The House met at 2 p.m.
COMMONWEALTH BOXING CHAMPION
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, yesterday we had the opportunity in this Legislature to honour the Commonwealth. Today, with the consent of the members, I wish to introduce to them a distinguished guest, Gary Summerhays, the Commonwealth light-heavyweight boxing champion who is in the Speaker’s gallery.
Mr. Summerhays, who, of course, hails from Brantford, won the Commonwealth title in a bout in Melbourne, Australia, defeating Tony Mundine, the reigning Commonwealth champion.
Mr. Martel: He will sock it to you.
Mr. Makarchuk: In discussions yesterday with the Australian council, I was advised that our man in Australia was definitely the underdog in view of the long record of victories scored by the defeated champion. I’m sure all members would agree that the victory is a credit to Mr. Summerhays and it is something of which all of us can be proud.
Accompanying Mr. Summerhays is his wife, Teresa. Also in the gallery with the Summerhays is the coach and manager and another well-known Brantford resident, Mr. Frank Bricker. Mr. Bricker has been coaching boxers of all ages for many years. His record of coaching and managing a series of successful boxers is probably unmatched by anybody else in Canada. When you combine Mr. Brinker with Mr. Summerhays you have an unbeatable combination, and if anybody would like to dispute that, they’ll probably take care of you in the hallway. With Mr. Bricker is his wife, May.
Mr. Warner: He should take on the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).
Mr. Makarchuk: I also wish to acknowledge at this time the contributions to the winning of the title by members of Branch 90 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Brantford, who provided the encouragement and training facilities for boxers trained by Mr. Bricker. I’m sure the members will join me in extending to them our congratulations and wishing them more success in the future.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
CROWN TIMBER ACT
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, later today I will introduce amendments to the Crown Timber Act. These amendments are, for the most part, based upon the report of the timber revenue task force. Detailed discussion and analysis following public review of this report has resulted in some amendments to the original recommendations.
The purpose of the amendments is to accomplish two principal objectives. First, they will enable the establishment of a system of Crown charges that is responsive to the cyclical nature of the forest industry. Second, they will ensure that revenue from the cutting of Crown timber is generated in an equitable manner.
Specifically the Crown Timber Act will be amended to authorize regulations to be made under which the Crown dues to be paid by order in council licensees will be indexed to commodity selling price indices and will be responsive to such indices.
In addition, the Crown Timber Act will be amended to amalgamate the present management charge and forest protection charge into a single area charge. Currently, the management charge and forest protection charge are $27.60 for each square mile of productive forest lands under licence. By regulation, the amalgamated area charge will be fixed effective April 1, 1978 at $41.40 for each square mile of productive forest land under licence, and will increase at the approximate rate of 10 per cent per annum for four years.
The proposed amendments to the Crown Timber Act will also enable regulations to be made under which compound interest of one per cent per month will be charged on overdue invoices for Crown charges. The regulations will also prescribe an objective rule for determining the due date of an invoice. Generally, invoices for Crown charges will be payable on the last day of the month following the month in which the invoices are prepared.
These amendments will provide better protection of the Crown revenue and are in line with currently acceptable business and accounting practices.
A great deal of thought has gone into the foregoing matters. However, we recognize that there may be certain adjustment problems for individual firms during the early phases of implementation. It is our intention to closely monitor the effects of these amendments to determine if they create deterrents to good forest utilization practices or operating procedures. Should these occur, steps will be taken.
CIVIL SERVICE COMPLEMENT
Mr. S. Smith: If the Premier (Mr. Davis) won’t be in, I’ll ask the Treasurer a question. Referring to table 7 of budget paper C, would the Treasurer care to explain to us how it is that he has been referring to a reduction of over 4,000 people in the civil service over the years since 1971? In fact, the Premier spoke to the Canadian Society of New York on May 17, 1977 and said: “We have increased government efficiency and in the last three years reduced our civil service by 4,200.” Can the Treasurer reconcile that with table 7 of budget paper C which shows only a reduction of 1,350 since March 1, 1975, when the Premier has made a claim of 4,200?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The Premier and I -- and I think members generally -- have referred in the last couple of years to complement positions within the civil service. The complement positions at any given time were perhaps never all filled, but there was a reduction of something like 4,200 over a three-year period or two and a half-year period in the approved complement positions.
Members opposite and others also put questions on the order paper from time to time concerning contract staff, unclassified staff. In last year’s budget, although it may have been separately, I believe the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld) indicated we were switching over to an entirely new system of dollar control and not just complement control.
The figures which are available in table 7 were not available before. For a whole variety of reasons, we didn’t have a complete spotlight on the number of people working at any given point in time. What the board does now -- I think on the last day of each month -- is take a snapshot, as they call it, on the number of employees, full- or part-time, contract or otherwise, within each ministry. That, in turn, happens within each institution or office of the government. The figures, which are very gratifying, would indicate that although it was suspected people were simply reducing their classified staff and increasing unclassified staff, this has not happened.
Since March 1, 1975, to December 31, 1977, two years less two months, there has been a drop in total employment of 1,350. These figures were collected on a yearly basis to begin with and it is only within the last 15 months that the board has been collecting the monthly figures.
I can give members a further figure, for example, as of the end of January. The total figure which includes “other,” that is, provincial police, uniformed security guards and so on, is now 84,613 as against 85,994 in December or as against 85,096 at the end of January 1977. If the member is interested, the Chairman of Management Board, I am sure, either as I say in the budget or subsequent to the budget, explained the full details of the switches that were being made.
The simple answer to the question, the quick answer, is that the Premier or others were talking about approved complement positions whereas this table for the first time refers to total staff at any given moment on staff.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, does the Treasurer not agree that it is somewhat misleading for the Premier to speak in New York of “having reduced our civil service by 4,200,” when by the Treasurer’s own admission now the only reduction has been 1,350 and the remaining 2,900 people who are no longer there were never there in the first place? He is eliminating nothing from nothing.
Mr. Mancini: Right on.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I don’t feel that it is inconsistent.
Mr. Roy: In the used car business it is called pulling.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: If the member would examine the words used, he would find the words “complement positions” as opposed to “staff.”
Mr. S. Smith: Not in the Premier’s statement.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We recognized in making this change that there would be some confusion. I recognize that the Leader of the Opposition is embarrassed by these figures --
Mr. S. Smith: Oh yes, embarrassed at having you as Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- because during this same period, his kissing cousins in Ottawa have gone on and on and on, adding staff.
Mr. Ruston: Is that the best you can come up with?
Mr. Bradley: Passing the buck again.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Leader of the Opposition with his second question.
Mr. S. Smith: I was hoping to ask a question of the Premier but failing that the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) and failing that the House leader (Mr. Welch). Who will be acting House leader?
An hon. member: Ask the Treasurer again. He’s accessible.
Mr. S. Smith: No, it has nothing to do with the Treasurer. Who would be acting House leader in the absence of the House leader, Mr. Speaker?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The House leader was here, and will be back.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll wait for him to return for my second question.
An hon. member: You just used up the question.
Mr. Cassidy: I would not want people to feel that my suit was deceptive, Mr. Speaker, so I want to put this button on because as a good New Democrat would say, “No taxation without legislation.” And for members opposite who wish one, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) will be happy to provide a supply at $1 apiece.
Mr. Lewis: What do you mean at $1 apiece? For Tories it is $2.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right, whatever the market will bear.
INCREASE IN OHIP PREMIUMS
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Treasurer. Is the Treasurer -- and the government -- now prepared to reconsider the announced increase in our health tax -- in other words the OHIP premium increase -- given that a worker earning the Ontario average wage of $13,400 will pay 8.4 per cent of his net income after taxes in health premiums whereas a person earning almost twice as much -- $25,000 a year -- will pay only 3.8 per cent of his net taxable income for the same coverage?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: First of all I think we should all recognize that today is the leader’s reply to the budget speech, and I want to congratulate him on wearing a three-piece suit again. I never thought we’d see it again. It really is very stunning and the orange button just sets it off beautifully.
Mr. Martel: We rent them, Darcy.
Mr. Makarchuk: The clothing rental industry is a growth industry.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the figures in that question under advisement.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary then: Does the minister not agree that a tax that takes more from people the lower the income they have, right down to the poverty line, is completely contrary to the principles of a fair and equitable tax system?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The member, I assume, is a member of the public service and has his premiums paid in full through the Office of the Assembly. This means that whatever his marginal rate is -- and I assume that it must be 70 or 80 per cent -- they would have to pay him a lot to take that job, one way or another --
Mr. Martel: That’s why they pay the Premier so much.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- therefore you are being taxed at a heavier marginal rate on that taxable benefit. Those who pay a low marginal rate, if they’re receiving their benefit in full from their employer, obviously are taxed at a much lesser rate.
Mr. S. Smith: And if they pay it themselves, God help them.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The difference is exactly the same as it would be if the money were paid out in the form of income and tax levied off it.
Mr. Lewis: Talk about sophistry.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Does the Treasurer not understand that employees whose employers pay their premium will lose this in wage increases, and that employees who have to pay the premium themselves will be having to pay out a rate of health premiums which is higher than the total of the federal and provincial tax combined at modest rates of income?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I read the Globe and Mail -- good Lord, I read it three days ago and I’m glad the member has got around to reading it.
Mr. Martel: I didn’t think you could after the budget.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There are certain notch problems.
I have replied extensively to the Globe and Mail today. I invite the leader of the third party to read that letter and then we’ll discuss it again.
Mr. Cassidy: Final supplementary: In view of the fact that premium income provides only 10 per cent of health costs in Alberta, 15 per cent in British Columbia, and 13 per cent in Quebec whereas the Treasurer, on behalf of this government, intends to collect 34 per cent of health costs through premium income in this province, does the Treasurer not agree that Ontario therefore will have the most regressive system of health premiums in all of Canada?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, no, I do not agree.
Mr. Cassidy: The facts belie you.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: My colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) points out that the premiums will pay about 28 per cent of the total health bill or a third of the insurance services. I think one might look at the tax rates in some of the other provinces. If the member wants to move to the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba during their erring Socialist days when they put on rates of income tax which crippled both those economies, then let him go.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We pride ourselves on having the second lowest rate of income tax in Canada, and we aim to keep it that way.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: No. A new question.
Mr. Cassidy: Ultimate final supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: New question.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question of the Treasurer. With the announcement by Statistics Canada today that there are one million people unemployed in Canada, and 326,000 men and women now unemployed in this province, is the Treasurer prepared to reconsider his refusal to introduce any program of permanent job creation in his budget?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, obviously I am disturbed by the unemployment figures which were released today and which show a small deterioration in the figures from January in Canada as a whole and marginally here in Ontario. I think one must remember, and bear in mind, that on an actual basis -- and, for that matter, on a seasonally adjusted basis -- unemployment figures in both Canada and Ontario typically peak during January, February and March; February and March, I think would be more correct, generally speaking. We are seeing the results of the fact that we are at that particular time in the calendar year. I said in my budget that I thought we would have a small decrease in the number of unemployed. Obviously I did not expect that to happen in the month of February, nor do I.
Mr. Cassidy: It won’t happen with your budget either.
Mr. Deans: Which month?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I know the member wants us to spend more to create jobs; whether by borrowing or raising taxes, he has never made clear.
Mr. Warner: You have no plans for jobs.
Mr. Martel: You are not among the unemployed. You wouldn’t know what it is like.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I rejected that course of action last Tuesday night, as we rejected it a year ago. I would point out to my friends that governments right across this country have rejected that course of action. The easy thing to do, of course, would be to say, “Sure, we’ll run up the deficit. We’ll run up our cash requirements by several hundred millions of dollars.” But somebody will have to pay that bill.
Mr. Renwick: The hard thing for you to do would be to care about any people who are unemployed.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m not prepared blithely to leave that bill to future generations.
Mr. Martel: There are 326,000 unemployed now.
Mr. Mackenzie: The unemployed are paying the bill now.
Mr. Foulds: Try balancing the economy as well as the budget, you clunk.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would point out that even in February, employment rose in Ontario by about 16,000, which was not enough to absorb the growth in the labour force, which was some 27,000.
Mr. Warner: You are a picture of perpetual failure.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The number of unemployed increased on an actual basis by some 10,000, but I would point out to the member that, since February a year ago, the actual number of jobs in Ontario has increased by 98,000 and, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 101,000 additional jobs have been created in Ontario since February 1977.
Mr. Mackenzie: What do you figure on a structural basis?
Mr. Cassidy: Tell that to the people of Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that’s pretty good, considering the conditions that we have in the country and the world economy.
Mr. Warner: You helped make it so.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t rest on that; but I’m honest enough, and we in this party are honest enough, to say that the growth in jobs and employment will come through the private sector and not from make-work programs which the member advocates.
Mr. Cassidy: Tell that to the unemployed.
I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. How many people must be unemployed in this province before the Treasurer will reconsider his complete refusal to undertake any job creation programs for Ontario?
Ms. Gigantes: How low can you go?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I can think of one who I would like to see unemployed but he just got his job; so I don’t know that I would do anything about that. I don’t want to see him unemployed.
Mr. Cassidy: I will be here after you have gone.
An hon. member: Keep them around, we need them.
Mr. Warner: The Treasurer really should resign; he is totally inept.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I recognize the keenness with which the members of the third party particularly attack this problem; that is their right and it is my duty to defend our position, and I shall do so.
Mr. Laughren: Defend it. That’s right, exactly right.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: While I am on my feet, though, I have to take exception to yesterday’s Star which reported on --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: This is a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Yesterday’s Star was reporting on a meeting of the Toronto Teachers’ Federation; it was on their brief to the pension commission. I quote: --
Mr. McClellan: Make a hat of it and put it on your head.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- “The brief blames the enrolment crisis on failures of government policy, arguing that economic uncertainty, high unemployment and staggering inflation have led to a climate where people do not want to risk having children.” I will take a lot on my shoulders, but not that. I object to that statement.
Mr. Laughren: You are very funny, Darcy.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: I want to say that the Treasurer’s compassion has all the character of Marie Antoinette and shouldn’t be permitted here in this province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you know her well, Michael?
Mr. Cassidy: Is the Treasurer saying that when one out of every seven young people in this province is unemployed, when one out of 12 men in this province is unemployed and one out of every 11 working women in this province is unemployed that the situation is not serious enough to justify any reconsideration of his determination to do absolutely nothing about the unemployed?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I brought in a budget a week ago and I don’t propose to change it a week later.
Mr. Warner: Disaster.
Mr. di Santo: Shame.
Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition now have a target?
Mr. S. Smith: Yes, and just before I make mention of my second question, Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of this House that tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of the happy event whereby the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) first took their seats in this chamber.
Mr. Sweeney: And you guys have been running ever since.
Mr. Ruston: Put them on the run, Margaret.
Mr. S. Smith: That was, of course, the start of the long road upwards which we have gradually been making progress on, and we trust we are still heading in the right direction.
Mr. Warner: You are always headed to the right.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You lost a seat in the last election.
Mr. S. Smith: There has been the occasional setback.
HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Premier, regarding the matter of the report of the Human Rights Commission of Ontario, entitled Life Together, a report which all of us have now had a chance to study carefully. Would the Premier undertake to provide some forum in the Legislature for us to discuss this report with all its implications, particularly the changes in the code but also the changes in reporting, the changes in financing, the changes in staff and so on recommended in this report? We in the Legislature can then have the opportunity to discuss it, as the outgoing chairman of that Human Rights Commission would have wished us to do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would have no reluctance to a discussion of the report in the House. The government is presently evaluating the report. I think there are some aspects of it that may find their way into possible amendments, which might provide the opportunity for the kind of discussion the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting. If there are no proposed legislative changes during the course of the spring session, assuming that the work is going along relatively well, I am sure we could find an afternoon or evening to discuss the contents of the report.
I think it’s a very constructive document. There will be some in your party who do not share some of the recommendations in that report. There will be one, at least, who will, and I know that the member will want to have that sort of discussion with people able to offer their totally objective points of view on some of those issues --
Mr. Reid: Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I think that some discussion of that nature might be helpful, but I would just ask the Leader of the Opposition to be patient for two or three weeks to see whether there is an opportunity, perhaps through proposed legislation, where we can do that.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary -- and given the concern that exists, and rightly so, about racism, as well as about the problems of minorities defined in other manners, and despite the probable amendment that I think the Premier is referring to, and which has to do with the handicapped and their inclusion in the Human Rights Code, I do hope that he will have a chance to discuss the whole report.
May I, by way of further supplementary, ask the Premier for his comments on two particular recommendations? The first one is that an annual report should be prepared and tabled in the Legislature, detailing all the activities and the progress of the commission; what is his feeling about that? Secondly, what does he feel about the recommendation, “that it become an established practice for the Premier to consult with the Leader of the Opposition before recommending the appointment of the chairman of the commission”? I would like his opinion on that last category, inasmuch as there was no consultation whatever with regard to the most recent appointment.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you make him deputy prime minister?
Mr. McClellan: Give him a seat in the cabinet.
Mr. Lewis: We could strike an all-party committee to look into this.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have known the prime author of this report and his very constructive approach to a number of these matters, and as well, the conciliatory way in which he approaches some of his recommendations. Firstly, on the suggestion that there should be an annual report tabled, I would have no reluctance in discussing that with the commission. If it makes sense, I certainly would have no objection to it.
I sense that the author of the report really was looking at the appointment of the chairman of the Human Rights Commission as something comparable to the way the Ombudsman of this province is appointed. I would say with respect to Professor Symons that while I agree with a number of the recommendations, I think it is fair to state that the Human Rights Commission does not fall in the same category as the Ombudsman. There is no question that if there are difficulties in terms of the administration of that commission, if there are difficulties in terms of policy as it relates to the commission, I think it is fair for the members opposite to raise those with the government, which has the responsibility ultimately for the determination of, first, the people; second, the legislation; and third, the general direction the Human Rights Commission takes. In that the government must assume that responsibility under our system, I think it is only appropriate that the government assume the responsibility for the chairman and for those who are appointed to the commission.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Mr. Riddell: A question of the Solicitor General: In view of the rather unfortunate incident which occurred at Fleck Manufacturing Company this morning where there was considerable property damage done by UAW members from outside the area; and in view of the number of workers who expressed concern to me this morning that they wanted to go to work but were certainly reluctant to jeopardize their safety by crossing the picket line without police protection; and in view of the fact that I indicated in my question in the Premier yesterday that the picket line was going to be reinforced this morning by workers from Talbotville, why did the Solicitor General not take steps to reinforce the police force in order to keep order at the plant? And what does he intend to do to prevent further violation of the Criminal Code in connection with this particular strike?
Mr. Martel: Now there is a friend of labour; that whole group.
Mr. di Santo: They’re worse than the Tories.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There was an incident this morning. I understand the incident related to a number of people in a car who were not employed at the plant. Apparently the pickets mistakenly thought they were employees trying to enter the plant, but they were apparently employed at a firm, Protective Plastics, which has a plant near the Fleck plant. That was an unfortunate occurrence.
Mr. Breithaupt: Would it have been all right if they were employed?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The police were informed, of course, that there would be a number of extra picketers attending at the plant today, and it was decided by management that the plant would not be open. In view of that, there was no necessity of reinforcing or adding numerous police officers in the area of the plant this morning.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: Is the Solicitor General indicating that mobs of people can come and do considerable property damage, even though the plant is not open? As I understand it, there was assault on two press people. Is the minister indicating that this can go on and the police can just stand and watch it happen, even though the plant isn’t in operation?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No. There were a number of police officers there. I believe there were about six or seven police officers there. As for the incidents to which the hon. member refers, there is a possibility that charges will be laid.
Mr. Renwick: Supplementary: Upset as I am by the comments made by the member for Huron-Middlesex, I address my supplementary question to the Solicitor General. Will the Solicitor General instruct the OPP that their obligation with respect to the picketers on lawful strike at that plant is to provide them with an opportunity of communicating with those who are trying to break the strike?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The Ontario Provincial Police are quite aware of their responsibilities and duties in respect to a picket line.
Mr. Renwick: Further supplementary: Will the Solicitor General advise this House in what way a person on lawful picket, on foot, can inform persons in vehicles about the reason for the strike and why the strike is taking place?
Mr. S. Smith: Not by turning a car over.
Mr. Rotenberg: You can’t stop people from working. You talk about unemployment; let them work.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think any employee attempting to enter the plant by way of using a motor vehicle or a bus is quite aware of the fact that that plant is on strike and that the picket line is there in order to inform the employees that the plant is on strike. I’m not aware that the picket line has been unable to communicate in some way with the employees inside that plant.
Mr. Renwick: Oh, come off it! How do you communicate with a bus escorted by police?
An hon. member: Does that give them the right to obstruct?
Mr. Reid: Supplementary: Can the Solicitor General tell the House if, as a result of what happened this morning, any charges have been laid against anyone?
Mr. Deans: He already answered that.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I already answered that for the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex. There is the possibility that charges will be laid, yes.
INCREASE IN OHIP PREMIUMS
Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Treasurer. Before I put it, I wish to present the Treasurer with a button entitled, “No taxation without legislation.” I’m sure he’ll wear it in good health.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: When are you dumping the tea in the harbour?
Mr. Warner: Does the Treasurer now admit clearly and unequivocally that he has no intention of lowering the OHIP tax increase nor of making the committee to which the health tax had been referred a meaningful exercise and that the committee will not be relevant and will have no effect upon his decision?
Mr. Rotenberg: Send buttons to the members for Wentworth and Scarborough West too. They haven’t got one.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I obviously have and will continue to have a great respect for committees of this Legislature. I will look forward to their deliberations in this area with a great deal of interest. I listened yesterday to the financial critic from the Liberal Party. I didn’t hear any suggestions -- just a lot of rhetoric. But it may be that the committee will have something positive to say.
Mr. Kerrio: That makes us even.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Perhaps the Treasurer could explain why the order in council which now makes the premium tax a law in the province of Ontario was signed yesterday. Why did he go ahead and sign that, knowing that he is undermining whatever work the committee could have done?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think the member is somewhat wrong. The order in council went through cabinet on March 8, a week ago.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, on a point of information, it was filed, dated March 13. Under the Regulations Act, section 3, it clearly states that a regulation comes into force and has effect on and after the day upon which it is filed, such date being yesterday. Although it was first drafted on March 9 it did not become law until yesterday.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member has made his point.
Mr. Martel: Now answer the question.
Mr. Lewis: Question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Martel: He has not answered the question.
Mr. Warner: Do we get an answer?
Mr. Speaker: It wasn’t a question. It was a point of information.
Mr. Lewis: Of course it was a question.
Mr. Wildman: The Treasurer never responded to the initial question.
Mr. Laughren: A button a day keeps the Treasurer away.
MUNICIPAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General and it deals in the realm of the Fire Marshal’s office and the policies of various fire departments.
Would the Solicitor General advise whether there is a policy involving fire departments in this province, especially in regional municipalities, where we have various fire departments dealing with different municipalities, that they fight fires on a first-arrival basis? Is this a provincial policy and is he going to enforce it to avoid a situation as happened in Ottawa last week where the Rideau Fire Department got to the scene of a fire and sat back and let the building burn down -- a lady was seriously injured -- because the fire was in the Gloucester area?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: In situations of that kind within a region -- and as the hon. member says, there may be three or four different departments in the municipalities within that region -- the prime responsibility rests with the department within the region where there may be a fire. However, in many instances there are agreements between municipalities that, depending upon the location of the fire, other departments and other personnel will also answer the alarm.
I am surprised when the hon. member says that one particular department refused to assist, because there is a certain amount of reciprocity between the municipalities within a region, and that is understood in many parts of the province. It isn’t necessarily dictated by the Fire Marshal or an edict by the Fire Marshal; that is something that is usually agreed to by the departments within the region.
Mr. Roy: In view of the fact that we clearly had a situation in Ottawa where apparently Gloucester advised Rideau that it didn’t want Rideau to fight a fire in Gloucester even though it was closer, would he not feel, as minister responsible provincially and through the Fire Marshal’s office, that it should be a provincial policy that fires are fought on a first-arrival basis, and so avoid situations like this, where two municipalities apparently could not come to some agreement?
Mr. Hodgson: Getting away from local government now. Getting away from local representation.
Mr. Roy: Doesn’t the minister think it is somewhat ridiculous for one fire department to show up and just sit back and wait for the other fire department, which is 11 minutes away from arriving at the scene? Doesn’t he think there should be a provincial policy when municipalities can’t agree?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I will look into that.
Mr. Nixon: You would let the place burn down eh?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I didn’t realize that the hon. member was saying, in fact, that the department personnel who arrived at the fire were told by the fire department in the area where the fire occurred not to take an action. This seems strange and I will look into it.
Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister said he would look into it. There will be further opportunities.
Mr. Peterson: He fights fire with fire, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lawlor: A question of the Attorney General, arising out of the Jaques murder trial: What is the intention of the Crown with respect to appealing the verdict of acquittal in the case of Mr. Gruener and the second degree murder verdict in the case of Mr. Woods?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have requested the senior law officers of the Crown to review the matter with a view to launching an appeal with respect to those two accused. It is first necessary to obtain a transcript of the rather lengthy charge to the jury by Mr. Justice Maloney, and we are hoping that this transcript will be available within the next day or two. I would expect a decision should be made with respect to appeals in relation to these two gentlemen at the beginning of next week.
FIRST AID TRAINING
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. In the light of the recent recommendation of a coroner’s jury investigating the death of one Kenneth Clarke, a promising young hockey star who suffered fatal brain damage when he was hit by a puck behind his left ear just below his helmet, that his life may have been saved if he had been given basic first aid treatment, would the minister suggest to his colleague, the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), that artificial respiration or some method of respiration, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, be given top priority in the schools so that at least we can save lives simply by teaching our students the basics of artificial respiration?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I haven’t yet seen that coroner’s report. Unfortunately they are usually a number of weeks behind the press reports about them. When I receive it I will review the recommendations and ask our staff to consider that with the Ministry of Education staff. I know that first aid, including various forms of artificial resuscitation, is quite widely taught now throughout the province. It may well be that it is something we can consider putting an added emphasis to for some expansion.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: May I ask of the Minister of Health then, while the Minister of Education is here, that at least no athlete be allowed to indulge in the athletic activity unless he has taken a course in pulmonary or artificial respiration?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am not sure that is a realistic suggestion. If the hon. member were to suggest that trainers of teams in high schools, or coaches, should have had some form of training, I think that would be something worth considering, but to suggest that every athlete must have CPR training I think is perhaps stretching it a bit.
Mr. Breithaupt: My supplementary is of the Minister of Health, with respect to the requirement that coaches or managers of teams at least be required, perhaps by the beginning of the next educational year to have completed a short first aid course. Would the minister look into that prospect so that this might be a reasonable first step in providing for an intelligent balance of the needs for first aid availability to all the teams of young people?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I said, Mr. Speaker, once I have received the coroner’s inquest report -- the report of the jury that is -- I’ll consider the recommendations and take them up as necessary through our staff, with representatives of the Ministry of Education. I hope members realize the problems in high school sport, in first of all getting people to take on positions as managers and coaches of teams. We would want to have a proper balance between precaution and getting people to take those jobs on.
Mr. McClellan: I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services with respect to Mini-Skools. Yesterday, in his statement of exoneration, the minister said: “We have no evidence from our inspections that Mini-Skools overenrolled generally.” I wanted to ask the minister whether his inspections revealed enrolment in excess of licence capacity at the Queensview Centre in December 1977; at the Tuxedo Centre in November 1977; at the Brimorton, Tuxedo, Kingsview One and Kingsview Two centres in October 1977?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sorry, I did have, yesterday, a complete list of the inspection reports and I don’t seem to have them with me at the moment and I don’t recall that from memory. Perhaps that is something we could deal with at the late show tonight when the hon. member wishes to entertain the House.
Mr. McClellan: With respect, that is not a sufficient answer to the question. I would hope the minister would take it as notice and provide the data in a normal response to the question.
By way of supplementary, let me ask him simply why did he exonerate Mini-Skools yesterday without having thoroughly reviewed the material that was presented to him on Thursday, let alone obtain full material from Mini-Skools, including the Mini-Skools financial report and other financial and enrolment data, as he was requested to do? Why did he exonerate them right off the bat?
Hon. Mr. Norton: As usual, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is relying upon some erroneous assumptions. First of all, I said nothing with respect to exoneration of anyone yesterday. I indicated to the hon. member that I had reviewed the material, that my staff had examined the material; if that was not his impression I don’t know where he got any other impression.
The only statement I have seen with respect to total exoneration was in the press this morning. That certainly was not a quote from my lips.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s not what you said; it’s what you did.
Hon. Mr. Norton: My staff have thoroughly reviewed the material and all I suggested yesterday was that we certainly found no substantiation for the hon. member’s allegations.
Ms. Gigantes: You didn’t look.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I did not indicate that the matter was entirely closed. If the hon. member has any additional information, I would be happy to review it, as I have the other. I don’t know on what he is basing his erroneous assumptions with respect to how I have dealt with this matter.
Mr. McClellan: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker? He hasn’t answered my question.
Mr. Speaker: No. There will be an opportunity during the late show this evening.
Mrs. Campbell: My question is to the Minister of Government Services: In view of the fact that there would appear to have been a shift in the policy of this government with reference to this building, would the minister now at least begin to get the matter on track by tabling the report of Eric Arthur?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of any shift of the government’s position respecting this building.
Mr. Wildman: What about a shift in the building?
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Perhaps the minister is not aware of the discussions which have been ongoing with his predecessor (Mr. McCague) with reference to the use of this building and the position of Mr. Speaker with reference to the allocation of space. Would he now comment as to his position in this matter so that we can have some clarification?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is the intention of this minister to uphold the commitment made by the previous minister.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: May I just point out that the commitment was to start the relocation in February. How is the present minister going to do that?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Roy: What year?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I’m sure all members would like to hear this answer.
Mr. Sweeney: Just tell us it is retroactive legislation.
Mr. Peterson: Put out a new phone book, Lorne.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member’s question --
An hon. member: Put it on your Christmas card.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- I, as the minister, have had several meetings with my staff, as has your office with the people who are responsible to you. They’re trying to allocate the space in order that all members can have an office within this building. That is being worked on daily.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Hourly, sir.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Is it possible for the minister to allow the Speaker, who has responsibility for the building, to allocate space and get Government Services out of the situation totally?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That wouldn’t be fair to the Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you’re more aware than anyone else in this House that you have the responsibility for a portion of this building; the Ministry of Government Services also has responsibilities for a portion of this building.
Mr. Martel: Boy, that sure answers the question.
Mr. Swart: My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. I’m putting the question to him in his capacity as chairman of the cabinet committee on bilingualism and francophone rights: Would he agree that the caisse populaire movement in this province has a major place in the French-Canadian culture and the ability of the francophones to function in their own language? And in view of the Premier’s statement that the government is going to institute practical measures to implement French rights, instead of the so-called symbolism of a declaration of a bilingual province, would the minister tell the House whether the translation of the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act and its regulations into French have been completed -- a request that was made to his government more than a year ago?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I think the hon. member is aware of the amount of work that has been done in providing services in the French language. The Speech from the Throne indicated more measures to be taken in having the Juries Act and the Adjudicators Act providing services in the French language. A certain amount of money has been set aside for the translation of statutes and regulations, and I’d be glad to let the hon. member know at what stage the translation of the regulations and the statutes of the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act is presently at.
Mr. Swart: By way of supplementary, could the minister give some indication to the House of any schedule, not only for the translation into French of that Act but of the Education Act, the health and social services Acts and even the driver training program and the provision of it in those areas where it is needed? Could he give us some indication of the schedule of the translations?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I would be pleased to make that information available to the hon. member.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that there was $100,000 available for the last five years, which the government of which he is a member did not take up with the federal government, has this government gone back to the federal government, now that it has made a commitment to start translating certain statutes, and said to them: “Could you allocate us that $500,000 which we didn’t pick up over the last five years?”
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: We certainly use and welcome all the money the federal government makes available to us and we just wish we could get more of it.
Mr. S. Smith: Come on now!
Mr. Roy: You can go back for it.
Mr. Williams: I have a question of the Minister of Health. It is my understanding that representations have been made in recent weeks to ministry officials advocating the establishment of private abortion clinics, described as “well-woman clinics,” under the guise of public hospitals. It is my further understanding that such proposals are not in accordance with the hospital program and policy of the ministry relative to both hospital facilities and to the broader issue of government recognition and support of abortion clinics. Would the minister please advise if I am correct in this understanding?
Mr. Bradley: That sure wasn’t a plant.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have met on two occasions with groups proposing the establishment of women’s health clinics, one of the major purposes of which would be to take out of at least some of the hospitals the therapeutic abortion procedure and put it into such clinics. I believe I have a further meeting coming up in the future.
My position throughout has been one of, shall I say, being wary of the proposal on three grounds: first, the question of anonymity for those women seeking to have a therapeutic abortion performed; second, the question of safety of the patient -- even though a very small percentage of therapeutic abortions result in serious complications, my concern has been that, as long as they are going to be performed in the province, they should be in centres with qualified staff, sophisticated equipment, operating theatres and so forth as back up; and the third problem, as I see, it is a question of cost. When we have ample public hospital facilities already paid for by the people of Ontario, I don’t see how we can afford to add this kind of facility on top of that.
Mr. Williams: With regard to the second part of my question, putting aside those particular concerns, would this type of proposal recognize or give support to the government’s position with regard to the establishment of abortion clinics? I should say, is the government in support of the establishment of such clinics?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In one word, no.
Ms. Gigantes: Along the same lines, I would like to ask the minister am I correct in my understanding that he has received the re-review of the Badgley commission report, and is he going to table that review?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Since the last time the hon. member inquired of me about this, which I think was in November, the first time being in July, just in the last three weeks we have received the comments of the Ontario Hospital Association as an association to the recommendations of the committee, headed by Dr. Caudwell in my ministry. We should be ready in the near future to move on that.
A number of the recommendations both of the Badgley commission, which reported to the federal Minister of National Health and Welfare, and of my own committee, will require further development of policy guidelines and so forth. I don’t see us responding to the entire report at once. It is something which is evolving, but certainly --
Ms. Gigantes: Will the minister table it?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Will I table the responses from the OHA and the OMA? Yes.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Did the minister personally authorize the engagement of a private opinion-poll firm to take a public opinion study in relation to the Toronto teachers’ strike in 1975, a poll which cost something like $30,000 in public funds? If so, can the minister tell us why?
Hon. Mr. Wells: At various times, during that year and other years, we have used the services of a polling organization in order that we may be fully aware of what the members of the public are thinking about the education system of this province.
Mr. Reid: Would the minister not agree that in that case those polls should perhaps be tabled in the House? And is it not a fact that he is buying an expression of public opinion with taxpayers’ money, by taking these kinds of polls that really don’t or shouldn’t have any effect on government policy?
Mr. Peterson: All this time we thought the minister didn’t know about it.
Hon. Mr. Wells: It has always been my philosophy that it is the role of government -- and particularly we who are charged with the responsibility of developing policies and legislation -- to have what we call people participation.
Mr. S. Smith: People participation?
Mr. Cassidy: What a lot of balderdash. You’ll never share it. You’re an arrogant bunch, you know; you really are.
Hon. Mr. Wells: The leader of the third party laughs, but he likes to mouth the phrases without really believing in it. We over here believe in it.
An hon. member: Is the government going to do a poll on OHIP?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I believe I want to know what the people think about various aspects of policies.
Mr. Reid: Will the minister table the report?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t believe these are reports that should be tabled.
Mr. S. Smith: It is people participation, isn’t it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I thought there was only one final supplementary. The hon. member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the minister is so interested in receiving the opinions of the people in the province about the educational system, why doesn’t he do more within his ministry to ask the parents and the children what they think of it?
Hon. Mr. Wells: The member knows that we do do more within our ministry to ask the parents and the children what they think about the system. Let me refer the member to one very extensive public opinion report that is public, which he’s read and I’ve read. We’ve all looked at the results and we have used those results to determine some of the policies --
Ms. Gigantes: Table them all.
Mr. Foulds: How about participation in the community?
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and I refer to the Interface study which was done in this province.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Essex North with a final supplementary.
Mr. Ruston: I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Education. While making the survey, did his people look into the lack of education that the children are receiving and at what effect it might have on the children over the next year or two? Did he survey that too?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I might bring to the member’s attention that there is a research project coming out, which is being done by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, on the effects of the strike in Metropolitan Toronto --
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier (Mr. Davis) should get them on the public payroll.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and when it is ready it will be public and will be tabled.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. In view of the questions raised in many minds by the Treasurer’s comments on the Ontario Development Corporation and the streamlining of government operations in the budget, can the minister assure the House that he does not intend to abolish the Ontario Development Corporation’s role as the lending agency of last resort for small industrial and tourist resort entrepreneurs, and can the minister assure us that he does not intend to dismantle the programs of the ministry in the way that he approached his role as Minister of Housing?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, in response to the first question, I have no intention of doing away with the role of the Ontario Development Corporation. We may very well change the thrust of it and try to make it a little more responsive to some of the requests we’ve received.
In response to the second portion, I am most grateful that the hon. member has recognized the extremely fine job I did in streamlining the operations of the Ministry of Housing.
Mr. Swart: You misinterpreted it.
Mr. Makarchuk: Your perceptions are slightly twisted.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, would the minister agree that instead of curtailing the lending programs of the Ontario Development Corporation in a period of economic slowdown, the government should be expanding them? Does he intend to make them more flexible to help spur economic recovery? Can the minister indicate when and how this re-examination will be carried out and completed?
Mr. Roy: Just give Claude a year or two and he will fix that
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I think I indicated to the hon. member that there was no intention to curtail the operations of the Ontario Development Corporation. The context of what I said, if he had been listening, was that it’s intended to change the thrust in order to respond more quickly to some of the requests and to do exactly what the hon. member suggests -- to be able to be a lending agency and to assist people.
Mr. Wildman: Is it flexible?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We may very well want to change the thrust of the development corporation in that way.
Mr. Martel: What is the deadline?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I don’t put deadlines on anything.
ENERGY BOARD HEARINGS
Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister of Energy. In view of the fact that the minister is meeting today with a delegation from the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities concerning energy matters, would the minister inform the House whether the minister will fund, in whole or in part, interveners’ costs of energy board interventions of that organization? Is the minister contemplating limiting by regulation the number of interim rate applications and rate applications that may be presented by any one applicant to the Ontario Energy Board other than pass-throughs of federal energy board decisions? Finally, is the minister aware of movements of the northern Ontario municipalities to refuse to sign gas franchise agreements with Northern and Central Gas or its successors?
Mr. Roy: Glad you asked.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that, as the hon. member has noted, we are meeting with this delegation this afternoon, I think it would be premature and therefore inappropriate for me to answer that question at this time. I’m well aware of the issues he has raised --
Ms. Gigantes: Oh, tell us, come on.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are looking forward to a constructive meeting this afternoon.
Mr. Laughren: Good question.
An hon. member: You’d better cross the floor.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s pretty grim when even your own members ask questions like that.
Mr. Speaker: I missed the government party in one rotation. I’m going to recognize the hon. member for Mississauga South.
Mr. Kennedy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. With respect to the exemption of hotel and motel rooms from the retail sales taxes contained in the budget, would he clarify how this applies to such facilities as housekeeping cottages and cabins and so forth in respect to the summer tourist trade?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, the member is obviously referring to the bill that is before the Legislature now -- the amendment to the Retail Sales Tax Act. The amendment would cover hotels and motels, and any tourist lodge that would be on the American plan would also be covered. It will cover housekeeping cottages and cabins provided, of course, they are not rented for a longer period of time than one month.
Mr. Kerrio: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the minister could advise us if he is doing anything to monitor prices for accommodation to see if some people are going to take advantage of it, when the tax is lifted, to raise the price?
Ms. Gigantes: Oh, heavens no.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Not at this time.
Mr. Martel: Not at this time. The business community wouldn’t do that. You can’t trust anybody over there.
SITTINGS OF HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that on Thursday next, March 16, this House will meet at 10 a.m. for the purpose of considering Bill 59 in committee and third reading. The House will adjourn for the luncheon interval at approximately one p.m. and resume at two p.m., at which time the normal routine proceedings will be called.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to that motion. It has been accomplished because of the co-operation of a number of people, including the member for St. George who had special responsibilities in the consideration of this bill, to rearrange the program. I do want to publicly thank all the members who have made it possible for us to add this extra time for the consideration of this bill.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
CROWN TIMBER AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. F. S. Miller moved first reading of Bill 35, An Act to amend the Crown Timber Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, further to the statement I made earlier today, this bill provides in substance for the amalgamation of the management charge and forest protection charge into one area charge and for the authority to make regulations that fix or determine Crown dues by formulas employing commodity price indices.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill 36, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the amendment would require a person who holds office as a member of a council of a municipality and whose term of office is not yet three-quarters expired to resign his office on official nomination day if he wishes to be elected to the assembly.
PUBLIC HOSPITALS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, this bill establishes several requirements relating to the composition of boards of public hospitals. The bill provides that the number of appointed directors who have a vote shall not exceed one-quarter of the elected directors. In addition, the bill establishes certain criteria for membership in a hospital corporation and guarantees a member’s right to vote in the hospital corporation.
FAMILY DAY ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill 38, An Act respecting Family Day.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide for a public holiday known as Family Day. Family Day is established as a day to celebrate the institution of the family and will be held on a day to be named by the Lieutenant Governor.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill 39, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the bill requires a trade union to provide additional information about its financial affairs to its members and to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. A union must prepare a statement of salaries, expenses, fees and commissions, and a statement of investments, to be provided to its members. An audited financial report must be filed annually with the board, and the members of the trade union may obtain copies of the statement from the union upon request and without charge.
In addition, the bill limits the amount of union funds provided by Ontario members that may be transferred outside Canada; and requires that investments made of union funds be of the type authorized by the Trustee Act and the Pension Benefits Act.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ACT
Mrs. Campbell moved first reading of Bill 40, An Act to provide for the Economic Equality of the Sexes.
Motion agreed to.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, the bill provides a remedy to an individual who is affected by discrimination on the basis of sex, practised by employers who are the recipients of public funds. The bill permits a person to apply to a court for an order suspending the payment of public funds to any employer who discriminates in employment practices on the basis of sex. The employer may apply to a court to terminate the order when the employer is no longer conducting such discriminatory practices.
This bill is intended to complement the family law legislation, which one hopes will one day pass this Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day, I remind hon. members that pursuant to standing order 28, the hon. member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) has indicated he is dissatisfied with the answer to a question provided by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). This matter will be debated at 10:30.
Similarly, the hon. member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) has indicated that she is dissatisfied with a question answered by the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell). This will be debated at 10:40 this evening.
ANSWER TO WRITTEN QUESTION
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to question No. 12 standing on the notice paper.
Just before some of the members go to other responsibilities, they know we will be calling the first order; if the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) has completed before 6 p.m. it was understood that we would go into committee of the whole and start Bill 59. I therefore thought I would advise members there was some likelihood of them being required in the committee of the whole as well, following completion of remarks on the budget by the member for Ottawa Centre, which will be some time later on this afternoon.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, these are solemn and difficult times. Statistics Canada reported today that for the first time in our history more than one million Canadians are out of work. Three hundred and twenty-six thousand men and women are out of work in the province of Ontario, and that’s 10,000 more than in the month of January. Yet the budget which the government brought down last week contains not one single proposal for creating full-time jobs in Ontario. Instead, it does its best to justify a policy of total inaction by Ontario’s Conservative government.
When this budget came down last Tuesday, my colleagues and I said that it was outrageous. The reaction of the past seven days clearly demonstrates just how strongly that opinion is shared, both by the press and by the people of Ontario. The news that the economic situation is still worsening underlines just how bankrupt this government has become. It is outrageous that when 326,000 people are unemployed in Ontario the government’s only proposal for creating jobs is for 13,000 summer jobs for students.
It’s outrageous that there is no meaningful action to bring about the fundamental, structural changes in our economy that even the Treasury recognizes that Ontario needs. It’s outrageous that property tax relief for senior citizens is being deliberately delayed. It’s outrageous that the municipalities of Ontario have been manipulated into a loss of nearly half a billion dollars in provincial grants which they can only replace by turning yet again to property taxpayers.
It’s outrageous that Ontario has provided yet another tax break to the mining industry and one which is certain to lead to the export of jobs. Above all, it is outrageous that the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) should have again increased health premiums in order to avoid bringing a tax increase before this Legislature. This budget is part of the same pattern which was set when the Premier (Mr. Davis) went to the first ministers’ conference in Ottawa last month. The pattern was confirmed in the Throne Speech three weeks ago.
Even with Ontario facing its worst economic crisis in 40 years, the Conservative government is not prepared to act. This government has totally abdicated its responsibility for the health of Ontario’s economy and is passing the buck to the federal government and to the private sector.
Mr. Haggerty: You’ve been reading Peterson’s speech.
Mr. Cassidy: I listened for a while, but it was very difficult.
Not only that, but the Treasurer has joined forces with every reactionary influence in Canadian society in a chorus of simplistic solutions whose main thrust is to blame the public sector for the failures of Conservative and Liberal governments.
In short, this budget sets out to punish the people of Ontario for the mistakes of the Treasurer and his predecessors. We cannot accept that approach and neither will the people of Ontario.
Before I go into the specifics of this budget, I want to remind this House that the Treasurer’s promises and forecasts cannot be believed. Two years ago, be promised to bring his budget deficit down to $1 billion. He was $300 million out. Last year he made the same promise again, but as the New Democratic Party correctly predicted, the figures were trumped up for pre-election purposes and the Treasurer was $600 million out.
Ontario fell 20,000 jobs short of the Treasurer’s promise of 85,000 jobs in 1975. We were 40,000 jobs short of the Treasurer’s promise in 1976. If last year’s inadequate job creation programs resulted in only 73,000 new jobs, which was 16,000 short of the Treasurer’s target, how can anyone be expected to believe this year’s target when the government plans to do even less? The Treasurer seems to be saying that the picture is so rosy that nothing needs to be done now about Ontario’s economic problems. That is precisely the line he took last year when he said, “I think there is every reason to be optimistic about the outlook for 1977.” What a piece of pre-election bravado that turned out to be. Last year the Treasurer saw such signs of solid strength that our economy grew by only 2.7 per cent and our unemployment rose to the present level of 326,000.
The pattern of misrepresentation which the Treasurer adopted last year continues in this year’s budget. Last year the Treasurer redefined full employment from the traditional level of three per cent unemployed to a 5.3 per cent level in order to justify his failure to adequately manage the economy. Now he has devoted yet another budget paper to rationalizing 5.3 per cent unemployment as a full employment target. Yes, the Treasurer uses those words in his budget and uses that as yet another excuse for inaction.
Not only that; hours before the start of International Women’s Day the Treasurer announced that he is prepared to accept an unemployment rate for women, 25 years and over, that is nearly twice the rate that he will tolerate for men. That sexist approach will not do in Ontario in 1978.
The Treasurer was caught out on so many fronts last year that he has been a shade more careful in his forecasts for 1978. After all, this is not an election year. But Ontario is still being led down the garden path by this Treasurer. In last year’s budget, Darcy McKeough mortgaged the store with a $1.6-billion deficit, and now he is selling the mortgages in an effort to apply some fiscal vanishing cream to his deficit.
Mr. Speaker: I must remind the hon. member that it is customary in this House to refer to another member by his riding name rather than by his surname.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, the Duke of Chatham-Kent; I will refer to him that way constantly.
The same day this budget was coming down, there was a new budget in the province of Saskatchewan. What a contrast there was between sunny Saskatchewan and the gloomy Ontario of this Treasurer.
Mr. Lewis: Utopia; Valhalla.
Mr. Cassidy: Thanks to the two budgets, Saskatchewan will have the lowest rates of tax of people earning $13,000 a year in Canada and Ontario will have the highest rates of tax. Senior citizens and municipalities get more aid in Saskatchewan. They are denied it under this budget here in Ontario.
The jobs that are being provided in Saskatchewan will benefit 20 per cent of its unemployed workers, while the full-time jobs in Ontario’s budget don’t even touch one per cent of our unemployed. It makes one think that the time has come to end the Tory reign in Ontario and bring on an NDP government.
Mr. Lewis: Of which the Liberals will be a part, like it or not.
Ms. Cassidy: In the opinion of my party, the raising of OHIP premiums is the single most offensive action of the 1978 Ontario budget. The facts of the health premium increase are not new but they should be put on the record again.
In the first place, this is the second time in two years that premiums are being raised, and effective May 1 they will be double the 1976 level.
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer should be ashamed of himself.
Mr. Cassidy: Here is what people in different provinces will pay for health insurance on that date: Newfoundland, no premiums; Prince Edward Island, poor Prince Edward Island, no premiums; Nova Scotia, no premiums; New Brunswick, no premiums; Manitoba, no premiums; Saskatchewan, no premiums. Six provinces of this country have got the secret that somehow escapes this Treasurer.
Mr. Lupusella: Why don’t you clean your books?
Mr. Cassidy: In the deep-blue Conservative province of Alberta there is a maximum premium of $169.20 for a family of four. In British Columbia -- somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan -- there is a maximum of $225 a year in premiums. In Quebec there is a payroll tax of 1.5 per cent of net income, and no more than $235 a year.
Now we come to rich, prosperous Ontario --
Mr. Martel: Under the Tories for 34 years.
Mr. Cassidy: -- under the Tories, where a premium for a typical family of four is a staggering $528 a year.
Some hon. members: Shame.
Mr. Martel: Resign.
Mr. Cassidy: Ontario will be raising 34 per cent of its health cost from premiums, compared with 10 to 15 per cent in the other provinces that have premiums.
And, as I read into the record in the question period today, a worker earning the average wage of $13,400 in this province will pay 8.4 per cent of his net income in health premiums alone, whereas somebody earning $25,000 a year will only be paying 3.8 per cent of net income. This is the most regressive tax that Ontario could have levied but, wonder of wonders, that is the one that the Treasurer chose. I say, and we say, that is shameful.
Through the order in council that was passed before this budget debate even began, Ontario will have the dubious distinction of raising more money in health insurance premiums than through the corporation income tax. That is the kind of priorities this Treasurer has. A family of four that earns $10,000 will pay more in health premiums than it pays in federal and provincial income tax combined.
This government keeps on insisting that the workers will not feel any effect of this increase because their health premiums are paid for by their employers. Just ask any worker about that the next time his contract comes up for negotiation. If this $144 increase is paid for by the employer, it will be taxable and it is at the expense of other wage gains, whether or not the workers are under the Anti-Inflation Board. We think it is grotesque that OHIP premiums are being raised by a staggering 37.5 per cent when workers are being held to pay increases of only six per cent.
Not only that, but any flat rate tax like these health premiums hits people on low incomes far harder than people in the Treasurer’s tax bracket. And he’s getting a tax cut on his cigars as well. It is ironic that a government which says that it favours small business should be loading this additional burden on to small business people and that a government that says it wants to help farmers, whose real income has been falling steadily for the last four years, should be loading this new burden on to their backs.
We find it particularly arrogant of this Treasurer that he and his government are choosing to use a legislative loophole in order to impose this $271-million tax increase without seeking approval from this House. The Treasurer has no shame. He doesn’t even try to disguise this as a premium increase any more; he agrees that it is a tax action but he will not come to this Legislature. We believe it is a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy that there should be no taxation without legislation.
Let me be very clear about the position of the New Democratic Party. We are opposed to this OHIP premium increase and we will do everything we can to stop it. Specifically, today I will be moving a no-confidence motion separate from the budget debate because this is the only parliamentary means at hand to stop this outrageous tax demand. We have already tried the other routes. We have appealed to you, Mr. Speaker, for a ruling that this tax increase must come before the House and I’m afraid that you did not see things our way.
We have asked both the Treasurer and the Premier himself if they will understand the principles of parliamentary democracy which are involved and bring this premium increase before the Legislature, either by resolution or in the form of legislation. That has been refused. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) has introduced a private member’s bill which will have the effect of changing the Health Insurance Act, but it is already clear that the Conservative Party intends to block that particular piece of legislation which will come before the House on March 30. Because the House leader of the Conservative Party decides whether that bill will go further or not, it is not an effective and sure means of blocking this particular premium increase before it is due to take effect on May 1.
That is why we do not believe it is sufficient to simply move a general no-confidence motion which would come to a vote only in December. That is why we will be moving a motion specifically related to the health premium increase and designed so it can be debated right after the school break in late March or early April so that this Legislature can decide whether or not health premiums should be increased now.
I will read the motion, Mr. Speaker, which I will be sending up to you and which will be seconded by the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren). It says very simply that this House condemns the government’s outrageous decision to raise Ontario health insurance premiums to the highest level in Canada; deplores the regressive impact of this arbitrary tax increase on wage earners in general, on farmers and small businesses and in particular on people of modest incomes; condemns the government’s affront to the fundamental parliamentary principle of no taxation without legislation; and that for all these reasons this House no longer has confidence in the government.
We will be moving that motion. I appeal to members from all parties to consider their position very carefully because it is in the hands of this Legislature to decide whether or not the OHIP premium increase goes forward. We will be having a vote in the near future to make that decision and I hope that everybody in this House votes on behalf of the people of the province of Ontario and not on the narrow and ideological kind of doctrine that has been put forward by the Treasurer of this province.
We will also do everything in our power to get property tax relief for pensioners which the Treasurer has deliberately postponed in this budget. It is a cruel deception to talk of this relief and then to delay its implementation into the indefinite future. Pensioners, in our opinion, deserve property tax relief now.
The shell game that the Treasurer -- that the Duke of Kent is playing with the municipalities is equally deceptive. Last year at this time, municipalities were owed $18 million by the province under the promise that Ontario made five years ago to give municipalities and school boards a fair share of its increase in revenue, but under the Conservatives this province can no longer be trusted to live up to its promises. Last September, the Treasurer unilaterally repudiated this pledge, and suddenly the municipalities found themselves $298 million in deficit.
Last Tuesday, there was not even a blush of shame on the Treasurer’s face as he announced that the Edmonton commitment was now reformulated -- mark the word, Mr. Speaker -- and put the municipalities in the hole to the tune of $444 million.
That kind of manipulation means only one thing, less money for municipalities from the province, and therefore more money will need to be raised from property taxpayers who already are too hard pressed in Ontario.
As we prepared for this budget, we tried to imagine what would be the most predictable and least helpful tax move the government could make. Sure enough, there are even more tax breaks for the mining industry, and even the Treasurer admits in this House this time that his measures may not create a single new job for up to five years. We don’t think that these concessions will create a single new job at any time.
The Conservative government cannot resist its obsession to give handouts to the mining industry, yet both Inco and Falconbridge testified before the select committee on the Sudbury layoffs that their problem lay in shrinking world markets and not in the level of taxation in this province. That reality is simply ignored by the Treasurer, just as this government ignored the recommendations of that select committee.
Ontario has offered a new tax exemption for foreign processing, which is certain to export jobs which could and should be created in northern Ontario. Ontario’s gifts to its mining sector are rapidly becoming a legend in the western world. Only days ago, against the clear will of a majority of members of this House, the government signed contracts that will give windfall profits exceeding $2 billion to two private uranium companies. The market value of the shares of Denison Mines alone has risen by $57 million from the time those contracts were announced last December until the day they were signed early this month.
And how do the people of Ontario benefit from our natural resources? Just compare, Mr. Speaker. If we’re lucky, we can expect mining tax revenues this year, from every mine in the province, of $33 million.
Mr. Martel: Oh boy!
Mr. Cassidy: And that compares with $57 million that went into the pockets of shareholders of one mine thanks to the stroke of the pen by William Davis and Darcy McKeough.
When is this government ever going to learn that these mindless, blanket concessions to the mining industry are of no public benefit and must come to an end?
I want to mention only briefly the other tax measures announced in the budget. We have misgivings about the levy on railway rolling stock because we fear this may be particularly directed to the public sector by its impact on the Toronto Transit Commission and Canadian National Railways. Surely now is not the time to be doing anything that might discourage public transportation of freight or of passengers.
There’s nothing wrong with a tax exemption on storm doors, but we are puzzled that a government which could not find $5 million last year for the home insulation program promised in the election campaign, has now found $15 million for a tax concession which is likely to have less impact, both in reducing energy consumption and in increasing employment.
We support the sales tax exemptions for the hospitality industry, because it is the only gesture in the entire budget towards meeting the economic needs of northern Ontario and because it is the only concrete policy directed to the needs of a particular industry.
It’s now seven years since this Treasurer first introduced tax giveaways for capital investment by corporations. Whether they were called investment tax credits or sales tax rebates, there has been no evidence that these incentives help to create jobs. With this budget the Treasurer has introduced a document that purports to have the answers; it wasn’t worth the wait.
This is just another self-serving document designed to prove the government’s case. The only evidence offered by the Treasury is a prediction based on a computer model that the tax rebate would stimulate investment. What is particularly disturbing is the estimate in the same paper that the tax rebate program will eliminate 15,000 jobs this year as machines put people out of work.
That fact alone should justify withdrawing this tax concession particularly when that step would free up $178 million for real job creation. We opposed the extension of this machinery tax credit when it was made permanent 18 months ago and nothing has been offered to change the reasons for our opposition.
Likewise, last year we opposed a further $80 million handout to corporations which Ontario offered through fast write-offs and we are still opposed to that. To put it very simply, we believe that Ontario should be taking action to create jobs and not to destroy them.
Mr. Lewis: All those years, we said you were wrong and now your own statistics prove it.
Mr. Cassidy: Six thousand jobs destroyed last year; 15,000 jobs destroyed this year; and some promise that something might happen in the future. It just isn’t good enough when we have more than 300,000 unemployed and the government won’t bring any concrete action in in order to create jobs.
Let me sum up for a minute: As last year, we believe that the machinery tax exemption should be removed and that its cost of $178 million should be put back into consolidated revenue; and while we oppose the OHIP premium increase in order to protect individual taxpayers, we are prepared to go along with the Treasurer’s plan to raise $122 million from business. This is his estimate of how much corporations would contribute to the government through the increase in OHIP premiums. We would also like to recoup the $80 million that was given away last year for the fast write-off.
It seems to us, in the current economic situation, that the best means of achieving these two goals would be to raise corporation tax by two points, except for the small business rates, which would stay at 11 per cent. This would put us in the middle range of corporate tax rates for Canadian provinces and leave the income tax burden on corporations in Ontario still a full five percentage points below neighbouring US states, according to the Treasurer’s own figures, and therefore more than competitive.
We also think that this is a prudent step in view of the program for job creation which will benefit the people of the province and business in the province much more directly than anything offered by the Treasurer.
That brings me to the single most glaring failure of this budget. The failure to take any effective action to help reduce unemployment.
At least there was some pretence of concern last year. The 1977 pre-election budget promised to accelerate $75 million in capital projects and thereby create 3,356 jobs. But the tide started to turn as soon as the votes were cast. By September, the Treasurer had decided to prune all but the most essential capital projects. He stepped on the gas in April, and slammed on the brakes in September.
There are now 326,000 people out of work in Ontario, the highest total in our history. There are 30,000 people out of work in the Ottawa area, where I live, and the unemployment rate is 8.8 per cent. Unemployment is 11 per cent in St. Catharines. It’s 11.9 per cent in Windsor. It’s over 10 per cent in the Peterborough area. Over 10 per cent in Hamilton-Niagara. Over 10 per cent around Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, and over 10 per cent in the north. Here, in Metropolitan Toronto, there are more than 100,000 people looking for work, and yet there is not a single specific new measure for creating full-time jobs in this budget.
The budget ignores the 142,000 young people who are unemployed now and focuses only on summer jobs for students who are still finishing their terms or their high school careers. There is not even a word of concern for the 88,000 women over 25 who are also out of work. In fact, the Treasurer has not told them that chronic unemployment is going to be a way of life so long as he is running affairs in this particular province.
We in the New Democratic Party just cannot understand how a government can be so heartless and so unconcerned. We believe that a job creation program for Ontario is absolutely essential to meet the current crisis.
We recognize that government, business and the people of Ontario must share in the solution of our unemployment crisis. We cannot afford to have a government that sits back and does nothing. I want to outline for this House what New Democrats think Ontario should be doing to help create jobs now.
First, we propose that Ontario should respond to two of our major manpower problems -- the shortage of jobs for young workers and the need for skilled workers -- by adopting a new approach to apprenticeships in industry. We believe that skills training should be a responsibility of industry, but that this responsibility should be taken over gradually. We propose that this year Ontario should share the cost of apprenticeships and training positions with industry on a 50-50 basis, a powerful incentive which could provide jobs and vital training for 10,000 young people at an estimated cost of $40 million.
Second, Ontario should bring in a program to conserve energy and to supplement the disastrously inadequate federal home insulation program. As of March 3 there have been fewer than 10,000 applications for that program out of nearly a million eligible housing units in Ontario. The federal program is obviously not going to work by itself. We propose a program of loan guarantees, coupled with a full interest subsidy which would encourage every house owner in the province to upgrade their insulation standards and save energy. This kind of plan could reach 100,000 homes per year at a cost of $10 million. We estimate it would create 2,300 full-time jobs.
We also believe it is time for Ontario to make a major commitment to the development of renewable energy resources as a counterpoint to its massive nuclear program. The solar energy industry in this province is on the verge of a breakthrough in consumer acceptance which will not only create employment and save energy in Ontario, but could also lead to major benefits and exports. We propose that Ontario make that breakthrough a reality by offering a $1,500 subsidy per unit to equip new houses with solar heating equipment. The cost to provide this subsidy for 20,000 new homes would be $30 million. We estimate that it would directly create 1,500 jobs and that there would be enormous indirect benefit as well.
There is still an urgent need for housing for senior citizens in Ontario as well as for families of low and moderate incomes. This need is getting more acute by the day because of the government’s decision to end its involvement in housing. It’s time for Ontario to give serious encouragement to the co-operative and non-profit housing sector which it has so deliberately shelved in the past. This sector of the housing market will respond rapidly if given the chance. We propose a program to build an additional 7,000 cooperative and non-profit housing units this year for people of low and modest income. The incentive would be a capital grant of $5,000 per unit. The cost would be $35 million and it would create 14,000 new jobs in construction and in the building materials industry -- two industries that are the hardest hit by unemployment.
We also propose that Ontario begin to meet the enormous need for assisted housing. Last fall there were more than 8,000 families and 15,000 senior citizens on the waiting list for Ontario housing. Thousands more have simply given up hope. We propose the construction of an additional 2,000 units for families and 2,000 senior citizens’ units this year. Enough funding is available from the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation that the net cost to the province would be a maximum of $85 million. We estimate that this would create a further 8,000 new jobs on site and in construction materials.
There is a clear need for rehabilitation as part of Ontario’s overall housing policy, and the Ontario Home Renewal Program has already proven that it can do the job if it’s given the resources. We propose a $25 million expansion of OHRP to facilitate the upgrading of existing homes, particularly for families of modest income. This would create an estimated 1,500 full-time jobs this year.
The needs of the north have been totally ignored in this budget, as if the layoffs of Inco and Falconbridge and the high unemployment in the northwest had never taken place. We want action to create long-term jobs in the north, but right now there is a need to create municipal services and the benefits that would accrue would be permanent. We propose that $25 million be allocated in special grants for hard services in northern Ontario to help to close the gap for this unemployed part of the province, and we estimate that this would create approximately 1,000 new jobs.
Now is also the time to take advantage of a large number of provincial and municipal capital projects that are on the shelf, approved and ready to go. With the current slack in the construction industry, these projects could be under way by this summer.
We propose that Ontario provide $150 million to accelerate provincial and municipal projects, like the Toronto Board of Education’s program to bring its older buildings up to municipal health and safety standards; the city of Windsor’s expansion of its sewer system into previously unserviced areas that are now on septic tanks; the problems of redevelopment of the Burwash site in Sudbury; and Sudbury region’s local services improvement program; and the provincial office tower in Hamilton which was chopped by the Treasurer last September.
In Cornwall, there is a $1.7 million grade separation project that has been cancelled because of lack of funds on the part of the city; and there are similar projects on the shelf in every part of Ontario that are ready to go if Ontario would give the green light. We estimate that acceleration of these projects would generate 7,500 new jobs, on and off construction sites, and respond to the particular needs of an industry whose rates of unemployment are the highest of any industry in Ontario.
The total cost of our job creation program would be approximately $400 million and it would create 45,800 jobs. These are not make-work jobs, Mr. Speaker; every one of these proposals meets a recognized need. Each of these proposals would be of long-term benefit, whether in housing, in government service, in conserving energy or in providing the skilled workers we will need to make Ontario’s industry competitive in the 1980s. The McKeough budget only creates 142 long-term jobs, this program of the New Democratic Party would create 45,800 jobs; and that is the kind of leadership that we would have for Ontario.
The failure of the Davis government to come to grips with the long-term problems of the Ontario economy is just as glaring as its failure to create jobs now. Just three years ago, in 1975, this Treasurer seemed to feel that the province could play an active role in securing the future of our economy. Not any more; now he has embraced the creed that government should do nothing but abdicate its responsibility. It has become fashionable for government to attack its own role and to assert that its activities should be limited to limiting itself.
The Treasurer’s view of economic strategy and that of the New Democratic Party could not be further apart. He is a cheerleader and an apologist for the lack of action by the government. The Treasurer’s stance is passive; ours is active.
All the evidence is that we have been frittering away our advantages in Ontario under the Conservative government, and now Ontario is paying the price of a Conservative government’s mismanagement. We’ve been living high on our natural resources and we have failed to be vigilant, either in building our industrial economy or in protecting the province from the damaging consequences of foreign ownership.
The key to our economic future in Ontario is self-reliance, but the Conservatives, under this Premier and Treasurer, have done all that they could to move us in the opposite direction. Whether you talk tourism or manufacturing trade, investment flows or research and management fees, we are simply not doing enough for ourselves and relying far too much on others. In the long term, both Ontario and Canada will pay the price.
We’ve always been able to count on the strength of our resource sector, but now even that strength is disappearing. The reason is not just the temporary weakness in world mineral markets. It’s the mismanagement of our northern forest by this government; it’s the failure to build industry in the north when our resources were most important in world markets. Our challenge is to build this province’s industrial economy in the difficult times that lie ahead, because the Tories failed to do the job when we were enjoying good times in the late 1960s and the early 1970s.
We will not succeed if we stand back, as the Treasurer tells us, and rely on the private sector alone. Ontario must use the power, the influence and the leadership of government in order to nurture and develop our manufacturing base rather than leave it prey to the monopoly capitalism that the Tories call free enterprise. Industry is crying out for co-operation with government; we believe that government should respond.
To have a real economic strategy, you must have goals and a view of the future and a sense of how to achieve it. Government must be willing to share responsibility with the private sector for reaching these goals. This means a new kind of relationship between the public sector and the private sector. We have to replace the generalized concessions that the Treasurer loves so much with initiatives that would respond to specific areas of weakness and specific problems in the economy. We have to target the use of government assistance and of government resources and we should expect to get a return for the public from the use of public funds.
Ontario faces serious economic problems. The proportion of our labour force in manufacturing has been shrinking to the point where the Science Council of Canada says that this country and its industrial heartland here in Ontario are becoming semi-industrialized.
The Ontario Economic Council’s forecast for the next 10 years also makes depressing reading. It suggests that over the next decade the number of manufacturing jobs in Ontario will grow by only 11,000 jobs per year. Even this estimate lacks credibility when one considers that over the past 10 years, despite all of the boasts of the Treasurer, jobs in manufacturing have grown at only half that rate; that is, at only 5,000 or 6,000 jobs per year.
One has to ask where this province is going when the Ontario Economic Council relies heavily on the growth of the government sector to meet Ontario’s employment targets over the next 10 years while the Duke of Chatham-Kent, the Treasurer of Ontario, proudly reports that he has brought the growth in public sector employment to a complete halt. Those contradictions cannot persist without seeing unemployment rise to levels which have been precedent in this country before only in areas like Newfoundland, and that’s not acceptable for Ontario.
The symptoms of our industrial malaise have been evident in the headlines week after week over the past year, and that’s one of the reasons that we are shocked at the lack of action by the Treasurer. Ontario is now losing more than 15,000 jobs a year through layoffs and shutdowns, and these are only the figures that are reported to the Ministry of Labour. The list is almost endless: 165 jobs at the Chrysler trim plant at Ajax; another 100 jobs or more at Chrysler down in Windsor; 78 jobs lost at Northern Telecom in Brampton; 485 jobs lost at International Harvester in Hamilton; 136 jobs at Shepherd boats in Niagara Falls --
Mr. Peterson: Stephen already did this.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s worth listening to, I say to the member for London Centre.
Mr. Swart: My leader is upstaging the member.
Mr. Peterson: I listened to him last time, and it was better than yours.
Mr. Cassidy: It is very much worth listening to, because this is what is happening to our industry in this province because the Conservatives are asleep at the switch and letting our industrial base decline.
Continuing with the list: 275 jobs at Bethlehem Steel’s ore mine in Marmora; 250 at Pilkington Brothers in Scarborough; 280 next month at Reed National Drapery in Weston; 700 jobs in May at Christie Brown bakeries in Toronto; and 3,000 workers at Inco and Falconbridge in Sudbury and Port Colborne. Is this really the time for government to stand aside, as the Treasurer pretends? We do not believe so.
Mr. Peterson: There’s a lot of criticism there.
Mr. Cassidy: And the criticism is well deserved.
I want to outline our strategy for a series of industries and for a series of major areas to which we would give priority if we were the government. I also want to underline how many of our problems are due to the fact that Ontario’s industry is so heavily foreign-controlled. This is the biggest single structural weakness in Ontario’s economy but, far from recognizing the consequences of foreign ownership in Ontario and trying to deal with them, Ontario looks the other way. Both here and in Ottawa the Treasurer and the Premier have vigorously lobbied to tear down the fragile and inadequate barriers that Canada has tried to erect against foreign economic domination.
In blithe ignorance of the problems created by truncated branch plant operations in this province, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes ) -- and I’m sorry he isn’t here -- made his debut last month with an enthusiastic invitation to Japanese investors to bring more branch plants into this province. One of the reasons we question that kind of appeal is the fact that, as the Ontario Economic Council has pointed out in the study of business investment released just before the budget, our industry is 60 per cent foreign-owned, yet only six per cent of its financing comes from abroad. In other words, the continued foreign domination of our industry, with all the consequences that entails, is financed almost exclusively by money that is raised here in Canada.
Mr. Wildman: A sellout.
Mr. Cassidy: The consequences of foreign ownership are felt in every corner of our economy, through weaknesses in research, in marketing, in access to markets like the US, in innovation, in purchasing within Canada which could help develop small business; and even at times in the degree of company participation in local community life.
The way to solving these problems starts here in this chamber. Government must be prepared to provide leadership and direction in the economy. It must focus its efforts on the specific areas and industries where that help is needed, rather than spreading its efforts so thin that they have no impact. Government must be prepared to act as a counterbalance to the adverse consequences of foreign ownership here in the Ontario economy.
I want to focus specifically on four industries during this budget reply to give an idea of the approach that we in the New Democratic Party will be taking. I also want to say that during the budget debate my colleagues will be dealing with some of these sectors in more detail to demonstrate that our priority in the New Democratic Party is jobs and the building of Ontario’s economy. This priority will not be reflected only in the budget debate; over the course of the coming months, the coming years, up to whenever the next election comes, whether it is in May or in 1979 or in 1980, we are going to focus on these economic issues. We are going to focus on the weaknesses of industry for which this government is responsible, and we are going to focus on all of the broad areas of industrial policy in which this government has been letting Ontario down.
I also want to say a word of tribute and of thanks to the researchers in the New Democratic Party research department who, three or four weeks ago, were faced with the challenge of adapting to a new leader and coming up with background material both for my reply on the Throne Speech two-and-a-half weeks ago and for this major speech on the budget. They are as fine a crew as we have ever had working for the New Democratic Party; and I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, five or six New Democratic Party researchers have on occasion in the history of this province come very close to bringing the entire government of the Tories, that has been in power for 30-odd years, with all its civil servants and all its resources, right to its knees and almost to the point of being thrown out. They have come very close in the past, and we will do it in the future.
Mr. Lewis: Five or six of them? One, at any moment in time, can take you all on.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.
Mr. Warner: They too want you to resign.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to begin with Ontario’s single most important industry, the automobile industry. At the first ministers’ conference, the Premier himself said, “We have had enough studies of the automobile industry. What we need now is action.” His message is not getting through to his own government, despite the disturbing evidence that the automobile industry in Canada faces a very difficult future. Most of the auto industry is here in Ontario, and almost all of it is foreign-controlled.
Despite its expansion since the auto pact was signed 13 years ago, the automobile industry is still an outstanding example of how branch plant structure stands in the way of achieving a strategy that puts Ontario’s needs first. Take the most fundamental factor of investment, on which the Treasurer harps so often. North America’s automobile industry has embarked on a phase of massive retooling to produce the new generation of vehicles which will meet legislative demands for safer cars with less pollution and better gas mileage.
These investment needs are estimated at around $2 billion a year for the next few years, but only a small percentage of this investment will be made in Canada. With nine per cent of the North American car market, automotive subsidiaries in Canada currently receive only five per cent of capital investment by the “big four” auto makers. When we are falling this far behind in automotive investment today, how can we hope to have a fair share of jobs in the future?
The federal government’s task force on the automobile industry, which resulted in what is known as the Arthur report, found that 49 per cent of US auto workers are unskilled but 75 per cent of Canadian auto workers are unskilled. In the US, the proportion of skilled workers is four times as high as in Canada. The best jobs go south of the border.
The structure of the industry also favours the US parents when we look at research and development. These expenditures are massively concentrated in the US, but the federal task force calculated that the big automobile companies in Canada had contributed nearly $1.4 billion to the research and development work of their US parent corporations just in the six-year period from 1970 to 1975. Today, that transfer of research and development payments is running at a level approaching $350 million a year. That represents an enormous loss to Canada, not just in scientific and technical jobs that we could have here, but also in the enormous benefits that we would gain if Canadian plants or firms were developing new products and processes for the auto industry rather than relying completely on US technology.
The Arthur report provides very strong evidence that costs and productivity in the Canadian auto industry are comparable to the United States and that belies the kinds of myths that we keep getting from Conservative ministers and back-benchers on the other side of this House. Because we are so competitive, it can only be the arbitrary decisions of the big car manufacturers that give us the short end of the stick every time.
Our deficit in trade of automobile parts across the border now runs at more than $3 billion per annum. But in the view of the federal report -- a very careful study -- it is General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors which are primarily responsible for this imbalance because they control three-fifths of the parts industry. Their decisions about where plants locate determine whether or not Canada gets a fair share of parts production. In other words, any one of these automobile companies alone has more impact this year on the economic health of the province of Ontario than the entire budget brought down last week by the Treasurer.
An hon. member: That’s the way he wants it.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s obvious that our automobile parts deficit doesn’t happen by accident. If we fail to deal with the reasons, we will not solve the problem. It’s no good for the Premier to wave a magic wand and say that Ontario could have 20,000 more jobs by correcting the trade deficit on the auto pact unless this government is prepared to deal with the fundamental problems of the industry. There has been no sign that they were prepared to take that fundamental approach in the past and no signs for the future that they’re prepared to take that step either.
Ontario’s concern for the machinery industry has also been almost non-existent. This industry drains our economic strength in Canada even more than the automobile industry. Last year’s trade deficit in this sector hit the incredible level of $3.8 billion, three times what is was 10 years ago. If we could close this deficit, the provincial Ministry of Industry and Tourism estimates that Ontario would gain 47,000 new jobs. That’s a heck of a cut in the number of unemployed we have in Ontario right now.
Mr. Martel: You are interfering with the free enterprise system.
Mr. Cassidy: What strength there is left in Canada’s machinery sector is dwindling rapidly. Most of that industry is in this province. We are the only industrialized nation that imports more than 50 per cent of our machinery and equipment needs. In fact, foreign producers now supply about 60 per cent of the Canadian market and Canada’s imports of machinery are actually worth more in dollar terms than the imports of machinery for the entire United States, despite the fact that its population and its economy are 10 to 12 times the size of Canada’s.
Mr. Philip: Think what that does.
Mr. Cassidy: The areas where we import the most -- farm equipment, forestry, mining and construction -- are precisely the areas where the Canadian market is large enough to support domestic industry. In mining alone, Canada runs third in world production, but we run a yearly mining machinery and equipment deficit of $750 million and we import fully two-thirds of what we use in machinery in our mines.
Mr. Martel: Why doesn’t the government get involved?
Mr. Cassidy: In forestry, the situation is almost as bad. If the current tariff negotiations in Geneva cut our machinery tariffs by half, the industry estimates that more than half its remaining workers will lose their jobs.
Why doesn’t the Canadian sector of the machinery industry perform better? After all, they’ve been lavished with all sorts of tax incentives by the Treasurer over the past seven years. Perhaps one reason is that three-quarters of the industry’s output is from foreign-controlled subsidiaries, mainly from the United States, Their record for branch plant investment in research and development is terrible. According to the Treasurer himself, American machinery firms employ 79 times more innovators for research and development than do Canadian firms.
Even though Ontario has more than 300,000 unemployed, there is still a shortage of skilled labour in machinery which is so severe that some firms have been recruiting in Britain. Yet the industry has been unwilling to develop apprenticeship programs and the Ontario government has done nothing to force the issue. Obviously, the solution to the problems in the machinery industry are not simple, but the actions of the Ontario government have had no positive impact at all. The Canadian industry is relatively weaker today than when the Treasurer and his government began to promote business investment in machinery and equipment with tax concessions seven years ago.
Private industry initiative on which he is so strong has failed to solve weaknesses in skilled labour and in research in this industry, and despite the enormous market for mining and forestry equipment in Canada, during a resource boom that has lasted in this country for more than 25 years private industry has failed to establish a strong resource machinery sector in Canada. The development of a co-ordinated approach by government and the private sector is not only long overdue in the area of machinery, Mr. Speaker, it is an essential part of an effective economic strategy, and we would do it if we were the government today.
Mr. Martel: It was recommended four years ago too; by your friends.
Mr. Cassidy: If ever there was a case, Mr. Speaker, for government to provide leadership and direction in our economy, it is in the textile industry.
There are 75,000 workers in textiles and clothing in Ontario and the Ontario Economic Council has optimistically advised the Treasurer that there would still be that many jobs 10 years hence. They may be whistling in the wind because the prospects are not good right now; for despite the fact that this industry is as efficient as almost any in the world, its future is in grave jeopardy because of import competition from low-wage countries.
The industry’s problems are chiefly related to uncertainty about its future, and only a commitment from government can assure the industry that it has a future to invest in. Both the Treasurer and his federal counterparts have been all too ready to write off the industry as an inevitable victim of changes in world trade. But the textile industry is by no means dead yet and it should not be written off.
The import share of the textile market has grown only a little since 1970 and is just over a quarter of the value of the Canadian market; we are still fighting back if we have the chance. In clothing imports have doubled their market share since 1970 and the number of garments that are imported is very high, but imports have only recently grown to a quarter of the Canadian market.
We urgently need declaration from government that it is worthwhile having a viable textile and clothing industry and that for this reason the penetration of our market by imported textile and clothing must and will be kept to a tolerable level. That is what the industry is waiting to hear from this government, Mr. Speaker, and that is what it has not been getting from the Treasurer or his federal counterpart.
Many of the firms in the industry are very small; they need help in pooling research and development efforts, in testing and evaluating new equipment and new techniques and in expanding the number of trainees in the industry to fill the growing need for skilled workers. Textile firms are the economic mainstay of many small towns in southern Ontario. The policy of abandonment that the government seems to favour would do immense damage to these communities because the government has no alternative forms of employment to replace the textile firms if they close.
A sectorial study of this industry by the Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism concluded, and I quote: “If some confidence in the industry’s ability to maintain or improve its share of the domestic market can be restored, there is every reason to believe that this industry will continue to improve its working conditions, wages, productivity, and its contribution to the economic wealth of this province and the nation. If, however, the continuing reduction in its share of the market persists the outlook is bleak.”
The choice could not be put more clearly than in the ministry’s own words, but because the Treasurer and this government deliberately choose to stand aside, 75,000 jobs in the textile and clothing industry in Ontario are on the line, Mr. Speaker, and we say that is wrong.
Mr. Roy: You will need more co-ordination in your support back there.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Ottawa East should be clapping as well; it is a better speech than his party’s financial critic gave. Compared to these three industries, Ontario’s performance in steel has been outstanding, Mr. Speaker. This is almost the major manufacturing industry in this province in which we are self-sufficient. The industry is efficient, our prices are 10 per cent to 20 per cent below those of our US competitors, our plant is up-to-date and our technology and research are equal of any steel industry in the world. I think the people and the workers of Hamilton, as well as Sault Ste. Marie, can be proud of what our steel industry has achieved.
Mr. Swart: And Welland.
Mr. Cassidy: And Welland, that’s right. The member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) mentions Welland as well.
While import competition has been a nightmare for many Ontario industries over the past five years, the flow of imported steel to Ontario has dropped sharply and the industry has been systematically expanding its facilities to make, or to be capable of making, products which were formerly not made here.
It is surely no coincidence that this is the only major Canadian industry which is almost entirely Canadian-owned. And that tells you a story. Mr. Speaker; I hope it tells the government a story as well.
On the dark side, however, the prospects for future growth in steel are very limited. We hold our own in international trade and succeed in exporting to the United States; but it’s another story when we come to products that are made from steel. In fact, we are massive importers of manufactured products made from steel, and there is no prospect that this will change until we get a decisive economic strategy for Ontario.
I have already talked about the situation in automobile parts and in machinery and equipment. Without action by Ontario and the federal government, our deficit in these two industries is bound to continue and the jobs that could exist in Canada, providing primary steel for these industries, will also be lost as an inevitable result.
The situation is very similar in farm implements and the appliance industry, where we also have huge deficits. The demand for steel in the construction industry is weak because of the general weakness of our economy, for which governments carry a major share of the blame.
In fact, the only dynamic future market for Ontario’s steel industry is in the area of energy; yet when he went to Ottawa for the first ministers’ conference, the Premier of Ontario failed to make any concrete proposal to ensure that the Canadian portion of the Alcan pipeline will use Canadian pipe.
Even the apparent health of the steel industry, therefore, speaks to the weakness of the economic strategy of this government; they could not speak up for the protection of jobs in the most dynamic sector of the steel industry in the province, and we say that was wrong. We would have spoken up, and have and will continue to speak up for those steel pipes to be made in Canada.
Mr. Martel: That’s why we voted on it.
Mr. Cassidy: This province and this country are running a spectacular annual trade deficit in manufactured goods of over $10 billion, and that reflects the deep-seated weakness in the structure of our economy. We still depend on the export of resources to support our standard of living and in so doing we are exporting tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of manufacturing jobs.
The exporting of steel products, while we import manufactured goods which incorporate steel, is just another example of the same phenomenon. Ontario’s steel production would go up by millions of tons a year if government moved to help create a strong manufacturing sector to complement the strength of our resource base.
That brings me to the most scandalous failure of all in the Conservative government’s mismanagement of the economy: their failure to take advantage of Ontario’s natural resources and to use them as a base from which to build a strong manufacturing economy. Over the past 30 years we have imported the manufactured goods we need by selling our resources in exchange. Now we are losing the advantage of that resource base and, at the same time, we have failed to develop the industrial base to take its place.
Mining production, for example, has plunged from six per cent of our GPP -- our gross provincial product -- in 1961, to only 3.5 per cent today. And how do the Conservatives react? They don’t just act like spectators at a disaster; they even make things worse by actively encouraging the resource industry to export jobs rather than build jobs here in this country.
Mr. Warner: They are the disasters.
Mr. Martel: Giveaways.
Mr. Cassidy: The Conservatives have allowed the mineral industry to funnel its profits and jobs out of Ontario. They have given incentives to shift processing abroad but made no demands that the industry’s profits be reinvested in Ontario.
Now, they have made a deal with Denison Mines and Preston Mines which provides no guarantee that billions of dollars of windfall profits that are being given away on uranium won’t also be exported out of the country to create jobs abroad, just like they allowed International Nickel to do over the past 10 years.
In 1975 the then Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) announced that the government, in assessing the mining tax, was deferring for five years the disallowance on foreign processing costs. This action amounted to a giveaway to the companies of about $15 million, with Falconbridge Nickel Mines the biggest beneficiary.
The reason offered was to ensure that the mining companies, “have the necessary financial resources to sustain employment in Ontario.”
Mr. Wildman: Falconbridge has a great record.
Mr. Cassidy: But this giveaway did nothing of the kind. It did nothing to reduce the layoffs in Sudbury in 1975 and it did nothing to prevent the layoffs at Falconbridge and Inco in 1978. All it did was make the companies richer while Ontario got poorer.
Mr. Martel: And fewer jobs. You keep exporting them.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. J. Edwin Carter -- what a capitalist name that is -- the chairman of Inco, quite bluntly told the select committee on Inco that if Ontario wiped out its mining taxes entirely -- and they haven’t far to go right now -- “it probably wouldn’t be that much of a big deal.”
But the Tories ignore both their past mistakes and the present evidence. The new concessions to the mining industry granted in the budget will probably cost the province between $75 million and $100 million over the next few years. With that money, the government can and should intervene aggressively and with imagination. They should have stepped in last spring when the Ministry of Natural Resources warned of impending cutbacks in the nickel industry. But did the government act? They didn’t even consult the companies involved, let alone the workers or the communities that are now so hard-hit by the layoffs at Inco and Falconbridge.
Mr. Martel: They give us a $10 million building.
Mr. Cassidy: If Inco and Falconbridge were refining all of their nickel output in Ontario, we could have about 2,000 extra jobs in this province rather than losing 2,000 jobs because of the layoffs.
Rather than bemoaning the reduction in mining exploration and hoping that something would happen, Ontario should have established a Crown corporation to insure that exploration does take place and that new mining discoveries are controlled by the people of Ontario and not by the private sector.
The Treasurer doesn’t understand -- as you do, Mr. Speaker, being a member for the north -- that the economy of northern Ontario cannot survive on tax concessions that create jobs in other countries. The future of the north’s economy depends on using its wealth to create secondary manufacturing jobs that will be there when the resources are gone. New Democrats have argued that public ownership is an essential tool in the industrial strategy to ensure that the future development of the mining industry is in the public interest. After 75 years, the private sector has demonstrated that it will never develop secondary industry in the north on its own; and that is why we say you’ve got to take another road.
Mr. Martel: How much more proof do you need? We’ve had 75 years of nothing.
Mr. Cassidy: The situation is no different with our other great natural resource, the forest. The mismanagement of Ontario’s forest resources by this government in the past years has been shocking. We are on the brink of losing the advantage that Ontario enjoys of having enormous natural forest resources, and yet the government is doing less than nothing. It boggles the mind that in 1977, after the Bramalea charter promised to plant two trees for every tree cut, and after all the warnings from the forestry profession and from this party, and from the Ministry of Natural Resources itself, the ministry is regenerating fewer acres and planting fewer trees than it was regenerating and planting back in 1975.
Mr. Renwick: Shame.
Mr. Cassidy: We are still laying to waste in perpetuity at least one-third of the acreage of forest that is cut every year in Ontario, and our children and our children’s children cannot afford that kind of waste. The regeneration that is carried out on the rest is still shockingly inadequate and future generations can’t afford that either. What’s more, there was not one word in either the Throne Speech or in the budget that even promised any improvement.
In the last election campaign, we stressed how the failure to regenerate our forests and Crown lands was jeopardizing jobs in the forest industry. The Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that there are now about 70,000 jobs in the forestry industry and related industries. But at the current rate of regeneration, our forest will give us a sustained yield that is so much less than the current rate of harvest that we stand to lose 12,000 jobs from that total rather than gain any jobs. And of course it’s in the north -- already hard-pressed -- that the bulk of this impact will be felt.
But if the regeneration program were to be expanded to the level which was actually recommended by the ministry, the total employment in the forest industry would double to an estimated 140,000 in 40 years from now. That is a difference of 83,000. That is the cost to Ontario in long-term jobs of this government’s failure to pursue an adequate policy of regeneration.
This year’s budget allocates only 6.9 per cent more spending to the Ministry of Natural Resources. There is obviously no new money there for forest management, but without new management the job simply can’t be done. As New Democrats, we believe that our vast forest resources under proper administration are capable of creating employment for hundreds of thousands of new workers. We would be willing to see our forests placed under control of an Ontario forest resources commission which would operate under long-term policies of conservation, reforestation and soil control. One of its first tasks would be to review all existing contracts and timber licences and cancel those which have disposed of great areas of forest resources without proper consideration. That’s a good policy, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Hodgson: It sounds good.
Mr. Cassidy: It does sound good, as a matter of fact. If members opposite think that it’s a dogmatic socialist position I want the House to know that I have drawn those very words from the 22-point program of the Hon. George Drew in 1943; and that was yet another program made in the heat of an election campaign that this government has broken from.
Mr. Martel: You blew it again, Bill.
Mr. Swart: Darcy’s views are older than George Drew.
Mr. Deans: What a record of failure.
Mr. Cassidy: To the right of Genghis Khan and the Hon. George Drew.
Mr. Warner: What a record of perpetual failure.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues will be dealing at greater length later in this debate about the questions of agriculture, energy and the continued failure of this government to make any real commitment to the balanced development of Ontario’s economy and in particular to the development of eastern and northern Ontario.
Perhaps I could just say a few words to the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson) about the failure to even mention agriculture in this budget, because that is yet another example of the government’s failure to provide leadership and direction in a vital area of our economy.
It shocks us in the New Democratic Party -- what’s that?
Mr. Eaton: Where is Gordon Hill to present your policy for you?
Mr. Cassidy: Gordon Hill? He’s coming here, don’t you worry. He is a perceptive fellow. He supported me in my leadership campaign.
It shocks us in the New Democratic Party that a government which claims to be concerned about rural Ontario offers no concrete response at all to the economic problems now besetting our province. I think the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) should explain to his farm voters why they have to pay an extra $144 a year in OHIP premiums with nobody to bail them out.
Mr. Martel: He can’t even get help from the bean board.
Mr. Cassidy: Government figures show that farm costs have risen by 49 per cent since 1973 while the index of farm prices has fallen by two per cent. The consequence is that net farm income is plummeting. It fell by 20 per cent in 1976, by 18 per cent in 1977 and apparently it is expected to fall a further 11 per cent this year. Farming is as vital to Ontario’s economy as forestry or mining but under the Conservatives the economic future of agriculture is under siege.
Now, more than ever, the need for a real farm income stabilization plan is undeniable, but let me record that it was the Conservative government of the Treasurer and the member for Middlesex which rejected the real farm stabilization plan which was put forward by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and that’s one of the reasons that Gordon Hill is with us and not with you.
Mr. Eaton: The farmers of Middlesex showed what they thought of his plan too.
Mr. Cassidy: Energy is also fundamental to Ontario’s economic strategy, but here too the Treasurer has imposed his bunkered ideology as firmly as in the area of Ontario’s finances.
I have the most prosperous farm land of all Canada in my riding as a matter of fact, so I claim every credit to speak on behalf of the farm vote.
Mr. Hodgson: The one over on the island?
Mr. Wildman: Would you please quit maligning Algoma over there?
Mr. Cassidy: I would also say for the record that my roots in rural Ontario go back to a century farm in the great riding of Grey, I think it is, or Bruce, in Chesley, Ontario where my mother’s family comes from and where my spiritual home still lies.
Mr. Hodgson: Why didn't they let him stay on the farm?
Mr. Riddell: Your family sure weren’t of the party affiliation that you are; they were good Liberals.
Mr. Roy: They consider you a prodigal son.
Mr. Martel: He saw the light.
Mr. Cassidy: I would say, for the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), that the way my family has developed we combine the best wisdom of both urban and rural Ontario.
Mr. Warner: Right on.
Mr. Lewis: That’s just the beginning.
Mr. Cassidy: In our view, it is central to Ontario’s industrial strategy that we do everything possible to maintain the supply of relatively cheap electrical energy which Ontario has produced in the past, thanks to our abundant hydro-electric resources and to Ontario’s far-sighted creation 70 years ago of a publicly-owned power corporation dedicated to the principle of power at cost.
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer should sell that.
Mr. Cassidy: That principle has been totally repudiated by the government’s decision to give billions of dollars of windfall profits to Denison Mines and Preston Mines. It is the Treasurer himself who is the man who started that particular decision on the part of the government. Those uranium assets should not have been leased to those two companies and should have been brought back into public ownership.
The decision to give those windfall profits to Denison and to Preston will add billions of dollars to the production costs of Ontario industry and thereby undermine Ontario’s future competitive position in a very tough industrial world for the rest of this century and on into the next, that is, for the lifetime of the young men and women who cannot today find jobs. We will be handicapped in our competitiveness because of the decisions of this government of the Treasurer and the Premier.
As for the future of eastern and northern Ontario, it is significant that this year’s budget contains not even one word about regional development. The tide of Tory concern for these parts of the province has come to such a complete halt that we no longer even get the perfunctory promises and paper planning which the government offered in the past.
Mr. Wildman: They even blocked the member for Algoma-Manitoulin’s bill.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right, and it was a pretty lousy bill at that. It was a halting first step in the right direction.
The economic strategy which we propose for Ontario must concern itself with specific industries, but it must also take a wider view. I am disturbed and we’re all disturbed at the facile solution proposed by people like the Premier. We are also disturbed by the failure of government ministers to understand the fundamental problems in our economy, such as our weakness in filling home market demands, our failure to encourage domestic manufacturing, why our research and development are so weak, how our manpower policy actually discriminates against Canadians, how our distorted economic structure contributes to low productivity in this province and why small business doesn’t get a fair deal.
Perhaps it’s too much for Conservatives to understand, but one of the fundamental reasons for the weakness of our economy is the distortions created because we have such a high degree of foreign ownership. Let me go back to some of the points I raised in my budget reply last year.
One of the fundamentals in our economic strategy is to give Ontario a strong home market. This province has become a happy dumping ground for imports which are putting our economy in grave peril.
Mr. Swart: We need to dump the Treasurer.
Mr. Cassidy: Here in Canada’s industrial heartland we import $5 billion more in manufactures than we export and we consume close to $20 billion worth of manufactured imports overall. Government ministers keep on saying we have to export or die, regardless of the export restraints that are laid on so many of our foreign-owned corporations. But the biggest and most accessible foreign market for Ontario manufacturers is that $20-billion market right here in this province. Unless we have a strong domestic market, our efforts to break into world trade are doomed to fail. In our opinion therefore, the first priority of our economic strategy must be: identify and develop Canadian markets for Ontario-produced goods to help build the industrial capacity to serve our own needs.
Last year, and again in my reply to the Throne Speech last month, I proposed that Ontario adopt a real buy-Canadian policy as one essential element in our overall economic strategy. We believe that Ontario must be prepared to take the lead with a buy-Canadian program that goes further than spending a few dollars on public relations. In my reply to the Throne Speech, I suggested that Ontario move immediately with a buy-Canadian policy covering the substantial purchases, the billion dollars of purchases by the provincial government, by local governments, and by other agencies which use provincial tax dollars.
That’s one way of creating jobs in Canada and relieving our current unemployment. At the consumer level, Ontario must ensure that consumers are informed about the Canadian content of all goods, both in the store and when they are advertised or listed in catalogues. We don’t have to wait for the federal government to launch this program now.
Ontario should also work closer with retailers to ensure that they seek to offer Canadian products, and not only imports, and to assist them in developing Canadian sources for products that are now only available from abroad. One of the frustrations for consumers who want their dollars to help create jobs in this country is that often they cannot find Canadian goods, or they cannot tell the goods that are made in this country when they go to the rack or when they go to the store.
The buy-Canadian concept is a vital element in our policy for building small business in Canada. Too often the contracts and subcontracts which should be directed towards Canadian industry go to foreign sources instead. The consequence is that Canadian companies are denied the demand which would allow them to grow to the point where they could replace the foreign branch-plant firms. In the private sector, as well as in the public sector, Ontario should be identifying product needs that are filled in a fragmented fashion from abroad but which could lead to the growth of Canadian industry if they were grouped together.
Ontario needs many policies to promote small or medium-sized business, which is now treated as an orphan in our economy by this Conservative government. This means better financing, better management training and counselling, close co-operation with government in winning new markets at home and abroad, and guaranteeing small business the right to compete for both government and private contracts from which they are often excluded. Both the province and agencies that use Ontario tax dollars should direct a substantial share of purchasing to small and medium-sized business.
We have all heard Conservatives say how concerned they are for small business. We’ve all heard the Treasurer talk on Canada’s need to be more competitive abroad. Why then is the Davis government opposing the changes in the federal Competition Act which would promote competition at home and make it easier for small business to develop? Surely it is obvious that the interests of big business weigh more heavily with this government than any real dedication to the principles of free enterprise.
Our economy is weak in research and product development, and this is now acknowledged even by the Treasurer. Just the other day, the Treasurer said that the deficiency in Ontario’s level of research and development is “intolerable.” According to his figures, Canada spends 1.1 per cent of its GNP on research, compared with close to 2.5 per cent in the United States and West Germany. General Motors, IBM and Ford each spend more on research in the United States in a single year than all of Canada’s industries combined.
Since he is a Conservative, the only reason the Treasurer could see for our low level of research was that research and development isn’t profitable enough. In fact, the problem is a symptom of our branch-plant economy. When branch plants are set up in Canada, they serve the Canadian market and import technology from the parent company. And that kind of colonial attitude extends well beyond the area of pure research.
On the other side of Oakville, for example, Gulf Oil Canada is expanding its Clarkson refinery at a cost of $180 million. But the company is importing 85 per cent of its high-technology stainless steel requirements and didn’t even bother to give Canadian firms in Toronto a chance to compete for the orders. The new refinery is being designed, not here in Canada but in Britain, and 44 of the 75 supervisory jobs in the projects went to Americans, who were paid an expatriate allowance for the hardship of leaving New York City and coming to Toronto.
Mr. McClellan: That is wonderful.
Mr. Cassidy: With attitudes like that, we simply don’t get the experience and spinoffs from major investments which could lead to the export of Canadian knowhow. This government doesn’t help either. Even Ontario Hydro called in Lummus Corporation of the United States to design the heavy water plant rather than seeking to develop the expertise in a completely Canadian company.
Just last year, the Toronto Transit Commission came to Queen’s Park seeking legislation so it could sell its transit expertise around the world. The cabinet said no, in the Treasurer’s words, “because it’s putting a public agency into the private sector.” Horrors of horrors! The TTC is one of the finest transit operations in the world but, because they are in the public sector, the Tories won’t let TTC experts win markets for Canadian expertise and for Canadian products abroad.
When we turn to the private sector, on the other band, the generosity of this government knows no bounds, particularly when it’s not their money they’re spending. Consider the $100 million in federal tax money that the government has so generously offered to spur research and development. In typical Conservative fashion, their solution to the problem that Canadian companies aren’t using enough of their own money for research and development is to give them some of our money to get the research done with. This incentive would be available to all companies in Canada and the Treasurer made a very objectionable point of insisting that that would include branch plants. The public will pay all the costs for this research while all the benefits will flow to the private sector.
The chief beneficiaries will be the very foreign branch plants which have been responsible for so much of Canada’s weakness in research and development. If free research money suddenly becomes available, they are very likely to transfer some of their research up from the US or abroad for two or three years until this incentive runs out. There is no guarantee that the results will be allowed to stay in Canada and every incentive that results will simply be taken back to the parent company. Canadian companies like Stelco and Northern Telecom, on the other hand, would be penalized because for years they have been supporting substantial research programs which the latecomers will get for free. We don’t see how that’s fair. We think it’s wrong.
If Ontario is to get a fair share of research activities from the industry within our borders, then we believe that research and innovation must become an obligation and not an option for companies located in this province. By continuing to make research expenditures deductible, business and the public will share the cost of research on a roughly equal basis -- and we say that’s fair. We think that companies should be required to invest a certain proportion of revenue in research and development and the companies that don’t carry out this level for research on their own should pay a levy to help finance research for their particular industry.
The difference between our approach and the government’s is enormous. In the automobile industry alone, which now carries out almost no research in Canada, a fair-share approach such as we would propose would give Ontario twice the research activity that the Treasurer hopes to achieve for all Ontario industry. In other words, our approach in one industry, automobiles, would give twice the research and development in Canada, with all benefits that would accrue, that would come from all industries under the government’s approach.
Even this government has begun to recognize that Ontario has been grossly ineffective in training of skilled manpower that industry needs. We must make a real commitment to training skilled people in this province rather than bringing them in from abroad. There is a very close relationship between the availability of skilled manpower and our economic strategy. We can’t train skilled manpower unless we know what manpower will be needed and that means knowing what our economic strategy is.
On the other hand, we cannot have an efficient growing industrial base without skilled manpower. The problem of training and apprenticeships are easy to outline. Industry has backed away from training since the creation of technical vocational schools and the community colleges some 15 years ago. Small companies have backed away because often the workers they train are lured away by a large firm. Large firms have found it cheaper to hire skilled tradesmen from small firms or foreign companies than to train their own.
This government claims that its new labour market information program is the answer. In fact that program was only given cabinet approval in the fall and the funding to get it going has not yet been put together. If it ever gets started, the labour market information program may identify areas of short supply for skilled manpower but we will still be at the beginning in terms of providing the skills that we need and we know that we have to go further.
I want to propose that industry should share the responsibility for training rather than simply expect government to train or to import the skilled workers that it needs. This kind of partnership with industry is the norm in countries like West Germany and Britain. Firms that do not themselves provide apprenticeship or training places are expected to contribute to the cost of industrial training carried out by government. We should move towards this kind of responsibility in Ontario but New Democrats understand that this kind of change cannot be achieved overnight. That’s why we are proposing that one of the major vehicles for job creation for young people this year should be provincial assistance towards the creation of at least 10,000 training positions and apprenticeships within Ontario industries. In other words, we should make a major start in training skilled man and woman power in this province and get 10,000 young people back to work at the same time.
We believe that this kind of incentive should be continued but we believe that within five years, industry should expect to carry a major part of the responsibility for training skilled manpower in conjunction with government and Ontario’s technical schools and community colleges. We intend in the New Democratic Party to talk a lot about the area of training and apprenticeships, because it is absolutely vital to our future; and the government’s failures in this area have been scandalous.
Mr. Martel: Monumental.
Mr. Cassidy: Over the coming months, we New Democrats also intend to talk a fair amount about productivity. But we want to focus on the structure of our economy and the way it affects the use of capital in this province, and not just follow the Tory fashion of trying to make workers shoulder the blame.
If I can repeat some material I tabled last year, our productivity in this province is equal to that of the United States, if one looks at the labour force. If one looks at the productivity of capital, on the other hand -- and the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) admitted this in a speech just the other day -- our capital, and therefore our management in this province, is 46 per cent less efficient than it is in the United States. That says something both about our management on the one hand and about the consequences of having such a degree of foreign ownership here in this province.
These are the major elements in the economic strategy which we believe Ontario needs and to which my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) -- to whom I pay tribute, by the way, on his assumption of the role of Treasury critic effective in about 10 minutes -- and all of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party will be paying attention over the coming months.
This province needs leadership and direction and not a government which abdicates responsibility. This province needs a government which is committed to maintaining the quality of government and social services while we get on with the task of building our economy, and we do not see that commitment coming from this government. The Treasurer keeps blaming the public sector for the weaknesses of the Ontario economy, whereas the real situation is just the opposite: The weakness in the economy, for which government bears a great part of the blame, is responsible for the weakness we are now experiencing in the public sector.
We cannot agree with the Treasurer that if social needs are sacrificed the economy will improve. We cannot agree with the Treasurer’s view that action to stimulate the economy is justified only if it benefits Ontario’s balance sheet. That is a heartless attitude, and in fact it ill fits the Conservative government and its reputation across the province of Ontario.
We say that the job before Ontario today is to balance our economy, and the Treasurer is not capable of doing that job. That’s a view that is shared by some of the most conservative experts, if you exclude the Treasurer. This winter, the C. D. Howe Research Institute has warned sharply that “the unremitting pursuit of balanced budgets was one of the serious policy errors of the 1930s -- one that should not be repeated in the 1970s.”
Mr. Martel: That shows you how far out of date you are, though, Darcy.
Mr. Cassidy: The Globe and Mail’s business columnist, Ronald Anderson, puts it even more simply: “There is no virtue in a balanced budget as such ... ”
Mr. Laughren: Herbert Hoover was more progressive
Mr. Cassidy: As a matter of fact, that’s true. Herbert Hoover was underestimated for his efforts to rebuild the US economy back in the 1920s. This Treasurer, I would say, has been sadly overestimated in terms of his impact on the province of Ontario.
Mr. Martel: He has destroyed it. The Chamber of Commerce said he has.
Mr. Swart: He’s following the special program review.
Mr. Gregory: It’s a good job nobody is listening to this stuff.
Mr. Cassidy: Boy, the right-wing rhetoric that has flowed from this Treasurer over the years would fill volumes, and it has. He is the most prolific speech-deliverer as well.
Mr. Martel: They wrote the report, Profile in Failure.
Mr. Cassidy: The business columnist of the Globe and Mail, Ronald Anderson, said: “There is no virtue in a balanced budget as such. A surplus, balance or deficit is appropriate only in relation to the economic situation.” I would point out that we now face our worst economic crisis in 40 years and we now have the highest level of unemployment that we have had in this province since the Great Depression.
The Treasurer is creating enormous hardships for the unemployed and is doing long-term harm to our economy by making the balanced budget his only priority.
Mr. Martel: His bête noire.
Mr. Cassidy: An improved economy may lead us towards a balanced budget, but balancing the budget alone will never improve our economy.
I want to read into the record some words of the Premier before the task force on national unity. “Our first priority”, he said, “without question must be to deal with the economic issues that confront us. The economy and national unity are inseparably linked, in the sense that people will have confidence in their country and political institutions only if these institutions can deal successfully with the bread-and-butter issues that face people in their daily lives.”
For us in the New Democratic Party, our first priority is to deal with the economic issues that confront us. It is the failure of the Conservative government in its 1978 budget that it does not live up to those sentiments expressed by the Premier. It is a failure in which every member of the cabinet and every Conservative MPP must share, even the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). That’s what’s so outrageous about this budget.
It is outrageous that the Conservative government is doing nothing about Ontario’s 326,000 unemployed. It is outrageous that the Conservative government is providing no leadership and direction for our economy. It is outrageous that the Conservative government has chosen, through its enormous increase in health premiums, to tax most those who can afford it least.
Those are the reasons we have chosen to table not one but two motions today. We understand that our general amendment on the budget will not be voted upon until December. The health premiums are too important to be left until that time. For that matter, the jobs that this province needs are too important as well. But we can and will and are focusing on the health premiums with the no-confidence motion which I read to this House a few minutes ago and which I have the pleasure of reading again.
This will be the motion tabled this afternoon. I will move, seconded by the member for Nickel Belt, for a no-confidence debate early in April or late in March, as follows: That this House condemns the government’s outrageous decision to raise Ontario health insurance premiums to the highest level in Canada; deplores the regressive impact of this arbitrary tax increase on wage earners in general, on farmers and small business and in particular on people of modest incomes; and condemns the government’s affront to the fundamental parliamentary principle of no taxation without legislation; and that for all these reasons this House no longer has any confidence in the government
Mr. Cassidy: I have not quite ended. I have two motions. As I have said and perhaps made fairly clear, we cannot support, in general or in specific terms, in principle the budgetary policy of this government; therefore I wish to move an amendment to the budget, which also has the effect of no confidence but which will also, unfortunately, not be debated and voted upon until Christmas. New Democrats are prepared to act. We think it is about time this motion was passed and that this government simply stood down.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Cassidy moves that this House deplores the continued failure of the government to undertake a long-term strategy for building the strength of Ontario’s industrial economy; rejects the government’s proposals for yet another handout to the mining industry that would export jobs from the north through the blanket exemption on foreign processing; opposes the government’s irresponsible manipulation of its commitment to the funding of municipal government, which will add still further to the regressive burden of property tax; condemns the government’s failure to finance health insurance costs in Ontario on the basis of ability to pay; and calls for immediate action to create jobs in order to meet the needs of Ontario’s 326,000 unemployed.
An hon. member: Should we vote right now?
Mr. Lewis: You will be decimated if you call at this point, and with any help from the Liberals you shall fall. Come on, pull the plug and let’s get this thing on the road.
Mr. Warner: Time to change managers over there.
On motion by Mr. Gregory, the debate was adjourned.
FAMILY LAW REFORM ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate in committee of the whole House on Bill 59, An Act to reform the Law respecting Property Rights and Support Obligations between Married Persons and in other Family Relationships.
On section 3:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that sub-clause (i) of clause (b) of section 3 be deleted and the following substituted therefor: “money held by one or both spouses in any account with a chartered bank, savings office, credit union or trust company, if such money was acquired during marriage or as a result of appreciation during marriage of money held prior to marriage.”
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, you and the other members of the House will recognize that this is a fall-back resolution from the original one which was submitted by my colleague from Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) and defeated by a majority of votes in this House. We feel, of course, that it is regrettable that that amendment was defeated. We would like to have seen the principle established in the family assets section of a 50-50 split of all assets acquired by the spouses during marriage.
However, we were not successful in that and we are proposing this amendment and two subsequent ones which we think will make the family assets section, as it exists in clause (b)(i) now, much improved. These three amendments -- the one we have before us and the other two -- will in fact provide for the principle of the equal division of liquid assets held by either or both spouses during marriage and acquired during marriage. This amendment, of course, deals with the matter of bank accounts, or money held in a savings office, credit union or a trust company.
With your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, because they are all related, I would point out that the second amendment which we will be proposing after this one deals with the matter of the equal division of shares in a corporation and bonds owned by one or both spouses for investment purposes during marriage, and the accrued appreciation thereon. The third amendment which we will put deals with the matter of the rights in a pension or a retirement savings plan acquired during marriage.
Of course I hasten to point out again that this is the principle which we are establishing that almost all of the sections from 4 to 13 provide for qualification of this equal division if certain circumstances exist which justify something other than an equal division of these assets.
There are two very clear points surrounding this amendment and the other two which I want to point out. This amendment and the two following exclude commercial assets, not that we want to exclude them, but we hope that we can get the support of the House now if commercial assets are excluded. I recall that the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) and other members of this House gave as their main reason for the non-support of our previous amendment the fact that it would include commercial assets and therefore it could destroy businesses and there would be a very real difficulty in the division of businesses. These amendments are specifically designed to exclude those commercial assets.
The second clear point surrounding these amendments that I want to make is that the definition under the present section 3(b) of the bill and the other subsections excludes many genuine family assets. I think the term “family assets” which is used in this bill, and certainly the definition that has been given to us by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and many others when speaking around this province and giving information on the bill, has been that family assets per se, whatever are family assets, as a matter of principle should be divided equally. This definition clearly excludes them.
In support of what I am saying I would just read part of 4(1) which says that “each spouse is entitled to have family assets divided in equal shares notwithstanding the ownership of the assets by the spouses as determinable for other purposes and notwithstanding any order under section 7.” I suggest the clear intent is that all assets considered family assets, apart from commercial assets, should be included in this division and in fact they are not.
Many of the family assets are removed by an unrealistic definition. By these amendments we simply want to include what we think was the intent of the Attorney General and the government to include all family assets but exclude commercial assets. I would say that this definition under 3(b) is out of touch with today’s realities if the intent certainly was to divide family assets equally.
I mentioned the other day, and I repeat, that only approximately one-half of the couples in this province now own a home and yet great emphasis is given to the matrimonial home, as it should be, where they have one. But what about the other 50 per cent of the population who do not have one? Clause (b)(i) with which we are dealing right now demonstrates to a further degree how the government in fact is out of touch with today’s realities. That section as it is now in the bill says that “money in an account with a chartered bank, savings office, credit union or trust company where the account is ordinarily used for shelter or transportation or for household, educational, recreational, social or aesthetic purposes” shall be considered as family assets.
I think it’s apparent to most people, or should be apparent, that most families now have more than one bank account. Most families have a chequing account -- they don’t keep very much money in it; it is used solely for the purposes of family expenses and they just keep enough in it to pay those expenses as they come due -- but their savings, if any, are kept in some other account or some other form. That is substantially different to what the situation was perhaps 40 or 50 years ago. Most families then had one account which was a chequing account and a savings account and everything combined. That is not the case today. There’s a clear distinction between the current account for operating funds and family savings.
Also something that has taken place or has been amplified greatly in recent times is that the family savings are put in the name of one or the other members of the family for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with it being or not being a family asset. Frequently they’re put in a certain account because of income tax purposes. One member of the family may not be paying income tax and therefore there would be an exemption on the small amount of interest that may accrue; or it may be that one spouse is making much less than the other, and therefore they put it in the name of that spouse so they don’t have to pay as much income tax on the interest that accrues. So it has nothing to do with whether they are family assets or not, it has solely to do with other factors.
So I’m saying with regard to our amendment that the government, in (b)(i), is excluding, either deliberately or because they’re out of touch with the situation that exists today, genuine family assets which are held in the name of one or the other of the spouses for family purposes. They are automatically excluded from the division under the 50 per cent. If one of the spouses wants to have access to them then they are going to have to go to court to get them. That should not be the case, and therefore we are moving the amendment which I have put before you. It provides that “the money held by one or both spouses in any account with a chartered bank, savings office, credit union or trust company, if such money was acquired during marriage or as a result of appreciation during marriage of money held prior to marriage” -- we’re moving that to include family assets which rightfully should be there.
It is my hope and the hope of our party that members belonging to other caucuses in this House will see the merit of this amendment and the two to follow and will support our move to include these assets. They rightly should be included as family assets and should rightly have equal division in principle between the spouses in marriage.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, this amendment by the member for Welland-Thorold was an amendment that was proposed before the justice committee, and at that time we fully debated it. I thought, frankly, that we convinced the member at the time that his amendment was complex and fraught with all sorts of complications, legal and practical --
Mr. Swart: Like what?
Mr. Roy: In fact, I thought we had convinced him at that time how irresponsible it was.
Mr. Bounsall: That was all in your mind.
Mr. Roy: I am surprised that we see it again. We in this caucus, having accepted some time ago to act responsibly, agreed that the better approach in these matters is to proceed by way of the amendment that is going to be suggested by my colleague, the member for St. George. So we feel that we cannot support this amendment.
Ms. Bryden: I rise to support this amendment, although only as a fall-back amendment from the one that suggested that all assets should be shared. It seems to me that it is at least arguable that liquid assets, which include bank accounts, stocks, bonds and pension rights, should very definitely be shared.
The spouse who stays at home enables the other spouse in many cases to acquire this kind of asset through his earnings, through his career and job opportunities. If we are going to regard marriage as a partnership of equals, this kind of assets which come into the marriage should be shared equally.
It seems to me that the members of the Liberal Party in opposing the previous amendment which provided that all assets should be brought in seem to be mainly hung up on the question of commercial assets. They saw all sorts of difficulties in dividing commercial assets on marriage breakup, but in this amendment we are giving them the opportunity to consider only liquid assets. The commercial difficulties are not here.
There is still the opportunity for a marriage contract, which could overcome any difficulties that there are associated with this kind of asset. There is still the opportunity for judicial discretion. But I submit that we should start with a clear statement that these assets are shareable on a 50-50 basis and then leave it up to the judges to decide if an application is made to them that there should be some variation from that principle. Therefore I cannot see how the member for St. George’s amendment that is coming up on a later section will solve the situation of having a clearcut statement in the legislation that these assets are shareable, so giving people something to start from and perhaps in many cases making it unnecessary for them to go to litigation.
It seemed to me that the government’s objection to our previous amendment to bring all assets into the equal sharing was also mainly on the difficulty of sharing commercial assets. We think those difficulties in many cases were unreal, but setting that aside, the difficulties connected with these assets, as I have said, can be covered by the other clauses of the Act relating to judicial discretion and marriage contracts.
Therefore, it seems to me that anybody who opposes this amendment and the subsequent ones dealing with the other liquid assets will be opposing the principle of the bill and they will be refusing to recognize that marriage is a partnership of equals.
Mr. Chairman: Is the committee ready for the question on Mr. Swart’s amendment?
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Swart: I believe there is an amendment too from the Attorney General. The order may not matter a great deal but I have two further amendments and if he is --
Mr. Kerrio: Same vote.
Mrs. Campbell: Wait a minute.
Mr. Swart: If he is in agreement, I’ll proceed with the other two now and then we can deal with his amendment.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Did we have any notice of these further amendments?
Mr. Swart: They were distributed last Thursday.
Mr. Chairman: In order to clear that matter up I would say that the Chair received one amendment from the hon. member last week and just received the three amendments prior to the sitting this afternoon.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I am assured they were distributed last Thursday. They are broken into three sections. The members will recognize that they are similar to the three sections which were previously incorporated into one. But they were divided and distributed to the other parties last Thursday.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We just don’t seem to have them, Mr. Chairman.
Mrs. Campbell: I don’t have them either.
Mr. Chairman: Would the hon. minister wish to place his amendment and, probably, in that time the hon. member for Welland-Thorold could supply copies of the amendment to the hon. minister and to the official opposition.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. McMurtry moves that subclause (ii) of clause (b) of section 3 of the bill be amended by inserting after “corporation” in the first line the word “partnership” and by inserting after “the,” where it occurs the first time in the fourth line, the words “partnership or.”
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The purpose of this amendment is to prevent the avoidance of sharing family assets by the use of a partnership. This seemed to be an omission in the Act as placed before us, and in our view this is something that should be cleared up to avoid that possibility.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, we believe this is an improvement in the provisions of the bill and have no hesitation in supporting it.
Mr. Swart: We too support this amendment. It is a small improvement, but it does make some improvement to the bill.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Swart: I’m having further copies made of the two further amendments, Mr. Chairman, and perhaps with your permission I can proceed. You have a copy of the second amendment and it will be delivered in a moment to the two other parties.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that a new subclause (ii), as follows, be added to clause (b) of section 3 and the present subclause (ii) and subsequent subclauses be renumbered accordingly;
(ii) shares in a corporation and bonds owned by one or both spouses for investment purposes during marriage and the accrued appreciation during marriage of shares and bonds acquired by one or both spouses for investment purposes prior to the marriage.
Mr. Swart: We think it is important to have this included as a matter of the principle of the 50-50 split and not to leave it to some subsequent section where one spouse has to make application to the court to make it possible to have a 50-50 split. We think it’s much better to work it the other way round, to state the principle here and then if there are changes to be made to the equal division they can be made by the court.
I would point out that this amendment is deliberately worded to provide that it only applies to bonds and shares which are held for investment purposes. It does not include those shares which would be considered as the ownership of a small business or a larger business and where the business would be disrupted. We feel that this principle is sound, as we felt it was in the previous amendment which we put
I would point out to the member for Ottawa East that he had no reason to believe that I or members of this party were going to accept the proposals that were put forward in the committee by him. The clauses should not be in the bill. In fact, we made it perfectly clear -- and it was unanimous from every member in our party who was there, that it was fundamental to us that there be the equal sharing of assets set as a principle of the bill. There was no compromise by any member at any point in that committee, nor is there now.
Mr. Roy: I would just say that possibly I was being overly optimistic in thinking I could ever convince the members of that party --
Mr. Swart: Perhaps you weren’t there.
Mr. Renwick: On something so fair, yes.
Mr. Roy: -- how small businesses work in this province. I guess it might have been overly optimistic on my part to think I could get that across to them or to that particular member. Possibly I was in error in thinking that. All I would say is that this amendment as proposed is not a workable amendment in our opinion. We think we solved the problem, or that we attacked the problem or that we’d take care of that problem in a more equitable and more flexible fashion by the amendment that is to be proposed by my colleague and in subsequent sections of the bill.
Some of the matters referred to by the member for Welland-Thorold, I’m suggesting to him, are not workable. He said it’s not going to apply to shares in a small business because he has stated that it’s only owned for investment purposes. How do we determine that?
Mr. Renwick: Very easily.
Mr. Roy: Most people who have a small corporation of some kind have it for investment purposes, I would think. To think that he can stand here and say it won’t affect small business because it’s only for investment purposes, in some way is not understanding how the economies of small business work. We on this side have not been convinced because we think it’s not a workable amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Swart’s amendment carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Renwick: You are also having trouble hearing, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that a new subclause (iii) as follows be added to clause (b) of section 3 and that the present subclause (iii) and subsequent clauses be renumbered accordingly:
(iii) rights in a pension or retirement savings plan acquired during marriage by one or both spouses and the accrued appreciation during marriage of rights in a pension or retirement savings plan acquired by one or both spouses prior to marriage.
Mr. Lawlor: You can’t object to this one.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, surely this has to be the final determination of whether there is any desire whatsoever on the part of this House to divide family assets on an equitable basis. Apart from the family home, which doesn’t exist in 50 per cent of the cases in this province, there is no asset which is more of a family asset than pensions and retirement saving plans.
I am conscious from my own experience in many instances that a great deal of time and concern and consideration is given by a family, by a man and wife, over a great many years to the degree or percentage of their income that they will pay into a pension plan so that when they come to retirement age, they will have at least a minimum adequate income. Almost everything else is sacrificed to providing that pension plan for their retirement years. The government, by not including it in the family assets section, and the official opposition, by what appears -- although I would hope not -- to be their voting against the inclusion of this plan, are certainly excluding the number two or perhaps even number one family assets in most families.
It must be a real injustice for a couple, both of whom have saved and who have invested in the retirement pension, to find when there is a breakup in the family, whether it’s at the age of 40, 50, 60 or 64, that only one member of that family has the rights and the total rights to that pension plan. Surely it’s not good enough to say that someplace later on in this bill there will be an amendment which will give the courts the right to vary that, and perhaps, just perhaps, will give the other spouse some rights, maybe minimum rights, to that pension.
Again I state that to me we are establishing here a very serious principle in the division of this very important family asset, a family asset which is considered as such and exists, I suppose, in the case of 70 or 80 per cent of the marriages in this province. Surely this House is not prepared to say that we are going to exclude that from this bill.
I urge the Liberal Party members who are here, and even the government, to accept this very last vestige of some equality in the family assets section in this plan. It becomes basically meaningless with the defeats on the other amendment, and if this is turned down, to many families this will have no meaning whatsoever.
Mr. Roy: Briefly, Mr. Chairman, we quite agree that the pension is an important asset, and in many cases I would think that, after the matrimonial home and the furniture and the car and so on, it may well be the most important asset. Where we disagree basically is in the method or the practical approach in the sharing of this particular asset. For the member for Welland-Thorold to suggest that by voting down his amendment we are saying that one of the spouses is not entitled to a pension plan in which the other spouse has contributed, is just not so.
There is a constant attempt and failure on the part of that member to realize some of the practical difficulties in the sense that not every pension plan works the same. He’s trying to fit everybody into the same mould and saying that it’s an easy division, that there will be no problem in the division of the pension plan; it’s 50-50. When we look at a pension plan, whether it is government-funded or a private pension plan, and we consider when it is going to vest and that type of thing, these are all difficulties that we envisage. That is why we have faith in the courts, and we are prepared to lay down principles in later sections as to what the court can look at in the sharing of this particular asset.
The member is wrong to suggest that, because we are voting down this particular amendment, we don’t feel that one of the spouses is entitled to look at the pension plan. There are going to be places, not only in the subsequent sections of this Act in relation to the division of an asset which is not a family asset, where the court will be able to look at the asset and whether it is a money contribution or whether it is a contribution by virtue of the fact that one of the spouses has accepted a responsibility -- let’s say in the household, which is a joint responsibility. We say that is in the Act and it is going to be something we hope the courts will look at as well in relation even to support.
We are not excluding it. What we are saying, basically -- and I repeat this for my colleagues -- is that those of us who have dealt with marriage law, family law and so on realize that because there are very many assets in the cases of very many couples, it is difficult to fit everybody into the same mould. We want to retain that flexibility. We feel that the way to proceed with it is the practical approach that we are following by setting down the guidelines to the courts, so that the courts can look at a factual situation -- couple A and B -- and look at that particular pension plan to see how best the division can be made.
We prefer that approach, and we are optimistic. In fact, by setting the guidelines for the court, they cannot be disregarded. The fact that we are opposing this amendment is not because we don’t feel it is an important asset to be shared, but we would rather retain that flexibility so that no undue hardship is caused on one spouse by having something as inflexible as is proposed here this afternoon.
Mr. Bounsall: The only way in this bill that we draw to the court’s attention at all that they are to consider an important item as the first consideration in a split at the time of a breakup is to put it in the assets section, because the rest of the section allows that to be varied anyway, as well as consideration of all other things. If one does not highlight it as one of those items which in the first instance is simply assumed to be shared, then that will not occur to most judges, and any counsellors before the courts arguing for the inclusion of that as a basic right in the initial split are going to have a most difficult case to so do.
I find it very difficult to understand that the other members of this House will not accept this as a reasonable inclusion in the family assets. Canada Pension Plan has already decided that for all of the benefits paid by one spouse, or either spouse, into Canada Pension, upon the reaching of retirement age the Canada Pension benefits will be paid out according to the number of years those spouses have lived together, one benefiting from the Canada Pension Plan contribution of the other. The tables are worked out; there are no difficulties. We are simply taking that principle and extending it to the pension plans that one or both have also acquired while they have been living together. Nothing could be more reasonable than that.
The federal government has at least recognized the equity and equality in that situation and it has the tables with which to make the calculation of what those monthly payments would be to the respective spouses. This is exactly what this amendment would do with all pension plans.
As you well know, Mr. Chairman, in the months of January and February across this country many couples, bearing in mind that they do have a tax deduction for the year 1977 -- the previous year -- on their taxes by putting moneys into retirement savings plans, in fact scrimp and save over the entirety of those two months so that they can throw as much money as they can into a retirement savings plan. That retirement savings plan is in the name of one of the spouses and under the current situation that retirement savings plan’s earnings will remain a benefit of that one spouse only.
Clearly what has happened is that household money has gone into that retirement savings plan investment with no way, when those benefits are paid out, for the other person to have any rightful share in it if a divorce or separation occurs in the interim. This amendment clears that situation up in the same way as the government of Canada, through its Canada Pension Plan, has decided those benefits should be shared. It’s a most reasonable amendment to add to the family assets split in this bill.
One wonders why the Attorney General and his staff fight so hard to keep this out and are not more receptive to it. I don’t think it can be because the arithmetic is very hard. If one is convinced that it is, one simply needs to get from the federal government -- with which you must speak from time to time -- the tables already prepared. They will simply put their fingers down the column and draw out the amounts to be paid to the two spouses.
There are really no difficulties involved in this at all in the financial distribution or split between the two spouses when the time for drawing it comes if there has been a divorce or separation or a nullity occur prior to that time. It’s a most reasonable amendment, Mr. Chairman. I would hope the other members of this House would see that clearly and support this amendment.
Mrs. Campbell: I must say I am confused by some of the statements which have been made by those supporting this amendment. I take it that what is being suggested is that by putting this amendment into this bill we will unilaterally alter all of the private pension plans and bring them into some kind of accord with the Canadian Pension Plan.
Mr. Bounsall: Payments of.
Mrs. Campbell: This is really not what we’re talking about. We have to be concerned about the time of vesting and the way in which, in an individual plan, the persons drawing can in fact prevail upon a trustee in one way or another to accord this division at the time of the divorce, even though of course the plan doesn’t vest until such time as the retirement tales place.
I find great difficulty in following the logic of this particular proposal. It is great, and I am very happy that the Canada Pension Plan does recognize this principle, but unless I am wrong -- and I am certainly subject to correction -- I cannot see how inserting this particular clause in this bill will in fact vary the private pension plans which are of many kinds and have many provisions. So on that basis, I can’t support this because I really don’t think it has any meaning in the way in which the mover suggests it has.
Mr. Swart: Pursuant to what has been said by the members for St. George and Ottawa East and my colleagues, I think there is something more that I should say on this proposed amendment which I have introduced.
It seems to me what we are talking about here is rights in a pension or retirement savings plan. Those rights can be assigned to one or the other or both spouses. Because of the objection that was raised -- it wasn’t by the member for St. George but it may have been by the member for Ottawa East -- against inclusion of pensions in the family assets, I had some discussion with the legislative counsel on this. I said, “Is there any way that we can make this perhaps more palatable, or the application of it more reasonable”?
So I have an amendment, if this should pass, which I will move to section 6 of the bill. Section 6 of the bill states that in an application under section 5 -- that is for an unequal division of the assets or change in the assets -- the court may order various things, including the partition of the sale and property and the payment made on proceeds of sale to one or both spouses, and so on.
I have a further clause to move, clause (g), which will state that specified property be held by either or both spouses to the date of maturity of the property and the division of such property occur upon maturity.
I suggest that with the other clauses which are in the section, and the provision of this clause -- at least according to the legislative counsel; I am not a lawyer -- that the inclusion of family assets as a principle of equal division would be entirely workable. They would be as much workable as any of the other family assets which are already included in there.
Finally, I am sure the member for Ottawa East really knows the difference between the proposed amendment which would give the right upon application to have an equal division -- or to have some of it where the court may be -- and to have it stated as a principle in the family asset section.
It was the lawyers on the committee who pointed out to the rest of us that the principles are important, including the preamble, because that is where the court will look to get their direction if they are in doubt. Therefore, I suggest that establishing this principle, that it is considered a family asset, can still be considered by the courts, if one or the other objects and says it will be destroyed or there will be a problem. That can be handled by the courts. But the principle of it being a family asset is a principle which I suggest cannot be denied and we should work from that base and no other.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just very briefly, I should point out to my learned friend that section 24 of the Pension Benefits Act of this province specifically prevents assignment of pension moneys.
Mr. Bounsall: That can be changed.
Mr. Roy: Sure, that’s no problem; no.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall Mr. Swart’s amendment carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Ms. Bryden: I have an amendment to subsection 1 of section 4 which I have filed but which I will send over to the Chair.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Ms. Bryden moves that subsection 1 of section 4 of the bill be amended by inserting after “cohabitation” in the fourth line “or when one of the spouses has died.”
I would ask the hon. member without making any ruling to indicate, in speaking to the motion, how this differs from the amendment to section 1 which was voted down, the clause which discussed widows and widowers? If it is identical then it would be out of order having already voted on the matter.
Ms. Bryden: In my opinion, this amendment differs from the earlier one, which was simply a change in definition, because this is a change in the substantive clause in the bill which sets forth the 50-50 sharing of assets on marriage breakdowns. What this amendment does is to extend that principle of the 50-50 sharing of assets; and this important key clause which sets that up, extends that to marriages which are ended on death and, as a result, removes a serious discrimination between classes of spouses.
It was suggested that Bill 60, the Succession Law Reform Act would eliminate any discrimination of this sort -- or it was suggested that if it did not eliminate it, it could be amended to eliminate the discrimination. However, we did not get any commitment from the Attorney General that Bill 60 would be amended. I am not convinced that Bill 60 does eliminate the discrimination.
The discrimination arises between spouses whose marriage ends on breakup and spouses whose marriage ends as a result of the death of one of them. This kind of discrimination between classes of citizens in the province is intolerable to me. That is why we must amend the bill to eliminate that discrimination. I submit that Bill 60 is not the avenue for removing that discrimination. The reason is that Bill 60 provides for relief to one spouse who has been treated in what you might call an unfair way as a result of a will but it is based solely on need and the ability of the testator or the estate to meet that need.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I hesitate to interrupt, Mr. Chairman, but I thought you made a --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: On what basis are you interrupting?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- tentative ruling that this was out of order. I think everything that has been said makes it quite clear that it’s just simply a repetition.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I didn’t make a ruling. I asked the member to justify why this was somewhat different. Are you rising on a point of order, Mr. Attorney General?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: And your point of order is?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: My point of order is that the principle of this amendment was dealt with on the proposed amendment to section 1.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Do you wish to speak to the point of order?
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I don’t think the principle was dealt with in section 1. It was simply a change of definition, whereas this is an extension of section 4 and equal sharing to the breakup of marriage on the death of one partner. I think that is a very important principle, and I think we should deal with it as a separate principle.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: It would seem to me that had the amendment to section 1 carried, this amendment would have been unnecessary because “spouse” would have covered a spouse in this section. It seems to me that the will of the House is that the definition of spouse for the division of property should not apply when one spouse has died. I think the House already has made that decision and therefore it seems to me that this motion is not now in order.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, did you so rule just then?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I am prepared to make a ruling, but if you wish to speak to the point of order, I will allow you to do so before making the ruling.
Mr. Renwick: I’d just like to support what my colleague, the member for Beaches-Woodbine, has said. I think we’ve had occasion when this has happened. Because of the procedure of the House which provides for the drafting of bills with a definition clause at the beginning of the bill, it has often been the case that the motion is made with respect to the definition which, of course, doesn’t deal with the substantive matter. It’s simply an explanation of what the term should include and therefore is a matter which has to be explained to the committee. It has been defeated. We understand that.
I think it would be true that if there were subsequent substantive provisions of the bill and we were to introduce amendments, I might find it somewhat difficult to agree that your ruling wouldn’t be correct. But on the first substantive section of the bill, I would submit that we should be allowed to make our argument on the clear understanding that if the substantive argument held, then the more or less procedural question of amending the definition could be reverted to by unanimous consent of the House.
Otherwise, I think it might be wise for us to make provision as to when this kind of amendment should be brought. It may well be that we should say: “Let’s agree as a House that we’ll argue a case on the substantive clause and that the House will consent, if passed, to revert to amend the definition section.”
I hope that’s been helpful, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the member for Ottawa East wish to speak on the point of order?
Mr. Roy: Just briefly. It would seem somewhat contradictory that this House, having voted not to accept the earlier amendment, would revert after accepting this amendment, to amend something we’ve already refused. It just doesn’t make sense.
It would seem to me that the argument brought forward is simply just being repetitious of the original amendment, because the argument was made at that time and has been rejected by the House. It just doesn’t make sense at this time to be saying we’re going to be looking at the amendment we have before us because we’d not only have to go back to amend, but we’d have to follow all through with what is meant by spouse. I don’t want to take more time on a procedural matter, but it just doesn’t make sense that we’re proceeding in that fashion. It should be ruled out of order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’d just like to say the earlier debate was conducted on the basis of the operative sections and the effect that the amendment to section 1(f) would have had on them. I think this is just a ruse to reopen the matter.
Mr. Renwick: Did I hear the Attorney General refer to our comments as a ruse to reopen the matter?
Mr. Roy: Ruse.
Mr. Renwick: I think that’s unparliamentary.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Welland-Thorold on the point of order, only, and this will be the last speaker on the point of order.
Mr. Roy: He could have said further posturing.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.
Mr. Swart: I want to deal with this point of order in just a little different manner. You raised it at the time that the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) started to speak, Mr. Chairman. She gave her explanation and you permitted her to continue for quite a period of time. It seemed to me, and I think most of us here felt, that you had made a decision at that time. It’s the same point of order. It seems to me once you have permitted part of the debate to take place for the length it did that you can’t make a second ruling on the same point of order.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: When the member raised the motion, I did not make a ruling. I simply asked the member in her remarks to justify why this would be different to the matter on section 1. Before she had got far enough into her remarks for me to make a ruling, the Attorney General rose and asked me to rule on the point of order.
As far as the point of order is concerned, it would seem to me that in the debate on section 1, on the subsection, that we dealt not only with the definition but this House dealt with the substantive matter of whether or not a deceased spouse should be included, not just for the definition section but for the sections further on.
Therefore, it seems to me that this is repetitious and is, in effect, discussing the same matter that this House has already decided. I would therefore have to rule that this motion is out of order.
The member for Beaches-Woodbine wishes to move an amendment to subsection 3 which is different enough that I would say that one is in order.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, the amendment to subsection 3 really depends on the amendment to subsection 1.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Ms. Bryden moves that subsection 3 of section 4 be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“The rights under subsection 1 are personal as between the spouses, but any application commenced under subsection 2 before or after the death of a spouse may be made or continued by or against the estate of the deceased spouse, and for the purposes of such an application a reference to spouse in this part shall be deemed to be a reference to the estate of the spouse as the case requires.”
This refers to actions commenced before as well as after the death of the spouse, does it?
Ms. Bryden: That is correct Mr. Chairman, and therefore it is different from the preceding one.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Yes, I will allow you to continue.
Ms. Bryden: It provides that an action commenced after the death of a spouse may be made or continued against the estate of the deceased spouse, and therefore it would enable spouses to obtain from the estate some of the assets to which we think they should be entitled.
I think this amendment would be an improvement to the section providing for equal division of the family assets and it is a necessary amendment to bring that situation into the bill.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further speakers to this motion?
All those in favour please say “aye.”
Those opposed please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.