some very direct beneficial economic factors to this community. I hope that I will be able to report at a later date what the actual results have been.

Mr. Lewis: They even promote the Santa Claus parade. There is nothing but perfection in the ad.

Can I ask the minister, would Eaton’s have placed the advertisement without the money from the province?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, that is a question which I am not able to answer at this point. I will say that Eaton’s more than likely would have gone ahead with it.

Eaton’s had asked more than just the province of Ontario to participate. I understand others have participated with them in this particular ad. I understand that the local convention bureau was asked to participate. I cannot report to this House whether they did or did not. I understand that American Airlines participated in the ad with them.

I think it will have a very direct beneficial effect. Seven per cent sales tax is not what you call an indirect receipt for this government and the people of this province.

As I said, we have tried this on an experimental basis. If it is successful we could very well decide that in the long run it is advantageous for the province to participate on a hooker ad deal with other commercial organizations --

Mr. Reid: On a what?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is not the type of hooker the hon. member is thinking of, so he can just sit down and take life easy.

Mr. Breithaupt: Are those goods or services?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: We could very well find ourselves participating in this type of an advertising program.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, may I ask if the minister would consider using that same principle and assist the Downtown Windsor Business Association in their advertising at the Renaissance Centre in Detroit? This could be done either by regular newspaper advertising or by the distribution of information --

Mr. Lewis: This is the problem. What happens when Simpsons comes to you?

Mr. B. Newman: -- so that our American visitors there could come into Windsor, and in this way get a taste of Ontario and go further into the community.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I have already said, what we are doing at this point is an experiment. Once we have had a chance to analyse it and see its effect we could very well want to participate with other organizations in advertising in the United States.

Mr. Lewis: Why?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I say to this House very clearly that we think our participation in the ad and the selling of Ontario, and more specifically Metropolitan Toronto, in the New York market for $2,000 with a circulation of 1.5 million copies is a fairly reasonable cost per issue.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister mentioned there would be seven per cent sales tax collected from purchases. But is it not correct that foreign purchasers can have the sales tax remitted if they mention that they are from another country, or if they have it shipped out of the province?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I believe that there are some considerations taken into account. But I must remind the hon. member that if one eats a meal in the province or one happens to stay for a night’s lodging, that tax paid on those particular items is not redeemable.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary: Was the minister aware that this had happened? Would this not be a matter of policy within the ministry and should the minister not have given the direction rather than reading about it in the Globe and Mail with the rest of us?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I must say first of all I didn’t read about it in the Globe and Mail. I had a telephone call yesterday evening about 10.30 to tell me it might be in the Globe and Mail this morning. So I’d rather say I had an advance copy of what was going to be released in that particular newspaper.

No, I was not informed of the participation; but it would be an administrative problem. Surely in a ministry where we are spending upwards of $9 million to $10 million in advertising in this country and around the world, there are people who I feel are competent to make those decisions in the interest of what is going to help the economy of the province of Ontario.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I would like to place a question with the Minister of Education if I may. The time continues to pass, and no statement issues from the minister about the resolution of the problem regarding children with learning disabilities in the province of Ontario. Can he indicate to the House when it is likely that a statement will be made?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the kind of statement that I will be making will be in direction to school boards about the kind of courses and kind of programs that they should have available.

The impression should not be left that the absence of a statement means that nothing is happening in this particular area. Special education is going on. It is delivered by the staff of the school board. What we are trying to do is put together some additional help for those people that will emphasize the needs of children, particularly with learning disabilities, and will perhaps give some additional criteria and so forth that will help them. It may take us a little while longer to get that together. We have been working with the association on it and so forth. That, of course, is intertwined with the program of my friend, the Minister of Community and Social Services --

Mr. Lewis: That is not a program. That is the battleground.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and his particular involvement in this area. At some point in time I expect the school boards of this province will have programs that they will offer; there is a difference.

Mr. Foulds: No money.

Hon. Mr. Wells: A lot of people in this province, for a variety of reasons, send their children to private schools and they pay for them. In this particular case, for a particular situation, the province of Ontario is paying to send these children to a private school; some of them in this province and some outside. I hope no one is under the impression that in this policy we are going to be establishing residential schools for children with learning disabilities, because that is not the kind of policy statement that we are in the process of developing.

Mr. Lewis: A further supplementary: Will there at least in this policy be some financial contribution from the province of a specific kind which would make it possible for local boards to offer beyond that which is now available, which doesn’t meet the needs of many of these kids with difficult problems, many of whose parents are now paying -- does the minister not recognize this -- from $7,000 to $10,000 a year, even in the city of Toronto, for education for which they receive no support from the Ministry of Community and Social Services because our school boards can’t handle it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: That, of course, Mr. Speaker, is part of the development of the 1978 grant regulations for the boards. There is now, of course, provision for boards that offer increased services to get increased money and at a fair rate -- more, likely, than their rate of grant would be.

In other words, the special education weighting factor creates additional money now for boards like Metro and other boards that have a high level of service. That is part of the general consideration that is going on for next year’s grants to allow boards to be able to offer even more extensive services. I just emphasize that our direction is to help the school boards in the delivery of the services in this area, and the programs will still be the responsibility of local school boards in this province.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Does the minister have an agreement from the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities that the school boards, except in the very populous areas, could possibly present a program that would meet the needs of the children who are under discussion, particularly when the professional assessment of most of these individuals calls specifically for a residential type of schooling?

Hon. Mr. Wells: At this point in time, the basic thrust of the school boards in this province is not towards the establishment of more institutional care, and if institutional care is desired I think that some other vehicle for handling it should be found. The educational programs are the responsibility of the school boards. As my friend knows, school boards now send teachers into many of the group homes and institutions in this province, but they are responsible for the delivery of the educational service. The residential component falls within someone else’s area.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: If I understand the minister correctly, it is not going to be ministry policy to make it mandatory to have special education for children with learning disabilities. If that is so, does the minister not find it contradictory, ironic and discriminatory that it is the responsibility of parents to send their children of compulsory school age to school, but it is not the responsibility of the ministry or of the school boards to educate all children of compulsory school age?


Mr. Lewis: That’s what’s happening.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly my feeling and the feeling of most of the school boards of this province that they will develop a program for all the children that are brought to them.

Mr. Lewis: That’s not so. They do not think that. They have said they can’t do it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Really, at some times, perhaps we think there are many, many people out there who are not being served.

Mr. Foulds: There are too many.

Mr. Warner: Far too many.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I suggest to the member that the number is not that great. The school boards have within their capabilities the potential to serve all the people and this they will do.

I might point out to the member, if he will take the trouble to look, that in the American jurisdictions where mandatory special education, or mandatory education for the handicapped, as I think they entitle it, has been put into effect, the level of service available is perhaps in some cases even less than what is available in the province of Ontario. It hasn’t solved the problem. We’re looking at solving the problem, not taking some cosmetic step that will lead people to believe it’s been solved.

Mr. Lewis: Cosmetic? You are just washing your hands.

Mr. Foulds: How about quoting my bill?

Mr. Sweeney: Given the fact that we now have three of the largest school boards in the province on record in writing declaring that they cannot provide this service, and given the fact that the minister led us to understand in the estimates that he had a committee of his ministry investigating the possibility -- not the confirmation, the possibility -- of setting up residential schools here, where is the minister in that particular situation?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t recall ever saying that we had a committee that was looking into our setting up residential schools in this province. I have never said that -- never in any talks that I have given or in any answers to any questions. I’ve said that we are looking at a total policy to assist boards to better deliver this service. Let’s get that clear, we want to see every child in this province have a program that’s best suited for him.

Mrs. Campbell: Or her.

Hon. Mr. Wells: All I’m saying is we can aim towards that by helping the boards get at it and develop the services. Passing a law here saying, “Every board has to do it,” and then just saying, “That’s fine, you have to do it, now go and do it” is not going to make the situation any better than it is today. What we’ve got to do is develop the resources and the help for the boards to develop these programs.

What I said was that we are developing, my colleague and myself, a policy that can put forward the way residential accommodation will be handled if it is needed in these particular areas. But I draw to my friend’s attention that we are now starting to get over into the whole area of support for private schools and that particular policy decision has to be looked at very squarely. The member may feel one way towards that and we feel another, and they’re honest policy differences. But it’s not the policy of this government to offer financial support to private schools.

Mr. Lewis: That is not what we’re asking. Nobody in this House is asking that.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, let’s be practical for a minute. I’d like to know from the minister, because I’m sure he knows school boards are not going to provide these types of programs unless there are financial incentives, what new financial incentives is he contemplating over and above the present grant structure?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, my friend will see that when the 1978 legislative grants regulations are issued.

Mr. Stong: In the light of the fact that not every student who suffers from a learning disability must reside in a residential area under that type of an educational program, why does the minister not accept the necessity of requiring school boards to provide special education programs? If the minister does not, is he prepared to accept the responsibility in his ministry of financing those children who do require such special education?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Setting aside those who need residential accommodation, I’d like my friend to bring to me examples of children who feel they are not being served by the school board that has jurisdiction in the area where they live. I would be just as interested as he is in that.

If he’s saying that the York county board of education cannot take care of the needs of his constituents in York county, show me some examples; I’d like to see this, because the sad and tragic part of this whole matter is, and I recognize this, that there are honest differences of opinion about what the program should be. That’s part of the problem and I’m sure my friend recognizes that school boards with their professional staff, psychiatrists, psychologists and so forth --

Mr. Foulds: They just cut them out in Thunder Bay and other centres because of restraints.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- will set out certain programs and the parents’ wish for a program for their child will be different to that which the school board wishes to offer, and there will be honest differences of opinion. I’ve seen them; the hon. member has seen them; they’ve been brought to him. The resolution of those matters is sometimes very difficult; it rests with different professional advice and so forth. That’s one part of the problem.

Setting aside the residential part of the problem, I think that school boards can handle the education of most children with learning disabilities and other handicaps. We now have about 12 per cent of the school population in this province having some kind of special program above and beyond the normal program in the schools. That’s something over 200,000 young people in those programs. So, obviously, school boards are capable of doing this. Believe me, we’re here to try to help them do the job better, and we hope to make some changes in the 1978 grant regulations that can do it.

But all I’m saying is that simply saying it’s going to be mandatory is not going to solve the problem. We’ve still got to pitch in and help them develop even better programs.

Mr. Stong: One final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: We’ve had enough supplementaries on that.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Attorney General: Has the Attorney General reviewed the opinion of the law officers of the Crown concerning the laying of criminal charges against Arthur S. Armstrong, as he promised to do a week ago? If so, will he advise the House on what grounds the decision was taken that no charges be laid?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated personally to the Leader of the Opposition, at the end of last week, I think, I had a preliminary opinion that I reviewed with the law officers of the Crown. I felt that in view of the interest in this matter -- particularly because there were a number of questions asked in relation to this particular section of the Criminal Code during the estimates -- that I wanted to have a fairly comprehensive opinion, not just in relation to this case but because of the interest indicated from the members of the House, to indicate the criteria generally used by Crown law officers in this section.

The former leader of the Liberal Party was very interested in this matter and, quite frankly, I felt we required something fairly comprehensive, and I indicated to the Leader of the Opposition at the end of the week that it would be early this week before I would have that response. I can’t guarantee tomorrow, but I hope it will be ready tomorrow. I think it will be Thursday at the latest.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary: Is the Attorney General basically saying that when his predecessor decided not to lay charges, the weighty opinions of learned members of his department -- opinions which, he told us, he was certain existed -- were in fact not so intensively and definitively put that he could actually present them to the House, and that he now has to tell his officers to get busy and work out a better one? If that is not so, why can’t we get the reason why he didn’t lay charges in the first place?

Mr. Nixon: That’s what it sounds like.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I wanted, quite frankly, to get a response. I have seen the opinions given to my predecessor and I think they’re quite intelligible to any lawyer experienced in the criminal law, but judging by the nature of some of the questions I’ve been getting during the estimates I could appreciate -- seriously, Mr. Speaker -- appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by some of the non-lawyer members of the Legislature as to the criteria in respect to some of these questions. Quite frankly, with all due respect to the Leader of the Opposition, who is very knowledgeable in many areas, I would not put the administration of justice at the top of the list, with all due respect.

Mr. Kerrio: A lot of lawyers wouldn’t understand it either.

Mr. S. Smith: It is too complicated.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I repeat, Mr. Speaker, there was considerable interest expressed in relation to this section, not in relation to this matter but in relation to others, during estimates. That is why I want a comprehensive response because, as the former leader of the Liberal Party stated the other day, there were a number of occasions in which he felt that this section should have been considered by law officers of the Crown. He was somewhat puzzled by the fact that, in his words, “there weren’t more charges laid in more cases.” For that reason I tried to take some care in having my law officers prepare an opinion that will be of guidance to those members who are interested in this question.

Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: What the minister is saying is that the opinions his predecessor had, and what he has on file, won’t wash in this House and, therefore, he’s telling them to go back and do better and that I wouldn’t understand it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s nonsense. That’s absolute nonsense.

Mr. Nixon: But would the minister not agree that there is a certain condescension in the Attorney General when he indicates that there are many people in this House who are not perhaps acute enough to understand the opinions put forward by the law officers? Why doesn’t he just table them and then, perhaps, if we are critical, the hon. Attorney General could defend them? That’s surely what we’re here for.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: When dealing with the hon. member I feel I have to be a little condescending.

Mr. Lewis: Maybe he’s cute rather than acute.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) have a supplementary?

Mr. S. Smith: I have one, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: We’ll have one final supplementary. I want to draw the hon. members’ attention to the fact that we have spent 33 minutes on the first four questions.

Mr. S. Smith: With complete respect, perhaps we could in general cut down on the supplementaries to leaders’ questions. Certainly, I wouldn’t object to that.

I might on this occasion, however, momentarily go beyond the bounds of psychiatry to which I’m apparently going to be limited by the hon. Attorney General.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We just want to give the member as much help as we can. We’re just trying to be helpful.

Mr. S. Smith: Understanding that the matter to which I’m referring is one of those complex legal matters, and I’ll just do my best with it --

Mr. Reid: Like the hospital closures.

Mr. S. Smith: -- but given the Toronto Star’s Saturday report of statements by Judge Stortini, Mr. Noel Bates, Mr. Ross Wilson and by Inspector Lou Pelissero, all involved with the aborted judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption in Mississauga, that further investigation is warranted, will the Attorney General now agree to recommend such inquiry to the government under the Public Inquiries Act rather than under the Municipal Act where a lot of technicalities were pointed out by the divisional court and could impede the inquiry?

Mr. Breithaupt: If the Star understands it surely we can.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Again, some of the members opposite are having some difficulty in appreciating the role of the Attorney General in this matter. My interest in the matter is directed to whether or not there is evidence of criminality warranting criminal charges or further investigation.

I should say that insofar as any investigation into municipalities’ affairs based on allegations that relate to ethical considerations or lack of morality is concerned, that in my view is a question that should be more properly directed to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) in relation to his responsibilities vis-à-vis municipalities. If there is some inability of a municipality to properly handle their affairs -- some inability that falls short of criminality -- that in my view is not a matter that should be of concern to the Attorney General any more than it would be to any other member of the Legislature.

I want to indicate in relation to this also that at the time that these documents were reviewed by the Ontario Provincial Police and a report was given to the senior law officers with respect to whether or not any criminal charges should be laid, we did not leave the matter at that point. At the request of the municipality we returned all the documents to Mississauga and at the same time my office indicated to the municipal solicitor that in view of the public interest in this matter they would do well to retain the services, as an example, of a retired judge or somebody very senior in the legal profession to give them an independent review because of the questions being asked.


We were satisfied that criminal charges were not warranted but in view of the interest, the suggestion was made to them to take advantage of having some independent body review it. Now, whether or not this recommendation was pursued or not, I have no knowledge.

Mr. Nixon: The mayor said he locked it up and nobody looked at it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: But all of these documents are again in the possession of the Mississauga council.


Hon. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, on November 17, the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) asked whether Ontario Hydro has a chartered accountant attending all meetings in the House -- for example, the public accounts meetings -- when nothing to do with Hydro is being discussed. He further asked: “Are they monitoring all other procedures of this Legislature?”

In response, I am advised that a chartered accountant on the staff of Ontario Hydro’s financial and information systems division did attend a meeting of the public accounts committee on November 10 and again on November 17. In his role as a Hydro accountant, he was specifically concerned with the intentions in regard to Bill 43 dealing with proposed revisions to the Audit Act.

Neither Ontario Hydro nor my ministry are aware of any chartered accountant of Ontario Hydro attending all meetings in this House or monitoring procedures of this Legislature.


Mr. Conway: My question is to the Minister of Health: Following my leader’s question of November 3 about the Lakeshore psychiatric hospital, can the minister explain the rationale for hiring 12 new psychiatric nursing assistants in August of this year and then putting five of them on part-time contract until March 1978 and laying off six as of tomorrow?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, that answer is being prepared. I thought it would have been ready by now but as I recall the initial information I had the majority of them were in fact hired on a short-term basis to serve specific needs for specific aspects of the program; other layoffs of them relate to restraint on the budgets, but of course we are talking about a facility with many hundreds of staff. As a percentage, this is not a major cutback.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary: Having regard to the fact that since November 3 there has been at least one serious outbreak of violence at the Lakeshore psychiatric hospital among inmates and that as a result of that particular altercation several staff members have been injured and in fact some hospitalized, can the minister justify tomorrow’s layoffs when the existing staff is recognized as being inadequate, as evidenced by repeated demands for them to work double shifts and that many of the staff members now fear very much for their personal safety?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think quite frankly that the member is overstating it. I wish that he had as much concern, say 18 months or two years ago, for the safety of our staff.

It is unfortunate but true that from time to time staff are attacked and sometimes quite seriously injured. After all we are dealing with some people who are in many cases extremely disturbed and I think it’s fair to say that no matter what the staffing levels these incidents are going to occur, unless the member is suggesting that everybody be restrained, which I certainly hope is not the case. I think that he is overstating the problem considerably when one considers that better than two-thirds of the 12,500 staff in the Ministry of Health are in the psychiatric hospitals area and we are talking about fewer than 100 layoffs, most of those in the areas of dietary services and so forth. Admittedly there are some in nursing areas which is requiring the merging of some wards and that sort of thing, but I think it really is overstating it.

I am aware of one particular incident that occurred recently which was extremely unfortunate, and I hope that the initial diagnosis I have heard of the gentleman’s condition is not true. But these attacks are, unfortunately, a fact of life of a psychiatric institution.

Mr. Lawlor: By the way, the member for Renfrew North is stepping on to my preserve. I hope he realizes that?


Mr. Lawlor: A supplementary in two parts: Has the minister seen the petitioning letter written by permanent members of the staff with respect to this, which spells out the problem in pretty good depth? Secondly, in that letter and arising out of it, particularly in the second paragraph, is he aware of the counter-productivity of his move with respect to these nurses -- to the $60,000 that is required to educate them and to releasing them onto a very short market?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If I followed that line of logic, I suppose we would double the budget of the Ministry of Health and hire everybody who is available.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s a smart aleck response.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, really. I suggest to the member that is a logical conclusion of that kind of an argument.

I haven’t seen the particular petition that the hon. member refers to. But we are taking great pains to ensure that we, along with other ministries in the government, meet the restraints due to dropoffs in revenue. We’re also trying to hold the line on the increase in government spending for the next fiscal year, so we are trying to ensure as much as is possible that the area which is least affected in our ministry’s program is the area which deals with direct patient care. This is so whether we are talking about the psychiatric hospitals or whether we are talking about the ambulance services branch.

Mr. Conway: Can the minister advise, or report later, whether or not it is true that the core staff is being requested to work double shifts? If this is so what, if any, manpower requirements will that mean for the future? It seems that if the present group are being asked to work double shifts, then further manpower is necessary.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have learned in recent days that one should not put much stock in rumours. I have seen a circular distributed by OPSEU in Owen Sound that said that Dr. MacKinnon Phillips Hospital was going to close and that the patients were going to go to Penetanguishene. That was the very day that cabinet approved in principle the merger of Dr. MacKinnon Phillips with the Owen Sound General and Marine.

I have heard rumours started, or aided along, by a member of the third party that OHIP wasn’t going to go to Kingston, that it was going to go to Brockville. It wasn’t true --

Mr. Speaker: That is really not a part of the question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will check into that rumour. I don’t believe it has any substance.


Mr. Deans: A question for the Attorney General: Will the Attorney General review again the administrative operations of the court system in Hamilton to determine why it would have taken 14 months for a charge laid in September of last year -- which amounted I think probably to public mischief but which was racially motivated -- to come to trial? Then by the time it got to trial it was dismissed out of hand? Why would it take 14 months for it to get to trial?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There may be any number of reasons why it would have taken 14 months, quite apart from any backlog in the courts. It would be of assistance to me if the member would identify the case for me. The acting director of Crown attorneys in my ministry was the Crown attorney in the Hamilton area for some period of time. If the member for Wentworth could do that, I will be happy to obtain whatever information I can in relation to that case.

Mr. Deans: One supplementary question: On cases which are not those which capture the public’s attention most often, wouldn’t it seem to the Attorney General that the undue delay reduces the importance of the case and the importance of the charge? Also would he not think the fact that it was simply dismissed was evidence that a review of the charge might well have been undertaken during the 14-month period to determine whether or not it was likely to proceed at all?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would certainly agree with the member, Mr. Speaker, that we should do everything we can to shorten the period between arrest and trial. I also agree that if there was an undue delay in relation to trial of a matter, the public might very well have the perception that the case isn’t important. So I certainly agree with the general principle that first of all it’s desirable to proceed as quickly as possible with all criminal charges, and with those in which there is a particular public interest, it’s all the more desirable. No question about it.


Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Has the ministry compiled an inventory of PCBs being held for disposal by utilities commissions and also an inventory of the PCBs that are imported from other jurisdictions for disposal?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, as a result of some inquiries in the last month or so, we are now proceeding to attempt to categorize and catalogue the amount of PCB material that is being handled in the province. We are starting, as a matter of fact, in the Windsor area.

It is difficult because some of this material is hauled through Ontario, particularly in the hon. member’s area where they go in and out of the United States. However, there is a substantial amount generated in this province. We’re attempting, through our new waybill system and our regulations regarding reporting shipments of contaminated material, to have an accurate inventory in time.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: In view of the comment by a local utilities commissioner -- “Who is telling us we can’t use it on road surfaces?” -- will the minister provide the municipalities of Ontario with guidelines or regulations on the holding and/or disposal procedures for PCBs?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, I’d be happy to do that. But I might point out to the hon. member that in no way should the municipality use material that’s contaminated with PCBs in road surfacing or road repairing.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Could the minister assure the House that PCBs are not being imported into Ontario for industrial use, particularly in view of the fact that between 1964 and 1974 approximately 35 million pounds of PCBs were imported into Canada?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, PCB material is used in transformers, for example, and in equipment used by Hydro. The material is only manufactured, I believe, by Monsanto in the United States. Until we find an acceptable alternative to this type of material for Hydro equipment, for example, there will have to be some importation.

The federal government, through their Environmental Contaminants Act, have indicated to the industry that there will be a deadline on the importation of this material. Hopefully, there will be an alternative for the material being used in Hydro transformers and by our utilities in equipment of that kind because it’s very valuable.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary: Did I understand the minister to say that there are now provincial regulations governing the transport of PCB-contaminated material? I remember that the Minister of Transportation and Communications indicated that these were still under consideration. Are there regulations now in effect?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It’s my understanding that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has passed regulations which are subject to the approval of the federal government. The minister has been in consultation with the federal Minister of Transport, and just as soon as they act these regulations will be effective.

Mr. Gaunt: Could the minister indicate how many pounds of PCBs were imported into Ontario last year? Would that information be available?


Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, I’ll get that information for the hon. member. At the same time, I must point out that most of the PCB material generated in Ontario has been exported.

There are those instances where PCB-contaminated materials are used for fuel -- they need a certain quantity to carry out, for example, burning in a cement kiln or something of that nature -- so I couldn’t say that at no time will there be any importation of PCB-contaminated material if it is going to be used for such a purpose as the manufacture of cement and will undergo safe disposal in a manner of that kind.


Mr. Ziemba: I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. Given that her answer to question 32 on last week’s order paper regarding illegal first-time home buyer’s grants indicated an audit rate of 2.9 per cent, is she prepared to stand by this 2.9 per cent figure?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Of course, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ziemba: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How does she reconcile the 2.9 per cent with one of her ministry’s auditors who admitted to an Ottawa journalist that the real figure is 10 per cent? Which one is cooking the books?

Mr. Speaker: I think that is kind of a crude way of putting it. I would hope the member would withdraw that “cooking the books.”

Mr. Ziemba: I would like her to square the 2.9 with the 10 per cent that her auditors are telling the journalists.

Mr. Speaker: I think the member should withdraw the comment. “Cooking the books” is tantamount to calling somebody a liar, and I hope the member would withdraw the “cooking” part.

Mr. Ziemba: I will withdraw the “cooking” bit, but I would still like to get an answer to my question.


Mr. Speaker: A supplementary, the hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Mr. Warner: Thank you. I would like to know when the minister is going to stop punishing those people in my riding because of the mistake that her government made over this home buyer’s grant.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I would refer the member to the recently published Hansard of the debate on estimates on this subject in which he participated.


Mr. Bradley: A question for the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister approve of the policy of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications which says that a truck driver who becomes diabetic before January 1977 and has driven for a long time may continue to drive and have a class A licence while a person who has driven a truck for 15 or 20 years, or whatever number of years, who becomes diabetic after January 1977 is not allowed to be granted a class A licence? As the Labour minister, does she approve of this?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if there were valid medical reason for making that kind of distinction, then I most certainly would approve of it. I would have to read the regulation carefully to understand whether that valid medical basis is there.

Mr. Bradley: A supplementary: Would the minister not agree that this actually discriminates against those who become diabetic after January 1977? What would be the difference between being diabetic before and after January 1977 if you are already a truck driver?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, not necessarily. But, as I said, I would have to read the regulation in order to determine whether indeed there is valid medical reason for doing this.


Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations -- I certainly wouldn’t call it “consumer protection.” What is he going to do about Mr. Bill Liber, the legal counsel for the commission of inquiry into aluminum wiring, who is flagrantly violating the terms of reference of the inquiry which the minister set out by objecting to evidence which is given?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have no details of that in front of me and I will find out what it is that the member is objecting to. If he would like to send me something specific -- I am sure he has specifics to justify his statement that they are flagrantly violating them -- if he sends me those specifics I will look at them and report back to him.

Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that Mr. Liber, based on what he has been doing to date, would likely have ruled out my own personal testimony as a person who has had aluminum wiring --

Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s reasonable.


Mr. Warner: -- that speaks to your own inadequacies, not mine -- as a person who has had aluminum wiring problems of sparking and burning in my own house, on the basis that I am “not qualified to give anything more than a personal opinion,” entirely contrary to the spirit of the minister’s own terms of reference which he handed out to us earlier this year?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I heard a question in that statement.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, the minister in his first response asked if I had specifics, and I am asking if he is aware that my own personal testimony would not be accepted because, to quote Mr. Liber, it is a personal kind of statement, which is completely contrary to the terms of reference which this government drew up back in April of 1977. Is the minister aware of that?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of Mr. Liber’s reaction nor the submission made by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, although it causes me to think I had better reflect very carefully on the member’s first question as the reaction he has described might have eliminated his own testimony. It leads me to believe that maybe the counsel is showing some very careful and good judgement.

However, I can assure the member he can rest easy, because I will not report back to the House as to the member’s testimony in front of the commission. I will report back on the activities of counsel.

Hon. Mr. Norton: How do you feel about the inquiry?

Mr. Davison: Supplementary: While the minister is doing that will he also take a look at the overly rigid fashion in which the commission is dealing with people before it, other than my colleague from Scarborough-Ellesmere, particularly one Mr. Phil Edmonston, who is having a great deal of trouble getting before the commission with a second submission in regard to a recent study done in the United States, which was a survey that showed that wiring was responsible for 50 per cent of home fires?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member would like to drop me a note or call me on that and give me the specifics, perhaps together with the transcript of what happened on the day that he is concerned about, then I will be pleased to take it up with the commission. I wouldn’t want there to be any suggestion at any time that everyone did not have an opportunity to present a full and complete case in front of the commission. I would appreciate the member doing that right away, so that when the commission reports back there is no suggestion that it wasn’t a full and complete report or hearing. If he would send that along to me I will look into it right away.



Clerk of the House: I have received a letter addressed to me as Clerk of the House: “Re Bill Pr16 -- County of Middlesex.

“The undersigned, as commissioners of estate bills as provided by the Legislative Assembly Act, RSO 1970, c.240, having had the above-noted bill referred to us as commissioners now beg to report thereon,

“We have investigated the desirability of the proposed legislation and have had a hearing which was attended by the following: Mr. Andrew Wright, solicitor for the county of Middlesex; Mr. Ron Eddy, clerk administrator for the county of Middlesex; Mr. Ford Dapueto, deputy solicitor for the city of London; Mr. David Peterson, provincial member for London Centre; Mr. Ron Van Horne, provincial member for London North; Mr. Ivan Hearn, chairman, county property committee; Mr. William Galbraith, warden, county of Middlesex; Mr. Robert Eaton, provincial member for Middlesex; and Mr. Gordon Walker, provincial member for London South.

“We are of the opinion that it is not reasonable that the said bill should pass into law. Our reasons for that opinion are two.

“1. There is a serious question as to whether, as a matter of law and having regard to the second recital in the preamble to the bill, ownership of the lands described in the bill remains in the corporation of the county of Middlesex subject to the trusts contained in the letters patent or has reverted to the Crown in the right of Ontario on a resulting trust.

“2. In any event, we think it is premature to enact the bill until a firm agreement has been reached between the county, the city and the provincial and federal governments as to the uses to which the lands will be put.

“We enclose a copy of the bill which we have duly initialled.

“Yours truly, A. R. Jessup, JA, and Bertha Wilson, TA.”


House in committee of supply.


On vote 1302, administrative services program:

Mr. Chairman: When the committee was previously sitting, vote 1302, items 1, 2 and 3 had been approved. However, I believe the committee did give approval to the member for Lakeshore to discuss item 1 briefly.

On item 1, main office:

Mr. Lawlor: I object on the basis of the question of order. It is true that these items slipped through nonchalantly, Mr. Chairman, and as it would be adverse to the interest of this House it was agreed on all sides at the time that it not be permitted to do so. As I understood the situation, we reverted to the Legal Aid situation.

It’s true that I haven’t got a great deal to say about the balance of the vote except regarding one or two small points, but I would ask that the matter be left open. We have only 10 hours left on the estimates, but this is a matter of salient significance in the overall picture and some minor thing may arise in the course of it. I would ask for your indulgence in this regard.

As the House rose I was speaking about the Legal Aid picture in Ontario. I sat down and let the Attorney General answer, but I’ll continue at this time as I feel a little rested.

The first point that was being made -- and I’ll make it very succinctly -- was that there is a great deal of carping out there among people who should know better about the operations of the scheme. They say they are going to withdraw, that they are no longer participating, that it’s some kind of parasitical scheme.

I think there’s a mixture of motives for this reaction, one of them being that younger lawyers are inundating the field, as would be anticipated. That’s all to the good. I thought that in the criminal bar, which was a very restrictive bar when the present Attorney General practised, the bulk of the work is being done by junior lawyers. In the past, a nice little cabal of lawyers ran the show for quite large fees, of course.

When this scheme first got started, a man of the stature of George Martin, now judge of the Court of Appeal of Ontario and probably the finest criminal lawyer in the country, participated quite open-handedly in the scheme. A great many senior and experienced criminal lawyers did so. To have that attacked or pulled back by people of this stature is going to undermine the scheme and will bring it into disrepute. Apparently there’s a deliberate move afoot to do so.


I was saying that it’s my feeling that Legal Aid is levelling out and that the figures go a long way to bear that out. I would like to know the Attorney General’s response to this.

Getting back to previous years, in 1974-75, for instance, the informal applications were 67,000 in round figures and in 1975-76, they were 94,000. This year, 1976-77, they were 96,000. The jump was very small indeed.

In the next item that is set forth with the applications for certificates, for the first time it has actually fallen compared to the previous year, from 107,000 to 103,000. In the previous period it had increased 26 per cent. If you look back it was probably jumping about 26 per cent per annum for the previous eight years.

The figures reflect this on the criminal certificates actually issued. This year, it was 41,000. Last year, it was 46,000. The year before that, it was 38,000. So it’s jumped 53.7 per cent in the two previous years, but has declined in this past year. The number of people assisted by duty counsel has gone up slightly but that assistance, both on the criminal and civil side, is summary advice given, largely off the cuff, to individuals who are eligible for that kind of advice. The figures are not monumental at all.

Overall, there just could be a holding of the line or a decrease. I think we’ll all agree that if that’s the case, consolidation in the scheme is to be expected and welcomed, so that we get a breather as to what our future directions in the scheme are, as to those large areas in which individuals cannot or will not be represented by duly established lawyers, those areas in which their life, liberty or property are not at stake in the course of the hearing -- when the summary process would not be available to them. Either that, or a greater emphasis should be put upon the community law services to which, in this party at least, we give much attention.

I want to give a great deal of credit to the Attorney General. I know he’s had to run into the teeth of opposition in his own cabinet, particularly from his Treasurer, in maintaining and expanding this scheme. It’s not been easy. I’m personally convinced that he believes in its validity and its efficacy and that it is a necessary thing in justice, and particularly in criminal justice, that this particular matter be not only supported but forwarded and given an extra role.

Secondly, on one Saturday morning, he had either the gall or the simple bravery to attend a meeting of many people in the non-legal end of the community law services -- all these store-front offices, et cetera. I hadn’t anticipated that he would show up on that particular day, because the air was very much against him. The feeling in that crowd was negative when he came in, blessedly a little late, and went immediately to the platform. By the time he had finished he had won over the hearts of pretty well everyone in that auditorium. I said, “This man is a superb politician, if nothing else.” I bowed my head to the real force of gravity. It was a remarkable performance.

As I’ve come to learn from conversations et cetera, it was valid. It was thoroughly, heartfeltly meant. You get credit from this side of the House, as far as I am concerned, for taking that position and for standing up against a number of factions, not so much the Law Society in this particular thing -- although, God knows, the resistance is there and has to be eroded and gradually overcome with respect to community services -- but within your own party and dimensions.

You have increased by $4 million or $5 million the amounts of money available. I would point out to you, on the other hand, that over $6 million is being contributed within the ambit of your estimates through the federal government for its contribution in the criminal area. That should be taken at that expense, and that expense commensurately somewhat more on a proportion, I think, than with your own scheme. It certainly somewhat takes the edge off your approaches to Management Board.

I want to place on the record some of the facts of the scheme; as I say, it’s finished its tenth anniversary. I’m reading from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s annual report for 1977 which just arrived on our desks:

“Between the Legal Aid Plan’s beginning and March 31, 1977, 2,183,388 persons in Ontario have received assistance at an average cost to the provincial government over the past decade of $56.46 per person.

“A total of 199,233 persons attended at the 46 Area Directors offices across the province during the tenth fiscal year. Of those, 103,177 made formal applications for Legal Aid certificates. When compared with the previous 12-month period, these figures represent decreases of 1.4 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

“Of the 103,177 formal applications, 76,649 were issued certificates of eligibility, a decrease of 11.4 per cent over the previous year. Of these, 41,467, or 54.1 per cent were for criminal cases and the remaining 35,182, or 45.9 per cent, were issued in civil matters.”

The pretty well even division between these two branches is also a persisting feature of the plan: “Thirty-one per cent of the formal applications were refused, which is an increase of four per cent over the previous year.” There do seem to be somewhat more refusals than previously. Whether that’s part of this overall constrictive, restrictive or whatever kind of strangulation program it is that we’re presently engaged in, I’m not sure.

Mr. Nixon: Strangling? They are choking on money.

Mr. Lawlor: Perhaps the Attorney General would advise me on that particular point.

The amount of money coming in from the federal government is $6,248,250. That’s reflected in the last year’s figures of $23,554,000. That’s the basic picture as presented to date by the Legal Aid scheme.

I would just like to read into the record one sentence delivered by the present Attorney General on May 26, 1977, and contained in the Law Society Gazette for September of this year. It reads:

“As Ontario’s Attorney General, I have the historical, constitutional responsibility to ensure that civil liberties are protected in this province. Legal Aid is perhaps the single most important mechanism we have to turn the dream of equal rights into a reality.”

As I promised I would not go on at great length about Legal Aid this year, I simply abjure and request that the Attorney General continue to place his emphasis where it belongs, that he protect and foster the community law offices as they are. The time is not yet right in my poor opinion to take the whole administration of the scheme out of the hands of the Law Society. Those who insist upon that particular aspect seem to me to be caught in some form of Nietzschéen ressentiment -- if I may use the French -- it’s the right word in this instance -- the kind of feeling of carping or envy or some quality. It’s almost as though they would like to take the scheme out of the hands of the lawyers completely.

Being administered in the general way that it is, before I sit down I want to give enormous credit to the area committees -- to those numerous citizens, non-lawyers, who sit on these groups and hear appeals and who contribute their time free of charge. If ever these costs were all added into the scheme under some independent body, the cost would be truly atrocious indeed. They would go very easily to $50 million in any particular year and if all these gratuitous and highly beneficial acts were excluded from the scheme and it was placed on a pure monetary basis, then indeed it would be under fire and probably would collapse of its own weight.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I know that you want to proceed with other matters but I have been stimulated by the hon. member’s comments, particularly his reference to Nietzschean resentment. To add a few comments, because I don’t know when I have heard such a self-serving statement made in this House than we have just heard from the member for Lakeshore, who is a lawyer himself --

Mr. Lawlor: Where is your critic?

Mr. Nixon: -- and is simply telling us that if it weren’t for the tremendous and overwhelming generosity of the legal system and the individual lawyers in this province that instead of being milked out of $25 million today --

Mr. Lawlor: Milked!

Mr. Nixon: -- that it would cost us at least $50 million.

There was a time, although I don’t know whether the hon. member for Lakeshore can recall it, when it was a professional responsibility of lawyers, whether they were in the luxurious suites in the tops of the bank buildings or whether they worked out of some kind of a political office in their own riding, to at least think about contributing their undoubted valuable services to the individuals who would come into their offices and ask for it.

Mr. Lawlor: People were ignored. Hundreds went to jail unnecessarily. Don’t you even know that? What do you know about this subject?

Mr. Nixon: Now the hon. member, having got his mitts on $25 million along with the other lawyers of this province, has the nerve to say to us that if we paid for their undoubted valuable services it would be $50 million. That just makes me sick.

I will tell you, Mr. Chairman, when I read the list of lawyers who were participating in the Ontario Municipal Board hearings around Barrie, I was told by the hon. member for the area that the legal services would cost the poor and hard-pressed taxpayers of that area alone $1 million, just to diddle around with the boundaries of the town of Barrie and the areas in that particular part of the province of Ontario.

Obviously, I strongly and personally support the concept of Legal Aid, but I think the lawyers in this province are just getting so greedy and grasping that when we read in the Star, as we read today, of these two examples of the legal profession crowing about their charges of $1,200 a day to argue over something having to do with the planning future of the province, you just wonder where the AIB is, whether there is any concept at all about --

Mr. Lawlor: That isn’t Legal Aid.

Mr. Nixon: You were talking about Legal Aid completely out of order anyway. We passed that on Friday and you wanted to come back with this gratuitous back-slapping stuff about how generous and public-spirited all the lawyers are.

But I really believe that the lawyers as a profession, and I can’t point the finger at any one of them, are simply ripping off the community. What stimulates me to make these comments was the sort of gratuitous approach by the Attorney General in question period that nobody except the initiated, the people who have had the laying on of hands by the Law Society of Upper Canada, who have gone through all the tortuous proceedings --


Mr. Lawlor: Listening to you, I have to agree with them.

Mr. Nixon: -- of the bar admission course, that they are the only people who can understand truth and justice and simple English. It’s like a secret society. And after they have got their arms around each other for long enough, they award each other a QC and that stimulates them to raise their pay even more.

I used to have a lot of confidence that the member for Lakeshore had some kind of a populist feeling, a little bit of blood in his veins and not just liquid gold or something.

Mr. Lawlor: Cow dung on his boots.

Mr. Nixon: I really am appalled that there seems to be almost a conspiracy of lawyers in this House to further their own careers and their own incomes. I just find it appalling. I can remember when we started Legal Aid, we were able to pay for it with only $9 million.

Mr. Lawlor: That was for a third of the year.

Mr. Nixon: I can remember the government of the day being very much concerned about that as a new cost. I don’t know, I suppose there are more actions in the courts, but it seems to me that the amount of money we are shovelling into the lawyers’ pockets is just appalling.

Mr. Lawlor: A third of the year, Mr. Chairman.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We have witnessed the reincarnation of Mitchell Hepburn.

Mr. Foulds: That’s right.

Mr. Nixon: And I hardly ever drink.

Mr. Lawlor: Talking about this conspiracy of lawyers, I sure miss some of the Liberal ones, if I may say so. And by the way, where does the Liberal Party stand on this issue? I attended the 10th annual meeting about the whole thing, and stated my party’s stand immediately before the election. Mr. Stong was there. His position was that they were opposed to the maintenance of Legal Aid within the Law Society itself. But I understand Mr. Roy’s position is quite diverse. I thought, how typical, how commonplace that the two Liberal members are the chief spokesmen in this cause.

Mr. Nixon: Well, your position is just more money for lawyers and telling us just how lucky we are it isn’t costing us more.

Mr. Lawlor: We seldom have to listen to such a farrago coming from the lone wolf on the front bench at the present time who is really not very well acquainted with this whole area.

Mr. Nixon: Ah, I have watched it balloon all these years.

Mr. Lawlor: Where does the Liberal Party stand on the issue? I would love to hear.

Mr. Foulds: Straddling both sides of the fence.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I must admit I am rather curious as to where the official opposition stands on the issue of Legal Aid in relation to the administration of the plan. I have urged the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), my good friend and Justice critic, --

Mr. Foulds: Who happens to be absent during these estimates.

Mr. Nixon: He’s busy in the courts.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- and the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) to get together to just see where they stand on this issue. It would be helpful if they would consult with one another on occasion.

I should like to thank the member for Lakeshore for his kind reflection on the beleaguered Attorney General in relation to the matter of Legal Aid. I think it is very refreshing that he as Justice critic in a socialist party which is not generally altogether supportive of the legal profession would recognize, to the extent that he has, the very valuable contribution made by the lawyers in this province who provide services through the Legal Aid Plan.

I have no brief for the lawyers referred to in today’s press by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and the matter of $1,250 a day. That represents about a month’s salary around here, I guess. But that I think places in focus the contribution --

Mr. Nixon: You can never miss a chance to be condescending on these matters. You just never miss a chance.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- that is made by the lawyers of this province who practise in the Legal Aid Plan and really recover for their daily efforts a minute fraction of --

Mr. Nixon: Of what they’re worth.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- fees charged that were just referred to --

Mr. Nixon: The highest paid single group in society.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- by the former leader of the Liberal Party.

I can assure you, Mr. Chairman and the member for Lakeshore, that I will continue to be a very strong defender of the Legal Aid Plan and not though any selfish reason, but simply because I believe that it meets the needs of many thousands of Ontario citizens.

If I may quote briefly from a speech that I made on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Legal Aid Plan as follows:

“It must be brought home to the public that our freedoms are at best fragile and that they depend on the ability of every citizen to assert in a court or a tribunal his rights under law and to receive sound legal advice as to his rights and obligations. Our laws and freedoms will only be as strong as the protection that they afford to the most vulnerable members of our community. In affording this protection, Legal Aid does make a deep and essential contribution to our social fabric and indeed to our very way of life.”

Mr. Nixon: Are you really quoting your own speech? Do you think this is a good thing to do?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I go on to say: “I think it is important to realize that the government is deeply committed to the concept of Legal Aid as a means of preserving individual rights and ensuring our system of liberty under law.” Those are the remarks that I made on March 29 of this year on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Legal Aid and I would like to indicate that I feel every bit as strong today as I did on that occasion some six months or so ago.

My view is, with respect, Mr. Chairman, that the amount that is expended on Legal Aid, representing as it does such a tiny fraction of the provincial budget -- for example, I suppose it would pay for probably a couple of miles of highway -- when one measures the assistance that it provides to the least fortunate members of our community in particular, it is money, taxpayers’ money that is, very well spent. As far as I am concerned the provincial budget should if anything be increased in this very vital area, affecting as it does the fundamental rights of so many of our citizens.

There has been no increase in the tariff for Legal Aid, I think, since 1973 and there is no question but that the lawyers who are prepared to accept Legal Aid certificates are really making a significant contribution for the most part to the community as a whole. Because the financial returns that can be obtained from other sources of business are obviously of a much more lucrative nature. There has been no increase in the Legal Aid fee for a period of time and I’m certainly unable to give the legal profession any assurance at this time that there will be any increase in the immediate future.

There are two committees of the Law Society, Mr. Chairman, reviewing the Legal Aid tariffs, both in criminal and in civil matters, and those reviews are again being carried on not with simply a view to increasing the tariffs, but with a view to providing the most effective service to the public in the context of the money that is spent in this very important plan.

I cannot assist the member of Lakeshore at this point in time as to why there is the levelling out. But before I turn to this question of the levelling out or the apparent levelling out of the demands that are made on the Legal Aid Plan I would like to make one other comment in relation to some remarks that were made by the member for Lakeshore on Friday -- and I think he repeated them very briefly this afternoon -- and that is the participation of the members of the legal profession in this plan.

The member for Lakeshore made mention on Friday of some newspaper reports which indicated that the more senior members of the profession were reluctant to participate in the Legal Aid Plan, particularly in the criminal law aspect of the plan, because of the very modest returns. I would like to say to you, Mr. Chairman, to the members of the Legislature and to the members of the legal profession that if the legal profession ever forgets its fundamental responsibility to serve the least fortunate of the community then in my view the legal profession will be turning its back on one of the most important aspects, and I would like to think one of the nobler, if not the noblest, aspects of the traditions of the legal profession in this province.

It does distress me to read that certain members of the profession are turning their backs on criminal cases simply because of the relatively modest tariff now available to them through Legal Aid. The member for Lakeshore and I both practised law for some years when the senior members of the legal profession, senior counsel, gave their time for no charge at all to some of the least fortunate members of their community who were faced with serious criminal charges.

Although I am not advocating a return to this free Legal Aid Plan, which wasn’t satisfactory in many ways, I would just say that I hope that the legal profession, and particularly the senior members of the profession, do not fail to recognize the responsibilities in relation to serving the broader community and that they do not become preoccupied with serving vested interests, simply because those vested interests are able to pay large retainers and large fees.

With respect to the apparent levelling out of the demands that are made on the Legal Aid system, I would say that it’s too early to make any value judgement, Mr. Chairman, as to why there is this levelling off. There are a number of possible reasons, but I think it would be necessary for us to have some greater experience before guessing at the causes.

I should say to the members that we are in this ministry developing a new and hopefully better statistical system to analyse in a comprehensive fashion the statistics available in relation to the use of the plan in order to assist us to appreciate what is the cause of this levelling out. Certainly, in some ways, particularly in a time of budgetary restraints, I can say that the levelling off is certainly not an unwelcome happening. But at the same time we are concerned that the plan continue to serve the broadest, most apparent needs in the community and we will be monitoring it very carefully in this respect.


Mr. Nixon: I would like just to congratulate the Attorney General on his comments directed towards the senior members of the profession and his strong wishes that they not regulate the Legal Aid practice to those who perhaps might not have access to some of the more lucrative retainers. I think one of the most serious criticisms is that with the system we have, the senior members of the practice may very well say: “This group in society is looked after by a program that is financed from public funds. Therefore I, as a senior member of the legal profession, need not concern myself as was once my professional and ethical requirement.”

I think it’s really a shame that has come about. We know that, as in many professions, there are probably enough lawyers and it is getting more and more a problem for young people attempting to enter the profession to do so. Comments have already been made in the House by my colleagues and others along these lines.

I would simply draw to the attention of the minister to perhaps the uninformed view of at least one citizen of this province that legal fees are becoming inordinately high and demanding. The lawyers do not have to suffer the same restrictions as the doctors who have found over the last few years that their incomes have been completely circumscribed and controlled by decisions and regulations of this House. I am not proposing we do that, but if it goes on as it has in the last two years, there will be an increasing demand from the community that some sort of rein or control on the level of legal fees be at least considered by this House.

Most of the people we are talking about do not have access to the Legal Aid program. They have the responsibility to pay their own bills. It is these people, not the ones who are paying over $1,000 a day -- that’s usually left for the major municipal corporations, if not at least a few of the share capital corporations -- who are paying the ordinary bills who have certainly found that this is an increasing and difficult situation for them.

I am not talking about the kind of bill that can go to taxation and be perhaps reduced because it is way out of line. The ones that are in line are the ones, I suppose, that are causing concern and leading people to feel that the lawyers are biting off too large a share of the provincial income and economy. I am expressing this as a view that I feel myself and that has been expressed to me by my constituents.

The practice of law in some of the smaller communities is very different than it is, let’s say, in the heart of the capital here or in the other major centres. There are a lot of complaints about this and I wanted to bring them forward. I share very strongly the Attorney General’s comments. We hope the senior members of the profession will not disregard their time-honoured responsibility to represent all aspects of the community but will continue to accept those responsibilities.

Mr. Chairman: If there are no more comments on Legal Aid, I would remind the committee that they have already passed items 1, 2 and 3. Are there further questions now on item 4?

Item 4 agreed to.

On item 5, audit services:

Mr. Lawlor: This is the area where we find the defaulted fines and licence suspensions somewhat curiously handled by the Attorney General’s department and by this administrative vote. It falls under here. There has been a tightening up and a collection of many millions of dollars in the last little while under this particular scheme.

I just want to rise to bring to the Attorney General’s knowledge -- he may have an intimation of it already -- that this is done very often quite arbitrarily. The axe falls. Somebody gets picked up on a driving offence. They check through on the computers. They find there are unpaid fines. The whole bundle has to be paid on the spot. The person is in very serious difficulty and can even be put in jail in that situation. In any event, in the second step, even when he pays the fine, the speed with which the restitution of his licence is carried out has been a bone of contention and something of a running sore with a lot of people who came to see me.

What are you doing to tighten that up? If a fellow has a few parking offences that he hasn’t paid for and he gets picked up on something else, how speedily may he now have his licence restored? Does it require his attendances down here at the Queen’s Park complex in order to go from office to office, in order to bring that about?

Your computing situation wasn’t working very well either, as between the office at which the fine is paid and the office at which restoration of licences is made. In other words, you wanted the money at all costs, but you were willing to put, to some degree, the victimized citizen to some trouble and expense. I know you’re aware of the issue from last year, but what has been done over this last period of time?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think some of the member for Lakeshore’s concerns are quite justified. We are very seriously reviewing the whole concept of a central computerized system, which, of course, will involve the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in a very substantial manner. Right now, Mr. Chairman, we’re going through a process of not only rationalization but computerization of the system in order to avoid these delays and avoid these administrative hangups which do lead to some difficulty.

Certainly, what we’ve been able to accomplish so far on the defaulted fines licence suspension system would indicate that the money that has to be spent in order to establish a central computer in relation to this would be money well spent. We think that the actual returns will pay for the initial cost many times over in a very short period of time. I can assure the member that this is being very carefully reviewed right at this present time.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, the member for Lakeshore has raised an interesting subject that I’d like to pursue just a bit. In the select committee on highway safety, on which I had the honour to serve, there was some indication that because of this situation there are residents of the province who are driving with as many as 30 or 40 fines that have been levied against them that have never been paid. The penalty of losing a driver’s licence doesn’t seem to be an effective one, since we are also told that at any one time in the province there are 60,000 people driving their cars without valid licences.

What is the answer to that? Even if the minister were to carry out the plan to correlate this situation with the rather elaborate computerized information that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has, it might not, in fact, return as much as the minister expects.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: A number of proposals have been made and I’m not in a position to assess the accuracy of these proposals, having certain very serious limitations myself, particularly when it comes to matters of accounting.

Mr. Nixon: Not by way of lost points.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Part of the problem is not so much the disdain or the lack of concern by individuals in relation to their driving privileges, but the difficulty of enforcing the suspensions, and if we had a more effective enforcement system, then I think this would help resolve the problem about which the member has just spoken. For example, we are seriously reviewing the whole concept of a plate-to-owner system, whereby the plate stays with the owner.

Mr. Nixon: Like a tattoo.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, you might say like a tattoo. I can just see the headlines now: “Attorney General Recommends Tattoos On All Drivers of the Province.” But that would make it more visible insofar as the enforcement of driving while under suspension cases is concerned. Part of the whole system is a central computer system into which the information will be fed from the courts system and from MTC in order that the information may be fed out very quickly.

I think a plate-to-owner system would be of assistance. In the final analysis, a disregard of driving while under suspension penalties will have to be dealt with pretty severely, particularly if the suspension is a court-ordered one. A lot can be accomplished by the rationalization of the whole system by some central computer system and perhaps by instituting a plate-to-owner system.

Mr. Nixon: If we use the plate-to-owner system, would the Attorney General think it might be possible to register charges for moving vehicle infractions without stopping the vehicle?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s a pretty difficult one. Obviously, with respect to municipal bylaws you have that now with parking fines. I would be very leery of any system that would deprive an individual from being in a position to make a full answer in defence of any charge against him.

Mr. Nixon: It wouldn’t be a conviction. It would be a charge.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The question is, you have to identify the incident in the motorist’s mind. If you had some system whereby it was simply recorded by a police officer the driver of a certain automobile bearing licence plate such-and-such had committed an offence and then --

Mr. Nixon: But that would be the individual’s licence number, not the car’s licence.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s right. But it may be a week or two later before that individual is aware of the fact he’s being charged, for example, with going through a stop sign on such-and-such a date. It would make it very difficult for most individuals to honestly recall what happened. That’s why I personally am somewhat sceptical about any system that would not involve identifying to the owner at least the allegation he has offended a provision of the Highway Traffic Act or is alleged to have committed some other offence.

Mr. Lawlor: How much money was brought in during the fiscal year under consideration?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I might have that in a moment, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Lawlor: In the Attorney General’s report he mentioned that the control centre has been relocated in larger quarters. While those figures are being looked up, I would like to know where it has been relocated and why it was relocated. The final question is who is the best person to contact quickly if you are called by a constituent who is a truck driver who has been taken off the road and whose livelihood is dependent upon truck driving? Who would one phone quickly in your department? Could you also give me his telephone number, please?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, in response to the member for Lakeshore’s questions, the defaulting fine control centre, which I thought had been visited by the member for Lakeshore, but perhaps not, has moved from the 14th floor to the fifth floor at 18 King Street East.

Mr. Lawlor: I have never gone down that far, Roy.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We moved, simply, because we needed a little more room. There are a number of people on the fifth floor who are involved in sorting this out, but if the member for Lakeshore or any other colleagues in the Legislature had any particular problems which could not be handled by the staff, Mr. Neundorf is the gentleman who is in charge of the defaulting fine control centre.

Mr. Reid: I want to ask one question. Of what do the audit services consist? Are these internal auditors within the ministry? Is that what it’s for?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.

Item 5 agreed to.

Mr. Lawlor: Did we get the sum of money involved?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think the minister indicated that he would get that for you at some future date. He didn’t have it at the moment.

Item 6 agreed to.

Mr. Lawlor: Of course we expend a great deal of time on systems analysis. I’m sure the clarification of the point to be tremendous -- Cyclops and its cousins, so to speak. One of the eyes being out and my eyes being not completely wide open --

Mr. Reid: And the other one looking inward.

Mr. Lawlor: -- in the circumstances, we will let it go by.

Was the minister going to say something?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was going to tell you the preliminary figure. I’m told that since April 1973 when we instituted the defaulting fine control centre and which we carried on very modestly, fortunately, between that date and March or April 1977, we have collected some $4.6 million in outstanding fines.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, that wasn’t exactly my question.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I appreciate that, but I thought this would be some preliminary assistance.

Mr. Lawlor: Yes, it was very helpful, thank you.

Vote 1302 agreed to.

On vote 1303, guardian and trustee services program; item 1, Official Guardian:

Mr. Reid: I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if I could ask one question that would encompass items 1, 2 and 3? The increases in amount are relatively substantial considering the amount of money that’s available. Has there been a greater work load provided for the Official Guardian and the Public Trustee and the Supreme Court accountant to explain these increases in these budgetary items?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: While I am waiting for some additional information, I know there have been increased demands made on the Official Guardian’s services for the court system, specifically in relation to providing representation for children who are, for example, caught up in custody battles in our court system. To what extent that represents an increase in actual budget, it is hard to ascertain.

I may be able to have some more information for the hon. member for Rainy River in a moment, but in custody actions and in other disputes between husbands and wives where there are children, the traditional assumption was that the parents would naturally be concerned about the interests of their children even though they may disagree as to matters such as custody.

Until the last couple of years, it was very uncommon for a child of a marriage to have separate legal counsel, but there has been a greater recognition within the last two or three years in particular that, notwithstanding what the parents may believe, the interests of the children were not always well served by counsel attempting to represent the interests of the individual spouse. So the courts have been requesting the Official Guardian, with greater frequency in the last year in particular, to provide separate legal counsel for children caught up in this unhappy litigation.

As far as the Official Guardian is concerned, I am told that actually the comparative analysis between this current fiscal year and the last fiscal year represents very little in the way of actual bodies. We are talking about an additional two articling law students and the rest is referable to salary revisions both for regular and unclassified staff. I am sure they would be delighted to have additional legal staff; I know they have made that request, but it hasn’t been forthcoming at the present time.

I gather the comments that I have just made with relation to the Official Guardian’s office would apply equally to the Public Trustee’s office. There is a sum of $250,000 additional in respect to the Public Trustee’s office related to the computerization of that office. Any expenditure related to computerization, again in my view, is a very wise investment, because it is one area which does produce a revenue for the taxpayers of this province or their government from the Public Trustee’s office having to deal with the administration of estates.

Mr. Reid: Under Supreme Court accountant’s services, $113,000. What is that? Is that also computer services, $113,000?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I understand there is a cost of some $60,000, a computerizing cost in relation to the Supreme Court accountant’s office.

Mr. Reid: Is this an annual charge?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, these are very definitely capital costs.

Mr. Lawlor: I think we will take the vote as a whole, if we may, in an overall way and then come onto particular items. I wonder whether these three offices might not be given some external inspection or overseership. The Law Reform Commission looks at the courts generally, but it is my recollection it didn’t particularly dwell upon or make recommendations about the specific operation of the Public Trustee or the Official Guardian or the Supreme Court accountant’s office; it comes in incidentally. At this time, you are off onto the mechanical end of the thing, the use of computers in the office to speed up and to keep files. The work loads in each of the offices do significantly increase each year and each term, and you have made projections, for instance with respect to the Official Guardian. They are contained on page 31 of your notes on the estimates, if I may just pause there for a moment.

The new socialism has taken over and penetrated. I guess it is the only area in all of government in which it really does so. We have before us in these notes a three-year plan, a projection of what the work load in that particular office will be and what they are going to have to anticipate in this particular area for the Official Guardian. That really shows the beginning of enlightenment as to the use of governmental operations. It shows 20,650 new matters and cases in the 1977-78 year, and projecting to 1980-81 it shows 24,700 on a shrewd, I take it, appraisal of what you have to face. That kind of projection is necessary in modern life and in contemporary government. It should be done in a far broader way than it has been. I would like to know the basis upon which this was developed.

Apart from that, on the first point I was making, is there in the Attorney General’s mind any merit in suggesting with respect to the range of policy matters and with respect to the mechanisms too with which they are handled presently in these three offices, which I am sure have not been looked at intensively and from an external point of view for an awful long time, that it would be worthwhile at this particular time to streamline their own internal procedures?

You know their work load. The Official Guardian has about 61 people in complement and the Public Trustee about 155. That has remained constant. Obviously it is not going to remain so very much longer with the caseload accelerating on the basis of your own projections. I wonder whether it wouldn’t be a wise thing to look at it.

Secondly, in the area of the Official Guardian, with the new family law coming into operation quite shortly I suspect -- and what is your anticipation? -- that the work load is going to be heavier rather than lighter because of the interpretations, and because of the operation of the whole family law package. It is not going to lift too many burdens. It makes things easier for people, which does not necessarily mean that it does so for those doing the administration; sometimes it is quite the opposite.


While people’s interrelationships, those between spouses and children and dependants, are straightened out and clarified according to law, in the legal profession certainly, and I would suspect in the Official Guardian’s office also, the actual dealing with these cases may expand the work load itself.

Those are two or three questions I would like the Attorney General to speak about.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, we like to think we monitor the operations of these three offices pretty carefully. In so far as any external view is concerned, both the offices of the Public Trustee and the offices of the Supreme Court accountant do have advisory committees. These advisory committees deal largely with matters related to investment, how to obtain the greatest return on moneys that are being maintained and paid into court on the one hand, and with respect to estates that are being administered by the Crown on the other hand. With respect to how we arrive at our projected figures, we are really looking on past experience. I think these increases really represent the upward movement of the graph and nothing more complicated than that.

I don’t think there is any doubt but that in relation to the general counsel work or in relation to child representation in custody and access matters, you’ll note we predict a fairly significant change there, for a number of reasons. One major reason, the fundamental reason, is the issue of child representation. I brought a committee into being at the beginning of the year in relation to child representation in our provincial courts. The member for Lakeshore will recall that this committee, under the chairmanship of Professor Derek Mendes da Costa, reported in the late spring. The report was widely received as a very useful document.

I have suggested to the committee that it expand its terms of reference and look at child representation in the court system generally insofar as civil matters are concerned. Of course the legal aid system generally looks after the matter of court representation for children over the age of 16, but we’re also looking at the issue of child representation with respect to juvenile delinquent matters. So it may be that the figure of 700 over 400 is not a totally realistic figure.

We expect with respect to matrimonial causes that the unified family court and the family law reform legislation will provide greater access to the court on the one hand, and when you bring in needed reform on the other hand it’s likely an increasing number of the citizens will wish to assert these new rights. It may be that the increase in matrimonial causes is also a very cautious estimate; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was higher.

Mr. Lawlor: Does the Official Guardian bring in any moneys that can be placed in the consolidated revenue fund of the province?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, we don’t generate any revenue through the Official Guardian’s office. There is money collected with respect to the reports done by the Children’s Aid Society, but this money is simply paid out again to the Children’s Aid Society preparing these reports concerning children who are involved in matrimonial causes.

Mr. Lawlor: Then in the next vote, with the Public Trustee, he does I think you will agree with me.

What escheats to the Crown have we had in the last year? What is the dollar value, if any?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We are looking for this figure, Mr. Chairman. So far as escheat matters are concerned, these are paid out on an ongoing basis to consolidated revenue. I am trying to find out what separate figures we keep in relation to escheats as opposed to administration of estates.

Mr. Lawlor: It is kind of interesting to take a look at page 34 of the 1975-76 annual report. I suppose I may have a more recent one. Page 34 talks about earnings, expenses, fees and patients’ estates as of March 31, 1976. It talks about Crown estates of $394,222, which go into special trusts, cemetery trusts and that sort of thing. I want to dwell around that just for a few moments --

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am sorry; in the Public Trustee’s report for the year ended March 31, 1977, we have the figure of probable escheats for that fiscal period as $7.6 million -- plus. I am sorry; the other question was what, Mr. Chairman? Perhaps the member wouldn’t mind repeating it.

Mr. Lawlor: Incidentally, Mr. Chairman, this came onto my desk this morning, the report and financial statement of the Public Trustee. Where is this figure set forth, what page?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Page four.

Mr. Lawlor: Oh yes; it’s set apart as a separate and distinct matter over and against your report touching on the Public Trustee. What are Crown estates?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, I am having a little difficulty in my own mind separating out what is represented in Crown estates as opposed to escheats, so it goes without saying it is a very good question. I will try and have the information from our accounting staff that will delineate what falls into one and what falls into the other.

Mr. Lawlor: No doubt you are going to have to do this under this heading too.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just before I forget, Mr. Chairman, there is a Crown Administration of Estates Act and section 1 states:

“Where in the case of a person dying intestate or intestate as to some part of his estate it appears in respect of the interest of Her Majesty administration may be rightfully granted to her nominee, a competent court, upon application of the Public Trustee, may grant administration to the Public Trustee for the use and benefit of Her Majesty.”

Mr. Lawlor: In the 1977 fiscal year Her Majesty picked up, I take it, in the consolidated revenue fund of this province, $11 million-plus under this particular heading. Would that be correct?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, that would be correct.

Mr. Lawlor: Why the special trust? What was the range of those trusts? What do they have to do with? In that case we earn, or pick up or steal or whatever it is we do, $9,700,000.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, that is where the Public Trustee is asked to administer an estate by agreement, and I understand that in those cases the role of the Public Trustee is not much different than that of a private trustee or a private trust company.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s interesting, isn’t it? You mean that private individuals on occasion, for some reason, rather than go to a trust company, go to the Public Trustee’s office and he will handle the administration? Is that so?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes. It is really a service provided to the public in cases where the private trust companies simply aren’t interested. Usually the amounts may be relatively small and the Public Trustee’s office does it, not with enormous enthusiasm because it adds quite a burden, but it does it and does it for a fee.

Mr. Reid: What is the fee?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is a whole tariff in relation to the fee.

Mr. Lawlor: Just to comment on that, it’s interesting, because in the committee in which you are now a member, the corporate law committee, when they were doing work on trust corporations and loan companies, but trust corporations primarily, that was one of the sore points.

It came up time after time that there were any number of rather small estates which the established trust corporations were not prepared nor anxious, to say the least, to touch. As a matter of fact, they set restrictions upon the size of an estate on which they were willing to deal, and the restriction had a pretty high floor. I forget what the figure was so I won’t try and quote it.

A number of us, particularly lawyers, of course -- that scavenging crowd, in Mr. Nixon’s putative bad sense -- a number of us thought it would be a very good thing that we should leave this body on some occasion to set up a firm handling that kind of estate exclusively, because the legal fee is out of line, we felt, with respect to the work done.


If you set up some kind of an Americanised factory to handle these, people could be highly trained to do the thing rather expeditiously. It would be an enormous relief for a large number of the population. I’m surprised and even gratified to learn the Public Trustees presently, as you say grudgingly, perform the function. But there’s a whole field to be tilled in this particular regard. I’m sure it would be a very lucrative field if you concentrated and became known, got a reputation and did nothing else. So I offer to all the expatriate lawyers sitting around here doing nothing, this might offer them a splendid new opportunity and a lease on life, which lord knows they not only need but deserve.

On the Indian trusts situation, it’s not mentioned, again, as a separate item. What is involved in his handling of the Indian trust? Where does the money come from? Is he the investor, this investment committee of which you speak operating in this particular matter, and what is the derivation? Is their interest rate six per cent or as in infant’s estate nine per cent; or is there any specific sum earned on the moneys involved?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t have that information right now, Mr. Chairman. It might be a few moments before we can obtain it.

Mr. Lawlor: It’s okay, I simply ask because it would gladden the heart of my colleague, Mr. Renwick, who takes a very great interest in all treaty arrangements, reaching right back from the very beginning with respect to trusts affecting the Indian peoples of this province. I don’t suppose that item has ever really been looked into in previous years.

I just have a few more remarks, I think, with respect to the accountant of the Supreme Court of Ontario.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: May I ask the member’s indulgence? Can we finish these items before we move to item 3? Shall we finish the other items first? There may be some other discussion.

Mr. Lawlor: Except for the answer to the question hanging over I would expect to receive it in due course, thank you.

Items 1 and 2 agreed to.

On item 3, Supreme Court accountant:

Mr. Lawlor: I mentioned a moment ago the rate of interest on the money paid into the Supreme Court in various forms of litigation.

I’d be interested in knowing how much money is at present being held by the court in toto. I mean the interest revenue in your book, here at 29 in the portfolio, increased from $6.7 million to $8.5 million for fiscal year 1975. It must be very considerable now; so I would like to know the interest rate, the amount of money in court, as well as the picture of what has been paid out in the past fiscal year, leaving the balance.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The hon. member knows the rate in respect to infants’ funds is nine per cent. With respect to the interest rate generally, I understand it’s broken down between permanent funds and temporary funds. The permanent funds would be moneys paid; in relation to infants’ funds nine per cent, and for the temporary funds the figure is six per cent, compounded semi-annually on a minimum monthly balance.

Mr. Lawlor: Are the infants’ funds the only permanent funds or are there funds for mentally ill people?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can’t think of any other funds at the moment. Mentally ill would be dealt with by the Public Trustee.

Mr. Lawlor: I appreciate what you’re saying, but moneys might come in through the court, so wouldn’t the same argument apply? For the infants’ fund, of course, the Official Guardian would be involved on a permanent basis, and for people in mental hospitals there would be the Public Trustee. They are apparently getting six per cent and not nine per cent, and you say the difference is based on the permanent-temporary distinction. I think it’s predictable that there are many people in mental hospitals who will be there rather indefinitely; and while one well understands the condition with respect to infants -- I suppose it depends upon their age level; they’re obviously infants until they cease to be so, which is a kind of permanent condition I suppose. I don’t want to make any jokes about that, but I would like to be straightened out as to what categories people fall into with respect to the nine per cent.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Under the Public Trustee, the interest rate on funds being invested is, I’m told, seven per cent so far as patients’ estates are concerned.

Mr. Lawlor: Right.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there anything further on item 3?

Mr. Lawlor: I still haven’t got my answer. The Public Trustee is seven per cent; all right, I suppose that takes the whole range; and the nine per cent applies to infants only. Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.

Mr. Lawlor: And anyone else gets six?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.

Mr. Lawlor: Thank you.

Item 3 agreed to. Vote 1303 agreed to.

On vote 1304, Crown legal services program; item 1, criminal law division:

Mr. Lawlor: I have no questions, but I think I should say a word about the whole Crown attorney and assistant Crown attorney set-up in the province of Ontario. It’s remarkable how little criticism that group gets; because it’s handling a wide diversity of cases every day of the week under very obnoxious circumstances. I suppose the Attorney General would prefer that we keep our remarks about the court overloads and the court setup as things presently stand to the next vote rather than launching upon it here. Perhaps it’s not quite as pertinent in this place as in the following vote. Is that his feeling?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’d certainly be just as happy to deal with it under the one heading; but, again, I’m in the committee’s hands in this respect, because certain initiatives we are taking with respect to the Crown attorney system are very much related to the handling of the court backlogs.

Mr. Lawlor: I think if that’s the case, we should discuss it now and hear what those initiatives are specifically as affecting the Crown attorneys.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: What we are attempting to do is implement policy throughout the Crown attorney system which will be geared to making the most effective use of the court time. What we do in any particular area depends on the particular problems in that area.

As an overall policy of communicating policies to the Crown attorney system more effectively in this area, and in other areas, we have regionalized the province and have a senior Crown attorney in charge of each one of the regions of the province, which involves some eight different regions. This serves a twofold purpose of assisting the communication of policy from the ministry into the field, as it were; and of course giving less experienced or relatively inexperienced Crown attorneys the advantage of the advice of a regional Crown attorney, who has had considerable experience, or he or she would not have been chosen. These regional Crown attorneys meet at least once a month, and often twice a month, in Toronto at the ministry, 18 King Street East. Certain of our policies are related to dealing more effectively with cases in the courts.

As you know, during the past two years in Metropolitan Toronto we have been attempting to decentralize the Crown attorney system to create greater local autonomy in certain of the boroughs, more specifically Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke and the city of Toronto. Up until the present time, and this has changed since we got started in Etobicoke, we have had all the Crown attorneys, really, operating out of University Avenue; this was the situation. There are now some 60 Crown attorneys, as compared to some eight Crown attorneys when I first started to practise in the courts.

What we’re trying to do by decentralizing the court system in Metropolitan Toronto, in creating greater local autonomy, is to create a better and more effective access to the courts by members of the public, including police officers. It will mean that individual Crown attorneys will become seized of important cases at an earlier date. If they familiarize themselves with the cases for which they’re responsible at an earlier date, we hope that this in many cases will shorten the case. First of all it will give them an opportunity to withdraw charges which are improperly laid or for which there is not a reasonable amount of evidence on which to prosecute. Also, it will help them to better prepare their cases. It’s been our experience that better prepared cases take less time in court.

Thirdly, they will be more accessible to the public generally -- and that may involve citizens who are key witnesses, and more particularly defence counsel who will wish to discuss a case with a Crown attorney before it’s disposed of.

I’m talking here, of course, of the provincial courts. As you know, well over 90 per cent of quasi-criminal cases are disposed of in the provincial courts. I know the member for Lakeshore’s own experience and the experience of the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) will tell them that many Crown attorneys are familiarizing themselves with a particular case for only a few minutes before court commences. We believe this does not lead to a wise utilization of the court’s time, so the decentralization of the court system will provide a greater accessibility of defence counsel to Crown counsel who are seized with particular cases; and as a result everybody will benefit from the process.


In certain areas it means there will be pre-trial discussions, which will lead to the shortening of the case and the avoidance of calling unnecessary witnesses. This again will make for better utilization of the courts; as well as better utilization of police resources, avoiding the need to have police officers sitting around, for days on end sometimes, when their evidence really isn’t that essential. It will also be just as important for the citizens as a whole who are witnesses in criminal prosecutions.

The regionalization of the Crown attorney system in the province and the decentralization of the very large Crown attorney’s office in Metropolitan Toronto by breaking it down into smaller units under the Crown attorney, will provide a better flow of information going both out into the system and from the system to 18 King Street East. In this manner we hope to provide a better and more effective Crown attorney system in the interests of the public.

Mr. Lawlor: The increase in the sums of money involved is from $10.2 million to $12.2 million. I believe, and I want you to confirm this, that there have been 21 new assistant Crown attorneys appointed under this particular vote. That’s a question of statistics. As between plea bargaining on the one side, and pre-trial discovery if you want to call it that, or pre-trial conferences on the other, which you are trying to bring in, I hope the emphasis is on the latter and not the former.

I think there is a role and a place for plea bargaining with respect to offences, not just to expedite the system with its backlogs but to work out somewhat quietly what could be possibly the best solution, which can conceivably get lost in the courtroom itself. There should be the pre-understanding that there are points in evidence, character, background and a number of things, which have to be gone into in a courtroom under fairly strict rules. Very often in ticklish situations matters can be brought to the attention of an intelligent Crown as a part of the picture of the best disposition of this particular person’s case. While I think it has to be brought before the court and the main points made in the presence of a judge, at the same time it’s a question of tone and approach to the matters in question. The pre-trial conference is the new rabbit at the bottom of the hat. We reach in, all of us, reach deep down into the sack and hope to catch it by the ears, but the creature may shat on you in the process too.

Mr. Nixon: Shat?

Hon. B. Stephenson: What tense is that?

Mr. Nixon: Past perfect.

Mr. Lewis: It is not the tense which is important, it is the verb.

Mr. Lawlor: I wonder if you have ever sent anybody down to look at the way they operate pre-trial conferences in the United States, both in civil and criminal. There is some literature I have looked at on the subject that says the pre-conference is just another blockade, just another obstacle, another delaying thing misused by lawyers in order to extract information which they otherwise wouldn’t get and use to their advantage at some subsequent stage; in other words to undermine and subvert the whole process on pre-trial.

Mr. Stong: You don’t believe that.

Mr. Lawlor: The pre-trial thing has to be very nicely scrutinized; its guiding rules, the criteria, have to be worked out with some finesse, I suspect.

Have you done that? Is it in the works? Do you feel that what I say about it lending itself very easily to misuse is certainly a truth, which I trust doesn’t become a truism as it develops?

It is a desperate effort to clear the ground for trial. In many cases they need not go at all; or if they go the main issues are cleared out and pointed, all the secondary stuff is hopefully eliminated. But is that necessarily the case; are we not possibly creating another monster to trip us up? If you look at your statistics that you supplied on Friday, it’s gaining all the way along the line, the overburden of cases in the courts. Have you any real reason to believe that pre-trial is going to help you a great deal?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, we certainly believe so. I don’t like to use the expression plea bargaining, because I think it tends to suggest that pre-trial discussions are affected by concepts that might be more appropriate to the marketplace than to the courts of justice in this province. So we talk about plea discussions. We are very concerned that any pre-trial discussions that may lead to plea discussions are carried out in a context that serves the public interest at all times.

Several years ago or more, as the hon. member for Lakeshore knows, my predecessor, the Hon. Dalton Bales, sent out a very carefully worked out set of guidelines in relation to these plea discussions. For my part, I added to them and perhaps clarified them to some extent. But fundamental to the guidelines that were sent out by Mr. Bales and myself were a number of things stating that at all times the public interest must be served and that plea discussions are not to be motivated simply to expedite a case by reason of considerations related to heavy work loads. In other words: “My God we have got a lot of cases here; how are we ever going to get through the lists”; so therefore we work out a few pleas just because of the heavy court backlog. Certainly our instructions are that that is not a factor to consider in arriving at a plea discussion.

I think what I attempted to make clear, what I added to the excellent guidelines that had been prepared by Mr. Bales, was that the public was to be informed as to the reasons for accepting a lesser plea. This is often done in murder cases and rape cases; reducing them to manslaughter and indecent assault, for example, in order that the public might know the reasons for accepting a plea to the lesser offence.

It is not always possible to carry on these discussions, of course, in open court. There may be extraneous considerations which have occurred from time to time related to the health of the individual, such as accused persons who may have terminal illness. It may not be in their interests for them to be aware of that themselves. But generally speaking, we are concerned that the public be informed as to why lesser pleas are accepted. I think those guidelines probably have been tabled in this House. They’ve certainly been referred to on other occasions.

With respect to the number of Crown attorneys, there certainly has been a fairly significant increase in complement in recent years, which of course is very much related to the increase in the case-load. I have some figures that indicate what the increase was in the case-load of criminal code offences between the years 1971 and 1976. It’s an incredible increase in many areas.

In some areas the case-load has increased fairly modestly, but in most areas of the province it has increased very dramatically during that period of time. In the county of Peel, for example, the case-load has increased almost 100 per cent in those five years. In Lennox and Addington it has increased 331 per cent. Thunder Bay’s has increased, in the five years, 106 per cent. The member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid) would be interested to know that Rainy River’s increase has been 145 per cent during those five years. Middlesex is up 146 per cent.

Mr. Lawlor: Is that broken down as to offences?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just criminal code cases as opposed to provincial statutes. Much of this increase is related to the increase in police personnel. Certainly there are statistics that indicate that every additional police officer is capable of introducing a fairly significant number of cases into the court system in any one year, a very large number.

Mr. Lawlor: He generates them by himself, so to speak.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, that’s right. Now case-load is a major factor in determining the need --

Mr. Cassidy: It is like saying the cops need robbers in order to survive.

Mr. Lawlor: Obviously the answer has to be cut down on the number of police. A queer solution.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: While case-load is a significant factor in determining the increase in the complement, we also have to consider facts such as geography, particularly in the large geographical areas of northern Ontario where one Crown attorney may have to cover many thousands of square miles and the various courts.

Mr. Cassidy: You would have no crime at all up there if you pulled out the OPP.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: What we have attempted to do is look at the individual annual criminal case-load for any individual office; we divide the total annual criminal case-load for that office by the number of professional members of the staff. This does give us some guidance, but guidance only. We don’t pretend that it gives us a total picture, because we’re very concerned about quality of service as well as volume.

It’s been necessary for us to resort to a large number of part-time assistant Crown attorneys. Quite frankly, I’d like to reverse that trend and go back to more full-time Crown attorneys, because we believe the Crown attorney system is not only a good one but will be best served by individuals who have a full-time commitment to the system.

I’d like to endorse the remarks in that respect that were made by the member for Lakeshore at the opening of this vote, when he commented on the fact there are relatively few complaints about the conduct of Crown attorneys in the province. When one considers the enormous volume of cases for which these Crown attorneys are responsible, that are handled by these Crown attorneys, the actual number of complaints is remarkably few. I think that’s to their great credit. They of course are all working on salaries that in most cases represent less than what they could earn in private practice. By and large they are very committed to public service.


Mr. Stong: I have a few questions, but perhaps I can deal with the last item the Attorney General dealt with first, and that is with respect to the increase of cases before the court and the need for more Crown attorneys.

I am wondering how he compiles the statistics to which he referred. Is he referring to the number of charges or is he referring to individual persons appearing before the court? He knows, as well as I do, that often times charges are doubled, tripled, and sometimes there are four charges arising out of the same circumstances, the same occurrence. I asked the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) how these statistics were compiled and he was not able to give me assistance in that regard. I am wondering if the Attorney General can throw any light on this issue. Is he talking about charges before the court or is he talking about persons charged before the court?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: They are related to charges before the courts, Mr. Chairman, and in that respect I would hasten to add that, again, they are not the total picture, because one of our concerns is that of the police laying multiple charges in relation to a particular individual. This is another reason we are trying to communicate more effectively through the Crown attorney system, particularly in Toronto; to make the individual Crown attorneys more accessible to police officers who need guidance from time to time in relation to the laying of these charges, to avoid, where possible, multiplicity of charges, which often results simply because a police officer does not have access to a Crown attorney and doesn’t really know quite the right charge to lay in order to protect the public interest and perhaps adopts a bit of a shot-gun approach. It may be that individual police officers from time to time are laying a multiplicity of charges for other reasons, but that allegation has been made and perhaps in certain cases is justified. However, this is another reason why we want to have greater accessibility to Crown attorneys by police officers in order to straighten out some of these matters.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I find that commendable, because it seems to me that police officers are definitely in need of guidance by qualified lawyers who are particularly familiar with the workings of the Criminal Code.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Your colleague probably doesn’t agree with you.

Mr. Stong: I refer to the situation of the impaired driver. I understand there was a directive from your office. I stand to be corrected on this, but I am advised that in each event where an individual is charged or suspected of impaired driving, not only is an impaired driving charge laid but a charge of driving in excess of 0.08; there are two charges. That doubles the statistics, indicates an increase in crime; so there is a fallacy there, in my respectful submission.

Another thing I understand is that a directive came out of the office that in the event a person refuses to render a breath sample and subsequently comes to court, the Crown attorney must proceed with both charges. In the event the accused is convicted, out of the same set of circumstances for driving impaired -- and he ought not to be driving impaired, there is no doubt about that -- but he is also charged with refusing to render a breath sample, and the consequences visited upon him as a result of that conviction are exactly the same as those under the conviction for impaired driving, exactly the same, only the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, I am advised, looks at the situation and regards it as two independent charges, and therefore the licence suspension, which is mandatory, is doubled.

I am concerned because I am receiving conflicting reports about this. It seems to me that those who have suffered this fate have lost their licences for six months instead of the three months which is usual for a first offender, because if a person is convicted of impaired driving and refusing to render a breath sample his licence is lost on a mandatory basis for three months in each case, and some have lost their licences for six months. That works a severe hardship on a person who drives a truck, and albeit he ought not to have been driving in that condition, that is not part of the argument. We agree he ought not to have been driving, ought not to have been driving in an impaired condition, but it does seem to be duplication and an unnecessary hardship in terms of sentence if that individual, because of the requirements to proceed on two charges pursuant to a directive from your office, undergoes a penalty which is more than another individual who does render a breath sample. I wonder if you could give us some guidance with respect to a directive from your ministry on that issue.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Dealing first with the laying of both impaired driving and over 0.08 charges, I understand that policy is presently under review. There is a greater degree of flexibility now than there was perhaps a year ago.

In relation to the laying of a charge for refusing to take a breathalyser test and impaired driving, the policy does remain, as the member quite correctly points out, to proceed with both charges. It is our view they are two separate and distinct charges.

Obviously the purpose of the compulsory breathalyser test was to discourage people from drinking to excess and driving. There was a great deal of debate in the provincial Parliament as to the wisdom or fairness of imposing this form of what was described during that debate as self-incrimination, but it was the decision of the federal parliamentarians that the interest of highway safety required these mandatory breath tests.

It is our view that if we simply take the position we are not going to proceed with the charge on the refusal to take a breathalyser test, it will become known if you get charged with both you plead guilty to the impaired and they will drop the refusal. It is our view and the view of the police this could only serve to encourage more people to refuse to take the breathalyser test, which would be contrary to the purpose for which that section was passed.

Mr. Stong: I agree with the Attorney General these tests ought to be compulsory. As a matter of fact, I believe the compulsory aspect of these tests should be extended. If your ministry would give directives to the police force to get out there and conduct more spot checks, we probably would not need to raise the drinking age; however, that is another argument. All I am saying is I endorse compulsory tests and do not object to the fact that charge be proceeded with in court with its consequential penalty. However, I asked the minister to direct his attention to mandatory licence suspension, because in those cases a first offender loses his licence for six months, as I understand it, instead of three. It would seem to me the consequence visited upon an individual who is convicted of that charge is probably more oppressive and works a greater hardship on, say, a person who drives a truck or a person who lives in the country and has to drive into town for groceries.

The mandatory suspension of a licence does not regard the circumstances of the individual offender. When a person chooses to break the law the consequences must be visited upon him, but those consequences ought not to be unduly harsh. It seems to me for a first offender to lose his licence for six months is undue in these circumstances. Could you give some light on whether that is a policy generally emanating from your ministry with respect to mandatory licence suspension?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: My first response would have some application to the issue of whether it’s fair to impose on a first offender convicted of refusal to take a breathalyser test and impaired driving a minimum of six months mandatory suspension when there hasn’t been any accident. I think the member knows that if there is an accident it would be a mandatory six months suspension in any event.

I can’t really state I’m particularly unhappy about that because of my concern, which I know is shared almost totally by the member for York Centre, about the seriousness of alcohol abuse on the highway.

The debate on the amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, you’ll recall, gave our provincial judges the power to increase the minimum period of suspension. When the federal government got out of that business, we got into this debate as a result of the controversy that surrounded intermittent driving privileges. The federal government decided to withdraw from that field and removed the power of provincial court judges to increase the minimum mandatory suspension period.

I know during that debate it was suggested by some members of the Legislature that we consider provincial legislation that would remove some of the harsh results which occurred when people were faced with mandatory driving suspensions, whether they be three months or six months. This may be a matter of debate in the future.

I recognize the fact it’s a tougher penalty perhaps, for one person than for his neighbour who doesn’t require an automobile to earn a living, but I still am of the view that we have to retain a very tough posture in this area because of the carnage on the highways as a result of alcohol-related driving offences.

It’s a matter of what the policy initially is. It’s in the Highway Traffic Act, so it should be a policy of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in so far as these consecutive driving suspensions are concerned. Rather than simply saying this is a question that should be asked of the Minister of Transportation and Communications, I’m expressing my personal view. However, the minimum mandatory suspension really is provided by the Highway Traffic Act and the provincial court judges have no discretion in that respect, as the member for York Centre well knows.

Mr. Stong: I agree the Attorney General should clamp down on those who are driving and drinking. I think it’s been needed for a long time and we’re finally getting it because of the carnage that we hear about on highway traffic reports. There’s absolutely no argument there.

What I am saying is this, that I’m glad to hear you’re thinking of greater flexibility in the case of a person who is charged with impaired driving, in excess of 0.08. I assume from what you’re saying that a directive will emanate from your ministry to police officers saying, “You do not have to lay both charges; you can lay only one.” I haven’t seen that in effect yet, but if that’s what you’re planning, I think that’s a good step.


I am referring to a driver who is obviously impaired causing an accident and who is charged with impaired driving and in excess of 0.08 out of the same occurrence. He goes to court. He’s convicted of the impaired charge. The in excess charge is ordinarily withdrawn. It’s almost as if it’s mandatory, although it’s not; in practice, it is withdrawn.

He’s a transport driver coming home from a wedding and he’s driving at a time when he’s not even involved in his daily work routine. He ought not to have been driving, no doubt about that. He should have used prudence, he should have known enough not to get behind his wheel; but he did, he made a mistake. He goes to court and he’s convicted of impaired driving. He loses his licence for six months because there was an accident. He’s a first offender, and the in excess charge is withdrawn.

If that same driver, because of the fact that he is a transport driver, for whatever reason, decides not to give a breath sample, when he goes to court he’s tried on both charges. I’m not even saying he shouldn’t be tried on both charges, because they are two occurrences and there is a reason for the Criminal Code creating a penalty for not rendering a breath sample, but out of the same set of circumstances that same man loses his licence for one year because of the mandatory provisions of the Highway Traffic Act, which are so imposed that they are consecutive; and these consecutive mandatory suspensions are imposed because of a directive from your ministry saying both these offences must be treated as separate. If there is no accident he loses his licence for six months total when ordinarily he would have lost it only for three months.

I understand your position, but it is in this respect that I take issue; sure he should be tried on both offences and fined, but he should not lose his licence under both offences pursuant to a directive from your ministry. Why can that not be regarded as a continuing or a same-occurrence offence so that the driver will lose his licence for three months rather than six, or for six rather than for one year under the same circumstances?

I am advised that people who have lost their licences on both those offences lose them for a consecutive time as opposed to a concurrent time. Now no one in society is affected by him refusing to blow into the balloon; he’s still convicted of the impaired driving charge and loses his licence; why must he lose his licence pursuant to a directive from your office indicating that they are separate offences? Why must they be treated, in relation to loss of licence, as consecutive offences in the event of a first offender? That’s my point.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t prosecute him on the second offence. All I say, with respect to licence and the licence alone, surely a directive can come out from your ministry communicating with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and indicating they may treat this as one offence rather than two in a given set of circumstances.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can’t tell the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to treat it as one offence when we’re treating it as two offences. If the Ministry of Transportation and Communications wish to review the matter, and I’m quite happy to take it up with the minister, it may be decided in those circumstances the Highway Traffic Act should be amended to provide for only one period of suspension when you’re dealing with a same occurrence and then that could be written into the Highway Traffic Act.

I’ll certainly be happy to bring your concern to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). I’m being quite frank in saying that I’m not sure I agree with it. I think your point is well made and I’m quite happy to discuss it with my colleague, who is fairly close by when he’s here.

Mr. Stong: I appreciate very much that you would do that. It seems to me that’s an area that can be tightened up, and I appreciate your remarks.

There are a couple of other matters that I would like to --

Mr. Lawlor: Can I say a word on this?

Mr. Stong: I’m not finished. However, rather than go to a new point, I’m prepared to let the member for Lakeshore make his observations.

Mr. Lawlor: I want to back you up on that a bit, and probably go further on it and make a sort of plea from the opposition benches to you precisely to get in touch with the Minister of Transportation and Communications in this particular regard.

I take a slightly different position from that of the member for York Centre on this. How did this thing start historically? Historically, the charge of ability impaired with drug or alcohol was a reasonable charge. They found a number of people were frustrating that particular section by not breathing properly, holding their breath, breathing through their nose and doing any other number of things in order to escape the breathalyser test. Subsequently, the wise people in Ottawa came to the conclusion they had to pass a special section saying -- and this is quite a bit subsequently -- that if they refused the test, then they were equally liable whether they took it or didn’t take it. The very fact of refusing it kind of blocked out that thing.

If you follow it through historically, and I suspect logically, your business of laying two charges and insisting upon both is absurd. It’s the simplest thing in the world, with no defence to it whatsoever. However difficult it is to defend impaired, it is totally impossible to defend the fact he didn’t take the test. It’s a fact. If he said no, or he frustrated the test and evidence is so given, then that’s it. The penalty is precisely the same as though he were over the 0.08.

If for some reason he felt he was perhaps on the borderline, or as more of them do felt he was quite safe, but nevertheless didn’t want to test the full possibilities of the situation and the path of greatest wisdom was not to take the test; if he felt that was the particular case then he was frustrated in that because of the new section. All right, so he’s hit with it.

He may not have been over and his driving may not, and the other tests they give you, finger-to-nose and what not, may be in accord with it; but the fact he didn’t take it is final and conclusive. That’s the end of the road and he suffers the full consequences.

For a Crown attorney to come along after that and proceed with the impaired strikes me as not the intent of the legislation. It was not what it was designed to do. You are being highly legalistic because you have two sections in the book.

Let me say something very general about all this, this business of laying multiple charges. If you’re going to set up plea discussions or the kind of pre-trial conferences of which you speak, that should be all cleared up. There are all kinds of charges, there is every charge in the book within these particular dimensions; it helps to increase the statistics, it raises the pay, increases the force, makes the chief feel like a terribly important potentate -- there is a whole host of ramifications there, and it also ties up the courts.

Part of the reason for plea discussion would be to clear out those charges -- particularly in the conspiracy area. Is that ever a sweet little charge just to throw in? In a conspiracy you can bring in a very broad band. You can lay charges against 16 people, whereas previously you were only able to charge maybe two or three. With conspiracy it’s great stuff, you can cover the whole waterfront and all kinds of people get involved. Sure at trial the charges will be dropped one by one; but there they are, all in the crime statistics. The fact is they can’t prove there were actual conspiratorial relations, although it’s much easier on the rules of evidence to catch someone in the net of conspiracy than it is individually to be able to stigmatize them with a crime.

Leaving that aside, though, I’m asking you, on your own hook, with respect to the laying of charges and proceeding, that you instruct -- well I know you don’t like to do that, but send out some kind of advice on what I understood was the practice, to indicate that both charges not be proceeded with and that it should be one or the other.

The second thing, speak through that committee of justice to the responsible minister on what is merely an administrative task as far as he’s concerned, to indicate that you don’t double the penalty in that particular context.

I think it is quite iniquitous on the part of the Crown to push for a double penalty, extending it to 12 months when in normal circumstances, certainly up until fairly recently, it has only been six.

I mean employment is lost in this province. One doesn’t condone drinking and driving, but one also has to be cognizant of the consequences. Those consequences need be no greater than is absolutely necessary to teach a good lesson to the individual involved. Doubling the penalty is twice punishing, or almost double jeopardy in this particular situation as against the benefits.

The lesson is well learned, let me tell you, in the six months in the nominal case. It is even well learned in the first 10 days, but this punitive vein runs through this province and even into the bloodstream of the various Attorneys General I have seen in this House -- not so much the Attorneys General but I have seen various Ministers of Transportation and Communications who are real clinkers, let me tell you, and who would put the whole province in chains if they had their way, because they think that everyone is incipiently an assassin of some kind.

Anyway, that’s the way I look upon these ministers. So do say a word to them and make some human being a little less miserable; not that you are going to make anybody happy.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Chairman, that’s a tough act to follow, and one of those remarks I endorse. I want to raise two points in the estimates right now. One is the inconsistency that I think occurs possibly across the province with regard to the plea bargaining associated with impaired charges and the breathalyser charge itself. I only raise this for your benefit, Mr. Minister, in the hope we will get some consistency across the province.

We only need to look at the penalties that are imposed in places like Brockville, and places like that where it appears that justice is not being applied in a fair and equitable fashion for every citizen in the province. I would hope that it wouldn’t make any difference where you live or whom you know in this province, that you would be treated in the same way.

The other point, Mr. Minister, is that recognizing the tremendous number of people who are usually impaired -- at least to a degree, whether legally or practically only -- when they are involved in automobile accidents, I am wondering if you have given any consideration to the idea of dedicating at least part of the fine or an additional fine to underwrite some of the OHIP costs and maybe possibly assist in the expense involved in the provision of blood.

This is an area which I think is of crucial interest to people involved in the administration and delivery of our health care system and one that deserves consideration by your particular ministry.

Mr. Conway: Tell them about the law of Killaloe, Roy.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know how helpful it would be, really, to take the fines -- well actually the fines go to the consolidated revenue fund, and since about a third of the consolidated revenue fund finds its way into the Ministry of Health budget, I think it’s fair to say that these fines are at least in part subsidizing health concerns.


In relation to the first part of the hon. member’s question, Mr. Chairman, I assume he was referring to certain judges in certain parts of the province who have different views on whether or not there should be incarceration automatically, or almost automatically, almost as a matter of course, for a first offender as opposed to those who do not. As I have said on other occasions when this issue has been raised, we are really dealing with a matter of judicial discretion, and as long as a judge exercises a discretion in each individual case, the judge is carrying out his or her responsibilities.

As the hon. member knows, I cannot and should not issue directives to judges as to the nature of the penalty to be imposed in any particular case. Some judges obviously have stronger views in relation to certain types of offences than do other judges and this is reflected by judicial attitudes in other areas of the law. But I have always assumed one of the responsibilities of a judge in imposing a sentence is to reflect the concern or abhorrence of the community with respect to a particular type of offence. It may be in some areas of the province people feel more strongly about this than in other areas. I am not in a position to speculate.

If this whole question of uniformity of sentences is a difficult one and if the federal parliamentarians who are responsible for the Criminal Code and any amendments thereto would wish to impose a uniform sentence for impaired drivers without any judicial discretion, they would have the power to do that. I personally don’t believe that judicial discretion should be removed, but that’s the only way you could guarantee obtaining uniformity of penalty.

The fact somebody may not know whether or not they are going to go to jail for a first offence of impaired driving may have some deterrent value in itself, but in relation to any of these sentencing matters the accused always has the right of appeal.

Mr. Cunningham: I could follow, Mr. Minister, by saying the possibility of doing time in one of the institutions administered by the hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) may be a deterrent in itself.

Mr. Conway: They sound like the place to go these days.

Mr. Cunningham: I understand people are now asking for two years plus a day. What I am concerned about is that in the minds of the public there be some general appreciation you will be dealt with in the following manner, these are the actual penalties for breaking the law.

In some areas people are getting off too easily and in other areas they are incarcerated. The inconsistency associated with it disturbs me. I am really bothered by it.

If I could offer to you an analogy, sir, I would say this: it is that very discretion that has ruined the possibility for young people in this province to consume alcohol. In some particular jurisdictions they have been incarcerated for under-age drinking and it has in fact been a deterrent; in many other areas it has been treated in the same fashion as jaywalking. That inconsistency has produced some very serious discrepancies in the degree to which the individual in society will obey the law.

I only offer this to you, Mr. Minister, because I hope somehow you may convince our friends in the courts to adopt some idea of consistency, which is important in the minds of the public.

Mr. Stong: One of the other points to which I wanted to refer is the area of plea bargaining. I understand from the Attorney General’s answer earlier that statistics are compiled on the basis of number of charges laid. That is very important and I concur with the observations made by the member for Lakeshore concerning the consequences which follow the fact crime statistics can be completely distorted when multiple charges are laid stemming from the same set of circumstances, the same occurrence.

I know one instance where seven separate charges were laid arising from one driving occurrence. If that’s the basis upon which crime statistics are based then no wonder our crime is on the increase.

Mr. Lawlor: It happens all the time.

Mr. Stong: I do endorse the member for Lakeshore when he chastises you and the ministry’s attitude towards that type of procedure.

However, let us direct our attention towards plea bargaining. I think plea bargaining is very useful and very helpful and essential to the administration of our courts and to the administration of justice. The laying of multiple charges renders plea bargaining almost a hollow, futile mechanism. When a defence counsel appears before a Crown attorney in order to ascertain facts and figures and he is met with a whole slew of charges facing him, arising out of the same circumstances, and those charges are used as a lever, there has to be give and take.

I see plea bargaining as a very useful aspect of our court system because properly used, it can avoid the attendance of witnesses. I disagree with the member for Lakeshore when he says it’s abused. On the whole I believe the defence counsel welcomes the chance of plea bargaining. I believe it would be of great assistance to legal aid in cutting down the costs incurred and the fees expended by virtue of the fact of it avoiding long trials, and long court cases. It avoids expenditures from the public purse for the attendance of witnesses in court.

Plea bargaining is the type of situation that must be explored fully and implemented more. I do not like to see it hampered by virtue of the fact an accused faces multiple charges arising out of the same set of circumstances. Honest plea bargaining, an honest approach to the situation, is then frustrated because of the levers at the disposal of the Crown attorney.

Likewise, it appears to me that in the matter of obtaining adjournments in our courts there is a weapon in the hands of the Crown attorney that is not available to defence counsel. That is the ability of a Crown attorney to withdraw charges. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. It perhaps does not happen as often as defence counsel requests adjournments. On many occasions a defence counsel or an accused could be forced on to trial when not fully prepared. It is incumbent upon him, having set the trial date, and he’s forewarned by the judge, that he must proceed to trial.

That accused goes to court on that day and he is forced to proceed to trial, whereas a Crown attorney has the weapon of the withdrawal of the charge if he’s not prepared to proceed to trial, and oftentimes that is employed. The charge is withdrawn in order to avoid the embarrassment of incurring the wrath of a judge by being able to avoid being required to proceed to trial.

The real problem is that having withdrawn the charge, the Crown attorney can re-lay the charge. This is done on occasion, not frequently but on occasion. That procedure is not available to an accused person; the accused person is definitely prejudiced by that type of behaviour.

In my submission to the Attorney General, in the event a Crown attorney withdraws a charge, for no matter what reason, I think he should be instructed not to re-lay, unless of course information comes to his attention that was not available to him prior to the withdrawal. It works a hardship, and albeit it doesn’t happen often it does happen; and a similar procedure is not available to the accused and therefore the accused is prejudiced.

In the event a Crown attorney is not prepared to proceed to trial and he withdraws the charge, he should be directed by your ministry not to re-lay that charge and not to bring the matter before the courts again.

There is another area on which I would like to address the minister. That is the question of the decentralization of the Crown attorneys and the program as it is being implemented in the principle is commendable, that a Crown attorney be allowed to remain in a court and be associated with that court and its surrounding police divisions so that there can be proper follow-up and follow-through of the cases. I think it is incumbent on the court system that a Crown attorney be allowed to follow through a case from low court through to high court and before a jury, because he is the most familiar of all the court officers with the particular case and facts.

However, I am interested to know how many areas of decentralization there are, how many blocks of Crown attorneys have been created in this program, before I go on with my other question.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The decentralization program is for the judicial district of York and as I mentioned earlier the four areas of Toronto, Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke. Part of the problem has been caused by the fact that we quite frankly have run into some rather frustrating delays in having accommodation ready in these four areas. Staff accommodation is in place, more or less in Etobicoke, but in North York and Scarborough it will probably be early March before the facilities and new courtrooms are available. Do you want the precise number of Crown attorneys who are going to each location?

Mr. Stong: Yes.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would have to get someone to give me that.

Mr. Stong: I asked you earlier last week about, as it has been described to me the discontent that has arisen as a result of some of the changes that have been implemented and changes in the programs after the initial implementation had taken place.

I would like to direct some questions along those lines, but in order to do that, I have to be sure of my facts and be sure we are talking about the same type of thing. So, initially, what I would like to know is who is in charge of each of these four areas and how were they chosen?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There are four deputy Crown attorneys. They were chosen --

Mr. Stong: Can you tell me who they are?

Hon. Mr. MeMurtry: There was a competition in the ministry. It was made known by the director of Crown attorneys, a year and a half or more ago, that deputy Crown attorneys were to be appointed to be in charge of each of these particular borough offices. The Crown attorney, of course, remained in overall charge.

A number of Crown attorneys applied. They were interviewed by senior members of my staff, including the director of Crown attorneys, and the assistant deputy minister, John Greenwood, who is no longer with us. It was a question of making recommendations to me on whom they felt were the best people to fulfil these particular jobs.

I concurred with their recommendations, because I was familiar with most of the senior Crown attorneys; most of the Crown attorneys have been in the judicial district of York for more than seven or eight years. I believe there were up to a dozen applicants, I cannot recall the number. As you know, Mr. Norman Matusiak is in Etobicoke. Michael Lynch is in Scarborough and Mr. Steve Leggett is in North York. Mr. Robert McGee is in the city of Toronto.

Some changes were made in the system. I have no doubt but that certain complaints have reached the ear of the hon. member, because certainly I received a certain amount of anonymous mail. I know a number of the Crown attorneys in this area personally, because like the member opposite I have had considerable experience practicing in the provincial courts.


Now maybe people aren’t always totally frank with the minister, but I have met with a lot of enthusiasm about this whole program. As a matter of fact, I attended a working dinner of the downtown office recently where there was almost 100 per cent turnout. Twenty-five or more assistant Crown attorneys got together for a working dinner, and I must admit I was very encouraged by the obvious morale. I am very encouraged by the fact Peter Rickaby, the Crown attorney, is working at 18 King Street East, where he is in daily contact with the deputy minister and assistant deputy minister. I had breakfast with him this morning and he is very much involved in the whole process.

This is very important for the development of the office of the judicial district of York, because with the pressures of everybody’s time, even a matter of a few city blocks separation between University Avenue and 18 King Street East makes it difficult to have the sort of interaction I want as Attorney General, between our ministry and an office that represents pretty close to 50 per cent of the system.

I am very enthusiastic about the potential. When we appointed the deputy Crown attorneys, I would have been surprised if there weren’t several people disappointed they didn’t get the job. They wouldn’t be professional, highly motivated people if they weren’t disappointed. When you have these competitions and recommendations are made, decisions have to be made and it’s always difficult, particularly when you have more than four people who could serve in that capacity.

So I am aware of some of the concerns expressed. I am really very enthusiastic and very optimistic about what this can accomplish for the Crown attorney system in this area and in motivating each of the members to have a more important role.

For example, the accommodation for the Crown attorneys will improve as we develop this additional office space together with the court space.

Certainly I haven’t been very happy with the accommodation of the court house on University Avenue, where you have so many Crown attorneys crowded into one location. So notwithstanding our restraints, we have been able to accomplish something very worthwhile for the Crown attorney system in this area.

Mr. Stong: The principle of decentralization is commendable and I began my remarks by saying that. It is very important we have Crown attorneys who are able, by virtue of their position, to follow a case through from the beginning to the end. Whether it goes to judge and jury or provincial judge alone, you have the same Crown attorney following it through so there is some kind of consistency. That is commendable and needed.

I suppose the minister could be closer to the situation than I am --

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can assure you I am.

Mr. Stong: That is good to know, because others have approached me with respect to the situation and I don’t think I am too remote or too far removed.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I didn’t say you were.

Mr. Stong: I am interested in the phraseology you used, “ministry competition.” I would like to know the criteria by which that competition was conducted. In selecting these four borough Crowns, how much weight was put -- in particular, how much weight was put on years of service, competence and the ability of the person as a career Crown attorney? It seems to me that’s important.

Also, I’d like to know if the following information given to me is accurate: that initially four borough chiefs or borough Crowns were appointed and then changes were made.

If my information is correct, maybe only one, but I believe two, had been set up, prepared to go, and then were removed from that office and the office was filled by someone else.

I’m given to understand that these people who were initially given that job had expected they would be able to follow through. However, it seems discontent arises out of this type of situation and it has not been handled properly in terms of personnel by the ministry. It would seem that the only thing lacking is the ability to communicate and have people who are career Crowns, professional Crowns, understand exactly what the policy of this ministry is in appointing individuals to these very important posts.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Certainly experience, years of service, competence and general administrative ability were obvious criteria.

I should correct myself in one area, though. I mentioned four offices. Actually, the initial competition was for three posts and not four. The hon. member may be confused a little bit between some internal matters related to so-called bureau chiefs at the old City Hall, as opposed to deputy Crown attorneys in the borough offices. There were no changes. The three people who were selected initially all have had a considerable amount of experience in the Crown attorney system, as I’m sure you know.

There were some internal changes in relation to the bureau set-up at the old City Hall, but there are no changes, which would be an internal matter, vis-à-vis the downtown city of Toronto office. In other words they would not be dictated by the ministry. There weren’t any changes in relation to the borough offices.

As I said, my frustration has been caused by the fact that it’s taken as long as it has to create the additional courtroom space and the additional offices in order to get those offices functioning effectively as semi-autonomous units.

There was no competition. I’m not aware of any competition for any sort of bureau chiefs within the downtown office, because that is an internal matter as far as that office is concerned. My concerns are related to the borough offices and the competition in relation to those people. I would be very surprised if anybody could seriously quarrel with the decisions to choose Messrs. Lynch, McGee and Matusiak as a result of that competition. I must admit, the responses I’ve had from the practicing bar have been very favourable and I’ve heard no negative comment.

Mr. Stong: Again, I am not concerned about the number of courtrooms. We are in need of courtrooms. The people who have expressed their concern to me were not worried about courtrooms. They all recognized the necessity of courtrooms; and least of all consideration is whether the practising bar consents to the changes; that’s the least consideration.

The most important consideration for your ministry in my respectful submission to you is your own personnel and the people who work under you and for you. If I understand correctly what you have just said, you indicated there was competition for three of the borough chiefs -- not bureau chiefs, but borough chiefs or borough Crowns or deputy Crowns as I understand it -- and there were four placements. I’m given then to assume from your answer, if I’m correct, that there was no ministry competition for the fourth placement.

If I understand you correctly, that’s as I have noted it here.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The fourth position is held by a gentleman who’s already a deputy Crown attorney for the judicial district of York. At the time of the decentralization, we had one Crown attorney and one deputy Crown attorney. We in effect created three new deputy Crown attorneys and the competition was for those three new jobs. The fourth person, Mr. Leggett, was a deputy Crown attorney and remains a deputy Crown attorney.

Mr. Lawlor: The member for York Centre is floundering around pretty badly at the moment. You’d better hang up your hat on this one.

Mr. Stong: I’m concerned, just so the matter goes into Hansard for those who are interested in reading it, about the explanation of the Attorney General. Just so there’s no mistake about it, I have asked the questions and the answers are forthcoming from the other side of the House. So that the sequence is understood, there were four positions, four borough offices created. There was competition for three and the one held by Mr. Leggett required no competition.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, he was already a deputy Crown attorney and so-designated by an order in council of this government.

Mr. Stong: I know that it’s getting close to the hour, but I do have a couple of other questions.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I just wanted to add that the decision on the three was the result, from what I can gather, of virtually a unanimous recommendation by the senior Crown law officers in the ministry who have responsibility in relation to criminal law.

I’m not saying it was an easy or an obvious choice, because there were several others who were very highly qualified and might well have served, but when it got down to making a decision there was no difficulty. I want to make it very clear that if I had disagreed, if I had felt there was another individual who was better qualified by reason of my own knowledge of the office than these gentlemen, I wouldn’t have hesitated, with all due reluctance and with great respect for my colleagues here, to have said, “No, I’m going to recommend somebody else.”

But in order to put this matter to rest, to some extent at least, I want to make it very clear that it wasn’t a question of the Attorney General imposing his will on his senior staff on the choice of any of these individuals, although as the buck stops here, if I felt that it was in the public interest to do so I would have. But in this particular case, there was a very high degree of unanimity.

Mr. Stong: I think we’ll let that issue rest.

Anyone who wants to know your reasons, they can read about it.

In February of this year, I understand you set up a special panel of seven Crown attorneys to prosecute rape charges. I’m wondering what the progress of that select group is; what they’re doing, what they’ve achieved, how closely they’re working with the police and how that special squad is working?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: What I’ve asked the Crown attorney to do in about February -- I think that’s about the time -- was to put someone, under his direction, in charge of rape prosecution in order to expedite the progress of these cases through the courts. I had had some correspondence, a brief had been presented to me, from the Rape Crisis Centre in Toronto.

One of the issues they raised, and one of concern to me, is the additional emotional strain that is borne by complainants when these cases are unnecessarily delayed. While every accused person must have the reasonable opportunity to make a full defence to the charges, it’s important to expedite these cases through the courts for two reasons. First of all, it’s in the public interest, obviously, to have serious matters tried as quickly and as fairly as possible. Secondly, it was suspected that a number of complainants or victims in rape cases might not be complaining to the police because of the long delays attributed to the courts. So I wanted to have somebody to expedite these cases.

Mr. Gerry Wiley was given that responsibility. I can’t tell you who is working with him on it, because I haven’t met him. I’ve met with Mr. Wiley and I can say he established a very excellent liaison with the Rape Crisis Centre. I’ve had letters from the Rape Crisis Centre indicating their support of what’s been accomplished and the fact Crown attorneys expedite the cases through the courts.

One of the complaints was that the victims, who are often, naturally, distressed by the frightful experience, in the past have been faced with the situation where they might meet one Crown attorney who was going to take the preliminary inquiry, and then perhaps at the last minute another Crown attorney would show up; and then when it came for trial another Crown attorney would take the trial in the county or Supreme Court. I indicated I wanted some continuity with the handling of these cases. The complainants would obviously feel less emotional if they were dealing with the same Crown attorney throughout.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.