The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce the intention of my ministry to close, later this spring, the century-old Milton Jail.
All of our complement staff at the jail have been offered alternative employment with my ministry. It is expected that most of the 19 staff will move to the Maplehurst Correctional Centre/Adult Training Centre, itself situated in Milton.
Milton Jail is only 25 miles from the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre which, when opened shortly, will have bed space available to accommodate the average daily number of approximately 40 inmates from this jail. Inmates from the Halton and Peel regions will eventually be housed in the Milton Detention Centre, currently scheduled to be available in 1983. This centre will be constructed on the Maplehurst Correctional Centre site, which is already serviced for this purpose.
The closure of the Milton Jail will effect a saving to my ministry of approximately $400,000 in 1978-79 and $493,000 each year thereafter. There will also be a considerable saving to the Ministry of Government Services since substantial expenditures would have been required for renovations to keep this antiquated jail operating.
This will be the seventh 19th-century jail which I have closed since my appointment as minister last September. The others are the old Don Jail in Toronto and the jails in Orangeville, Simcoe, Kitchener, Guelph and Hamilton.
I would also like to give credit to my predecessors who, in the period between May 1971 and the date of my appointment, closed 13 antiquated facilities. These were the jails in Brampton, London, St. Thomas, Woodstock, Welland, St. Catharines, Cayuga, Goderich, Ottawa, Kingston, Napanee, Belleville and Picton. In addition to these 20 closures, upgrading of facilities was carried out at other jails, including major renovations at such institutions as Brockville Jail.
As I have indicated on a previous occasion in this House, I believe this government can be justifiably proud of its jail replacement and renovation program, which was set in motion when the province took over full responsibility for the operation of county and city jails in 1968.
Mr. Deans: With any kind of luck, you’ll be out of work pretty soon.
PAPER MILL CONTROL ORDERS
Hon. Mr. McCague: I have a rather long answer to a question asked recently, Mr. Speaker, and I would like your permission to read it.
Mr. Speaker: I think it’s for the hon. member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt). I spoke to the Minister of the Environment, and perhaps the hon. member would waive the provisional order requirement that he must be provided with a copy of a ministerial statement in advance. We decided this was the best way to handle it because of the length of the answer to a multiple question.
Mr. Gaunt: I am quite prepared to do that, sir.
Mr. Nixon: Murray’s easy to get along with.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the hon. member would agree to that, especially since I anticipated the ruling you might give and gave him an answer two days ago -- the same one I’m going to give you today.
Mr. Deans: Then why didn’t you produce a copy?
Hon. Mr. McCague: In response to the question -- and it was first posed by the NDP critic for Environment, the hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) -- concerning control orders under the Environmental Protection Act on the Abitibi Forest Products Limited Thunder Bay division and Sturgeon Falls division mills, and the Abitibi Paper Company Limited Fort William division, I am pleased to advise that the requirements of these orders have been met.
The applications for approval for assistance to reduce suspended solids in the effluent from the Thunder Bay and Fort William division mills were submitted by the required deadline of March 30, 1978. Similarly, the report from the Sturgeon Falls division mill on means of reducing phenol loadings from the press runoff was received March 31, 1978.
In response to a supplementary question from the hon. member for Huron-Bruce, I would point out that the control orders on the three Abitibi mills in Thunder Bay require these mills as a group to take actions to reduce their collective discharges of BOD loadings. The first of these actions is required of the Abitibi Forest Products Limited Provincial Paper division Thunder Bay mill by June 30, 1978. Other major changes in Thunder Bay to reduce the BOD loadings are required by December 31, 1980, and December 31, 1982. Accordingly, there is no cause to consider charging the company under these orders at this time.
I might add that the company has proposed to meet the first of these obligations by shutting down its sulphide pulping operations at the Provincial Paper mill by June 30, 1978. We understand the other reductions required by the end of 1980 and 1982 will be achieved by major changes in the pulping processes used.
The hon. member for Huron-Bruce, in his question, appeared to imply violations by Abitibi Thunder Bay with respect to BOD emissions per se. The orders specify an overall reduction in BOD emissions or loadings from the three mills at this location to approximately 39 tons per day by the end of the term of the orders on December 31, 1982. There are no other BOD loading requirements that the company must meet at the present time.
It may be that the hon. member for Huron-Bruce is referring to BOD loading objectives which were identified in the ministry’s report issued in September 1976 and titled, Alternative Policies for Pollution Abatement -- The Ontario Pulp and Paper Industry. This report contains a table listing BOD and suspended solid loading from all pulp and paper industry mills in the province and identifies BOD and suspended solid loading objectives for them.
It should be noted that these objectives were not produced for regulatory purposes. They were produced from a special internal study in 1973 to permit rough estimates to be made of the ultimate cost of pollution abatement facilities to deal with these two effluent parameters alone and to put some degree of perspective on this cost and the overall environment problem associated with the industry. They were included for a similar purpose in the 1976 report. They were developed using a number of different approaches such as water quality requirements and what then appeared to be the best available abatement technology. In the latter case, there was no evaluation of whether or not the best available technology would necessarily be practicable in individual cases.
My ministry intends to continue to press this industry for substantial pollution abatement improvements wherever environmental problems are encountered. However, the factors we will consider in setting priorities for such works at individual mills will include, in addition to suspended solids and BOD, other waste water factors such as toxicity to fish and taste- and odour-imparting properties, and those associated with gaseous and particulate emissions to the air environment.
ONTARIO STATUS OF WOMEN COUNCIL
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, earlier today I deposited with the Clerk, copies of the third annual report of the Ontario Status of Women Council. The report covers the period ended March 31, 1977. I am sure that most members of this House are aware of the excellent work this council has done since it was appointed some four years ago, and I want to thank the members of the council for the very fine work they are doing.
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST MEMBER
Mr. Speaker: Before we get to oral questions, on Tuesday, April 4, the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) raised a matter of privilege and asked me to take such action as I deemed to be appropriate.
I have carefully perused the Hansard report of Mr. Riddell’s statement, and from the facts as presented by him there appears to be at least a presumption that several offences against the provisions of section 38 of the Legislative Assembly Act may have been committed, not only by the service of these documents during the prohibited period, but also by the service of such documents in the precincts of the House without the permission of the House or the Speaker.
However, I must again remind the House that if any further action is to be taken in this matter it must be taken by the House. The Speaker has no authority to impose any sanctions on offenders. Only the House has such power.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I move the referral of this matter to the procedural affairs committee.
Mr. Nixon: The matter was raised by my colleague, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Deans: But there’s a motion on the floor.
Mr. S. Smith: He didn’t have to do it.
Mr. Nixon: Since the motion has been put by the hon. member for Riverdale, I would ask your permission, sir, to put forward a motion on behalf of my colleague which would move the matter to the appropriate committee of the House.
Mr. Speaker: We have two motions, it would appear. The hon. member for Riverdale --
Mr. S. Smith: He didn’t have the floor; he wasn’t recognized, Mr. Speaker. You were still standing.
Mr. Speaker: He really wasn’t recognized, although I didn’t deny him the right to speak. Would the hon. member for Riverdale defer, to the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, the sum and substance of the motion?
Mr. Renwick: Always, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, because of your ruling, I would move, seconded by Mr. Worton, that the matter of the service of documents pursuant to the Libel and Slander Act and the Labour Relations Act on the member for Huron-Middlesex, contrary to section 38 of the Legislative Assembly Act, RSO 1970, chapter 240, stand referred to the standing committee on procedural affairs, for which inquiry the committee may be empowered to engage counsel and which proceedings shall be transcribed and printed by Hansard in the format used for the House.
The committee shall be empowered to call for persons, papers and things and to examine witnesses under oath pursuant to section 35 of the Legislative Assembly Act and for which purpose the assembly doth command and compel the attendance before the said committee of such persons and the production of such papers and things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations for which the hon. the Speaker may issue his warrant or warrants.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. S. Smith: Before I ask any questions, Mr. Speaker, might I inquire of the government House leader as to the whereabouts of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough)?
Mr. Breaugh: They’re hiding.
Mr. Martel: That is the hon. member’s first question.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I can’t be precise as to their whereabouts but I think their ultimate destination is here.
Mr. Ruston: But the hon. House leader is not sure about that, though.
Mr. S. Smith: I can only assume that as usual they are circling, looking for a place to land.
Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition with his second question.
Mr. S. Smith: I will therefore reserve my questions, Mr. Speaker, with your permission, until the arrival of those two hon. gentlemen.
Mr. Cassidy: I first have a point of personal privilege to you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to point out to the Premier that contrary to what he said on Tuesday when he suggested I was not being constructive about the Hartt commission report and that the native peoples really supported the report, it has been greeted with great disappointment by both Chief Andrew Rickard from Treaty Nine and Chief Peter Kelly from Treaty Three. I just want to record that, and I hope the Premier doesn’t make that kind of mistake in future.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the point of personal privilege, I would only inform the hon. member that I can’t speak for Chief Kelly, but Chief Rickard was in my office when the concept of the three-pronged -- or whatever terminology one may use -- study of this matter was discussed --
Mr. Cassidy: John Kelly, I am sorry.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I have to inform the members of the House that Chief Rickard was totally in support of that recommendation.
Mr. Martel: That is not what he said in the paper.
Mr. Cassidy: I would just say that that is not what Chief Rickard had to say in the paper.
Mr. Cassidy: I do have a question now of the Premier. Will the Premier make a statement on his meetings these past few days with the heads of major automobile producing companies and, in particular, what consequences those meetings may produce in terms of ensuring a better balance of employment and production between Canada and the US in the automobile industry?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I met this week with one of the companies; I am meeting with another this afternoon. Perhaps early next week, if the hon. member wanted to ask me the same question, which I think is a very proper question, I would be in a better position to answer after I finish these discussions.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a supplementary. Could the Premier say with which company he has met now and give us an ongoing report on that particular meeting and we’ll take the rest as they come?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it would be more appropriate if we discuss this matter after I’ve met with all of the companies.
Mr. Cassidy: I’ll have to let that one ride then.
SALE OF MORTGAGES
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Treasurer, now that he has come into the House. No, I will address this to the Minister of Housing since he doesn’t get much attention and he should have some more.
Mrs. Campbell: Why?
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to the minister’s attention that the government has begun to sell off the Ontario Mortgage Corporation’s mortgages. I want to ask the Minister of Housing, now that the government has begun to sell off these HOME and condominium mortgages which stem from 1976, 1977 and 1978, and in view of the fact that the sale carries with it no obligation on the part of the buyers of those mortgages to renew mortgages on the below-market interest rates at which they were issued over the past three years, can the minister say whether the government has informed the 1,072 families immediately concerned that their mortgages are being sold? Can the minister also say what will be the consequences to those people when they are asked to renew mortgages at rates very considerably higher than the rate at which they took them, particularly in view of the fact that they were offered special mortgage financing at below market interest rates when they took out those mortgages?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, very clearly, the mortgages will be sold on the same conditions as prevailed at the time that they were originally entered into and the purchasers of those mortgages will not be bound to any terms different from those the Ontario Mortgage Corporation itself would have been bound to at the time of renewal.
Mr. Cassidy: Does the minister not feel the government has any moral obligation to the people who took out those mortgages and who were enticed into taking those mortgages with large ads like this, which appeared only one year ago tomorrow and which said and I quote: “Special mortgage financing at below market interest rates”? Were those people not being offered 35-year amortization on mortgages and do they not have the right to expect that that kind of mortgage financing would continue over the life of that agreement?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am sure if the leader of the third party had been listening to the answer he would have interpreted it properly. I said those purchasing the mortgages will live with the terms and conditions under which the mortgages were originally entered into. If they happen to be five-, 10-, 15- or 25-year mortgages those are the conditions under which the new companies will purchase them and they will honour the terms and conditions as set down by the Ontario Mortgage Corporation.
Mr. Cassidy: Since the mortgages were originally offered on a five-year term, 35-year amortization, and since the interest rate originally offered was substantially below market in order to allow people who couldn’t afford market housing to get homes of their own, was it not the intention of the Ontario Mortgage Corporation just one year ago, as recently as that, that this kind of financing would continue for a lengthy period of time and not just for the five-year period, or if OMC and the government intended that financing concession to extend for only five years, should they not have been telling those purchasers so that they knew where they stood?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the terms and conditions were very clearly spelled out. I have said that three times now. We indicated clearly what the interest factor would be in the initial term of the loan. It was also indicated that the mortgage would be for a 35-year period renewable on five-year terms or whatever it might be. Some of the HOME mortgages happen to be for a 25-year complete term without a renewable period and that’s the way those mortgages will be sold. In other words, we have said to the HOME purchasers, “In the first five years there is a mortgage break for you and they will be renewed at the end of the five-year period on terms and conditions set by the market.”
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Would the minister indicate at this time what he expects those people to do when they get around to renewing their mortgage at the expiration of the five-year term and they will not be able to afford a mortgage at the current interest rates?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to project myself into a hypothetical situation.
Mr. Wildman: You are a hypothetical minister.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: You are a vanishing member, too.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Without dealing in hypothetical situations, I would like to ask the minister whether or not the ministry has conducted any study of those persons who took advantage of the mortgage break that was offered to determine whether or not their financial position, which was taken into account at the time they qualified for the reduced mortgage, has improved to the point where they will be able to go into the private mortgage field and find mortgages at a price they can afford to pay, or will they, as I suspect, be faced with the possibility of having to sell the homes because they can’t meet the additional payments?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the latter part I do not believe will happen, that they will be looking at selling their homes. There will be mortgage money and the companies that will be purchasing the mortgages --
Mr. Makarchuk: Where is it?
Mr. Deans: Have you studied the mortgage market?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, if I could finish the answer to the question, unless they prefer to answer it themselves --
Mr. Deans: I don’t want to answer it, no.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- the mortgage corporation has re-examined the mortgages -- and may I say they have been gone over very carefully by our corporation -- to make sure that the best qualified mortgages for replacement under the free-market position are being made available at this time and the conditions will be as prevailing in the market at the time.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s right, and they can’t afford that.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’d be wrong to try to project or assess what some people’s incomes might be at the end of the first five-year period, any more that it has been possible in the free-market position.
Mr. Deans: Aren’t you glad you are out of that ministry, John?
OMA-OHIP FEE SCHEDULES
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Health regarding the negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association: Can the minister tell us whether there has been any suggestion from the OMA that the health insurance legislation be changed to allow opting-in doctors to bill their patients for the amount that is above the OHIP scale, or permit doctors to opt in for some of their poor patients and opt out for wealthier ones? Have those suggestions been brought forward at all and, if so, has the minister made it very clear that the government will not permit this to happen?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Inasmuch as the negotiations are going on this afternoon -- even as we speak, I think -- I would prefer not to comment on those at this time.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, do I take it that such a possibility might even be entertained by the Ministry of Health -- that you have not, in fact, completely ruled that out as a possibility?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, five years ago, the government and the OMA agreed we would thereafter enter into good-faith bargaining on an annual basis. The Leader of the Opposition and others can postulate all kinds of things and suggest that they are in or out; I intend to live up to that commitment to good-faith bargaining, and the way we are going, the whole thing could end up here on the floor of the House before we even arrive at some kind of conclusion. Certainly, once the negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association are concluded, I will be glad to discuss what has gone on.
Mr. Nixon: Fait accompli.
Mrs. Campbell: Fait accompli.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: But I don’t think it would really serve the interest of the people whom we both serve if we don’t let those negotiations carry on as constituted.
Mr. Cassidy: In addition to the minister’s commitment to act in good faith in discussions with the doctors, will the minister assure the House that he will also act in good faith in relation to the people who are consumers of medical care in the province of Ontario, in particular because thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of them, will be excluded from balanced billing proposals which the doctors have put forward and which would have the result of bringing in a disguised form of deterrent fee in the province?
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is absolute balderdash, Cassidy; you know not whereof you speak.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It goes without saying that the government which introduced hospital insurance into the province, that the government which introduced medical insurance into the province --
Mr. Swart: Dragged into it, is the word.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- will ensure that the interests of the people are in fact looked after in the best way possible.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the minister’s statements on Friday concerning a separate OHIP schedule of benefits and a separate OMA fee schedule, is the minister now suggesting that the government is prepared to give government approval to both such scales? The minister will recall that he said we could anticipate that there will be two separate scales. He mentioned this on Friday. Would both of those scales have government approval, once they are negotiated?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, let me repeat what I said on Friday -- in fact, what I said at the time the negotiations began -- that is that the government is not going to pay 36 per cent more for the services listed in the schedule. Secondly, if you will recognize that by law -- unless you would prefer to change this law or to make it illegal -- the Ontario Medical Association has always had, and I think should always have, the right to write its own fee schedules to indicate what its members, as responsible people, think they are worth. I know some members opposite would almost like to make doctors civil servants --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- I was pointing that way, it’s all right, calm down. The hon. Leader of the Opposition used the term “have government approval.” The law is such that they have the right to write their own fee schedule. The law is such that the government has the right to say we are not going to pay 36 per cent more. Both of those things have happened.
Mr. S. Smith: A brief supplementary: The minister may not be aware of the import of the question. Is the minister aware that if the OMA writes its own schedule and receives government approval for it, it is then able to charge in accordance with the schedule without running afoul of the Combines Investigation Act; whereas, is the minister aware and has he conveyed to the OMA that, if they have their scale without government approval, they might run afoul of that particular Act -- the Combines Investigation Act?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Where has the member been for 10 years? He is misinformed, ill-informed and unaware.
Mr. Deans: He’s been on fee for service for 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: To the best of my knowledge, the Combines Investigation Act doesn’t enter into it at all. If the member is suggesting it does, I’d be interested to know in what respect he’d suggest that. Then we’d be prepared to look at that angle. I’m sure that the Ontario Medical Association have certainly considered that because they have excellent counsel themselves.
Mr. S. Smith: As a final supplementary, Mr. Speaker or at least as a final supplementary from myself though maybe others have supplementaries --
Mr. Speaker: It probably will be the final supplementary.
Mr. S. Smith: In your wisdom, sir.
Mr. Speaker: We’ve had six now.
Mr. S. Smith: Since the proposals that I asked about in my original question -- namely, the thought that the OMA might be asking for the rights for opted-in doctors to bill for the amount above the OHIP scale and for other doctors to be able to opt in their poor patients and opt out their wealthy ones -- would each involve amendments to the Health Insurance Act, how can the minister come to this Legislature and say that such amendments are negotiable with the OMA before they’re discussable in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, the hon. member is trying to put words into my mouth.
Mr. Bolan: That’s easy to do.
Mr. Deans: Either that or keep it closed.
Mr. McEwen: Why would he? The minister has his foot in his mouth. He could get both feet in there too.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I understand that he would perhaps do like the people to his left, virtually make doctors civil servants and dictate their incomes to them.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Hey, look, the member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. McEwen) is back. Did we have a by-election?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, Mr. Speaker, including silent Earl back there, I’m sure the member would want us to bargain in good faith and not to destroy those negotiations which have gone on very well for four years and we’re now in our fifth. As I said earlier, I think we should let those negotiations carry on in good faith and not destroy them here.
Mr. Mancini: Where’s Frank Miller now that we need him?
Mr. McEwen: Where’s Matthew Dymond?
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary. The member for Parkdale.
Mr. Dukszta: Supplementary: As the minister well knows, the final responsibility for what is going to be the allowed fee schedule and payment for the services is the minister’s. Will the minister answer very simply the question, is he going to allow, once the negotiation is over, this unconscionably large increase for the physicians?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’ve already made it clear that the government is not going to pay 36 per cent more. That’s been clear all along.
Mr. Cassidy: You’ll make the people pay it.
Mr. S. Smith: My second question is for the Treasurer. In view of the Treasurer’s comments on Thursday when he said: “There has been a great deal of research done at universities, for example, publicly-funded research by very bright people . . . My own view is that some of that research might have been better done in the private sector”, could the Treasurer give us his view on the public funding of transit research by his government through its wholly-owned Urban Transportation Development Corporation? Does he think this is still an appropriate use of public funds or shouldn’t such research really be done in the private sector?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: My view? Fantastic!
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: In the absence of a dictionary, one hardly knows whether this is simply beyond the Treasurer’s fantasy to contemplate or whether in fact he believes that this is a wonderful way to carry out the business of Ontario. Can he explain, given the rather dismal sales record of this agency since 1974 and its utter failure to attract partners or private capital, how long is he, as a person who believes in research in the private sector, prepared to subsidize its experiments in the $55.5 million intermediate capacity transit program, for example?
Hon Mr. McKeough: My remarks on Thursday, the member says it was, and I’ve made these remarks before, have been in the context that a number of people -- including perhaps the Leader of the Opposition himself, though I’m not sure of this, but certainly I and the Premier and others -- have said that governments have been taking an increasingly larger part of the gross national product. That is something which has been reversed in this province for the last two or three years, and we hope to continue to reverse that.
What I was commenting on is what is often overlooked, namely, that in the process of going from roughly 20 per cent of GNP after the war to something like 40 per cent in Canada today -- about 35 in Ontario -- what has also accompanied that has been an increase in the human resources used by governments or by the public sector generally. Certainly some of the best talents and best brains have been recruited into government, into hospital administration, into universities, some of them into publicly financed research activities.
The point I was attempting to make was that had the money, of course, not been available in such large quantities to the public sector, some of the human resources might have found their way on to plant floors, if I can put it that way -- into industrial research, into higher technology -- in the private sector.
Ms. Gigantes: There isn’t any research. What are you talking about?
Mr. Warner: Nonsense.
Ms. Gigantes: You are dreaming.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: But the fact is that brains as well as human resources have been consumed by the public sector in ever larger amounts.
Mr. Foulds: Unfortunately it doesn’t apply in your case.
Hon. B. Stephenson: And it will never apply in yours.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Having said that, there will always be, I would expect, a role for governments to do those things which are either too large for the private sector or to which the private sector is not paying attention.
The fact is, to my recollection -- the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) or the Premier have a much better knowledge of this than I -- but the discouraging part was that the private sector in this country, not just in this province, was not moving into the area of what is obviously a very high risk technology, a very exciting technology -- that of transit. Certainly if the private sector had moved forward then we would not be as involved as we are.
Mr. Makarchuk: You are talking like a socialist.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Certainly if the private sector can get involved or wants to get involved then I think UTDC takes on an entirely different role.
Mr. Makarchuk: Socialist McKeough. Maoist.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the Treasurer comment then on the possibility that the problem is not too much research being carried out in the public sector but too little research being carried out in the private sector, and that the reason for that lack of research in the private sector may in fact be because of the foreign control of too much of the industry in our province and in our country?
Would the Treasurer like to comment specifically on the findings of the federal government’s automotive task force, which I think is relevant, which says that consumers in Canada have contributed at least $230 million annually to the research and development accounts of the parent corporations of the big four here in Canada over the past six years? That amount of money is going abroad for research in the United States. Should that research not be carried out here in Ontario or in Canada within the private sector, and what is the government going to do about it?
Mr. Eakins: That’s his third question.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes, but I don’t think the member can have it both ways.
Mr. MacDonald: Nor can you.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The member is an advocate of an ever larger public sector. One of the things that has happened in an enlarging public sector -- for example, versus us and the United States -- is that you have, and I don’t have these figures at my fingertips, but you have assistant professors in this country earning $28,000 to $29,000 a year where in the States they would earn $18,000 a year.
Had not so much of our human and capital resources gone into the public sector, using universities as one example --
Mr. Wildman: They would have gone to the United States.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- it might have been easier and less expensive, and therefore there might have been more research in the private sector of this country. But that has not been the case.
An hon. member: Might.
Mr. Warner: That’s wishful thinking.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, if in fact the Treasurer feels badly that so much has gone into the public sector when the private sector could have done it, what is the reason for UTDC? Is it simply that the Treasurer fails to provide reasonable conditions for the private sector to enter into this allegedly worthy enterprise, or does the public sector simply know better than to get involved in the sort of thing that is going on in the Kingston situation?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, Mr. Speaker. I think the question as to why they weren’t involved in it is a question which should be put to the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Mr. McEwen: You announced it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: But what you are talking about are very large projects and what you are talking about in UTDC as much as anything was a catalyst to bring some large and some small companies together in one place.
I recall particularly some of the contracts which were bid on which ultimately had to have a heavy involvement of the government of Canada as well as the government of Ontario because Canadian industry, research or otherwise, simply wasn’t large enough -- not even Canadian-owned industry operating in this country was large enough to bid on those projects in themselves and there has to be a role for government. So I don’t think it is an either/or proposition.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Treasurer not agree that the major reason the government undertook the research being carried out at Kingston through the Urban Transportation Development Corporation, is because the government got egg on its face with the Krauss-Maffei adventure, when it should, in fact, have been building on the strength of transit technology already available in the public sector through the TTC?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly not reply in the affirmative to that question. I don’t think the member knows what he is talking about. I’m sure during the estimates --
Mr. Cassidy: I told the government, long before --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: You told the government?
Mr. Cassidy: Sure.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Well then, I guess we didn’t listen.
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, I guess you didn’t.
Mr. Warner: That’s the story of your life.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, would the minister, then, in the interests of encouraging entrepreneurship and private enterprise in the province, and private creativity, take the necessary steps to ensure that the research and development money, which is now budgeted with the Ministry of Energy, be apportioned as seed money to private interests in order to develop the unique energy technology that we are capable of in Ontario?
Mr. Swart: You guys should stop trying; you will never get an answer from McKeough.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that is a question that should go to my colleague, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Baetz).
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Could the minister inform the House whether or not he has personally endorsed his ministry’s memorandum, dated February 13 of this year, signed by acting district manager M. M. McIntyre, relating to the production of written reports and the establishment of a quota system in the highway carriers section?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister would be kind enough to comment on the following excerpt from that memorandum: “The number of reports being produced at this time are not sufficient to account for the number of man-hours spent to obtain them. Therefore, in order to account for the man-hours being spent, it is necessary to increase production of both the truck inspections and area inspectors. The following will be implemented immediately.
“At the truck inspection stations, each man is requested to produce a minimum of 10 reports weekly. As a result of these 10 reports produced, it will be expected that no less than seven charges will be directed. In the areas of each inspector, it is requested to produce a minimum of six reports weekly; as a result of these reports it is expected that no less than five charges will be directed.
“On portable scales each man is expected to produce a minimum of seven reports per week. As a result of these seven reports it is expected that no less than six charges will be directed.
“The quantities of production set out in the above are of minimum. Subsequently, in a period of nine months, these figures will be increased to 15 and 12, 10 and seven respectively. In reviewing some of the production reports recently submitted it is evident that some of the personnel are very close to meeting these requirements at the present time, however, it is felt that all personnel can reach this minimum by applying extra effort.”
Mr. Breithaupt: They will get gold stars.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, can I ask what the question is?
Mr. Ruston: Are you in favour of it?
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not agree the establishment of a quota system is contrary to the public interest and the policy set out by his ministry and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) with regard to the issuance of tickets on a quota basis, and would the minister consult with the Attorney General with regard to the legality and the propriety, the efficacy, of such a so-called quota system? And would he not take immediate steps to see that such a distasteful practice is terminated or discontinued immediately?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the memorandum from one of my officials.
Mr. Nixon: Have a look at it and withdraw it.
Mr. Warner: Why did you say you didn’t endorse it?
An hon. member: You said you didn’t endorse it.
An hon. member: You are going to wish you never had.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I certainly will review the memorandum; but from what I have observed from the excerpts that have been read from the memorandum, it is a part of the continuing effort of my ministry to increase our productivity, to cut down our overhead and to get the best possible use out of our facilities.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I can see absolutely no reason whatsoever why we should not say that each of our inspection staff, doing truck inspections for instance, should not be expected to do a certain number of inspections per day. I think that’s only good --
Mr. Warner: Is the minister telling us this afternoon that it is government policy to establish a quota system in terms of fines; that that is a policy and he’s prepared to stand by that? If not, does he intend to change the policy, because obviously he has outlined it in the memorandum that was sent?
Mr. Makarchuk: Is this a new tax policy?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Nothing I said had anything to do with setting a quota for the laying of charges.
Mr. Conway: A new tax policy.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I said I agree fully that there should be objectives or expected levels of productivity of our employees. Obviously, when a certain number of inspections are made, if the inspections find unsafe vehicles, for instance, or overloaded vehicles or whatever it may be, then only on that evidence are charges laid, and that’s the way it should be.
Mr. Warner: That’s not what it says in the memo. It’s a quota system for fines.
Mr. Cunningham: It is becoming obvious that nothing that the minister says or does is of any importance to the people within his ministry. Would the minister not agree, though, that outlined in this particular memo -- which we have sent over to him now and which he is now in possession of --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are brilliant. Your intellectual capacity is overwhelming.
Mr. Cunningham: -- it, in fact, explicitly defines the necessity for laying charges, regardless of the merits of any particular case; and that he is, in fact, setting up a quota system for charges on the highways?
Hon. W. Newman: Did they get you?
Mr. Cunningham: I don’t drive a truck; do you?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I assure you that as far as I am concerned there is no quota system for charges. There should be, and I fully support, an increase in the productivity of the number of inspections carried out. Charges would only be laid when there were offences committed.
Mr. S. Smith: What are you going to do about this?
Mr. Philip: A new question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Can the minister inform the House of the results of his two meetings with representatives of the trucking industry, one of which I believe the Premier attended? Also, in the light of these representations and in the light of the fact that the minister no doubt now realizes that Bill 21 will not pass in this House -- indeed that even members of his own cabinet are opposed to it -- will the minister assure the House that Bill 21 will either be withdrawn or substantially altered?
Mr. Conway: Lorne says it will not pass.
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Philip: Is the minister aware of the uncertainty that has been created by this bill in the industry, such uncertainty that companies in this time of high unemployment are, in fact, cancelling orders for trucks and trailers because they don’t know what is happening in their business? In the light of this, will the minister not at least make a definitive statement in the next week or so as to where he stands on Bill 21, which is opposed by both opposition parties in this House?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have had ongoing discussions --
Mr. Nixon: I bet you have.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have ongoing discussions at all times with the transportation industry, not only the --
Mr. Cunningham: Are you and the president speaking yet?
Mr. Breithaupt: Careful, or the contributions are going to stop.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have had many discussions with many aspects of the transportation industry, not only the trucking association. I have met twice with representatives of the OTA in the past few weeks. I have also met a number of other people interested both in the trucking industry and the shipping industry, and we’re having ongoing discussions at all times.
Mr. Philip: One final supplementary: Have the minister or his officials yet calculated the number of licence holders who will be affected by this deregulation bill, and is it not fair to say that aside for R and H class licences that the bill will affect between 40 and 50 per cent of present licences?
Mr. S. Smith: Is it in order to discuss the bill like this?
An hon. member: I would think not.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I cannot say at the moment whether those figures that have been suggested are right.
Mr. Swart: You should be able to.
Hon. Mr. Snow: When one says the percentage of the licence holders who would be affected, it would certainly depend on what degree of effect one considers to be an effect, and I’m sure there’s a great many licensed carriers now who would be affected positively as well as negatively.
Hon. B. Stephenson: On Tuesday last the hon. member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil) questioned me about the date at which the assessments to the Workmen’s Compensation Board by employers in the province were due. I misinformed the House when I suggested --
Mr. S. Smith: Oh, not again.
Mr. Conway: That’s par for the course.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- this was a part of the quarterly program of assessment which was to be introduced, I thought, this year. It will be introduced in 1979. But I would remind the House that all assessments are based on payroll estimates which are required to be returned to the board by the end of February.
Before 1977, it was normal practice for the board, for more than 20 years, to issue the forms for the return of payroll information in December and January of each year. Following the receipt of the estimated payroll, billings began in February and they were due 60 days later, at some time during the month of April.
In 1977, the billings were sent out in March and were due 60 days later, on May 20. That’s exactly the same date the billings are due this year. No change has been made in the assessment notice issuing function in 1978 except that particular assessments are no longer delayed. All of the assessments are now issued when they are ready, rather than being sent out in bulk form.
Mr. O’Neil: As a supplementary to my question asked the other day, does the minister not feel this will put additional hardship on a lot of both large and small businesses in making sure these payments are due well in advance of previous years? I don’t believe they have been notified.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, they are not due in advance of previous years. They are due two months after the issuance of the assessment, as has always been the case.
Mr. McClellan: May I ask the minister again, how long do the injured workers with families in the province have to suffer by virtue of her refusal to bring in an amendment to raise the rates?
Mr. Speaker: I don’t believe that is a supplementary.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, I have never refused to bring that in. I have stated several times in this House that indeed it would be coming in.
Mr. Wildman: Just postponed.
Mr. O’Neil: Final supplementary: Is the minister then saying that when these assessments were sent out, she did notify the people that the payments would be due earlier?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would remind the hon. member that I don’t send the assessments out, the Workmen’s Compensation Board does. And exactly the same notice was sent to each employer, that the payments are due 60 days following the receipt of the assessment.
Mr. McClellan: Over which you have no control at all.
Hon. B. Stephenson: This has not changed in 20 years. It will change next year, in that those who were assessed more than $10,000 will be given an opportunity to pay this on a quarterly basis. We feel this would be more equitable for those employers.
FIRE DAMAGE ASSISTANCE
Hon. Mr. Kerr: On March 28 the hon. members for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil) and Peterborough (Mr. Turner) inquired about what type of provincial assistance might be available following major fires in Trenton and Bancroft. The fires caused considerable property damage and left a number of people homeless. Fire damage in Trenton was estimated at about $2.5 million and in Bancroft at about $800,000. It is suspected that arson may have been involved in the Trenton fires and the fire marshal’s office is investigating.
As I indicated in my initial response, this is a different situation from a natural disaster, like a flood or a severe snowstorm, where provincial assistance is provided at the time. The fires were both quite serious but basically involved private property which may have been insured against such a calamity. The communities were not crippled by the fire, nor were essential municipal services, such as water supply or sewage disposal, destroyed. In the ease of the Bancroft fire, Ontario Provincial Police did provide assistance at the scene, and I know that fire fighters from the Canadian forces base were in attendance at the Trenton fire.
The situation in both communities does not warrant providing provincial compensation to businessmen and property owners who suffered fire loss. I can only assure the Legislature that requests for provincial aid following a natural disaster or major outbreak which cripples the community will continue to be assessed on an individual basis.
Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. I wonder if the minister is in a position to either clarify, deny, confirm or otherwise comment on an article which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, headed “Carleton Board of Education New School Proposals Suffer Serious Setback”? In particular, would he deal with the portion of the article that alleges his ministry will not approve any new school construction in Carleton until the Carleton board has reached a formal agreement with the Ottawa Board of Education?
Mr. Conway: Since when did you start believing the Citizen, Sid?
Mr. Handleman: I don’t believe it. I’m giving them a chance to deny it.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’m happy to have my friend draw attention to what the Ottawa Citizen has been publishing, although I must say I have read some stories in the Ottawa Citizen recently about the school situation there which lead me to wonder whether all the facts ever appear in their stories.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
An hon. member: Is this rehearsed?
Hon. Mr. Wells: If the hon. members would like letter and verse on that, I believe there was an article in there that indicated we were going to give $22 million to the Carleton Board of Education in capital money.
An hon. member: That, obviously, is not true.
Hon. Mr. Wells: That, of course, was an obviously inaccurate story, and something which anyone would realize is not possible and would not be considered by this government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Not until Brampton gets its share!
Hon. Mr. Wells: In commenting on the article my friend is talking about, I would say I regret that the approval we had given to the Carleton Board of Education for the new vocational school appears to have suffered setbacks because of the actions of the reeve of Nepean township and the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, both of whom appear to be putting further roadblocks in the way of the development of this school.
Mr. Conway: Handleman’s still after Andy Haydon.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I might say that I think that school should proceed, and I and my ministry will be happy to assist the board to clear away any of these additional roadblocks.
In so far as the rest of the present capital program for the Carleton Board of Education is concerned, it has never been, and it is not, my intention that it be held up ad infinitum pending agreement on certain other school accommodation agreements between the Ottawa Board of Education and the Carleton Board of Education. In fact, I was intending to send a letter to the Carleton Board of Education tomorrow, informing them of what we could approve in this year’s program.
Mr. Handleman: Supplementary: Would it be possible, in the approvals given to the Carleton Board of Education, that they would be permitted to reorder their priorities in accordance with any agreements they might reach with the Ottawa Board of Education?
Hon. Mr. Wells: There is always that possibility. I certainly would be happy to agree to any kind of reordering of priorities in the Ottawa-Carleton area. I must say that in my six years as Minister of Education this ranks at the top of those areas where two boards seems to be running hammerhead together and not being able to agree when there is a real need for agreement. On behalf of all the residents of that area and the people of this province, if we’re to save money on educational costs, the kind of agreements that have to go ahead there also have to be affected in other areas of this province. But this, to my mind, has been one of the most difficult areas, and I hope the trustees will come to some agreement.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Huron-Bruce.
Ms. Gigantes: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment --
Some hon. members: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: There’s a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the hon. member for Carleton East.
Ms. Gigantes: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the minister, given the way he describes the situation between two boards in the Ottawa-Carleton area, whether he is going to take any initiatives, following along the lines of the Mayo recommendation, to make sure that those intrinsic difficulties between the two boards will not arise every two or three years? In other words, is he going to make some positive decisions following on the Mayo report?
Hon. Mr. Wells: In a couple of weeks I intend to indicate, in a white paper manner, exactly what our opinion should be in so far as the Mayo commission recommendations are concerned.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege; it has been drawn to my attention that during the answer to a question which I gave a few minutes ago during this session, I referred to a story which had appeared in the Ottawa Citizen and indicated it was an inaccurate story. That story in fact appeared in the Ottawa Journal.
Mr. Breithaupt: Any more inaccuracies?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would therefore like to apologize to the Ottawa Citizen.
Mr. Warner: Don’t apologize, just resign. They’d be very happy too.
Mr. S. Smith: Your inaccuracy is a bad as theirs.
Hon. Mr. Wells: And I am happy that my confidence in their clarity and forthrightness has been restored.
WATER QUALITY REPORT
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. With respect to the Ontario-Ottawa-Quebec water quality study and report on the Ottawa River, completed some months ago, which indicates some serious phosphorous loading problems as well as mercury pollution, does the ministry intend to release the report? If so, when? And if not, why not?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member asked that question.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s one the minister must have an answer for.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Since I came to the ministry, I have been trying to persuade the sponsors of the study -- the federal government and the government of Quebec -- to release this report. They shared in the cost and, of course, share in the ownership of it. We have not been successful with either the federal government or the government of Quebec in getting their permission to release the report and are therefore reluctant to do it on our own.
Mr. S. Smith: Anticipate; so what is so secret?
Ms. Gigantes: Go ahead.
Mr. S. Smith: Why not?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I can’t really tell the member why not, or when.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: When was the last time the ministry had contact with the federal government with respect to this report, and does the minister not anticipate that some agreement could be arrived at in the near future in order to release it; and if no agreement can be arrived at, has the ministry considered releasing the report on its own because it participated in the study and participated financially as well?
Ms. Gigantes: The government supported it too.
An hon. member: Take a chance.
Hon. Mr. McCague: We will take those matters under consideration.
Mr. Warner: In the fullness of time.
Hon. Mr. McCague: There was a letter mailed to them recently; there have been two letters to my understanding. I think my predecessor wrote to them --
Mr. Laughren: Try the phone.
Mr. Makarchuk: Try Telex.
Hon. Mr. McCague: -- once or twice. I have written to them once.
An hon. member: Try carrier pigeon.
Hon. Mr. McCague: My guess is that it was a month ago. I think the question was, “Did they get a letter from me?” I have no idea.
An hon. member: They run the postal service too.
Mr. Kennedy: It is only a month since we sent it.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell us whether his ministry, when it entered into this joint project with Quebec and with the federal government, made any agreement whatsoever to keep the results secret, failing unanimous agreement to reveal those results; and if that kind of agreement did occur, why did he enter into such an agreement? If it did not occur, why does he feel constrained from revealing the results?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any agreement. There has been an exchange of letters and at no time has there --
Mr. Warner: It was a gentleman’s agreement, and that lets the minister out.
Hon. Mr. McCague: -- been any indication that there was an agreement that the report would not be released.
Mr. S. Smith: Release it.
Hon. Mr. McCague: That’s all well and good, the hon. member says release it; we would like to do it in good faith if we could. I would agree with the members opposite that if we run into continual resistance, we probably will release it gladly.
Mr. S. Smith: Good.
Hon. Mr. McCague: But that’s “continual resistance.”
PAPER MILL CONTROL ORDERS
Ms. Bryden: With regard to the Minister of the Environment’s statement today in reply to my question on whether Abitibi had met recent control order deadlines, while he did confirm compliance with certain interim deadlines, his statement also contained a very disturbing ministerial pronouncement downgrading the validity and the importance --
Mr. Speaker: I don’t hear a question yet.
Ms. Bryden: -- of earlier guidelines set by the ministry for the pulp and paper industry. I would like to know whether this means that the minister has abandoned the earlier guidelines and is attempting to justify the abandonment of it in this statement; and will he bring out new less stringent guidelines in accord with what appears to be the government’s policy of weakening environmental standards and yielding to the blackmail by the industry, which is threatening to reduce jobs if pollution control is not relaxed?
Hon. Mr. McCague: The answer to both questions is no.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, can the minister also tell us why he continues to rely on guidelines instead of mandatory standards so that we would know what the objectives are for water quality in this province?
Hon. Mr. McCague: That’s a very long answer which I was able to provide to the member in estimates, yesterday, I think it was. I don’t think we need to go into that again at this point.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Housing has the answer to two questions asked previously.
HOME RENEWAL PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) earlier this week asked about the statistics and how much money had been given to the city of Toronto and to the Metro boroughs under the Ontario home renewal program rental. The statistics are as follows: In 1976-77, the first year of the program, the city of Toronto received $62,000 and the borough of Etobicoke $10,000 from a total budget of $2 million. In 1977-78, of the total $2 million budgeted, none was taken up by Metropolitan Toronto because none was requested by that municipality or its boroughs.
As the House is probably aware, the allocation of funds is based on both needs and on the amount requested by the municipalities. In the case of the city of Toronto, it requested an accountable advance in 1976-77 of $62,000 out of a total application by that municipality of $250,000. The city made no further requests for funds in 1977-78. The Ontario home renewal program rental -- and I stress rental -- was conceived as an experimental, limited-funded program. The province has allocated $4 million for this program during the past two years, and we are now monitoring and evaluating the results. Based on our findings, we would be in a position to determine what kind of funding would be most appropriate in the future in conjunction with our programs with the federal government.
REXDALE H.O.M.E. PROJECT
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have the answer to a question by the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip). On Thursday the member inquired about the status of the HOME development at Finch and Silverstone Drive in Rexdale, asking why sodding and other work had not been completed, despite the fact that he had received a letter from the former Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) last September indicating that the builder would begin work almost immediately.
By way of explanation, I would point out that after the letter was sent to the hon. member, the builder’s financial difficulties increased. A number of legal problems concerning mechanics’ liens occurred and the ministry was unable to move in and complete the landscaping work until the named matter had been settled.
However, I can report to the House today that the Ontario Mortgage Corporation has arranged a settlement with the lien claimants, although the claimants have not yet signed the official documents. This would enable Ontario Mortgage Corporation to complete the landscaping, fencing, sidewalks, driveways and so on. This work should begin as soon as weather permits and sod is available to us. As a matter of fact, OMC did arrange for temporary driveways for the units when it became apparent late last year that there would be no activity over the winter months.
As far as HUDAC is concerned, the home owners will have full protection under the warranty program for interior and exterior deficiencies. When the official documents are signed with the lien claimants, OMC will be committed to completing the necessary landscaping work, and the question of HUDAC finishing this work will no longer be an issue.
HOME RENEWAL PROGRAM
Ms. Bryden: With regard to the minister’s answer to my question about the Ontario home renewal program for rental accommodation, do I take it there is no money in the present estimates before us for this program, in spite of the fact that I am sure there is still a very great need for providing moderate and low-income rental accommodation, certainly in the city of Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I have already said, we are doing an assessment of the program in its first two years to see whether we should continue it. At the same time, we are in further discussions with the federal government in some co-operative programs with them on the same basis.
REXDALE H.O.M.E. PROJECT
Mr. Philip: Can the minister tell us whether he knows whether J. C. Byers, the builder that got us into all of this problem, has been deregistered and whether this builder is still building in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Obviously, that is a question that will have to be directed to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations since deregistering is under his ministry.
Mr. Philip: May I redirect that question then? I would think that as Minister of Housing the minister would at least want to know whether J. C. Byers was building more housing for his ministry.
Mr. Speaker: Did the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations hear the question that was directed to him?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There was a large impediment in front of me, Mr. Speaker. I couldn’t hear it.
Mr. Speaker: Briefly, would you restate the question?
Mr. Philip: To the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, then: In the light of the Minister of Housing’s statement concerning the problems we have had with the home warranty program in the Martingrove and Albion Roads area, and particularly with one construction firm, J. C. Byers, can the minister tell us if he knows why this particular company that has created all of these problems has not been deregistered and whether this builder is still operating in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course, I don’t register or deregister any of the builders, as I presume the member well knows.
Mr. Swart: The Minister of Housing just said you did.
Mrs. Campbell: Your minister didn’t know it.
Mr. S. Smith: Answer.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the member understands, or I presume he understands, that the home warranty plan is administered outside of my ministry, although they report to and through my ministry.
Mr. Warner: He just handed it to you.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So if the member has a question about any specific builder, I’m sure he’ll agree that the appropriate place to ask that question is by way of a letter to the new home warranty plan program, not to me.
Ms. Gigantes: Don’t you think it’s important for you to know?
Mr. Wildman: Somebody’s responsible!
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Now, if the member has any complaints about the way his letter has been handled or the way they dealt with any particular builder, I’d be happy to hear from him.
Mr. Blundy: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. In the light of information we have that the Ministry of Community and Social Services has been given a deadline by Management Board to reduce its executive positions by December of this year, and in view of impending changes we are considering in the children’s services branch, would the minister tell us now what positions he contemplates will be removed and what reorganization will be made to accommodate these changes?
Mr. Kerrio: So that’s why the deputy minister has been changed.
Hon. Mr. Norton: As I believe the hon. member knows, the reorganization contemplated in my ministry goes beyond just the children’s services division. We are now, and have been for some time, in receipt of a report from management consultants who were commissioned shortly after my arrival in the ministry.
Mrs. Campbell: Which we are not allowed to see.
Hon. Mr. Norton: We have been engaged in a very detailed review and planning for the reorganization, which I hope to be in a position to announce in some detail within the next month or so. I’m not in a position at this point to answer the specific question the hon. member asked, but I think that answer will be forthcoming at the time of the announcement of any reorganization.
Mr. Blundy: Supplementary: May we assume that the minister is considering the end of the developmental resources branch as such and its absorption by the children’s and social resources branches? If so, will the minister explain to us how we can properly debate proposed legislative changes for children when the ministry implementation framework is not defined or known?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I can assure the hon. member that the framework of which he speaks will be known prior to any formal debate on the specific recommendations on law reform, if those are the changes he is making reference to.
I can indicate to him, as he already is aware from the summary of the report that I made available to the members of the House and the public, that one of the recommendations that was made on reorganization involved the amalgamation of the adult portion of the developmental services division of the ministry with the social services division, and the amalgamation of the children’s portion of the developmental services with the children’s services division.
That was a recommendation, and when I am in a position to formally announce to the members the proposals we wish to make with respect to reorganization, I think it will become apparent as to which ones we are accepting and which ones we are not.
Mr. Samis: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In view of the fact that the new no-fault insurance plan in Quebec puts Ontario drivers involved in an accident in Quebec at a distinct disadvantage in terms of disallowing disability suits for bodily injuries suffered in auto accidents, and in terms of recovery by Ontario residents involved in an accident with a Quebec-insured driver, can the minister tell the House if he has made any representation to his Quebec counterpart, Madame Fayette, with a view to removing these inequities for Ontario drivers?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have just finished writing a letter to Madame Payette on the subject, and I hope to be meeting with her. This will be news to her because she hasn’t got the letter yet, but the letter invites her to undertake some discussions with us in the next two months; I have suggested perhaps a date in June to review the whole subject matter. There are many inequities in the plan, as the member has pointed out, one of the most serious of which is, of course, that, in simple terms, contributory negligence is included when an Ontario driver is injured in Quebec, but that isn’t the case with regard to Quebec drivers. So it is an inequity, and I think the best way to deal with it is by way of the route we have selected -- let them know that we are concerned about it, that we think it is an inequity; and so we have asked them to discuss the matter with us. I hope to be going to Quebec sometime in June to discuss it with Madame Payette.
Mr. Samis: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister advise us if he made any specific suggestions in his communication with Madame Payette? Could he also advise us if he would be prepared to take any initiatives in the event the Quebec government doesn’t agree to any form of reciprocal agreement with Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The answer is that we have pointed out the problem to Madame Payette. I think some of the possibilities are rather obvious. All we have said is -- these are the problems, I think it appropriate that we get together on it to see if we can resolve it. I do know Madame Fayette, having spent some time around the consumer ministers’ conference table with her just a couple of weeks ago.
No, I haven’t proposed specifics, although obviously a reciprocal agreement is one of them which would work with regard to some aspects of it, not with others.
Secondly, I don’t want to speculate on what the future holds because I would hope that the obvious inequities would be dealt with rather fairly by Madame Payette.
Of course, the member may have suggestions for me before I go; and of course from his position of expertise about problems with no-fault and government-run insurance plans --
Mr. Samis: Now, now, none of that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- his party may well in fact learn something from the obvious inequity that has arisen out of this government-run, no-fault insurance plan.
Mr. Samis: Off the grandstand, Larry.
SAFETY IN LEGISLATIVE BUILDING
Mrs. Campbell: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. It seems to me that the safety of this building is a matter of privilege for this House.
I have just been advised that a large glass globe, 12 inches in diameter, has fallen from the stairwell ceiling at the third floor level, moments after a group of school children passed by. I am advised that this occurrence is identified as having been caused by vibrations from groups on the stairs which regularly causes the globe to fall.
Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that if that is within the precincts of this House -- and I am not, of course, at all sure because of the confused position as to the responsibility for this House -- I am making this statement as a privilege, because it does not seem to me that the matter of safety should be in doubt and that someone ought to be taking into consideration this dangerous situation.
Mr. Speaker: It is a somewhat gray area but I can assure you that it will be brought to the attention of the people who are responsible for maintenance, and that is the Ministry of Government Services. I will undertake to do that immediately.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Gaunt from the standing social development committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979:
Ministry administration program ..... $5,858,000
Heritage conservation program. ...... 17,620,000
Arts support program ..................... 29,657,000
Citizenship and multicultural
support program ................................. 6,628,000
Libraries and community
information program ......................... 40,190,000
Sports and fitness program ............. 13,063,000
Ministry capital support program ..... 26,790,000
Wintario program ........................... 41,000,000
STANDING PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITREE
Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented the committee’s report, which was read as follows, and moved its adoption:
Your committee recommends that it should be the practice of this House when in committee of supply that critics be permitted considerable latitude in speaking to vote 1, item 1, and thereafter that members adhere strictly to the particular vote and item under consideration; and further recommends that the chairman at the beginning of each ministry’s estimates set out a time schedule for the minister, critics and members.
Your committee further recommends that this committee be empowered to hire staff as it deems necessary to undertake a review of all existing boards, agencies and commissions.
Your committee further recommends that for the commencement of proceedings each day, Mr. Speaker proceed to the chamber via the grand staircase.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I must say it is the first time I have heard this report; we have a motion for adoption, but I would like to move adjournment of the debate.
Mr. Speaker: Hon. Mr. Welch moves the adjournment of the debate. Shall the motion carry?
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, is the motion to adjourn debatable?
Mr. Speaker: I’m not sure.
I am advised that it is permissible to debate the motion for the adjournment of the debate only to question the reason.
Mr. Foulds: That is precisely what I wish to do, Mr. Speaker. I wondered if we adjourned the debate on this question at what point the House leader plans to call this business. In other words, I am worried that the debate would not take place. I wouldn’t want it temporarily, permanently hoisted. I think we must have a debate on this matter and that the motion should carry.
Mr. Breaugh: I am frankly a little baffled by all of this. These were simply three items referred to the committee by the Speaker as is contained in the provisional rules. There is provision for that. I don’t think it is that contentious that he comes in this door instead of that door. I don’t really feel that it is contentious that we adhere to the rules of the House in terms of debates during the committee of supply. I didn’t think that it warranted a major debate.
But I want to point out an interesting question: there is virtually no sense, in my mind, of having the Speaker refer these items to procedural affairs. They bring them back in here and they get tabled. Then they will, I hope, at some point in time be debated, but not necessarily so.
If we are going to use the committee as a reference point for the Speaker when he wants a ruling or a recommendation to this House on points of procedure and we bring it back in here, we will simply table all of this stuff until we are blue in the face. We will never get an answer to any of it. If a matter is contentious I can see where the House would wish to debate this fully; but this morning there was, for the first time in the history of the committee, a quorum containing members from all parties. I rather thought, because of the magnificence of that turnout, that we wouldn’t have any difficulty with this.
Mr. Walker: It’s the first time it has met in a year.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the two points, there’s no intention on my part not to proceed to call it. I simply want some time to understand the report. I think I’m entitled to have that.
In the negotiations with respect to House business we are quite open and we don’t catch people by surprise. I must say I hadn’t heard that report until it was read from the table. We have a motion for the adoption of the report. I want to know the implications of all that’s in that report and not just the items referred to by the member for Oshawa. There is another item there with respect to the implications of staff for the committee.
I want to understand what that report means, and I simply have moved adjournment of the debate. I have no intention of not calling it again. Certainly we’ll call it.
Mr. Foulds: When?
Mr. Breaugh: Can we have a date on that?
Hon. Mr. Welch: We do House business every Thursday and I announce it every Thursday. I’m prepared to announce the House business today. This did not come up at the House leaders’ meeting earlier today, so I can’t give the hon. members a date until I discuss it with my colleagues, the other two House leaders.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Welch has moved the adjournment of the debate. Shall the motion carry?
Some hon. members: Yes.
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the adjournment of the debate will please say aye.
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
I declare the motion carried.
Mr. McClellan: Do you want a vote on that?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We don’t have to now. It’s too late.
Mr. Warner: We’re just trying to be cooperative and to make minority government work.
GOVERNMENT MOTION NO. 9
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am anxious to get some direction from the House. This is private members’ afternoon and I have no right to take away time from the order for private members’ public business. We are doing some legislation tonight that may require the use of staff and I was anxious to put government notice of motion No. 9. This is a substantive motion which really should wait until we come to orders of the day, but I’m wondering whether the house would agree that I could put it now so that we could have this available if this is needed for the legislation for tonight.
Does the hon. member want to wait?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to recommend to the government House leader that government notice of motion No. 9 be further postponed.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can’t call it today.
Mr. Nixon: Okay.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Kennedy moved first reading of Bill 56, An Act to amend the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, 1971.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to extend the eligibility for compensation under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, 1971, to persons who have been imprisoned for an offence and whose convictions are subsequently quashed. The victim would receive compensation for expenses actually incurred and pecuniary losses resulting from the imprisonment.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS PURCHASE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND
Mr. McNeil moved private member’s motion No. 4:
Resolution: That in the opinion of this House every person who purchases a lot created by a land severance in an agricultural area shall be deemed to be aware of the farming practices of that area and no governmental organization should give effect to a complaint filed by such person concerning those farming practices of which he is deemed to be aware.
Mr. McNeil: I remember seeing an advertisement in a recent issue of an agricultural publication which pictured a farmer guiding a plough pulled by a team of horses. The caption read “Gone are the days.”
No one has to tell farmers that those days are gone, but maybe someone should advise city folks of this very fact. Too many of them have their heads filled with the romantic visions of the work-worn farmer trudging behind his horse-drawn plough. Too many of them are finding out what modern agriculture is really like after they have built a house and moved in next door to or across the road from a modern farm operation.
Farming is a 24-hour-a-day business. It doesn’t take the weekends off and there aren’t any summer holidays. A lot of people know that in theory, but they don’t know what it means in practice until they move into their new country home.
As an example, I would like to mention what happened last fall to our corn producers. The wet weather prevented them from getting into the fields to get their crop off and some of them never got it off at all. Others managed it by working at night. That meant there were tractors, harvesters and combines running during the night. These machines are noisy. That’s one of the differences between the real agricultural world and the pastoral dream that some people seem to have.
Agriculture runs 24 hours a day. Sometimes, and in some seasons, that means harvesting or ploughing or working land late into the night and it almost always means starting very early in the morning. Farmers are often in the fields with their heavy equipment before their city worker commuting neighbour is even up. They are often still out hours after that same commuter has finished his supper, read his newspaper and retired for the night.
What rewards do the farmers get for working all day and half the night? The farmer quite often finds himself slapped with some kind of notice of legal action requiring him to stop making so much noise, to stop keeping his neighbour awake. Can you blame a farmer for getting upset? He works the longest hours of anyone in our society and often earns a depressingly low rate for doing so, while somebody with a 9 to 5 office job and no hard physical labour may earn much more.
Mr. Nixon: Nine-thirty to 3:30.
Mr. McNeil: And to top it all off, the 9 to 5-er finds the farmer’s work schedule inconvenient and wants it stopped.
These people not only object to the hours a farmer works, they object to the things he has to do. Probably a good example is the handling of manure. Everybody knows in theory that manure is good fertilizer and that good fertilizer makes healthy plants and that healthy plants produce good food. But all that gets forgotten in a real hurry when the white-collar, country home neighbour smells the stuff. You see, everybody knows that it smells, but that’s another one of those inconvenient facts that doesn’t fit the rural picture the ex-urbanites have created for themselves.
Mr. Haggerty: Fresh cut manure.
Mr. McNeil: Yes, they want good food, but no, they don’t want smelly fertilized land next door to their backyard. Somehow the world has to be rearranged so that they can have it both ways. And you know who has to change his way of life don’t you, Mr. Speaker? It is the farmer, the primary producer of food, who is expected to change his spreading and manure-handling operations.
Mr. McNeil: Another thing the recent country dweller from the city doesn’t like is pesticides.
Mr. MacDonald: He is like the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) pitting the rural against the urban.
Mr. Wildman: Who sold the lots?
Mr. MacDonald: Divide and rule.
Mr. McNeil: He knows all about pesticides. He knows about how many parts per million there are or what happens to animals in lab experiments and so on, but he may not know, or what he has forgotten, is what pesticides do to insects. The fact is that perhaps he is too young to remember just where those insects would be if it weren’t for the pesticides. They would be in his canned fruit, that’s where they would be.
Mr. MacDonald: That is what you call emphasis.
Mr. McNeil: If pesticides were banned altogether, and there are people who would like to see that happen, the government might have to set up new standards for the maximum number of worms to be allowed for a can of cherries. Can’t you hear the uproar in the cities if canned fruit started to include canned worms? But without the pesticides, which I freely admit occasionally drift away from the trees which are being sprayed, that’s just what we’d have.
Mr. Wildman: You would really be opening a can of worms.
Mr. Foulds: It would be called your friendly meat and cherry dish.
Mr. McNeil: If people don’t want pesticides drifting over their patios and swimming pools, then they should not build them next to an orchard. If they do build next to an orchard, either they should not complain or they should recognize the need for pesticides in the control of injurious insects and in the production of economical agriculture.
Mr. Swart: Which government has the responsibility for preventing this?
Mr. McNeil: There are other things that the commuter from the countryside to the city doesn’t like about farming. He may object to farm implements being towed along country roads. He may become quite upset if he encounters one on a narrow concession road. All of a sudden, he is backed up behind a combine or another slow-moving agricultural vehicle. The farmer is probably only going half a mile but for that half mile the car driver may have to drop from 50 miles per hour to 15 or 20 miles per hour. He starts tailgating and quite often becomes very impatient. By the time the farmer turns his machine off the road, the commuter is only a couple of minutes behind schedule, but his blood pressure may be going through the roof of his car.
There is a remedy for that and we all know what it is. Get the implements off the highways and the concessions. Set up a maximum width for vehicles and enforce it to the last inch. The farmer loses money in fines and some premium time while being stopped on concessions and highways. Then he winds up having to make some complicated and expensive arrangements getting his machinery to the spot where he needs it. He might even have to get new machinery. All the harassment is just because a salesman or a personnel manager or accountant is going to be a couple of minutes late for a meeting at the office.
Mr. Bradley: Who allowed that?
Mr. McNeil: Since the big exodus from the city to the country began, farmers have been subjected to everything from abusive telephone calls to court action simply because they were going about the business of farming in the accepted modern method. The smells, the noise, the sprays, the dust and heavens knows how many other inconveniences, have aroused the ire of the ex-urban dweller with visions of pastoral fields floating before his eyes.
The ex-urbanite has even been known to object that a newly constructed farm structure spoils his view. The landscape with a placid cow under a willow tree has given way to the feed lot with manure-collection systems and the milk cows with automated milking systems. In all these situations, the farmer is the heavy. He isn’t doing anything differently from the way he has always done it. He is only going about his legitimate business on his own property, growing the food we all need.
Mr. Wildman: Plus selling lots.
Mr. McNeil: All of a sudden he has to justify his operations because somebody finds them inconvenient -- not dangerous or damaging but just inconvenient.
Then we have the sorry spectacle of hearings and orders and all the trappings of a regulatory society. And who has to change? Of course the farmer, who’s been there all along.
Mr. Mackenzie: I’m glad you said Tory.
Mr. Wildman: Did you say a Tory society?
Mr. McNeil: He may well be farming land his father or grandfather farmed but now he’s in somebody’s way and he has to do the changing.
Mr. Conway: Mitch was right.
Mr. McNeil: I remember when the first draft of the code of practice came along. It was supposed to prevent houses and feed lot operations from being built too close to each other. In the way it was written, all the restrictions were put on the farmer. He had to put his barn here, his manure there.
Mr. Swart: Whose government is responsible?
Mr. McNeil: He often had to go out of his way at considerable cost to avoid a house that was being built long after he started farming and one that should never have been built there in the first place. Well, I am happy to say the code was amended somewhat to put more of the onus on the former urban, now country, resident. The government’s foodland guidelines should help to keep agricultural and rural residential developments apart, but the problems I mentioned are always going to exist unless it is made perfectly clear to the non-farm rural resident that he, not the farmer, is the interloper, that he is the one out of place in the rural setting, not the producer of food.
The prime use of the countryside is to produce food. That’s the only place we can produce it in any quantity and of high quality. In that sense we might call a lot of the countryside a production line, almost a factory. Well, if someone wants to plunk a house down in the middle of a production line, he should be prepared to accept the fact that there are going to be some noisy, smelly inconveniences. When you think that farmers are now outnumbered by non-farm rural residents, something like four to one, we have to wonder how long farmers are going to be able to fend off onslaughts on agriculture.
Mr. MacDonald: Who permitted this development?
Mr. McNeil: People who outnumber them and do all the complaining have the time, and often the money; they are not farmers.
Mr. Laughren: Who allowed all these people to move into the country?
Mr. McNeil: They have the money to spend on harassments and hearing and lawyers.
Mr. Swart: Do you think there has been something wrong with the laws?
Mr. McNeil: Farming doesn’t leave much time for the farmer to waste defending himself against these attacks. He has crops to plant, livestock to feed, equipment to repair. His evenings and weekends are fully occupied by the same work that kept him busy every day all week. It makes one wonder how long farmers are going to bother to farm with all the harassment. Why not just sell the land off to a bunch of ex-urbanites and retire?
Mr. Nixon: Right, turn it into a sod farm or something like that.
Mr. C. Taylor: Pave it, pave it.
Mr. McNeil: Luckily for the people of Ontario, it hasn’t come to that yet.
Mr. Nixon: It’s coming fast though.
Mr. McNeil: But it will, it will --
Mr. Hodgson: It will unless you support Ron’s bill.
Mr. McNeil: -- if the farmer’s prior rights are not recognized.
Mr. Ruston: Bring on the violins.
Mr. McNeil: If there’s no reward but harassment for the responsibilities he undertakes, who could blame him if he just gave up those responsibilities?
Mr. Nixon: And went into politics.
Mr. McNeil: The farmer’s fundamental position --
Mr. Ruston: Get another wheelbarrow.
Mr. McNeil: -- is morally unassailable. He has the right to farm in the accepted manner --
Mr. Samis: How many years in politics now -- 19 years?
Mr. McNeil: -- not only because he was there long before any of the residential development showed up but because he is performing the most basic --
Mr. Ruston: McNeil for leader.
Mr. McNeil: -- of all human activities, providing the life supporting food we all must have. You can’t get along without it.
Mr. Wildman: You can’t get along without basic activity.
Mr. McNeil: I think it’s high time that his position was made legally unassailable as well, in recognition of his vital contribution to society.
Mr. MacDonald: I don’t know who your ghost writer is, but he is interesting and amusing.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member for Elgin wish to reserve any time at the end of the debate?
Mr. McNeil: No, I don’t think so.
Mr. Eaton: How can anybody vote against that?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Huron-Middlesex.
Mr. Riddell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, with due respect to the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food -- and I do respect the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil), although I held him in far greater esteem when he was a Liberal --
Mr. McNeil: That was at the turn of the century.
Mr. Hodgson: You weren’t born then, Jack.
Mr. Riddell: -- but I think this resolution is really nothing more than an excuse to correct a serious problem facing farmers that this government has failed to come to grips with. I am inclined to think that the member’s lottery number came up and he was hard pressed or discouraged by his cabinet colleagues to introduce either a private member’s bill or a resolution that had some teeth in it and which would provide a solution to the rather serious problem facing farmers today, including the restrictions which were placed on them by guidelines handed down by this government.
Admittedly, this resolution gives us a chance to voice our concerns about the restrictions that the agricultural code of practice which the member alluded to places on farmers; and I am sure this was the motivating factor behind this resolution. I might point out the irony of this whole matter. The question of whether the code of practice is government policy or merely a guideline is debatable. In any case, there are three ministries that are pushing pretty hard for it -- the agricultural ministry, the environment ministry and the housing ministry.
The Ministry of Housing is trying to get the code of practice into official plans. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is not only trying to get the agricultural code of practice into official plans, but is very keen on getting it plugged into municipal bylaws. So we have a parliamentary assistant trying to protect the farmers’ rights by discouraging the inclusion of the code of practice into municipal bylaws; and on the other hand we have the Minister of Agriculture and Food endeavouring to have it enshrined in the municipal bylaws. This is the irony which I alluded to.
Fortunately, there have been no concrete decisions made by the minister at this time. I would suspect the reason is that there are a couple of legal questions on whether the code of practice can be plugged into zoning bylaws. I believe there are two or three municipalities that have incorporated it into bylaws, but it has not been tested legally as yet. I believe there is also an administrative problem.
If the code of practice was incorporated into official plans and municipal bylaws, then there would not seem to be any need for this resolution. However, I would hope that the agricultural code of practice in its present form would not be incorporated into zoning bylaws.
I want you to listen to what Peter Hannam, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, had to say about the matter: “Scattered rural development takes acres out of production, but has a much greater impact on a farmer’s ability to produce food through its impact on farming efficiency. When people move to the country, they seem to want to live in a park and appear unwilling to accept the odours and noise of farming operations. Under the Ontario government’s agricultural code of practice, which is being enforced by many rural municipalities, a farmer cannot expand or build a new livestock barn within smelling distance of a neighbour’s house.
“It is forcing many farmers to either curtail expansion or build new facilities that cost in excess of $100,000 in remote areas on their property. if equitably enforced by municipalities, new revisions in the code should halt development of houses near barns as well. Nevertheless, the problem remains. The rights of people to complain about odours are enshrined in local bylaws; farm expansion is hampered, and the recycling of livestock waste by spreading it on fields is greatly curtailed.
“Municipal anti-noise bylaws are another threat to modern agricultural practices and tend to hamper a farmer’s need both to work around the clock in certain seasons and to adapt to newer and larger equipment.
“Scattered rural development compounds the complaints. The traditional rural society deteriorates, and the infrastructure supporting agriculture is Inst. Farmers lose the flexibility which allows them to expand and adapt to new technology. Because the root of this problem is scattered rural development, a move by municipalities in farming areas will help alleviate problems in the future.”
I recognize the aim of the code of practice is to provide some guidelines for future expansion of livestock facilities, as well as non-farm development. However, I believe the code in its present form is far from perfect and it needs revision. It should not be enshrined in municipal bylaws, as is now proposed. It should only be used as a guideline by municipalities in their land-use planning activity.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Have you got some suggestions?
Mr. Riddell: Another matter I would like to draw to your attention is that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) in a press release of March 20, 1975, at a time when he was the environment minister, stated: “Farmers who are only carrying out normal farm procedures have nothing to fear from officials of the Ministry of the Environment.” He also mentioned the existence of an “independent body called the farm pollution advisory committee, which consists of four farmers and is called in to assess farm and environmental situations if a farmer refuses to accept the advice of a Ministry of the Environment official.”
Safeguards do exist for farmers who are subject to complaints or continually harassed by complaints and the farmers do have recourse to appeal a decision by a Ministry of the Environment official. This further illustrates the redundancy of this resolution.
One final point, and one that we cannot ignore, is that this resolution goes against a number of other laws presently in existence, namely, the Environmental Protection Act, the Environmental Assessment Act, the municipal noise legislation and the common law.
In closing, I don’t believe that we as legislators should initiate any action to deprive a person of his or her right to complain about a nuisance. There are laws in existence which give people these rights and there are procedures in effect whereby complaints are handled. For this reason, I don’t feel that I can support the resolution, but I can appreciate its intent.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, my conclusion is a little different -- and let me state it at the outset. I think the objective of the resolution is right in principle, but I think the possibility of its implementation, given this government and its policies, is nil. That leaves one in a rather perplexed position as to what one does with the resolution.
But let me go back to the beginning of my remarks, if I may. There is a problem here: The problem of the conflict between rural residential living by people who used to live in the cities and the normal conduct of agriculture.
The hon. member for Elgin, who has introduced the resolution, has spelled out that conflict in almost humorous terms. He has reduced it to smells and noise. He has exaggerated it and appealed to the offended senses of people in the farm community who have had inadequate laws to cope with it -- laws that were produced by this government. So he has ended up by sort of appealing to the farmers and pitting them against those city slickers who are coming out and intervening in his community. But he’s ignored the fact that the problem is a problem created by this government in the inadequacy of its laws.
I just want to suggest in my remarks two areas where the government should have done something. One has been dealt with at some length by the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex. That is, if you have a code of practice, that code of practice presumably is going to reduce, if not eliminate, the conflict between rural residential dwellers and normal operations of agriculture, whether it be noise, whether it be smells, whether it be farm machinery on the roads or what.
If there are inadequacies in that code of practice, then zero in on that code of practice. If it is the code of practice that is so weak as to be merely guidelines that have no real effectiveness, then again we have a problem which is on the government’s doorstep -- to strengthen that code of practice and give it some legislative backing, so that it can become effective. But let me go one step further, because I think it’s even more complicated than that.
We had a study done in the county from which the last member comes, Huron county, Countryside Planning, in which they laid down for the guidance of this government what I still believe is the essential first step in sensible, effective land-use planning out across this province. Their proposition was that in Huron county and generally speaking across the province, there should be an examination of land categories so that the government can designate what is an agricultural priority area, what is an urban priority area, what may be a recreational priority area, and what in some areas might be a forestry or a mining priority area.
Despite the fact that this government put in $80,000 along with approximately $40,000 from Huron county to do that study, the study has lain there on the shelf; it has been examined and used as a guide in Northumberland county, but it has never been seized upon as a pattern for this government to act in moving towards effective land use across the province.
Interestingly enough, when he was a backbencher, the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) introduced a bill, which was picked up by my colleague the hon. member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) and introduced just this past month in the House, an Act to provide for the Designation and Retention of Foodlands.
Let me remind you of one section of that bill which would come to grips with the problem that I want to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker. Section 2 of the bill reads as follows:
“Every planning authority shall within two years following proclamation of this Act,
“(a) survey and clarify all agricultural land situate within the planning area in accordance with the classifications established and defined in studies and maps prepared pursuant to the Agricultural and Rural Development Act (ARDA) (Canada);
“(b) prepare a plan designating as foodlands those areas which can be defined as such and recommend such plan to the council of the designated municipality for adoption;
“(c) develop planning criteria primarily designed to promote retention and protection of foodlands but which will permit non-agricultural use where justified.”
In other words, if we had a program with some legislative backing from this government such as this bill envisaged -- a bill originally introduced by a man who is now in the cabinet -- we could move to the designation of agricultural lands and we would have a framework within which the objective of this resolution could be implemented, because if a person severed a lot in an area that was an agricultural priority area, then what the hon. member has said in that resolution could legitimately be implemented.
If a person operated in such an area and he got a severance, he would know that he would have no rights in the future to complain with regard to smells or noises or something that emanates from the normal operation of the agricultural industry.
However, if he got a lot in an area that is designated urban -- that is, ultimately it is going to be subject to urban development, though agriculture may continue in it for 10, 15 or 20 years -- then, of course, he would know in advance that he could never get that kind of protection.
Out in the agricultural priority area, I would be inclined to agree with the suggestion -- it wasn’t a firm assertion -- by the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex, that maybe there should be no severances at all for what you might call purely rural residential living, that the only kind of severance you would permit would be a severance in relation to somebody who is living and working in the agricultural industry -- and not a city slicker who just comes out to live in that pastoral park, as the hon. member for Elgin was calling up for us to view.
In other words, without the kind of moving towards a clarification of land categories with priority areas for agriculture, and without the granting of legislative backing to that, then the noble sentiments that are expressed in this resolution remain nothing more than noble sentiments, like so much of this government’s profession of protecting of prime agricultural land.
I am a little perplexed. I think I would be inclined to vote for the resolution because it is the kind of resolution that speaks to a problem. But I assert with great vigour that it is impossible to fulfil the objective of this resolution because of the inadequacies of this government’s record (a) in relationship to the code of practice and (b) in terms of its refusal to come to grips with guidelines having the backing of legislation in the protection of prime agricultural land in this province.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of this resolution. Ontario has a code of the countryside, and it is not spelled out in any statutes. It would carry little weight in court. As a matter of fact, only those who live by the code of the countryside know that it exists. Those people are a minority now, a very important minority. They feed the rest of us who don’t live and work in the countryside. They are special people. Mind you, I don’t think farmers will ever become an endangered species, but they deserve special consideration from those who live in the countryside without living by its code.
Our farmers need every break they can get to continue their demanding and largely thankless job of feeding the rest of us. People who move to the country from our cities and towns are generally unaware of the code by which neighbourly disagreements have traditionally been settled in rural Ontario. When they violate the code, it is the farmer who usually gets the short end of the stick. In my opinion, the principle of this resolution will go a long way towards redressing this sort of imbalance.
I suppose the problems of farming in the shadow of urban expansion first gained prominence in the Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara areas. People who had moved next door to poultry farms complained about the smell and a lot of really bitter disputes developed.
From 1968 to 1970 the Ministry of the Environment office for Haldimand county was receiving 50 to 60 calls a month complaining about farm operations. It also received a petition with 386 signatures.
People from the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled that situation. They got farmers and their non-farming neighbours together to discuss their differences calmly and sensibly. They persuaded livestock operators to stop spreading waste in June and July and install holding tanks instead. And they also offered a crash course in the facts of life in rural Ontario.
As a result of these government efforts, only one of the hundreds of disputes had to be taken to court. Where one farmer used to be the target of complaints for 26 other property owners, nowadays only four or five complaints a year are received throughout the whole area.
Another result was the agriculture code of practice. It was devised jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of the Environment and the livestock industry. It contains guidelines for farmers in the storage and spreading of manure to minimize pollution of aft, ground water or surface streams.
It also sets out guidelines for the location of residents in the vicinity of livestock operations. In 1976 the code of practice was revised to include what is known as the minimum distance separation formula. It is used to calculate the appropriate distance between, say, a barn and the neighbour’s patio barbecue.
The advantage of the formula is that it applies not only to a new or expanding livestock operation locating near an existing building but also to other new uses proposed near a livestock farm. Thus, it works both ways for the protection of both the farmer and the non-farmer. The agriculture code of practice is included in the government’s foodland guidelines for municipal councils and planners. Its provision will apply in any new or amended official plan. As the code of the countryside is overtaken in the urban shadow, the code of practice is replacing it as a more effective way of reducing conflicts between neighbours about barnyard smells.
But what of the other conflicts that can develop between farmers and non-farmers? All sorts for unforeseen problems are cropping up in our changing countryside. Take the basic question of line fences.
Farmers have traditional ways of sharing the upkeep of fences that separate their properties. In my riding they usually face each other at the mid-way point of the fence and each assumes responsibility for the section to his right. That is the code of the countryside. It may not be the code of the newcomer to the countryside.
Good fences makes good neighbours. Sure, but good neighbours make good fences too. Every good farmer inspects his fence every spring and makes any necessary repairs. To the non-farmer that chore is not so important. As a matter of fact, I have heard of instances where city-reared people actually waited until their sections of the fence fell down before they made repairs. These same people are the kind who hit the roof when they find their neighbour’s cow in their garden. They don’t ask themselves whose fault it is. Often they are also the kind of people who take their complaints to their local council and there is a good chance that nowadays many councillors are also unfamiliar with the code of the countryside. That’s another strike against our farmers.
Maybe a farmer’s animals will stray through a hole in the fence, but his farm dogs rarely turn killer. When poultry and sheep are attacked by dogs they are usually dogs that weren’t raised in the country and trained to stay away from livestock. I heard of a case in Simcoe county where two dogs newly arrived from the city got into a barn full of sheep. They were responsible for 21 deaths. When the farmer caught them at it, drenched in the sheeps’ blood, they immediately reverted to friendly household pets. One of them came to lick his hand.
Dogs can also worry sheep to death, quite literally. Even if they don’t slash at the mother, the fear they cause often brings on abortions at lambing time. When abandoned or runaway dogs mate with coyotes, they start hunting in packs and that’s when they start killing calves.
It’s difficult to prove responsibility for these attacks. The code of the countryside calls for a farmer to keep his dogs under control. If it turns killer, he expects it to be shot, but nowadays he finds a lot more sympathy for the dead dog than for the ewes and lambs it slaughters.
I could go on at length. I could tell about a York county farm wife who got so many abusive phone calls about insecticide spraying that her husband sold the farm. I could tell about farmers who get a hard time because their farm equipment moves down the road too slowly to please the commuter next door who’s hurrying to work in the city. I know of a farmer who no longer ploughs his fields in the fall because the owner of an expensive new house across the road complained about the dust. I could tell how our Minister of Agriculture and Food had to ask Pickering council to forget an anti-noise bylaw for a while so farmers could operate their corn-dryers late at night after last year’s wet harvest.
However, I hope it’s clear that the farmers need a better break from our society. I’m not a farmer, but see a clear need for the provisions of this resolution. I hope it has the support of all the members.
Mr. McKessock: It is a pleasure for me to rise and support this resolution. In this House, it is very seldom that we can debate something on agriculture. When something like this comes along, it gives us a chance to support our life in the rural areas. But I am a bit concerned. The resolution states: “That in the opinion of this House, every person who purchases a lot created by land severance in an agricultural area shall be deemed to be aware of the farming practices of that area and no governmental organization should give effect to a complaint filed by such person concerning those farming practices of which he is deemed to be aware.”
If this is passed, will it really have some teeth or will it be like the government’s farm land preservation program which works in one area and doesn’t work in another and is very discriminatory across the province, if it is like that, then there wouldn’t be much good come of it. But I certainly hope that this resolution would pass as well and something would come of it.
Most of us who have farms have some land that is not fit for agriculture but is certainly fit for a residence. I think that this offers the farmer a little bit of extra cash if he can sell this lot to somebody from the city who really wants to come out and live in the country. But they must be aware when they move to the country that there are a few things that they have to put up with now and again. Those are the facts of farm life, like spreading manure or noise or what have you, that have been mentioned.
Newcomers, when they do come to the rural areas, have a tendency to go along with everything at the start, and then when they get well-established decide that it’s time they start to complain. I think the intent of this resolution is to put a stop to that. I know that there have been some farmers put out of business in the past by complainers, because they quite often have more financial resources than the farmers have. They can go to court, and when things go to court I sometimes lose my faith in that direction. It depends on who has the most money.
If we haven’t got some law to prevent people taking things like this to court or prevent them from complaining, then farmers are going to continue to be harassed by the newcomers in our area, and eventually they will probably be stopped from coming. This isn’t what we want. We certainly want to share our beautiful country with other people as long as they accept what we have when they get there.
Mr. Makarchuk: You have been giving it away completely.
Mr. McKessock: I have said before that something like this should happen. It should be put on the deed when a person purchases a lot on a farm, so it is right there in black and white. Maybe this would be better than this resolution. Perhaps the government could consider that in the future.
Actually, they should really be pleased about the odd smell that comes along. I have told everybody, these smells don’t hurt them, it’s just good nitrogen going through the air. Actually that’s what it is -- and it has really cured many an ill farmer too, I don’t know whether you are aware of that or not, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Makarchuk: Suggest it to Dennis Timbrell. Maybe it’s the answer to his problem.
Mr. Wildman: He produces enough of it himself.
Mr. McKessock: That’s right.
A farmer told me recently, he spent about three months in a Toronto hospital and said he was going to die if he didn’t get out. One of his neighbours told him if he could just get home and get out to the barn and get a smell of that barn he’d be fine. He said he got home, got to the barn and was better in no time.
Mr. Samis: Ronnie, you could have mentioned that.
Mr. Eaton: Look at all the money we can save on OHIP.
Mr. Wildman: Tear down the hospitals, build more barns.
Mr. Makarchuk: Says something about the state of medical care in Toronto, doesn’t it?
Mr. Conway: Just give him one of Reuben’s speeches.
An hon. member: Is that the Liberal’s solution to the OHIP problem?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Watch it, smarty.
Mr. McKessock: And also, perhaps, they should not criticize this smell if the farmer is spreading manure close to the line fence with his modern equipment and it flows over into his neighbour’s garden. The neighbour will find that his onions will be much better this year than they were the year before. So there are benefits to the smell; the people from the city must be aware of that. If I move to the city, which I did a couple of years ago for the biggest part of every week, I have to put up with the smog down here and if I complain, nobody does a thing about it.
Mr. Wildman: Not even the Minister of the Environment.
Mr. McKessock: So similarly, when the city people move to the country they should have to put up with much less harmful smells and the bit of noise we have periodically in the country.
Mr. Swart: I rise to speak on this resolution and to say immediately that although there has been quite a bit of levity in the debate the subject matter that this resolution deals with is exceedingly important in the farm community and, of course, to the long-term welfare of this province. Those problems and the injustice to farmers were, I think, very well outlined by the member for Elgin and others. We know there is a real conflict between the non-farming resident in the rural area and the farmer in those areas.
I am a little bit concerned that the member for Elgin may have deliberately intended to heighten this a bit and put all the blame on the urban dweller who now lives out in the rural area. But in any event, everyone in this House, I believe, recognizes the problems that exist and solutions should be applied. The farmer certainly recognizes the problems and they are a major issue in every presentation that is made to government. The brief presented in 1976 to the Premier and the cabinet of Ontario, which was also presented to the other caucuses, states “farmers are suffering from conflicting non-farm uses of land. We are restricted by neighbours who have voluntarily moved next to us and now find barn smells and machinery noises bothersome. In addition, these intrusions create considerable fragmentation of rural communities to the detriment of farming enterprises. Farmers are not adequately protected from these threats,” so on and so on. I agree with that description of the problems that exist for our farming community because of the non-farm residents in those areas.
Even the government recognizes those problems in its green paper. I won’t take time to quote from it, but it goes into quite some detail in outlining the problems that face the farmers and the hardship that it is for the farm operation.
So the question before this House is not in any way a question of a recognition of this problem. The question before this House is really whether we want to do anything about it.
I say quite frankly I question the sincerity of the member for Elgin in really wanting to do something substantial about this with the type of measure that he has introduced in this private member’s resolution. All of this problem has come about while the present government has been in power -- all of it, during those 34 years. The government had the power to prevent it and nothing was done.
They have the power to amend the code of practice, as suggested by the member for Huron-Middlesex. They have done nothing about that. The code of practice, in fact, inflicts more hardship on the farmer.
Now we have this resolution. And let there be no doubt about it, the resolution we have before us is completely meaningless. After it’s debated today, things will be exactly the same. There will be no change in legislation. We’re all in agreement on the principle of this resolution to start with, and not a single action is going to be taken to change things.
Mr. Makarchuk: So why doesn’t the government bring in a new bill? Tell Bill to bring the bill in.
Mr. Swart: Yes. And you know, the member can’t lose. He really can’t lose on this. Because if it passes, it’s a nice thing to send around to the farm community and say, “Look at what I’ve been trying to do.”
Mr. Makarchuk: Here comes the Premier (Mr. Davis). Tell him to bring in the bill. Where is the bill, Bill?
Mr. Swart: If it loses and the two opposition parties combine to vote against it, then he can display this loss because the terrible people in the opposition parties voted down a protection he wanted to give to the farmers.
Mr. Riddell: Vote against it and it might encourage them to bring in something more meaningful. We can’t accept this kind of nonsense.
Mr. Swart: It might very well, but knowing the government there I would doubt that that would be the case.
Mr. MacDonald: You have greater faith in the government than we have.
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you bringing in legislation, Bill?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Makarchuk: We want an answer. There he sits cherubic and smiling.
Mr. McClellan: Why doesn’t he have an answer?
Mr. Swart: My question of the member’s sincerity is also heightened by the fact that the same member bringing in this bill was the lead-off speaker against my bill on the issue of preserving our prime agricultural land -- yes, even classifying it. He is the man who has brought in this motion.
Mr. Wildman: It’s sheer hypocrisy. I wasn’t aware of that.
Mr. Swart: You see, it does nothing for the preservation or the classification of land. That would be omitted. It does nothing for the whole land severance problems in all its ramifications, including the one of the conflict between the farmers and the urban rural dwellers.
First of all, it only deals with governments, and it deals with that in a very vague way. It doesn’t deal with such things as trespass problems, does it? That’s a very real problem to the farmer. It doesn’t deal with the human relationship, the harassment that the farmers now have and about which the member spoke. This resolution can do nothing about that.
It doesn’t deal with the root causes of the problem, even if it was legislation. It doesn’t deal with the questions of the traffic increase. It doesn’t deal with the question of additional costs because of the urban service demand and policing and so on that all has to come when rural communities are urbanized.
Mr. MacDonald: I’m afraid it’s just political grandstanding.
Mr. Swart: It is nothing more than, as my colleague from York South says, political grandstanding, because it doesn’t deal --
Mr. Lane: You people over there ought recognize that pretty well. Your grandstanding is unique.
Mr. Swart: -- with the real issue of reducing severances. In fact, the wording in the motion would indicate that it would promote severances. It says: “That in the opinion of this House every person who purchases a lot created by a land severance.” It says nothing about the people who are there, the people who may purchase a house and a lot which exists there now. There is nothing about them. It is only where a lot is created. Why wouldn’t there have been an amendment to it if the member was meaningful about it? Why not say lot or non-farm residence? In addition to a person who purchases a lot created by land severance, why not include a person who purchases a non-farm residence in an agricultural area shall be deemed to be aware of the farming practices of that area and no government organization shall give an effect to a complaint filed by such person.
The fact is that the member intends to go on by his bill allowing more and more severances in the rural areas. He knows that is not what the agricultural community wants. They want those cut down.
Mr. McKessock: It’s nice having those city farmers telling the member what to do,
Mr. Swart: Let me again quote from the brief from the Federation of Agriculture: “A full planning package for agriculture for this province must include consistent restriction against encroaching uses not compatible with agriculture.” They make that clear that that implies additional severances out in the rural area. Even the government’s agricultural paper, the green paper that it produced with such great fanfare makes this comment: “Severance applications which may create rural residential lots must not be allowed within a high priority agricultural designation.”
Hon. W. Newman: You are finally beginning to listen and read it. I am glad you understand it. You are finally beginning to learn. I thought there was no hope for you.
Mr. Swart: The government qualifies everything in this green paper but it does express that principle in it. Yet in the resolution we have before us it is implied there are going to be more and more lots created in the rural area of this province.
Mr. MacDonald: The government speaks in contradictions.
Mr. Swart: Even in the conflict between the farmer and the non-farm resident, the bill provides really no answer at all. What if health measures are involved? I could tell members of a farmer in the Niagara Peninsula who farms 350 acres of grapes and keeps a large dairy herd who had his manure pile located on his property close to a lot which had been created many decades ago on which was situated a house.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr. Swart: The Ministry of the Environment came and ordered him within one week to remove all of that manure from that area. I conclude by saying that the answer to the problem is not the resolution that is before us. It’s sensible land-use policies that will prevent the problem from arising.
Mr. Eaton: I hadn’t intended to go very deeply into this subject but the member across the way incensed me a little bit when he referred to my colleague from Elgin as being insincere about this question.
An hon. member: Oh, never.
Mr. Eaton: He has moved a practical resolution to this problem.
Mr. Swart: What will it change? Where is the legislation?
Mr. Eaton: If there is anybody that’s a hypocrite on it, it’s the member for Welland-Thorold, another urbanite trying to tell the rural community what to do.
Mr. Warner: Oh, that’s cheap nonsense.
Mr. Eaton: As an urbanite, he wants to regulate everything that goes on in rural Ontario. He wants to regulate the lives of the farmers.
Mr. Wildman: It is your government that is regulating it.
Mr. Eaton: He mentioned the trespass legislation. We dealt with a practical solution to that and most of his party voted against it.
Mr. Makarchuk: No, they did not.
Mr. Eaton: Most of his party voted against it. If there is anybody that does any political grandstanding over this issue it’s his party.
Mr. Swart: Tell me what this motion does.
Mr. Eaton: They play to the freezing of agricultural land to save it because they say we are going to starve in Ontario. Who are they playing to? They are not concerned with the lives of the people in the rural community. They think they are playing up to the consumer and playing scare tactics to the consumer in issues like that.
Mr. MacDonald: That is a cheap political ploy.
Hon. W. Newman: No, it is not. It is true.
Mr. Eaton: They talk about freezing agricultural land. It is always something along that line. They are not concerned with a practical solution to the problem.
Mr. MacDonald: What is the practical solution?
Mr. Eaton: The members opposite would tend to complicate every one of these problems. They want to regulate everything. They want to control everything.
Mr. Swart: What does a regulation do?
Mr. Eaton: They think they can draw lines as to how far a smell will drift in a rural community.
Mr. Wildman: I wish we could designate it here.
Mr. Eaton: Even with the code of practices in place, and it has got some real practical points to it, I think you can see what happens when you have a building that could be 2,000 feet away from a house, producing a lot of manure. It’s not what’s taking place at that time, it’s when they go out and spread the manure that the people complain.
Mr. Ruston: There is quite a bit of that.
Hon. W. Newman: And you do a good job of that, too.
Mr. Eaton: In a case like that, the regulation that you want to implement and make law has no solution to it.
Mr. Swart: Tell us what the resolution does.
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you voting against it?
Mr. Eaton: Okay, just a minute. If the member for York South recognized that if a severance were created in a rural setting like that, in an agricultural area, he even admitted he was going to allow them in an agriculture-designated area. And it is practical to allow them there sometimes. But once again he wants to regulate that designation right down to the last little “t”.
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you voting against the resolution?
Mr. Eaton: The member for Elgin has put forth something here that is quite practical. He has put forth a solution to the problem of allowing people still to settle on those pieces of property in rural communities that are not good for agricultural purposes, but are close to agricultural areas. He is allowing them to settle there, to build there, accepting the fact that the agricultural practices that are going on there will continue to go on and that they can’t complain about them. They accept it the way it is, just the same as the person already living there puts up with it.
It’s not the nicest thing, even in your own farm home, when you are spreading the manure on the field next to your house. But it is part of what you carry on with. If those people want to come out and live on those properties, they could do so, knowing that they have no right to stop the operation of the farm because of a smell, because of a noise, that is carried on in an agricultural area.
Mr. Riddell: How do you deny a person’s rights to complain?
Mr. Eaton: They can complain. But the member has put forth the premise that they have no legal right to stop the practice from taking place.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Only fair.
Mr. Eaton: Anyone can complain. You people complain all the time -- that’s all we hear from you most of the time is complaints.
Mr. Warner: You never listen.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: City slickers.
Mr. Eaton: But here is a practical solution: simply by placing legislation on the books that would say they have no right to stop these particular types of operations from going on.
Mr. Davidson: Talk to your government about that.
Mr. Swart: But this isn’t legislation.
Mr. Eaton: I think we should all stand up and support this proposal. I certainly can’t understand why the member representing Huron county would oppose such a resolution.
Mr. McClellan: I don’t understand what the motion is; a motion is not a law.
Mr. Eaton: It’s a practical solution and I urge all the members of the House to support it.
Mr. McClellan: Nonsense.
Hon. W. Newman: If we packaged up all that you said today, I wouldn’t buy fertilizer for my farm this year.
Mr. Swart: You don’t need to; you can produce enough.
Mr. Gaunt: I just want to make a few very brief comments with respect to this resolution. I think the member for Elgin senses that there is a problem and in that respect he is correct. There is a problem, as has been indicated by many members this afternoon, with regard to people who come out from urban areas and settle in the country and then complain about the odours and the tractors running at 2 o’clock in the morning, and all that kind of thing. Obviously, there is a problem.
My concern, however, is that this resolution really wouldn’t resolve the problem. There is no way, if this resolution were passed unanimously by this House, that the problem would be resolved.
Mr. MacDonald: There is no backing in law; it is another guideline.
Mr. Gaunt: It has no backing in law, it has not teeth, it is simply an intention. What we need, as has been mentioned previously, are changes in the code of practice and a sensible land-use policy in this province, which we simply don’t have. If the member, my friend from Elgin, is going to tell us that this resolution is an intention of the government to bring in that kind of legislation, then I would certainly be more inclined to support it. But as it stands at the moment, it certainly does nothing in any way, shape or form to resolve the problem. While it’s a good debating vehicle and a good mechanism to air all of these problems and to put them on the floor of the House and thereby give them some public attention, it really does nothing to resolve the very real problem with which farmers are faced today.
Mr. Bradley: It’s got fewer teeth than Leon Spinks.
Mr. Wildman: I originally hadn’t intended to participate in this debate --
Mr. Eaton: But there is enough time.
An hon. member: Sit down. Sit down.
Mr. Wildman: -- but when the member for Middlesex alleged that people on this side of the House did not support his bill to deal with petty trespass --
Mr. Eaton: I said most of your party and that’s right. You did, but most of your party didn’t.
Mr. Wildman: I spoke in favour of that bill and indicated the weaknesses in it and made suggestions for improvement.
Mr. Lane: Come across the floor, Bud, now’s the time.
Mr. Eaton: I didn’t single you out. I said most of your party.
Mr. Makarchuk: I could say things about most of your party, too; what does it mean?
Mr. Wildman: I’m participating in this debate today as an individual who has grown up in a rural area and who has lived in a rural area most of my life.
Mr. Swart: We didn’t block it, anyway.
Mr. Davidson: That’s more than your party did.
Mr. Wildman: All of these comments that have been made on that side of the House about urban people on this side of the House making comments about rural life, as being an example of what the member for Elgin is complaining about, are pure hogwash.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s not an urban term, is it?
Mr. Wildman: The fact of the matter is that I’m a little bit concerned about the resolution because I’m one of those so-called people who might be living on land in a rural area and not farming it. I might point out, however, that I live on a rockpile that is only good for growing trees and is not too good for even growing trees, so I’m not concerned about taking land out of production.
Mr. Makarchuk: Grow the rocks.
Mr. Gaunt: Go to hydroponic farming.
Mr. Wildman: In my riding there have been a lot of problems that have developed largely out of the development of what we call in the rural area hobby farming or horse farming. There’s a lot of horse farming going on and unfortunately a lot of the people who are carrying out that horse farming don’t understand much about farming procedures.
Mr. Lane: They don’t know about the blunt end of the horse, do they? Did you ever try to figure out how to plant them?
Mr. Wildman: We’ve had a lot of problems with line fences. We’ve had problems with people complaining about farm machinery on the roads and so on. I congratulate the member for Elgin for pointing that out in this House, I think quite eloquently although sometimes in a rather amusing approach.
However, I must echo the comments made by other members to the point that this really doesn’t solve a lot of the problems. Because unless you have the Minister of Agriculture and Food ready to put some weight behind this resolution, it is just another sort of motherhood statement made in the House that everyone can talk about and say, “Wasn’t it nice that they discussed these problems?” but it hasn’t got much weight. I find it very difficult to vote against this; I will probably support it. But where does it go after that? Where do we end up?
Mr. Haggerty: Talk to Mel first.
Mr. Warner: It’s not even a bill.
Mr. Lane: You have to start some place.
Mr. Wildman: A little while ago on a private member’s bill from the member for Algoma-Manitoulin we started to talk about problems with gasoline prices. We started, and what happened with that?
Mr. Makarchuk: What happened to that, John?
Mr. Wildman: The minister there at least had the guts to participate in the debate and get up and oppose it. Where is the Minister of Agriculture and Food?
Mr. Makarchuk: He walked out.
Mr. McClellan: He doesn’t care.
Mr. Wildman: I’d like to know what his position is on this.
Mr. Lane: We’re going to get some results on that bill yet, Bud. Don’t worry about it.
Mr. Makarchuk: He didn’t even talk on the preservation of -- the Minister of Agriculture doesn’t care.
Mr. Wildman: I’d like to know what his position is, because that’s what really counts, not the position of the member for Elgin, even though he’s a wonderful person and a very sincere man.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: He certainly is.
Mr. Wildman: Some members here suggested I’m laying “it” on a little thick. I don’t know exactly what they mean in terms of this resolution.
Mr. Gaunt: You’re spreading it.
Mr. Lane: You know. That’s the way you spread manure sometimes.
Mr. Wildman: I’d like to comment briefly -- and I hope the member will be able to reply to this -- on the matter that I’m a little concerned about.
What happens if your neighbour is one of these hobby farmers and you happen to be living on a lot that you were able to purchase because of the severance. You aren’t farming it, but your neighbour, a hobby farmer is farming and he’s doing a poor job in the sense that he isn’t fixing his own fences and he’s letting his livestock get out of his own property and on to someone else’s property. Does this resolution mean you can’t complain about that?
Mr. Haggerty: Right. That’s what is means.
Mr. Wildman: I hope not. That would be a very bad thing. What if your neighbour isn’t carrying out his responsibilities as he should as a farmer -- and I don’t think people should presume to tell him how to do that, but let’s say it’s obvious he’s not doing what he should. If, say, he’s letting his horses wander over his neighbour’s property, which is what has happened in a serious case in my riding -- the police have been called and have tried to get the farmer to look after his horses, and the humane society has become involved -- what happens in that case? I hope the member can clarify that position.
As I said, Mr. Speaker, I am willing to support this resolution but there are some serious problems with it unless the government wants to really put some weight behind the sentiments expressed.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Elgin for four minutes.
Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the member’s question with respect to line fences, he might be interested to know that particular problem would be covered under the Line Fences Act.
Mr. Wildman: Except it’s not enforced in many cases.
Mr. McNeil: It’s enforceable. The Line Fences Act is going to be introduced and amended during the current session of the Legislature.
Mr. Wildman: You’ve been talking about that for years.
Mr. Haggerty: That’s the best news we have heard, Ron.
Mr. Makarchuk: You’re a carrier of good news, Ron.
Mr. McNeil: I’m rather sorry that there is quite a division in the NDP Party.
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s the NDP -- not the NDP Party.
Mr. McNeil: I’ve been told that I’m not sincere and I was told that I am sincere; so I’m really confused at the present position of the NDP Party.
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s the NDP -- not the NDP Party.
Ms. Gigantes: Do you say the RCMP Police?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. McNeil: I would just like to point out that this is a resolution that will resolve a problem without a lot of regulation.
Some hon. members: How?
Mr. McNeil: I am rather surprised that the member for Huron-Middlesex would not support this resolution, because I imagine that he has the same problems as some of the rest of us who represent urban rural ridings. We realize there are problems caused by severances.
Mr. Riddell: I’m fully aware of that, but it doesn’t answer the problems.
Mr. Swart: He knows it won’t do anything.
Mr. McNeil: I can only say that I hope, after the discussion that has taken place here in the House, that the members will support this resolution.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The time for debate of this item has expired.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Blundy moved second reading of Bill 45, An Act to amend The Consumer Protection Act.
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak to this bill, pointing out the reasons why I believe that all members in the House should vote for this bill. By voting for this particular bill, they will ensure that something is done to protect the consumers of Ontario. It is different from the resolution that has just been debated in this House; while I have every sympathy with that resolution. I personally don’t believe that it will ever mean anything to the people of Ontario. But that is not the case in this bill to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
I would like to mention exactly what the bill is going to do and I will explain the reasons why it is being introduced. The bill is going to provide that everyone who is the renter, any businessman or proprietor who is the renter of a product, a tool, or a piece of equipment is going to have to have laid out in the contract for such a rental whether the piece of equipment or the material is covered by insurance for loss of or damage to the particular tool or piece of equipment. This is an important thing because most people walk in and say: “I want an electric drill.” They get it and they walk out. There is nothing ordinarily said in most cases, I should say, about who is going to be responsible for loss of or damage to such a piece of equipment.
The consumers of Ontario are becoming more and more involved in the rental of equipment for ordinary household jobs that have for many years been done by the householder without use of equipment. As an example, Mr. Speaker, how many times do you see advertised where the housewife can rent a carpet steamer and cleaner and so forth? This is becoming a very commonplace thing, as well as other members of the family renting tools and so forth. How many times do those people ever stop to examine what would happen if that article was destroyed by fire in their home or was stolen from their home when it was in their care and so forth? There are some very reputable people in the business of lending tools and renting out tools who do make arrangements and who either orally or in written terms explain exactly what kind of liability is imposed upon the person who is renting.
The majority of people do not and the majority of the consumers of Ontario -- ordinary people just like ourselves -- don’t ever think about it and they don’t ever ask about it. Therefore, they could become liable for something without their knowledge.
Recently, the hon. member for Simcoe Centre introduced a resolution in this House which said “commonly used and easily understood language should be used in all contracts and legal documents in Ontario.”
Mr. Wildman: It would put the lawyers out of business.
Mr. Blundy: I don’t think that would be such a bad idea. They could all run for the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s all right for you. You have a business that will never run out.
Mr. Ruston: Bill 59 will put them back in business.
Mr. Blundy: Bill 59 will take up the slack. I am sure they will all be very busy on that.
However, I spoke in favour of that resolution that the hon. member for Simcoe Centre brought in. I think that this is a kind of a natural thing to go with it because it is something that we all want to have and assume we have without ever knowing it. I say, and the bill says, that it must be clearly stated that “the owner of the goods or his agent, as the case may be, shall inform the person as to whether or not insurance for loss of or damage to the goods is included in the rental fee.”
The second clause is that the warning must be clearly shown that this is what is happening. The renter, in order to be protected must know exactly what his liability is, whether it is just liability for him or whether it is extended liability to a third party damaging, or something of that nature.
What really is being done is a very simple step to further protect the consumers of Ontario. And I want to say that in Ontario the Consumer Protection Act we have now is one of the best in the jurisdictions of which I am aware. There are areas of that Act that should be amended and additions should be made to it. I certainly would suggest that this is one addition that will correct what is an omission in the present Act.
There are more ways of renting equipment cropping up every day. People are renting things we never thought of in previous years. It is becoming a way of life and people who wouldn’t ordinarily read a contract are renting equipment. Therefore I believe that this bill will bring one more protection to the men and women of Ontario who are ordinarily people and need its protection very, very much. I would strongly urge the members of this House to vote in favour of this bill.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Did the member for Sarnia wish to reserve some time at the end?
Mr. Blundy: Yes, I would like to do so, Mr. Speaker. At least five minutes.
Mr. Davison: I rise to offer my support on second reading of Bill 45, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act. While I am quite happy to support this bill today I would much prefer to be speaking on a government-sponsored bill of the same title that would in fact have the effect of making the Consumer Protection Act of Ontario have contents that would equal its fine title. Neither the provisions of that particular Act nor the record of its accomplishments or the enforcement of the Act are something of which the people in Ontario can be terribly proud, and in that I am afraid I must disagree with my colleague from Sarnia.
Mr. McClellan: The minister isn’t even here.
Mr. Davison: By the way, where is the minister?
An hon. member: He is out to lunch today.
Mr. Eaton: He is unable to be here.
Mr. Pope: You are pulling a Mel Swart.
Mr. Davison: I trust that he will upon return to the House this evening carefully read the excellent remarks of the member for Sarnia and the remarks that will be made by other members in this debate so he can bring himself abreast of some of the real problems that consumers are facing in Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: The minister is talking to Mr. X.
Mr. Davison: This government’s commitment to consumer protection is indeed a very modest one, consisting in large part, if not totally --
Mr. Eaton: That is not what the member for Sarnia said, he said it was the best.
Mr. Davison: Yes, he did and --
Mr. McClellan: He was wrong. He was dead wrong.
Mr. Davison: -- I disagree on that. He is wrong.
The commitment consists almost totally of public relations. This government has actually been able to convince some members of the citizenry that we do in Ontario really adequately protect consumers through the legislation of this House. That the member for Sarnia, the former Liberal critic for Consumer and Commercial Relations, understands from his review of this matter and his talking to people in the province that it was necessary to add what would seem to be such a basic, simple and sensible protective amendment to the legislation shows, I suspect, quite clearly the inadequacy of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
I thought that his remarks in explaining the need for the bill were quite appropriate and while I couldn’t agree with him in his overview of the bill I would like to put on the record the explanatory note which the member has had attached to Bill 45, because I think it shows quite clearly the intent of this particular amendment:
“The bill provides for warnings in rental contracts as to whether or not loss of or damage to the goods rented is included in the rental fee. The warnings also point out that persons renting the goods may be responsible for loss of or damage to the rented goods where no insurance is included.” The lack of such basic protection in the Act is indeed puzzling to the members opposite or anyone else in the province -- and should indeed have been puzzling to the member for Sarnia -- who would have thought we had adequate protection or that the government was at all serious about protecting consumers, At times, the Consumer Protection Act is anything but. I’m sure that all members of the House recall Judge Killeen recently commenting that the Ontario legislation, including the Consumer Protection Act, falls far short of the mark in protecting the public.
In 1976, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations received, classified and closed, some 6,095 complaints under the Consumer Protection Act. It sounds rather impressive, 6,095 complaints. How many of those complaints were prosecuted and in how many cases was there a conviction? Only two. That number seems to me to be quite memorable, although it’s terribly unimpressive. However, its lowness can perhaps better be understood when we compare it to the number of cases that were investigated under the Consumer Protection Act. That number was four. That leaves 6,091 cases of complaint under the Consumer Protection Act in 1976 uninvestigated.
Mr. McClellan: A wonderful record.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is a distortion though. There are alternative ways of doing it. You people would use a heavy-handed approach.
Mr. McClellan: I’m sure there are. One would be to get rid of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Davison: Those are statistics -- 6,095 complaints, four investigations, two prosecutions. The statistics speak rather loudly and they show an ineffective ministry or an inadequate piece of legislation or, as I suspect is the case --
Mr. Foulds: Both.
Mr. Davison: -- an ineffective ministry administering an inadequate piece of legislation.
Mr. Makarchuk: Combine the two of them and you get something pretty rough.
Mr. Davison: Quite rough.
Mr. Makarchuk: It is the blind leading the blind.
Mr. Davison: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has in the past explained that the legislation is a bit of a problem in that most courts of law will not grant restitution in these cases. If the current legislation is the only reason -- and I suspect it’s not -- for the lack of adequate consumer protection in Ontario, then the minister’s job would be to propose massive alterations that would provide consumers in Ontario with the kind of protection that is so obviously and apparently necessary. It should not be necessary for members like the hon. member for Sarnia or the hon. member for Simcoe Centre or indeed myself to have to move by way of private member’s bills to add some law to surround the loopholes in consumer protection in this province.
Mr. Foulds: Or even the hon. member for Carleton.
Mr. Davison: That’s right. In Ontario today, consumer protection should not be a part of our modern mythology. It should be a reality. I support the member for Sarnia’s private member’s bill today but I hope in the very near future those of us in the House will have the opportunity of seeing some wide-ranging and effective government legislation to amend the Consumer Protection Act so that it is indeed finally worth its name.
Mr. MacBeth: To my mind, this bill is a very good example of the ambivalence of most of us in this House as legislators.
Mr. McClellan: Speak for your own ambivalence.
Mr. MacBeth: It is true that when we’re elected we all run on a platform that will remove Ontario from sin and injustice.
Mr. Wildman: We haven’t done it. There have been 35 years of it.
Mr. MacBeth: No, I don’t think we have and I don’t think we’re about to.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s because there have been so many sinners elected to the Legislature.
Mr. Bradley: Not until the next election.
Mr. Foulds: That’s called the Elmer Gantry ticket.
Mr. MacBeth: That’s the legitimate purpose of all of us. Until we get rid of you fellows, it might be a little difficult to do that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s all right. We will return to the high road.
Mr. Foulds: Stop heckling your own member.
Mr. Wildman: Don’t turn around. You’ll turn to a pillar of salt.
Mr. MacBeth: If a rectangular chamber can have three sides, I have listened to us on all sides of this chamber tell us and make a similar pledge that we are all in favour of making the life of the small businessman somewhat simpler, we want to remove him from government control and we want to get out of his life. I’ve heard it from all three sides of this rectangular or this diagonal chamber, or whatever it is. When I listen to these debates on these private members’ public bills, I wonder whether or not we are putting a little too much importance on them under our new procedure. I know it is good to give the private members an opportunity to express their thoughts so the government can get the flavour, so the people will know what we are thinking and we know what the people are thinking. Yet, at the same time, I think the way to do it --
Mr. Samis: John, you’re sounding reactionary.
Mr. MacBeth: -- is through a motion similar to the one the member for Elgin has made -- so that we can express our thoughts without trying to leap into legislation.
There are two things, I suppose, that we as legislators can do. One is pass tax bills and the other is pass legislation. Every bit of legislation that we pass restricts somebody’s freedom or liberty. But that is what we seem to be able to do and some of us feel, unless we are either passing legislation or taxing somebody, that we are not doing the job we are expected to do.
Mr. McClellan: You are the only ones who can tax; you are tax happy.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t know, we find you rather taxing at times.
Mr. MacBeth: That’s right, we find you people wanting to tax all the time. I think it has been ruled that only the government can pass taxing bills --
Mr. Foulds: He should get an award for the worst pun of the year.
Mr. MacBeth: You are down to trying to deal with legislation. We have 100 private members in this chamber all trying to rush into the records for posterity -- that that is the bill that I put down on paper, that I had a part in, that I introduced -- to restrict the freedoms of the people of the province. There is no wonder that so many people look upon us with a jaundiced eye.
Let’s take a look at this bill. I have been rambling -- I admit that -- and I have had my tongue in my cheek part way along. But I think, in all seriousness, we shouldn’t be rushing into legislation unless there is a good practical purpose for doing so.
Mr. Foulds: Rambling and mumbling.
Mr. MacBeth: We’ve got too much legislation.
This purports to protect the interest of the consumers of this province. With the millions of contracts that are entered into every day between consumer and purchasers, whether they are oral contracts or implied contracts, when you go into your neighbourhood store, when we suddenly pick out this -- I won’t call it an insignificant matter -- but it is only one of thousands of matters in the field of contracts that my good friend from Sarnia could have dealt with.
I have never heard that these matters of rental were any great concern over any other types of concern that people have over various contracts. So I don’t know why at this time we would suggest to a businessman: you’ve got your forms all ready and all the rest, but because a private member of this House thought there was some concern over the matter of rental agreements you will now have to go out and do your forms all over again. This matter of rentals is so important that you have got to put this in capital letters.
I don’t know, as I say, whether this matter is any more important than the thousands of other things that are dealt with in contracts. Next week, I might have a bright idea -- I don’t get too many of them but I get one or two -- so I bring in my bill. I want to outdo the member for Sarnia so I say that the point I want to make should be put in red ink.
These are the kind of problems we present to the small businessmen of this province, whom we are all trying to woo and say we look after. It doesn’t matter what problem it is for you, Mr. Businessman. The vendor is the villain while the purchasers are always the good guys, so you go out and do your forms over again. Go to this expense. We are not so sure that we won’t give you a different form a few weeks from now to redo, and have retyped with all the expense, consultation with lawyers and all the rest that goes with it.
I think we are trying to tell people -- and this is where we make a mistake -- that the government will protect you from every evil. That, of course, is not good, but some people seem to think that a good consumer protection Act is all that is needed. You don’t need to have any common sense yourself. You don’t need to use the old phrase, let the buyer beware. You can go headlong into every contract, and the government will save you from all of the problems that might come from that.
Mr. Bradley: You don’t need a high-class lawyer.
Mr. MacBeth: There used to be --
Mr. Foulds: You know what, you’re cabinet material.
Mr. MacBeth: I was once but I’m not anymore.
There was once a way of making sure that you didn’t get into trouble when you dealt in contracts. You used to deal with reputable people. I don’t know whether that word reputable has gone out of fashion or not. I suppose it implies some sort of discrimination, that you should be able to deal with all people as though they were reputable. But there was a day when we used to rely on our own judgement and the people we dealt with to make sure that they would give us an honest and proper deal.
It’s amazing to me, when we come to this matter of taking a chance in business, that we say that a member of the public should never take any risks or any gamble when he goes into a commercial transaction, and yet all levels of government seem to be rushing headlong to try to take money away from people by way of lotteries of one sort or another. On the one hand, we’re encouraging a little bit of gambling by saying to take a chance in life; and yet, when it comes to this matter of day-to-day commercial transactions, the government should save you harmless in everything you do.
The best protection for people is their own common sense and their own investigation. What we should be trying to do, under our Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations is to try to teach people to be on their guard and to be aware, rather than saying, “If you get into trouble, we’ll get you out of it.” Let’s get back to dealing with reputable people.
The thought of this bill is not all that bad. I’m simply saying it’s not an important enough subject to run into legislation and to put the businessman, the small businessman or the big businessman, through all the problems of rewriting his contract forms on the particular whim of one member -- not that that whim is bad, we’re all entitled to our whims.
The minister himself, may have the idea of looking at this bill at some time. The debate that takes place here today and the results of that debate can be viewed by the minister. Then, maybe when he’s looking at this bill again in the overall picture, he can put the businessman to the trouble of reviewing this bill once and redoing his forms in a comprehensive way rather than picking up this one little point.
When we’re looking at legislation -- and, remember, this is what we’re doing now under private members’ public bills; we have the potential of legislation -- we must proceed with it cautiously and make sure that the results we hope to achieve by legislation are not outweighed by the disadvantages that we are looking at.
Mr. Warner: Are you going to guillotine this one too?
Mr. MacBeth: I would suggest to the House that the disadvantages of this bill -- the cost of administering it, the cost it puts to the small businessman, the general annoyance to the public and the fact that it would be one more step on the road to government control -- are such that this bill will accomplish less in the way of good than the harm it will bring about.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill 45, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act, the bill presented by the hon. member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy).
In my initial comments, I would react in a very brief manner to the comments of the hon. member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth), because at the present time we seem to be in a debate -- not only in this province, but I suppose, across the land -- on what the role of government should be. I think we’re all trying to strike a balance between government intervention on behalf of the individual citizen and the right of the private sector to operate without interference from government.
It seems to me that when it’s convenient to certain sectors of private business to have regulations, they’re for regulations. When it’s not convenient, they’re opposed to regulations. So I would agree with the member for Humber that we have to be very careful to look at the ramifications of each piece of legislation, be it initiated by the government or by a private member during this hour.
I’m hopeful the government won’t block this bill, because I think it is a common-sense bill, a very simple and to-the-point bill. When we look at the possible ramifications for business, common sense would dictate that the bill might not come into effect immediately. There would be plenty of warning for business, for those who might be in this specific rental business, so that the forms they have to deal with, and the contracts they have to have printed, can be printed in the manner in which this bill dictates. With that necessary interlude between now and then, presumably they would use up most or all of the contracts they have at the present time. Implicit in the passing of this bill, I think, would be a reasonable period of time to adjust to it.
I realize that there are some who think this is unnecessary intervention into the private sector. But surely any honest businessman -- and the overwhelming majority of business people in this province are honest individuals who wish to conduct business in an honest way under the laws of the country and in the province. So assuming this, I cannot see why any honest businessman or businesswoman would object to this particular provision in the bill, which clearly outlines to the individual who is receiving the service or the rented product in this case what the implications are in terms of insurance.
As the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) indicated in his previous bill before this Legislature, the individual is not always cognizant of the exact provisions of a contract, particularly those that are in the proverbial small print, and sometimes in certain contracts requires the assistance of a solicitor. The individual may not have the kind of funds necessary to consult a solicitor every time he or she enters into a contract involving a consumer item and so the consumer looks to government to protect the legitimate interests of that consumer when he or she is dealing in this kind of contract.
So I commend both the member for Simcoe Centre and the member for Sarnia for recognizing this problem that does exist and attempting to alleviate it in the manner which has been prescribed by this bill and the previous bill.
Bold face type I think was referred to by the member for Humber. He suggested that perhaps next week or the week after someone would come in with a bill indicating it should be red type instead of bold face type. I suppose that is something we might have to look forward to, but the members of the Legislature can make a judgement on that particular provision at that time.
I think it’s very important to look at who is responsible for the insurance. I think that’s one of the major provisions of a rental contract. That’s why it is necessary to bring clearly to the intention of the consumer the fact that either the company from whom the product is rented is responsible for the insurance of that product should there be a problem, or the individual is responsible.
I think that has to be clearly spelled out, because for both the individual and for, I suppose, society represented in some form in this Legislature by the government, the consequences are not insignificant.
For instance, a person involved in the rental of a vehicle may find himself in severe personal debt as the result of an accident that takes place if he has to assume the cost of it out of his own pocket instead of insurance. As a result of being unable to pay in this regard that person may end up with a poor credit rating. That person -- and I realize we have legislation that prevents discrimination -- may then find himself or herself in a position where that person is unable to obtain employment of some kind because people say that he is not a responsible person in dealing with his own debt.
For the public the consequences are great because this government across the floor, and I think members of the opposition, are concerned about how much government involvement there should be in providing funds for individuals who are in dire need. If a person is facing the consequences of a debt of this kind, resulting from lack of knowledge of who is responsible for damage to or loss of a particular item, that person might have to apply for social assistance in terms of welfare or other government assistance that might be available. Or that person in desperation may -- and I realize this may be hypothetical -- commit a crime which would result in that person being apprehended by the law and being institutionalized in one of our correctional institutions.
All of these consequences are possible and might just in some small way be avoided by the provisions of the bill as proposed by the member for Sarnia.
I needn’t repeat the provisions of the bill. I think it must be clear to people exactly what they are getting into when they get into a rental contract. I commend this bill to members of the Legislature and hope that they will vote on the basis of their own personal conscience and their own personal philosophies in this regard and on the merits of the bill, rather than feeling obligated to vote one way or another because of the political party they happen to represent.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr. Rollins) has asked if he could make a brief announcement. Would the members of the House agree?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: It is agreed.
BELLEVILLE OFFICE LOCATION
Mr. Rollins: Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce the proposed new locations for the provincial family court and the land registry office in the city of Belleville.
An hon. member: Oh, you’re kidding.
An hon. member: You’re not serious?
Some hon. members: Order.
Mr. Rollins: The family court will be located at 199 Front Street, in the building known as the Century Place. The Century Place was the successful tender and submitted a firm offer, which has been accepted by the province of Ontario.
Mr. Ruston: That’s an abuse of privilege of the House if I ever heard one. Sit down.
Mr. Rollins: The Ministry of the Attorney General will occupy --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Epp: What an abuse of the House!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Eaton: You agreed to let him make an announcement.
Mr. Makarchuk: This is a gross abuse of the House rules.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: As this is private members’ hour, I think this is taking away from the time of the private members. I would ask the member to refrain until the end of the debate.
Mr. Foulds: He should issue a press statement.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Bradley: And what announcement do you have?
Mr. Eaton: He’s going to resign. That’s his announcement.
Mr. Samis: It’s about that courthouse in Scarborough.
Mr. Warner: We might not have objected had there been an announcement about the courthouse in Scarborough; otherwise, it is not an appropriate time to make the announcement.
Mr. Lawlor: I have an announcement about a crypt for deceased politicians.
Mr. MacBeth: That’s always a good thing.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, it’s my pleasure to take part in this debate on the bill put forward by the member for Sarnia, who is to be commended for his concern about consumer protection and for his interest in putting forward an amendment to an extremely important Act, that dealing with consumer protection.
I am rather shocked by some of the comments made by the member for Humber, the ex-Solicitor General. Surely, in the way in which he went about trying to perform his duties as Solicitor General, and often in a superb fashion, it was part of his experience that there have been quite a few people defrauded. There have been quite a few businesses not acting in the proper public interest. There have been quite a few people who have been, in the modern term, ripped off. His comments would certainly not indicate that he was aware of those circumstances, yet I know that he must be.
Consumer protection, we should understand, developed because of some very serious problems. The Act didn’t just suddenly appear. It didn’t spring from nowhere. It didn’t come just for something to do. It came out of a real need. It resulted from the fact that consumers were being taken on a regular basis, and in a wide variety of fields and situations. It was being found that, no matter what kind of avenue you pursued in your daily life, you encountered places where you were not being treated fairly -- places where, in fact, you were being ripped off.
There was a very strong opposition mounted both by elected members in the assembly and by consumers out there, as well as by consumer groups and persons interested in reforming the laws, so that people could be protected. I am really quite shocked that an ex-Solicitor General could pretend that there isn’t a real problem and that it doesn’t need to be dealt with in a very firm and direct way.
Mr. Wildman: Of course, he’s had sunset applied to him.
Mr. Warner: Quite frankly, I take it that that kind of attitude is pervasive on the other side of the House --
Mr. MacBeth: That is hardly what I suggested, Mr. Speaker. I suggested this matter was not worth a separate bill.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, this legislation is needed, because it wouldn’t be here if this situation was covered in the Consumer Protection Act. That’s pretty obvious. It’s here for a reason. It’s unfortunate that members in the House have to introduce private member’s bills which may be guillotined in order to bring about the kind of change which is needed and which everyone understands is needed.
Mr. Martel: Exactly.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It also lacks specificity. You have some real potential problems that you are not even aware of.
Mr. McClellan: Never mind the two-bit legal advice, Norton.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Speak to the lawyers in your caucus about the possible impact on the common law that you weren’t even concentrating on.
Mr. McClellan: Never mind the free legal advice.
Mr. Wildman: That could also be applied to the member for Elgin’s (Mr. McNeil) resolution.
Mr. McClellan: How are you going to vote on this?
Hon. Mr. Norton: You are going to destroy relationships among neighbours.
Mr. Warner: Part of the problem is that even if this bill isn’t guillotined by the government in its normal fashion and if it does pass and does go to committee -- and I haven’t seen any of them that have -- and is passed and comes back here and gets third reading and royal assent for the first time -- I stand corrected, for the second time -- that that’s happened since we’ve instituted private member’s business, if all of that happens to take place, it may still mean absolutely nothing, because the guiding principle behind the ministry of so-called consumer affairs, but really corporate protection, is that the only kind of thing we use when there’s a problem is moral suasion. There are no teeth to government legislation. There never has been because there’s no real intention over there. The real problems which we know about, which are spoken about and which are dealt with by many members of this assembly should actually be backed up in law. There’s no intention to do that and there never has been.
The Consumer Protection Act has been around for some time now and it addresses several problems in print but not in action. We asked for figures in estimates as to how many people have been fined, how many of those who are not operating in the public interest have been brought into court and have been fined or had some other sanction applied to them. We get back figures that indicate a feeble response in terms of the dimension of the problem. It makes one wonder how long it will take with the present government before it will act.
I’ll support the legislation that has been placed before us this afternoon. It addresses one part of a very real problem for consumers in this province. But I know full well that while I support it, the possibility of it being adopted and backed up with some real teeth is pretty slim. That’s been underscored by the comments of the ex-Solicitor General.
Mr. Wildman: And by the Minister of Community and Social Services.
Mr. Warner: And by the interjections of the Minister of Community and Social Services, who’s now conscious.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not disagreeing with the intent. I am just suggesting there are other problems about it.
Mr. MacBeth: On a point of order. I want to make clear, Mr. Speaker, that I am taking part or did take part in this debate as a private member, and that should be clear to the member.
Mr. McClellan: He understands that.
Mr. Makarchuk: There’s nothing out of order.
Mr. MacBeth: He was certainly suggesting I was speaking on behalf of the government and I want that to be clear. I’m speaking as a private member.
Mr. McClellan: Everybody knows that. You never did.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere will continue.
Mr. Warner: I understand that the agitated member is speaking as a private member.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Why don’t you resign?
Mr. Warner: I mentioned that he is the ex-Solicitor General and -- that I felt that his attitudes probably reflected the pervasive attitude over there of non-consumer protection.
Mr. MacBeth: You probably presume too much.
Mr. Warner: The real title should be understood. It’s corporate protection. It’s not consumer protection whatsoever. I’ve gone through that so-called moral suasion.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You’re totally ineffective. You don’t know what it is all about.
Mr. Wildman: Why don’t you talk about how much we do know.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It wouldn’t take so very long.
Mr. Warner: I believe that the Speaker recalls an item of concern of mine some while back where a constituent had a problem with a car dealer. I asked the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to be involved and to bring some restitution of the problem to the constituent. I trusted that they would do so forthrightly and swiftly. I was told over the telephone, point blank, that the situation had been solved. What I discovered was that their moral suasion had failed.
Fortunately, because I am thorough in my job, I checked back with the constituent who hadn’t been given any solution to the problem.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You better send this comment to your constituents.
Mr. Warner: It was then left to me personally to go to the car dealership and to get back for that constituent at least a portion of the money which she had been gypped out of. She had been taken for over $300. I managed to get back $100 of it. But the ministry could have done something, and they didn’t. One of the reasons they didn’t was because they knew that beyond moral suasion they had nothing more. It is a shameful way to try to protect the consumers of this province.
In conclusion, we need to vote in favour of this bill which is in front of us. It is a bill which reflects the concerns of the member for Sarnia and the concerns of many members of this House. But we need more than that. I am hoping that when we support this bill today -- as I am confident that most members of the House will do -- that it will be a signal to the government that they need to improve the Consumer Protection Act and they need to put some teeth into it so that consumers can be protected in this province finally.
Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, I would like at the outset to thank the member for Sarnia for his comments in regard to the present consumer legislation, that it is some of the best in existence.
Mr. Samis: He will learn.
Mr. Eaton: I would like also to make reference to the member for Hamilton Centre’s comments in regard to the minister not being present. Certainly he is interested in the legislation as the member for Sarnia well knows.
Mr. Bradley: He is present in spirit.
Mr. Eaton: I would also like to point out to the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. Davison) that he has some erroneous information in regard to the Consumer Protection Act.
Mr. Davison: Because I got it from your ministry.
Mr. Eaton: I did take the opportunity to check out the figures. There is not one of our pieces of legislation which has that particular number of complaints tied to it. I don’t know where his figures come from.
Mr. Davison: I got it from your ministry.
Mr. Eaton: I would like however, to relate to you the total figures involved in consumer complaints in regard to a number of pieces of legislation. The total for last year amounts to close to 18,000 of which 140 special investigations were carried out, some 300 charges were laid, some 70 prosecutions were completed, some 15 cease and desist orders were issued. And through the moral suasion you talk about, that settled many cases, we were able to have redress to consumers in the amount of $1.5 million.
Mr. Davison: How much of that was under the Consumer Protection Act? That is from all of your legislation. What about the Consumer Protection Act?
Mr. Eaton: I consider that not a bad record in regard to the consumer legislation that we have.
I would like to go on record as supporting in principle the bill introduced by the hon. member for Sarnia, to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
Mr. Lupusella: Better clean your record first.
Mr. Eaton: I can see no reason whatsoever to oppose a requirement that the owner of an article which is being rented discloses potential liability at the time of consummating a contract.
The common law position in respect to the renter’s liability is quite clear. He or she is required to use no more than the degree of care which a normal individual should use in tending his own personal possessions. In any action for damages for the destruction of a chattel, the owner has to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the renter was guilty of negligence, and that his negligence caused the damage or destruction of that chattel.
If the renter returns the property in damaged condition and fails to give an account of the matter, the law authorizes a presumption of negligence, unless the renter shows how the accident happened. The owner needs only to point out the deteriorated condition of the article. By entering into a contract for the return of the property in the actual condition it was in when it was rented, a renter could assume a greater obligation than the law would uphold under the circumstances.
Primarily the bill would require that the owner of the goods advise the renter at the time of entering into the contract as to the extent of the renter’s liability for loss or damage. The other provision of the bill dealing with insurance is just a straight disclosure of the provisions. However, whether or not the owner of the goods discloses that he or she has insurance does not necessarily affect the liability or responsibility of that renter.
The principle of the bill could go further than the hon. member for Sarnia may anticipate, because it covers many varied areas, including automobiles. However, the bill does not include provisions dealing with this third party liability insurance that may be desirable in certain circumstances and with certain types of goods.
One thing that is not clear to me is why the member for Sarnia chose this particular area over others which could be considered for disclosure, such as luggage claims household moving et cetera. It is possible to argue that although the member for Sarnia’s bill expresses a good sentiment it misses the larger issue. The important issue goes beyond disclosure and addresses the further question which is: Should there be a legislative thrust to reapportion potential liability, either by a mandatory insurance option or by prohibiting owners from extending the common law liability?
There is one other matter I wish to raise. The Consumer Protection Act and indeed the balance of the ministry’s consumer legislation addresses itself to dealings between a consumer and a business, rather than dealings between business people.
The hon. member may note that Bill 45 refers to a person, whereas the rest of our consumer legislation in the Consumer Protection Act refers to the buyers. The use of “person” would expand the scope of the Act to include individuals who buy in the course of carrying on business, or to an association of individuals, a partnership or a corporation. This was certainly never the intent of the Consumer Protection Act and I don’t really believe that it was intended by the member for Sarnia’s bill either.
We are currently subjecting the Consumer Protection Act to an extensive internal review, and the area of consumer leases and the apportionment of liability is one of the priority areas we are examining, among many others.
In order to avoid the expense and confusion of introducing piecemeal legislation, I would certainly recommend that even though we agree in principle with this legislation, its content be merged with other amendments that will result from our own review and which we would hope to introduce within this next year. I believe after speaking with the member for Sarnia the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman) has agreed to incorporate this principle into the new legislation, rather than have it given third reading here in the Legislature.
With this preparation of the new Act already well advanced, this will eliminate any confusion and avoid any creation of new forms at the present time. So I would urge the members to support the legislation of the member for Sarnia on this second reading, so we do have agreement in principle and we assure you that it will be incorporated later on.
Mr. Eakins: I want to rise briefly to add my support to my colleague. I want to compliment my colleague, the hon. member for Sarnia, for introducing this bill. I feel it is a good bill and deserves the support of the members of this House providing, as this bill does, forewarnings in rental contracts as to whether or not the loss of or damage to the goods rented is included in the rental fee.
I feel that this is good legislation. I commend my colleague for introducing it and urge the members of this House to give it full support.
Mr. Lawlor: I have just a word on the bill. In voting on it, I believe I would personally vote against the legislation with some regret. While it acts as a stimulus to the department itself in a revamping of the legislation -- and there are many defects in the Consumer Protection Act, particularly with respect to matters of privacy -- this piece of legislation before us, commendable as it is, is too piecemeal and does not focus in on the widest elements of the issue, with respect to the insurance element there. It should cover a great deal more than simply the rental thing.
I have some misgivings about the bold type. It seems to me there are a great many things that ought to be in bold type. If one puts all of them into bold type, there wouldn’t be anything else but boldness throughout. We have to use some form of discretion, some nice discretion as to what we insisted stood out on the page, so to speak, over against what was recessed. Whether this particular matter over against all kinds of other representations, particularly with respect to interest rates or penalty charges of one kind and another or a whole host of things ought to stand out in bold type, would be for the angels and no doubt for the rest of the people in this Legislature who ain’t to make in some future determination.
That would be the basis on which I would approach it. I don’t flagellate the legislation. It’s moving in the right direction. Within our law we have a Sale of Goods Act, which is extremely ancient and very elaborate as to what the range of coverage might be; for instance, sale by sample or sale in five or six different ways and what the ingredients of that sale would be and what the consequences flowing from defective sale in one way or another might be.
The English law, except in the common law, by way of statute hasn’t developed with respect to the rental area. We have the whole of the Landlord and Tenant Act. Very often within tenancy there are furniture and other matters that fall within the ambit of the rental itself which again, being chattels, aren’t specifically covered within the law. There’s mention of it in the Landlord and Tenant Act, but no one has ever really concentrated upon this aspect. When one sees these stores all over the place renting everything under the sun, one would think that a Legislature that was up to date and even partially alive would respond to that.
The member deserves credit in being the first that I know of who has responded to it in terms, albeit too narrow, and not in enough depth with respect to the ramifications surrounding rental agreements of all kinds. To the extent that he has gone and to the extent he acts as a gadfly, bless him. To the extent that he is not a big enough bumblebee, I can’t support him.
Mrs. Campbell: I rise in support of this bill. Let me say that it may well be a fact that the bill is a narrow bill, but surely, the intent of this bill is an important intent. To deny it the opportunity for discussion in committee seems to me to be defeating the whole purpose of the private member to bring forward in this House his or her concerns for the deliberation of a committee. Surely the principle of the bill is not in any way negated by reason of the fact that in some members’ opinion it is too narrow in its concept. I believe that everyone in this House can accept the fact that it is an important step forward. Surely it is open to the committee to go over the bill, to amend it, to enlarge it or to do whatever the committee feels ought to be done with it. But to deny or negate the principle today, it seems to me, would be self-defeating, not just of the bill but of the entire principle, which I think is generally accepted in this House.
I would urge the member for Lakeshore to give consideration to approval in principle so that it may be allowed to go to a committee for consideration. At that point in time one may then debate the merits or whatever of the bill, and there can be amendments. Otherwise, it dies.
In this House I have been very saddened by the fact that so many of the private members’ bills, and in my view many bills that had merit, have died because they are not perfect. You know, Mr. Speaker, there aren’t too many government bills that are all that perfect in the first analysis. And the government with its staff, does have so much greater opportunity to develop a bill to a point where perhaps it would be acceptable to everyone in the House.
The principle of the private members’ hour truly has been eroded in this House, and I would ask and urge all of those who are concerned with the right of the private member and the fact that this bill is a step forward, if not perfect -- and I’m not suggesting it isn’t perfect; I’m simply saying if others say that -- to let it go to a committee so that is can be made perfect by an all-party committee.
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with the response we have had in the House today to Bill 45. I don’t for one minute want to say that I think the bill is the answer to all the problems of the consumer in Ontario or that it is a perfect bill. It is a bill that is being proposed to plug a loophole that is not covered by the Consumer Protection Act now and one that I believe should be plugged to protect the consumers of Ontario. That is the reason for it.
Mr. Bradley: Does it cover the rented suits I see in the family section of the Toronto Star?
Mr. Blundy: I don’t know if it covers the rented suits my colleague is talking about -- the ones worn by some of our friends on the other side of the House, in today’s Toronto Star.
In winding up the debate on this bill I want to note that the member for Hamilton Centre took exception to the fact that I had said the Consumer Protection Act in Ontario probably was as good as its counterpart in most jurisdictions. I still say that, but I think that consumer protection in all of the jurisdictions is not as good as it should be. I think there is room for very many improvements. I was very pleased to hear the member for Middlesex say that the minister is planning a number of amendments to the bill and that, hopefully, when that bill is amended, this motion would be included.
The member for Humber said: “We are used to dealing with reputable people and you shouldn’t have to pass legislation to cover all of these things.” The problem is that everybody with whom we deal in Ontario is not the reputable merchant or reputable shopkeeper that we all would like to think is so prevalent in our area. The government does have to pass legislation to deal often with the minority group in our province. So I am not detracting from the reputation of many of the businessmen in our province who are making a living out of the rental of tools and equipment to the people of Ontario.
I am very pleased to have had this opportunity to present a private bill. I do hope that the members of the House will see the merit in the bill and see what it does mean to the consumers of the province. We would like very much to have this bill given second reading and, if considered necessary, to go to a committee of the House so that it may be more refined to give further protection to the people of Ontario. It would certainly make it very worthwhile for me.
Mr. Speaker: Do any other members wish to participate in this debate? There are about eight minutes left and we can’t put the vote before 5:50.
Mr. Nixon: Let’s ring the bells.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if there aren’t any others to participate may I use this time to give the business statement to the House for next week? Would the House agree?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I could read it slowly.
Mr. Makarchuk: Don’t be too provocative either.
Mr. Speaker: We’ve always said if there’s a void you can always find somebody to fill it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: These interjections are really disturbing.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the rules may I indicate the order of business as follows:
This evening, when we come back at 8 we’ll take into consideration Bills 7, 8, 9 and 11 in that order, following which we do Bill 31. Then, if time permits, we’ll do Bills 26 and 28.
Mr. Conway: What about my budget speech?
Hon. Mr. Welch: On Friday morning the House will be in committee of supply to carry on with consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
On Monday of next week, in the afternoon, the House will be in committee of supply carrying on the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
On Tuesday, being legislation day, we will carry on where we leave off this evening in so far as legislation dealing with those bills which I have already listed is concerned. In addition to that we will then do Bill 48 and, in the evening, Bill 19.
On Wednesday, the House does not meet in the chamber but there will be committees, and we’re indicating at this time that the resources development committee and the general government committee may meet Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, in the afternoon, we’ll have private members’ business with private members’ Bills 46 and 47. In the evening, we will set aside that session for the first order, namely, the budget debate. On Friday morning, the House will be in committee of supply concluding the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
Other committees, of course, are meeting to consider estimates as they are set out on the order paper.
Mr. Foulds: It would be my understanding that Bill 48, if not dealt with on Tuesday afternoon, would not be called on Tuesday evening because the resources development committee is meeting on Tuesday evening. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s right. Depending on where we finish tonight on those bills to which I have already made reference, we can only devote Tuesday afternoon to Bill 48 and we can’t start Bill 19 until 8 o’clock for the same reason in reverse, if you know what I mean. So if we haven’t finished Bill 48 by 6 o’clock, then we can’t carry on until the following Tuesday.
Mr. Speaker: I am going to call a five-minute recess and all members will be in a position to hear the motions put at 5:50.
The House recessed at 5:46.
PURCHASE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND
Mr. Speaker: Mr. McNeil has moved private member’s motion No. 4.
Resolution concurred in.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Blundy has moved second reading of Bill 45.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved second reading of Bill 7, An Act to revise the Securities Act.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I am not in a position to put our party position on the bill but I know we intend to support it. My colleague, the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt), is expecting the bill to be debated this evening and if you would recognize it as being, let’s say, close to 6 o’clock, perhaps the debate could carry on at 8 o’clock.
Mr. Nixon moves the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. W. Newman: You just want to get to that dinner early.
The House recessed at 5:56 p.m.