The House met at 2 p.m.
DEATH OF ALDO MORO
Mr. Speaker: I would like to inform the honourable members that I have received a reply from the President of the Senate of Italy in response to the resolution that was passed during the unfortunate incident concerning the former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro. I would like to read it for the benefit of the members.
“Dear Mr. Speaker,
“The resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario for the tragic death of the Honourable Aldo Moro is a most significant tribute to the memory of a great statesman and a great friend. May I ask you to accept personally and to extend to your honourable colleagues the feelings of our deep gratitude for your sincere participation in our sorrow in this very sad occasion.
“Yours very sincerely,
“Amintore Fanfani, President of the Senate of the Republic of Italy.”
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’d like to share with members of the House the plans for the Ontario government’s participation in helping to celebrate our 111th birthday.
Mr. Peterson: Are you that old?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Canada’s 111th birthday.
Mr. Peterson: I thought it was the number of years you had been in office.
Hon. Mr. Davis: First of all, it is our intention to issue a proclamation declaring the week of June 25 to July 1 as Canada Week in Ontario. Through this proclamation, we will be calling upon citizens at every level, municipalities, community groups and private organizations across the province to organize events that will recall our country’s great past, rejoice in its vibrant present and express confidence in its equally vital future.
A feature of this year’s celebrations is the initiative taken by the federal government to link various provinces with each other so that through their shared celebrations Canadians may come to know one another better no matter where they might live and no matter how different their lifestyles.
I will say at the outset we are delighted that Ontario has been linked in this celebration to Saskatchewan. I’m sure I speak for all the citizens of Ontario when I say we look forward to this opportunity to learn more about our fellow Canadians in that proud province. I know from the start that we will like what we see and learn because many of us in the past have had the opportunity to visit Saskatchewan and enjoy the warm hospitality of its citizens.
I think some here, who may still be inclined to view Saskatchewan as vast waving fields of wheat, will be pleasantly surprised to learn of its cosmopolitan cities, centres of learning and cultural activities.
Mr. Cassidy: And excellent politics.
Mr. Martel: That just about killed you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: My intention was not to make it clear that this relationship with Saskatchewan didn’t extend into the area of government.
Mr. Cassidy: I didn’t want it to be un-noted.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think some in that province, who have visions of factory chimneys and skyscrapers when they think of our province, will also be surprised to learn of our great agricultural heritage --
Mr. Bradley: Fast disappearing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and our vast and rugged hinterland which still challenges the adventurous. The entire exercise, I am sure, will reveal that we share much in common and that where we differ it is in such a way as to earn each other’s respect and support.
Towards this end, the government is sponsoring, along with the Ontario Committee for Canadian Unity, a special Ontario-Saskatchewan exhibition. This will be officially opened in the Macdonald Gallery by Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, at noon on June 27, and I would invite those members who can to attend on that occasion.
We also intend to adopt our postage meter during the month of June so that all government mail will carry the imprint of “Semaine du Canada Week 1978” with the hope of creating awareness of this very special time.
As well, the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) is writing the chairmen of school boards and the directors of education across the province encouraging them to develop events and celebrations that will enable our young people to participate fully in Canada’s birthday. We are suggesting, because schools will likely be closed during that week, that they might hold their celebrations in advance, so as not to interfere with exams.
As a way to encourage further interest among the young people, a Canada Week poster contest will be held in all elementary schools. The four winners of this contest will go on an exchange visit to Saskatchewan.
Of course, we here in Ontario will hold our traditional July 1 celebrations at Queen’s Park complete with hot dogs, entertainment and other ceremonies to suitably mark this historic day.
These, then, are some of the ways the 111th birthday of our great nation will be celebrated. I am one of those who approaches these festivities in a positive manner, viewing them as an excellent opportunity for all of us here in Ontario and Quebec and across the land to demonstrate our support and gratitude for a national framework that has done so much to fulfil the expectations of the people. In this spirit, I urge the members here to play their part in making these celebrations a success in their communities across this province.
We have much to be thankful for as Canadians, for what we have accomplished in the past and for what awaits us in the future. The elements of citizenship, of nationhood that we share, those attributes of compassion and goodwill, and our eagerness to assure equal opportunities to all who have joined in the great adventure that is Canada, make this so.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, during the past two weeks, on several occasions in this House I have been asked about the negotiations between the Wentworth County Board of Education and its secondary school teachers and the Essex County Board of Education and its secondary school teachers.
I am pleased to advise the members of the House that an agreement has been reached between the Wentworth County Board of Education and its secondary school teachers in which the contract for 1977-78 has been finalized. In due course, the parties will return to the table with Mr. Martin Teplitsky as mediator to resolve the contract for 1978-79. Should negotiations be unsuccessful, Mr. Teplitsky will issue an arbitrator’s award. I understand the teachers have returned to the schools today and that classes will resume on Tuesday, May 30.
Also, on Friday, May 26, the Essex County Board of Education and its secondary school teachers reached a tentative agreement for a contract running from September 1, 1977 to August 31, 1980. The parties will be meeting to vote on the terms of the contract on Tuesday, May 30. If it is approved, the schools will reopen on Wednesday, May 31.
I would like to congratulate the parties in both of these disputes for having reached settlements within the options available to them under the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. This is a question we were chatting about in committee but never did have an answer. It had to do with his reference in the House to volume discounts as being an acceptable procedure.
Could the minister explain to the House what in his view constitutes a volume discount? In particular, does he differentiate between a discount which is genuinely related to the benefits of doing business in bulk or in larger volume as opposed to a discount which is a consequence of coercion -- one which is allegedly related to volume but is really related to control of the retail market by one or two or three large chains?
Can he tell us, for instance, by way of explaining this, what he in his experience would regard as a reasonable discount on milk between a chain store and an independent store, given the true benefits of doing business in volume?
Hon. W. Newman: My comments when talking about volume discounts, were related to other commodities and situations where there is a backup of commodities. I’d like to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that my view has been, and will always be, that if there is any illegal or unfair trade practice in the agricultural food industry, we’ll certainly take the appropriate action.
I can go back in history to show where we have stepped in and the Ontario Food Council has taken action on several occasions. I believe those came up in committee. When you’re specifically talking about volume discounts and how they relate to milk, I suppose the analogy would be that you pay more for a bag of corn than you would for a truckload of corn.
I would point out to the honourable member that as far as volume discounts are concerned, and I assume he is talking of discounts between the processor and the chain or whichever other group, there are several factors that come into play; in this particular instance, the size of the truck that’s handling it, the amount of products he is handling, what kind of milk is being handled, whether it’s two per cent or 3.25 per cent, or whether he is carrying other commodities.
Those are only a few of the concerns as far as volume discount is concerned. All these have to be taken into consideration. What is the credit risk? What do the processors need as far as volume is concerned? The type and size of the store? Whether they unload on the platform in front of the store or actually put them on the shelves? There are many factors as far as volume discounts are concerned. I just mentioned a few of them.
Of course, volume discounts do reflect the economics of scale and are common in business. There are many factors, but as far as anything that is an illegal or unethical practice is concerned, as I said before, I am opposed to them. I gave you an example of a few of the factors that are taken into consideration in volume discounts on milk and probably other commodities too.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: There is no disagreement between myself and what the minister has said, but could the minister give us some rough figures as to what should be the differential in price based on the benefits of economies of scale between selling milk to a chain store or selling milk to a smaller independent in the same area?
Does the minister have any ball-park figures to guide him? Is there any number that would lead the minister to wonder whether this was really a volume discount or a form of coercion because of control of the retail market? Does the minister draw that distinction in his own mind? Does he have some rough ball-park figure he can give us?
Hon. W. Newman: It’s very difficult to give an actual figure of what the volume discount rate should be. As I said, it depends on many factors, and I’ve outlined six or seven for the member. It might vary from store to store or from a small independent, or depend on the volume, the truck, the size or whether they’re carrying anything else. It’s pretty hard to say.
Mr. S. Smith: What, two per cent, five per cent?
Hon. W. Newman: No, I’m not going to give you ball-park figures because it can vary from area to area.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister aware that Dominion Stores, for example, charges a $5,000 listing fee in order that a particular grocery product can be listed in its largest stores and that the listing fee is more substantial in order to have that same product carried by all the various sizes of supermarkets which the Dominion Stores chain has? Can he say what conceivable benefit, if any, that it is to the consumers of the province of Ontario and if it is of no benefit to the consumer is it not simply a means of augmenting Dominion Stores profits?
Hon. W. Newman: No, I wouldn’t say that. But Loblaws are coming to our committee discussions tomorrow night and, hopefully, Dominion Stores will be there either tomorrow night or Wednesday morning. We will be questioning them at some length on shelf space. I don’t know which particular products the honourable member is talking about with regard to the listing fee. Is it a farm product or some other product? If it’s some other product, does the honourable member wish to tell me which one?
Mr. Cassidy: Processed products, the minister should know.
Hon. W. Newman: I beg your pardon? Oh, yes, they only have about 10,000 items in each store and I should know them all. I don’t know them all.
Mr. Lewis: That’s a weakness.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Is the minister drawing a distinction between a genuine discount related to the benefits and the economies of scale versus a so-called volume discount which is really a consequence of control of the retail market? Does the minister draw that distinction, first of all, and if he does draw that distinction, what guides him in deciding when that guideline has somehow or other been exceeded? For instance, does he think it’s reasonable that in the case of milk there should be a discount on the processor by the chain store of somewhere between 19 per cent and 21 per cent and possibly considerably higher than that in the price of milk? Does that strike the minister as truly related to the benefits of doing business in volume?
Hon. W. Newman: As I have said, there are many factors in the chain store -- whether the cooling devices are put in, whether they are put in the store each day, how they are handled and what the date and the practice are. For example, the plastic milk cartons might be much more costly to produce than the plastic pouches. Therefore, under those circumstances --
Mr. S. Smith: It’s the same product we are talking about.
Hon. W. Newman: I know we are talking about the same product, but the fact that they could package it a lot cheaper may mean they can give a much better discount because they can do it in the pouches rather than the plastic containers.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s the same package and the minister knows it. Does he draw the distinction or not?
Hon. W. Newman: I outlined it all to the Leader of the Opposition. Quite obviously, he doesn’t know what it’s all about.
Mr. S. Smith: We look forward to finding out whether the minister draws the distinction or not. So far he has avoided that question several times.
Mr. S. Smith: I will ask the Minister of Colleges and Universities a question. Is there any thought in his ministry at the moment in terms of possibly changing the wolf bounty method of financing universities and colleges which at present exists, where basically, how many students an institution can capture, presumably still in the live state at least at the moment, determines its budget for the year? Is there any possibility of changing that so that we don’t get into the kinds of practices which have been referred to recently by Mr. Kent, the U of T director of admissions, where people from universities and colleges are competing by phoning people to try to get them into their university for purposes of government grants?
An hon. member: They used to do that just with football players.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think it would be timely to offer the leader of the Liberal Party an opportunity to come over and go into the method of financing in detail. Obviously, he doesn’t understand it. I am appalled at the question.
Mr. Kerrio: The big problem is that you are not giving us all the information.
Mr. Swart: He’s ready to come over permanently any time.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: May I illustrate the point this way? Last year in August the numbers of dollars allocated to the system for the next year were totally unrelated to the numbers of students that would be in the system this year. There is no wolf bounty. I think that is a very unfortunate choice of words on the member’s part. There is indeed some competition between one university and the other but not for the whole system. I think the interuniversity competition is not all that serious. It has some advantages.
If the member wants to understand the full system of funding, we will be glad to set some time aside for him. There is in place right now a funding mechanism that gives four years buffering to the system. That’s true, and it’s very valuable, but it certainly is not on the head count as the member suggested.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Given the fact that, slip year or no slip year financing, we still are dealing with a basic income unit method of financing, can the minister comment on the comments made by Mr. Kent, who says in his opinion a number of universities have admission and liaison approaches inconsistent with the spirit of the guidelines? He says the most visible violation is mass telephone campaigns, in which one or two universities are getting involved, phoning hundreds of applicants before the June 16 date the universities have agreed on for issuing acceptances and so on.
Is this a healthy atmosphere? Does the minister regard this as a healthy sort of free enterprise attitude? Shouldn’t the universities have some method of financing that isn’t so totally dependent upon the number of people they can attract into their places?
Mr. Breithaupt: Some of them get an ear from each.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The university system is not dependent upon the number they attract. It’s entirely dependent upon the allocation of dollars by the government of this province to the system as a whole. In fairness, the leader of the Liberal Party has put two issues together which do not mix too well, if he does it that way. The BIU method is one of distribution and not funding. There is a very vast difference between a distribution mechanism and a funding mechanism.
Mr. Cooke: Based on what the minister has just said, does he remember his news conference on March 16, 1978, when he tried to justify the cutbacks in the university by saying that for the last 12 years the BIUs have kept up with the rate of inflation? How does the minister justify that statement at his March 16 news conference with what he said just now, that the BIUs are a method of distribution and not a method of determining needs of universities?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Very simply, one is a historical review of the facts as they were presented to this province throughout the years. There once was a time when the BIU method indeed was an open-ended program for financing; it has not been for some considerable period of time, and it certainly isn’t in effect today.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Accepting the fine semantic point made by the minister that the total amount of funds going to the university system may not in his mind be related to the total number of students in the whole system, nonetheless does he not see that for the individual university the amount of money that a particular university will get from the funds that are generally available is in fact dependent upon the number of students they can attract and in that sense bears a distinct resemblance to the bounty system?
Mr. Breithaupt: You’re saying the system follows instead of leads.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: One university may be able to take a larger portion of the budget than another; that’s true.
Mr. S. Smith: Precisely. We are not talking about the total budget.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: But the budget will not increase if they all become aggressive. That is the big difference.
Mr. Breithaupt: But the market share differs.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: In other words, the number of dollars is assigned well in advance of the numbers reported to the ministry. It is not an open-ended system; if there is competition between the University of Toronto, for example, and the University of Western Ontario, so be it.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s a wolf bounty with a limit in the total.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is not a wolf bounty. I would hope that the member opposite would expect the universities to want to have as many students as they possibly can. We give the number of dollars that are possible within our priorities; and it is my hope that the universities, given that large number of dollars, would attempt to educate as many of our young students as possible. Why not? Can the member opposite think of a better way of spending our tax dollars than in educating our young people?
Mr. S. Smith: But they don’t create new applicants; they just --
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that there are some advantages to be gained in some instances by competition among universities for students, and that this just illustrates good private enterprise practices, which the leader of the Liberal Party seems always to have espoused?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Depending on the issue.
Mr. Van Horne: You’re worse than Mike Pelyk; you don’t know which colour sweater they are wearing.
Mr. Bounsall: Furthermore, it has been demonstrably proven, where universities have admitted adult students with not necessarily the most correct backgrounds for entrance, that those adult students have done a remarkably good academic job at our universities by the time their courses have ended.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes.
Mr. S. Smith: Don’t you talk to each other in Windsor?
Mr. Sweeney: Given the description the minister gave to my leader’s previous question, how do universities like Brook and Trent, small arts colleges, possibly compete for moneys from the total fund with, say, the University of Toronto, in view of the recruitment procedures being followed by them?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: For the past number of years, the Ontario Council on University Affairs has recognized, and therefore recommended, that an emerging grant be given to the universities in question. Trent, especially, last year had a 14 per cent larger grant than the competitive universities that the member named; for instance, the University of Toronto. This year it’s a 12 per cent increase.
Council has said it thinks that before long those supplementary grants should be phased out. However, at this time there still are supplementary grants. I am I sure council is taking a very careful look at the whole process of supplementary grants to our university system.
Going back to the question raised by the member’s leader, it simply results in this equation: The more students, the smaller the BIU value per student, equals the same total at the end.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Labour arising out of the absolutely deplorable incident which took place at 1:30 this afternoon in the offices of the Minister of Labour, in which a number of injured workmen were first pushed and were then apparently hit with billy clubs by Metropolitan Toronto police who were seeking to move them out of the building. There were people who, in fact, were bloodied and arrested in that particular incident, an epileptic was hit --
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mr. Cassidy: I would like the minister to say whether that intervention by the Metropolitan Toronto police, with all of the tragic consequences, was, in fact, requested or ordered by the Minister of Labour?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No. The incident did not take place in the offices of the Ministry of Labour. It took place in the lobby of the building at 400 University Avenue in which the ministry is situated but which is not owned by the Ministry of Labour.
Mr. Martel: Move out then.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The owners of the building request this kind of policing at any time there is a demonstration within that building, because they have other tenants in the building. The details which have been given by the leader of the New Democratic Party are almost as inaccurate at the statements he made in the Sunday Star yesterday, to my knowledge.
I am aware that there was an invasion of the lobby of the building. The demonstration had taken place outside, at which time --
Mr. Lewis: An invasion? They were allowed in.
Mr. Wildman: Did they use amphibious craft?
Hon. B. Stephenson: This morning, both the former leader of the New Democratic Party and I spoke to the group outside the building, in a very large area which is outside the entrance to the building. After my departure, apparently the demonstrators went into the lobby and they were attempting, I gather, to move farther into the building. The police were in a line and they were rushed by the demonstrators.
Mr. Martel: On their crutches?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have no idea of the details of the accidents which occurred, but they were not, in fact those that the --
Mr. Lewis: Excuse me, the police were rushed by the injured workmen?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The original details which have been given to me were not, in fact, those provided by the Leader of the Opposition, who yesterday made some statements in the Sunday Star of which he should be totally ashamed --
Mr. S. Smith: Correct the record. The leader of the third party, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- because he has indeed attacked every member of the Tory party in Ontario with those irresponsible and entirely untrue statements.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, she can’t say that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He was never one to rest upon his laurels.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, could the minister kindly correct the record? She inadvertently said Leader of the Opposition when she clearly meant the leader of the third party.
An hon. member: We’re all sorry too, I’ll tell you.
Hon. B. Stephenson: My humble apologies. It was the leader of the third party.
Mr. Martel: On a point of privilege, the minister indicated that the leader of the New Democratic Party’s comments were untrue. She is not in a position to make that statement in this Legislature. I would ask that you ask her to withdraw those statements.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, how do you describe what was said?
Mr. Martel: She must withdraw the statement. Those are the rules of this House.
Mr. Lewis: On the point of privilege, obviously if a member of the House accuses another member of the House of uttering statements which are untrue that has to be withdrawn. I wanted to ask, having missed it in the noise, was the minister referring to what --
Mr. Rotenberg: You are on a point of privilege, not on a question.
Mr. Lewis: -- the leader of the New Democratic Party said today or something which was reported in a weekend newspaper? What was she talking about?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The details which the leader of the New Democratic Party provided regarding the incident in the lobby of the building do not, in fact, coincide with the information which I have been given thus far.
Mr. Deans: That doesn’t make them wrong.
Mr. Turner: It doesn’t make them right, either.
Hon. B. Stephenson: They are, I said, about as accurate -- I think I used the word inaccurate, or did I say untrue? Then I will say inaccurate. I withdraw the word untrue and use the word inaccurate -- as the accusations which the leader of the third party made in yesterday’s Sunday Star. It was in quotation marks and it accused the Tory party of attacking the workers of this province. That is entirely untrue.
Mr. Lewis: He should be admonished for putting it so generously. Talk about restraint.
Mr. Cassidy: It was a very clear attack on injured people.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: As the group of injured workmen were present in the lobby for an entire two-day period some short time ago, and no violence resulted at all, would the Minister of Labour please explain why this occurred today and will she have, through the Solicitor General, a full investigation as to why this should have occurred today when a period of similar occupation lasted for two days without incident?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there was not a full-time occupation of the lobby for two full days a short time ago.
Mr. McClellan: Got to watch them. They might hit you with their crutches.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There was intermittent attendance within the lobby of the building during the winter months.
Mr. Warner: You’re attacking injured workers.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No one has to my knowledge attacked injured workers in this province, and to my knowledge the police did not attack the workers either.
Mr. Swart: Why was the ambulance there?
Mr. Martel: What do you call that?
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you clean up the board, and this problem wouldn’t happen.
Mr. Martel: Workers on crutches invaded the building!
Mr. di Santo: Supplementary: Doesn’t the minister think that her refusal to accept the demands of the injured workers for an increase of their benefits for the last three years -- due to the confusing policies of the Workmen’s Compensation Board over the application of the supplement and of the consequent suffering -- is an outright provocation; and doesn’t she think it is time that she changed her policies and finally brought in the legislation necessary to correct that situation for which she and her government are responsible?
Mr. Warner: It’s a mean and vicious board, and you know it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, at about 12 today when I was speaking to the injured workers, I informed them it was my sincere hope we would have the amendments to the benefits ready before this House recessed.
Mr. Cassidy: Sincere hope.
Mr. Warner: But you do nothing.
An hon. member: You said that a year ago.
Mr. Lupusella: You should be ashamed of yourself.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary to the answer previous to the one she has just made; is the minister not aware that half of the police at the first sign of pushing pulled out their billy clubs and in point of fact attacked the injured workmen? One epileptic had to receive medical attention. One workman was knocked unconscious. He was bleeding and was handcuffed and taken away in that condition. Is the minister not aware -- when she says there was no attack -- that it in fact occurred and that there are others, the details of which I am not fully conversant with?
Mr. Warner: It comes right back to your board.
Mr. Swart: It’s all right with you.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am not aware that there was an attack upon the injured workers by the police.
Mr. Bounsall: Get informed!
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you find out?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware that there was scuffling when the injured workers attempted to force their way through the police lines. I do not know the specific details.
Mr. M. Davidson: Injured workers attacking the police? How foolish can you be?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am informed that one of the workers did indeed fall and no one knows how he injured his head, at this point in time, but we have asked for a full report of it.
Mr. Martel: He rammed his head at the wall.
Hon. B. Stephenson: When that report is available I’ll be very happy to provide it to the House.
Mr. Warner: The board is the source of the problem and you know it.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre with his second question.
Mr. Lewis: Remember how often we begged you to give those injured --
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Rotenberg: Why don’t you just obey the law and tell your workers to obey the law?
Mr. Warner: Clean up the board!
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: The words quoted in the paper --
Mr. Speaker: Order. We’ve had the original question and four supplementaries. The Minister of Labour has promised a full investigation with a report to this House. To spend any more time, I think, would be counterproductive.
Does the member for Ottawa Centre have a second question?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, I was beginning my second question. I was just saying that the words quoted in the paper were --
Mr. Speaker: Is that a related matter?
Mr. Cassidy: It’s a second question related to the WCB.
Mr. Speaker: I fail to hear a question.
Mr. Cassidy: All right. Can the minister say whether the assurance today that she gave to the injured workmen is in fact nothing but a sincere hope, as she has just said, or will we in fact see the legislation come forward and will it take effect in the month of June? Or is she going to bring in further delays in bringing justice to injured workmen?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker with reasonable co-operation from the third party -- and sometimes that’s too much to hope for -- we will have those amendments by the end of June.
Mr. Martel: Like Bill 70.
Mr. Warner: We’ve waited for you for a long time. Don’t be so condescending.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that it is now almost three years since the last adjustment in workmen’s compensation benefits, will the minister guarantee that the promised legislation will compensate fully for the increase in average wages and salaries since that time over the three-year period -- that is, that it will be a minimum of a 27 per cent increase?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To adduce the total and complete and accurate figures at this point would be completely irresponsible. I shall not do that.
Mr. Mackenzie: How many years do you need?
Mr. T. P. Reid: By way of supplementary, the minister mentioned in relation to this on the radio this morning that she was looking at the system in New Zealand in regard to workmen’s compensation and other such items. Does she have a report that she could table with the Legislature as to the efficacy of that system in compensating people who find themselves in these unfortunate situations before we even discuss these mailers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sure a preliminary report could be developed, but all the final decisions regarding that program have not been made by the government of New Zealand as yet. There is still some question about the first week of compensation, for example, which has not been decided as yet. So it is very difficult to give a final report on the effectiveness of this kind of program as an alternative to the workmen’s compensation program. But certainly it is one of the programs which is being studied, not only by the Ministry of Labour but also by the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
Mr. McClellan: Could I ask the minister to give us an unequivocal assurance -- yes or no -- that the legislation raising the benefits will be introduced before the House rises in June?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have already answered that question.
Mr. Warner: Yes or no.
Mr. McClellan: Yes or no. She hasn’t said yes or no.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have answered the question.
Mr. Warner: Answer the question.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have answered the question.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Speaker: Order: The supplementaries are becoming repetitious.
Mr. Lewis: May I ask a supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: If you have something original to ask.
Mr. Lewis: I am going to try.
Can the minister --
Mr. Kerrio: That is two supplementaries over there.
Mr. Lewis: I merely responded to the Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Niagara Falls have a supplementary?
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I do.
Mr. Speaker: I hadn’t noticed him standing.
Mr. Kerrio: In view of the fact that the minister is considering an adjustment of the injured workmen’s payments, is she also considering looking into the area of responsibility, where payment should come from?
Mr. Bounsall: It is only one per cent of the payroll. Is the workman supposed to pay for his own injuries?
Mr. Kerrio: Is she relating it to those areas where there are benefits to injured workmen that should come from the consolidated revenue fund rather than come from small business, which can ill afford to pay if it is not their fault?
Mr. Bounsall: We know where you get your campaign funds.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The task force which examined the Workmen’s Compensation Board and its function in 1973 did examine that specific subject. I think it opted for the format of the social contract which was first developed, as members know, in 1915 in this province. We are continuing to examine the alternatives, the additives which might be supplementary to workmen’s compensation.
But I can tell the House that the actuarial study of the Workmen’s Compensation Board has taken some of those factors into consideration and has provided some debate on the subject within the document. It will be available to the members of this House as soon as the final five chapters are delivered to me, which I think should be by the end of this week.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, if the legislative amendments are introduced in the month of June, as the minister says she intends -- or even if they were introduced later -- can she give to this House an absolute undertaking that within those amendments there will be an adjustment upwards to reflect the cost of living?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I can give an absolute commitment that there will be an adjustment upwards. Whether it will be on the basis of a COLA or some other mechanism, I certainly can’t say at this point.
Mr. Swart: That’s the base; we want to know the amount.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. Yakabuski: I have a question of the Premier.
Mr. Cassidy: It is nice to know that the member for Renfrew South is here.
Mr. Mackenzie: Are you going to take a sabbatical?
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, in view of the number of questions that have been asked in recent weeks of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), in connection with the discounting and volume rebates in the food industry --
An hon. member: Get out the hatchet.
Mr. Yakabuski: -- doesn’t the Premier really think this matter is only one small part of business practices that have been going on for years in this province and this nation --
Mr. Makarchuk: Great private enterprise system, Paul.
Mr. Yakabuski: -- and that this Legislature should also be looking at discounts and volume rebates in the hard goods industry, in automobile distributorships and in many other areas of business carried on in this province and country?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the very distinguished member for Renfrew South raises a somewhat broader issue. I must confess to him that, unlike him, I never had a great deal of experience in the sort of business that involves itself in discounts. In the profession that I used to practice there was a tariff and there was no reduction as it related to volume, so I am told. Has that changed, Jim?
Mr. Breithaupt: Not that I am aware.
Mr. Worton: They always get paid.
Mr. Nixon: Lawyers never discount.
Mr. Germa: Free enterprise.
Mr. Bradley: He should discount his salary.
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, Mr. Speaker, I would say to the member for Renfrew South that perhaps before making any general statement or observation, I think the committee itself should deal with this more restricted area for the time being and see what, in fact, the committee finds in its deliberation.
The hon. member has certainly touched upon it in a broader sense and I am delighted that he brought it to my attention. I thank him.
Mr. Yakabuski: Supplementary: Is the Premier aware that firms like Canadian Tire, Eaton’s, Simpsons, Woolco and firms such as that are able to buy much better than the small businessman, the independent?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must once again confess to the honourable member that I am not personally unaware, and I am not surprised either, that somebody buying several thousand units of whatever it might be perhaps gets them at a somewhat better price than somebody buying half a dozen.
Mr. Worton: Not at the LCBO.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to confess to the honourable member that when it comes to purchasing services or goods from the stores, by and large those purchases are made by somebody other than myself; namely my wife, and unfortunately on several occasions my children. I will consult with them this evening to see whether they have found this reflected in their purchasing.
Mr. Bradley: Did you get a discount on your condominium?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Like you, I couldn’t afford two.
Mr. Haggerty: To the Minister of Education: Has the minister come to any conclusion in the last month since he was asked about Ontario’s role in solving salary disagreements and the AIB levy of $100,000 against the Niagara South Board of Education and the teachers?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we were not involved in the salary dispute. I think the matter that was put to me by my friend the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) a short while ago, and also by the member for Erie a few days ago, concerned the penalty of $100,000 imposed on the Niagara south board by the administrator of the anti-inflation program. I think on checking we are all agreed that it was legal for that fine to be imposed and that fine had to be transmitted to the government in Ottawa.
There is a provision in there that perhaps half of that, $50,000, could revert to this province. We are checking on that, of course, and if that money comes back to this province it would be a government decision and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) would have to take the lead in making some recommendations concerning what the disposition of that money would be.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s better income than from radar traps.
Mr. Haggerty: Supplementary: Would the minister reveal the formula agreement that exists for Ontario in reclaiming AIB levies on the provincial public sector as provided for in section 9 of the January 19, 1976, referendum of agreement between the governments of Ontario and Canada? Would he also relate this payment formula to the $100,000 levied by the AIB against the Niagara teachers and tell us how much of this $100,000 will be returned to the Niagara South Board of Education? Perhaps he should ask his colleague the Treasurer for that information.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Perhaps my friend would let us take that question under advisement and perhaps the Treasurer would like to respond to it at some future time, because it really involves the agreement that we had under the AIB program, which, as I said, may provide for a formula for some of that money to come back to the province of Ontario --
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and if so, perhaps we would then consider what should be done with that money.
Mr. Swart: Certainly I’ll ask the lawyer on the Welland-Thorold board, I’ll tell you that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I just draw to my friend’s attention, though, that in my investigation of this matter, the matter of the penalty, as I understand it, was appealed to the federal cabinet. The federal cabinet upheld it and the federal government has seen fit to take that money and not return any of it to the Niagara South Board of Education.
Mr. Swart: Further supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of that fact that it is more than three weeks since I raised this issue with the minister, and the money has or will come from the ratepayers of the Niagara South Board of Education, would he not consider it reasonable that the total $50,000, if the province gets it back, and we assume the province will get it back, should be returned to that board of education --
Mr. Swart: -- rather than be kept here to increase the funds of the Treasurer?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t think I can answer that question at the present time. I could turn that question around and ask why should the government of Canada keep the $50,000 that has been given to them. Why not turn all of it back, return it all to the Niagara south --
Mr. Kerrio: That’s exactly what we want.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I could ask why was the fine ever imposed in the first place.
Mr. Warner: Give the money back; give the money back and then ask the Treasurer to resign.
Hon. Mr. Wells: But the fact of the matter is that our involvement in this is such that at some point in time that money may come back. I think the Treasurer can at the appropriate time indicate what the government of Ontario would do with that money. As far as I know we haven’t received any money back under the agreement at the present time.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Mr. Mackenzie: A question of the Minister of Labour: In view of the serious deterioration of the possibility of collective bargaining in good faith at Fleck, due to the confrontation with the Ontario Provincial Police, which is perceived by the workers to be on behalf of the employers, I’ve got a two part question to ask of the minister.
First, has the minister at any time raised with the Solicitor General (Mr. Ken) the possibility of removing or substantially reducing the OPP involvement on the picket line in order to defuse the situation, remove the threat of violence and lead to more fruitful bargaining? Second, in view of the statements of Mr. Paul Weiler, chairman of the labour board in British Columbia, who dearly refuted the statements of the minister last week concerning the usefulness of first agreements, is the minister now prepared to reconsider her comments and look at the imposition of a first agreement to bring an end to this unfortunate situation?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The answer to the first question, Mr. Speaker, is yes; a proposal was made and it was rejected by all parties. The answer to the second question is no, I am not prepared to do that at the moment. The newspaper report of my comment, that indeed we were monitoring what was happening there, was obviously transmitted in somewhat garbled form to Mr. Weiler. His information is not exactly what had been in my hand at that time.
Mr. Lewis: Everybody garbles your words.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We shall be looking at the results of the second set of negotiations in those instances in which automatic or first agreements were established by government.
Mr. McClellan: Why are you so often misinterpreted?
Mr. Lewis: Even Wilf List garbles your words; and that takes some doing from Wilf.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that larger numbers of police on the line invariably lead to confrontations?
Can the minister tell us why reducing that force to try and bring about some sanity in the situation would have been rejected by all parties? And is the minister aware of the comments of Mr. Weiler that an imposed first agreement and compulsory union check off, or the Rand formula in effect, is now law in BC; and has, according to Mr. Weiler, resulted in a substantial reduction of the confrontations in that province?
Mr. Lewis: Right; enormous reduction.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, I am aware of Mr. Weiler’s statements. As I said they are in conflict with the reports that were given to me about this situation in British Columbia. I am aware that indeed that is the law in that province at this time. As I said before, we are monitoring this situation to see whether indeed it has any appropriate place in the province of Ontario or not.
Mr. Warner: Everybody is out of step but you.
Mr. McClellan: You are a disaster.
Hon. B. Stephenson: As far as the first question is concerned, I have no idea why they rejected it. You might ask the UAW, and the Liberal Party might indeed ask the managers of that plant why they rejected the idea; but the idea was definitely put to them with the assistance of one of the member’s colleagues, as a matter of fact quite a while ago.
Mr. Germa: Have you been talking to the owner?
BURLINGTON ZONING DISPUTE
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier regarding a zoning dispute over a fast food or hamburger restaurant in Burlington. Given that the city of Burlington is opposed to its development, that the people in the area are opposed to its development, and given that there may have been certain anomalies with respect to the information that was presented at the OMB hearing, has the cabinet been asked by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), or by anyone else for that matter, to reconsider this matter? And will the cabinet give reconsideration to it?
Hon. Ms. Davis: The member who serves that area so well whispered in a voice I could hear that there is a petition before the legislation committee. If there is, I cannot comment any further.
Mr. Peterson: Saved again.
Mr. McClellan: A question for the Minister of Community and Social Services: As you know, Mr. Speaker, 40 per cent of Ontario’s social assistance caseload is composed of people who are dependent because of disability or major health problems. I want to ask the minister if he will tell us, in terms of cases, how many recipients of family benefits, GAINS-D, and general welfare assistance are injured workers who are in receipt of permanent partial disability pensions from the Workmen’s Compensation Board?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I would not have that information at my fingertips at the moment, in terms of specific cases. I shall try to get that information for the honourable member.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Given that every dollar in social assistance benefits paid to injured workers in receipt of WCB pensions represents a direct subsidy to employers, a subsidy against what would be their cost of paying for a decent pension through the Workmen’s Compensation Board’s employer assessment, may I ask the minister to tell us what is the actual dollar cost in 1977-78 of social assistance benefits paid to injured workers who also received permanent partial disability pensions from the Workmen’s Compensation Board?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would be quite happy to get that information for the honourable member, if it is available in that form. I’m not at all certain that we would have that specific information on recipients --
Mr. McClellan: The minister agrees, of course, that it is a subsidy.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- that we could extrapolate from our data bank that readily. If it is available, I shall get it for the member.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Agriculture and Food has the answer to a question asked previously.
Mr. Kerrio: It’s just about time. Dispense.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on May 26 the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) asked a question concerning energy costs in greenhouses. I believe the essence of his question had to do with the rise in price per cubic foot of natural gas as the volume of gas used decreased. I understand that his concern is that farmers practising conservation measures may receive higher natural gas bills than they did when they were using more gas.
My ministry has conducted several studies on energy conservation in greenhouses and has additional research going on at the moment. We have looked at such matters as greenhouse design, solar energy, insulation materials, heating of soil as well as the air, and other management practices relating to energy conservation. Our main concern in these projects is the conservation of energy and the use of solar energy.
Energy costs have not been a central theme in my ministry. The matter of energy pricing more properly belongs to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Baetz) and I understand that he will respond to the price aspect of this question either late this week or early next week. I will send a copy of the work we are doing in energy conservation over to the member for York Centre.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister aware of the practice of some private employment agencies which receive an hourly rate from an employer, but then pass on only a portion of the rate to the employee, perhaps as little as the minimum wage?
Mr. Deans: Is there anyone who isn’t?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I am not aware of that practice. I’m not sure that I have legislative authority to look into it, but if the honourable member will provide me with the details of it, we will report back to the House.
Mr. O’Neil: Could I also ask the minister if he does not feel that such agencies should be required to disclose the rate they are receiving from the employer to the employee? Would he consider setting a limit on the commission taken by such agencies after he has had a chance to review this information?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As I said, I wouldn’t want to comment further until I have all the details of what is happening in the particular transactions. If the member will send them over, I’ll be pleased to comment in detail after I’ve seen them.
Mr. Renwick: I have a question of the Attorney General: I refer to the statement of the Attorney General on Tuesday last about the theft of documents from the office of Praxis Corporation and particularly to that portion referring to the retention of the documents by the RCMP without notifying the Metropolitan Toronto Police. The final report of April 18, with which the Attorney General agreed, concluded that “there are no grounds to lay charges against any person, arising out of the subsequent receipt and possession of Praxis documents by the RCMP.”
My question is, if the justification as stated by the RCMP for not notifying the Metropolitan Toronto Police was that the stolen documents were not retained for criminal purposes, for what purposes were the stolen documents retained by the RCMP and what use has been made of them since they received them?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There were a number of factors. Some were related to issues of natural security and some were related to what the RCMP felt involved the safety of at least one RCMP informant. In my view, the RCMP acted in a bona fide manner in pursuing the course it did. With the value of hindsight, I am not prepared to state at this point in time that its judgement was the best possible judgement in the circumstances, but given all of the very complex circumstances surrounding this whole unhappy affair, there could be no doubt that the Metropolitan Toronto Police and the local crown attorney came to the right conclusion when they decided that criminal charges should not be laid in those particular circumstances.
I don’t know if the question related to where the documents are at the present time. I can’t answer that aspect of the question. I may have known at one point in time, but I can’t honestly recall.
Mr. Renwick: By way of a supplementary question: Understanding as I do that the crown attorney for the judicial district of York exercised his discretion not to proceed on this matter, did the Attorney General himself or members of his department see the documents? Does he understand whether or not there were questions related to national security involved? Can he give this House any further or more explicit statement as to what he means when he said that, as a matter of hindsight, the judgement of the RCMP left much to be desired?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, that’s not what I said at all. I haven’t seen these documents. I didn’t say that the judgement of the RCMP left a lot to be desired. I simply stated, given the power of hindsight, that the judgement exercised by the RCMP in retaining these documents for a lengthy period of time may not have been the best possible judgement in the circumstances. But I’m not prepared to go into the circumstances in order to add anything to what I’ve already stated. Having said that, to suggest that what I said meant that the judgement of the RCMP left a great deal to be desired is really placing my views in a somewhat different context.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: The Attorney General has stated, as I understood him, that he doesn’t wish to go into the facts in this matter. Is that the reason why no one from his ministry apparently at any time interviewed Mr. John Hladun, who stated that he had a great deal of information in this matter but has never been interviewed by any person about it?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The name of the gentleman to whom the member for St. George has just referred means nothing to me. First of all, I should make it clear that members of the staff of the Ministry of the Attorney General are not carrying out the investigation. Our role is to advise the appropriate police authorities when it appears necessary.
I can’t recall the circumstances of the investigation except to say that we know there was an investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Toronto Police, firstly.
Secondly, we know that there was an investigation carried out by the Ontario Police Commission at my request immediately upon the receipt of a letter from the Solicitor General for Canada stating that he had certain information to pass on to me related to certain individuals who may or may not have some information. To my knowledge, this matter was pursued completely and the individuals who were named in the letter from the federal Solicitor General all were interviewed. My recollection does not indicate that the person whose name the member for St. George just mentioned was one of them. I have to say that name means absolutely nothing to me at this point in time.
Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The information came through an interview with CBC. The name was not known to me any more than to the minister. But is the minister not becoming somewhat concerned with the numbers of opinions and legal statements made in this House referring to a variety of matters in which there appears to be little or no investigation of the facts upon which these opinions are based?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think that’s quite an unfair statement, if I might categorize it as such, Mr. Speaker. So far as any statements that have been made in relation to the Praxis matter are concerned, they are based on a very complete, very thorough and very painstaking investigation. As to documenting the factual situation and investigations in relation to any other legal opinions, I would be happy to do that if I’m asked specifically about any other matters.
Mr. Speaker: The Solicitor General has the answer to a question asked previously.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday, the member for Beaches-Woodbine asked a number of questions concerning the involvement of the Ontario Provincial Police in the strike at Fleck Manufacturing Company Limited.
In answering those questions I might say that on Friday, May 19, approximately 250 people joined a picket line of 41 workers at Huron Park. There were 19 OPP officers at the plant site that day, although an additional 57 were held in reserve but not deployed.
The cost of the policing operation on May 19 was approximately $8,730. I have now received a cumulative total up to and including May 22; it is $523,529.
Mr. Lewis: That’s unbelievable.
Ms. Bryden: Half a million.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The main entrances to the park were not closed off on May 19. I understand that, initially, some picketers were blocking the entrance, but when the OPP staff superintendent asked them to move they did so.
The member for Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson) asked why it was necessary to provide accommodation in places like the Holiday Inn for police officers assigned to the strike. The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) also asked why the possibility of using Camp Ipperwash had not been investigated.
The OPP looked at many kinds of accommodation in the area. Camp Ipperwash and Wolseley Barracks have both been utilized. However, when the military requires Camp Ipperwash, the OPP must find other accommodation. The Holiday Inn was able to offer the force a reduced group rate; so it is being used in conjunction with other facilities.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Volume discount.
Ms. Bryden: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if I could ask the minister how he can justify the expenditure of half a million dollars on these reserve police who appear to have been kept outside the plant expecting some sort of activity that would require 57 police in reserve. When one thinks of the cost of maintaining those 57 police for approximately 250 women who were appearing on a picket line that day, how can he justify this kind of reserve requirement?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I might say that for the period from about the end of April up to May 17, there was only one police officer on one particular day who was at the picket line. During all that period, the police were only held in reserve. They were not deployed at the picket line. Those were days when the picket line itself was not reinforced by outside picketers. There was no problem whatsoever on the picket line in those days although the picket line was formed by the women strikers.
It was only after May 17 when the honourable member may recall there were a number of people that came up from the Chrysler plant at Windsor. That day there was one male officer at the picket line. I don’t know if the honourable member recalls that, but there were a number of instances that day of employees who were attacked, and there was substantial property damage. As a result of that, the police reinforced their personnel at or near the park.
When the honourable member attended on May 19, the OPP increased the personnel at the site to 19 and the number of reserves at other locations.
Mr. Warner: You scared them, Marion.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: As the staff sergeant indicated in committee last Friday, it depends on the intelligence of the force as to the number of outside picketers who may be reinforcing the picket line that they deploy extra people.
Mr. Lewis: They were clearly wrong again.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: All I can say is that in order to control the crowd and keep the park open, they have to keep a number of police officers in reserve.
Mr. M. Davidson: Given that the minister has now informed us that the cost to May 22 of administering that strike by the OPP is I believe $523,000, can he now tell us whether or not that includes the basic salaries of the constables who are on duty? When I raised this in a supplementary previously, the minister indicated that it might have, but that he wasn’t certain.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No. The honourable member should realize that the police officers are all salaried personnel and are all on regular salaries regardless of where they are serving in the province. Based on the number of personnel who have been there or on reserve from time to time from March 6, the total salary figure is $519,938.
Mr. M. Davidson: In addition to the $500,000?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes.
Mr. Lewis: So it’s over $1 million altogether at Fleck, eh? And you can’t solve it, can you?
Mr. Deans: Do you know how much the settlement would cost?
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that the Police Act specifically gives the Solicitor General the power to enter into agreements with a company so that the company will pay the cost of policing where it’s provided by the OPP, is it the government’s intention now to make Fleck sign such an agreement so that the company should pay this million-dollar cost of protecting the company rather than having the taxpayers of Ontario pay it?
Mr. Rotenberg: Why not the union?
Mr. Hodgson: What about the union?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I have no objection to attempting to do that.
An hon. member: Then do it. Go ahead and do it.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. McGuigan: I rise on a point of privilege. I should like to correct an impression that was inadvertently given by me to the committee on natural resources last Thursday evening. I realize the proper place is in the committee but I ask your indulgence to do it here because I want to take the first opportunity to do so.
I believe I indicated in the committee that three bills from the M. Loeb company to McGuigan Orchards for apples were paid on a six per cent discount basis and that as a result of representations by my son these discounts were removed. I should have said three statements. I did not make it clear that only those invoices received since my son protested have been corrected so as to provide the minimum price set by the apple commission.
There are three statements covering January, February and March and three deliveries in April which were paid on a six per cent discount basis. This has not yet been corrected. Invoices since April 21 have been paid at the net proper rate. A letter is being sent today to the M. Loeb company, with a copy to the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission, asking that these payments be corrected.
TIME FOR QUESTIONS
Mr. Bounsall: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Should not the time taken for the point of privilege by the previous speaker have been deducted from the time for the question period and, therefore, would not a new question be in order?
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions had actually expired before he rose. The time was up at 3:10.
Mr. Grande: On a point of privilege: On April 11 I asked a question of the Minister of Labour regarding the unwritten policy of the Workmen’s Compensation Board to require from injured pensioned workers three signatures from employers per day and 15 per week as proof that they are looking for light jobs in order to receive the pension supplement. I asked the minister to clarify that policy. The minister answered on that day: “Mr. Speaker, I’ll be very pleased to inquire from the chairman of the Workmen’s Compensation Board precisely what it was he did mean by that statement and present it to the House.”
All the minister had to do was to place a phone call to Michael Starr to get the information and report. A month and a half has elapsed and the minister has not answered that question.
Mr. McClellan: She’s still studying it.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I am seeking your assistance to try to activate the Minister of Labour.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The response to that question was submitted to the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) with a request that he distribute it to all members of the caucus.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Mr. M. N. Davison: I wish to take the fourth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman and ask, pursuant to provisional standing order 6, that the report be placed on the order paper for consideration by this House.
This report will provide members of the legislative assembly with a survey of the ombudsman institution in the five foreign jurisdictions visited by the committee. It explains how things are done there and more important, why things are done. It is the committee’s intention that this report should serve as a starting point for the consideration and creation of rules, definitions and interpretations to be arrived at in an open and free consultative process.
The report contains two recommendations. First, while the committee has concluded that the concept of an ombudsman is applicable to local government in Ontario, the committee recommends that the function of ombudsman to local government should not be performed by an ombudsman who has jurisdiction over provincial or central government organizations. Second, the committee again recommends that its order of reference be amended to provide that it receive and consider the estimates of the Ombudsman and report thereon to the Legislature with such recommendations as the committee deems appropriate.
Copies of the report are available in the members’ mail boxes and are now available to the press.
SIMCOE DAY ACT
Mr. G. E. Smith moved first reading of Bill 99, An Act respecting Simcoe Day.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. G. E. Smith: The purpose of the bill is to change the name of the public holiday celebrated in many municipalities on the first Monday in August from Civic Holiday to Simcoe Day in honour of John Graves Simcoe who was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada on September 12, 1791 and who convened the first Legislative Assembly and established the capital of the province at York, now Toronto.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 100, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. B. Newman: This bill requires that every product offered for sale by a retailer that is marked with the universal product code must also be clearly marked with its individual purchase price. This would ensure the rights of the consumer to the privilege of comparison shopping by requiring individual item pricing.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 56, 57, 58 and 60 standing on the notice paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Chairman: Resuming, then, consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
On vote 901, ministry administration program; item 3, regional and community relations.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We’re still on --
Mr. Chairman: Item 3.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Item 3. Perhaps the minister could give us a rundown of what the regional and community relations officers’ functions are -- how many there are in the northern region, what their functions are, and how many backup people he has in Toronto working with these people.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The number of northern affairs officers across northern Ontario now totals 29. Each one of those has a secretary with him, which would be a total of 58. In addition, here, there is the support staff that numbers --
Mr. T. P. Reid: While we’re waiting for that information, can you explain, do you have somebody now within your ministry called a community relations officer, as distinct from a northern affairs officer? No?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What is Don Cameron in Kenora, Bill Calvert in --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, right. That’s right.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You have heard of them?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. There has been some confusion in that while we’re calling our offices community service centres, the 29 northern affairs offices are basically community service centres. Some people are confusing those people with community service officers. They are still northern affairs officers per se. We’re not changing that name, just the name to signify the office so we can identify them within the organization.
Mr. T. P. Reid: And your community relations officers, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Fleming --
Mr. Wildman: Roland St.-Onge.
Mr. T. P. Reid: -- and that gentleman my friend Mr. Wildman has mentioned, what is their function? They are called specifically by the title community relations officers, right?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Right.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What do they do as separate and distinct from the northern affairs officers?
While I’m on my feet -- because, as the minister knows, I always like to ask at least one question about money -- what are the salaries of both the northern affairs officers and the community relations officers?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The salary of a northern affairs officer, classification 1, ranges from $17,333 to $20,282, for classification 2 from $18,000 to $22,000, and for classification 3 from $21,000 to $26,000.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Do you have any making $26,000?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m not sure. I’ll just check on that.
Mr. T. P. Reid: While we’re waiting, what is the community relations officers’ salary level?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I must just read for the honourable member the responsibilities of those officers: “The community relations program of the ministry has basically two principal functions: to make residents of northern Ontario aware of the programs, services and facilities available to them from the government and to assist residents of northern Ontario to make the most beneficial use of the programs, services and facilities of government which they and their community require.” They are at the regional bases and they move around within the region and work with the municipalities. Of course, they support the 29 other northern affairs officers in the area.
I’m told that there are two people receiving $26,000 right now, Mr. Myles, who is in the regional office at Kenora, and Mr. Scully, who is at the regional office at Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. T. P. Reid: They’re doing better than members.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, they’re worth more in some cases.
Mr. Germa: I’m a little confused by the figures, Mr. Chairman. If I look at the printed book, the 1977-78 estimate for this program is $347,500. Then, when I look at the briefing book that the minister circulated, the 1977-78 estimate is $1,570,000. I’m trying to find out how fast this community relations branch is growing. Could the minister give me the true figures? Why is there the discrepancy between the printed book -- $347,000 and the briefing book -- $1,570,000?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, there was a typographical error there, and I believe the revised estimates page has been resubmitted to the members. I could certainly get the honourable member a copy of the corrected transposition of those figures.
The figures did not change the total. The total for the 1978-79 estimates is still $6,470,000, and the total for 1977-78 is still $4,049,000. There was just a problem. The corrected page is on its way to the member now.
Mr. Germa: If I take this to be correct, the estimate last year was $1,570,500; this year it’s $2,560,000. Those are the comparative figures; we don’t have an actual for 1977-78, do we?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, we don’t have an actual yet.
Mr. Germa: So we have a projection of almost a 100 per cent increase in that particular line, regional and community relations. I wonder if the minister would tell us where this great increase came in. What caused this great increase from $1.5 million to $2.5 million?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As the member for Rainy River will attest, the services of the northern affairs branch and the services of northern affairs officers have been broadly extended in this coming year. We have opened up a total of nine new offices. Of course, this is reflected in the budget increase.
New offices opened in northern Ontario included those at Hearst, Chapleau, Rainy River, Ignace, Iroquois Falls and, of course, the regional offices at Kenora, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. So there has been a broad expansion of the northern affairs offices in northern Ontario and, as I said a moment ago, it is directly reflected in the increase we are asking for.
Mr. Germa: When you put a regional office in the same community as the northern affairs office, what is the different complement in structure?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The northern affairs office itself, working through the community service centre, has the northern affairs officer and a secretary. They deal directly with the public. They are basically a storefront operation.
The regional office deals on a much broader basis with the policy setting of the programs, dealing with the various municipalities, and in liaison with the other ministries, and working, of course, with the other regional offices, the main office and the regional office here in Toronto.
It is not large in number. The regional office in Kenora will have somewhere around 12 to 13 people when it is finally staffed. The office in Thunder Ray will have anywhere from eight to 12. Sault Ste. Marie, about the same size as Kenora, and Sudbury about the same size as Thunder Bay.
As the honourable member will know, I am sure, in our reduced complement figure that was recently announced, we indicated -- and had told the mayor of Cochrane -- that our regional office, scheduled to open up there this year, would be deferred until some later date. We had planned a regional office in the town of Cochrane but because of cutbacks in complement and in salaries we have had to postpone that particular office opening for, I suspect, some time.
Mr. Germa: Even despite that announcement, there must have been an increase in staff in that line.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.
Mr. Germa: Where did we get these people from? Were they transferred from another ministry?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Some were. Advertisements were placed all across northern Ontario. I am sure that the member saw some of the advertisements in our northern papers. We held competitions right across the north. In fact, our engagement program, or hiring program, is not completed as yet.
I have to say to the member -- and I am sure he agrees with me -- that we are being extremely selective and careful in getting for these positions people who are, I suppose, a little higher in calibre than you would normally require for this type of work, because we feel that they should be northern oriented, have a broad knowledge of government services and, of course, have that type of personality to deal with the public in a very helpful way.
It is a very sensitive position. It is one that commands the total ability of those individuals we have in those particular fields; and, certainly, this is reflected in the number of inquiries that we are receiving in our northern affairs offices and in the expansion of those particular programs that they relate to, such as the ICAF fund now.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I want to rise, really, on a point of order. I don’t want to cut my friend off but I am a little concerned in the briefing or the estimate book that there is an error of $1.2 million. Presumably, it is for money from last year.
I was wondering if there were any other mistakes that we should perhaps be aware of? Why would you, yourself, not have brought it to our attention, rather than having it raised by the member for Sudbury? I would think that it is your responsibility to do so. Was there anything else?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker, and I apologize for that. The staff did bring it to my attention and in fact I intended to do that the first thing today, but I just arrived on that late 12 o’clock plane from Thunder Bay. I certainly apologize for that. But as I pointed out the actual totals for this year have not changed and all the error was in the printing of last year’s figures.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s the only mistake?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s the only mistake that has been brought to my attention.
Mr. Germa: I have a speech of the minister of January 21, 1978. He was in Kirkland Lake at the chamber of commerce. He said --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You should get a medal for reading those.
Mr. Germa: They’re very entertaining.
“At the same time, from one of the many possible programs for so-called soft services we are selecting those which relate to employment and improvement of living conditions, training programs to help people handle new and better jobs, other programs that will add meaningful dimensions to people’s living standards.”
I see no reference in the briefing book to any training programs, and I am not aware of any such programs to help people in northern Ontario handle new or better jobs. Could you fill us in on that one?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The idea behind that statement is to assist those organizations -- and I refer back again to my many references to the Manitoulin Economic Development Association. Here we assisted financially to set up that development association to train the local people in the field of business management, advertising and marketing. It is that kind of a thrust we want to embark on.
I have said many times across northern Ontario that our priority, as the member has correctly quoted me on, would be employment-oriented in that field. I think we can see ourselves leaning very heavily to the development of an industrial park in a specific community that would provide the opportunity for industry to establish, and thereby create more jobs within that community. It is this kind of direction that we would like to see ourselves moving into. I would say to the honourable member that the DREE program is also leaning very heavily in that direction.
Mr. Bolan: I have a question of the minister. I might say it is good to see the minister this afternoon. I would have preferred to have seen him on Friday in North Bay. However, I was not privy to that meeting. It has to do with that that I have this question for you, Mr. Minister.
I was speaking to one of your information officers on Friday afternoon -- I believe his name was Fleming. The portent of my question is to find out from you just what instructions your ministry gives when it has to do with inviting certain people in certain areas to certain meetings which are sponsored by the ministry, which are paid for, of course, by public funds, and whether or not your ministry has some type of procedure you follow whenever you have one of these conferences or meetings. What is the procedure involved in that, particularly in reference to the meeting you held last Friday in North Bay?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There are a number of meetings held across northern Ontario by our staff, and certainly by myself. I refer to a typical one we held in Timmins where the general area was invited to submit briefs to my colleague, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle). At that time it was generally open to everybody to join us and I believe everybody did. It was broad and general in nature. We wanted the broad, general input before making some very important decisions that would affect the tourist industry in the northeastern Ontario corridor for some time to come. We received it, we are very grateful and action has been taken on those suggestions already.
The meeting to which the member refers was the first meeting of the Municipal Advisory Committee in North Bay. It was basically a formation meeting where the Ministry of Northern Affairs was taking over the responsibility of that particular group from the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.
We had a very successful meeting in the northwest part of the province with the executive from MAC at the Quetico training centre where we spent a good day with those members to look at an industrial strategy report, basically behind closed doors, I suppose you might say, because it was confined to a number of my cabinet colleagues and the executive themselves. I think it’s fair to say that the responsibility rests with the government to bring forth recommendations, at least at that particular level.
That meeting we had in North Bay was not advertised in the sense that it would be an open public meeting where we would get all kinds of input. I think we felt that because of the hiatus, I suppose you might say, that occurred in the transfer from one ministry to another, we wanted to sit down with the executive themselves, and I believe that there was a notice that a news conference would be held to outline to the press just what we had achieved and in what direction we were going.
Outside of that, we didn’t finalize any policies or programs but we indicated to them that we had reached accord with regard to the setting up of a secretariat, that we would give certain assistance to them, but any recommendations or any research, of course, would have to be theirs. It’s something that I have said continually, that we do want that northern input and we don’t want to be accused, as a government or as a ministry, of supplying input, say, through the back door.
It was brought up to me that sometimes the statistics that are brought forward are brought forward by various government civil servants and they have no way of checking or questioning them. I think they strongly felt -- and rightly so; I agreed -- that much of that research should be done through their own forces. We also agreed that there would be a budget to assist them in setting up their secretariat and that the Ministry of Northern Affairs policy staff, either in Sudbury or in Sault Ste. Marie, would be there to help them and to give them all the advice they could.
The thrust of our whole meeting was to assure them that the government felt there was a need for the Municipal Advisory Committee. We strongly felt that they should be autonomous. Maybe one area that I didn’t touch on and maybe I should have was the amount of involvement the municipalities would have. There’s an area there that maybe we are going to have to reconsider, in that there may be some financial contribution they would like to make, to make themselves truly autonomous and not totally dependent on the provincial government for funding. That is not an area that will raise any concern from my point of view, but I think it’s an area that they might want to discuss with their own municipal leaders.
Mr. Bolan: I just have one question arising from that. First of all, I might say I agree with the decision which has come from that meeting, that you should be creating a secretariat for that particular area. I think that’s a sound move on the part of the ministry. I also agree with your statement that there are some times when these meetings should basically be held behind closed doors. After all, some of the things which you are discussing are recommendations which will be forthcoming from the government, and as you yourself have said, you’re throwing statistics around and sometimes they can’t be properly interpreted and you’re looking for more input.
Bearing that in mind, I might say I would have loved to have been an observer only at that meeting. I did try to go to the meeting, incidentally. I phoned your Mr. Fleming on Friday morning. He said he would get back to me and he did, around 2 o’clock; although I was not speaking to him, he was speaking to my secretary.
He advised my secretary at that time that I could not attend, but that, however, these instructions had come from Toronto. He was very quick to point that out.
I said to myself “Well, that may be so. Perhaps there is some reason why the member should not attend.” Then, lo and behold, who does attend?
There was Stan Darling, the Progressive Conservative member from the federal riding south of mine. There was Marie Marchand, the Progressive Conservative candidate for the next federal election, and Ed Diebel, the leader of the Heritage Party.
Mr. Wildman: A Tory front.
Mr. Bolan: Do you know what I really thought after that? I thought that at least the members from northeastern Ontario should have been invited to that meeting because, after all it had to do with the municipal advisory committee dealing with northeastern Ontario. I was not invited. I am not aware that the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot) was invited or the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) or even the cabinet minister from northeastern Ontario, the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle).
I am suggesting to you that these people should have been invited. I do accept the basic premise which you have laid down that sometimes these things have to be held behind closed doors, but then you bring in a candidate of a political party and the member from the riding to the south. Maybe you have an explanation for that. I would hope that you do.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I might explain, the invitation went out only to the members of the executive council. As I said earlier, the desire was for the cabinet to meet as a group with the executive of MAC to take that next very important step. No invitations were sent to any other members on either side of the House. It is fair to say that one other northeastern Ontario member, a member of this particular party, indicated his desire to attend. I indicated to him that it was a cabinet session and that maybe at some other meeting somewhere down the road, after we got the information pulled together, he could attend.
I would have to also say to the member for North Bay --
Mr. Bolan: Nipissing.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Nipissing, sorry -- I was not aware that the PC candidate was to be there. I was a little surprised that she was there at all. She is a very charming lady, I might admit. After I had met her when the meeting was all over, I --
Mr. Bolan: Is she a member of the cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, she is not a member of the cabinet and she was not invited. She was there. I am sure there wasn’t anybody checking the identification of those who were there because there were 40 to 50 people there.
Mr. Bolan: What if I had shown up? Would you have let me in?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am sure you would have been allowed to go in.
Mr. Bolan: Fine. I will do that Wednesday when you are up there with the chamber of commerce.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It wasn’t that secret a meeting, let’s put it that way. They were there and they didn’t participate in any of the discussions -- I can assure the honourable member of that -- although the member from the North Bay council, Mr. Ed Diebel, did. In fact, he made one of the presentations that MAC had pulled together. He did a very good job on it, I might say.
The MAC executive would also have a say as to who should be there and who not. We asked for the meeting from a ministry point of view. The invitations, as I said earlier, went just to members of the cabinet and not to anybody else.
Mr. Bolan: I have a followup question. Does that mean that I am invited as a member for the Nipissing riding at the chamber of commerce meeting your ministry is hosting in North Bay on Wednesday?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have no objection at all if the member for Nipissing is there. It is an informal luncheon. I am going to North Bay. In fact, I find myself spending more time in the northeastern region than I do in my own riding, the great riding of Kenora. I am looking forward to meeting with the North Bay Chamber of Commerce in a very informal way, after which I will meet with the directors of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission in the afternoon.
It is a full day. If you are there, join us.
Mr. Germa: He’ll have to buy a ticket.
Mr. Bolan: I will be there. Thank you.
Item 3 agreed to.
On item 4, project development and implementation:
Mr. Germa: Mr. Chairman, I know you don’t have time to read the minister’s speeches. I would like to read you another paragraph as I am sure you enjoyed that first one.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you very much.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am honoured.
Mr. Germa: This is still in Kirkland Lake at the chamber of commerce on January 21, 1978. On page seven the minister says:
“For instance, when we consider a proposal to build a hydro generating station we have to be convinced that it will yield permanent results worth far more than capital costs involved. We’re happy, of course, if the construction will require X number of tradesmen and labourers who might otherwise be without work. It’s satisfying, too, to realize that the generating station itself will employ Y number of persons in permanent jobs.
“But all of those jobs are really just bonuses. The big payoff will come from the way a new source of power will attract new industry which, in turn, will encourage commerce and development and the way in which all three will generate jobs. Some people might describe this process as a spinoff but that term does not appeal to me in this case because it implies an end result that is secondary and almost accidental. That is certainly not the right way to describe the long-term benefits towards which we are deliberately working.”
The minister has made brave words that there is no hit or miss, or there is no chance any more in capital expenditures. I would presume the minister would have no trouble in telling me how many studies, or what studies he has done as a result of the Atikokan generator installation, and what the results are to be down the road, say 10 years hence? First of all, tell me what kind of studies you’ve done?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Could I just describe to the member the activities of the project development branch? I think it’s worthwhile to put them on the record because they will maybe clarify some points in the member’s mind both now and in the future. There are a number of points here, if I could just go through them with you.
The first spells out the works in concert with municipalities. This is the activity descriptions function: 1. Work in concert with municipalities and other ministries in planning development strategies to improve northern community conditions and to respond to local needs; 2. Negotiate agreements with community representatives and local government officials on ministry-funded projects; 3. Provide administrative technical support to the program delivery functions at the regional level; 4. Review and monitor projects to improve government program thrusts; 5. Provide project development and co-ordination; 6. Undertake projects relating to the possible expansion of the economic base of the region; and, 7. Conduct a project into the economic life of northern Ontario to determine the potential for development.
That gives you a very broad description of the function of that particular activity within the ministry.
As to the actual studies that have been completed, there are a number of studies completed by the former section, which was Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, leading directly to the problems of Atikokan -- the social development problems that would occur if the mines were closed. Those have activated a number of ministries in doing something for Atikokan.
For example, when I was in Natural Resources we embarked on a very ambitious program to have another waferboard plant established at Atikokan, in co-operation, I might say, with the municipalities themselves. Now we have Pluswood established in Atikokan employing about 125 to 140 people, using a species of the forest -- the poplar and the birch -- that was, up until this time, not being utilized by the major pulp and paper companies who own large timber limits in that area. So it was that kind of a thrust that prompted us to go in that direction.
Also, I might say, the Ministry of Northern Affairs has taken on the lead ministry role for the town of Atikokan, as we have for Pickle Lake, so we will be cranking up our presence with that community in trying to come up with some solution in co-operation with the municipalities. I don’t see us providing all the answers to all their problems. I think we’ll work very closely in co-operation with the council and with the municipality itself because I think the thrust and that desire, that drive, to be really successful has to germinate with the community. Sure, we are anxious to give as much support as we can, to give the benefit of the expertise within the government, but we want to do it in concert with the municipality itself.
Mr. Germa: I think I still didn’t get an answer whether a study was done to determine what the benefits are going to be to that area as a result of the Atikokan generating station.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am not aware of any direct study that has been completed at this time. We are in the transition stage, as the honourable member knows from getting many of these reports and studies over from Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs. It may well be there’s something going on that I am not aware of.
Mr. Germa: It gives me reason then to criticize the minister’s statements when he goes around saying that nothing happens in northern Ontario until we determine what the benefits are going to be, and there’s not going to be a thing known as a spinoff or an accidental benefit.
I seem to get from this that despite the expenditure of $2,740,000 we are still walking around in the dark up there as to whether there are going to be some benefits as a result of the Atikokan generating station. If there are spinoff benefits we don’t know what they are going to be. Otherwise, I am sure you would tell me that within 10 years this is going to create x, y and z in the communities, it’s going to increase the population.
These brave words you give as you go around talking to the chambers of commerce -- I think you have to try to contain yourself and not give the people too much hope. When the hopes are not realized, then the disillusionment is so severe that there could be a reaction to the whole Ministry of Northern Affairs.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can the minister indicate under salaries and wages how many people are involved? Line staff, officers; what they are doing and where are they employed; are they in the north or in Toronto, and exactly what do they do in regard to this vote?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: What area, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Under vote 4 you have $1,355,000 for salaries and wages. Who does that apply to? How many employees? How many of them are directly involved in program development and implementation? Where are they accommodated? Are they in Thunder Bay? Are they in Sault Ste. Marie? Are they in Sudbury or are they in Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I can give you a breakdown, Mr. Chairman. We have 15 people in the northwest region who are under the direct responsibility of William Calvert located at Thunder Bay. We have 14 with the financial program planning branch under the direction of Andy Morpurgo here in Toronto and we have 23 in the northeastern region under the direction of George Ormerod at Sudbury. That gives you 15 in the northwest, 14 here in the finance and program planning section and 23 in the regional and community division section.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What do these people do? We are trying to sort all this out. We have been through the regional and community relations people and your northern affairs office. What do these people do specifically then? What’s their job descriptions? Do you have the range of salaries for these people?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, we have. The main people -- Mr. Calvert, Mr. Morpurgo and Mr. George Ormerod -- are in the $30,000 to $37,000 bracket. Then there are secretaries and clerk-stenos, clerk-typists, community planners. They range from $21,000 to $26,000 and economists from $28,000 to $35,000. Economist 5, $25,000 to $31,000; economist 4, 24,000 to $30,000; economist 3, $20,000 to $24,000; economist 2, $16,000 to $19,000; and secretaries from $9,000 to $11,000.
They are involved in a broad range of activities on a regional basis, such as the planning for the 2001 conference; a lot of that work was done by the local staff. The contact with the Manitoulin Economic Development Association; working very closely with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications with regard to setting priorities for new highway construction programs; the airstrip development program with MTC -- all that work is done by the staff out in the field. There is a lot of work to be done there; in fact, we are only just cranking up and beginning to scratch the surface of the amount of work that we have to do.
Mr. T. P. Reid: These salaries we are paying boggle my mind. Possibly that’s because I have been here for 11 years and have been working for a lot less. But with all due respect to some of the people in the ministry, does it not bother the minister that an economist is getting $35,000? It doesn’t. I would have been better off to have finished my MA, come back here and have little responsibility as a civil servant -- I don’t mean the senior people. Really, it’s out of line. Does the minister not feel that the salaries he is paying are out of line?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I don’t.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I didn’t think so.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member must realize these are well within the civil service qualifications and criteria. These are well laid out by the civil service. If the honourable member has an objection to those high salaries, he should make it know to the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld), who deals directly with the Civil Service Commission.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I appreciate that some of those salaries are by way of negotiation, but a lot of what we are talking about here, higher-echelon positions, don’t come under the collective bargaining process.
Let me go back to something the minister said, because it really concerns me. He talked about the airport and the highways programs -- and we will get to those specific votes in a few minutes -- but what did we do before we had the northern affairs officers out there in the field with their “expertise” deciding where airports and roads went? What function are they fulfilling with respect to the project ministries, such as MTC? What are they doing? Are they getting together with good old Harry in MTC, who also is getting $35,000, and Harry says to Joe, “Joe, I think the road should go here,” and Joe says, “Well, we think maybe it should go there.” “All right, we’ll put it in between”? Seventy thousand dollars, and where are we?
What exactly are they doing? Are they running around northern Ontario figuring out new projects? My concern is that I am not sure these people are doing anything more than touching those tax dollars as they are going by and costing the taxpayers more money to arrive at and implement decisions that have already been made within the operating ministry.
I was talking to somebody in MTC in Toronto the other day, and I said, “What about all these road projects?” He said, “Frankly, we used to proceed a fair bit faster, but now we have to co-ordinate with the Minister of Northern Affairs.” It has not only slowed the program down but also with all due respect to our highly paid people, we now have somebody within this ministry who supposedly is making the decisions, as I understand the words of the minister as have been read to us, as to where roads and airports and everything else should go; I wonder, quite frankly, whether or not they have the expertise to do that.
I know the minister will point to Mr. Aiken and others and say, “They were with the ministry; so they have that kind of expertise.” But I tell him, the feedback I get from some of the other ministries is that his ministry is slowing down the process rather than speeding it up, and that we are using more tax dollars in order to arrive at perhaps the same goal as maybe we were approaching.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think the honourable member will have to realize that within an organization as large as the Ontario government, when a new ministry is established that looks after the regional needs of an area -- that area north of Parry Sound to the Kenora area -- and taking over the function, the coordinating and priority-setting responsibilities for certain programs that up to this point in time have been the responsibility of another ministry. It takes a little time for some readjustment. I think you have to accept that. Some civil servants just don’t want to let go, they still want to make those decisions.
The responsibility for making those decisions has been transferred to this particular ministry. We’re cranking up and it’s certainly not our intention to create delay. We want to accelerate some of these decision-making processes. It’s something the northerners want, and as I’ve said many times, that is a direct input.
We’ve cried in the north so many times that decisions have been formulated and brought together by people in southern Ontario. You say, “Why have a separate ministry, why couldn’t the other ministries do the same things we’re doing today?” I have to remind you, sir, that we are just going into our second year. The budget of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, if you will look back, has been increased by about 40 per cent since it was established.
The programs we took over were budgeted at $99 million. Last year we got in excess of $120-odd million. This year we’re asking for $139.9 million. There’s been a tremendous acceleration and increase in the amount of our budget. That takes extra people to administer.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s right, that’s the problem.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Sure that’s right.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s the problem. We wonder if the administrative costs are worth it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You can’t say that our administrative staff is large. When you look at the numbers we have, our total complement will be 170 or less right across the north.
Mr. T. P. Reid: But your salaries are large; there’s nothing wrong with your salaries. John Rhodes is applying for a job right after the next election; so am I.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I stand a chance of getting one.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I make no apologies. I think that we’re off and running and that we’re satisfying the needs of northern Ontario very well.
Mr. Wildman: I have some questions in regard to the description of the function of the ministry under this vote, as described by the minister at the outset. I’d like to relate it to some specific studies and some specific project development plans and co-ordination the ministry is doing in my riding.
First, I’d like to know if the minister could clarify once again the present position of the Hornepayne town centre project. I understand that in the press recently in Thunder Bay Mr. Balmer, who is the head of Hallmark Hotels, made a statement that he expected that the contract would be let in the first or second week of June. I’d like to know if that is correct; are we at that stage yet?
Earlier in the estimates the minister indicated to me that the government had just opened the tenders, that they were being studied, and that the various ministries involved, and CN and Hallmark, were determining what they were going to do about the project. As the minister has indicated, the reeve of the township of Wicksteed -- Hornepayne -- has made some statements recently expressing concern about the high cost of tenders coming in for various projects. Could the minister clarify what stage we’re at in plans for the Hallmark town centre in Hornepayne, and does he expect the project to begin in early June?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As I indicated during our last session, the question of the town centre development at Hornepayne has kept a number of our staff very much engaged for a considerable period of time.
I think the honourable member is very much aware of the complexities of what I think is a very exciting concept for northern Ontario, where we have the private sector on the one hand working with both the federal government and provincial government in attracting a sizeable amount of capital to develop a major centre that not only will deal with the commercial aspect of the community, but indeed the residential requirements of the Canadian National Railway. The breakdown and the costing has been very complex, to say the least.
As the honourable member is aware, this is the second time we’ve called for tenders for that particular development. The first one came in rather high. There was some readjustment to the concept, the design. It was felt at that time that the calling was inopportune. The way they say it in northern Ontario, the contractors weren’t hungry enough. So they were called again. Much to their surprise, the second tenders came in higher than the first.
We did put a figure on it that would keep our interest in, in that we were prepared to stay with the project provided the figure did not come in over $10 million plus 10 per cent. I understand that that’s been exceeded.
Right at the present time Hallmark are going over their plans again. They’re working very closely with the contractor to see if there is somewhere they can scale down the concept. Also, there have been some changes with regard to the cost of construction as it relates to the gravel supply and also the accommodation that could be provided for the workers when the project is under way. All these things are in the works now.
I’m still confident, quite frankly, that we can work out something that will allow us to call and give the contract this year. Really, I am. Unless there is something I’m not aware of at this point in time, then at this point I would have to say to you that I’m confident we will get something going.
Mr. Wildman: Thank you. I’d like to refer to a couple of other matters. While the minister was in Wawa we had a pleasant dinner with the officials of the township of Michipicoten and other guests, and the reeve of the township raised a couple of concerns that have been major concerns in Wawa for some time. One is in relation to a study that I believe the ministry is involved with, and the other was a matter the reeve wanted the ministry to get involved with. In both cases the minister replied that he was concerned about them, that he was aware of the matters and that the ministry was involved or would get involved.
Specifically, one was the study regarding the improvement of television communications along the northeastern shore of Lake Superior affecting communities like Hawk Junction, Wawa, Dubreuilville, White River and perhaps farther along the shore. I understand the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is involved in a study and that the Ministry of Northern Affairs is somehow involved in that.
Could you explain your exact involvement in that study; and do you anticipate, as has been rumoured, a conclusion of that study by June or early summer? If you do, could you explain how that is going to be co-ordinated with the recent decision of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission giving Dr. Young, of Chapleau, a licence to provide cable service for Wawa, considering your stated position in these estimates that the ministry is not interested in subsidizing cable systems? Can you respond to that and then I’ll raise the other matter.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have a little briefing note here. Maybe I could just put it into the record for the benefit of the members. I might say at the outset that my colleague, the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Rhodes), has been pressing and spending a lot of time in these discussions with myself and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) because of his desire to get a broader coverage of that service into the northeastern part of the province. I’ve just given him a copy of the briefing note that I’m going to put on the record.
I’d just point out to the honourable member that the Ministry of Northern Affairs and MTC made a joint presentation to the CRTC in Sudbury concerning broadcasting services in northern Ontario in November 1977. If you haven’t got a copy of that, I will be glad to get you a copy.
Mr. Wildman: I have a copy.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The submission expressed at that time the government’s concern regarding the deficiencies in the availability of broadcast and cable services in the north in view of the importance of broadcasting in the social and economic life in northern Ontario. They also outlined Ontario’s communication policy objectives for northern Ontario. These included: 1. A basic television service consisting of CBC services, and CTV should be available to as many communities as is technically and economically feasible.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s what you said, it isn’t what you have done.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is what we said and that is the route that we are going.
2. Ultimately this basic service should be available off-air to as many residents as possible. Cable television might be used as an interim delivery method but cannot be viewed as a permanent substitute provision of the basic service in northern Ontario.
In other words, here we are saying we are going to have the same type of service as they do in southern Ontario.
3. The provincial objective for the Ontario Educational Communications Authority broadcasting services has been to expand TV Ontario to those communities listed in the phase three plan, as funds become available. I can get you those names.
4. A cable system should be established to those communities that are presently unserved and that can support them to provide sources of greater choice and diversity of programming.
5. There should be an improved source of cable channels which are reliable and of good quality.
6. There should be available a basic radio service consisting of CBC radio services and at least one alternative AM radio service to as many residents in northern Ontario as is possible.
7. More programming should be developed -- both English and French -- either produced in northern Ontario or relevant to residents of this part of the province.
I think that that is very important and it was brought home to me very clearly that Confederation College at Thunder Bay has some excellent facilities and with additional capital could broaden and, of course, could provide the northern atmosphere and attitude to those programs that are being broadcast in northern Ontario rather than having them manufactured and produced here in southern Ontario.
The commission was requested to act upon Ontario’s objectives and suggestions, in particular the need for co-ordinated regional solutions encompassing both broadcasting and cable, to be discussed at regional hearings.
The submission identified two areas of particular need. The area north and west of Sault Ste. Marie along the north east shore of Lake Superior. The one that the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) and my colleague, the member for Sault Ste. Marie, is very much involved in. The other area, of course, is that area west of Thunder Bay west of the border, and as far north of the 51st parallel.
Both areas lack CTV service and top quality alternative distance signals for cable subscribers. The submission expressed Ontario’s concern over the high cost of microwave delivery in northern Ontario and suggested that this issue might be pursued in regional hearings.
The Ministry of Northern Affairs is participating with the MTC to ensure that solutions to TV service in the area north of Sault Ste. Marie -- Wawa, White River, Chapleau, Hornepayne, and Dubreuilville -- provide satisfactory TV service, both off-air and cable, to the maximum number of people possible. So we are working very closely with them.
DGB Consultants Limited are currently completing a study that will determine the economic and technical alternatives for the area and their cost implications. The study includes an evaluation of the proposal put forward by Dr. George Young, of Chapleau, to provide a cable system in the Wawa area.
In northwestern Ontario, you might say that the government is aware of three regional proposals to improve TV service in that area. That is the area west of Thunder Bay. I am sure that the honourable member for Rainy River is aware of these. The Norwont and Norvideo of Atikokan and Fort Frances proposal, the Kenora Cablevision of Kenora proposal, and the CKPR-TV and CHFD-TV proposal from Thunder Bay. All proposals, of course, are at the formative stage only.
CRTC when reviewing Kenora Cablevision’s licence stated that the economics of broadcasting in the region may demand unique proposals to effect solutions and that all broadcasting options for the region should be addressed. In particular, a complete and viable plan for the introduction of CTV in the area was considered to be of paramount importance. It is very encouraging to note that the CRTC decision is reflecting Ontario’s policies and priorities for improved TV service throughout northern Ontario.
I think that is very important, because many of the things we suggested in those hearings in Sudbury have attracted the imagination and the interest of the CRTC and it is moving ahead on them.
I might say on this point that David Brough, who is providing many of the smaller communities with a form of entertainment -- Is that the way to put it? --
Mr. Wildman: That is a good way of putting it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- has in essence, you might say, in a formal way received some form of sanction from the CRTC, in that he has not been licensed but he has not been put out of business; it is kind of a no decision. The point I want to make is that here is an entrepreneur who is providing a form of entertainment in some of our communities.
It is relatively costly. I was up in Pickle Lake about a month ago and they informed me that the community had bought the facilities for $3,000. It is being operated out of an individual’s home. In fact, the system is sitting right in her kitchen, where it is easy to operate. She gets two 12-hour tapes a day with a suitable program that is delivered to the 108 residents of Pickle Lake, who each pay $10 a month. They have contracted with Mr. Brough to provide them with these tapes at $1,000 a month.
The reception was very good the day I was there. That is the entertainment channel, and if you want news or a sports event then you turn on CBC. They were quite satisfied with what they were getting, albeit they did think that $10 a month was a little high and sometimes there is a delay in getting the new programs in and there is repetition. Nevertheless, I have to say to you that here is an entrepreneur who is doing something in northern Ontario that maybe some of the higher levels of other organizations or corporations should have been doing earlier.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, I was speaking to someone this morning about Mr. Brough’s setup, and the minister made me think of something -- as a matter of fact it was my brother, the federal member, who I understand the minister is supporting in the next federal election.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You said it, not I.
Mr. T. P. Reid: He apparently was in Red Lake recently and appeared on the community channel and said that while he was in the studio, if that is the word, they were showing reruns of I Love Lucy and she looked like she was about 22 years old; so some of the programs leave a little bit to be desired. Perhaps I might share with the House the latest information that I have, that Mr. Brough finally got around to trying to license himself to the CRTC, which apparently turned him down because of the quality, I presume, of the application that he made. I am happy to hear that Red Lake has bought the system. Mr. Brough owns the one in Ignace, I believe, and I think the rest are all community owned.
I want to go into this to some extent. Does this come under this vote, project development and implementation? Is that part of this particular vote?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Who in your ministry is responsible then for this aspect, because I spend a lot of time talking to people in MTC. Who can I bother in your ministry? I don’t notice anybody waving their hands.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will just get the name of the individual.
Mr. T. P. Reid: While that is coming forward, I would like to go back a few years, if I may. As I recall we gave a gentleman in Thunder Bay -- I believe with CKPR -- an NODC loan for I think $650,000.
Mr. Wildman: Conrad Lavigne got one in Timmins.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The object of which at that time -- I think it was 1971 or 1972 or maybe earlier -- was to provide an alternative TV network to CBC, not only for Thunder Bay, but it was supposed to be expanded to cover Ignace, Atikokan to the west and also east to Wawa and along the north shore to Schreiber and so on.
I can’t recall if that was a forgivable loan, but I do know that nothing ever developed out of that $650,000 of taxpayers’ money outside of the city of Thunder Bay. I appreciate these are very costly projects because I’ve been involved in trying to get an alternative television station for Rainy River, Emo, Ignace and so on.
I wonder if the minister can recall any of the details? He can’t. Has he got the name of the person who will never be at the end of the phone when I want him?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The person you should contact in our ministry who is dealing with television and radio approvals in northern Ontario is Margaret Rodrigues.
Mr. Wildman: Any relation?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Absolutely not, you may rest assured.
Mr. T. P. Reid: She remains in Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, she is in Toronto.
If I may just follow up on the honourable member’s comments with regard to CKPR. I believe that was a performance loan. In other words, if the owner performed according to the agreement, then the portion in question was forgiven. I believe that he has performed and that the services he was to provide for Thunder Bay have been and are being provided.
The extension of services west of Thunder Bay was a separate application. It would have been a separate project entirely. Additional funds, as the honourable member has correctly pointed out, would have been provided because it is extremely costly. Since then, as I pointed out in my earlier comments, there have been two additional proposals put forward. I suppose that has made it difficult for CRTC to make a decision, if it has gone that far, and to get the support of all those involved. We’ve got Norwont, Cablevision and CKPR; the three are still sitting there. I understand that they’re not in a detailed way or in a form they can be presented to the CRTC for its close scrutiny. Some of the areas are pretty general and there must be some further refinement to their proposals.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I wonder if the minister would indulge me by answering this. I know the gentleman who is involved in the Norwont application extremely well. He happens to be the president of a Conservative association. They have been trying to make a deal with Bell Canada. I would presume that our mutual friend, Mr. Johnson from Kenora, is having the same problem. I understand from Norwont that they can’t arrive at a reasonable figure with Bell to use their facilities so that they can provide that service to the people in Ignace or Emo or Rainy River at a reasonable cost.
Has the minister been involved in any of these negotiations? Has he been able to apply any pressure through his ministry? I must say I don’t know whether what they’re asking for is reasonable or not. I do know that if they get anywhere what they’re asking for, there’s no way the people in these communities can afford those kinds of rates for an additional television channel, or two or three. That is one question.
The other question is -- and I have no concept of what the technology is -- is there any other way of providing the service outside of the facilities of Bell Canada and/or the kind of bicycling business that Mr. Brough and the northern access network do?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: To answer the first part of that question, I would say we have had some discussions with the various groups. They have been in to see us and have presented their various proposals to us. Our thrust and our support is for improved services in northern Ontario, as we indicated to the CRTC at the Sudbury hearings. Of course, that falls right on the doorstep of Bell Canada and CNCP Communications.
It has been said to us, and I have no way of verifying it, that the figures Bell originally came up with were just astronomical and absolutely ridiculous.
I’m told, further, that these are always negotiated. In other words, Bell, in a monopoly position, comes in with a very high figure and as time goes on and as pressure mounts and negotiations continue down the road there is always some readjustment. How far that will go, I don’t know. I think it is fair to say that our ministry is the one responsible to a degree for the improvement of the quality of life in northern Ontario, and we consider television services to be of prime importance. We have had some very good discussions with MTC where we’re putting as much pressure as we can through the normal channels, but we haven’t been involved directly with the private sector as far as supporting one proposal vis-à-vis another in their submissions to Bell.
I don’t know when that will come or if it ever will. I think that our effort has to be to impress upon those involved in bringing this service that we want it, it should be there, we’re entitled to it and we’re going to do everything possible as a government to make sure that it’s brought about. Hopefully, it will be done by the private sector. I think they should do it. If there are other ways of bringing that kind of service to parts of northern Ontario -- a number have been suggested; even receiving from satellite, although it is only limited to a specific period of time and extremely costly.
Of course these proposals are all different. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Kenora cable one. It is quite different. It pulls from Winnipeg and it comes down the other way through a microwave system. They’re all different in some way or in some form. But outside of the Brough proposal or the microwave and the satellite, I don’t know of any other way that we can get those services in our area.
Mr. T. P. Reid: If I could be presumptuous and sum up for the minister then (a) you have no concrete program for providing this kind of TV access in northern Ontario outside of your Indian reserves farther north; (b) that being so, and I can understand and appreciate the difficulties, what does Margaret Rodrigues do?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Margaret Rodrigues is heavily involved in these discussions, keeping us up to date on the various proposals. She also expresses that northern point of view because she pulls in from all over northern Ontario and co-operates very closely with MTC. She is the key person within the ministry with regard to television and radio services improvement for northern Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, if I could follow on from that, could the minister indicate when he anticipates the consultant’s report that he mentioned to be completed, or does he have some indication? And could he estimate how much this consultant’s study is going to cost?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don’t have the date of that but maybe I could get it from my staff if any are here.
Mr. Wildman: While we’re getting that, did I correctly understand you to say that the study in the northeastern Superior shore involves Dr. Young? He has a licence in the Wawa area and he’s talking about starting some kind of operation this fall. But having said that, you’re still not interested in somehow funding a service that the residents would be paying for -- that is a pay-TV type of service?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, Mr. Chairman, I think I’ve made it very clear on a number of occasions that we are not interested in giving financial assistance to a cable television system. I’m told that the consultant’s report is expected to be completed during this summer and we should have some further information that we can pass along; I don’t have anything on the cost.
Mr. Wildman: I just want to finish that up, Mr. Chairman, by indicating that, in terms of Mr. Brough’s operation in Wawa, right now nobody seems to know exactly what is happening there, since the people who are receiving the service as yet are not paying for it. They’re not kicking, but Mr. Brough has apparently not been available since the CRTC denied his application. He is now in northern Manitoba, I understand, trying to set up a similar network there.
Are you involving him in your study as well or is he just sort of left, as the CRTC seems to have left him, in the sense of saying: “Okay, as long as there isn’t any other service there we’ll put up with you, but as soon as some other service comes in then you had better shut down”?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, Mr. Chairman, the Brough program is not involved in these studies. As the honourable member well knows, he is unlicensed; therefore it is totally illegal.
I was interested in one newspaper report that I read where the CRTC encouraged the municipalities to go along the route of the Brough system. In other words, the municipalities purchase the equipment, do their own programming and funnel it out to their residents, so he must have something there that is very worthwhile.
Mr. Wildman: In the improvement district of Dubreuilville they are doing that. They have the system they are setting up. They’re getting French tapes in, French television, and they are providing the service for the community. Basically, I don’t know how to say it exactly, I guess they bought the technology from Mr. Brough and they are now carrying it out. There have been some complaints and some dissatisfaction in Wawa with the quality of some of the programming with Brough and the council is considering going ahead with the kind of thing that Dubreuilville has done, but they’re in a rather confusing situation right now since Dr. Young has been awarded a licence for cable and they seem to be kind of confused.
The other thing I wanted to raise with the minister was the question of residential care facilities for the elderly and disabled in Wawa to serve the north end of Algoma. This matter has been discussed with the Ministry of Community and Social Services off and on for some time now. There have been a number of various proposals made by the senior citizens, the township council and the Algoma district social family services board.
At the time of our visit to Wawa, the minister indicated that he was willing to explore this whole problem with the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I wonder if he could indicate what person in his ministry has the responsibility for that kind of co-ordination of social services for northern Ontario, and could he bring us up to date on what kinds of studies or liaison his ministry has had with the Ministry of Community and Social Services?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As the honourable member is very much aware, we’re very interested as a ministry, of course, and concerned about those very unique requirements of northern Ontario. I think the establishment of a home for the aged is one of them, where we have over the years developed large homes for the aged and had to transport some considerable distance those residents who might not be familiar with that particular area. I know that in my own area of Sioux Lookout and Dryden and Red Lake, where there were some 150 to 175 miles from the Pinecrest home in Kenora. There was a considerable outcry, you might say, in the Red Lake area because of this.
We were able to build, under new amendments to the act, a satellite to the home for the aged. Now we’re using the old Margaret Cochenour Hospital. It’s been completely renovated and it is a satellite for the Pinecrest home for the aged in Kenora that fills that need. The residents of Red Lake don’t have to travel that distance and be thrust into an unfamiliar environment, one that they’re not accustomed to and one that they haven’t lived in at all.
I think the same situation exists within the areas to which the member refers, the Wawa area, Indeed, I was very much impressed with the attitude of the council and the whole community to get something going as quickly as possible. There has been a start on these discussions with the Ministry of Community and Social Services by Assistant Deputy Minister Herb Aiken and my own deputy, Tom Campbell. We are just starting to move ahead but that, in a nutshell, is our thrust.
I have to say to the honourable member that I realize there is a lack of capital dollars and the cost of operating small homes for the aged is very high; this, of course, will place additional burdens on that particular ministry which may have to be looked at very carefully.
Mr. Wildman: There’s only one other thing, Mr. Chairman. Earlier in the estimates, when we were discussing the policy on cottage lots, I raised the question of the problem of people who live and work in small communities in unorganized areas of northern Ontario who have a very difficult time in purchasing any kind of property for building lots of permanent housing.
This is a problem in a large number of small communities in unorganized areas, sometimes because there isn’t land available but also, even when there is land available, because there’s a great deal of confusion about title and who owns what, and the surveys seem to be in a very confused state. That certainly is the problem in my area and, I understand, in many other areas of northern Ontario.
I wonder, is there anyone in the Ministry of Northern Affairs who is talking to the Ministry of Housing about this kind of problem with a view to doing the kinds of surveys and title searches necessary in areas where there is that kind of confusion and to make land available with the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources?
It seems to me that one of the problems we have got is that these two ministries, Housing and Natural Resources, can’t seem to get together to deal with this problem. I wonder if the Ministry of Northern Affairs is playing any role in co-ordinating these two ministries to try to deal with that problem.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, our thrust to date has been directly involved with regard to summer cottage lots. We have strongly felt that there should be a larger number of summer cottage lots available in northern Ontario. The Ministry of Natural Resources has some lake development plans for many of the lakes in northern Ontario. To ensure there is that continued thrust and movement with regard to the development of more lots, we have earmarked an additional $144,000 in our ministry which we will be allocating to Natural Resources and which is on top of their half a million dollars for development of summer cottage lots; so it’s that kind of a thrust.
If the honourable member has some specific communities that we should be looking at and has a problem, particularly in the unorganized areas -- and I know there is some reluctance to embark on opening up a large number of lots in these unorganized areas because the tax base is so small; in my home town of Hudson, the tax load on these properties is so small that it costs nothing to keep a lot vacant. Why sell the lot when you are paying perhaps only a few dollars annually for the local roads tax and maybe a small amount for the board of education, and that’s all? There is no municipal tax at all; so there’s no encouragement to have fill-ins. This causes a problem when there are all kinds of vacant lots there; the individual says: “For all I will get out of the sale, I might as well keep it. There may be something come up somewhere down the road.”
If the honourable member knows of specific communities in the unorganized areas that we should be looking at, then we would like to hear from him so we could lend our support to getting a few lots. I don’t think we would embark on a massive development plan to put in 50 or 60 lots when there’s only maybe four or five needed over a period of two years, but we would be glad to look at it.
Mr. Wildman: I am glad to hear the minister say that, because I think that before we even discuss anything about cottage lots we should be looking at people who live and work in the communities and deal with their problems in terms of housing.
A specific community in my area, Missanabie, is a problem. There’s a great deal of confusion about who owns the private land and whether the private lots that are available are large enough to meet the Ministry of the Environment’s standards. There seems to be confusion between the Ministry of Housing and MNR regarding whether or not there’s any crown land available. I’ve had extensive discussions with the Ministry of Natural Resources about that. I’m told by both the Ministry of Revenue and the Ministry of Natural Resources that there’s a need for a resurvey, a title search, before anything can be done. I’d appreciate it if the Ministry of Northern Affairs would look into that.
I’m sure also that the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) could point to a number of specific communities in his area. I imagine, with the minister’s commitment, that the Ministry of Northern Affairs will be hearing from him.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There is a role that Northern Affairs can play in co-ordinating an examination of a specific problem like that. Certainly, we will take that up to make sure that somebody’s there to work closely with you.
If I could elaborate further on my earlier comments, what we’re seeing in northern Ontario is a real movement to the mobile home. They’re becoming the thing in northern Ontario. They’re creating official problems for these small communities in that their owners move in quickly and move off quickly.
The ease with which a young couple can buy a mobile unit today is tremendous. With a few thousand dollars down, they can have a home that’s totally modern and complete with all the facilities after they get in the water a sewer hookup. They’re very attractive for northern Ontario living.
There’s some feeling against them in southern Ontario and in many municipalities in the north where they don’t want mobile units put in. In the unorganized areas they’re an acceptable thing. We’re getting the message across to some of the planners that mobile homes are here to stay -- let’s make no bones about it -- and we should be adjusting our planning accordingly.
Mr. Wildman: In response to that, I don’t think the minister has to indicate anything to me about mobile homes. We have an awful lot of them, as the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Rhodes) could attest, in the area around Sault Ste. Marie.
I want to respond to one thing he said. I'm sure in small communities, such as bush camps or mining communities, where the employment situation is less stable, mobile homes can be used for people to move in and move out. I want to point out that studies have been done across the country that indicate that about 80 per cent of the mobile home purchases are not mobile in the sense of being moved around but usually stay in the same lot where they’re first located.
Mr. Germa: In conjunction with cottage lots, as was raised by the member for Algoma, there is a new thrust by the Ministry of Natural Resources in going from leased lots to the sale of cottage lots. The Minister of Northern Affairs recited what happens in these small communities where a person gets title to a lot and, because the taxes are low, refuses to transfer this lot to someone who really needs it. The ministry refuses to call or identify that activity by its real name, which is land speculation, even though it is on a small scale. Why don’t you say it as it is? You should also say you’re not in favour of land speculation by people holding land off the market when someone else has a need for it.
Here we have the Minister of Natural Resources going into a new project. Since 1970 we have had a program of leasing cottage lots to people. Now we’re going to a system of titles through sale. You know what’s going to happen. There’s going to be speculation on these titles. Once these people get title to the land, speculation is going to come back into the system again, much as it was before 1970.
What I’m asking the minister is what input did you have? Did you recommend against that thrust by the Minister of Natural Resources. If you didn’t, why did you not, given your attitude and your criticism about people who hold land off the market to speculate?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Let me say that I heartily endorse the new policies of the Ministry of Natural Resources that allows Ontario residents to purchase and own summer cottage lots in the first year of sale, gives Canadians that right in the second year of sale, and provides non-Canadians only the right to lease; I support it 100 per cent.
There is no question in my mind; I am not concerned, I have no fear, that this will add to speculating in the summer cottage lot program. An individual will be able to buy one lot in his own name. He will have to spend X number of dollars. I think it’s something like $7,500 in the course of two years before he gets a title.
My experience in northern Ontario indicates that people will cherish those summer cottage lots. In fact, many people have said to me, “I would sell my home in the city before I’ll sell my summer cottage lot.” There is that much attachment and desire to own a summer cottage lot.
We just have different political philosophies. I believe in ownership. I see nothing wrong with ownership. The member for Sudbury doesn’t believe in that philosophy. I just can’t see that fear. I know the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) raises it on a continuing basis, but when I travel in northern Ontario I see a massive amount of land that’s available, that’s not being used.
Every time I go into a northern community the first cry I get is, “Why can’t I buy a summer cottage lot? There are millions and millions of acres up here. Undeveloped land is just sitting here and you won’t let me enjoy the benefits the way I would like, the way the people in southern Ontario have done for so many years.”
I don’t see that as a problem. We are supporting the Ministry of Natural Resources with moneys from the regional priority budget to get on with the job of creating more cottage lots in northern Ontario and making more Ontarians owners of their own province.
Mr. Germa: It’s unfortunate that I am not blessed with as short a memory as the minister might suppose, because I remember him administering a program, as the Minister of Mines and Northern Affairs, when leased cottage lots were the only type of lots going. You cannot have it both ways. Presumably, you must have supported the leased lot program, otherwise you wouldn’t have administered it.
Now, just like that, in the twinkle of an eye, you turn around and say, “Now I support another program;” when we had the other program in the beginning. Prior to 1970 we did have title for cottage lots. Your Ministry of Mines and Northern Affairs for a reason, which I know, went to the leased system of cottage lots. Here we are, seven years later, and you’ve reversed yourself again. Can you go through this once again with me very slowly, starting way back. Let’s start in 1969. What happened in 1970 and what’s happening in 1978? The world has gone full circle, apparently, and you are the man right in there. You should be standing on your head now because you’re upside down.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I don’t think it’s quite that way. In 1971 there was a move to control foreign ownership; that is the sale of crown land directly to foreigners, that was the thrust. We went to leasing, that’s seven years ago. Times change, attitudes change and I think that the attitude of the government today is to provide --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Governments become minorities.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s right, that’s happened too. We responded to the demand of the public; and they have expressed their point of view, very sincerely and with a great deal of enthusiasm --
Mr. Grande: Weak link.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- that they wanted to purchase crown land and we’ve adhered to that request. Again, I don’t have any qualms or fears that we’ll go on a massive program of Ontario residents getting a summer cottage lot, spending $7,500, getting a title and then putting it on the market for non-Canadians, when that non-Canadian can lease land. I think we’re serving two purposes here. We’re allowing the Ontario resident ownership of his cottage lot, which he can build and develop. He has title to it, and he can pass it on to his children and his children’s children; it’s there within their family. If he wants to sell it after making an expenditure of that size, that’s his right as an Ontario resident. If the non-resident wants to move and to obtain crown land, he can only do it through the lease basis. I think the program we have come forward with now satisfies all our requirements and all the needs and the feelings of the public at large.
Mr. Germa: That is the identical program that we had going seven years ago. The minister has said nothing new. He hasn’t explained anything at all. I want to register a complaint. Whether this cottage lot is in lease, or in title, and apparently it is going to be in title, I object strenuously to these lakes being encircled by private property owners and denying the general public access to these lakes.
There are eight lakes in the regional municipality of Sudbury and I can hardly get on to any of them unless I enter on a street allowance, the 50-foot street allowance or the 66-foot street allowance that runs to the lake. That is where the average, normal person enters a lake. You could go to one of the biggest lakes in northern Ontario, Lake Nipissing in North Bay. I went there. A beautiful beach goes for six to eight miles and the only way that I can enter Lake Nipissing is through a street allowance of 66 feet. These private owners put all sorts of obstacles on the beach to prevent the people of northern Ontario from spreading out from that 66 feet We are lying there like sardines on the 66-foot beach and the rest of the miles are all vacant because of your attitude towards private ownership. This is just going to make it worse.
What I am asking you is to have some input with the Minister of Northern Affairs. Apparently it is going to go and I don’t have the facility to retard this program. If he is going to develop these lots, I would ask that it be done not on a waterfront basis but to be done on a subdivision basis with common access for that subdivision to the lakefront. Surely, this is more economic? You avoid and prevent those problems of pollution that you just cannot police.
You get eight or 10 steambaths on the shore of a lake, 10 feet from the lakefront and you know what happens; you cannot have that many inspectors. When you get these camps and cottages all the way up we are ruining lake after lake. I would like you to have a talk with the Minister of Northern Affairs and point out to him --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Natural Resources.
Mr. Germa: He used to be Natural Resources. Now he is Northern Affairs.
Mr. Grande: He is no longer what he is nor what he was.
Mr. Germa: That is my great concern of what is going on with cottage lots in northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, if I could respond briefly, I share the member’s concern. I think we all accept the fact that there has been a lot of mistakes with regard to lakeshore development and the lack of planning. We know that is not the case today, because before any subdivision or any development of a lake is undertaken the Ministry of Natural Resources does a very intensive lakeshore and lake study. It is done with a great deal of care and caution and local input, I might say.
The point the member raises about cluster development is a very valuable one and we have already expressed our point of view on that. Having common access for a number of cottages is certainly in keeping with our thinking and we appreciate your comments on that. We share that view.
Mr. Germa: I understand there are a couple of developments going ahead on this basis. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am not sure. The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) would know better than I would. We just put a general policy thrust forward.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I have two questions, if the minister would help me out. I would agree with him that the original policy -- and I was one who advocated that -- was that too much of our crown land was going to non-Canadians.
Of course, in the government’s inimitable style, it did nothing until almost all of the land was gone -- at least in the Rainy River and some in the Kenora area -- and then it turned around and banned the sale to everyone. If I now understand the policy correctly, Americans, even after the first year or second year, can lease but they cannot purchase property.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Crown lands.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Right. Now my question is this. If Patrick Reid buys a lot in title, puts a $7,500 cabin on it -- and I don’t know where the government got that figure but that certainly puts it in the hands of the wealthy too, I might think; $7,500 in two years is a lot of money.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You wouldn’t build a cabin for that.
Mr T. P. Reid: I don’t know where I would get that money.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You are losing your credibility, Patrick.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The only way I think I could afford it is to become one of your staff, but then I’d have to live in Toronto so that wouldn’t do me any good.
An hon. member: Take it out of your petty cash.
Mr. T. P. Reid: My question is this. What’s to prevent me from buying a lot, putting the $7,500 cabin on it, and then turning around and selling it to my friend in Minneapolis? Or in fact what’s to prevent me from having it set up through a blind -- not a blind trust; that isn’t what a blind trust is, but certainly being a sort of bulldog for him and buy the lot, build the cabin, and then as soon as I got the deed, turn it over to him for the nominal sum of a dollar or, in fact, use his money to do these things?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You said that was your problem.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There are always ways and means and loopholes to get around some of these things.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s why you went to the other program in 1970.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. Times have changed. Now, as the member correctly points out, a non-Canadian who wants to buy crown land can’t. All he can do is lease it. If he wants to buy it from the crown, he can’t purchase it. He can’t get a title for it; he can only lease it.
Of course, if the lots are available, because Ontario residents and Canadian residents will have the first and second year options and the right to --
Mr. T. P. Reid: But there is nothing to prevent this situation.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s right. If there are still lots available in that subdivision that haven’t been picked up by Ontario residents or Canadians, then he has the right to lease that land. If Patrick Reid -- and I don’t think he would ever do it; I would hope he wouldn’t -- speculated in summer cottage lots, I am sure that the Minister of Natural Resources would single him out very quickly if he had made a practice of buying crown land in a subdivision under his name, spending his $7,500 -- included on top of that, of course, would be the purchase price -- and selling it to a non-Canadian. I think that might cause some concern in that ministry; I don’t know, but it would be worthwhile watching for it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: All right, that’s what I’m getting at. Is there going to be anything in the act or regulations that in fact says, “You, Patrick Reid,” or “You, Patrick Reid family, are only entitled to one crown lot for every five or 10 years or whatever” to deal with this situation? This is why you went to leases only for Canadians and Americans originally, because you couldn’t come up with some kind of legal mechanism that you could put apparently on the tile and say, “This land can only be sold to Canadians.” Now you’ve turned around and reversed that policy as well.
While I’m on my feet I might also say to my friend from Sudbury, I have some land that I have been trying to get a subdivision on for over two years. If they don’t act any faster with the government itself than they have with me, we don’t have to worry about any lots being sold or leased to anybody.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There, I say to the member for Sudbury, he is a land speculator, you see. And he intends to make a profit on it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: If I don’t go bankrupt first.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: At this point in time, I am not aware of any regulations that would control that. I would point out to the honourable member that if he were living in Rainy River and had a summer cottage lot there that he bought under this new programs, and then was moved, because of his employment, to Thunder Bay, that he shouldn’t be denied --
Mr. T. P. Reid: I appreciate the problems.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- the right of maybe buying a summer cottage lot in the Thunder Bay area or the Wawa area or the Sault Ste. Marie area. There are all kinds of problems attached to any kind of regulation like that.
Here, again, I guess I’m endowed with a great amount of faith in our northern Ontario residents in that I know and I appreciate how they feel about their summer cottage lots. There is not that kind of speculation in summer cottage lots among Ontario residents. The member for Rainy River shakes his head and agrees with me.
Mr. T. P. Reid: There will be. I mean, I know people who will speculate.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We’re in the year 1978 and in my experience in northern Ontario I have never seen speculation in summer cottage lots and I don’t expect that this will encourage it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I am not saying there is going to be speculation. I am just saying if I have friends from Minneapolis or International Falls, Minnesota, or from Timbuktu, who comes and says, “Pat, I would sure like to have a cabin in northwestern Ontario. How about you buying this particular piece of property for me? I will give you the money. When we can go and transfer the deed, we will just transfer the deed.” As he is my friend, I would say, “Sure, Charlie, I would be glad to help you out.” Then he speculates.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There are always going to be loopholes. I don’t think you can plug every hole. There is no question about it, that may well happen. I hope the member for Rainy River wouldn’t be involved in that. I am sure he wouldn’t. Knowing him as I do, I think he wouldn’t.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I wouldn’t, but there is the odd Tory still left in Rainy River and you can’t trust them.
Ms. Bryden: Does the minister recall a study of the sales of cottage lots which was done about 1969 or 1970? I think he was Minister of Natural Resources or Lands and Forests at that time. In that study there was an analysis of whether leasing or sale was the best method of attaining the objectives of the ministry for meeting the recreational needs and looking after the environmental concerns and land-use policies of the ministry. The conclusion of that, in very strong terms, was that leasing was much the preferable course in order to retain control of the land.
I would like to know if any new study has been done by officials of the ministry or if he knows about any by his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller), to indicate that that decision was not a correct one and that the objectives of the ministry and of the government for meeting these goals can be met by alienating the land to private owners. That means if you want to get it back, you either have to purchase it at whatever the going market price is or you have to expropriate, both of which can be quite costly as well. Usually you expropriate at market price or something very close to it.
That is my first question. Has there been any new study of the best method of attaining the goals and, if so, has it been published and can we have a copy?
Second, you say the public wanted to buy cottage lots in the north. I would like to know what sort of a survey was done of what the public thinks on this subject or whether it was just a few of his friends who told him they would like to buy cottage lots.
It seems to me if you are going to make a statement like that, you should have some sort of actual survey taken and be able to table it for us to show us exactly how many people want cottage lots up there. If there is a long queue, then it seems to me there is going to be speculation. The new regulations the Minister of Natural Resources has brought in have no provision against speculation. Once the cottage lot is acquired by an individual, he can sell it to anybody he wants for any price he can get.
If there is a scarcity, there is bound to be this type of speculation. As other members have mentioned, I don’t think there is any provision in the regulations to prevent any person buying more than one lot or a family acquiring more than one lot. This also can create great unfairness if there is a scarcity. Have we any study of the demand and do we know what the situation is?
The library has just sent me this report. It is entitled Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, January 1971; A Report on the Disposition of Public Land for Cottage Purposes in Ontario, Other Canadian Provinces and Neighbouring States. In the summary of evaluation on page 15, it says: “It appears that the present method of disposing of crown land falls short of the new departmental goal and objective because it does not meet the environmental standards and the social and economic benefit criteria of these objectives. To meet these criteria would require revision in the rate structure and the imposition of more adequate control over land use.” Their conclusion was that leasing would be better than sale.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I’m not aware of any in-depth studies as to the demand for summer cottage lots, but I can assure you that, as a northerner, one would have to just spend a little time in northern Ontario to realise for himself that he wouldn’t need any studies. It would just be a waste of time and a waste of money.
The requirements are there. There is no question about it. You can go anywhere in northern Ontario, and I would invite you to go up and travel the north and go in and ask that question of anybody. There is no need to go through a long charade of having a study as to need. When you see the line-ups that occur at the Ministry of Natural Resources offices when they have their draws for the cottage lots, it is certainly indicative that something had to change.
Again, we believe that the desire to own crown land on the part of Ontario residents and Canadians is strong. We don’t, as I said earlier, believe in the philosophy of the New Democratic Party, which doesn’t believe in that type of ownership. Let’s be honest, there are two different political philosophies.
Ms. Bryden: You didn’t believe in it from 1970 to 1978.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: At that time there was a move to control foreign ownership and we went that way and maybe went too far. We’re readjusting it now and, of course, the economic desire that we wanted to get into the summer cottage lot program has been generated by the new requirement of $7,500 which has to be spent in addition to the purchase price, the survey and the cost of the road. We’re getting the economic impetus that we want with this new program and I’m confident, as I said many times, that there will not be the speculation that the third party is concerned about.
One has to feel that in the north. It’s not like in southern Ontario where there is a real shortage of land. As I said, I flew from Kirkland Lake to Kenora, four and a half hours, in a twin-engine airplane, and for four and a half hours I flew over crown land. If you flew four and a half hours in southern Ontario, my God, where would you be? You’d be from Windsor to Quebec City, I guess.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Further than that.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Further than that? I don’t think southerners really appreciate the size of northern Ontario. That’s what I’m trying to say. Ninety per cent of the land mass is north of the French River, but only 10 per cent of the population. Surely, we have a right as northerners to own some of the land ourselves? Those of us who live there should have that right. Is that asking too much, that we own a summer cottage lot?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: No, right on, Mr. Minister.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: To hear some people speak about it bothers me. I see the member for North Bay agreeing with me.
Mr. Bolan: Nipissing.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Nipissing, I’m sorry. I keep saying North Bay. I don’t know of any studies that relate to need, but I can assure you from my own experience that the need is there.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Minister, with respect, it seems to me the same building could be put under the regulations on a leased lot as on a purchased lot. You could require that they don’t get a lease unless they build a $7,500 building, so you would get the same economic activity. As far as whether there is going to be speculation or not, you’re not suggesting, surely, that you could drop a cottage lot anywhere in those hundreds of miles that you flew over.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Thousands of miles.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thousands.
Ms. Bryden: They do have to be planned and they still are going to be relatively scarce. This is the problem. If they’re going to be scarce then it seems to me that you have to somehow retain control of them or there will be speculation.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think one thing that is not being accepted is that there will be a very careful plan. The Ministry of Natural Resources has been studying many of our lakes for the last several years for summer cottage lot development. The desire now is to come forward with at least 1,000 lots per year in northern Ontario. We think that will more than meet the demand. In fact, it will keep the price at a reasonable rate.
When you think the people in a community -- you know, in Metropolitan Toronto they can go out and buy a lot. They put their home on it. They get title to it. If the government wants to put a road through there, then they have to expropriate it. The structure is there and the same thing should apply in northern Ontario.
Why should we be treated any different up there? Really, I have a hard time accepting it. They want a different set of rules for the north than for the south. If there’s going to be a provincial park on a certain lake and it’s in the best interest of the public, then I say let the public carry the cost of expropriating that and for that development, if it wasn’t included in their original planning.
I am sure that with the finite planning that we have now islands will not be allowed to be sold. Beaches are retained for public use, so there are all kinds of protection under the Public Lands Act; even 25 per cent of the usable shoreline must be retained in the public interest. But I have to tell you there are still hundreds and thousands of miles of shorelines that can be developed in the best interest of northerners.
Item 4 agreed to.
Vote 901 agreed to.
On vote 902, northern communities assistance program, item 1, community priorities:
Mr. Bolan: I would like to address myself to the question of community priorities. I think the minister is probably aware of what I will attempt to talk about and that’s the DREE programming which, as you know, is laid on for the city of North Bay. However the federal and provincial governments are bogged down on the amount.
I am not here this afternoon, Mr. Minister, to harangue you or to harangue the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). I can assure you that I have harangued my federal counterpart. I can assure you of that. I can also assure you that I have harangued Mr. Lessard; in fact I did last February when we met here in Toronto. However, I would like to put it to you on the basis that it’s better to have a bird in the hand than two in the bush. You are a reasonable man and as such I would ask you to convey these very -- I would suggest -- reasonable words to the sometimes very reasonable Treasurer.
It starts off, as you know, on a DREE plan which was prepared for the city of North Bay. It goes back some time. The first application I think was made some time around 1974.
In 1975 there was an agreement prepared between the federal and provincial governments. I saw that agreement; it was dated August 1975. I saw it in my capacity as a member of city council at that time. It called for the total expenditure of $9.5 million. This was for the creation of the industrial park, the various access roads and the infrastructure. I don’t have to go into details. It did not at that time include a package for the Marshall Avenue interchange with Highway 11.
That was acceptable to the province. It was acceptable to the federal government. Somehow the deal fell apart. In any event, it did.
One of the things that happened there was an overrun on the Thunder Bay DREE fund. It could be that some of the funds designated for that part of northeastern Ontario were transferred to northwestern Ontario to cover the Thunder Bay package, which was sorely needed and an excellent job was done of it as well. But, in any event, we ran out of dough, to put it very plain and very simple, and I think that’s the reason why the project was not completed.
The project was revitalized in 1977 and I have some correspondence here to that effect. This is correspondence between the director of planning and works in North Bay and TEIGA. This goes back to February 1977.
The federal and provincial governments got closer and closer. They reached the point, Mr. Minister, where as you know there was an exchange of letters this year between yourself and Mr. Lessard. The first letter, if I may be allowed to use excerpts from it, was from your ministry, from yourself to Mr. Lessard, dated February 24, in which you say you’re pleased to see that you seem to be approaching completion of the North Bay amendment to the northeastern Ontario subsidiary agreement. As you know, there was a whole DREE agreement and whatever happened in North Bay would be an amendment to that entire agreement.
You then go on to say: “Notwithstanding the foregoing, I was rather distressed to learn that DREE staff have omitted some rather important items from this development package. I’m advised by my officials that railway grade separations on Marshall Avenue and the interchange at Highway 11 are not included in the schedule.” In other words, the DREE people were excluding the Marshall Avenue interchange and the two railway overpasses as well. “It seems to me that we cannot develop an industrial park without a properly completed access road.”
I’d just like to stop on that point, Mr. Minister, and advise you that right now there are three access roads into that proposed area for the industrial park. The access roads are these: Highway 11B south, Highway 11B north -- that’s the old Lakeshore Road which runs right through North Bay where the old road used to be. I don’t know if you’ve ever driven down to Toronto some 20 years ago using that road, but it was a long run. Then there’s also Birch’s Road. Birch’s Road runs from Highway 11 right down into Lakeshore Road. So you have three access roads to the industrial site right now.
Part of the funding would be used to create another access road and that is the extension of Chippewa Avenue, which would run parallel to Lakeshore Drive and run right into the industrial park. That would be another access road. In addition to this, there eventually would be the extension of Marshall Avenue in an easterly direction over to Highway 11, and this is where you get into the question of the interchange. My only reason for mentioning that is that in your letter you say: “It seems to me that we cannot develop an industrial park without a properly completed access road.” I raise these points to bring out to you the fact that there already are existing access roads to that particular proposed site.
Then you said: “This omission leaves the commitment incomplete, with the prospect of additional financing requirements a few years hence to be borne by North Bay and the province.” That would be for the interchange and the two railway lines, and I believe the cost of that would be 75 per cent for the province and 25 per cent for the municipality. I think that’s what the split would be.
“In my view, this would result in a difficult, if not impossible, situation for the municipality, given its current financial limitations.” That’s absolutely correct. There’s no question about that at all. The whole application for the DREE grant was made on that basis, that they were really strapped for funds and that was something they could not undertake on their own.
“In our estimation, the admitted requirement is of the magnitude of $3.4 million in gross.” That’s about right. “I urge you to give the matter your favourable consideration and to join with us in funding the project to completion. In anticipation of your favourable response, I have proceeded to obtain an order in council authorizing the full package. We shall be in a position to sign the documents early in March.” The government of Ontario was ready in March to sign that package for about $14 million, or whatever it is.
Following this, a letter was written to you by Mr. Lessard. This was written to you around March 17, in response to your letter to him of February 24. He concurs with you about the importance of this major development. You both agree that it is a major development of great importance for the city of North Bay.
Then he goes on to say: “I would like to assure you that we are prepared to carry out our equal share of costs for all of those elements which are judged to be critical to the successful operation of this industrial park. However, at this time, I’m not persuaded that the two railway grade separations on Marshall Avenue and the interchange at Highway 11 are critical for the success of the park; and as well, there is still much uncertainty about the cost and timing.”
He raises two factors here which he claims are not vital to the success of the park: a) the question about it being critical; and b) the question that there still is much uncertainty about their cost and timing. Then he points out what I have just said to you.
“Access from the park to Highway 11 and Lakeshore Road is now available along Highway 11B and Birch’s Road, and later will be available along the proposed extension of Marshall Avenue at grade level to Highway 11. It is obvious it will be a number of years before there is any significant buildup.”
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m listening.
Mr. Bolan: Mr. Reid is not though, that’s the problem.
Mr. T. P Reid: Do you want to start that all over?
Mr Bolan: “It is obvious it will be a number of years before there is any significant buildup of commercial traffic originating from users of the park.”
This again, Mr. Minister, is quite significant, because if you look at the proposed project -- and I have it here, this is the proposed construction stage by stage -- starting back in 1977, which was the original target date for construction, you don’t reach the Marshall Avenue grade separation until 1980; so you’re looking at four construction years down the line.
Assuming that this project were to start on stream in 1979, you would not be running into the proposed construction of Marshall Avenue until 1982. So it is something which is not immediate, it’s something which must not be decided right now.
“The preferable option -- ” this again is Mr. Lessard -- “to deal with this traffic problem will be much clearer and certain at that time. Officials of my department have advised your officials that we would be prepared to consider another amendment at a later date if analysis at that time justifies the provision of imposed access to and from the park. I expect to be in a position to sign this amendment by the end of March -- ”
What he’s saying is that he’s prepared to sign the one excluding the Marshall Avenue interchange, which is about $10.5 million or $10.8 million. “But I am not, at this time, seeking authority to include the railway grade separations or the interchange in the package. I urge you to consider signing this modified amendment for the present, with the clear understanding that the federal government will consider additional items later should they prove to be essential for the success of this industrial park.”
The next thing to follow from this was a letter which the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) wrote to the mayor of North Bay. At that time the Treasurer reiterated more or less what you had said in your letter to Mr. Lessard of the 24th. Basically, it is this, that the city of North Bay is caught in a squeeze because the two senior levels of government are being stubborn; there is no question about that at all.
I can understand what the Treasurer is trying to do. If you look at it that way, it really is not unreasonable. What he’s really saving is this: “We’re eventually going to have to build an interchange there. Let’s squeeze an extra $2 million or whatever the federal government’s share is of that interchange, let’s squeeze it out of them now.” Looking at it that way, there’s nothing wrong with it; but the fact remains that the whole thing, the whole deal, the whole $10.8 million, might go right down the drain. I think that is wrong; and that’s what I mean, Mr. Minister, when I said at the beginning of these remarks that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.
I’m suggesting to you, sir, that you should sign this agreement now, or convince the Treasurer that the agreement should be signed now. I am told that TEIGA officials agree that this agreement of $10.5 million should be signed now. I agree also that there is no firm commitment from the federal government that they will pick up half of the tab when it comes to Marshall Avenue later on. However, they clearly indicate that they have every intention of negotiating the matter. I would suggest to you if you can show at that time that there is need and when you have some actual costs related to the construction of it, then you should enter into further negotiations.
Even if they say they are not going to pay part of the costs of the interchange, it still means that the province is getting a better deal than by not having the agreement signed at all. If you don’t sign the agreement at all, then it means that eventually, some place down along the line, that industrial park is going to be built -- there is no question about that at all, whether it is 10 years from now or whether it is 15 years from now -- but I suspect that it is going to be at the expense of the already hard-pressed taxpayer in North Bay. He’s already right up to his throat in it.
So I am saving to the minister to take the $10.5 million or the $10.8 million or whatever it is. Take what they are offering you now and at least you have got the largest part of your project done. I can assure you that I am very familiar with that area. That industrial park can exist and can function extremely well, even without going through the process of interchanges and of the actual extension of Marshall Avenue right into Highway 11, because you will have all these other routes of access to that particular highway.
I realize you were in North Bay on Friday. My understanding is that there was no headway at that time. I ask you to reconsider the matter. I ask you to go back to the Treasurer and to suggest to him, just as I have suggested to you, that it is better to take the $10.5 million rather than to risk the whole thing. As I say, the people there are the ones who are caught in the squeeze. The last thing that I would want to happen is to have the whole package lost.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: To respond to the member for Nipissing, he has laid out the case and the problem extremely well. He has gone through the various steps and negotiations with the federal government. At the outset, I must say that I just find it unconscionable. Here we are as a province anxious to do the best for North Bay possible. We have a $15-million package that would really tie up that community and do for it what the town fathers have been wanting to do for so many years; yet we find the federal government reneging on a total package that is part and parcel of the whole concept.
I find it unconscionable. I find they are totally insensitive with all due respect to the federal member there. I know Jean-Jacques Blais has as much interest as you and I do in this development at North Bay. Why they are dragging their feet and why they are not in more agreement to getting on with doing this particular job is beyond me, because here in a period of constraint and in a period of tight dollars in the province we are anxious to get on with a $15-million package instead of a $10-million package.
As the local member, you would want us to go on. I can tell you that as soon as the $10-million package is signed, you will be back on our doorstep looking for that other part. Let’s be honest; it has to be done sooner or later. It takes a long period of time, in our experience with the DREE agreements and the negotiating aspect. They are just too long drawn out, and quite frankly we don’t have the trust that we should have in some of those statements because we have been conned too many times. As a northerner, I find it really difficult. Here we have northern Ontario designated under the DREE agreement getting crumbs off the table, and the city of Montreal received $400 million from DREE. I know you share that view with me. It’s insensitivity, that’s really what it has to be.
The honourable member pleads a good case, that we take the $10 million and get on with the job. I have to look at it from an overall point of view in the best interests and the long-term interests of North Bay. I know they would want that total package down the road. You find the DREE officials saying that the overpass and the interchange are a total provincial responsibility and they shouldn’t be involved at all, you’ve heard that comment.
I have to relate it to what happened in the Kenora area. Here we had a federal airport and the town of Kenora, indeed the whole region, was anxious to get on with the job of improving that airport facility. The federal government dragged its feet. The Department of Transport wasn’t interested in expanding that facility. Finally, we got DREE interested. DREE said reluctantly that it would proceed. But here the province had to put up 50 per cent of those dollars to complete and upgrade a federal airport. It shows what they think of northern Ontario.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh come on.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Sure, we’ve put in some minor improvements in the Minaki Road. The member for Rainy River agrees with me; in fact it was his brother -- thank God for his political help or we wouldn’t have got it anyway.
On that point, I would just like to ask the House to look around northern Ontario, in areas designated under the DREE agreement, and see where all the major dollars have gone.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Quebec.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In northern Ontario, I mean. They’ve gone to Quebec, there’s no question about that
Mr. Bolan: Not in North Bay.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We had a good representative in the Kenora-Rainy River riding, so we got some assistance there for the Kenora situation. Then there was Thunder Bay. How many millions of dollars did we pour in there -- $33 million?
Mr. Bolan: Oh, more than that.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You have the honourable -- what’s Mr. Andras’s position now -- Manpower and Immigration, is it? I can’t keep up with these changes. You have a federal cabinet minister there.
Mr. Bolan: The provincial member, who was a Conservative, benefited from it as well. In fact they both raided the kitty, that’s what happened.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You have a Liberal member representing Timmins. I have to tell the member for Nipissing to lean on his federal member, his federal minister --
Mr. Bolan: I am, I am.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- because it seems to me that they follow a political pattern across northern Ontario.
Mr. Worton: Something like they do here.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As long as it does things for northern Ontario and gives us the things we want, far be it for me to complain. We have to put 50 per cent of the dollars but we’re anxious to get on with this. I would like to see the member for Nipissing turn it around a bit and say, “Here is a province that is practising constraints, far more than the federal government; and we are prepared in this province to put up our share of the $15 million.”
Surely the time has come for the feds to recognize the real important needs and the financial position of the city of North Bay; let’s not forget that. As the member has correctly pointed out, we are certain the OMB would not approve of any major borrowing on behalf of that development. They are strapped, as he correctly points out. They’re the ham in the sandwich, there’s no question about it, between the provincial and the federal governments.
We will continue to press for an early resolution to this issue. We want to get on with it. We think it’s very beneficial to North Bay or we wouldn’t have gone this far with it. All I can say is let’s lean on them together, please.
Mr. Bolan: Just one question, if I may put it to you this way: What’s the bottom line?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Our position is very well known. We have the overpasses and the interchanges to include in the whole package.
Mr. Bolan: Fine.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The dollar figure is, as the member has correctly pointed out, not nailed down to the actual cent, but don’t forget the agreement is over a three- or four-year period. There is going to be some escalation in the cost, there’s no question about that. I think the whole package is one that will best serve the interests of the North Bay area and it should be proceeded with forthwith.
Mr. Bolan: Is the minister saying that he is not prepared -- neither he nor the Treasurer -- to enter into this DREE agreement unless it includes funding for the grade separation on Marshall Avenue and the interchange at Highway 11?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think we’ve made our position explicitly clear. That would be our position, really.
Mr. Bolan: That’s what you are saying?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Yes, let’s have the whole thing together and get on with the job --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Don’t sell your people short, Mike.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- because we have a real interest, and quite frankly we’re not getting our fair share of DREE dollars. Every time we come to signing an agreement for a DREE program, it’s the same hassle. It took us about a year and a half to two years to sign the DREE agreement for White River. It’s so frustrating. I don’t know what all that staff does here in Toronto. DREE has a big staff in Thunder Bay and a big staff in Toronto, for the amount of agreements that we sign, my deputy could do that in his spare time in the evening.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: What spare time?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: What spare time? That’s a good question. But to have that large staff here in Toronto and to bring forward very few programs, it’s very frustrating indeed, really it is.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can I ask the minister under this vote about the Rainy River land clearing project? I’ve had conversation with your deputy minister about this lately and I understand from other people that there has been some kind of money set aside to do a study on the feasibility of the project that was put forward by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture in the Rainy River district for a land clearing project which would come to something $17 million. The minister will recall that some promise or indication, shall we say, was made at the time of the election, mostly by the defeated Tory candidate, but I was wandering what the status is of that. I understood there had been $65,000 -- the figure was given to me not by your deputy minister but by someone else -- for a study of the feasibility of carrying out this project which was presented by the local OFA in the area. Can you give me any information on that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I can give you something on that. I do remember some discussions being undertaken, but I don’t have the specifics with me at this time.
Mr. T. P. Reid: May I raise a point of order while we’re waiting for that information? It used to be the practice in the House that the minister had his staff in front of him. Is there any particular reason why he doesn’t? He obviously needs assistance.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I think the deputy felt that he could operate more effectively from the sideline and I think he is doing very well.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: The minister can stand up on his own; he is a very able fellow.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I was just inquiring. I see the table and chairs there. I thought maybe he did not want to be seen with you.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have just been informed that the agriculture program had about $500,000 in it. Is it for this year? Yes, but they added another $100,000 to that. There was $600,000. These funds are based on local committees and they can decide on the type of program that they want for their specific areas.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Campbell provided me with that answer, and I understand there was an enrichment of $100,000 or so this year, but my question was whether or not, either through your ministry or elsewhere, there had been some money budgeted to do a study on the feasibility of the suggestion or brief put forward by the OFA.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don’t have anything in my notes here under the community priorities activity. If there is something under regional I don’t seem to have it here.
Mr. T. P. Reid: While everyone is searching frantically, or not frantically, does the minister have anything to do with the community employment program, which is a joint program between the federal and the provincial governments in which committees were set up at the local level to come up with employment projects? I realize it’s through the Ministry of Labour, primarily, but do you have any input into that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, we do. We have a grant this year of about $15,000 and the remaining $21,000 will be borne by the federal government. That would be about $36,000 to stimulate the economy in the Fort Frances-Rainy River areas through agricultural development.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Is that for the study?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It’s for the community employment strategy committee to assist with a project to determine the agriculture potential of the Fort Frances-Rainy River areas. That’s the study.
Mr. T. P. Reid: And that’s for the $36,000?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I, along with the people in the area, am a little disappointed; but understanding that $17 million was perhaps a little much, I’m presuming that $36,000 will be enough to dig up some facts and figures and come up with some other ideas. The project has been supported by the community employment group, which is made up mostly of Conservatives. I don’t know why that is so in that area; it’s hard to understand.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Did you have anything to do with it?
Mr. T. P. Reid: They have, in fact, endorsed the program. It’s just one of those anomalies where you have a government agency, or the federal-provincial government setting up a group to suggest employment opportunities, and then the Ontario federation came along and said: “Here’s an opportunity to provide employment for land clearing and the potential for agriculture in the Rainy River district.” This is endorsed by the community employment people, who are the federal-provincial committee. Then this government, when it comes time to do some implementation, isn’t there to carry out the program presented after these other people have carried out their mandates.
I really don’t require a comment on that; but I would hope that this would still be an item, perhaps for next year’s budget where, if the facts and figures can be proved you might see your way clear to carrying out that program.
Item 1 agreed to.
On item 2, isolated communities:
Mr. T. P. Reid: Are we on isolated communities?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: That’s right.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Does the minister have anything further to tell us about the isolated communities? Are we going to have any legislation? Can he tell us where we’re at other than that the budget has been enriched by $130,000? He’s nodding his head.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m pleased that the member asked that particular question. We have been grappling with that particular problem. I think I have mentioned publicly on a number of occasions that we would piggyback on the Local Roads Boards Act to assist those unorganized areas in assessing their home owners for fire protection services.
We’ve had a go at it within a number of ministries. We’ve run into a few problems. We’ve asked the UCANO, both east and west, how they would view a structure or an act operating in the unorganized areas. We’re concerned that we’re going to leave the impression that this is a first step towards organizing a municipality. I think there’s some concern there.
Frankly, we’re going to use the course of the summer to have further discussions with UCANO and with other unorganized communities to pull together something that’s acceptable to them and of course to the government. Hopefully, we’ll be prepared to bring forth legislation in the fall session.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak about the unorganized communities, because if there’s an area that needs some work and on which this government has really fooled the people it has been on the unorganized communities as a whole.
Bill 102, or something, got introduced into this Legislature a couple of years ago and ultimately collapsed. We in fact have many municipalities in northern Ontario which outside of a very small budget have no access to any of the amenities necessary in the unorganized communities.
You will recall a year ago I suggested, in some amendments I proposed during the creation of this ministry, that the two most important areas concerning northern Ontario were the proper development of natural resources and the unorganized communities. We attempted to give the minister some power to work within those communities, but nothing has changed from the time McKeough or Don Irvine introduced that bill many years ago. Nothing has really happened to change life in the unorganized communities except that there’s a very minuscule budget from which you give a little financial assistance, a bit here and there very deliberately. In fact, I maintain that the government deliberately keeps it confused so they can’t get a focus on it.
What the government should have is one group representing the unorganized communities. What you in fact want is everybody to stake his own claim so that you might have four, five, six, or seven different groups in the same community asking for any number of funds for some project, whereas if you had one group somehow duly elected to represent the community, they could focus on the most important needs in each of those communities. That doesn’t occur now because that type of unity isn’t there.
Various groups make various requests for a variety of things -- including some I have made, for example, for fire protection equipment. But there’s no ability to focus their priorities and it’s to your advantage, Mr. Minister, to keep them disorganized, it really is. I am not saying it’s the minister himself who is doing that, I am saying it is the government of Ontario. The more groups making representation, the better it is. If we had one group in each community representing those unorganized communities, they could then sit down and focus on what the real needs are.
If it’s in a municipality like Alban, they may need a community centre; they could then say this is our concerted effort for this year. But as it is you might have somebody from Alban wanting a community centre and somebody else wanting a piece of firefighting equipment; there’s no focus on what the most pressing needs of Alban are, particular in view of the limited funds available.
If the pit was bottomless and we had all kinds of money, then you could meet any number of requests from those municipalities, but that isn’t so. I think it’s to the disadvantage of those communities, Mr. Minister, that we don’t have some sort of mechanism for establishing some sort of elected community representation that can, realizing there’s a shortage of funds, identify a number one priority for this year; that means the minister or his staff then has to sort out what the real priorities are.
That’s not our function. Surely our function is to provide funding. Once a municipality determines what its basic need is for this year we move on it. I think this is a real failure, particularly in view of the fact that the legislation was long promised. I understand the difficulties with the unorganized municipalities, having quite a number of them like the minister has. They are starting from scratch. No matter what it is that they want, it’s right from the beginning, even if it’s a street light. Yet we really don’t have anybody in those communities we can deal with.
If there was something I would ask this minister to do, if he had the power to do one thing, it would be to get some type of apparatus in place to do that. Then we might start to see some orderly development. They might, for example want to ask the Ministry of Housing to do a plan of their area; and that request would come from someone that was recognized in the community as representing the total community; or it might be a piece of firefighting equipment, it might be a recreation centre; it might be something they need, based on a commitment from the community. That this government doesn’t do that is really, to me, a disaster; we’re just fooling the people, Mr. Minister. We don’t have the funds -- I understand the amount it would take with the number of municipalities that are unorganized -- but what it might stop, too, is the development of other unorganized municipalities that are getting bigger and bigger; and that’s still going on.
If one looks at the regional municipality of Sudbury, people are now leaving the region and trying to get into the unorganized townships. All we’re doing is exacerbating the problems that are already there. That’s how many of these problems were created in the first place.
If we started and brought those small municipalities we have into some sort of cohesive group, we might avert other problems developing down the road. If we don’t do it, those problems are going to occur as I stand here. I’ve just talked to some of the government officials in the Sudbury area and they tell me that the applications for amendment to the zoning orders in the Sudbury basin beyond the regional municipality are growing in leaps and bounds. When people own property they are going to say that they have a right to go there. They buy a whole farm and they ultimately move out there and the problem starts all over again.
We simply can’t afford it. I don’t care what government is in power in the province we can’t afford to allow other unorganized municipalities to develop. Maybe you’re going to reintroduce the legislation -- I guess it was Bill 102, that number rings a bell. That was the bill that Don Irvine brought in a number of years ago through the Treasury and it died on the order paper just prior to the 1975 election. It’s been three and a half years since that election and what are we doing for the unorganized townships? Really, nothing.
Yet most of them exist -- as my friend knows better than I, in his part of the province -- to meet the needs of some of the pulp and paper camps. They go and develop a little settlement of 50 or 60 families, maybe not that big. But those problems have been created and the bill that was introduced in 1974 and reintroduced in 1975 would have gone some way to help. It wasn’t perfect, we all knew it, and we said we were going back to the unorganized municipalities to get their input.
There’s been a lot of input. I’ve seen all of the briefs that have been presented to the minister; there’s been a lot of input. Surely we’ve got to act. We can’t sit around any longer and allow those people living in those municipalities who pay their share of taxes -- particularly in view of the fact of the services they get, which are virtually zero for the type of taxes they pay. They pay land tax and they pay gasoline tax, they pay a variety of taxes. They might not pay as much municipal tax but they have nothing. I mean nothing.
It’s only by bringing in legislation that they are going to be made into municipalities of some sort. They might not be modelled on town councils as we understand them; it certainly could be of a different nature.
We move ahead. You can’t sit any more, Mr. Minister. That’s been in limbo and it’s been discussed for as many years as I’ve been here and as many as you’ve been here. Surely you’re in a position now to make the recommendations to the government and say, “We’ve had input now for lo these many years. We know what the problems are. We know it’s costly and it’s going to take time, but we have to start somewhere.”
We start, maybe, by some form of informal community council which works through your ministry on a priority basis. We start to do the planning for the rest of the province. I’m not talking about elaborate planning in terms of organizing municipalities but the type of planning which will prevent the spreading of that type of municipality.
I think it’s long, long overdue. To simply operate with this type of budget and to continue this process is really nonsense.
I’ve asked the minister to give me in the few minutes remaining some indication of what the government’s proposals are, particularly in view of my suggestion of some type of informal community council to do the priority needs for these municipalities.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think the member for Sudbury East is very much aware of the lack of desire on the part of the unorganized areas to be thrust into some form of municipal organization. There’s just no question they’re going to resist that. In fact, they resisted Bill 102 or 120 -- I forget what the number was -- to the nth degree. That was, in essence, a start in setting up community councils, but the fear is that the government would superimpose a municipal structure that would be unacceptable to them; that they would be burdened with new services and increased taxes. There is no question about that.
I would have to say to the honourable member that we’re moving with the unorganized communities in trying to get their involvement. As he knows, we are funding UCANO to the tune of $25,000 for UCANO East and $25,000 for UCANO West, because they have no funds. We give them some direct grants, hoping that they will go out and stimulate interest and get some input from the unorganized communities. In fact, we have gone a step further.
We are giving a direct grant to Confederation College in the Thunder Bay area to go out and hold special seminars and special courses in the small communities or to bring in the leaders of these small communities to explain to them the functions of a municipal structure and how to deal with government to give them some knowledge of how they should approach improvements to their respective communities. It’s a start, but the fear of going into some form of structure is very real.
I have to say to the honourable member that there’s nobody who would like to set it up in a nice square box under legislation more than I would. But we have had many discussions with the groups and they’re not certain what they want themselves. We know we should have something. It may well be we’re going to have to come down with a hard hand. I don’t like the idea. I just abhor the idea. If they will do it themselves, I’d like to give it a try. We are going to the unorganized communities, with our Northern Affairs officers moving around now and having more rapport with the groups.
I have to say to the honourable member that in my brief experience with the Ministry of Northern Affairs and with the Isolated Communities Assistance Fund, I don’t know of an area that has four or five different organizations to which the honourable member refers. There may be one or two, but if there is any nucleus of an unorganized community or a group of people who are interested in speaking on behalf of their community, we’ll deal with them; there’s no question about that. We are already dealing with them in a number of fields whether it is in the social field or direct assistance for a recreational centre, for a community well, for fire protection. We’ll go that route, but give us the body there and we’ll work with them. We’re not trying to divide the community. If they will come forward -- in fact, some of the groups have come forward and we have given them a grant already. Now we find the fire marshal hasn’t approved exactly what they should have; so they’re stymied in that aspect of it. But in other areas we’re going ahead with the development of fire protection. They must have somebody to look after it. They must have the wherewithal to pay for the building it’s going to be in. We’ll even assist in some cases with that building. But who’s going to pay for the electricity and the heating of it? Surely they can contribute a little bit to it. That’s what we’re trying to sort out now.
The new thrust now, getting fire packages together and providing fire trucks to the bigger areas, is working quite well. Just to wind up on this section, on Friday last my parliamentary assistant, the member for Algoma-Manitoulin, was in Gogama delivering a truck --
Mr. T. P. Reid: I certainly hope he wasn’t driving.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- along with the member for Nickel Belt. They were there to join with the community in accepting that fire truck. So things are happening and with a great deal of pride and enthusiasm. I think we’re best to follow this road but, if the honourable member has some specific ways that we could deal with this problem, I would like to hear from him.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Minister, because of the time, would the honourable minister like to move that we rise?
On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the committee of supply reported a certain resolution.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the House adjourned at 6 p.m.