The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would like to report to the House on some conclusions reached by the government as a result of the interim report and recommendations of the Royal Commission on Northern Development.
The ministries involved with this document have now had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Justice Hartt to clarify details of his recommendations. In addition, I have met with Mr. Justice Hartt to discuss the implications of certain recommendations and the direction and role he foresees for the commission in the future. We have also had the benefit of direct communications with representatives of Treaty 8 and Treaty 9 Indians, in which they express strong support for the work of Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt and the recommendations in his report.
As a result of these activities and with a view to moving forward with the commission’s studies of that part of the province lying north of the 50th parallel, it is timely to indicate our commitment to specific recommendations and the overall goals of the commission. It is the government’s view that this study can play an important role in the creative development of the north, consistent with the goals and ambitions of the people of northern Ontario and with the need to strike an appropriate balance between environmental concerns and a pattern of economic development of benefit to the entire province.
A central theme of the report is the necessity of addressing the disadvantaged position of native people. Thus, the government has no difficulty in supporting Mr. Justice Hartt’s outline of the tasks he sees the commission dealing with in the next stage of this study, which will sharpen the focus of the commission’s future activities.
First is the review and assessment of the West Patricia planning process by the commission, with the Ministry of Natural Resources’ proposals as the focal point of the review. Second is the commission’s input into the environmental assessment process surrounding the development of lignite deposits by Onakawana Development Limited. Third, I support the concept that northern residents should be more directly involved in the decision-making process of government. Whether this can best be achieved by a task force or by other mechanisms is a topic which the commission might wish to pursue further.
Now I would like to deal with those recommendations which relate to the future of northern Indian communities. The government would like to reaffirm its commitment to the recommendations by the commission for a tripartite process to be directed by a committee composed of ministerial level representatives of the federal and provincial governments and representatives of the chiefs of Ontario. As I noted in my previous statements, this process is under way and a tripartite council has already been set up.
With Mr. Justice Hartt, we see the need through this mechanism to explore on a broad scale, matters of concern to Indians, including the development of economic self-reliance and self-government in local matters. The government considers it of paramount importance that the three parties to this tripartite council give urgent attention to the necessity of determining such basic matters as jurisdiction and delivery of service. A tripartite working group is being set up to deal with these matters. We believe that without closer collaboration, clarification of roles and responsibilities and reduction of interagency and intergovernmental duplication and conflict, no ultimate solution to the problems of native peoples is likely to develop.
In recent discussions with Mr. Justice Hartt, he has advised that in the resolution of some issues the tripartite process could be strengthened by the appointment of independent chairmen acceptable to all parties. These chairmen would be directed to mediate issues referred by the parties and to report to the tripartite ministerial council. We welcome and accept this elaboration of the original recommendation.
We accept Mr. Justice Hartt’s recommendation that the special problems of Whitedog and Grassy Narrows should be addressed by a task force working within the tripartite process. Last week the chiefs of these reserves presented their views and proposal to initiate this process at a meeting with senior government representatives.
Ontario will lend full support to this effort to implement social and economic development to rehabilitate these Indian communities. We agree to the appointment of an independent chairman for this particular task. In addition, factfinders have been appointed by the bands. We understand that this recommendation has the full support of the chiefs of Ontario. Indicative of Ontario’s willingness to assist in this area is the recently announced program to provide additional employment opportunities to residents of these two communities, access to mechanical wild rice harvesting equipment and production of plant food from a commercial fishing operation.
Careful consideration has been given to the recommendation that wild rice be set aside for a period of five years for the development of an economic base for the Indian people in northwestern Ontario. During this period, no new licences would be issued to non-Indians. Mr. Justice Hartt has explained that his recommendation is based on the premise that present markets are limited and future markets are uncertain. He believes that any expansion of wild rice production by non-Indian producers could jeopardize the Indians’ chance of success in developing wild rice as a viable industry. These premises require future testing.
In considering this recommendation we are aware of the concerns of non-Indians, non-status Indians and the Metis who have strongly indicated their wish to have greater access to wild rice harvesting areas.
Ontario has already agreed to deal with this complex and sensitive issue through the tripartite process, and the tripartite working group on wild rice is now being established. In order to support this approach and in the interest of arriving as quickly as possible at solutions satisfactory to all parties, Ontario puts forward the following five-year program:
1. In accordance with current policy, only Indian bands will be licensed to harvest wild rice in the Kenora and Dryden district for the coming 1978 season --
Mr. Foulds: It should be for five years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: 2. Outside the Kenora and Dryden district all 1977 licences will he renewed for 1978 and annually thereafter;
3. Effective immediately Ontario will extend its efforts to assist Indian licensees to develop appropriate technology and to increase utilization of the available crop with the primary objective of establishing an economic base for the involved Indian communities;
4. The tripartite working group on wild rice should give the highest priority to the determination of current and future markets for Ontario wild rice. The first report should be no later than January of 1979 --
Mr. McClellan: Is Leo on that? Are you on that, Leo?
Hon. Mr. Davis: 5. No additional licences will be issued to non-Indians during the next five years unless it can be demonstrated to the tripartite working group that market potential for Ontario wild rice is sufficient to support an increased share of production by non-Indians without jeopardizing our efforts to establish wild rice production as a viable economic base for the Indian people;
6. In keeping with the spirit of the Hartt Commission that all northerners should be involved in the determination of northern issues, we propose the tripartite working group on wild rice be expanded to include representation of the Ontario Wild Rice Producers Association and the Ontario Metis and Non-Status Indian Association.
CROWN LAND SALES
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on March 2, I informed the members that we would be permitting the sale of crown land for private recreational use and would shortly be working out the details. I am pleased to inform the Legislature today of the details of our revised cottage-lot program.
Essentially cottage lots, except remote cottage lots, will be made available for sale at market value in areas of the province where detailed lake plans have been completed by my ministry. To be eligible to purchase or lease a crown cottage lot during the first year following registration of a subdivision an applicant must be resident in Ontario either as a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.
During the second year after registration other Canadian citizens or landed immigrants living outside the province, along with the residents of Ontario, are eligible to purchase or lease any cottage lots that remain ungranted in that subdivision. After the second year, non-Canadians become eligible to lease -- and I want to stress, for the benefit of those of my colleagues concerned about this point -- that in the case of non-Canadians we are only talking about leasing lots that remain ungranted to the third year.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
Within two years of purchase, a cottage of at least 600 square feet and valued at no less than $7,500 must be constructed on the lot. Unqualified title will be given on completion of the improvements.
Present holders of cottage lot leases, other than holders of remote lots, will be given the option of purchasing their lots. Conversion to sale from lease will be at the appraised market value of the land at the time of conversion, based on a comparable unimproved lot.
Successful applicants for lots as they become available will be selected by either public auction, tender or draw in the 27 administrative districts of the Ministry of Natural Resources north of the French and Mattawa Rivers.
Understandably, Mr. Speaker, we have been deluged with requests for information since my earlier announcement. May I suggest to the members that, should they receive requests for information, they direct their constituents to the ministry’s district manager in the area of northern Ontario in which the interest has been expressed.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, members of the House will recall that last week I made a statement here about the Renfrew County Board of Education and its secondary school teachers dispute. I said I was sending both parties a telegram indicating what the position of the government was concerning their dispute.
I am happy to announce to the House that a resolution to that dispute has been arrived at and is awaiting ratification by both parties. We hope that within a few days the schools will be open in that jurisdiction.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, on a brief point of privilege: I have a copy of a wire story filed by Canadian Press -- probably filed yesterday -- as a result of the comments made in the Legislature on a question asked of me by the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) concerning a market study of a possible year-round tourist resort in northeastern Ontario.
The story is basically correct except for the last line which suggests that I had indicated that the government would be spending several millions of dollars on this project. It has at no time been suggested that the government would be spending money in this area, other than to participate in the study. Any investment made would be made by private developers who are interested in seeing if this area can be developed to provide that type of facility. But no commitment of any kind has been made, nor has there been any discussion of government spending in that particular area.
URBAN TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: I am referring back now to the so-called audit report which the minister gave us some weeks ago. In his absence we have not been able to question him about that, and then other topics took precedence.
Since the matter that was tabled is only an interim audit, according to its own title, and is for the period covering June 1, 1976 to March 31, 1977, will the minister now table the final audit covering this period and any other audits and background papers developed by his ministry of the UTDC’s ICTS program? Specifically, will he table the minutes of the post audit review meeting? These minutes are mentioned here -- I quote from the bottom of page two: “Details of all items are recorded in the minutes of the post-audit review meeting.” Will he table those minutes so that we can make some sense of the document that he has given us?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will attempt to get all that information tabled for the honourable member in the next few days.
Mr. S. Smith: I appreciate that. By way of supplementary: Considering that the August 31, 1977 development and review agreement between the ministry and the UTDC concerning the ICTS program provides for extensive program and financial auditing of this undertaking -- I believe the ministry has already spent about $164,000 to monitor the UTDC program, among other things, last year -- would he be willing to share the non-proprietary information that he has received -- the progress reports and so on -- from the UTDC and from his own officials on site? In other words the ministry spent about $164,000 monitoring and auditing the thing. Some of it is proprietary and we realize the minister can’t table that. Would he table the rest of it for us?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will ask what material is available of the type the honourable leader is asking for and get it for him as quickly as I possibly can -- anything that can be tabled without being damaging to the research and development project. I have no doubt I will.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. S. Smith: My question is of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I emphasize “and Food” so we get just a little past the producers.
Can the minister comment on the article which was in the newspapers saying that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has revealed there is no illegality in the two per cent discounting practice of Loblaws? Is he able to confirm that article and explain why it is in the press rather than announced in the House? And can he table the opinion on which that is based?
Hon. W. Newman: First and foremost, I was going to rise on a point of personal privilege today because it said that I said the same thing. I believe it’s a CP story which is not correct. The news media said they had been talking to the Attorney General and verbally he had indicated to them that there was nothing illegal.
Mr. Foulds: They are falling apart.
Mr. Renwick: That’s not worth anything.
Hon. W. Newman: I said that he would be making a full statement on the matter in the House. I have been in touch with his office. I don’t think he will make question period today, but I am very optimistic that he will be making a statement on the matter very shortly. As I indicated in the House before, he will be making a full statement on it.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, will the minister do his best to get the legal opinion tabled? Since my questions of last week and before that concerning Intersave, has the minister bothered to call Loblaws or to have someone in his ministry call Loblaws to find out why they would engage in this apparently strange practice of paying invoices at a full price and then having a kickback returned by the supplier to some wholly-owned subsidiary corporation with which the supplier has nothing else to do? Has he asked Loblaws why they do that and has he satisfied himself as to what their motivation is in this regard?
Hon. W. Newman: Intersave is a subsidiary of the Loblaw company which is a subsidiary of the Weston chain. Their people have been talking to our people about it and at this point in time they are convinced what they are doing are bookkeeping entries. As the member knows, the producer, as I have said many times in this House before, is not affected. The consumer knows what he is paying for his final price.
Ms. Gigantes: Too much.
Mr. MacDonald: He is paying more.
Hon. W. Newman: We have checked out Intersave, yes.
Mr. Swart: By way of supplementary and pursuing this matter that has been raised on numerous occasions, whether or not the Attorney General determines that this was an illegal action, and in view of the fact that the minister has stated he disapproves of this action very thoroughly, what action has he taken or will he take to see that the farmers are reimbursed this two per cent discount which was deducted or which they had to pay back to Loblaws and the other chain companies?
Hon. W. Newman: I did not say that. I hope the member will check Hansard out a little more carefully and see what I did say. If there was a two per cent discount, it was by the broker or the dealer and it was not reflected upon the producer. All of our marketing boards in the province of Ontario are involved in price setting, which excludes them from the Combines Investigation Act under our Farm Products Marketing Act and under our Ontario Milk Commission legislation. They are excluded. As far as the producers are concerned, they know what they are getting paid by negotiated price, formula pricing or in some cases a two-price system and a blended return.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, I am still trying to find out from the minister if he can explain whether he has satisfied himself in his own mind about this. Can he explain why a company would wish to do business in this apparently odd way? Instead of simply negotiating a price, however low or high it may be, and paying that price, why would they deliberately pay more than the price which has allegedly according to the minister been agreed upon, although he just said the producer knows the price? He didn’t say he agreed to it.
In any event, why would they pay more than that price and then demand a rebate or a kickback to some subsidiary corporation? Is that not an unusual business practice? Can the minister explain to us why they would engage in that particular odd form of business practice?
Hon. W. Newman: Various companies do business in different ways.
Mr. Warner: The old free enterprise system really works well.
Hon. W. Newman: They are entitled to normal negotiations. If the member wanted to go out and buy a new car, he might go to several dealers to try to get the best deal he can.
Mr. Breithaupt: And send three per cent back and forth?
Hon. W. Newman: Or I as a farmer may want to go out and buy fertilizer for my farm in bulk.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Those members don’t have to -- they have all they need.
Hon. W. Newman: Or buy it from the member.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: Then deliberately overpay and have them send the difference to my brother?
Hon. W. Newman: If the member will listen to what I was going to say about fertilizer.
Mr. Ruston: That isn’t what you always call it.
Hon. W. Newman: Those of you in the House who are farmers will understand what I’m talking about.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You bet your boots.
Hon. W. Newman: I will go out and get a discount if I buy my fertilizer early. It may be that down the road the price of fertilizer may be reduced and because of that I get a rebate back from the company I’m dealing with when I buy my fertilizer. I go out to make the best deal possible and buy as much as I can at one time to get the best deal possible. Really, that’s good business practice as far as I’m concerned.
Mr. S. Smith: Rebates have nothing to do with the price going down.
Hon. W. Newman: Oh, yes, we’re talking about the situation. Another matter was raised, and I’m sure the member is going to bring it up so I’ll bring it up myself.
Mr. Breithaupt: How honourable of you.
Mr. Kerrio: After you saw the question.
Hon. W. Newman: It’s pertaining to this. The member asked me about this yesterday. There were certain allegations made in a speech by Mr. Peter Hannam, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. I have read it over very carefully. I find there are no specific instances of it. Our cabinet has met and the member’s caucus met just recently with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and that matter was not brought up before cabinet.
We’re looking for specifics. I’m quite prepared to make a full statement on this matter on Thursday of this week, so that the members will have all the facts before them and they will fully understand it.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question that I want to pose to the Minister of Health arising out of the Ontario Hospital Association’s statement of principles on hospital reimbursement which was issued today.
Is the minister aware of the feeling among hospital administrators which was reflected to the OHA when it canvassed their opinions on the way in which the ministry was dealing with the hospitals? Can he comment on the decision of the hospitals where they state that if funds are inadequate they will either cease availability of services to their communities, reduce quality of care, or limit the quantity of elective services to be provided?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the survey which was done covered less than 10 per cent of hospital administrators in the province. It was a rather selective list.
Mr. di Santo: So what?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Secondly, I might say that, given some of the comments highlighted in the Globe and Mail this morning, it is interesting to look at the list. There are several Englishmen, a couple of Scotsmen and --
Mr. Breaugh: Another Jackson. Are you going to do another Jackson number on us?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, I’m not. I’m just commenting on the portion of the Globe and Mail article this morning that made certain comments about some of my staff in the Ministry of Health. I would consider those comments to fall into a rather questionable category. I think this Mr. Lynch of the OHA should resign.
Mr. Warner: We think you should resign.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I had delivered to me just an hour ago, a letter from the executive director of the Ontario Hospital Association indicating that they had today approved a statement of six principles of reimbursement, which will form the body of discussions between myself and senior representatives of the ministry with the president, senior staff and members of the board of the Ontario Hospital Association. As far as the other comments are concerned, I think, frankly, they should be taken rather lightly.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the comments I quoted to him just now in the House were not just the comments of 10 per cent of the hospital administrators across the province? I might say he is casting some doubts on the credibility of the hospital association which I find rather difficult to take when he makes that kind of comment.
Is he aware that this is, in fact, a statement of policy which has now been adopted by the Ontario Hospital Association’s board meeting today, and when they talk about reducing elective services, what they are suggesting is that the ministry issue guidelines as to which elective services will not be provided? Can the minister say what kind of elective services will be cut back, or what kind of services will be reduced, or where quality of care will be undercut as a result of the hospital association’s statement of principles in relation with the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Unlike the honourable member opposite, I do not formulate the ministry policy within an hour of receiving a document. This arrived on my desk only an hour ago. It will form the basis of discussions between the ministry and the OHA.
It’s rather interesting that the honourable member tries to portray himself as a defender of the OHA. I’ve never known him to do that before. It’s rather interesting.
I’m certainly not trying to attack the OHA. There is a very good relationship between myself, the ministry and the OHA.
Mr. Rotenberg: The minister is flexible.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is getting to the member for Ottawa Centre.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It’s a very open one. Where we disagree, it’s an honest disagreement, but we are able to work out a great many of the problems facing the health care system.
I think what this reflects -- without commenting in any way as to the viability or otherwise of any one of the six points -- what is reflected is the recognition on both parts -- the ministry and the OHA -- that the healthcare system is in transition --
Mr. Swart: Out of transition.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- that we’re going to have to continue the de-emphasis on the institutional sector, and that there are going to have to be adjustments all over the province in what we have known as the traditional form of institutional care. This is not something that is new in our discussions. This document is new and, hopefully, it will assist all of us in formulating even more policies to deal with the transition of the system in the years ahead.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition has a supplementary.
Mr. Laughren: What is the Liberal position?
Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister comment on the final point, and that’s the document which he was sent -- I assume it’s the same one that I have seen -- in which they say that if there is not enough money to cover their costs, that hospitals have, as one of their options, the option of curtailing the availability of services to individuals? What does the association mean by that, in the minister’s view, and how does the minister react to that particular option?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It’s not clear, Mr. Speaker. Again, this is why there is going to be further discussion. I’m not sure whether they’re talking about reducing the number of beds in areas of the province which are over-bedded, or whether they’re talking about reducing certain services in any given range. It’s quite unclear at this point and, since it arrived only an hour ago, I’m not going to make any assumptions about it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: One final supplementary from the member for Oshawa.
Mr. Breaugh: I want to pursue the matter of the relationship between the OHA and the ministry which seems to have deteriorated rather badly, according to the Globe and Mail reports this morning; and the minister’s comments this afternoon aren’t going to help things a lot either.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member would hope that.
Mr. Breaugh: Don’t impute my motives. I certainly wouldn’t hope that. I would hope that they would work it out.
Mr. McClellan: The minister wants the guy to resign.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the member place his question?
Mr. Breaugh: If the Speaker can control the interjections, I can place the question.
The remarkable thing is that in the final option -- and I want to know whether the minister agrees with this or not -- has he really cut it to the bone, because this is the first instance where he is not talking about reducing duplication or providing alternative sources of servicing? The three alternatives put forward in the sixth recommendation by the OHA talks, for the first time, about a reduction in services available. Is that acceptable to his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: What we have tried to emphasize to the hospitals, particularly this year when we sent out the budget letters in February, is that there are certain areas where we do not find it acceptable to reduce service, one being chronic, another being psychiatric services, and a third being outpatient services.
We recognize -- and this is really what was called for by the OHA when I met with them at their convention in November -- that it can’t be a matter of the government just leaving it to the hospitals to take responsibility for this because we’re in this together, and there are going to have to be adjustments in the system right across the province. I mentioned one example, in certain areas which are over-bedded, there will undoubtedly have to be some beds closed in the years ahead and duplications eliminated, and that sort of thing. I don’t think it has to come to eliminating services, it’s a question of how you provide the services in a most economical and most reasonable fashion.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre with his second question.
MAPLE PARK PLAN
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Premier, which arises out of the fact that we understand that the cabinet will be considering the appeal of the OMB decision related to the amusement park in Maple, the theme park in Maple.
In view of the fact that satisfactory answers have still not been provided to the concerns raised about that theme park and, in particular, that it will reduce traffic on Highway 400 to a stop-and-go situation where there will be almost complete congestion within a few years; in view of the loss of farm land involved; and in view of the effect on sewage and water systems in that area -- the central York servicing area -- will the Premier make a commitment that there will be an environmental assessment on this particular project, in which all of those concerns may be looked at and in which the value of public investment that may be required can be related to the dollars per job created, if the government feels that the project should go ahead?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think there’s any point in misleading the honourable member --
Mr. Breaugh: Otherwise you would do it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that the government will be considering an environmental assessment. There has been a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board; there is an appeal before cabinet and cabinet will deal with it. I really can’t help the member much more than that at this moment.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the Premier comment then on the suggestions that have been made by planners within the government who have suggested that the cost of resolving some of the problems which are related to transportation in particular could amount to more than $100 million -- or more than $400,000 per fulltime job that will be created at that theme park? Is that the way in which the government intends to carry out the protection of the environment and is that an adequate and affordable means of creating employment in the province?
Mr. Wildman: Another Minaki.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The honourable member with a supplementary question asks whether this is another Minaki. His party ran into a lot of grief with its position on Minaki.
An hon. member: It wasn’t a supplementary. It was a comment.
Mr. Warner: They just took away your liquor licence.
Mr. Breaugh: It was funny.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I, personally, have not, as some of the members opposite and others have, prejudged what the decision of cabinet will be because that is not my way of treating appeals before cabinet. I have learned a little in my experience that there are planners who can present points of view that on occasion are in rather direct conflict. As I recall some of the history of this project, it does have the support of the local municipality and there are some members opposite who on occasion do suggest that the local municipality should have some say. It seems to have passed their scrutiny.
Mr. McClellan: Why are you so down on environmental assessment?
Hon. Mr. Davis: While I know people can belittle a project of this nature, I can tell the honourable member from some limited experience that debates of this nature were held when Disneyland, or whatever it is in the state of Florida, was being located. If the honourable member doesn’t think that that is something of an economic asset to that community -- his former leader I think has even been there; I confess to having been there -- it is a great economic plus.
Mr. Foulds: That is Disney World.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t think we can afford the luxury in this province of automatically saying no to a project of this nature.
Mr. Warner: There is no swamp in Maple.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If there is an environmental problem, it would lie, in my view, in an area that can be solved in terms of the provision of services. As to the suggestion that it will require $100 million; as a non-planner, a non-expert, one who knows very little about what might be involved, I would hazard a guess that this figure is totally out of line. I can recall a debate in this House -- the member for York South and others will recall it, and I happened to be opposed to it at the time -- Sherway centre, or whatever it is out at the junction of Highway 27 and the Queen Elizabeth Way. I remember it well.
Mr. Nixon: That was a great power struggle in cabinet. That was decided behind closed doors. Bud Gregory was calling the shots and he wasn’t even a member.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The planners there were predicting -- and this goes back 10 years -- that the traffic tie-up at the junction of 27 and the Queen Elizabeth Way would be horrendous. I drive by there twice a day -- probably more than almost any member of this House -- and those predictions 10 years later have not come to fruition.
Mr. Cassidy: After the expenditure of $60 million.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will make a prediction for the honourable member and I am not, as I say, prejudging this --
Mr. McClellan: Sure, $60 million later, it is fine.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I expect I will read in the Globe and Mail tomorrow by the noted columnist, who has already taken something of a position on this issue, that I have made up my mind; but I haven’t. However, I would like to see it in this province -- I make no bones about it. I think it will be a great addition to the economy and the tourist attractions located in Ontario. My guess is that if it is approved some of the dire predictions of the members opposite will never materialize. However, I have not made up my mind.
Mr. Deans: Thank heavens you haven’t made up your mind.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Premier has indicated that he believes the figures which have been put forward are subject to dispute, would the Premier at least undertake, before arriving at a decision in this matter, to ascertain whether or not those figures are correct? The Premier has said he believes in local autonomy, to which I am dedicated. However, I believe that if there are expenditures by the province relating to a project we have a responsibility. Would the Premier at least undertake to ascertain the accuracy of those prognostications --
Mr. McClellan: Before you make up your mind.
Mrs. Campbell: -- and share them with this House before coming to a decision?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I find the question intriguing and I am delighted to hear from the member for St. George once again reassert her total commitment to local autonomy, which is sometimes contradictory coming from the party opposite. But, anyway, I accept her statement --
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, oh!
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say from the party, I don’t say you personally. Don’t take it so personally, Margaret.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really can’t undertake to the honourable member to come back here to this House with my assessment of the prognosis of certain planners.
Mr. McClellan: You have already made your decision.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Firstly, as I define the word prognosis, it could be an estimate, a guesstimate, an idea, a judgement. I cannot come back here with figures that are necessarily going to support or destroy or alter what some people have suggested.
Mr. McClellan: You have already made the decision.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Really, what you are asking me to do is become a planner overnight. I cannot do that for you, so I can’t make that sort of commitment.
Mrs. Campbell: But you will be basing your decision on something.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The only commitment I can give to the members of this House --
Mr. S. Smith: You’ve got to make a decision based on something. Why don’t you share it with us?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I would say to the Leader of the Opposition we will make a decision based on the best judgement of the collective wisdom of those men and women who share the responsibilities of serving on the Executive Council of this province as we have done so ably on these matters before over so many periods of time.
Mr. S. Smith: And the cost; you are ignoring the cost as usual.
Mr. Peterson: Will you show us your dice?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you in favour of it or against it?
Mr. Conway: Give John White a call.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary to the Premier regarding the theme park: Does he recall the regional planning branch recommended against an exemption for this project from the land transfer tax amounting in value to $146,950 on the grounds that it was not a suitable location for the development? If there is this kind of money riding on the exemption, is it not a reason for having the most thorough environmental inquiry as to the reasons the regional planning branch made that recommendation against the exemption?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am delighted to see some members opposite are taking the regional planning branch not only seriously but are in support of what is a point of view.
Mr. Cassidy: You killed it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t participate in the discussion here the other day, but I listened attentively and I have read it since. Certainly the party opposite can have no position on this issue at all because the regional planning branch was somewhat involved in the development of the Niagara Escarpment proposal which most members across the House have rejected as being an environmental concern to the public of this province.
Mr. Swart: What about all your members?
Mr. Warner: Tell your cabinet ministers.
Mr. McClellan: What about McCague?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s just an aside.
Mr. Kerrio: What are you talking about, Bill?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’re talking about a deferral; we’re talking about a possible deferral. We’re talking about the location of something that will be in the interests of the economy and the people of this province. I am not going to get into a debate as to whether the regional planning people are right in their assessment or wrong. One thing I hope members opposite are beginning to understand, the planners from our standpoint in government are there to advise us. When it comes to making a decision it will be made by the elected people in this Legislature, and that’s just what we will do --
Mr. S. Smith: Will you find out what the cost is?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I don’t know what the decision will be.
Mr. Germa: Oh, no.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m delighted to see there’s such an interest.
LAP SEAM BOILER INSPECTION
Mr. G. E. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minster of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Considering the fact that all of the clubs and associations operating steam shows in the province of Ontario rely on the use of steam traction engines for their demonstrations and displays, has the minister given consideration to my request and to the request of other members on both sides of this House to extend the current inspection procedure for another year for lap seam boilers in order that the owners of these traction engines may apply for funding from Wintario to x-ray the boilers to ensure the safety of the general public?
Mr. Bradley: I’m glad you asked that question.
Mr. Kerrio: We are going to see if there is a Tory inside.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We have taken this up with our ministry and we have continuing concern with regard to these devices. However, it’s clear that the time has come to draw the bottom line on the situation. With that in mind, we’ve arranged to permit their use this coming year, subject to the ordinary tests being conducted, on the understanding that this is the last year of the extension and on the understanding that applications are going to be made for Wintario grants to fund the required x-ray tests.
As well, I should put members of those associations on notice that we are considering an amendment to the regulations to the Boiler and Pressure Vessels Act to permit registered associations and clubs to be responsible for the safety of the boilers owned and operated by their members. That is, in view of the situation, we’re asking the clubs to take some responsibility for the continuing safety of those devices.
In the interim, we will permit a one-year extension, subject to the ordinary hydrostatic tests being conducted and on the understanding that the x-rays will have to be conducted this year or there will be no further extension.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: In view of the fact that x-rays have been done and have shown no defects on many of the boilers, would the minister not consider hydrostatic cold water tests one and a half times the pressure of the normal operating pressure an adequate safety test as far as these particular boilers are concerned?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. Obviously, our mandate is the protection of the public and admittedly we want to be extra careful lest one of these machines, by virtue of the operator’s negligence or by virtue of some problem in the machines themselves, blows up and explodes at a county fair, for example.
Mr. Wildman: Have you ever been to a county fair?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: On balance, we are opting, admittedly, to follow the extra safe route. At the conclusion perhaps of the whole series of x-rays, which I hope would be conducted over the coming year, then it might be time to look at what the x-rays have shown and make some assessment with regard to the effectiveness of the hydrostatic and other tests the member has referred to.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Is the minister saying that even after the conclusion of those x-ray tests there will still not necessarily be any certification of these boilers and that these owners may go through this process of x-raying to find it all for naught at the end?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. What we are saying is that we’re requiring the x-ray tests and that at the conclusion of those tests we will then be able to assess the results and say that the x-rays will not be required for a period of years, whatever that might be. Until we have those results we couldn’t make that judgement. I can give a quite easy assurance that we aren’t going to require x-rays to be done every year, for example. Until we’ve had the whole set, we don’t want to make a definitive judgement as to how many years would be permitted.
Mr. Conway: Give him an OHIP number.
REFLECTORIZED LICENCE PLATES
Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. As the minister in a formal statement before the Legislature on Friday, November 19, 1976, expressed his recognition of the safety factor with reflectorized licence plates, is he prepared at this time to tell us just exactly when he intends to implement the program that was supposed to have started in 1977?
Hon. Mr. Snow: We’re still planning on proceeding with the implementation of a program of reflectorized licence plates. I can’t give the honourable member a specific date at this moment as to when they will be available. They’ll be phased in gradually. One of the problems with the program is the added cost factor in our very restrained budget at this time.
BRONTE PROVINCIAL PARK
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Natural Resources: Could the minister inform the House whether or not he is aware of rather serious allegations concerning Bronte Provincial Park and the management and possible misuse of public funds at the park? Is there an investigation currently under way? Are the auditors checking the financial affairs of the park and its management at this time?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The answer to the first part, Mr. Speaker, is, yes, I’m aware of the allegations. We received anonymous letters, as I assume the honourable member and other members did. Although I would have rather had letters signed by people whose names were available for cross-checking, these letters were the basis for certain investigations in the park. I understand that staff changes are contemplated and either have been done or will be done.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: In view of the fact that some of the allegations were in fair detail, when will we know the results and will any prosecutions result?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member has made an assumption that all the allegations were accurate.
Ms. Gigantes: Are you firing innocent people?
Mr. Deans: No. He asked, will any prosecutions result? If they were inaccurate, the answer is no.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I don’t know that they were accurate; in fact, I suspect there were some extensions of fact in them. I understand that disciplinary measures are all that was contemplated rather than any measures before the courts.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Revenue has a reply to a question asked previously.
FARMING DATA BANK
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, May 12, the member for Huron-Middlesex asked me a question concerning my ministry’s assessment division data bank on farm properties.
As I have said, this data bank is definitely not being scuttled. However, a new assessment data system is in the process of being created which merges this data bank with the standard assessment system. As I am sure many members are aware, the standard assessment system is the basis for producing assessment rolls, voters’ lists and school support lists for the use of the municipalities and school boards.
The new merged system will be more efficient than running two systems independently. As a result, there will be some reduction in file size through the removal of duplicated data and data of only uncertain usefulness.
The honourable member referred to data received by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in September 1977 and expressed his concern that this service would be discontinued. I would like to say that it has always been our intention to include these data in the new merged system, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will have access to the data on the same basis as it has in prior years. In fact, the Minister of Agriculture and Food wrote me last week requesting this information again.
So, quite the contrary to the member’s suggestion, there will be better service than ever before and the substantial interest of the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the honourable member opposite will be well served.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: Has the branch of the ministry that is responsible for this data bank processing been reduced in size or is it still carrying out this very important function with the same number of people?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: To my knowledge, there has been no reduction in staff in that particular area. It’s just within the assessment division. There will be a reduction in staff in the field operations branch of the assessment division but not in the area where this information is being produced.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: There are a number of members carrying on private conversations and it’s very difficult to hear the questions and answers.
LOCKOUT OF TEACHERS
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. Recognizing that the Wentworth County Board of Education teachers’ dispute has deteriorated to the point now that the board has found it necessary to obtain court orders to effect search and seizure in the homes of the teachers to obtain the marks and exam papers, would the minister not agree that this particular situation has reached the point where a negotiated settlement between the two parties is virtually impossible?
Mr. Laughren: What are you suggesting, Eric?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, it may or may not be impossible for them to reach a negotiated settlement but, as I indicated in the House last week and in my statement concerning the Renfrew matter, which, incidentally, I sent also to the Wentworth board and its secondary school teachers, there are in Bill 100 provisions that allow for other resolutions of the matter. They’re laid out there. If both sides can’t negotiate a settlement or a new contract, under the terms of Bill 100 they can proceed to arbitration or final offer selection. Therefore, they can bring the dispute to some kind of resolution on their own volition. I suggest to the parties that is perhaps the avenue they should follow if they can’t negotiate a settlement.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that the complete reticence on the part of the board to involve itself in the avenues he refers to has caused an impasse in these negotiations and has placed the education of the children and the students in the county in total jeopardy at this point in time?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’m not in a position to say whether certain actions on either side have made negotiations impossible or have affected the outcome, or indeed that the students’ program is in jeopardy at this time. I have no word from the Education Relations Commission in the form of any communication that the students’ program is in jeopardy or could be in jeopardy because of the dispute that’s going on in that area.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Given that much of what was said by my colleague is true; that the board simply refuses to negotiate any further and puts obstacles in the way of any sensible proposals being put to it, has the minister given consideration to personally involving himself in this dispute and inviting the Wentworth board and its representatives to come into Queen’s Park and sit down and explain why it is they refuse to use any of the avenues provided for them in the education bill, why it is that they refuse to negotiate, and how in the name of heaven they expect to reach a settlement if they won’t take advantage of any of the proposals that are available to be used.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think that all the members of this House recall that when we passed Bill 100 we set up a body called the Education Relations Commission to carry out that very function.
Mr. Deans: I understand that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: There are on the commission, and on its staff, people who are much more skilled in this particular endeavour than I am.
Mr. Deans: But you are the minister.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are the member.
Mr. Deans: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I suggest they are the people who can perform the service the member has asked for and they are doing that. If they’re not doing it at this minute, they stand ready to do it when they think the appropriate time has come.
Mr. Deans: That board is impossible, and the minister knows it.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: May I ask the minister at what point he would regard the school year to be in jeopardy?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I can’t answer that question. That question doesn’t have an answer that could be a definitive one that I could answer, or that even my friend could answer.
PULP AND PAPER MILLS
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources with regard to a comment he made this afternoon during the course of his press conference at 1:30, when he released the ministry discussion paper, The Ontario Pulp and Paper Industry -- Status and Outlook. He indicated in response to a press question that he thought the mills were not in bad shape -- he used the word “optimistic” -- but he did indicate that there might be one or two or three mills that would be shut down in the province. Could he indicate to us which mills those might be, if he has the information? Does he not think it would be worthwhile communicating that to the workers involved so that the rationalization of the work force can take place smoothly?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It isn’t as if I had two or three specific names of mills that in the future would not be economically viable operations and could say this town or that mill or this mill. I was asked did I think they would all be updated. The answer was “I suspect not,” because there may be two or three mills in the province that will be phased out with time rather than renovated, simply because two or three are getting older and the investment in them might not be justified. These, however, could be places or locations where a totally new mill may be put in place and, therefore, we haven’t reached a point where a closure and loss of employment are automatic.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Could the minister share with the House any data he has not yet revealed to the public on which he bases this suspicion or assumption; and can he assure us that he, along with the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), will work to replace those facilities, where it is proven viable, in order to maintain jobs in that industry?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The whole purpose of today’s presentation was simply to give members and other people in the province an idea of the state of the industry, as the member knows. I came away encouraged by the state of the industry, although most of the discussion, naturally, centered on its problem. That is normal, as far as I can see.
I can’t give out the data on specific mills because a precondition of the release of the information by companies to our consultants was that the specific corporate data would be kept confidential since it was the kind of thing we normally would not have access to, and since it was also the kind of information which would give competitors a real edge if that information were available. So we promised that data on specific mills would not be released in the future.
We can talk about the generalities and we will, I’m sure, be working with my colleagues in other ministries to see that marginal mills are helped in any way within my authority and their authority.
FARM PRODUCTS MARKETING BOARD
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Agriculture and Food has an answer to a question previously asked.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question from the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) that I table the minutes of the Farm Products Marketing Board, may I remind members that I instructed the board in February of 1977 to be more open with its decisions.
I specifically instructed the board to open its appeal hearings to the public. Notice of these meetings on issues of public concern are now given to the press gallery and I understand several reporters have attended these hearings. Minutes of the decisions of these hearings are available for public review at the board office.
However, Mr Speaker, I will not offer to table the minutes of the regular board meeting where the business of the Farm Products Marketing Board is conducted. Some of this business of the board recorded in these minutes concerns the licensing of private companies, dealers and processors who handle some of Ontario’s 44 farm products. The minutes record the review of ratios indicating the financial worth of these private companies. This data is presented with an application for licence as confidential information supplied by the company.
The board minutes also record meetings of the 21 commodity boards to discuss proposed policies and marketing strategies. Public disclosure, resulting in knowledge of these developing programs by international competitors would place the commodity boards at a real disadvantage in marketing the growers’ commodities; surely the member from Kitchener cannot want this.
Moreover, all of the minutes of the 21 commodity boards are held by the Farm Products Marketing Board. I cannot offer to table these minutes. They are minutes of producer-elected boards and are private and confidential. The local marketing boards are required by law to report minutes to the Farm Products Marketing Board. This allows the board to supervise the commodity board, as required by the act.
If you want these minutes you must ask the commodity boards. I cannot offer you the minutes of these commodity boards. I repeat that the issues before the Farm Products Marketing Board -- I might also add here and of the Ontario Milk Commission -- are discussed in public meetings. The decisions and minutes of these meetings are already open and available at the board office.
Mr. S. Smith: Since the minister himself feels that he is unable to table the minutes from the year 1977, can he give this House a personal guarantee that at no time during the year 1977 -- and I speak specifically of July, but the question is asked generally -- was any reference made at the Farm Products Marketing Board to the possible existence of the discounting or kickback or rebate practice that has been referred to in this House? Can he, in fact, guarantee that he has examined the minutes personally, has spoken to the chairman of the Farm Products Marketing Board; and can he guarantee to this House that there was not reference made as far back as July of 1977 to the discounting or rebate practice?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker --
Mr. S. Smith: Yes or no?
Hon. W. Newman: I haven’t read all the minutes of the Farm Products Marketing Board.
Mr. S. Smith: You can speak to the chairman.
Hon. W. Newman: As of July 1977, I was aware of the Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board problems.
Mr. Makarchuk: Careful or we will have to x-ray you.
Hon. W. Newman: And if that is what you are talking about then make it clear, because you didn’t the other day. You did not make that clear the other day. If that’s what you’re talking about, tell us.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege; or as a supplementary, as you may prefer, Mr. Speaker: The matter has nothing to do with the fact that there was a dispute involving the greenhouse marketing board and whatever else was going on. The matter has to do with whether during that meeting there was raised with the chairman of the board the existence on the part of retail chains of a discounting or rebate or kickback practice. That is the question, and that is what we wanted the minutes for. Will the minister guarantee that no such reference was made? That is what I am asking him to do.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I will check the minutes, but I can also tell the member that as of July, 1977, I know that the Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board were having problems at that board level.
Mr. Mancini: You are muddying the waters.
Hon. W. Newman: The Leader of the Opposition’s member from that area can fill him in on it.
Mr. S. Smith: That is not the issue.
Hon. W. Newman: In July 1977 I was aware of that situation. What is the Leader of the Opposition talking about then?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: I hate to drag this on; I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Speaker. The question is whether at the meeting where that whole business the minister is talking about with the greenhouse growers was taken up, there was also reference made to the fact that certain retail chains in Ontario demand a discount or a rebate practice of the kind we were talking about, that is the question. As far back as 1977, did the chairman of the Farm Marketing Board have some inkling that these things did exist? Did he at least have that reported to him?
Hon. W. Newman: At the Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board we were drawn into it, in July, 1977. There was talk of discounts then, yes. I referred to that in answer to one of the member’s questions the other day. As for any other dealings or discounts with other groups, I am not aware of any. I will check that out.
Mr. MacDonald: Why didn’t you say that in the first place?
Hon. W. Newman: I did say it, if members would only listen.
Mr. Mancini: I have a question of the Minister of Education. In view of the fact that the Essex County Board of Education has now publicly guaranteed that the current strike in Essex county will have no effect on the student credit acquisition, and in view of the fact that this has now been challenged by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, could the minister explain if the Essex County Board of Education has the authority to reduce the requirements for the granting of a secondary school credit? Has the Minister of Education authorized the Essex County Board of Education to grant credits on the basis of this reduced amount of time and work?
Hon. Mr. Wells: The answer to both those questions is no.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Can the minister give any kind of guarantee that the strike now going on in Essex county will not jeopardize the school year of the students involved?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I can’t give that guarantee. I think that is dependent on a number of factors. I would suggest that all those concerned in Essex county should put that particular proposition directly and clearly to the board and the teachers in Essex county, and indicate that they would like some answer from them on it.
In so far as the board is concerned, the board has no authority to lessen the requirements for the granting of a credit. In most cases where there has been a work stoppage, after the schools have reopened there has been a program undertaken by the principals and teachers in the schools, co-operating with the board, to catch up the missed work. To all intents and purposes, this fulfils the requirements of the credit. That would have to take place in Essex at some particular time.
Mrs. Campbell: What year?
Mr. Ruston: Supplementary to the minister: Since the teachers in Essex county do not wish to go to arbitration or final offer selection, would the minister then send the letter he sent to the other boards to the teachers in Essex county and ask them, because in the Essex county case the board has offered to go to final offer or arbitration?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I am sure the teachers in Essex county are well aware of what we have said and done in the other disputes, both Renfrew and Wentworth. They have a very good network of communications and I am sure they know. But if it would be of any assistance I will be glad to send the same information to the people in Essex county as I did to the other areas.
OHTB STAFF LIST
Mr. Philip: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications concerning the possibility of preferential treatment being given to certain lawyers before the Highway Transport Board. Would the minister clarify the apparent contradiction between his answer in this House yesterday to my question and his letter of April 27? In his letter of April 27 he indicated that the names and telephone numbers of two lawyers that appeared on the transport board staff list did so because some receptionist who no longer works for the board typed the list out for personal use and added the two solicitors’ names. The minister’s reply yesterday indicated that the staff list I received was only the first page of a list and that the other lawyers appeared on the second list; in other words, what is his official excuse?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I can’t see any conflict --
Mr. Pope: There isn’t any.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- in what the honourable member has read at all. If the honourable member has any charges to make against any member of the board or against any solicitor, I wish he would make them.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: Can the minister tell us when he intends, if ever, to table the information I asked for in this House on April 20 -- in particular the date of each application that has been received by the transport board and the date on which each of these applications has been assigned? Or does he intend to go on acting as an apologist for the shoddy and capricious way in which the transport board is handling its matters?
Mr. Warner: Resign. Why don’t you just resign? You can’t handle that board.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr. Snow: I have no need or no intention to be an apologist for the chairman of the board or any member of the board. They are very honourable and noble gentlemen and ladies who have acted very well on behalf of this province for a great many years, and have done an excellent job. The information the honourable member asked for I believe is being assembled. I believe it will take some considerable amount of research and time to get it.
HARWICH LANDFILL SITE
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that a dormant landfill licence has been reactivated and has been transferred from its former owner, and that this was done without the benefit of a public hearing by which the residents of Harwich township and the Harwich township council could have been apprised of the studies that were done to prove the safety of this site, would the minister tell this House, and especially tell the Harwich township council, what studies have been carried on?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, although I believe I saw a letter on that subject I am not aware of it. I can get an answer for the honourable member on Thursday.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Minister of the Environment is aware that yesterday he said he did not know where the liquid industrial waste now going into the Beare Road landfill site would go after June 30, 1978, when the landfill site is to be closed to liquid industrial waste. In view of the fact that the Metro Toronto works committee, in a report dated May 2, said that to date the provincial municipal task force studying this problem had found that only 55 per cent of the waste can be redirected to acceptable alternative disposal facilities, I would like to ask the minister what responsibility he is taking for the satisfactory disposition of the other 45 per cent of this liquid industrial waste. There are only six weeks to go before the site is closed. Or is he proposing to let it be dumped into ravines, lakes, and sewers?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The question has been asked.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Into Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms. Bryden: I would also like to ask what response is he making to the recommendation of the Metro council that the province assume responsibility for acquiring liquid industrial waste disposal sites, as recommended by the Robarts commission?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I expect to be receiving a report from the people in my ministry who are on that task force in co-operation with Metro. We’ll deal with the matter at that time.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary. Can the minister give us a report within the week as to what his plans are?
Hon. Mr. McCague: In due course.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Is the minister trying to tell us today that he really doesn’t have any concern with that June 30 deadline; that he is possibly going to ignore and not solve the problem of the disposal of liquid waste?
Some hon. members: Resign. Resign.
Mr. Cassidy: Which way are you going to vote on this one?
Mr. McClellan: This isn’t the escarpment.
Hon. Mr. McCague: That is not so at all. I’m just trying to get you people over there to leave politics out of this issue and let us all work together to solve it.
Mr. McClellan: You are a disgrace. You’re even worse than George Kerr.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Order.
Mr. Warner: Save our suds.
Mr. Lewis: Play politics on the escarpment but not in Scarborough.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There is a deep well in Beaches-Woodbine.
JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM
Mr. Bradley: I would like to ask the Attorney General if he feels the juvenile court system in the province of Ontario -- and specific references have been made to the city of Toronto -- is operating as he would like it to, when several Toronto school board spokesmen, according to a Globe and Mail article, have said in interviews that over-compassionate judges have turned the juvenile court experience into a farce and a fraud for children --
Mr. Wildman: Oh, we don’t want compassionate judges, do we?
Mr. Bradley: -- and have rendered meaningless the threat of charges?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I certainly don’t agree with those statements, Mr. Speaker. I think we have an outstanding family and juvenile court bench in Toronto and elsewhere in this province. A number of concerned citizens are worried about the appropriateness of the juvenile court, for example, dealing with truancy matters. This is an issue that is not going to be easily resolved. There are many very wise commentators who seriously question whether or not the juvenile court is the place to deal with that problem.
For these spokesmen to make such blanket statements as were reported, at least, in the Globe and Mail, is in my view simply not justified by the facts.
OHTB STAFF LIST
Hon. Mr. Snow: Further to the question of the member for Etobicoke at the time he asked for the information, I asked if he would put the question on the order paper so we could obtain the information. The question has not yet appeared.
Ms. Gigantes: Read it in Hansard.
Mr. Philip: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. The question was very clear. I asked for precisely these items and the minister could easily have given us this.
Ms. Gigantes: Right.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Philip: The minister can read Hansard the same way as anyone else.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD ANNUAL REPORT
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition, pursuant to provisional order number seven of the Legislative Assembly:
“We, the undersigned members of the assembly, hereby petition that the annual report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1977, tabled October 17, 1977, be referred to the standing committee on resources development for such consideration and report as the committee may determine.
“It is our presumption that such consideration will proceed forthwith. What we want is a time-table debate during which we can question witnesses under oath and find out whether an inquiry of a public nature is required into the discounting practice which we have been discussing.”
Mr. Nixon: Very sensible.
Mr. Havrot: Hogwash.
Mr. Havrot: When will you grow up?
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have approximately 7,000 signatures -- I know the minister may verify it in time -- from voters, taxpayers and, most important, students from my constituency who are concerned that the provision of education has been denied to their children. They are asking for direct intervention by the minister.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ONTARIO FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES ACT
Mr. Roy moved first reading of Bill 89, An Act respecting French Language Services in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, if I may make a brief statement, this bill places the duty on the government of Ontario to provide, as a right, public services in the French language to the citizens of Ontario, subject to certain conditions in the bill. The bill also establishes the offices of a French-language coordinator and the Language Service Board to aid in improving the availability of French-language services in Ontario.
Basically, this bill establishes a statutory framework for French-language services in Ontario. It is not a bill to bilingualize the province or to force French on anyone. Basically, it’s a reasonable and practical method to satisfy the legitimate demands of Franco-Ontarians in this province.
Mr. Samis: This is a second-reading speech, Albert.
Mr. Warner: Are we moving to second reading?
Mr. Roy: It is our intention to present the bill in both languages in the Legislature; and despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the translation services here at Queen’s Park, it became obvious that the translation of this legislation was not adequate, and in fact, the bill points out clearly the necessity for having such services in Ontario.
M. l’Orateur, si je peux dire quelques mots en français, le but de la législation qu’on présente pour laquelle j’espère avoir l’appui de tous les membres de la Législature, est un effort du Parti Liberal de légiférer les droits des Franco-Ontariens.
Mr. Samis: Discours.
Mr. Roy: Le but de cette législation c’est de forcer le gouvernement de l’Ontario de donner des services en français dans tous les secteurs. Le bill en même temps établit les modalités pour résoudre ce problème, c’est-à-dire on veut créer un coordinateur des services de langue française, ainsi qu’un comité qui ferait des recommandations au gouvernement. Le gouvernement serait obligé d’accepter ces recommandations à moins de donner des raisons valables.
D’après moi, M. l’Orateur, c’est une façon légitime, pratique et raisonnable de la part du Parti Libéral et chef Libéral, c’est d’appeler une structure législative pour enfin satisfaire les revendications des Franco-Ontariens.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I believe that any member of this assembly should be able to introduce a bill in either French or English. I wonder whether the Speaker would look into the matter raised by my colleague from Ottawa East as to whether or not his privileges as a member haven’t been upheld by him not being able to introduce the bill printed in both English and French. Perhaps the Speaker could report back to this assembly later.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, despite the best efforts of my colleagues to my left, the problem is not that there wasn’t a right. There’s nothing, as I think the Legislative Clerk will tell us, to stop us presenting a bill in both languages. The problem, basically, was in the translation. We, in reviewing the translation of the bill, were not satisfied with the translation. I don’t want to be overly critical of anyone, but I think it does point out the need for legislative translation services. This is not the fault of the Legislature but of the apparatus. I hope that, by accepting this type of legislation, we will have the apparatus working to satisfy what is a legitimate request.
Mr. Lewis: Just as a matter of interest on the point of order, I would like to add to what the member has just said. I thought perhaps it was an accident or an idiosyncrasy but I had occasion some months ago to have a major document translated by the translation service here. With the best will in the world, it had to be redone. I think there is some need to provide more money and more support for the translation services in Queen’s Park. Maybe the introduction of this bill does reinforce that truth.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I appreciate the point of order and the comments and I am sure it will be taken into consideration.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to question 45 and the interim answer to question 48 standing on the notice paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I believe the member for Riverdale was in full flight previously.
Mr. Nixon: With the second position of the NDP.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you flap your wings and get back into flight?
Mr. Renwick: I don’t know whether or not I would characterize the posture I was in at the adjournment two weeks ago on May 2, when this debate was adjourned on a matter which is of immense concern to me. I think because of the lapse of time it will be necessary for me, at least in some summary way, to recap what I had to say at that time.
I did want to speak really to all of the members of the House who could possibly have the time to listen or those who may at some point read what I have to say because I am calling for support from other members of each of the caucuses in the House in order to defeat the provision in Bill 22, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act, which provides for permissive authority for the Minister of Transportation and Communications to require that photographs be included and imprinted upon the driver’s licence of persons who are authorized to drive in the province.
It was interesting at the point of the adjournment that a number of the members expressed interest in what I had to say at that time. I am sorry that the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner) is not here as he came across and said he was very interested in the arguments that I was putting and the anxiety and fear which were implicit in the arguments that I was putting that in some way or other this was a significant and severe encroachment, disguised as an incidental amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, which we were imposing on the relationships between individuals and the state which are sometimes referred to as civil liberties.
The member for Peterborough said to me: “But do you know of any instance where the police have wrongfully stopped someone?” Rather than to get into a minutia of discussions about that, I said I believed I did, but I didn’t believe that there would be any point in getting into an argument about the situations in which the police may or may not have used this power in a way which was not intended by the assembly.
I do want to say that we have to put to rest the kind of argument implicit in the remarks of the member for Peterborough, and I say this most kindly. There is a theory abroad with respect to the kinds of laws we pass of a punitive nature respecting citizens that somehow or other implies if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from the police. Therefore, the theory is that we can give the police an unlicensed power to interfere with the individual liberty of the subject because the police are an agent of ours to enforce the law and, if we are not doing anything wrong, we should be quite happy to be stopped by the police and to establish for their satisfaction that we are about our lawful occasions and that we are not doing anything which is wrong. That is a total perversion, in my view, of the theory in a democratic society of the relation between the individual and the state.
Another of my colleagues, the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young), came to me and said, “Well, the trouble with you, Jim” -- and he said it kindly, as only a United Church minister could say it; he really wanted to share with me that I was much too logical in my presentation about my concern. I want to answer that. I am logical because I am concerned. I am trying to translate into articulate reasons the extent and degree of the concern and anxiety which I have, if we inadvertently, at this time in the assembly, pass the bill containing this provision. The other provisions of the bill, I have no problem with. But this particular bill is of such significance to me that I want, with all of the logic at my command, to put before the assembly in an articulate way the rational arguments which support and express the anxiety and concern which I have about the bill.
I want to summarize quite briefly -- because you will recall that I made half a dozen points in trying to establish what I wanted to put before the assembly -- and then I want to move on in the arguments that I will put, in the hope that I can persuade other members to join with me in defeating this particular provision, or at least join me in saying that if it is to be decided by this assembly that if I am driving an automobile in Ontario and the police stop me without any cause or reason for the purposes of identification then I want that matter debated as a matter of principle in the assembly because of its importance and not introduced by way of an incidental amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, regardless of the precursory reports which have led to some specious arguments being made that it is of validity.
In the course of my remarks, I made, first of all, a specific disclaimer: I am not concerned about the exercise of police power, either under the Criminal Code or any of the other statutes of Canada or of the province of Ontario, or under the Highway Traffic Act, where the intrusion of the police, the initiative the police take, is based upon a reasonable and probable cause to believe, or have reasonable or probable cause to see, that an offence is taking place; or have reason to suspect that a person has committed an offence. Those traditional protective clauses, which are the trigger of legitimate police action, are not my concern. I understand them, I appreciate them, and I respect them.
What I was talking about were the provisions that appear in sections 14 and 17 of the Highway Traffic Act, with respect to the requirement that without any reason a police officer can require you to produce your driver's licence; with respect to section 55 of the Highway Traffic Act which permits a police officer, without any reason, to stop your vehicle and to examine it on the theory that it may or may not be an unsafe vehicle; and the provision in the motor vehicle accident claims fund, tucked away in that statute, which provides that a police officer may, without any sense of concern or anxiety about it, simply stop your vehicle and require you to produce evidence either of your insurance or that you are covered under the motor vehicle accident claims fund.
I make the disclaimer again so that I will not be misunderstood. I have no problem if the words “reasonable and probable cause” or “have reason to suspect,” or some such protective words which are the basis for the initiation of police action are introduced in the bill. I am concerned about the bald statement that a police officer may, because you are in an automobile as the driver, stop that vehicle for the purposes which I have indicated.
I then went on to express my view that because of the extent of the numbers of drivers in Ontario, what we are for practical purposes authorizing the Minister of Transportation and Communications to do is to require an identification document or what is commonly known as an ID card.
I pointed out that the argument will be made that everybody now has to carry a licence to drive so what does it matter if the picture is on the card? I tried to make the very fundamental distinction that what distinguishes an ID card in the universal, accepted sense of that term is the appearance on an identification document of either a photograph or fingerprint or both. I therefore say to the minister that what you are doing here is, for practical purposes, introducing an almost universal form of ID card.
I pointed out at that time, by reference to the first report of the select committee on automobile insurance, where the statistical information is available, and by reference to an updated set of figures which I received from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, that we are talking about requiring 85 per cent or better of the male persons in Ontario over the age of 16 to carry that kind of an ID card. It would also require, as I understand it, something over 55 per cent of the female persons over the age of 16 now in Ontario to carry such a document.
Parenthetically I may say that our studies indicated that the great increase in registered drivers will be as a result of more and more women becoming qualified to drive. It will not be very long in this province before the overall percentage of persons over the age of 16 that would be required to have an ID card would be raised from the present average of 70 per cent to perhaps 80 or 85 per cent as more and more women become qualified to drive.
I find that a very significant intrusion upon the individual’s relationship with the state. He owes his allegiance to the state and his protection, but this is because of the rights of the individual and not because of the rights of the state. The kind of theory which is implicit in what the minister inadvertently has lent himself to support is a theory of civil society to which I do not subscribe.
Whether one believes in Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan -- that life is poor, solitary, nasty, brutish and short without civil society -- some people think that’s a law firm down on Bay Street -- or whether or not one believes in the theory of civil government put out by John Locke; or whether one believes in the theory of the civil state put out by Jean Jacques Rousseau, or whether one believes in the motivations that led to the Declaration of Independence and the preamble to the constitution of the United States, whether one believes in any one of those theories, each and every one of the traditional freedoms that we value in our society -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly -- relate to the fundamental relationship of the self-identity and dignity of the individual in relation to that society, howsoever constructed.
The moment we permit the intrusion by the state to require that identification we commit, in my judgement, a psychological error of vast proportion. It is not very long before the time will come when the individual sense of personal identity on the one hand will be so related to the possession on his person of the document with his photograph that if you take the document of identification away from him, you destroy the identity of the individual.
Some people may say that this is an idiosyncrasy of Jim Renwick or it’s a matter of conscience of Jim Renwick. It is not. The member for Riverdale is interested in one thing and one thing only -- attracting support amongst the members of the assembly to defeat this particular provision of the bill.
It does seem to me that those of us who have had any experience, either by reading, living, moving or through friends and relations, cannot deny the truth of the proposition that to the extent that a person is required to carry a document with his picture or fingerprints, or picture and fingerprints, you make a substitution for the document of identification for the person who is being identified -- and I know the minister is only asking for the photograph at the present time.
Mr. Nixon: It’s not universally required.
Mr. Renwick: I’m saying to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, and I hope he will listen to me, this will, in fact, mean --
Mr. Nixon: I am listening to you.
Mr. Renwick: -- 85 per cent of the men over age 16 --
Mr. Nixon: And 55 per cent of the females -- a growing number, but not universal. Only those people who want to drive a car.
Mr. Renwick: All right, it’s not universal. It’s only those people who want to drive a car, and, of course, it’s a negligible percentage of the population.
I agree with the member. If I can’t persuade him on that argument, I don’t think I can bring another argument to bear. The fact of the matter is that it will mean that substantially all of the population of the province, in any real sense of that term, will in fact have an identification card.
Mr. Nixon: They don’t have to carry it.
Mr. Renwick: Let me make one further argument. Everyone knows that at the present time the extension of credit through a document of identification is some kind of right within the society in which we live. If you go into any store at any time now, to produce evidence you’re generally asked for two things: one, the particular credit card and another document of identification.
Mr. Nixon: No.
Mr. Renwick: For practical purposes, when you are applying for credit in a store or in any place of business, you are likely to be viewed with suspicion if you cannot produce your driver’s licence.
Mr. Nixon: Just to cash a personal cheque. If you have a credit card you don’t have to back it up with a licence.
Mr. Renwick: Not when I go to my own bank.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Will the member for Riverdale ignore the interjections, and speak to the chair, please.
Mr. Renwick: I would like to speak to the chair, but I would like very much to have the member’s support. I find it difficult to believe that a Liberal of his tradition would not see the merit and the validity of the arguments which I am putting.
It is true that I can go to my bank and I can cash a cheque. It is true, because of the extension of credit and if they’re foolhardy enough to do it, I can perhaps go to any branch of my own bank and cash a cheque. But if you go into a store, even an honest man with the honest appearance of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk would be required to produce not only a credit card and a driver’s licence in order --
Mr. Nixon: Only to cash a cheque, not to make a purchase.
Mr. Renwick: No, for merchandise purchases in metropolitan Toronto that is becoming the custom at the present time.
Mr. Nixon: I’ve never had it happen. I guess I am more honest looking.
Mr. Renwick: All right, I don’t want to belabour the argument into a personal view.
Mr. Nixon: The argument is very thin.
Mr. Renwick: I very seldom have been able to persuade that particular member, but if this means that the Liberal caucus is going to support this, then I regret it.
Mr. Nixon: What is the NDP caucus going to do? They have indicated that they are against you on this.
Mr. Renwick: Yes, I understand that, but that doesn’t make them right or me right. It’s a question of what the assembly will do about a matter which is of significant importance to the individual liberty of the subject in this state.
Mr. Nixon: It is. But your arguments are usually much better than this.
Mr. Renwick: May I make a couple of more arguments in respect to what we were doing. The member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) and I, over a number of years have been concerned about the North Americanization, if I may say so, of the police forces in the province of Ontario. We’ve made the argument time and time again because we are, and have been, concerned about the duality of the role of the police. The police, generally speaking, adhere to the tradition which we have in this country which comes from the United Kingdom. They are members of the same society, clothed with authority in that society for the purpose of protecting the individual citizen.
But in addition to that, they have become by the nature of their organization instruments by which the power of the state as such is enforced against the individual. One of the strange things which has happened as a result of the invention of the automobile, regardless of the benefits which we have derived from that particular instrument, has been to indicate that in some way it has created problems of such magnitude that we can now be considering at this time intruding upon that basic relationship between the individual and the society in which he lives. It will require him, at the behest of a police officer, for the substantial periods of time when he is outside his own residence or outside of his own place of business, to produce evidence of his own personal identity.
The other arguments that will be made -- and I know they will be made, because we’ve discussed this at some length -- will first of all be that they have it in Sweden. I am a great admirer of some aspects of the Swedish society, but never having been there and not understanding it all, I have never had any real confidence in the benign nature of state governments on the continent of Europe. I just happen to have an element of skepticism about government, and the authority of the state in a continental European atmosphere, regardless of how well those structures of society may serve the particular societies in which they exist.
I do not accept the proposition that because they have had it in Sweden and nobody objects to it, therefore I should be persuaded to accept it. My colleague, the member for Yorkview, and my colleague, the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), have, as I have, spoken to the executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. That association has no specific view on the point which I am making. I had a lengthy and valuable discussion with Alan Borovoy, the executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. So far as I know, the association as such has not taken a position on it, although I think I am fair when I say he personally feels a very real sense of uneasiness about the introduction of this particular requirement.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t you think lack of action is significant?
Mr. Renwick: I would, of course, have liked to have had the expressed support of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the expressed support of the executive director. I do not think for a moment that the lack of that support necessarily takes away, except in numbers, the validity of the argument of which I am making and putting to the assembly. Because I cannot draw to my support an organized group of people, or any other group of people, and have to treat it as an individual matter, it leaves me open to the view that I am expressing, in some exaggerated way, a particular idiosyncratic concern of my own. I think the arguments which I am endeavouring to put before the assembly should lead any God-fearing, taxpaying member of this assembly and any law abiding citizen of this assembly to be concerned about this immense extension of potential police power through the incidental amendment to the Highway Traffic Act introduced by my friend, the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
I do want to point out to the assembly -- and I know it is difficult for people to understand -- the present position of the citizen. I would quote, if I may, from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s special lectures on arrest and interrogation by the police, published in 1963. The boldface heading of the division of the particular chapter is “The right to keep quiet.” I quote from that particular lecture: “I come now to whether a citizen has a right to keep quiet when questioned by police. Apart from any question of obstructing the police, about which I will speak later, the legal position is that there is a common-law right to keep silent. A person when questioned need not incriminate himself and the police cannot compel a person to answer. Specifically, a person when questioned need not identify himself.” He goes on: “Although this is a qualified right and a common-law right, in other respects it has been modified by statute.”
Of course, that is exactly what we have done. We have taken the common-law right of the individual citizen to refuse to identify himself to the police when he is about his lawful occasion and we have qualified it in the way in which I have indicated in the three particular sections of the Highway Traffic Act and the other incidental section in the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund Act.
In addition to that, in the report of the Honourable Mr. Justice Donald Morand on the Royal Commission into Metropolitan Toronto Police Practices, the commissioner comes down on the side of requiring an identification by the citizen to the police in these circumstances.
I quote from page 167 of his report: “I have received various estimates of the number of people driving in Toronto with licences which are not theirs or licences which had been obtained in names other than the proper names of the licensee. These estimates have ranged as high as 30,000. I have been told that many of our worst drivers who have had their licences suspended immediately obtain another in a different name.
“I recommend that on each driver’s licence, there be a picture of the person to whom the licence was issued. This will readily enable the police officer to determine whether the person he has stopped has a proper driver’s licence.
“I anticipate that this recommendation might he objected to, particularly by civil liberties groups. This system has been introduced in other jurisdictions and after the initial period of objection, it was found that the public was entirely satisfied with the procedure. Indeed, many people found that it assisted them in purchasing things by cheque and in the extension of credit.
“Any law is, of course, an infringement on the civil liberty of the citizen. The question of how far the liberty of the citizen should be interfered with by the state is a matter that is constantly under review. The civil liberty of a citizen should not be interfered with except where the larger right of the majority makes it necessary.
“I am satisfied that the death, injury and property damage arising out of unqualified persons driving improperly justify the further encroachment upon the liberty of the citizen of having his photograph attached to his driver’s licence. Indeed, this does not seem to me to be a further encroachment. Each driver is now required to have a driver’s licence, and the adding of a picture to that licence does not, in my view, in any way further restrict his liberty.”
I end the quotation from that report and I want to answer that argument. First of all, I answer it in this way because as a member of this select committee on company law dealing with automobile insurance, to my knowledge as a result of the work of that committee -- and we are about to complete our study of it, and I believe that it has been a relatively exhaustive study -- there is no such evidence to support the extent, nature and degree of the damage caused by unlicensed drivers or drivers driving while under suspension.
Nobody takes away from the fact that there is immense havoc on the highway, but the great bulk of that is by persons who are authorized to drive and who hold actual licences. There is certainly no statistical evidence of any kind indicated in the report of Mr. Justice Morin that would satisfy the test that he sets, namely, the test that the social need overrides the individual right.
I would say that, until such time as there is further direct evidence of that kind of connection, I find it appalling that a commissioner charged in areas with respect to police practices should have come down on the side of the language of utility and convenience; and there is nothing in the language he has used which would indicate any sense of urgency or necessity with respect to his recommendation.
I say that also about these various estimates which he has received of persons who are driving without proper licences. Again, there is no evidence. We all know, we all understand and we all are concerned about the fact that there is a wide area where persons can drive vehicles in Ontario in a way that is unauthorized. But if we were to implement the great bulk of the recommendations made in our first report, and if we were to recommend the great bulk of the recommendations which will be made in a very short time in our second report, if we were to recommend all of them except this particular recommendation made by my colleague the member for Yorkview and the committee on highway safety, of which he was the chairman, then I would say we would have eliminated to a great extent the whole problem created by persons driving without proper authorization on the highway.
I say to the House very clearly that this requirement will not solve the problem of persons driving with improper authority, because it is used in a blanket way. If it is the intention of the minister to extend the ambit of police authority to spot checking continuously and regularly in the hope that under some sampling system of spot checking that he will be able to find the persons who are driving while under suspension, with no licence, or with improper authority, then I suggest that it is another example of us passing a law which will not cure the problem that is before us.
The problem before us is a real one and I have indicated that if we implement all the recommendations of the one committee on highway safety and the other committee with respect to automobile insurance except this one, we will have gone a long way to improve the social danger and hazard of the automobile on the highway and so reduced its impact that, to talk about requiring this kind of 85 per cent universal requirement of an identification card, we will realize how ridiculous and stupid it would be for this assembly to approve of this section.
My colleague the member for Yorkview will no doubt participate in the debate, but one of the arguments, of course, which is in favour of it is a recommendation of that committee. Again, proceeding to deal with a number of the offences under the Highway Traffic Act, the committee goes on to say, and I quote at page III-6:
“Another reason for the ineffectiveness of the suspension is the apparent ease and frequency with which it can be ignored. Police advised the committee that their task of identifying drivers operating vehicles without a valid licence would be easier if a photograph of the driver were attached to the licence. This would prevent the borrowing of licences. The committee is also aware of the advantages of a photograph on the driver’s licence as a means of identification for other purposes and of its popularity in Europe, many states in the United States and British Columbia. Accordingly, the committee recommends that:
“Recommendation III-2: The government of Ontario should proceed with its previously announced program of having the licensee’s photograph imprinted on the driving licence.”
That again, and I reiterate, is the language of convenience and utility, not the language of urgency or necessity in the light of any pronounced social wrong. I would be the first one to say that on balance, if there comes a conflict between the collective security of the society and the individual’s freedom, one must always redress the balance in favour of the collective security of the society, because without that society we as individuals cannot exist.
The burden of proof on those who would make this kind of change in a fundamental principle of our democratic society requires those persons to produce the evidence on the basis of which that rational conclusion can be drawn. I say to the minister that, from the work of the committee on highway safety, from Commissioner Morand’s report, and from the work of this minister, no rational evidence has been produced other than those of convenience and utility, and because we’re somewhat sloppy about rights in our society these days we don’t really care very much about all of the issues related to civil liberties. The government has an obligation to produce the kind of evidence which would support the introduction of that particular provision in this bill.
I have gone on at some length to try to deal with the arguments which I believe will be made in favour and to in some way -- in my way, in any event -- rebut those arguments. I have tried to indicate the arguments which I believe express the kinds of concern this assembly should be dealing with in relation to this permissive authority to be granted to the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
I do feel strongly about it and I do not think that that necessarily detracts from the validity of the argument. I think the day has long gone since one needed to be a desiccated, unemotional computer, engaged in zero-based budgeting and other forensic arts of the accounting profession about government expenditures, to be able to feel strongly about a matter and not be irrational about it.
I call upon those who feel strongly about the need to have everyone’s picture on his driver’s licence in the province of Ontario to justify their position with a sense of feeling and concern about the social wrong which is being righted by this legislation. In the absence of that kind of expression, I say to the members of the assembly, let’s not be sloppy or lazy about our rights. Let’s understand the implications of what we’re about, and not, in this way, move our society into that kind of authoritarian state which is the direct contradiction of the kind of democratic society we have inherited and which most of us have been brought up to believe in and to cherish.
I call upon all of the members of the assembly, whether they agree with all of my arguments, none of my arguments, some of them or only one or two of them, objectively to assess what they are being asked to do. They are being asked to say there is a social evil in the province of Ontario -- the people who drive while under suspension or drive in an unauthorized way on the highway -- which will permit the individual liberty of the subject to be seriously affected by requiring him to have a document in his possession which, if he happens to be in or about an automobile, will give the police an absolute right -- not a qualified right, an absolute right -- to stop that person in his car and to require him to produce that identification.
I say the burden is on the government, the burden is on the minister and, more importantly, the burden is on every member of this assembly to take an objective look and to think about the nature of the amendment we’re being asked to approve and whether or not the balance has been shifted in such a way as to require the kind of corrective action which the minister has introduced and which I so heartily and rationally, I hope, and articulately -- to the best of my ability -- stand to uphold.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I know that you, perhaps more than any other member here, would agree with me when I say it’s too bad that the former member for Wilson Heights, Vern Singer, QC, is not here to participate in this debate.
I have heard him either lead or follow the member for Riverdale on this subject, or subjects closely allied with it, since I heard him speak in the Legislature first when I was elected in 1962 and then when the member for Riverdale entered the Legislature in 1964. The arguments are extremely interesting, and I would just think what a great forum this would be if the government of the day, for some reason that I couldn’t possibly conjure up, said that every citizen or every resident of Ontario had to carry a piece of paper with a number, their name and their picture on it which would then have to be produced to a police officer without reasonable and probable grounds or indication that they were breaking any law. What a debate we would have in here and how strongly I would be supporting the member for Riverdale with every ounce of strength that I would have. But such is not the case.
It is surely the strangest expansion of imagination for the member to indicate that by the provision of this amendment, which will require a picture on a driver’s licence, we are taking any kind of a step toward a police state. I just reject that. I wouldn’t for a moment say that the member would like such a thing to happen just so that he could oppose it with all of the strength at his command, but this speech and the rallying of his arguments is like going after a grant with a blunderbuss. It simply is not in the bill. It is a matter that has been put before us not simply by police officers but by people in the community whose interest -- I suppose convenience is one reason -- but whose interests are for the good of the community. The reasons have been put forward that we ought to put forward this amendment and accept it. I don’t feel that it is, in any way, interfering with individual liberties. As a master of fact, I believe just the opposite.
We were told on the select committee on highway safety that at any given moment as many as 60,000 drivers are operating cars on our roads without proper licensing. And, in many instances, these people have had their licences suspended by court action and they continue to drive either without a licence or with a licence that they’ve borrowed from someone else. If they are stopped, having been involved in an accident, or because there is some indication they are driving while impaired, or breaking any of the regulations of the Highway Traffic Act, then the police officer has no way of knowing, when he is presented with a licence, whether or not it belongs to the person who is driving. As a matter of fact, there would be no probable or reasonable grounds to suspect since it’s got the characteristic colour and it’s usually well-thumbed having been in the wallet for two or three years; the policeman looks at it and assumes he is talking to a licensed driver.
I don’t think that there is any significance at all to the argument that we are moving in on the liberties of the individual, the civil liberties of the individuals in this province.
The honourable member was fair enough to indicate that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association had taken no stand on it and their executive director himself was highly regarded in Ontario and in Canada and elsewhere as being sensitive and -- as far as I’m concerned, and in all instances that I’ve observed -- reasonable in these matters. Apparently even the executive director had to be asked by the honourable member before he even indicated that he, too, shared the objection. But surely, we might have had a letter from the gentleman referred to by the honourable member if he felt that this should be brought to the attention of the members on behalf of his organization. Certainly, I have never received a communication from that organization which I did not treat with respect and attention. We have not heard from them and I believe there’s a good reason why we haven’t heard from them. It’s because the indication that this being a card-bearing picture of the bearer, in my view, is not any significant intrusion into the liberties of the individual at all.
The honourable member also said that he objected to the powers which he feels are inherent in the Highway Traffic Act, and perhaps through these amendments, that the police now have the power to stop an automobile without reason. I don’t really know what the honourable member is talking about. A police officer does not have the right nor power to stop without some reasonable ground for suspecting that a law is being broken.
The only time that this may happen -- I didn’t think of this myself but it has been brought to my attention -- is during the Christmas season. Then police officers in Metro Toronto and certain other centres have a program to try and catch impaired drivers. If you happen to be in a lineup, such as the ramp from York Street on to the Gardiner Expressway, any time from maybe 5:30 in the evening until 8 o’clock in the evening in December, you are liable to be pulled over in a long line and an officer in a very polite way will stick his head in the window and converse with you and run what amounts to sort of an amateur breathalyser test. There might be objection to that but I think under those circumstances there is reasonable and probable grounds since there’s every statistical indication that a substantial percentage of the drivers have probably had a drink at that time. Whether or not they are legally impaired is up to the discretion of the courts.
I may have missed the honourable member’s point, but I don’t know of anything in the Highway Traffic Act that allows a police officer to pull a driver over without some reasonable and probable ground for so doing. Would the honourable member for Riverdale like to help me in that matter?
Mr. Acting Speaker: I am sorry. The honourable member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has the floor.
Mr. Nixon: Right. It may be made clear later because I personally do not believe police officers should have those powers. But it’s part of the fabrication of the case put forward by the honourable member for Riverdale. He says the police can stop you without reason and they can demand your identity papers -- he nicely called it an ID card but we know what he means -- an identity paper, perhaps with a certain accent to the word that is usually the kind of thing you hear in the spy films and that sort of thing.
This is not happening in this jurisdiction. Frankly I have enough confidence not only in the members of the Legislature but, believe it or not, in the government of this province not to suspect that it can happen. Certainly we can be vigilant. By listening to the honourable member’s speech, the many members gathered here today probably have had their sensitivity in this connection improved. But I would say to the honourable member that in my opinion his fears are groundless and exaggerated and I have not been convinced by his argument.
I have been concerned, having been a member of that select committee, that the usefulness of the driver’s licence has been cut down considerably by the lack of adequate identification.
The honourable member went on to say something about credit being based on a driver’s licence. If the honourable member has ever used his licence, it is the number on there, I suppose, that gives him the identity he feels should be intrinsically associated with him as an individual alone. If he has ever tried to cash a cheque, and this has happened to me where you require some identification, they write down that endless number with all the digits and letters. This is surely unnecessary -- there’s got to be code in there that tells somebody something that I don’t know anything about. They write that down and I suppose it’s that very number which is now carried by 85 per cent of the people in Ontario which is already perhaps the kind of identification that the honourable member more or less morally objects to -- that you are not yourself at all, you are this elaborate configuration of numbers and letters on your driver’s licence. Maybe it’s not much good to your ego when you go in to cash a cheque with a signature that’s very impressive, and they look at it and say, “ I want your driver’s licence and five other sources of identification,” or something like that. I really think if that’s his objection it has already happened. It really seems to be invalid in this particular debate.
For him to end with the feeling that we are moving towards an authoritarian state in this connection, I feel, once again, is an exaggeration and not worthy of the honourable member. His concepts are excellent and interesting, and perhaps should be put forward in some other context, but they are an exaggeration in connection with this bill. We’ll have a chance to debate it, I am sure, or at least to discuss it in committee, because there are one or two other things that have concerned me.
The member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton) has indicated he thinks we are getting much too free and easy with the legal right to use the flashing red light. When a person sees that on the road, it is certainly an indication for ordinary drivers to get out of the way, or be prepared to be directed in traffic. As a matter of fact, even a flashing yellow light is getting to be so generally used that it is sometimes misleading on the highways when traffic is moving at speed such as on some of the major arteries. This is a matter that perhaps the minister can indicate more fully when we are discussing it in committee.
Mr. Philip: I listened with considerable attention to the arguments of the member for Riverdale and I must say that I certainly will be consulting those arguments at some future date if we are challenged with a bill that may bring about a lessening of democracy and civic rights.
However, I find the present arguments which the member makes just haven’t persuaded me. I must admit I am sensitive to the arguments he has made. I always have a certain discomfort whenever I see the government, be it this or any other government, moving in the direction that some might describe as not necessarily an authoritarian manner, but perhaps a more legalistic or processing approach to dealing with people.
A conversation with the Civil Liberties Association did little to ease my apprehension. The comments I received were to the effect that while some discomfort was felt on the issue, it was hardly the issue with which to go to the barricades. The Civil Liberties Association were invited by the chairman of the select committee on highway safety to appear before that committee and to address themselves to that particular issue, the pictures on drivers’ licences. They failed to show up and to present any position on it.
It seems to me that in the light of the excellent record of that association in fighting the most minute attack on civil liberties, the very fact they did not appear is to suggest either the matter was not of sufficient importance or, on the contrary, in this one instance that association was derelict in its duties. I don’t think that it was.
The member for Riverdale has made several mentions of the fact that this form of legislation has been introduced elsewhere. He fails, however, to indicate one example in any concrete way where in any jurisdiction in which this was introduced civil liberties have in fact been eroded. I think if he is going to prove his argument then surely he must show us some jurisdiction in which this particular step acted, if you will, as a domino, if you follow the domino theory, in somehow eroding civil liberties.
If one looks at the recommendations in the report of the select committee on highway safety, just as the report of the committee that I was on, the select committee on the highway transportation of goods, they’re an integral part; each part balances the other. It seems to me that while the member for Riverdale may be able to argue that there are many other things we should do to make our roads safer, in looking at this particular resolution, one has to see that it’s a pivotal kind of resolution.
If you look at the recommendations concerning alcohol abuse in terms of driving, Mr. Speaker, their enforcement poses real problems, particularly the one in reference to the abuse of alcohol by people under the legal drinking age, if there is no specific way of checking that out and enforcing it. Rules are only useful if they can be enforced. What we are facing is the fact that presently the suspension of drivers’ licences is ineffective. Police advised the select committee on highway safety that the task of identifying drivers of vehicles without a valid licence would be easier if a photograph were attached to the licence.
One US study indicates that at any time on any one day there are as many as 30 to 50 per cent of drivers whose licences have been suspended who are still driving either without a licence or with a borrowed licence. The right to drive an automobile is not an intrinsic right nor is it an obligation. Everyone driving without appropriate licence is endangering the safety of those people -- my family and your family -- who are on the roads. That has been the decision made by the judge when he imposed the suspension of a licence. If that were not the case, then the decision to suspend licences would make no sense at all.
A driver’s licence in a society -- and I must concur with the member for Riverdale on this -- is more than just a permit to take charge of a vehicle on the road. It is also the most commonly used method of identification. The Ontario Retail Merchants Association has expressed the opinion that photographs on licences would be of great assistance in reducing the loss through fraudulent cheque cashing.
In conversations I have had with merchants in my own riding, they have expressed their approval of this particular section of the bill the member for Riverdale is in conflict with. On a personal note, the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) informs me that as a merchant he cashed many fraudulent cheques on many occasions on the strength of a driver’s licence, only to find out that the licence had been stolen and that the cheque would be used for little more than suspenders or one more loss from his revenue.
If the requiring of a photograph on a driver’s licence is necessary for cashing cheques, those people in our society who have fewer connections and who are of lower financial status are those who have the greatest need for that form of identification. It is the poor in our society who often have problems proving who they are and getting mother’s allowance cheques cashed or pay cheques cashed. It is the very constituency that many of us in this party represent and have fought for over the years that will be most disadvantaged, if that simple form of identification is not open to them.
If one looks at the jurisdictions that have pioneered much of the civil rights legislation, invariably many of those are jurisdictions that saw nothing wrong with the picture on driver’s licences. The state of California, which is hardly a police state and which has gone far beyond the wishes of many of us in terms of certain kinds of civil liberties legislation, takes it as a matter of simple expeditious practice to have pictures on drivers’ licences. Sweden and many other European countries that many look towards as being the vanguard of civil liberties legislation have had pictures on drivers’ licences for years.
This section has also been recommended by the select committee on highway safety, which devoted considerable time to studying this problem. The committee encouraged open discussion of it, and it’s interesting that the chairman informs me that he has not had one complaint from anyone in the province, in the form of either a telephone call or a letter, that objects to this specific recommendation.
What we are facing then is a problem of looking at a specific section of a bill and asking, is it part of a domino, which, if pulled, will somehow lead to the kind of authoritarian state that some would imagine? I say there is no evidence to support this; it hasn’t happened elsewhere. I will be voting in committee for this section of the bill and I hope it will stay in the bill.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I also wish to support this section of the bill. There are two or three observations that I want to make very briefly. I believe I understand the fear and the arguments that have been raised by my colleague from Riverdale and, while he is not here, I would say to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that I do not share his feelings that we are not in a rather disturbing or dangerous time in terms of the reaction. I don’t particularly like this kind of labelling.
I think we should be concerned with what is going on with people in our society today. The reactions we see in a number of different pieces of legislation or proposed legislation for strengthening of some of the private police forces, the almost paramilitary units that some people are talking about now; the kind of a confrontation we have been into lately which has accelerated on picket lines in the province; the absolute opposition to simple moves, well accepted for 10 or 15 years now, such as Rand formula union security -- all of these are a sign of what, at the risk of over simplification, I guess, some of us would call the swing to the right that we see in society today. Because it does concern me, the idea of any particular mechanism that further labels or identifies people is a concern.
I think it should be put clearly on the record, as my colleague from Etobicoke did, that in talking to the civil liberties people, it wasn’t that they thought it was necessarily a good idea; they made it very clear that there are pretty basic issues you can fight and make some mileage or gain some ground, while there are other issues where you just waste your ammunition if you take on an issue that’s not important enough to stand on the barricades and make a fight of it. It’s my feeling that while there is a bit of unease with this move, that is the issue.
My colleague raised the matter of Sweden, I suppose, because we had a fair little discussion within our own caucus over the committee report and the reaction there. If I remember correctly, I was the member in Sweden who specifically asked the question of some of those Swedish people, “What was your response to this kind of move, the picture on the licence?” I did not ask the question because Sweden has all of the answers but because it has a pretty good record in the field of human rights and in the field of protecting individual liberties.
I was interested to find that their response over there was one of amusement that we would consider it to be a basic issue of civil liberties. It may be that there is a little different way of life in some of the European countries than there is here in North America, but certainly they did not see it as a concern at all. I asked the question simply because it was one of the things that bothered me a little bit.
I think, very simply, that I was pretty well convinced in committee, for a number of very practical reasons. I hope that we never run everything strictly on cost, but I could never get away from the basic figures of what problems on our highways are costing us. The bottom line that people seem to put on it is $400 million, and we have heard figures an awful lot higher than that.
I couldn’t get away from the fact that at any one time 60,000 were driving with their licences having been lifted or suspended, many of them driving with borrowed licences.
I couldn’t get away from some of the arguments as to how we assist our police forces in practical ways in what is probably the most valuable tool they have with the public -- not the number they are likely to catch, but the fear of apprehension. This came through loud and clear at the many hearings of the committee.
I couldn’t get away from the fact that sometimes one extra black and white cruiser, even if not manned, on the side of the highway will have a real effect in slowing down cars on the highway. We probably need a few more of them when the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is travelling along the highways. We could not begin to come up with the money that would be necessary to put out the number of units, whether high in the sky or the black and white cruisers on the highway, to make some of these people who, because they have been lousy drivers and had their licences suspended, are driving without a licence or with a borrowed licence, obey the law.
It seemed to me that the arguments that through the picture we could ascertain that the person had a licence if the car was stopped made a lot of sense. I might suggest to my colleague from Riverdale that it might even make sense in terms of civil liberties. We are assuring justice and assuring that we are not picking somebody up or letting him go because there is a question over the licence itself.
I think that this apprehension, and the small costs of this move make it a useful tool for our law enforcement forces in this province. I take a look at the bottom line of cost, $400 million. Like many people, it is almost impossible for me to understand those kinds of figures. The only way I can put it in any perspective is to ask, “What moves can we make to reduce it?” Maybe we can save one, two, five or 10 per cent and make the whole committee’s activities worth while.
If this meant that we effectively removed some of the drivers driving illegally on the roads, made it a little easier to enforce the law, and achieved a one per cent cutback, I support it. That’s $4 million, as I see it, and that is a little easier for me to understand than some of the figures we talked about.
I think that it is not a question of civil liberties. I think you worry about each one of these individual moves when that kind of a mood is abroad in the land. That bothered me. In fact, I think it would be a useful tool at very little cost, and it is one that we should proceed with. I support the move, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is there any other honourable member wishing to participate in the debate? If not, the honourable minister.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would like to thank the honourable members for their contributions to the debate, both two weeks ago, I guess it was, and again today.
I will be asking that the bill go to committee of the whole when we complete second reading, because as the opposition critics know, there is a minor amendment to be made to one section of the bill.
I thank all the members who have spoken on the bill for their support -- even the member for Riverdale, who has very eloquently, as always, expressed his concerns and laid a very good case for his view, which I don’t happen to agree with.
One interesting thing is that the main emphasis of the debate on this bill, although it contains many other principles, has been on the photo on the driver’s licence, but back in 1926, the province of Ontario issued a driver’s licence with a photograph on it. I have had two of these licences sent to me in the last few months. Both were 1928. I have not been able to find out when the province first started using them or when they ceased using them.
Mr. Cunningham: You were just in your teens then.
Hon. Mr. Snow: In 1926, I wasn’t even thought of. These licences were issued and signed by J. P. Bickle and countersigned by George S. Henry who was the Minister of Highways at that time, so it is not something new. It is something that, as has been mentioned, is now uniform almost throughout the United States. Forty three states of the United States now have a system of photos on drivers’ licences; and so have three of our sister provinces in Canada. The fact that someone else has done it, or a great many others have done it, doesn’t necessarily mean, to me, that it is totally right. But in this case I think it is, and I thank the members for their support.
I recognize the concerns of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). I think Mr. Justice Morand’s quotations that he read into the record really express my sentiments on this particular thing perhaps as well or better than I could do myself.
The select committee went into this very thoroughly, and of course the select committee have recommended the picture on the driver’s licence. The member for Riverdale suggested that if we would forget about this recommendation and implement all the others of the select committee we would eliminate many of the other problems. There is one other recommendation of the committee, and I am wondering if he is aware of it and what his feelings might be on it -- he might let me know privately sometime -- and that is the recommendation that we have radar cameras on the highways that would take the photos of cars going by and record their speeds, and more or less computerize, or automatically issue, speeding tickets to vehicles without identifying the driver. Now, that has great concern for me, although I recognize the reason for trying to cut down on speeding and I am all for that.
Mr. Mackenzie: Too many Bob Nixons around.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have given a lot of consideration to this recommendation. The chairman of the committee has mentioned it to me, we have discussed it privately. I really have concerns about that type of legislation --
Mr. Eaton: Lose any points lately, Bob?
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- about that type of a situation where one would be charged with an offence without being identified. Regardless of all the problems of leased vehicles and all the mechanical problems that are just too numerous to mention, even for those of us who have cars registered in our own names I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for speeding tickets and have demerit points against my licence for that type of an offence without being identified.
Mr. Cunningham: They go against the driver.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If the member for Riverdale accepts that recommendation without any concerns as to his civil liberties --
Mr. Renwick: Needless to say I don’t.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- I am concerned. I am just going by what he said.
Mr. Renwick: I’m sorry.
Mr. Nixon: He means the report selectively.
Mr. Renwick: I did say all of them. I am sure if members check Hansard --
Hon. Mr. Snow: He did say all of them.
Mr. Renwick: And I stand corrected. Except for two -- this one and that one.
Hon. Mr. Snow: We won’t bother to go looking for any more.
The other afternoon the member for Wentworth (Mr. Cunningham), when he led off the debate, had a misunderstanding with regard to the section of the bill relating to the garage licensing when he made remarks -- and I have them here someplace; I won’t go into them in detail -- about increasing regulations in the licensing of garages. That is exactly the opposite of what the bill does; we are decreasing regulations, we are removing the necessity of licensing a class B garage. We feel it is no longer necessary. I am sure the member had a misunderstanding of what was really in the content of that regulation.
A couple of other things that have been mentioned during the debate are the red lights. The member for Wentworth North and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) mentioned it. Over the years, the ministry has given very much emphasis in trying to preserve the use of the red flashing light for law enforcement vehicles.
There are a limited number of types of vehicles allowed to use a red light. Snow removal vehicles are the only ones allowed to use the flashing blue light, so that if someone sees a blue light he knows it is a snow removal vehicle. If it is an amber light, it really doesn’t mean too much. It’s a caution to the motorist, used by tow trucks and other types of emergency vehicles; and farm vehicles, we require rotating amber lights now on certain types of farm equipment moving on the highway. They also use rotating amber lights on escort vehicles for mobile homes or for other long loads. That is really just a caution signal, but the red light has been preserved for the use of law enforcement.
All this amendment does is add to the already restrictive list of vehicles allowed to use the flashing red light. It adds one more, and that is the vehicle of my ministry’s enforcement branch enforcing the Public Vehicles Act and the Public Commercial Vehicles Act. This is a recommendation of the select committee on transportation of goods. It was recommended for our enforcement vehicles which many times, by reason of their duties, have to stop these large trucks and commercial vehicles. It was recommended they have an equal requirement for the use of a flashing red light for that purpose, as do, for instance, the police or game wardens or conservation officers or other types of law enforcement people. That is the reason for the addition of this one category of vehicle that can use the red light.
I think I have responded to most of the comments made by the honourable members and I thank them for their support.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
PUBLIC VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 20, An Act to amend the Public Vehicles Act.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable minister have an opening statement?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Not really, Mr. Speaker. Bill 20 is a short, one-section bill, which amends the Public Vehicles Act to allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by order in council, to transmit, from time to time, government policy, or to issue policy statements to the board; policies which will be considered by the board in hearing applications for licensing.
Although this is for the Public Vehicles Act, a similar amendment is also in the Public Commercial Vehicles Act, Bill 78. It follows along the lines of recommendations of the select committee and recommendations that have been made several times in this House.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, we will support this item of legislation. I must say, without going into great detail, that it is something that is long overdue. Many of the difficulties we have seen in the operation and administration of the Ontario Highway Transport Board have emanated from the difficulties it has experienced as an administrative tribunal, in so far as it lacks specific policy direction from the government itself. In the absence of that policy and direction board members end up flying by the seats of their pants, I suppose that would be the best way to put it.
I recall with interest a submission that was made to me by a lawyer who practised for most of his legal career at the board, wherein he submitted an application on behalf of two particular companies which operated on a C licence, and wanted to interline their business operations from time to time as would be convenient.
The purpose of this, of course, was to reduce their number of empty miles, save some fuel, and avoid having people driving around with empty trucks and through that they would make a little more money. It was something, I gather, that was done during the course of the war. I must say, in the course of their presentation to the board itself, they quoted at great length from the Minister of Energy at the time (Mr. McKeough), who had just returned to the cabinet and had assumed the newly invented portfolio.
It was with interest that I read the decision by the board wherein they rejected the direction of this very powerful minister, who had made some very significant statements with regard to the necessity of conserving energy within the province of Ontario. I would have thought myself that such statements from a minister of the crown, in fact, would have been government policy and would have been accepted by a government tribunal to be almost gospel. It was somewhat confusing and somewhat annoying, I suppose, to the people who were involved in the application process to have their application turned down.
The point I should make very briefly, Mr. Speaker, is that it is important that any government transmit their policies to an administrative tribunal such as the OHTB. And the other policy areas as well; certainly the Ontario censor would be an area of concern and the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario would be an analogous kind of situation. It’s important that these tribunals receive these policy transmissions and feelings of the government on a regular basis, because they are, in fact, responsible to that government. I don’t think it’s incumbent upon the chairman of the Ontario Highway Transport Board or any of the commissioners, on a daily basis to decide one way or another what they’re going to do on a certain policy matter. That doesn’t mean we, ourselves, have to interfere in the day-to-day activities of the board or prejudice any one case. I think it’s important that the cabinet and the minister get up from time to time and make speeches here in this House; make speeches to various professional bodies; write letters to the chairman of the board; pick up the phone, if necessary, and call -- notwithstanding any case that may be before the board -- and indicate that our policy on energy conservation or on Canadian ownership or on employment is as follows.
The function of the board will then be much clearer. I must say as an aside it will be much clearer to people making applications to that board as to just what is acceptable and what is acceptable to the government. It may, in fact, reduce the number of applications that otherwise would have been made, and certainly would probably justify applications in many areas.
I welcome the introduction of this particular bill and I hope that it will enjoy the support of the members of the Legislature. I would only say to the minister that it is something that is so basic that in fact it was inherent in the select committee report. The only thing more basic in the select committee report, I suppose, was the maintenance of the principle of regulation itself. This particular act -- and the one that will hopefully be amending the PCV Act itself in a similar fashion -- these two items of legislation could have been introduced and passed somewhat expeditiously some time ago. It is somewhat strange this is coming about at this rather late date. Nevertheless, I do support it.
Mr. Philip: We will support this bill in a like fashion.
I have argued, as has the previous speaker during the estimates with the minister, that what was clearly needed was some direction from his ministry in terms of policy. We hope the policy statements which will be coming forth after this bill is introduced will be in such a form as to increase confidence within the industry. In saying that I don’t wish to be in any way malicious, but there is a tremendous amount of discomfort, particularly with regard to the PCV Act, which this bill complements, and the sections in Bill 22 which complement it. Much of the distrust could be eliminated if we had a more codified system. It seems to me also that this must be complemented by some fairly concrete actions by the board in terms of coming down with benchmark cases and benchmark examples of policy as the board develops some kind of thrust that can be identified.
If we can have that kind of thing happening, then I think we will find that not only will it inspire confidence in the board but it will also save people an awful lot of money. An awful lot of the costs that are wasted because applicants just don’t know what the name of the game is. I would hope, on a footnote, that one of the things the minister might do, as a result of our arguments across the floor the last few days not only in relation to this but more particularly in relation to the other section of Bill 22 which complements this, would be to set up some specific way of scheduling cases that come before the transport board since there seems to be so far some concern about the way in which some people are treated before the board.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other member who wishes to participate in this debate? If not, the honourable minister.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t know if there’s really too much more I can add. This bill, as I mentioned earlier, will provide for this new provision of transmitting government policy to the board. It’s somewhat new in legislation. It has just been introduced in the federal House as well, under the new communications legislation. When that bill is passed, it will provide for the similar transmission of policy directives from the federal cabinet, to the CRTC for instance.
I agree fully with the need for it. Like anything else, probably one could say it could have been used at an earlier date if it had been available on a formal basis. I certainly don’t intend to use this type of bill to schedule hearings before the Ontario Highway Transport Board. I don’t think the minister should be setting up a schedule for hearings. I think that is the duty of the chairman of the board.
Ms. Philip: You might give some direction as to how the schedules are set up so people will at least feel they are getting fairness.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t think the Attorney General schedules the cases coming before the courts of this province.
Mr. Cunningham: The Treasurer does it with the OMB every now and then.
Hon. Mr. Snow: That is up to the chief judge and the courts administration to my knowledge.
Mr. Philip: Maybe the chief judge acts in a different way than Mr. Shoniker does.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If I might respond to that interjection -- and I shouldn’t perhaps -- by the time that honourable member has served this province as well and as long as Mr. Shoniker he’ll be very proud too.
Mr. Eaton: He won’t be around that long.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I say, there is very little more to add. I thank the members for their support of this bill.
Motion agreed to.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 20, An Act to amend the Public Vehicles Act.
HIGHWAY TBAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 22, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Mr. Young: Mr. Chairman, perhaps the few words I have to say could have better been said a few minutes ago in the light of the direction the debate took, but I had agreed with the critic in our caucus that I would have something to say in the clause-by-clause consideration when that came in due course.
In connection with section 2, regarding photographs on drivers’ licences, what my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) had to say was something this House needed to hear. While I am not entirely in agreement, the facts are that there is a drive at this particular time in our history towards the right, more towards authoritarianism in our society, towards totalitarianism, the police state -- call it what you will.
I expressed my concern in this House a few evenings ago when I pointed out that over my lifetime I have seen the safeguards that have been set up to protect the disadvantaged in this society and to regulate the power of the great corporate structure, both in Canada and internationally, to exploit and use the general population for its own purposes.
I also expressed my very great concern that over the past few years we have seen a progressive dismantling of that protection of the weak and those who need protection most in our society. Year after year, we have seen those regulations starting to be removed from the corporate power. I am concerned about that, because that is the direction that every totalitarian state begins.
While I am not saying here today that we are in immediate danger of that process, the fact remains that a totalitarian state, an authoritarian state, is never set up through the direct will of a society, of the people concerned. We back into it. We make choices between the right of the individual and the right of property; and the very best-intentioned people will make the choice on the side of property against the individual right. Gradually, that builds up over the years. This is the concern, I think, that my colleague the member for Riverdale was expressing in this respect.
He mentioned that I had said to him that his presentation was too logical. I did say that. But I went on to say that I felt also that he was taking a quantum leap in some respects. That quantum leap, it seemed to me, is this: If indeed we do get a totalitarian state in this country, the identity card that state will use will not be the driver’s licence, a card that is carried by a large majority of our people but does not have to be carried unless we are driving a motor vehicle. The card that will come to us, if we ever get that kind of a state, will be an identity card that will have a number -- a social security number likely -- a picture and a thumb print; and there will be legislation that every one of us will have to carry it all the time for identification.
Mr. Nixon: And we never will.
Mr. Young: I hope my friend is right. Although, as I said before the honourable member came in, the choices we are making day by day in choosing property rights against individual rights in this country mark a dangerous direction in which we’re moving, and a direction which we must think about. This is one of the things I wanted to point out, that this card is not the card that will be used.
The second thing was that the select committee on highway safety, through its staff, did communicate with the Civil Liberties Association of Ontario. That consultation was undertaken and the invitation was given that if there was any real concern about this picture on the driver’s licence we would appreciate a presentation by that association. As has already been said on a couple of occasions, there was not that deep concern there. We never did have that concern expressed by that association nor by any other group in the province, although the invitation was wide open.
As far as the committee report is concerned, our direction was to bring to the attention of government and to the Legislature those resolutions which, in the opinion of the committee, would mean a saving of life, a saving of accidents, a saving of vehicle damage in the province. Our job was not so much to assess cost effectiveness, although we did have that at the back of our minds. It was not that we should assess the civil libertarian point of view, although that, too, was there. That is why we did bring forward the matter which the minister raised, the matter of cameras. He expressed the difficulties, which the committee recognized. But because the use of the cameras resulted in such a dramatic dropping of the death rate in certain areas, and as well as the injury and property damage rates, we felt this should be brought to the attention of the Legislature; and this we did.
Another recommendation which has raised some eyebrows is the medical examination after the age of 50. Again the committee looked into this very carefully and felt that under the circumstances this was justified as a recommendation. It was likely a recommendation which will meet with little sympathy from a great many people over 50 in the province, including a lot of people in this Legislature. It’s there because we felt it was a matter which should be looked at as a means of dropping the death and accident rate.
We did not go into all details in our report as to why all these recommendations were made. That would have made the report too long and we wanted to keep it as short as possible. Where there was no real debate and no real division of opinion within the committee the preamble to the recommendations is fairly short, as it is in this case.
As a couple of honourable members have already pointed out, the matter of drivers, particularly young drivers, who are driving without a licence, and with a borrowed licence very often, is of very great concern for us. It is those age groups, the young group and the older group who have had their licences lifted who are accident prone. They are the ones who cause more accidents on the highway than any other group, with the possible exception of the drinking driver who is a social drinker and doesn’t realize just how dangerous he it. Because of this, we felt this was one means of identification of this group of drivers. So the recommendation is there and that is one reason it is there.
I think I have covered the ground as far as I want to. Let’s remember that as far as I am concerned, and I think as far as the committee is concerned, this is not the kind of an instrument such as my colleague from Riverdale feels it might become. This is not the card which we issue in a state which borders on the totalitarian or the authoritarian. That will be a different kind of card, with more details and with another set of legislation behind it. I agree with the purpose of section 2 and will vote for it.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I certainly don’t intend to repeat the arguments which I tried to lay out to the assembly on second reading. I do want to say that I connived, in my case wittingly, in a breach of the roles of the House during the course of that debate by allowing, in the interest of free, full debate, my friend, the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), to speak a second time on second reading. I wouldn’t want him to believe for a moment that I hadn’t noticed, but it was in the interest of free debate because I knew he could not rebut the arguments which I had placed before the assembly.
I have also been around long enough to know when --
Mr. Worton: You’re licked.
Mr. Renwick: -- in a certain perverse way, I have no support. I take the position that I can’t win them all, even though I can’t believe for a moment that I’m wrong; as the judge said, “If I’m wrong, which I doubt.”
Mr. Philip: Are you going to do that on the commodities bill?
Mr. Renwick: As I was saying to my colleague, I have been around in argument long enough to understand that the call in aid of the bill of Mr. Alan Borovoy, by indirection, the executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, was a very negative operation. Due to the temper and mood of this assembly I don’t believe for one single moment that if Alan Borovoy had stood with me on that bill it would have altered at all the result which took place. I think it is not fair, and I’m anxious for Alan Borovoy to have an opportunity at some point to read the debate and to make whatever comment he chooses about it. He was called in aid, in absentia; he, as I understand it, does not specifically recall being consulted by my colleague’s committee at the time. He did recall it when his memory was refreshed; he was not spoken to directly. I make these points, not in an argumentative sense, but I think both sides made a little undue use of Alan Borovoy to support the negative of the argument I was putting.
I do want to talk about the 85 per cent argument, because if 85 per cent of the male drivers and over 55 per cent of the female drivers over the age of 16 in the province are required to have their pictures on their licence and the licence, as it does at the present time, bears a number, then I can hear the argument in this assembly when the suggestion is, “Well, let’s make it universal and add the thumbprint, because after all it’s only the very young and the very old who don’t already carry this document with their picture and their number, and no one would object in the interest of society in having their thumbprint added to that card.”
Perhaps a different number, perhaps a number that is a little more convenient to the enforcement authorities, because we always want to make things easy in enforcing the position of the authority against the individual and the state.
So I don’t take any solace from the fact that if an argument is made now, “Well, we’ll all have a licence with a number on it; let’s put the picture on it.” That produces substantial compliance of our society with an identification card. In my judgement I don’t find it very difficult to hear, in this assembly, the other argument, that is, “Well we’ve all, 85 per cent or so, got a card and they’ve got a number, let’s add the thumb mark and let’s make it universal.” I don’t think I would hear the members standing in their place saying, “Oh yes, this is the introduction of an authoritarian society.” I adopt, always, the attitude referred to by my friend the member for Yorkview, which is that these things don’t come about in our kind of society quite that way. It’s not the coup d’état and the military dictatorship; it’s the gradual, sloppy slide into authoritarian practices which I object to and try to argue against without success in the House.
Despite my opposition to it, I can still ask the minister some questions about it. I would like to know what are his intentions? When does he intend to do it? What will be the procedures for most of the people in the province who are over 16 years of age to be photographed? When does he intend to implement the provisions in the bill?
Hon. Ms. Snow: Mr. Chairman, I cannot give the honourable member an exact date. There are costs involved with the implementation of this program. There is a considerable amount of finalization of the program to be planned and established in order to set the program in motion.
Obviously all driver’s licences would not be changed over at one time. They would be done on a gradual basis as they come up for renewal. I have to say we do not at this time have the funds approved within the ministry to go ahead forthwith for the implementation of the plan because we do not know when the legislation will be passed, but I do put a very high priority on the licences with photographs on them. I would expect to proceed, upon the passing of this bill, to instruct my staff to complete the details and go forward to Management Board with an implementation proposal for the funding.
Mr. Laughren: I would like to very briefly rise in support of my colleague from Riverdale. This is a surprising move for me to make, but nevertheless I do feel strongly the arguments he has put are valid. It is the kind of argument people tend to discount when raised on a specific issue which does not seem to have the relevance it really does.
While I appreciate what my colleague from Yorkview has said in his argument, I think there are times when we have to say the drift or the move is such that we are fearful of it. I don’t think it is a case of nit-picking. On the contrary, we have seen examples of the erosion of civil liberties in this country and in this province. We have certainly seen the attempts that were thwarted as well.
There is no question that it is not the intent of the minister to do this. I have no illusions along those lines, but there is something about the road to somewhere being paved with good intentions too, Mr. Chairman. If it just takes us one step closer to a time when there will be the possibility of identification cards in the province of Ontario, then I have to oppose it.
I respect very much the arguments of my colleague from Yorkview. I know his concern in that area, and I know the research he has done in the years gone by. That can’t be discounted, but I think there are times when we have to put aside what we see as being beneficial in the short term, for what in the long run will serve us all the better.
Mr. Bounsall: On this very point, which is the pictures on drivers’ licences, I was a member of the highway safety committee and I had no problem signing the report with that recommendation in it.
In our original terms of reference as a committee was one of those points, which we as members of the committee sort of took almost from the start as being a self evident indication that we get into a whole bunch of other areas of investigation. If one checked back with those terms of reference, there was a general phrase which let us do almost anything and investigate almost everything. If we looked back at all of the specifics given to us, we got into very many other areas.
Many of the areas specifically given to us to look at were self evident. I’m not going to give a speech about the select committee on highway safety and its operation. In a sense, if one looked at four or five of those eight or 10 terms of reference, the committee could have taken the view -- and it was talked about rather humorously from time to time -- that the ministry wanted to bring in, for example, pictures on drivers’ licences and was a bit fearful of some sort of reaction from the public or from an area of the public which took the view that several of my colleagues have. I am not in any way denigrating their views or their fears or their concerns. The committee felt the ministry would like to have behind them the report of the select committee indicating there were pictures on drivers’ licences in some other areas.
Of all the areas we looked at, and of all the recommendations we made, this one probably had the least connection of any with highway safety. One sort of had to stretch it a little bit to make the connection between pictures on drivers’ licences and highway safety. We, of course, made that connection very well in the written part of the report. It’s quite logical and there’s a very clear connection.
There wasn’t one public meeting to which we went, as we toured Ontario, at which at least one person in the audience did not mention we should have pictures on drivers’ licences. This was not their main point, their main point was something else, it came out as an aside, as a point which would assist in some very small way that particular main point which they were making.
Of every audience we came before we asked the question: “Does anyone here object to having pictures on drivers’ licences?” We anticipated there would be a somewhat greater reaction from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association than that we actually had when we asked them. There were no objections. People were mildly surprised we were asking the question, in fact, because they really could see and perceive no problem. There seemed to be no problem at all with any of the audiences we came before; although let’s remember, any audience that came out to speak to us on highway safety weren’t representatives of the community, they were people who were pretty concerned about various aspects of highway safety. Those concerned people just couldn’t see any civil rights connection at all.
I appreciate the concerns outlined by my colleagues from Riverdale and Nickel Belt, but I don’t think in this instance there are the dangers about which they talk. Virtually every state in the United States -- not just Sweden -- has pictures on drivers’ licences. I lived for a year in California and I was delighted by the system and the quality of the picture which they were able to produce on very short notice, and which appeared on my driver’s licence.
Mr. Cunningham: It must have been a painting; in your case it must have been a painting.
Mr. Bounsall: It was of a much higher quality than one gets on normal passport photos. You got it by putting a quarter into a machine and sitting there.
Mr. Eaton: In other words, it was an improvement over the real thing.
Mr. Cunningham: How many dollars did you put into the machine?
Mr. Bounsall: Pardon?
Mr. Eaton: An improvement over the real thing.
Mr. Bounsall: Oh, yes; I was very flattered. I was quite proud to show my driver’s licence in California.
Mr. Cunningham: Whose head did you borrow?
Mr. Bounsall: I was talking quite briefly just a few minutes ago to a student from Michigan about their system of doing it. He said they had pretty good reproductions. I asked to have a look at the picture. It was quite a decent reproduction of him. I commented that it looked a little bit better even than passport photos, and his reply was that they have a funny way of doing it. There’s a photographer and he usually takes the picture before you have time to look up, so most people are caught with their eyes looking shut in the Michigan pictures. That’s a detail about how we arrange to take the pictures.
The reason I would find these pictures useful on drivers’ licences in Ontario is not the use mentioned in the concerns expressed by my two colleagues, but in the sense that the obvious major concern of the whole committee, in terms of driving safety, was the drinking driver. We had a whole host of recommendations about the drinking-driver problem. One of them was to have somewhat tougher restrictions upon a person under the legal drinking age who was drinking and driving, irrespective of whether that person was impaired or not. We had some recommendations in the area for that person under the age of 18 who was drinking, whether impaired or not.
By having a picture on the driver’s licence and there is no doubt that the driver’s licence would be for that purpose, once these rules become different -- and I hope the ministry, or the Attorney General, I guess, moves to change these rules in that regard shortly -- those rules having been changed, there may be drivers’ licences passed around in order to avoid having some greater restrictions placed upon you if you’re under the age of 18 or under the legal drinking age and have been drinking. This picture prevents that. The whole area was an area by which one gets the young driver -- and in most cases he would not be legally impaired -- and impresses very early in his driving experience, the problems with drinking and driving, so that behaviour, whether impaired or not, would not continue.
I see that as a very easy means of identifying those drivers -- or any driver for that matter, but particularly the young drivers -- so we may get them into the program, as outlined in that report, for talking to them about their drinking and their driving.
From that angle, I find that the picture on the driver’s licence is an integral part of the whole program that we outlined in terms of helping to remove from Ontario the drinking-driving problem, which is, of course, the major problem confronting Ontario now that we have reduced our speed limits and now that we have the compulsory wearing of seatbelts. This is obviously an area that must be attacked.
I find no objection to having a picture on the driver’s licence for a whole host of purposes. If you ask people in the United States, who have pictures on their driver’s licences, if they’ve had any problems with it, they look at you and say, with some amazement: “Don’t you have pictures on your driver’s licences? What do you use as identification then?” They say they don’t quite know how they would get their cheques cashed, et cetera if they didn’t have that very easy tie-in where they show their driver’s licence with the picture on it and the cheque is much more readily and easily cashed. I would find a picture on one’s driver’s licence an advantage for just general purpose use.
There are various and other ways it would be used, in addition to the administration of the drinking-driving differences which we proposed in the report. We also would hope that tavern owners and owners of drinking establishments would get a bit serious about enforcing the drinking age, whatever that age might happen to be. It will be very useful for the owners of our drinking establishments to require the production of the driver’s licence and to be able to check the picture on it. Again, for those purposes, driver’s licences wouldn’t get shared around for the purpose of being able to supposedly drink legally. I don’t suppose there’s a member in this House, having grown up in the days when the legal drinking age was 21, who did not at some time borrow someone else’s driver’s licence to appear to be drinking legally. The member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) indicates that he never borrowed anyone else’s driver’s licence. That may be because he looked 50 at age 18, I am not sure.
Either that or you had been requested by someone younger than yourself to borrow your driver’s licence. I have had it both ways, and this was very widespread around university residences during my student days. If we are going to have a legal drinking age in Ontario, this would certainly be useful in seeing that people considered to be under the legal drinking age were not drinking. It puts a bit more of the onus, I think, on tavern owners and operators to enforce it. They have less excuse now. But in the surveys that I have carried out on the drinking-driving question in my riding, what has certainly occurred --
Mr. Hodgson: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: A point of order?
Mr. Hodgson: May I ask what the drinking age has to do with this bill?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: We are dealing with pictures on drivers’ licences --
Mr. Bounsall: That’s right.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Would the member continue and tie it to the bill?
Mr. Bounsall: Yes, as I have been doing right along -- as you understand, Mr. Chairman, even though some other people don’t.
If I may make a short connection, the recommendation from the highway safety committee to so do came as a result of our consideration of the drinking-driving problem, including the legal drinking age, all of which is so contained. I see it useful as an identity card. I see it useful and necessary in carrying out and enforcing in the proper way some of the other recommendations on drinking-driving contained in that highway safety report.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, this clause is a difficult clause, and I think the points that my colleague from Riverdale makes are ones that give me grave and deep concern. I happened some 20 years ago now to be travelling in Spain, which then had a fascist dictatorship. I recall having my passport taken away from me when I checked into the hotel and they kept that as security. I recall very well the sense that my colleague mentioned about the loss of identity with the loss of the document, and that document had a picture on it. In that alien environment it was the only document that assured me of some safety.
It seems to me unfortunate now in this society that we seem to be edging ever so slowly to that phase where the pictured driver’s licence, if removed, removes what many of my colleagues rightly call conveniences -- a convenience to cash a cheque easily, the convenience to drink easily in a tavern. It is all too easy for that no longer to be taken as a convenience but to be taken as a pre-condition for doing those activities. That does worry me very much indeed. I don’t know where that process stops exactly.
One recalls the first introduction of the social insurance numbers. There were some outcries, some misgivings then. We recall the introduction of the age of the majority card that was for a special part of our population if they wished to enjoy certain rights and privileges in this province. We now have this step with this particular card, which I assume will be plasticized. That worries me very much. I share the concerns expressed by my colleague from Riverdale.
I would like to ask the minister, as one can do in committee, some questions about the equipment that is going to be used to take the photographs. Are they going to buy that equipment within the ministry? Are they going to have it in the driver licensing bureau when you go to apply for your licence? Are they going to snap your photo then; or are they going to do it the way the passport photos are taken through private photography establishments and then a person brings a picture to the licensing bureau? Has that been thought through?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It hasn’t been finalized yet, but I anticipate that pictures would be taken at our driver examination centres by equipment that would be supplied at the centres. There are several reasons for this, one being that when the driver comes to the centre to have his or her picture taken, he or she will also be able to have, for instance, an eye scan or an eye test at the same time -- it just takes a second.
If you went to the passport-type photo, I think it is much more inconvenient for the individual who would have to have the photo taken and then have a justice of the peace, a doctor, a lawyer, a minister or someone certify the photo. There are many advantages to the kind of system used in some of the other jurisdictions whereby the photo is taken at the bureau and the card is supplied there.
It may be an instant system. We haven’t decided that yet. The equipment will have to be tendered. It may be an instant system where the card is produced right there; or it may be a system where the driver is given a temporary extension on the licence. It is stamped for 30 days, for example, and the card would be sent out from head office. Those are details which have not been finalized.
Mr. Foulds: What do you expect the capital expenditures will be for the photographic equipment?
Hon. Mr. Snow: We expect that the cost of the photographic driver’s licence will be something less than $1 per year per driver. It would be less than $3 million per year.
Mr. Foulds: How many drivers are there in Ontario?
Mr. Renwick: Over 4½ million.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 2 stand as part of the bill?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.
Section 2 agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. Philip: I have a couple of questions for the minister on this section. Since the select committee on highway safety has recommended a two-year probation period, can the minister tell the House why he has left this open to regulation? Is he planning on experimenting on various periods, or does he have a specific time in mind?
Hon. Mr. Snow: We have not as yet finalized any regulations for this, other than the general provisions in the act. My thought at this moment, though, is that it would be a one-year probationary period or until one’s 18th birthday; so it could be as long as two years.
The probationary period would be for all new drivers, not only young drivers. It would be a one-year period; so a young person getting his licence at 16½ years would, in effect, have a one-and-a-half-year probationary period until his 18th birthday.
Mr. Philip: I wonder if the minister can tell us whether he plans on conducting any kind of research as to whether the one-year period is preferable. I’m still not certain why he has rejected the recommendation of the select committee without any kind of evidence that he’s presented to us yet.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m not so sure there’s any evidence available. I may be wrong, but I’m not knowledgeable of any evidence the select committee had that two years was the exact period that it should be. I’m not sure that two years has any significance or magic to it. We felt a one-year time would be sufficient, or to the 18th birthday, which in many cases will be two years for a young person who gets his licence two weeks after his 16th birthday.
Mr. Philip: By way of comment, if the minister sets up a select committee and it makes recommendations -- and I must compliment the minister, at least in terms of safety, because he seems to be listening to that committee, although he doesn’t seem to be listening quite as diligently to the committee on highway transportation of goods; I say more power to him for the fact that he has followed that committee -- but if he’s going to deviate from some of its recommendations, and this is an unusual one in which he has, surely we should have some kind of explanation. I don’t expect the minister to answer that. I think he’s given us the answer that he has at the moment.
I would like to ask a couple of other questions on this section, but I believe the member for Yorkview has some questions he wants to pursue.
Mr. Young: Mr. Chairman, I too was a bit concerned when I read a press report that the minister was thinking in terms of one year. He has clarified that a bit. The 18th birthday is an improvement over what was first reported in the press.
If I could bring it to the minister’s attention, the reason the select committee thought about two years is illustrated in the graphs which we have placed as exhibits III-2 and III-3. We looked at this and spent a good deal of time in discussing the time factor. Looking at the records, we find it takes about five years for new drivers, regardless of age, to reduce their accident rate to the provincial average. The accident rates of 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds, as the graphs will show, are very high during their first year of driving; in the second year it comes down a bit, but not enough. Strangely enough, the 16-year-old’s accident rate comes down more in the second year than those of the 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds. In the third year the rate is down fairly dramatically and by the fifth year the situation is much better, down about to the average.
As far as convictions are concerned, the conviction rate is very high during the first year. For 16-year-olds, it goes up rather dramatically in the second year, drops off in the third year and then goes steadily downward for the next two years. The rate for the 17-year-olds is high the first year, almost up to the level of the 16-year-olds It levels off in the second year and then starts to drop after that.
In practically all the new drivers it’s the first and second years that are rather high as far as accidents and convictions are concerned. The committee felt that pretty careful supervision should perhaps be exercised during those two first years of driving, the two dangerous years, in the hope that the accident rate could be brought down very dramatically, far more so than is done at the present time where there is no supervision.
So we recommend that supervision should take the form of a warning letter if you have three demerit points. We felt the demerit point system should be retained. A personal interview would be conducted at six points. That brings the time down from what we have at the present time. A driver improvement course would be required at nine points, and a three month’s suspension would be applied at 12 points, with the discretion of the court to add a year to the probationary period if the driver gives continuous evidence of irresponsible behaviour.
We felt that program should be conducted over a two-year period and would offer some real hope of very great improvement in driver behaviour. We felt the one-year period was perhaps too short a time, although to be fair in the situation. The driver who learns to drive after age 19 or 20 and up has a better accident rate than the younger drivers. He is still very high his first and second years. Even the 19-year old, the third year, is almost as bad as in the second year. Then he starts to go down again.
This, I think, was the rationale behind our recommendation. So I would urge upon the minister that he seriously think in terms of the full two years probationary licence for the driver. Certainly, I agree with him after thinking about it seriously. At first I felt it should be incorporated into legislation, but the regulation does give some leeway in changing the methodology of carrying the thing out. It may be that certain changes can or should be made, either to lighten the recommendations or to make them more stringent in the light of the experience we have.
So I’m not quarrelling with that part of it, but I do feel in the light of the work put into this thing by the committee, and the recommendations made by the committee out of their study, the two-year period is pretty important.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I say the regulations haven’t been finalized yet. We haven’t really been working too actively on finalizing the regulations until the legislation is passed, although we have obviously been doing some preliminary and detailed work. I am sure the honourable members and I could argue or make many arguments about the probationary length of time. We should give young persons the opportunity to have a full driver’s licence and not a probationary licence when they become 18 years of age because many become employed at that age and may need a full driver’s licence in their employment. The proposal I have just made, if implemented would allow young persons to get their licence shortly after becoming 16 years of age, serve close to two years of probation, and still get their full licence at 18, at which time they would be eligible to upgrade that licence to a higher grade of licence, which they must be 18 to do. I think those are some of the reasons we have had for establishing that period.
Mr. Bounsall: I might say to the minister on this point that it was never the intention of the committee to view the probationary licensee who holds that probationary licence, to be a less able driver. There was not to be a difference, in the terms of employment or anything else, between someone holding a probationary licence and someone holding what you would call a full licence.
We recommended the probationary licence on the simple basis that the chairman of that committee has outlined. No matter, or irrespective of at what age you start driving, you have more accidents and break more of the highway traffic laws in the first few years than after you have been driving for a while. Because of a different time on his point system at which he would be involved with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in various letters being received and programs undergone, the whole system is to provide an early intervention with that person learning to drive, irrespective of the age at which he starts. We had evidence from other jurisdictions that with intervention very early on in one’s driving experience, one has a better chance of changing that particular driving behaviour than if that driving behaviour is allowed to continue and is not picked up until a later time.
The whole idea of a probationary licence was to simply have some early intervention into the driving behaviour of those persons who collected sufficient points to merit that intervention. It was by no means to be a condemnation of the driving ability of anyone who holds it. It was only a means by which the ministry would intervene early on for those people holding that kind of licence, where it was indicated by the points which they had gathered that intervention was necessary. It was to be an earlier intervention with their driving behaviour than would happen when they had their full licence, but it wasn’t in any way meant to reflect upon their driving ability.
It was clear to the entire committee that the first five years of anyone’s driving, again irrespective of the age, was the period in which they had the most infractions and the most points gathered. One could even have looked at a much longer term for the probationary licence. In point of fact, on the committee I was very much in favour of three years as the probationary licence period rather than two. Again, on that highway safety committee, we tried very hard to make a rational package and put together all of our recommendations. I felt it was rather unusual that we would make a recommendation to increase the drinking age from 18 to 19 and therefore most drivers have three years -- most drivers do learn to drive at age 16; they would have a three-year period of driving in which they are not legally allowed to drink, and yet they would have a probationary licence which lasts only two years. If one were thinking of increasing the drinking age, it struck me that one would have a probationary period which matched the drinking age for most drivers. If it were to be three years before they could legally drink, for all those who start at age 16 that probationary period should also be that three-year period.
That was the only time, I thought, that the committee was inconsistent in terms of the way they put the package together. One should either leave the drinking age at 18 with a two-year probationary period licence, or at 19 with three years. As a result, and with some other considerations, when the recommendation that the drinking age be raised to 19 was adopted I almost dissented. I considered it very seriously. I would have dissented for some other reasons as well, but it struck me that we were inconsistent on that point of a two-year probationary period, with the drinking age being raised to age 19. I would have made that one of the major points in my dissent. I would have dissented because of the probationary period being only two years when it should be three, and therefore I could see no reason for raising the drinking age when the probationary period for most drivers did not match that same identical period.
Another thing that we did recommend, which was again a very high point in the committee’s minds, was the last recommendation relating to the probationary period. This was that at the discretion of the court the addition of a year to the probationary period could be made if the driver gives continuous evidence of irresponsible behaviour. This was also very much in our minds and I would simply ask the minister about that point. Is it his intention that the regulations will make it clear that the court will at its discretion be able to extend that probationary period for a further period of time, if the evidence of the driver’s irresponsible driving behaviour would, in the opinion of the court, merit that extension?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It would all depend on whether the individual finds himself or herself in court. A driver, young or old, can have very irresponsible behaviour, as you referred to, and never end up before the judge. It’s something I’ll certainly give thought to, but I wouldn’t want to commit myself to it at this moment.
Mr. Philip: Assuming the minister did have some rationale in choosing one year rather than two years, a very specific time limit, no doubt the minister also has worked into that one-year time frame other forms of intervention in the way of upgrading drivers’ skills and other forms of safety promotion. I’m wondering if the minister could outline what some of those might be and how they tie into this one-year time frame of a probationary licence.
The minister might also comment on what interaction he might have had with the Ontario Safety League, the Canadian Driver Education Association and other associations like that in the driver training field to find out how they may fit some of their concerns into this probationary period; and into the interventions that no doubt the minister is contemplating since he is introducing a probationary period of licence.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m not sure what the honourable member really wants me to give him. We cannot at this time recite the total regulation we propose to pass. As I’ve already said, it is not finalized. We have not completed our draft regulation which would have to go to the regulation committee, cabinet and so on before it could be implemented.
The main purpose, as has already been stated, is to trigger the attention of the new driver at an earlier stage, before he develops continuous bad driving habits. That’s the whole purpose of the probationary licence. At this moment, a person can get a dozen speeding tickets for going 10 miles per hour -- I guess it’s 16 kilometres per hour now --
Mr. Ruston: Yes, 16.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- faster than the speed limit and never accumulate a demerit point. What we are looking at in this regulation is the possibility of the number of convictions. A conviction for speeding at 15 kilometres per hour would be a conviction and would trigger the procedure to bring the bad driving habits to the attention of the new driver rather than the number of demerit points he would have to accumulate, which he would never accumulate with these modest speeding tickets but which still help to establish his bad driving habits. A number of convictions -- perhaps two or three speeding tickets for going 15 kilometres per hour above the limit -- would trigger a suspension, rather than having to get 15 demerit points. The thing is to bring to the attention of the driver his bad habits at an early time.
Those are the types of provisions we are considering. I don’t know whether I’ve got the figure exactly, but we are proposing a 30-clay suspension for the first suspension and a six-month suspension for a second suspension; which could be reduced to 60 days if the driver attends a driver improvement course approved by our ministry. That’s one of our draft proposals. If they got a third suspension during their probationary period it would be for a minimum of six months.
Mr. Philip: On that point, I wonder if the minister can tell us his definition of a program approved by the ministry. Is that another way of saying it’s approved by the Ontario Safety League?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Chairman. I’m sure the honourable member heard or read my statement a few weeks ago when I said that we would be presenting a white paper to the Legislature -- a green paper or whatever one might wish to call it -- a discussion paper on the whole matter of driver education. I’m still planning to do that before the summer recess with a view to getting feedbacks between then and the fall. I would hope to be able to bring forward recommendations and legislation in the fall that would establish a new system of licensing and regulating of both driving schools and driving instructors’ course content so our driver education system will really mean something.
Section 3 agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow moves that section 4(3) of the bill be repealed and the following substituted therefor: Paragraph 3 of subsection 4 of section 35 as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1973, chapter 45, section 13, is repealed and the following substituted therefor: Subsection 4. Any constable or any officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this part may enter into any place where motor vehicles or bicycles are stored or dealt in, or into any garage, repair shop, used car lot or premises used for the wrecking or dismantling of vehicles and make such investigation and inspection as he thinks proper for the purpose of this part.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Snow further moves that subsection 5 of the said bill be amended by inserting after (a) in the sixth line, “garage, repair shop or” and by striking out “for” in the sixth line and inserting in lieu thereof “the”.
Motion agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall the balance of the bill carry?
On section 5:
Mr. Worton: Mr. Chairman, the House leader of our party raised the issue in section 5 in regard to vehicles carrying a red light.
I think you will recall, Mr. Minister, that many years ago pretty well any type of service vehicle could carry this light. There was a great difficulty with it because of the number of vehicles that were carrying this light. I’m wondering if you’re not opening it up again to cause some considerable confusion as to what is a necessary vehicle, such as a police vehicle, fire, ambulance. I can understand the school bus, it now has flashing lights, but how broad do you figure you’ll go with this?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Chairman, I answered all this on the second reading of the bill, but I guess the member must have been out, although he was here during part of that discussion.
I certainly don’t anticipate any broadening of this act, but I’ll never say that never will anything happen as a result of this provision. As I explained before, the addition to this section is the addition of the enforcement vehicles of my ministry which are enforcing the Public Commercial Vehicles Act and the Public Vehicles Act. All the rest of the vehicles allowed to use the red lights are already in the present legislation. What this section does is add to the enforcement vehicles of the ministry which for many reasons may have to stop a large truck on the highway or which may stop with a truck to investigate its safety or licensing provisions or whatever.
It was a recommendation of the select committee on highway transportation of goods that the ministry’s important vehicles should be allowed to have red lights. We don’t allow red lights on any vehicles other than those that are listed here. Yellow lights are allowed on almost anything: farm equipment, escort vehicles, tow trucks and those types of vehicle. Blue flashing lights are allowed only on snow removal vehicles. When you see a blue light you know it’s a snowplough. We don’t intend to open it for any more, but the ones that are in here -- conservation officers, provincial parks officers and mine safety officers -- are all in the existing legislation.
Section 5 agreed to.
Sections 6 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill 22, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Snow, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendments.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 22, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.