The House resumed at 8 p.m.
MINISTRY OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT
Hon. Mr. Drea moved second reading of Bill 85, An Act to revise the Ministry of Correctional Services Act.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want to serve notice that there will be some amendments to Bill 85. There will be amendments to sections 22, 38 and 42.
The amendment to section 22 is relatively minor. It serves to clarify the investigation aspect of the ministry’s inspection branch as well as a formal inspection.
The amendment to section 38(3) is made necessary by the decision of the Supreme Court of Ontario in re Grenier. That case was decided following first reading of this bill. This proposed amendment deals with a calculation of the remainder of sentence to be served upon revocation of parole.
Finally, the third amendment to section 42(3) simplifies the appointment of the supervisor of probation services by not requiring that the minister make the appointment.
Mr. McClellan: On a point of privilege, if I may, could the minister repeat his last statement? I’m afraid I simply missed it and it was kind of important. Could he simply restate the last amendment that he indicated would be forthcoming?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The third amendment, section 42(3), simplifies the appointment of the supervisor of probation services -- that is adult -- by not requiring that the minister make the appointment. Actually the change is that instead of “the minister shall” it says “there shall.” It’s just housekeeping.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, we in the official opposition are generally in favour of this bill. It has, as the minister indicated in his statement, many housekeeping items, but it also centres the attention of the province on a number of positive aspects that have taken place and that we have dealt with in the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services.
Many of them are initiatives that have been taken by the present minister. I note that he has been wise enough and magnanimous enough to indicate that his staff has had a lot to do with this. The minister recognizes that being the controversial type of individual he is and the colourful type of individual he is, much of the media coverage centres on his own personality. He has personalized his ministry to a certain extent and I think we indicated during the estimates that it was a good idea to dramatize many of the programs that are being put forward. He did give credit where it was due to his staff. We think that many of the initiatives that have been taken are positive and progressive.
I look at the fact that there will be authorization to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions in Canada for exchange of services and transfer of inmates which seems to be a very logical step. Even within the province itself -- not necessarily with provinces -- we recognize the benefit of having those who are convicted of particular crimes located as close as possible to their community in terms of being subject to visits from family and friends, and ultimately bringing them closer to the rehabilitation process that we look forward to. Certainly, extending this across the country in terms of the agreements that can be reached is a beneficial step.
We have in this Legislature -- certainly in the federal Parliament there has been discussion in this field as well -- talked about confidentiality. Provision being made for confidentiality in the personal records of inmates, parolees and probationers is, again, a positive step. A portion of the population in this country tends to believe that when a person enters a correctional institution or enters the care of the Correctional Services ministry, or in the case of the federal government the relevant ministry there, somehow all their rights are to be cast aside. When we don’t have the kind of confidentiality that we’re talking about in this case, it seems to me that the rehabilitative process is much more difficult.
When an individual finishes paying, as we say, for the crime through a sentence of some sort that is carried out, this person should have the opportunity to integrate back into the community without suffering from the kind of discrimination that has existed in the past and which to a certain extent will continue to exist. We feel this step will certainly diminish that.
I will have some questions a little later on about the third part in the explanatory notes which says: “The minister may designate employees of the ministry as police constables for specific purposes.” Perhaps the minister could make a note of what is meant by the minister designating ministry employees as so-called police constables for specific purposes. The provincial bailiff now has the power of a constable when conveying an inmate from one institution to another. I am wondering what this may involve. I am sure the minister can elaborate on that.
Another positive aspect of the bill, again using the terminology of the notes, is that “the Lieutenant Governor in Council may pay compassionate allowances to inmates who are permanently disabled” -- and I will have some further questions on that as to permanently disabled -- “as a result of injuries sustained during authorized activities of the correctional institution and to other persons who suffer injury or damage caused by an inmate.”
We have had this experience -- not so much in the provincial system, but more so in the federal system, though we could see experiences in the provincial system -- where there would be serious injury sometimes of a permanent nature to an individual involved when there is a riot situation or even when it is something less than a riot situation. There may be other circumstances when a person is engaged in an activity of a vocational type where an injury does take place and payment can be made. The minister might elaborate and be a little more specific on that. I may have misinterpreted his intent in this particular section.
The fifth portion that I look at in terms of the explanatory notes is the one which has received the most attention in this Legislature and in the media in recent months. That is the section in the bill providing for the designation, operation and management of community resource centres for the rehabilitation and supervision of inmates in a community setting. The critic for the New Democratic Party, members of the New Democratic Party and members of the Liberal Party who sat in on the justice committee deliberations during the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services last autumn indicated very strong support for the concept of the community resource centre.
I think we in this province and we in this country recognize that in Canada, and in Ontario as part of Canada, we incarcerate far more people than is ever necessary. If we compare ourselves to many of the examples which we see, in western Europe in particular, we find that many of the offences for which we jail people in this country are certainly not the type of offences for which people should be jailed, unless these people are deemed to be a danger to society as a whole or a danger to others within the society or there is a genuine reason to believe further crimes will be committed.
If the taxpayer likes to look at it in these terms, the community resource centre does serve to save money. If we compare the cost of incarceration in one of our provincial institutions to the cost of a person being stationed in a community resource centre, and many people like to look at it strictly in terms of the amount of money it is going to cost the taxpayer, we find the cost is substantially less under the care and custody of those who are not necessarily employees of the Ministry of Correctional Services.
We also find that not only does the public benefit in economic terms of the price of keeping people, but the public also benefits from the fact that the rehabilitative process is probably very much enhanced by locating people in community resource centres, particularly to avoid incarceration and by what I sometimes call education. They receive education of a negative kind, younger inmates particularly when they are placed in institutions with the veterans of the trade. We look very positively upon this move.
We know the difficulties that can be faced. The minister has indicated, though I have not had this confirmed, that there are certain municipalities where bylaws make things rather difficult in terms of establishing community resource centres. Integration into the community of people who have specific problems in other areas has always been difficult, but we see the ultimate benefits. All members of the Legislature should unite in saying that they see this as a positive move, that they don’t see great dangers, since I know the minister is not proposing that we put people who are dangerous to society in a community resource centre but rather people who can function; and I presume there is a reasonable screening process to ensure this. Taking that into consideration, we have to be prepared to support the ministry in its efforts to integrate these people into the community through community resource centres.
I mentioned during the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services that we were obviously going to run into some problems with the odd person “breaking out” of a community resource centre or causing some problem for a community. But to throw out the entire program when we experience this type of activity would be wrong and it stands to reason that all members of the Legislature would support that statement.
I don’t know how accurate this report is, but some have told me the community relief centre is more popular. This is the terminology that was used with me. A community relief centre is more popular with the civil servants within the Ministry of Correctional Services than the community resource centre. I was rather confused by this statement. The suggestion was that they would prefer people who had nearly reached the end of a sentence to be put in what I would call a halfway house. This was more popular with the civil servants in the ministry than community resource centres, which ultimately mean fewer people would be institutionalized in the province. The minister might comment on whether or not it’s a significant remark.
Perhaps I might diverge a little from the bill itself and say I know the minister will be looking carefully at any designated work that might be done in the community by those housed within correctional services to ensure that they are not taking away jobs from others. We have to emphasize this constantly, particularly when we suffer from rather high unemployment in the province of Ontario.
The bill is in keeping also with changes made in federal legislation and it is sensible that we would make certain our bill is in keeping with federal legislation so we don’t have one working at odds with the other.
I am interested in situations mentioned here where the minister is permitted to remove inmates from a correctional institution if the institution becomes insecure. Perhaps the minister would elaborate on what he defines as insecure. It looks rather straightforward but he may have a further elaboration on that.
The minister may direct that a psychiatric assessment be made of an inmate by a physician and the more psychiatric services are made available to inmates in our correctional services institutions, the better for that individual and for society as a whole.
The public is interested in the particular aspect of the bill deeming that an escape by an inmate while outside the correctional institution on a work project is to be the same as an escape from an institution itself. One of the concerns you will run into in a community which perhaps does not entirely understand what the minister is working towards, is that custody of the individuals might not be the same as it would be within the walls of an institution. They would want to be assured that if a person were to escape the less stringent custody that would be available at that time, that person would face the same penalty as if escaping from an institution. This may be negative to a certain extent, but certainly it would be reassuring to the community at large.
Rather interesting, and again I think we’ll be dealing with this further on, is the fact that “an inmate may surrender the whole or part of his remission in order to prolong confinement in a correctional institution for medical, humanitarian or rehabilitative reasons that are acceptable to the superintendent.” Having had the opportunity to spend considerable time visiting the Glendale Adult Training Centre, and looking at the program that was available there and is available to a certain extent in other institutions across the province, one can easily understand that some who are in midstream, so to speak, in terms of a vocation they might be involved in, in terms of some other form of education that is taking place, or in terms of some service that is being provided, would be rather reluctant to use the remission that would be available to leave early and, by leaving early, perhaps would not be in a position to integrate into the community in a meaningful way. To provide them with the opportunity to stay longer, should they wish, and not take advantage of the provisions for remission, I think is humanitarian in itself, although on the surface one might think the opposite to be the case.
There are some sensible things in here as well, common-sense and practical things. For instance, the bill allows for “the early release of an inmate whose day for release otherwise falls on a weekend or a holiday if the early release will be of benefit to the inmate.” There are going to be people saying that somehow you’re babying the inmates by doing that. It’s a rather reasonable and practical step, involving, as I understand it, very little time anyway. It’s something more practical than otherwise; for instance, in terms of transportation on a holiday weekend. It is something that does set someone back into the community in a more positive light than having a bad experience to begin with. Again, the community at large benefits as well as the former inmate herself or himself.
I’m sure we will be looking at further matters in this bill that are of importance. I will have some questions on the probation officers a little later on. I will be looking at why the minister feels that section 12 is necessary at all; it seems to repeat sections 2, 4 and 5 of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act. The minister might just mention justification for section 12.
I notice, too, that section 13 permits compensation to inmates for permanent disability arising from injuries sustained during the course of an authorized activity. Of course, what we’ll want to know is what is defined as a permanent disability and an authorized activity, and why does the disability have to be permanent in order to be eligible for this compensation? What, if any, special compensation is available for a non-permanent injury? Is it the intention of the act to exclude non-permanent injuries suffered, for example, by an inmate who is attacked by another inmate or a guard? Lastly, does section 16(1) refer to both male and female offenders? It seems to me that the 1970 Act had a special section dealing with females. Perhaps the minister can tell us whether section 16(1) refers to both male and female offenders.
When we get into looking at the bill clause by clause, I will be interested in the powers of the probation officers. It seems to me, when the probation officer was under a different act, that he had the power to arrest and so on. Now, being appointed under the Public Service Act, perhaps there is a change here. Perhaps the minister will elaborate on that.
Mr. Speaker: The member for High Park-Swansea.
Mr. Conway: Shulman, is it?
Mr. Blundy: The voice of experience.
Mr. Ziemba: The Liberal support worries me, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Samis: Tell us about the hotels in Pembroke.
Mr. Ziemba: We see this bill as complementary to the federal bill, C-51, which deals with three things, basically: the province’s taking over the provincial parole system, establishing community resource centres, and community service orders as a third sentencing option. We’re going to support it with reservations.
The third option, in my opinion, is critical to this legislation because it is going to focus on alternative sentencing.
People who aren’t enamoured of prisoners, people who would like to see bread and water and the lash brought back, support the minister’s policies as well as reform-minded people. It’s amazing to me that he’s managed to get support from both sides. He comes out with some very tough-sounding statements about no free rides and getting prisoners to work and contributing $10 million to the province’s economy in free labour.
Mr. Conway: Pure socialism.
Mr. Foulds: Impure.
Mr. Ziemba: It’s in my opinion far better than the present system of incarcerating people and having them sitting around in jail cells, and I am sure the prisoners are the first to agree with him. The Law Reform Commission states that 80 per cent of all prisoners in Canada are in prison for non-violent crimes and could safely be on the outside.
He’s also changing the statement of purpose of his ministry, a statement of purpose which up to now talked about rehabilitation and treatment. I think the minister recognizes that imprisonment is simply warehousing and of very little human value. Also, I think the minister makes virtue out of necessity. I don’t think the province can afford to build any more jails -- it’s darned expensive, $12 million a throw.
Hon. Mr. Drea: How much?
Mr. Ziemba: I think last year they spent $36 million on jails.
An hon. member: Whatever you say, Ed.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Forty million.
Mr. Ziemba: So it’s very timely that we have legislation that suggests community resource centres, sending the offender back to the community that he came from and establishing community control over its offenders; and also as alternatives to imprisonment, restitution orders and service orders.
Mr. Bradley: And here I thought his motives were completely pure.
Mr. Ziemba: I think the minister is an unwilling landlord, considering some of the charges laid against some of his residents. I will just give three very quick examples. The headline of this little column is “Hard Boiled Crooks or Only Funsters?” It describes Alan Lee, 21, and Paul Harrison, 19, who were sentenced to 30 days in jail and nine months probation March 16 on a mischief charge after being convicted of throwing two eggs at an OPP constable’s Bradford home.
Mr. Sterling: The member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) brought that up.
Mr. Ziemba: That’s a 30-day sentence that the minister had to look after. We have at about the same time another sentence here: “Stole Two Salamis and given 10 Days in Jail.” This is in Hamilton. “A 39-year-old mother of two was led crying from provincial court after being sentenced to 10 days in jail for stealing two salamis valued at $15.70.
“Judge Robert Morrison sentenced Maria Pilarczyk to the jail term after she had pleaded guilty. Her lawyer said the woman stole the salami to feed her two teen-aged children and an unemployed husband. The court was told that the family’s only income is $35 a week which Mrs. Pilarczyk receives as a cleaning woman and $100 a week her husband collects in unemployment insurance.”
We have another case here; and this fellow wasn’t too hard done-by. The heading is “Sudbury Contractor Fined for Conspiracy.” The story goes: “Mr. Lebel, former chairman of the hospital board, was jailed for six months when he pleaded guilty last year to accepting $26,340 in secret benefits from Janin in return for promising to rig bids to build a hospital in 1971. During Mr. Lebel’s trial there was evidence that he had promised to do Janin favours, but investigations did not prove whether he had done such favours.” Well, he got six months for a $26,000-theft. That works out to about $1,000 a week; and here is a woman who did 10 days for stealing two salamis.
Mr. Sterling: How many salamis does that work out to, Ed?
Mr. Ziemba: I haven’t figured that out, but it would be interesting. I don’t know if Mr. Lebel is interested in exciting food.
Mr. M. Davidson: There is a difference; Lebel was never starving.
Mr. Conway: Ted Bounsall is.
Mr. Bounsall: Indeed.
Mr. Ziemba: I don’t think this government can build jails fast enough. The one part that worries me is the work gangs, although I can see the value of that. In fact, if I were in jail I’d be the first to volunteer to go on a work gang just to get out of the place.
But what could happen is that it could in the long term be an incentive to municipalities that are under economic pressure to make use of convict labour to do work that they’d normally pay someone to do. When the minister talks about $10 million this year, he’s talking about 1,000 jobs that aren’t being done in the public or private sector.
I wouldn’t want to see happen here in Ontario what we learned happened in Georgia during Governor Jimmy Carter’s tenure, when convict labour depressed wages as well as provided slave labour for small communities and also groups.
Mr. Bradley: Didn’t I hear the Georgia system was too soft?
Hon. Mr. Drea: It is.
Mr. Ziemba: I also worry about some of the jobs the minister has assigned his charges. Many of those jobs, I imagine, could have been done by students this summer. It’s really distressing to read headlines in the Star that --
Mr. Sterling: You have to pay them though, Ed. Where are we going to get the money to pay them?
Mr. Ziemba: -- the first pay cheque many students get is from welfare. In my opinion it would be wrong to go to jail to get a job but it seems to be one of the surefire ways of getting employment these days.
Also, one of the amendments speaks about earned remission. I’d like the minister to explain what earned remission is and if an offender could earn his way out of jail by really hustling and working extra hard.
I also would like the minister to table, on a regular basis with this Legislature, work projects that are either undertaken or projected, as he has done last week to keep us informed. I understand he’s contacted a number of labour groups to check with them before he’s undertaken major projects, which is the correct way to go about assigning these work orders. I think the constant monitoring of the work projects is in order.
I think that pretty well covers our thoughts on this legislation. Other than that, we’ll be supporting this bill.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to speak to this bill on second reading?
Mr. Roy: I’d just like to make a few comments on the amendments to the Ministry of Correctional Services Act because I have a few concerns about this act.
I might say that the minister, who some of us here have known for a period of time, has by and large, apart from a few wild statements that he made back in Georgia and the occasional statement here and there, taken a somewhat --
Hon. Mr. Drea: Even Clayton Ruby likes me, which shocks me.
Mr. Samis: You must feel uncomfortable.
Mr. Roy: You should start to worry.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do.
Mr. Conway: The question is, is the minister still going to elect the Supreme Court of Canada?
Mr. Roy: I won’t hold against the minister some of the late-night statements that were exchanged here. If he will recall when he was sitting in the back row there and some of us were sitting in the back row here, we used to exchange a few pleasantries later on in the evening. I would say to the minister that by and large he has given the ministry a profile, or at least an image, of something that is active and positive. We’re seeing some of it in this legislation.
Mr. Conway: The new Fred Cass.
Mr. Roy: It’s no secret that the Ministry of Correctional Services used to be run something like the Ministry of Revenue where usually ministers made a stop on the way down and were not making stops on the way up. In that sense, this minister has seemed to take a realistic and objective interest in the ministry and is bringing forward certain programs which the community can fully accept.
If I have one criticism of the minister, it’s that sometimes he personalizes things a bit too much with “my boys,” “my penitentiary” and “my institution.”
Hon. Mr. Drea: I’ve never used that word.
Mr. Roy: There are times when certainly that connotation has come across.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member should correct himself. I have never used that word.
Mr. McClellan: Take him outside.
Mr. Roy: I don’t want to get the minister overly excited, but I really think there have been such times -- and that’s normal; he’s a sort of bravado type, he likes personal involvement in what he’s doing. I suppose some of these things are so natural that we get that impression. But I must say, in comparison to some of his predecessors, certainly it’s a fantastic improvement. I don’t want to get personal about some of his predecessors, but I recall --
An Hon. member: Some of them have well-paid jobs now.
Mr. Speaker: I must remind the honourable member that the legislation doesn’t even mention the minister’s name.
An hon. member: That was an oversight.
Mr. Foulds: It does mention “the minister” in the definition section.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, all this was sort of a preamble to my comments on the bill.
Mr. G. Taylor: Have you got more?
Mr. Roy: It’s nice to see some of the members from the other side awake for a change. It’s nice to see the member here and it’s nice to see him awake.
Mr. G. Taylor: If you were around here more often you would keep us awake.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Who is getting personal now?
Mr. Makarchuk: You fellows better make your acquaintance; you should get acquainted.
Mr. Roy: My God, this place is alive. There was nothing personal there.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It’s like the end of the week.
Mr. C. Taylor: We can take you once a week.
Mr. Roy: I’d like to ask the minister about one of my concerns, in view of the fact that he’s embarking on some of these make-work programs of having the inmates do something useful for a change. I think that is something all members welcome, which our community out there certainly welcomes and which is actually going to be in the best interests of all of us, because one of the concerns about penitentiaries, reformatories or any institution which incarcerates is that very often the inmates inside are removed, are in a vacuum and are insulated from the real world. Sometimes there wasn’t sufficient association with the crime, the reparation, community involvement and doing something positive. By being incarcerated in an institution, very often there was nothing positive happening there. That’s why we welcome this initiative on the part of the ministry.
In getting involved in this new type of program, my concern is why would the minister require such sections as section 12 about the protection from personal liability. Possibly that existed; I haven’t had a chance to look at the old statute as to whether that in fact existed in the legislation at that time.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It did.
Mr. Roy: I’m reviewing it here very quickly.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I told the member it did. It is just a change in wording.
Mr. Roy: It did. Possibly it is a change in wording; but I am confused, I must tell the minister very frankly, by the wording in the section. I’m talking about section 12 of the bill which says: “No action or proceeding in damages shall be instituted against the deputy minister.” Then it goes on to say, “any alleged neglect or default in the execution in good faith of his duty or for any act of an inmate, parolee or probationer while under his custody and supervision.” My concern is simply that it is not all that comforting to the community. One of the concerns in the community is that we have these work gangs, as the slang calls them, out there working in the community. Then they look at section 12 and they say, “Well, you know there seems to be some form of immunity built up towards the minister, towards the ministry, towards the deputy minister in relation to any acts done by the inmates, parolee, probationer or people of this nature.”
My concern, Mr. Speaker, is that I wonder why that section is even necessary. It seems to me that in jurisprudence, by and large, people are not deemed to be negligent. They are not deemed to be responsible or liable for certain torts if they acted in a reasonable fashion. Why do we have to have it legislated in this fashion, especially when subsection 2 seems to be --
Hon. Mr. Drea: To make it easier to sue me rather than having to sue all kinds of intermediaries.
Mr. Roy: Especially in the light, Mr. Speaker, that subsection 1 says that “No action or other proceeding for damages shall be instituted against the deputy minister or any officer or employee of the ministry or anyone acting ... ” So what the minister seems to be suggesting from across the way is that we sue the minister.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Sue the crown.
Mr. Roy: Sue the crown, okay. Well, I think there is a way of clarifying subsection 1 and subsection 2, because you look at subsection 2 and it says the Proceedings Against the Crown Act does not relieve the crown of liability “in respect of a tort committed by a person mentioned in subsection 1 ... ”
Possibly the minister could explain to me what the meaning of all this is -- why it is necessary that we have this what I call legalistic confusion in section 12 of the bill. Frankly, after looking at the legislation it appears to me that it is not that comforting to the community if we are saying to them, “Okay, these people will be working out there in the community, but on the other hand if any tort is committed there is certain restricted responsibility.”
I accept the minister’s explanation if he says that all that does is take away the responsibility from the officers and places it on the crown, but I am not sure that that is such a good idea. It is a good idea in the sense that the crown has more money than the individual officers if you are suing in tort, although with the deficit this government has I am not sure how long it will have enough money to pay off its judgements should it have any.
Hon. Mr. Drea: As long as we are able to pay legal aid cheques we’ll have the money.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: If you cut off legal aid we’ll be okay.
Mr. Roy: Legal aid? My God! If they all worked at the same rate as legal aid they wouldn’t look so prosperous across the way there.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Two days a week is all you have to work to make a fortune.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You are treading on dangerous ground, Albert.
Mr. Roy: The Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) is resplendent there in pink -- well, not pink, that pale blue --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member please get back to Bill 85?
Mr. Foulds: He is not only off the topic, he is colour blind. He can’t tell pink from blue.
Mr. Roy: I don’t know what good it is in the sense that the officers, in view of this section, may be somewhat cavalier in their approach to this type of project. The minister certainly should keep that in mind.
Secondly, I say to the minister, that he should try and clarify section 12, subsections 1 and 2. I think there is a way of drafting this so we don’t have to run to four statutes to find out who we are going to sue if something should happen.
I say this sincerely to the minister because I think it is somewhat confusing. I read section 12, subsections 1 and 2, a couple of times and it seems to me that it sort of takes away in one section and gives with the other.
Mr. Foulds: That’s exactly what it’s designed for.
Mr. Roy: I think there is a way of clarifying that confusion.
The other part is -- and I want to be complimentary to the minister -- there is an awful lot of discretion --
Mr. Warner: Oh, oh, you’re in trouble now.
Mr. Samis: He’s ready for it now, Albert.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Clayton Ruby and Albert Roy on the same day.
Mr. Makarchuk: Let’s face it; you settle for what you can get, the hell with the rest.
Mr. Roy: What I have enjoyed about the minister is that when he discusses some of the programs, in fact some of the programs that are in this legislation --
Mr. Conway: Albert, why don’t you come in on weekends?
Mr. Roy: For instance, last week when he was on Provincial Affairs --
Mr. Makarchuk: That was the week before.
Mr. Roy: -- he was talking about community involvement. I didn’t quite understand that one line when he said that, “we’re having the inmates get involved in community affairs and have association with the community”; and then he puts them out there and they construct a 20-foot wall between them and the community. I didn’t quite understand the --
Hon. Mr. Drea: You understand; you’re the best in the business at saying you don’t understand.
Mr. Roy: No, no; I didn’t.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh, come on.
Mr. Roy: I smiled. You didn’t see me, eh? I smiled on Provincial Affairs.
Hon. Mr. Drea: With some of the turkeys you defend we need a wall.
Mr. Roy: I want to say to the minister that we in the opposition, and of course in the community at large, are going to keep a very close eye on this because there’s an awful lot of discretion given to the ministry in this legislation. I think my colleague, our critic, has mentioned this. If some other minister may appear more irresponsible, we may have certain reservations about all this discretion. Because this minister has exhibited in the past such concern and such enthusiasm about some of the programs, I suppose the attitude we must take here is that we’ll have to learn from experience what he can do, what it is practical to do, and what in fact is in the best interests, not only of the inmates but of the community.
These are the few comments I have to make about this legislation.
Mr. Conway: More. More.
Mr. Roy: I’m sure I can continue here. Isn’t it surprising when you see the enthusiasm from these people to my left? They can listen for hours to boring speeches from their leader and just sit there mum, and a poor little opposition fellow gets up and says a few words and they’re all enthusiastic.
Mr. Samis: A poor lawyer, Albert?
Mr. Makarchuk: We were suggesting you move to another forum.
Mr. Roy: I should worry if they’re my fans.
Mr. Conway: If you’re a good boy, they’ll make you an enumerator in North York.
Mr. Ruston: Then they’ll want 25 per cent of your salary.
Mr. Makarchuk: He might make as much in a day as in half an hour.
Mr. Roy: The approach that we have to take as members of this party is to view with a certain amount of concern all the discretion that is given in this legislation.
Mr. Samis: What’s the prevailing scene in Ottawa East, Albert?
Mr. Roy: There are many sections in this bill that are extremely wide. When you look at the treatment of inmates and the control of inmates and the variety of programs that can be involved, I think it’s exceedingly difficult to be more specific.
Mr. Makarchuk: Has he started all over again?
Mr. Roy: I think the approach that we’re going to take is to view very closely, very objectively, how these programs are working; hopefully we’ll learn from experience and amendments will not be necessary.
Mr. Foulds: Is there a tomorrow? Darn it, there is.
Mr. Roy: Having made these comments, these last comments -- Isn’t the minister going to respond? -- Having made these comments --
Hon. Mr. McCague: You rest your case.
Mr. Roy: -- we of course, as my colleague the critic has said, shall vote in favour of this legislation.
Mr. Bradley: Where did they have supper?
Mr. M. Davidson: First of all, I’d like to say that the statements made by the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) more or less echo the feelings of the members of this caucus.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That doesn’t happen very often.
Mr. M. Davidson: I would, in fact, like to congratulate the minister, if I may, for bringing forward what perhaps is one of the most progressive bills introduced by his government since I’ve had the opportunity to sit in this Legislature.
Mr. Bounsall: However.
Mr. M. Davidson: I find it rather unfortunate to think that the Liberal critic made such an eloquent presentation of his party’s position and the latest speaker, the member for Ottawa East, found it necessary to stand up and belittle a bill that deals with human beings, and one which I take very seriously.
If he chose to practise his lawyer’s technique, he perhaps should have done it in front of a mirror, and if he wanted to use his ability as a legislator and discuss a bill that in fact deals with human lives and human beings, he perhaps should have played that role.
An hon. member: Right on, right on.
Mr. M. Davidson: In fact he played the part of a court jester, I would suspect, to enliven what he considered to be a very dull legislative debate.
Mr. Roy: If we gave you a mirror you would fall asleep.
Mr. M. Davidson: Unfortunately, I did not find that very entertaining. I would just like to say this is the kind of legislation that should have been introduced into the Ministry of Correctional Services a good number of years ago. Perhaps one of the reasons it is being introduced now is because of the debate that took place in the estimates last fall in which the Liberal critic and myself, as critic of Correctional Services at that time, had the opportunity to express to the minister our parties’ views on the very issues that appear in this bill. Perhaps it is because we expressed our concern on some of the issues that we debated at that time that the minister is able to come out with the kind of bill that we have before us today.
I congratulate the minister and the ministry for bringing forward this type of legislation.
I am sure the Liberal critic and I fully understand that there may be flaws in this legislation. No doubt there will be, because it is a progressive piece of legislation and the kinds of programs it is putting before us are the kinds of things that have never been attempted in this province before.
If all parties sit down and work together, we can iron out any difficulties that may come before us over the next period of years and see that the kind of programs and legislation we have before us will in fact become the model for the rest of Canada in how to deal with those incarcerated or sentenced before our courts.
I know the minister does not like to hear this said of him, but one of the things it does is bring some humanity into the system of corrections within the province of Ontario. Although the minister does not consider himself to be a humanitarian and simply feels he is doing what he considers to be the proper thing, there are those outside who look upon this as a humanitarian issue and who congratulate him for the effort he and his ministry have put into the development of this legislation.
In response to the member for Ottawa East, I don’t know why he would reflect on the 20-foot wall, because I am quite certain he doesn’t even know where it is.
I do know where it is. I know why it was built. I know the purpose for which it is there. I know who built it. I know all of the consultation that took place prior to that. It is dead-centre in the middle of my riding.
It is a rather sad situation when you try to divide the kind of a program before us here by talking about a 20-foot wall between the inmates and the community. It may surprise the member for Ottawa East to learn that the inmates who built that wall built it from the outside, not the inside. They were not divided from the community in their efforts to put up that wall.
One of the things that does concern me, however, and I have discussed this with the minister previously, is putting inmates to work outside correctional institutions doing various jobs. On several occasions in the past the minister has assured us that this would not in any way, shape or form take away from work that would normally be done by persons employed in that type of work; nor would it normally be done within communities where money was available to carry out that kind of work.
I would like to point out again to the minister the system that exists in the Guelph institution where you do have people who do go outside the institution, work in an organized factory and get paid the wages being paid through a negotiated agreement.
I would like to remind some of the other people in this Legislature who might not be aware that these people are paying a certain portion of their wages back to the institution as what one would normally call room and board, a portion of that money is being sent to help maintain their families and another portion is being kept in trust until such time as they are released and they have moneys available so that they can go out and search for work within the community without having to go on the welfare rolls and without having to seek alternative methods of providing for their families.
I would like to suggest to the minister that perhaps this is the kind of program that he should be looking to expand on, because I think it is proper and right that we should allow people to continue in their work area: We should allow people to get equal value for equal pay for the work which they are doing. I also feel that it is right that they should be paying back to society some of what they have taken away.
But here we have a situation where people who have committed some kind of injustice to society are incarcerated but they are allowed to work, they are paying room and board within a public institution, they are supporting or partially supporting their families and they are setting money aside for their return to society. I see nothing wrong with that. I would ask the minister to try to expand upon that form of program, because I think that in itself is far more beneficial than some of the other things we may get out of putting people to work outside.
Those are the few comments I have to make on the bill. Once again, I would like to congratulate the minister for this bill. As I say, we may find later on that we will have to make amendments to it, and I am quite sure that we can but, for God’s sake, at least we have started in the direction of dealing with people in correctional institutions on a humanitarian basis, and it’s about time this was started.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Simcoe Centre.
Mr. Samis: Thirty seconds.
Mr. G. Taylor: Thirty seconds? On a bill such as this, my friend would allow us only 30 seconds to speak? My heavens, the NDP has changed its policy completely.
Mr. McClellan: As long as you are not opposed to the bill, you can talk.
Mr. Makarchuk: You can talk for ever as long as you are relevant.
Mr. Bradley: For all the speeches you’ve made, George, you should be a parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Eakins: Thank you very much for the fine speech.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. G. Taylor: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As have other members in this Legislature this evening, may I give plaudits and accolades to the minister for bringing forth this piece of legislation.
Mr. Roy: It’s a good night, eh, Frank?
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s “Frank Drea for Premier” night.
Mr. Breaugh: You can have this and you can have that.
Mr. G. Taylor: We don’t often get pieces of legislation brought forth after the event. The minister has been putting these programs into position, making them available to the public and making these individuals worthwhile citizens in the community they may re-enter. Here we have legislation after the fact, which may be a new and forthcoming revolutionary plan for this legislative process.
Mr. Makarchuk: How can you utter the words “revolutionary”?
Mr. G. Taylor: When we see some of the programs he has instituted and put forwards these people have assisted the community; particularly in my riding and more particularly in my home community of Barrie, they have assisted greatly in the programs of that municipality. They have been received well. The different service organizations in the community have got behind the minister’s programs; they have had him up to speak. They have got involved in the group home aspect, and there will be one in the very near future in the community of Barrie to assist the Correctional Services program.
There has been extreme co-operation between the people in the community and the minister in this program. Without that cooperation and without seeing what has taken place as a very practical situation, they have put people in the community, they have worked in the community, they have done jobs that other individuals would not do in our community. Because of many other programs that are in effect, we can’t get those people to do the jobs. These individuals, the inmates in these institutions, will do these programs and are pleased to do them; it gives them far more of a spirit of community and it has given them an opportunity they have not had before in their home upbringing, in their environment and in many other areas. They have had this opportunity made available to them to see what might be called good honest work is and the opportunity to work with some supervision, some of them with slight supervision. I think the program instituted by the minister will see greater rewards in the future.
When we look at some of the other features of this bill that have been put forward, we have learned that he has looked at his program, at his correctional institutions, and at what is needed in these institutions and has put together a piece of legislation that will put those programs into place. The eliminating of indeterminate sentences and statutory remissions, that has been a program that has been under heavy criticism by the bench, by the bar, by the public.
Mr. Bradley: And by the federal Tories.
Mr. G. Taylor: It is one where you see somebody sentenced and very quickly he is out. Maybe now the judge, without sitting there with a calculator to find out what he is really sentencing the individual to when sentences are necessary, will be able to see precisely what the individual is getting. There will be an earned remission of sentence rather than this “let’s cut off a bit because the statute says so, and he gets 25 per cent whether he’s good, bad or indifferent.”
We now have a very precise and logical piece of legislation by the minister who has put a great deal of logic and common sense into penal institutions and a correctional program. He has brought this in, as well as another portion of the bill that comes forward with that logic and preciseness which this minister is able to put forward --
Mr. Bradley: He won’t be able to buy a hat if you keep that up.
Mr. Foulds: The minister has many admirable qualities.
Mr. G. Taylor: Let’s look at another one about the administrative separation of probation services into adult and youth services. Here again we have a situation where he has recognized the problems and he is segregating those problems; those individuals will now receive the attention that they need as individuals, as human beings, as persons who may need assistance. That is what he is offering forth to them.
I’m sure that he will come to the realization -- he has it under explanatory note 14 where we have the probation officer who faces difficulty in following the court directions, and I’ve read over that section 42(2) -- there may be some difficulty and before it gets raised as an amendment later on he might give some consideration there so that it will not become too much of an administrative procedure where the probation officer is back before the court at every opportunity.
Possibly there will not be too much of a break in that solicitor-client relationship -- not that we always need it as lawyers but we should make sure that break does not take place too frequently. Where the solicitor has put forward a position on behalf of the accused which has a great deal to do with the sentence of that accused, he should ensure that isn’t changed too greatly by an administrative probationary officer.
Perhaps he would give that section some precise consideration before it gets to the committee stage so that he can make the amendments or possible suggestions for amendments so that it will not become a totally probation officer-inmate situation. For example, the repeated attendances before the judge, will that be in a chamber situation or will that be in open court where the sentence was originally given out? I’m sure those are considerations he will be giving to this bill as it passes through the legislative process of this House.
I bring to this the happy and good comments out of my own community as to the compassion and the work the minister has put into Correctional Services since he has taken over that ministership. I’m sure if his record is as good in the long run as it has been in the short run, we might not have as many people in those jails on repeat performances and the whole community will be better served by Correctional Services in the province.
Mr. Bradley: How can you be so reasonable and sit on that side?
Mr. McClellan: I’m pleased, too, to join in support of the bill. We have argued for a long time, on this side, across the social development policy field, that we need to move away from institutional incarceration and towards the kinds of alternatives that I think are contained within the legislation before us tonight.
I will say, without wanting to become sickening in a chorus of accolades which may well go to the minister’s head, that he is the one minister in that cabinet who seems to understand the concept of moving away from institutional incarceration and coming to grips with it in terms of real programs. He is deserving of our applause for that and our encouragement and support, and he will have it, Mr. Speaker.
I think I can offer some advice to the minister. I hope it will be received in the spirit in which it is given and that spirit is a desire to see the program of rehabilitation through work in the community succeed. That hope is shared in all three parties in this House. The minister, if I may say, got off to a bit of a bad start when he talked about his program in terms of Georgia-style chain gangs. That was unfortunate. Perhaps the minister realizes it was unfortunate because it gave a bad impression; and even worse, it gave an inaccurate connotation to what the minister intends to do and seems in fact to be doing.
We have followed the progress of his experiment very closely, and as my colleague the member for Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson) indicated, we are assured so far that he is proceeding with a good deal of sensitivity. But I want to stress the point that the member for Cambridge made that the rehabilitation program using work for inmates needs to be based on two principles. One he has clearly established and articulated, and begun to implement, and that is restitution through work; but the second of those principles, which is equally important, is that there be decent pay for work. The member for Cambridge indicated how we might structure a decent pay concept for work rehabilitation. It’s an enormously important principle that needs to be enshrined in the program if the program is to succeed. If this program is to succeed, there must be not the slightest hint of exploited labour, not the slightest illusion of the traditional bogeyman of the convict slave labour gang or the chain gang or the cheap labour gang or anything like that.
I don’t believe the minister intends that to be the model of his program at all, but it needs to be said and it needs to be acted upon by the ministry. There must be no undercutting of wages in the program; I believe if the principle of decent pay for work, even convict work, even inmate work, is developed along the lines my colleague from Cambridge suggested or along other lines which the ministry or others may be able to develop themselves, there will be no opposition from us. There will be no opposition from organized labour. There will be cooperation because the program poses no threat to the income security of working people. I have every confidence that this kind of a program can work because it works very well in European jurisdictions. We have always viewed with a certain amount of amazed bewilderment how it is that some of the Scandinavian countries are able to operate their societies with a fraction of the institutional incarceration we seem to require in this country. I guess we can say we’re starting to move away from that and that this legislation and the program of the ministry are a very good start.
I hope the minister will respond to the suggestion made by my colleague from Cambridge and give us some indication of his own thoughts on the issue of a decent remuneration for work.
Hon. Mr. Drea: A number of speakers have alluded to something, but I think I should set it out very clearly. The prime function of this bill is not only to begin but to implement selective deinstitutionalization of incarceration institutions in the province. That is a fancy way of saying that we want jail -- and by jail I mean the local jail as well as the detention centre and the correctional centre or any definition you want -- to return to its prime purpose. Its prime purpose is to house only the dangerous.
It is not to be a place of rehabilitation, it’s not to be a place of reform, it’s not to be a place of punishment; very bluntly and very simply, jail is to protect you, and by that I mean society, from people who are either dangerous to citizens on the streets or dangerous to themselves. Somewhere along the way the spinoffs, which are reform or rehabilitation or certain attempts at motivation, have been so intimately connected with the institution that jail has become quite totally, up until now, the alpha and the omega of any attempt to correct.
Jail is probably the worst place to try to correct or to motivate anybody. That is why throughout the four parts, and the regulatory part, which is part V of this bill, we are going to great lengths to clarify and to limit ministerial discretion.
We have had CRCs for a good number of years. It was at ministerial discretion as to what type of contract would be signed with the private social agency, what the program would be and so on. It was all within the confines of ministerial discretion. Since I had previously, or will have up until the passage of this bill, certain rights to introduce programs which would be beneficial to inmates, we took advantage of that very wide and that very broad scope to begin the funding of community resource centres. Now, as members will notice, we have stated things very specifically, or as specifically as we really can state, because we are in the process of changing the scope of the CRC enormously. A year from now or 18 months from now we will regard as very primitive the type of CRC we have now. I’m talking about the structure of it and the scope of what it’s trying to do.
Throughout this in every area, not just the CRCs but in the outside work, we’ve specifically put it into the act to avoid something I don’t like, which is a great deal of ministerial discretion. There’s no question that under a ministry act today in a complex field, not only for me in this but for my colleagues in cabinet, ministers have to have an amount of discretion. Otherwise they cannot function on a day-to-day basis.
In this ministry there is a total onus upon the minister for total human behaviour far beyond the dimensions of any other ministry. We literally tell people what time to get up, what they’re going to eat, what they’re going to wear, what they’re going to do and how they’re going to talk. We do that for a prolonged period of time in two directions. We literally run a glorified boarding house for the court when the person is a remand inmate, which is a very difficult period because he’s in there on a warrant from the court and we can’t even let them out the front door for any reason without going back to court. Secondly, there is the sentenced inmate.
When you have that type of onus for the totality of human behaviour, then I don’t think there should be any more ministerial discretion or any more discretion of the minister than is necessary to provide the ability to cope on a day-to-day basis; to be flexible in approach to the variables of the human condition, and also to the variations of regional geography, regional attitudes and to the variety of languages in many parts of the province. I think that we have done this.
Specifically, I would like to give great credit to the federal government, because without Bill C-51 in the House of Commons, without the enabling legislation there, we would not have been able to bring forward many of the concepts expressed in this bill, not the least of which is earned remission. As the honourable members know, in this ministry I have to operate within the framework of federal legislation almost as a municipality operates within the framework of provincial legislation. I do not have to go as far as the federal legislation allows, but I can go no further.
On July 1 there will be simultaneous proclamation across 10 provinces and by the federal government of the system of earned remission throughout Canada. That was made possible, as was the exchange, by Bill C-51. There’s no question that from time to time, because federal institutions don’t have the flexibility that we do to move people around, we have boarded federal prisoners. By and large, that was because they were waiting as crown witnesses in certain events elsewhere. This legislation will provide for an orderly exchange.
Quite frankly, it’s not going to be much of an exchange, because the inmates are all coming one way. They’re coming out of the federal system into ours because they have no room to take any of ours. The federal penal institutions are tremendously overcrowded and under very substantial pressure, particularly in the medium-security area in this province, as well as for females. While the House of Commons has authorized an exchange, really what they are authorizing is the movement of federal prisoners back into provincial institutions on a fee-for-service basis. It’s almost identical to the concept that we have of putting the provincial inmate into a CRC on a fee-for-service basis.
I may say there has been some concern about compassionate payments, but let me clarify this. Anybody -- inmate or officer -- who is injured in the course of criminal activity, that is, by riot, assault, what have you, comes before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. The compassionate allowances that we are talking about are purely within the area of the concept of workmen’s compensation -- a small “w” and a small “c.”
As a matter of fact, when an inmate is injured, whether it’s at recreation or at authorized work -- indeed it may very well be a combination of both where he is doing craft work or building something -- provided he is acting legally and is injured, the Workmen’s Compensation Board does the paperwork for us, they assess the injury. Remember, of course, that in terms of partial disability, the inmate is not receiving wages.
The concern was raised, “If it’s not permanent, why aren’t you into it while it’s only temporary?” Because in terms of a temporary disability, say a broken wrist, there are no wages to be paid as there would be out in the marketplace. There is no loss of income. It is only after that injury has ceased to be temporary, or the person has recovered, that there is an assessment by the Workmen’s Compensation Board as to whatever loss the inmate has suffered. At that time they tell us what they would have paid in terms of pension or in terms of a lump sum because most of these injuries are relatively minor -- I shouldn’t say relatively minor; relatively on the low end of what a permanent pension would be for an industrial worker. They then suggest an amount that is comparable to what they would pay and we go to Management Board and get it on that basis.
I should point this out too, Mr. Speaker. In terms of our outside work people, one of the reasons we have to have a correctional officer or somebody else around is not for security purposes. It is the fact that the person while digging or while walking or while painting or while doing a lot of things may injure himself. We want a report on it so the injury is properly diagnosed, properly treated and we can go through just as we would do as an employer, except in this case we have total responsibility for sentenced inmates; we have to come to an arrangement on this so it is purely civil.
As a matter of fact, there have been correctional officers who have been compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for injuries sustained by assaults coming from inmates. It seems to me that there have been inmates who, if they haven’t been compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for assaults upon themselves while under incarceration, the cases are still there and may yet be heard.
I would say that I have never heard the name “community relief centre.” There is a comparable federal program, although it is in after care, the community residential centre. That is a halfway house; it is for people on parole. I think it is just coincidence that the two of us happened to pick the same initials.
I do want to emphasize that the community resource centre, the CRC, is not a halfway house. It is for sentenced inmates. It is a jail. In terms of discipline it is under the direct control and under the direct operating authority of the superintendent of the institution to which it is attached. It may be separated physically, but it is none the less attached. The privileges and the responsibilities that go with a halfway house for ex-offenders is simply not present in a CRC, regardless of how flexible our program is in there.
I frankly am very, very concerned about the attitude of the courts towards escape. We have had some disastrous results in the courts where they have taken the position that unless there are walls and wire -- in other words, in a minimum security institution -- even when they are around institutional property, where there are no tremendous obstacles to leaving, the courts consider it not an escape but consider it simply unlawfully at large, which is a very light offence. It is not a deterrent against escape. Certainly I agree that the public has to be reassured that there must be a deterrent.
These people may be minimum security inmates; there is no question about that. But, by the same token, there is an expense involved when one of them takes off. Nobody has taken off, but when one takes off it is a expense to the police. There is the question of another trial. There is a question of additional sentence and there is also the concern of some of the public that they just don’t want inmates running down the street. Usually the people who say this are in the wrong direction, but in any event we want to have a deterrent in there.
I may very well come back to this because I want it to be made a provincial offence. I want it to be made a provincial offence to escape from the work gang or the road gang, anything outside of the institution, because I think the public wants that. They want some assurance that there is a proper deterrent against the ease with which one can walk away, reinforcing the public’s attitude that this is a safe and a secure program. That is the basis upon which it operates. There are difficulties. No program I can devise, Mr. Speaker, unless it has the wholehearted support of the public is worth anything in coming to grips with the inmates’ behaviour problems or the problems of selective deinstitutionalization that affect us at this time.
It is very interesting that in part IV, which deals with probation, we are doing two things. Quite frankly, I don’t know why they haven’t been done before, because, when probation was taken out of the Attorney General’s ministry with the reorganization of government back in 1972, they forgot to change many of the clauses. The probation officer, unfortunately, remained an officer of the court. This made it extremely difficult for the probation officer to function in an independent ministry. He had been transferred out of being, in effect, an officer of the court; but notwithstanding the fact that he or she was in a ministry independent of the court, his authority still remained as an officer of the court.
Of course, all that is changed. He now becomes an agent of the ministry. I think this is very important. Up until now, the probation officer has been in a difficult area. On the one hand, the law said he was an officer of the court. On the other hand, because of his practical experience and the work he had to do, he had to be completely independent of the court.
I would point out to my friend the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) that the reason we want the right for the probation officer to go into court on a normal basis to vary a probation order is that, notwithstanding the fact that the probation orders come on the advice of or the plea of the solicitor, with the consent of the crown and with the thoughtfulness of the judiciary, the conditions occasionally are impossible.
If there has been a sudden change in a probationer’s physical situation or in his economic situation or some other things, at the moment we have to prevail upon a kindly crown to let us go back into the court and have the crown ask the bench for the right to vary the order. What we want in this is that, when there is a change in circumstances or the conditions of probation are simply impossible to fufil by the probationer, we can go into court, make an application and have it heard in chambers. Of course, this would be with the consent of the defence, and obviously would be brought to our attention by the particular probationer, because he or she would be the one who told us the order was impossible to comply with.
Rather than being an attempt to alter the sentence after sentencing had been done or to introduce a new type of appeal on sentence without going through the formalities of the court, this is an effort to have a viable probation system whereby, if circumstances change, the circumstances surrounding the actual reporting and so forth of the probationer can be changed legally and so as not to leave the probationer in the situation where his probation might very well be breached and he might face additional charges before the court.
I don’t know where the concept of the community service order was brought into the debate on this bill because we have nothing under our act to deal with the community service order in lieu of incarceration. We only begin to exercise authority after the gavel comes down and the sentence is imposed. It is quite true that when the community service order is imposed, then through our probation services -- it’s always through probation services, because it is basically a probation order -- we begin to operate.
I think it is noteworthy that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), under whose jurisdiction that is, is moving towards amendments that would make the community service order a third type of sentence, a real alternative that is not somehow linked together with probation. Certainly it would still have the probation deterrent in it against any default, but we would have an incarceration sentence; we would have a non-incarceration sentence, being probation under loose supervision in the community; and, finally, on an equal basis with the legislation that the Attorney General is seeking, on a straight third level, bringing it right up, not only as a valid sentence but also as an equal sentence with those two types of disposition, we would have the community service order. That is not within the ambit of our ministry. That is within the ambit of the provincial Attorney General and the federal Minister of Justice.
I am pleased that the question of parole was brought up, because, as you know, Mr. Speaker, on or about October 1 we will be assuming parole for all Ontario inmates. Once again, this is enabling legislation from the federal government and without it we would not have been able to go into this area.
The reason I mention this is there was a question from one of the members as to why certain things which were in the previous bill regarding females were not in there. It seemed to have been unisex.
That is because Bill C-51 will abolish the indeterminant sentence, which was applied to females particularly. We either assume parole or we don’t, but the indeterminant sentence which was our only authority for parole, has gone with the passage of Bill C-51. That then, is in conformity with the federal legislation.
In regard to the questions about section 12; the function of section 12 is to clarify this business about who you go after if something happens to you as a result of any program by the ministry. We don’t want to subject the correctional officer who is supervising outside the institution -- or indeed the parks people or recreation people some communities use to take over control themselves -- we don’t want them subject to any doubt, we want a very clear-cut procedure whereby the litigant will use the proceedings against the crown act. What we want, clearly and simply, is that you sue the crown. You don’t have to start the tortuous proceedings about who was the correctional officer on duty, who was the superintendent of the institution, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We want a clear cut route where, if there is an agreement between the ministry, that is the crown, and the person, that any loss or damage to the person will have rather quick service in the courts. Again, that is reflected by the fact that we are now outside the institution. When we were always inside the institution, this was a very rare problem.
I want to point out a couple of other things here. We now have 500 people going out daily to work gainfully through the temporary absence program we have had for some time.
They are working in competitive industries where the product is sold commercially. They are paid dollar for dollar, penny for penny, benefit for benefit the same as the people working beside them who are not inmates. They are in all kinds of plants and offices across this province and there is no question we want to expand it.
One of the difficulties in attracting new prison industries is the economy. But we have attracted prison industries such as the abattoir program at Guelph, which is under a union agreement. I am the only minister of the crown in this field in this country, and as far as I know in neighbouring jurisdictions in the United States, who has a union agreement. I have one with the Food and Allied Workers, and it has worked out well
We will be expanding our mattress operation at Mimico, where we make the new style mattresses that replace the ones guaranteed to asphyxiate within a little more than two minutes if they catch fire. We have concluded an arrangements with the federal penitentiary service where we will be making mattresses for them and they will be making lockers for us. These will be cash transactions between the two of us. The inmates at the mattress operation in Mimico are paid dollar for dollar, cent for cent, fringe for fringe, what they would be on the outside.
In addition, we are now working in northwestern Ontario because the Ministry of Natural Resources, even with the co-operation of Canada Manpower, even with the co-operation of social service departments and municipalities, even with the wholesale advertising of these jobs, cannot find people who will plant trees and work in reforestation projects this summer.
Last year we planted one million trees. We were paid for it. This year we will probably have to plant more. They will be paid dollar for dollar the wage that was advertised in the newspapers through Canada Manpower, et cetera. Once again, I suppose, it is stoop labour. Very few Canadians want to do it. We have convicts who will do it and who will do it well. This type of work will go to those who are on a sustained work program who have been working for nothing and have assumed their responsibilities.
With the farm labour program for the summer, once again they will be paid competitively because the product is sold and it would be very unfair for one farmer to have free labour and another farmer to have to pay.
They will pay the going rate, which will be supervised by the specialized people in Canada Manpower.
In terms of our overall work programs, I have said, I have put in writing, I have committed myself. I have met with the people from the Canadian Labour Congress; I have met with the president and secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour; I have met with virtually every union person that I know -- and I know a great many. We have said that we will not continue any job, even where there is an area of doubt that someone could lose his job. If there is any possible chance the benefit of doubt goes to the workers.
It would be ludicrous to me that we would, in furthering ministry programs, take away a man’s lob or a woman’s job when that man or woman have done nothing against the community, indeed have been assets. That is simply not fair, so we have taken the greatest precautions. I think the best precaution is that these programs are not operated out of the minister’s office but they are operated autonomously out of each and every institution. The local group has to meet our local superintendent and knows full well the area problems and so forth and can make the decision.
I will tell you that we have rejected outright proposals that came to us, even with assurances that they were not going to take people’s jobs or erode job opportunities. We told them it was our feeling that it was simply too close to the line and that we thought it should be done by paid labour. We have done that and we have done it very consistently.
I want to make one thing plain to the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy). In no way, shape or form, at any time, have I ever referred to an inmate with the very derogatory comment of “boy.” That is what I objected to. I don’t mind using the first person. I use that when we have programs where there is an element of risk. I don’t expect the professionals in the ministry to have to assume risks that may jeopardize their careers because they have been ordered to by the minister, because we want to be innovative and imaginative.
But in no way, shape or form would I ever call an inmate “boy.” And if I ever caught anybody in the ministry using that very derogatory term towards an inmate, he or she would be fired as quickly as were the people in the Don Jail when certain events were brought to light. That was the particular point that I was trying to make at that time.
Mr. Roy: The minister referred to “my inmates.”
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, but there is a big difference between “my inmates” and “my boys.” “Boy” is a very, very -- it has some connotations which are very significant.
Mr. Epp: I think you are overplaying it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, it was raised to me and I objected at the time; and the member went on cavalierly again. So I am just drawing the member’s attention to it. If the member wants to make comments to me, he has a seat.
In conclusion, I would like to raise one final point --
Mr. Roy: You see that you go by the rules of the House.
Hon. Mr. Drea: There was the point that with the tort provisions under section 12 it might be an encouragement for officers to be cavalier. If an officer was cavalier and it resulted in damage; first of all, as the crown, we would be prepared to pay for the damage, but we have adequate internal discipline that would be a deterrent against the correctional officer being negligent in his job or allowing something to happen to somebody in the community because he did not take precautions and so forth. So I think quite frankly that is covered.
That ends the comments I want to make, except I would leave with the honourable members the fact that I want to take another look at that section regarding escape by people working on projects outside the institution. I think there has to be an additional deterrent so that there is no mistaking the fact that this is not being unlawfully at large, which is just AWOL, being a little late coming back from a pass. It is a deliberate escape even though there are no fences or no walls.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could rise on a point of privilege in relation to a comment made by the minister. I want him to correct the record on --
Mr. Speaker: A legitimate point of privilege is in order at any time.
Mr. Roy: Yes, that is what I am trying to raise.
Mr. McClellan: This would be the first time, Albert.
Mr. Roy: There was some reference made to the minister, when I was making my comments. I said that he personalized the institution and the inmates. I don’t recall the exact words I may have used, but I may have referred to “my boys” or something. There certainly was no intention on my part to have any racist or derogatory connotation on it. I meant really that he’d referred to “my inmates,” “my institution,” and things of this nature; nothing racist or derogatory in any way.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa East had ulterior motives, but I just don’t like leaving those things in Hansard, which is widely distributed. There is no misunderstanding, I just want to make it absolutely certain that term simply isn’t used.
Mr. Foulds: Hansard is so widely read.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole.
CHILDREN’S PROBATION ACT
Hon. Mr. Norton moved second reading of Bill 95, An Act to provide Probation Services to Young Offenders.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would make some few brief remarks. I must say that following the preceding bill, I’m sure that mine will seem like a very humble little bill to be presenting to the House.
Mr. McClellan: It’s too bad it’s not as good.
Mr. Foulds: You’re a humble minister in comparison.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Always.
Mr. McClellan: You could learn something from corrections.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In a very general sense, I suppose, Mr. Speaker, that this is, in a way, a companion to the preceding bill in so far as it is to provide for the continuation and continuity of probation services to juveniles in the province in view of the fact that the preceding bill provides for the repeal of the Probation Act under which these services have been provided up to the present time.
The bill is not a major departure from the provisions of its predecessor, the Probation Act, but there are a number of specifics in which it does vary, including the fact that we are not re-enacting certain sections of the act which have become a little anachronistic as a result of changing circumstances and changing provisions in the public service in the province of Ontario; and also in terms of the fact that the Probation Act applied, of course, to both adults and juveniles.
Perhaps I could touch very briefly on those areas where there is some departure from the previous legislation. In section 2(2), and in section 3, there is a provision which I suspect might be construed by some -- they may not understand the full intent of it at this point -- as an effort in some way --
Mr. McClellan: That’s called contracting out.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- perhaps to reduce the civil service or to avoid the involvement of public employees on an ongoing basis in the provision of probation services. That, Mr. Speaker, is certainly one of the farthest things from our minds at this point.
Mr. McClellan: Abolish the thought, heaven forbid.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would like to explain briefly what the principle is that is reflected in those sections. First of all, section 3 provides that agreements can be entered into with persons who may not be employees of the ministry for the provision of specific services. The occasions on which that is required are not a great number of cases, but it is important in a ministry that is providing services in communities from one border of this province to another that we have this degree of flexibility.
If I could I will give just a couple of examples of circumstances under which it is essential, I think, that this kind of flexibility be provided.
In some of the more remote communities of the province -- and I think of situations such as perhaps on an Indian reservation in the northern part of Ontario which is removed from centres where we might have offices with probation officers readily available to provide supervision for young probationers -- in order to service the community, or service the individual in that community, it may be necessary for a probation officer to go in rather infrequently, perhaps on a monthly trip by air in order to reach the community. I believe it is to our advantage to have the flexibility if there is someone in that community who can, on an acting basis, provide ongoing supervision. This can be coupled with the designation that’s provided for in subsection 2 of section 2, because the person would be designated by the nearest office of our probation service to provide supervision perhaps on a monthly basis in that case. But there would be someone on site who would have an ongoing relationship as a supervisor with the juvenile in question.
Failure to have that kind of flexibility would create a situation where we might very well have less than adequate supervision of juveniles in remote areas. I think that’s not in the best interests of the young people of this province. Certainly if we wish to discharge our responsibilities in this ministry conscientiously it’s important that we be able to have some flexibility there.
Another example of the kind of situation where special services have to be purchased from time to time would be a hypothetical situation -- in fact I could perhaps give concrete situations very similar to this -- where a juvenile who is under probation order from court might require, rather than merely supervision, some family counselling services which would involve more than the juvenile himself, perhaps his whole family. The caseload in any given community might not be such that it would be possible for us to provide that service to the family from permanent and regular staff.
Where the need is there and it’s recognized, I think it’s important that we have the flexibility in specific cases to purchase that service -- for example, from a family counselling agency within the community -- and perhaps, in some of those cases, to make a designation so that one of the persons who would be working with the juvenile and the family could also act as the supervisor of the probationer. If that flexibility is not provided, once again it would I think seriously limit our capacity to respond to the specific needs of the probationer. I hope that we don’t ever fall into the situation where we are so rigidly restricted by the legislation that we cannot have that kind of flexibility to respond to the needs of the young people of this province.
The other sections of this act, Mr. Speaker, don’t really vary in principle substantially from the others. As was true in the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, we have also included -- for the same reasons as the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) explained to the Legislature -- the provision that the probation officer might apply for a variation of an order which has proved to be impractical or impossible to comply with. I don’t think I need elaborate further on the reason for that; I think the Minister of Correctional Services did that quite adequately.
I guess the only other significant change from the previous legislation --
Mr. McClellan: You’re very apologetic about this bill.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- is the description, if you wish, of the function of a probation officer. In that description we have attempted to emphasize the role of the probation officer as a helping professional who will provide guidance and advice, not only to a probationer but to the family of the probationer for the purpose of helping the probationer adjust to and benefit from participation in community life.
It’s our hope that the role of the probation officer will be seen more in the context of a helping professional than perhaps in the more legalistic and court-oriented role that has often been perceived in the past. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that many of our probation officers and most of our probation officers are fulfilling their role in conformity with this description at the present time, but it’s our desire to see that reflected in the change in the legislation as well.
I think those are all of the comments I have at this point. Perhaps I would have some further comments at the end.
Mr. Blundy: I’m pleased to speak on this bill, An Act to provide Probation Services to Young Offenders. In total, I agree with the bill and we will be supporting it, but there are several comments I would like to make.
First of all, I would like to touch on section 2(2). This particular subsection is giving some apprehension to some of those people who are now employed in the probation services under the Public Service Act. I believe the apprehension which they have suggested may very well have some foundation. Although the minister has made some comment on that particular section, I believe we ought to have greater elaboration from him in that respect.
I had made a note to question the minister regarding section 3 of the act. However, I believe that the suggested possibilities where an agreement may have to be made sounded very plausible and quite likely might be considered from time to time. I particularly agree with the suggestion made by the minister that perhaps some one of the social agencies within the municipality may be in a better position at times than even a probation officer in dealing with a youthful probationer and his family where there are certain circumstances. The explanation that was given by the minister in this case of section 3 does seem to answer the questions I had in mind in regard to section 3 of the act.
I am very pleased with the wording of the function of the probation officer. I think this is what I look for in a probation officer. As well as being what is ordinarily thought of as a probation officer, he has to be somewhat of a guidance counsellor and social service worker to be really effective. I’m quite taken with the description there of the functions of the probation officer.
However, I would like to mention at this time one thing with which I am concerned, that is, the current workload being experienced by many of the probation officers now involved, particularly with the youthful offender. I have been given to understand that the workload is such at times that they are not able to devote sufficient time, energy and direction to the probationer to ensure the success of the probationary period.
We have often seen here where programs are funded by the government and widely touted but often insufficiently funded. I’ve said in this House and I’ve said publicly that I don’t want the government of Ontario to be spending more of our tax dollars, but there are areas where one cannot prevent that. I believe this is one of those cases because it is so important to the future life and the future living of some of these youthful offenders.
I have been told by a friend who is a probation officer that the workload he is experiencing is making it very very difficult for him to participate fully and to be thusly successful in his probation services for the youthful offender. I would really like to try to impress upon the minister the need, the really true need, for sufficient funding for probationer services in Ontario.
There is the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; I think this is one of the first lines of defence that can be worked very successfully in dealing with young people, provided we have the right type of person and that he has sufficient time to devote to what is often a very time-consuming and difficult problem.
I would like to impress upon the minister that need in Ontario and with these views that I’ve expressed, I feel the bill otherwise is quite in order. I have no reservations about it except for section 2(2). I am afraid there may be some misunderstanding about that section among some of our present full-time probationary staff, and I would like to have it more definitively explained for their purposes.
With those few remarks I would like to say that we in the official opposition will support Bill 95. I hope the minister will be able to give me some further reassurances on the one or two points I have raised.
Mr. McClellan: I’m almost apologetic, but I’m afraid we’re not able to support this bill because we feel it really represents very bad law. I would prefer that the bill be withdrawn and brought back in a substantially amended form, a form which we could all support.
Let me try to set out my concerns about this bill. Firstly, the bill is made necessary because of the previous legislation, the act to revise the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, and because the two bills separate adult and juvenile probation services. The Minister of Community and Social Services could learn a lot, I think, from the Minister of Correctional Services, particularly with respect to the way one deals with labour when one is trying to bring about major organizational changes or major reforms in one’s program.
The Minister of Community and Social Services, if I may say, is doing an exceptionally bad job in dealing with his employees as he makes the transition from one mode of delivery to another. He’s doing as bad a job as the Minister of Correctional Services is doing a good job. This legislation before us, Bill 95, further exacerbates the difficulties that the minister is causing for his own employees through his insensitivity.
The original Probation Act, section 1(1) reads as follows: “Such probation officers as are considered necessary for the purposes of this act shall be appointed under the Public Service Act.” That is the only route under the original Probation Act for the appointment of probation officers. I note with interest that the bill we just finished discussing, Bill 85, from the Minister of Correctional Services, repeats the wording of the original Probation Act as follows, and I’ll read section 42(1) of Bill 85: “Such probation officers as are considered necessary for the purposes of this act shall be appointed under the Public Service Act.”
The Minister of Correctional Services understands that that is the route to go through to appoint probation officers. What has the Minister of Community and Social Services done? He has re-enacted section 1(1) of the original Probation Act in section 2(1) of his bill. Then he has added his little section 2(2) which reads as follows: “The minister may designate any person, other than a person who is appointed a probation officer under subsection 1, as a probation officer for the purposes of this act.”
In other words, the minister has taken to himself the power -- and as far as I can understand it, it becomes a virtually unlimited power -- to make his own appointments of probation officers. This has the effect of giving the minister quite an exceptional power to appoint probation officers who will not be eligible for civil service status by virtue of their appointment under section 2(2). It gives him virtually unlimited power to appoint probation officers on a contract basis.
I don’t think that is something that members in both opposition parties would want to see us go back to. I guess there aren’t any members here who have been in the House all that long.
Mr. M. Davidson: The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) knows what it is all about.
Mr. McClellan: I am talking about a long time ago, dating back to the days of Mr. Frost, who operated a one-man employment agency for his cronies. We have worked very hard, I would say collectively, in Ontario politics to move away from the notion of a public service appointed at the whim and discretion of the minister and beholden to the minister for their job security. We have worked very hard collectively over a long period of time to establish the principle of an independent civil service commission and an independent public service. That is a principle that is very important in this province.
We are not prepared to put into a bill -- anybody’s bill -- a section like section 2(2) which gives the minister a wholly new set of powers to appoint, apart from the regular procedures, under the Public Service Act. I understand that under the Public Service Act appointments can be made both to the public service and to the civil service. I fully understand the distinction, but I also understand the kind of innate checks and balances that are built into the operations of the Public Service Act. It is not easy for a minister to exercise his powers to appoint to the public service in rivalry to the right of the commission to appoint to the civil service.
This bill breaks that relationship down entirely. I think it would be abused to put it bluntly. I wasn’t impressed by the minister’s instances, I am afraid.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You never are.
Mr. McClellan: Rarely. Don’t be so negative. Occasionally I am impressed. Someday I will tell him when.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Except with yourself.
Mr. Foulds: If the minister should last that long.
Mr. McClellan: I wasn’t impressed with the instances given here tonight by the minister with the member for York East (Mr. Elgie) breathing down his neck.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am healthier this week than last.
Mr. Warner: The cabinet room has a revolving door on it.
Mr. McClellan: The instances that the minister gave were the cases of isolated native communities. I have to say to the minister thanks but no thanks. The native communities are not entitled to the kind of second-class career status that contract probation services represent. If there are needs for probation services, let us provide probation services to isolated communities and to special need communities, but let us provide it on a position of equal status. These are not insubstantial concerns.
People, even in isolated areas, in remote areas and in special need communities, are entitled to be accorded eligibility into the helping professions, not on a contract, ad hoc appointment basis, but on a career basis -- on the basis of stability, on the basis of full job protection, job security, civil service status and the opportunity to move through and upward in a professional career. I’ve had enough experience in my own career to be very leery of these kinds of proposals, the kinds of instances given by way of supporting the need for section 2(2).
Hon. Mr. Norton: What about the second example?
Mr. McClellan: I can’t remember the second example.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The family service agency. You don’t like family service agencies?
Mr. McClellan: Again, I’m very uneasy about the intentions of the ministry.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Just trust us. You distrust us?
Mr. McClellan: You may say that. You may well distrust, Mr. House Leader.
Mr. Foulds: Is that a flamboyantly dressed page walking along making a noise?
Mr. McClellan: Based on past experience.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I said “just trust us.”
Mr. McClellan: You can’t heckle from that seat.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. McClellan: The House leader is heckling from an illegal position.
The recent hiring freeze which the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has reimposed -- hiring freezes seem to strike particularly severely at the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I have no idea why that is.
Mr. Warner: Does Darcy hate you?
Mr. McClellan: The recent hiring freeze has, I suppose, made the use of contract positions more attractive to the minister.
Mr. Warner: Darcy doesn’t like you.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Equity.
Mr. McClellan: I’m not interested in the kinds of games the minister has to play vis-à-vis the Treasurer to protect the integrity of his programs. Let him speak in cabinet for funding to provide adequate services and not try to run around through the back door through the use of contract positions.
Mr. Warner: Get tough with Darcy.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Too bad you can’t eavesdrop. Wouldn’t you love to?
Mr. Warner: Maybe we are.
Mr. McClellan: I am not reassured through the second example that the ministry gave with respect to contracting out. Perhaps the minister can elaborate more fully on that, but I have expressed numerous times in estimates and other debates concerns about the issue of limited responsibility and diffused accountability within the social service system. I don’t see any particular advantage in extending the principle of limited responsibility or further diffusing lines of accountability at this point in time before structures which can establish a new kind of coherent accountability are in place.
We still have the same old shambles that we had before the minister launched us all into the brave new world of social service reform. This is only the second miserable little piece of legislation that’s been forthcoming. All of the major legislation is still locked away in the infinite recesses of the minister’s task forces, and God knows when they’ll be emerging.
I’m not prepared to fool around with the measures like section 2(2) or section 3 until we have some sense that this ministry has a coherent notion of where it’s going and we have some evidence that they have the capacity to initiate reforms -- capacity which is reflected not in rhetoric or promises or five-year plans, activity that is not simply in the nature of green papers, white papers, task force reports which seem to extend into infinity --
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is especially confusing when you are colour-blind, isn’t it?
Mr. McClellan: Indeed it is. The reality is that, unlike the Minister for Correctional Services, this minister has yet to produce anything.
Mr. Foulds: Even the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) has produced more than this minister has.
Ms. Gigantes: Wonder of wonders!
Mr. Foulds: That took a lot of us by surprise, mind you.
Mr. McClellan: I certainly wouldn’t be as cruel as that Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Foulds: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I withdraw the remark.
Mr. McClellan: Thank you.
We are simply not prepared to support legislation that undermines the stability and the career status, which I think is very important, of probation workers in this province. We are not going to give the minister that power and we are going to oppose the bill on second reading. Should it pass, we will move amendments in committee to try to have the offending sections removed.
Mr. Makarchuk: If that doesn’t succeed, we will remove the minister.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, my remarks at this point will be relatively brief. If I may, I will respond in the next few moments to some of the points raised by the honourable members opposite.
The member for Sarnia expressed concern about the principle that might be reflected in section 2(2). I would suggest that the two sections, section 2(2) and section 3, should be read together in that in the kinds of circumstances I obviously didn’t explore exhaustively, but used as examples, where it is necessary to engage in the purchase of a service, whether from a family service agency in a community or to make special arrangements in remote areas where, in spite of what the member for Bellwoods said, if you have a community with one or two probationers, it does not necessarily make sense to have on site, on an ongoing basis, a full-time staff person. However, under the supervision of a full-time staff person, one might well have an individual with perhaps a fair degree of professional competence who is in the community doing another task and who would be willing also to assume responsibility as a probation officer in a limited number of cases.
The provisions of section 2(2) are intended, I suggest, to provide that in those situations where there is an agreement for service, the individual may be designated as a probation officer; so the provisions respecting probation officers under the Juvenile Delinquents Act, which is federal legislation, would apply; so the responsibilities and the protections afforded a probation officer in the discharge of his or her duties would apply; and so the controls and supervision that would be afforded to a probation officer would also apply.
In fact, if one views those two sections as companion pieces, I think one can see that section 2(2) is a necessary one if there are circumstances in which the purchase of services is necessary.
I really don’t want to get into a discussion with the member for Bellwoods about the alleged labour problems. I would only point out that in the specific instances that I know of, alleged labour problems have not originated among the direct employees of the ministry but have, in at least a couple of cases that I am well aware of, resulted only after action by certain officials of the union apparently to thwart what are really quite publicly well-accepted policies of the ministry.
Mr. McClellan: This is precisely the kind of silliness I am talking about.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Some of the public statements that have been made have not really been very helpful. I have not engaged in that kind of communication nor do I intend to start debating on that basis --
Mr. Warner: What are you talking about?
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- with the individuals who have been making those statements.
With respect to the concern of the member for Bellwoods that the provisions in this legislation are not the same as the provisions with respect to probation officers in the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, I suggest he bear in mind that we are not dealing with the same situation at all. We are dealing here with children in communities across this province where the degree of mobility that may exist with adults is not necessarily the case. These young people may well, in most cases, be remaining with their families -- in some cases in very remote communities. All I am suggesting is that we really must have flexibility.
I am not really convinced that the member for Bellwoods is enthusiastically and personally behind the words or the arguments that he put forward in the House. Nor did I sense a great deal of sincere enthusiasm on the part of his caucus in response to his remarks. I can understand why he may see it as necessary to put forth that point of view. It is a legitimate one and I am not being critical of it. I think it is something that should be discussed when legislation like this is before the House, in order to elicit an explanation of why certain provisions are in the legislation. But I know the member for Bellwoods too well --
Mr. Grande: What are you saying Keith?
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- to believe that he really would feel there should not be flexibility in the capacity of my ministry to respond to the needs of the young people in this province.
Mr. McClellan: May I have a word on this?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The honourable member has had his word. Is this a point of personal privilege?
Mr. McClellan: A very brief point of personal privilege.
Mr. Speaker: What is the point of privilege?
Mr. McClellan: The point of privilege is that the minister is dead wrong when he says or suggests that I am not being sincere.
Mr. Speaker: That is not an infringement on your privileges at all.
Mr. McClellan: I have made the point, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Norton: If it makes the honourable member feel any better, Mr. Speaker, I would point out to him that I did not say he was not sincere. I said that I did not sense -- and that is a personal, subjective --
Mr. Roy: You are entitled to that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- I really did not. Very often I do sense a great deal of sincerity but somehow I did not sense that he was wholeheartedly behind the argument that he was putting forward tonight --
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I draw your attention to rule 16 (a), clause 9. “The Speaker shall call to order a member who imputes false or unavowed motives to another member.” I submit that is what the minister has done with the member for Bellwoods.
Mr. Ashe: He didn’t call him --
Hon. Mr. Norton: I clearly did not, as I have said now twice. All I said was that I personally did not sense there was a degree of sincerity I normally identify.
Mr. McClellan: You obviously misunderstood what I said --
Mr. Foulds: That is imputation. Do you know the definition of “impute”?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The fact that my senses may respond in an unusual way to the member for Bellwoods --
Mr. Foulds: You are as muddled about this as --
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- has nothing to do with his privileges, I can assure you. I know the member for Bellwoods not to be such --
Mr. Speaker: I submit that the point raised by the member for Port Arthur is not a point that is well taken. It was just an interruption. There is nothing out of order.
Mr. Foulds: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: There is nothing out of order.
Mr. Foulds: Could you tell me how you would interpret “unfounded motive”?
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. I said your point of order was not well taken. You can challenge that if you wish. The member for Kingston and the Islands.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly was not questioning the --
Mr. Lupusella: On a point of privilege, I don’t think the minister is speaking to the principle of the bill. He is out of order in his remarks.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member may continue.
Hon. Mr. Norton: If I may continue to respond to the points that were made by the member for Bellwoods, I’m sure his mental set is not so rigid as to suggest that --
Mr. McClellan: You have the ability under the Community and Social Services Act to do whatever you want to do. You don’t have to mess up your legislation here.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I may have a more favourable impression of the member for Bellwoods than he would like to think I have, but at the same time I would point out that I don’t think he has such a rigid mental set that he would deny flexibility in responding to the needs of the children of this province.
Mr. McClellan: That is not what the bill does, and the minister knows it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In fact, I think that under other circumstances he might well criticize my ministry, if the situation suited him, for lack of flexibility in many circumstances. Sometimes I would agree with him in terms of the way the ministry has been structured in the past.
Mr. Lupusella: You are out of order again.
Hon. Mr. Norton: But I implore him to support flexibility in meeting the needs of young people in the province of Ontario. I recognize the need that he has to put forward the argument he has put forward tonight, and I recognize the need that he has and his caucus have to go through the procedure of attempting to --
Mr. Foulds: You are attributing unfounded motives.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, not at all. I am just recognizing that the members opposite have a right to go through the procedure of proposing amendments. But I do hope they will recognize that we must have flexibility in order to do the task that has been assigned us by this Legislature and with which we’ve been charged by the people of the province of Ontario.
Mr. Warner: You’re making a mistake. You should withdraw the legislation.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m sure that given a little time to think about it, the honourable members opposite will realize the necessity for this -- the fact that the lack of that kind of flexibility may well deny some children in the province the service we really do wish to provide and we have a responsibility to provide.
Mr. McClellan: You have the flexibility under section 4(2) of the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act and you know it.
Mr. Warner: Withdraw or resign, one or the other. Withdraw the bill or resign.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I respect the honourable members opposite for doing what they see they must do.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable minister is becoming repetitious. He has said that three times.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I shall cease to be repetitious and, in fact, cease to speak.
Mr. Makarchuk: He is so flexible he doesn’t even finish.
The House divided on the motion by Hon. Mr. Norton for second reading of Bill 95, which was approved on the following vote:
Miller, G. I.
Smith, G. E.
Taylor, J. A.
Yakabuski -- 48.
Ziemba -- 23.
Ayes 48; nays 23.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:36 p.m.