The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
DEATH OF CARL E. BRANNAN
Hon. Mr. Welch: I know that members of the Legislature will join with me in expressions of sympathy on the sudden death of Carl E. Brannan.
In 1961, Mr. Brannan joined the staff of the Treasury Board of Ontario as assistant secretary and in 1963 was promoted to full secretary. In May 1971, he was appointed to the position of secretary of the cabinet. In this capacity, he also served as chairman of the committee of advisers to the policy and priorities board of cabinet.
On November 26, 1973, Mr. Brannan was appointed as Deputy Solicitor General and in May 1974 he was named Deputy Provincial Secretary for Justice. He was a continuing member of the committee of advisers to the policy and priorities board and was a member of the advisory committees to the Premier (Mr. Davis) on senior public service appointments and compensation.
I am sure we would all want members of the family to note our most sincere regret at this particular time.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Members will recall that on May 23 I announced my intention to advise the House on progress being made with respect to the ultimate disposal of radioactive waste. At that time, I expressed the hope that this would be done jointly with the federal Ministry for Energy, Mines and Resources since this is a matter which is the primary responsibility of the federal government and involves establishment of a national policy.
I am, therefore, pleased we are able to make this statement jointly with my federal counterpart today. My comments this afternoon are the result of discussions among my ministry, the federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ontario Hydro and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited over the past several years.
The Ontario and federal governments and their respective agencies feel it is important to establish this policy at this time because of the growing public recognition that vigorous efforts should be made immediately to develop a permanent, safe disposal system for radioactive waste materials. This is all the more essential in view of the increasing importance and use of nuclear generating stations in Canada and particularly in Ontario. Such a permanent disposal system is important, irrespective of what decisions are taken in the near or distant future about the growth and use of nuclear power in Ontario.
We have in operation or under construction in this province more than 13,000 megawatts of nuclear power. A safe, satisfactory, and rational solution to the long-term disposal of the waste from these stations must be developed within the next several years.
As highlighted by the Report to the Federal Government on the Management of Canada’s Nuclear Wastes by Dr. Kenneth Hare last year, this is a process which must begin in the near future. This statement and the discussions which led to it reflect a current need, as perceived by both the government of Canada and the government of Ontario, for an accelerated research and development program into the disposal of radioactive material arising from Canadian nuclear reactors.
The main elements of the joint program on radioactive waste management being announced today by myself and my federal counterpart, the Honourable Alastair Gillespie, are as follows: The federal and Ontario governments will work together on the first phase of a long-term program to assure the safe and permanent disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear power reactors.
Under this program, the government of Canada will undertake research and development in the immobilization and disposal of radioactive wastes, while the government of Ontario will similarly be responsible for studies on interim storage and transportation.
The immobilization research and development will be performed in the laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. It will cover theoretical and experimental studies for treating the residues from the reactor fuel cycle so as to produce stable insoluble products for eventual disposal in underground repositories.
The purpose of the disposal research and development is to verify that permanent disposal in a deep underground repository in intrusive igneous rock is a safe, secure and desirable method of disposing of radioactive waste. This will involve geological field parties collecting surface samples and examining other surface features in various parts of the province to determine the full range of chemical and physical properties of rock formations expected to be suitable for a waste disposal facility.
The two governments have agreed that field work should commence in Ontario in 1978. To develop appropriate test equipment procedures and information on a variety of rock types, experimental drilling will be conducted this year at the laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Further drilling of this type at mutually agreed to sites to depths of about 1,000 metres will be carried out at six to 10 other locations during the years 1979 and 1980.
The research and development studies are directed towards an evaluation of a series of barriers to prevent the release of radioactivity to the environment. An analysis will be made of their effectiveness, based upon information derived from the immobilization research and development and the geological studies described above. This information will be used to classify the 1,500 or more potentially suitable geological formations which are known to exist in Ontario.
This joint undertaking is not to be construed as a Canadian position on the question of the reprocessing of irradiated fuel. Canada’s position in respect of its fuel cycle development program will be reviewed following the completion of the international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation now under way.
The success of this program will depend on continuous close co-operation and consultation between the two governments and their agencies. Accordingly, there will be full consultation and prior agreement at each step of the process. This will be the responsibility of a co-ordination committee with an AECL chairman and representatives from Ontario Hydro, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Close co-operation and consultation will be maintained with the communities involved at all stages of the program. While AECL will take the lead, the government of Ontario, including Ontario Hydro, will provide support as appropriate in the public information activities.
A further agreement on a program leading to the selection and acquisition of a site and the subsequent demonstration of geological waste disposal will be concluded between the two governments as quickly as possible.
The tentative schedule being used for planning purposes is: 1978-80, geological survey work, experimental drilling and accelerated research and development; 1981-83, site selection for demonstration repository; 1983, site acquisition; 1985-2000, disposal demonstration; 2000 and beyond, full-scale facilities operational.
The program announced by the two ministers is a further step towards a national plan to deal with nuclear wastes as recommended by Dr. Hare.
In this long-term program, public health and environmental protection will be paramount. The Atomic Energy Control Board will be responsible for licensing the proposed facility. In so doing, the board will work closely with the appropriate federal and Ontario departments, ministries and agencies.
That concludes the main elements of the joint statement. In summary, I would like very briefly to emphasize the following points:
1. Ontario is pleased that the federal government is making a rational, well-thought-out start to the permanent safe disposal of radioactive materials.
Mr. Foulds: You can’t guarantee that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: 2. Prime responsibility for the program lies with the federal government. It assumed jurisdiction under the Atomic Energy Control Act in 1946 and continues to have prime responsibility.
3. Ontario has a vital interest in the success of this program, because 27 per cent of Ontario’s electricity in 1977 was being produced from nuclear plants. Ontario is supporting this federal initiative.
Mr. Foulds: Did you ever think of a different kind of program?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: 4. The government of Ontario has insisted that it be consulted at each step and that its prior approval be obtained for all activities leading to a site in Ontario. We want to avoid past unfortunate experiences such as occurred in Madoc and Ignace, when AECL did not advise properly or consult with the communities in advance of launching its programs.
5. The government of Ontario has made no commitment to wastes from other provinces being deposited in Ontario or to reprocessing.
6. It is a multi-year program. No irrevocable decisions have or will be made without full public discussion. The need for this program is based on the long-range needs of Ontario’s present nuclear program, not on any expansion.
7. There will be no selection of a site for at least two years. Work in the meantime will simply be rock squeezing, involving geological survey work, experimental drilling and accelerated research and development.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, apparently there has been some confusion in so far as the meetings of the standing general government committee are concerned as a result of Friday’s order paper. Perhaps, for purposes of clarification, we should indicate that it’s my understanding that the standing general government committee will meet not in camera -- and I underline, “not in camera” -- on Wednesday, June 7, starting at 10 a.m. and going into the evening, again on June 12 for the evening, and on June 14, starting at 10 a.m. No meetings of this committee are being held in camera, as announced.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to direct a question to the Minister of Energy, further to his statement. Could he tell the House what the capacity for the retention of used fuel is in our present facilities and, in that connection, whether the timetable that is more or less tacitly involved in this statement is rapid enough for the needs of our expanding atomic facility here in Ontario, since the first drilling will not take place for two years?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, the time framework is really from now until the year 2000, which is not all that long -- the year 2000 seems like an eternity away; it’s 22 years away --
Mr. Peterson: We will be here.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- but the time framework has been based on the knowledge that we have a good deal more time to store our waste fuel in the bays at the generating plants. We call it interim storage, but scientists tell us it could be stored there for an indefinite period of time. We obviously don’t want to accept that fact, but certainly it can be stored where it is now for well beyond the year 2000.
We have, in other words, room to expand in the highly, highly unlikely event that the concept we are trying to verify to this program should prove unworkable. I want to stress that this is really more than a hypothesis that we are working on. Scientists are calling it “verifying a concept” that has been developed, that has been looked at and studied here in Canada and in other countries with similar situations.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: I am concerned that the drilling that is going to take place on an experimental basis at the laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is going to be accompanied by indepth work in six to 10 locations. Can the minister indicate where those locations might be, since it appears on page five -- and I quote from his statement -- “The government of Ontario will provide support as appropriate in the public information activities”? Where is the drilling going to take place?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is at this point impossible to say where the six or eight or 10 sites of intensive drilling will take place. As far as we have indicated in the statement here and in covering materials, there are at the present time about 1,600 possible locations that are known to contain the kind of igneous rock that might be suitable for this purpose. Over the next three years they will begin to reduce the potential number of sites to a point of six to 10 and at that time certainly a good deal of work with the communities as well as with the geological rock formation will take place. In other words, the decision as to where to drill in the final six to 10 communities will not only be a scientific and geological decision, it will also be a social and economic decision.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Do I understand from the minister’s statement that as far as the federal and provincial governments are concerned, it is unlikely that we will know that there can be safe and permanent disposal of radioactive waste underground until around about the year 2000, that is about 22 years from now? If that is the case, can I ask the minster on what basis is Ontario Hydro going forward with further commitments to nuclear power stations without knowing whether or not safe, permanent disposal is a possibility?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I tried to indicate in response to an earlier question, this is the possibility of deep storage in a geological foundation. It is really more than a hypothesis, more than a hope or a wish or an assumption of the kind that scientists often take in any kind of experiment.
Mr. Warner: Is it guaranteed?
Hon. Me, Baetz: This is what the scientists call “the concept verification.” It is a concept that has been proven to be sound, in their minds at least.
Mr. Warner: It is not guaranteed.
Ms. Gigantes: Proven by whom?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are taking deliberate steps, one by one, over this time period to absolutely verify the concept. I suppose that if we were in a panic situation, which certainly we are not, we might say that we wished to reduce the time frame to two or three years --
Mr. Warner: As good as a HUDAC guarantee?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- but we do have time if we proceed now in a systematic, methodical manner. We have plenty of time to find a permanent solution to the disposal of our irradiated fuel.
Mr. J. Reed: When the minister is talking about this work being very little more than a confirmation of what he understands to have been proven in other jurisdictions, is he aware of geological survey circular 779, US Department of the Interior, entitled Geological Disposal of High Level Radioactive Wastes Earth Science Perspectives, dated 1978, which I think is probably the most current piece of information of its kind? This still expresses very profound concern about the ability of these techniques, as they are known at the present time, to permanently remove these highly toxic wastes from the biosphere. Is he aware of this circular and if he is not, will he take the trouble to study it thoroughly, because it indicates that --
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr. J. Reed: -- that a good deal more work is necessary?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I cannot claim to have read that particular document. What I have done is to listen to many of our outstanding scientists in this country with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited who are people whose judgement and knowledge we respect and must respect. After all, not all the wisdom is across the border. We happen to have some in this country as well.
Mr. Kerrio: We export it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is the responsibility of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and their scientists to tell us and prove to us in elected positions that their concept is sound.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s sloppy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That is what this exercise is all about.
Ms. Gigantes: You are sloppy.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Since there is some serious question about the appropriateness of what is being proposed, I wonder if the minister would consider referring the documents that he filed with us today, together with all of the other pertinent information, to the select committee that is constituted now to study the needs of Ontario Hydro and matters related to nuclear power in order that we could devote some time during this calendar year to pursuing this at the level of the members of the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I cannot fully accept the premise upon which that statement was based.
Mr. Deans: Ignore the premise.
Mr. Warner: Try answering the question.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: This is a highly doubtful kind of comment.
Mr. Deans: Ignore the premise.
Mr. Warner: The minister is highly doubtful, but let him answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The proposal, which was a proposal rather than a question, or phrased in the form of a question, as to whether this is something that might go to select committee directly along with documents is something I would like to take under advisement.
I am tabling in this session today supporting documents -- Canadian documents mainly -- that are relevant to this particular subject. On the matter of whether or not this should go directly to the select committee of this House, this is something I would like to take under advisement.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: As the minister is aware of the government’s position of making the polluter pay, in view of the fact that we have signed contracts to get the uranium taken out of the ground that are literally going to put millions of dollars into someone’s pocket, and in view of the fact that in his statement he has suggested that the province of Ontario, the government of Canada and Ontario Hydro are going to participate in putting nuclear waste in a safe place, is the minister going to find out if the suppliers that are going to make millions of dollars in supplying this uranium to us are going to participate?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t quite buy the assumption or the premises that there are polluters here.
Mr. Kerrio: This is pollution of the worst kind.
Mr. Foulds: Has the minister ever heard of tailings?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If the premise there is that it is the people in the uranium industry who are the polluters, to the extent that pollution is involved in nuclear energy and in the development of any form of energy I should remind all of us -- and I think we are all aware of this -- that the beneficiaries of nuclear energy are all of the people of Ontario. Twenty-seven per cent of the electric power that we saw here in the year 1977, which we all enjoyed, came from nuclear energy.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Roman starts to be the principal beneficiary. He is going to languish in the sun.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I certainly think it has been recognized that part of the cost of the concept verification work that will be carried out through this joint agreement will be carried by all of the people of Ontario -- a very small amount. But certainly Hydro also recognizes that the hydro consumer will also have to bear part of the costs.
Mr. Warner: Roman makes billions; the public pays.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: But there again, I can assure members it is a very small amount. If, for example, we were to say that the total cost of a kilowatt hour of hydro is 28 mills, the cost of doing the work and finding the repository for the permanent solution is 0.5 mills, which is about one fifty-sixth of all of the cost of nuclear energy production. So it is a very small amount.
Mr. Nixon: Put that in hundreds of millions of dollars, will you?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is a very small amount.
Mr. Kerrio: You’re going to buy the hole back, that’s what you’re going to do.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: I have a two-part question for the minister, arising out of his last answer. Do I understand correctly that the Ontario government, Ontario Hydro, the federal government and AECL are committed solely to disposal through burying of one kind or another, that they are looking at no other alternatives and that is the only thing they are examining? Secondly, is it not true that Ontario Hydro, in estimating that nuclear energy is the cheapest form of energy, have not included the costs of disposal, which we do not know, or the cost of decommissioning nuclear plants?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I’ve forgotten the first part of the member’s question.
Mr. Foulds: Are they committed only to burial of various kinds? The minister has a short memory.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Thank you. This particular joint agreement deals with the verification of the concepts which involve disposal in a deep geological foundation, namely granite or pluton or whatever you want to call it. That is this particular concept. I don’t know whether, in the course of the years, other methods of permanent disposal will be seriously studied. There are others available; for example, the West Germans are using salt mines to store it.
Mr. Foulds: That’s burial. That’s burial in the ground of various types.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It’s burial. Well, it’s essentially the same thing.
Ms. Gigantes: It hasn’t worked in the States. Sloppy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The question also referred to costs. Ontario Hydro recognizes that whatever costs are entailed in the eventual permanent, managed storage and disposal of irradiated fuel which they have produced, it is a fair and honest cost that should be charged to the hydro consumers.
Mr. Foulds: But they are not including it in their figures.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That cost, as I indicated very early on here today, is one fifty-sixth of the total cost of the Hydro bill.
Mr. Warner: That’s disgusting.
MEAT PACKING DISPUTE
Mr. Nixon: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Labour having to do with the news reports of the negotiations between Allied Packers, Swift’s and Canada Packers. Can she tell us what we might expect here, assuming that the news reports are correct and that the workers may very well not vote to accept the 12½ per cent offer and that if Swift’s is struck, Canada Packers is going to close down its facility and lock out the workers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the news report, to all intents and purposes, is correct. That’s precisely what has been agreed.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Is the minister going to be doing anything in preparation for, let’s say, the expectation -- we hope it won’t happen but perhaps it will -- that there will be a lengthy strike involving many thousands of workers and involving the meat packing industry? Is she going to wait until a strike occurs before she makes her services available, or is she concerned about that in any way?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To suggest that the ministry has not been involved in these negotiations up to this point is, of course, ludicrous. The division of industrial relations has been actively involved. In fact, the director of industrial relations for the Ministry of Labour has been involved in these negotiations and is continuing to be involved. We are making every effort in trying to resolve the problem rather than have such a strike and ensuing lockout occur.
Mr. Nixon: What does the minister think about the policy that Canada Packers has enunciated, that without having a strike there they are going to lock out 6,000 workers in sympathy with the company that provides their major competition?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I gather that this is a relatively new and unusual stance on the part of the member companies or the group of companies in the area of meat packing. They have never before, I gather, stood together when they were faced with potential labour-management problems. This was a decision which, I gather, was made by the management of those companies. It is not a decision in which government had any part.
Mr. Nixon: And the minister doesn’t intend to have any.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The opinion of the Ministry of Labour has already been expressed to the companies.
Mr. Nixon: What was that? That is really what I was asking. What is the minister’s opinion? I asked her to make a comment on that.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Does the ministry plan any further intervention, in view of the fact that there does not appear to be a dispute between Canada Packers and its workers -- it involves another company, to which they are not related in any way -- and, therefore, there is collusion which is probably in violation of federal anti-competition law, let alone good-faith bargaining?
Mr. Kerrio: You call it solidarity.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There are, of course, negotiations going on amongst the management and labour of all the packing companies at this time. The statement that was made by Canada Packers was related to their potential action in terms of a fellow company, should a strike occur there. But there are negotiations going on with all of the meat packers right now.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Would the minister tell the House what the opinion of the ministry was that was expressed to management?
Hon. B. Stephenson: It was simply expressed that this was a most unusual form of action, but we were informed that it had been carried out by others before --
Mr. Nixon: That would make them turn pale.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- though not in the meat packing industry.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: If the ministry is prepared to condone this action by Canada Packers, is the government also prepared to bring in legislation to permit secondary boycotts in the cases where labour unions are in a strike situation and other workers wish to provide them with support by also going on strike?
Hon. B. Stephenson: There was no such statement made that the Ministry of Labour or the government condoned this action.
Mr. McClellan: Double standard.
Ms. Gigantes: Wouldn’t that be fair?
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy arising out of the statement he has made today. I want to begin by expressing concern at the fact that --
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mr. Cassidy: -- that the government has entered into this agreement prior to the reports of both --
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mr. Cassidy: -- the Porter commission and the select committee on Hydro.
Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware of the recommendations of Dr. Robert Uffen, who was a vice-chairman of Hydro and the former chief science adviser to the cabinet, where he recommended that recommendation 27 of the Sir Brian Flowers report in Britain, which called for no commitment to a large program of nuclear fission power until it had been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a method exists to ensure the safe containment of long-lived, highly radioactive wastes for the indefinite future? Is he aware that this recommendation of Sir Brian Flowers, in the opinion of the vice-chairman of Hydro, should also be applied in this country? If so, can the minister therefore comment on what is happening with Ontario Hydro’s nuclear commitment, since it appears from his statement today that in fact there will be an expansion of that commitment prior to knowing whether the proposed method of waste disposal is safe?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, if I could respond to the latter part of that question first, I think we should make it clear here, as was also indicated in the statement, that this joint agreement and this attempt to develop this program is not based on possible future expansion and it is not predicated on future expansion of Ontario Hydro in its nuclear generating capacity. We have irradiated fuel there right now that we have to deal with, even if we stopped building any new plants tomorrow.
So it’s not predicated on the idea that we are going to go on and on expanding our nuclear power program.
In response to the other part of the question, about Dr. Flowers of Britain, I find it rather interesting that the member should quote him, because, as the member probably knows, Britain after a long exercise, through a special committee of its Parliament, has now decided to embark on a program of reprocessing nuclear energy which goes far beyond anything that we would have dared to do in this country. In fact, we here have been saying that we will do nothing in terms of implementing a program of reprocessing at least until the international moratorium has expired. Britain is far ahead of us -- maybe somebody would say far more courageous, far more intelligent or far more something; certainly they are not nearly as cautious as we are in this country -- on the whole question of reprocessing nuclear energy. So I find it rather interesting that the member should refer to a report coming from Britain.
Mr. Foulds: You are not answering the question.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would also say that our joint agreement and our plan are based on other Canadian scientists and on Canadian scientists whose work we respect very highly.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In pointing out that Robert Uffen is a distinguished Canadian scientist who spent a full year studying this matter and is obviously well qualified to comment on it, perhaps I could pursue this: Can the minister confirm that Ontario Hydro is now planning an energy centre in eastern Ontario with a 12,000- megawatt nuclear capacity, that the potential site for that facility has been narrowed down to only four locations, that it is planned that the actual construction will begin sometime around the early 1990s --
Mr. Sterling: They never said that it was going to be nuclear.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and that this will more than double the existing and projected nuclear capacity of Ontario Hydro? Is it not correct that in projecting this energy centre in eastern Ontario based on nuclear power, Hydro’s planning for that is facilitated by the assumption that we have the long-term storage problems resolved through the announcement the minister made today?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I can reply categorically to that question that no decision has been made by either Hydro or this government on any future expansion of any generating plant, and in particular, any nuclear plant of the kind the honourable member is referring to. Those are the kinds of comments and observations that are drawn from the realm of mythology and not of fact.
Ms. Gigantes: Mythology? What is the minister talking about?
Mr. Warner: Turn around and tell the members back there. Address your remarks to the back row.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would hope that my fellow representatives from Ottawa would help us to keep the general public informed about facts and not generate mythologies and myths.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: What is your point of privilege?
Mr. Cassidy: The minister implied that I was misleading the House, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: No, he did not.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You’ve got a guilty conscience, Michael Morris, that’s all.
Mr. Speaker: He did not. He said that the question was predicated on improper facts.
Mr. Cassidy: No, mythology, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. J. Reed: A supplementary: I wonder if the minister could tell the House whether or not the concept of the repository will provide for retrieving of the spent fuel?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I have been advised by the scientists that a repository is, in fact, a dead end. That’s it. You cannot retrieve out of the repository. You could retrieve out of interim storage centres, of course, but once it’s in the repository it’s the end of the line and it’s irretrievable.
Ms. Gigantes: The minister is wrong. He’s all wrong.
Mr. Turner: She is the expert.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Okay, well you tell us.
Mr. Cassidy: Before the minister resorts to charges about mythology again, is he aware that it has been reported that Ontario Hydro has announced the fact that it is drilling and conducting a geophysical survey program in eastern Ontario in connection with the four potential generating station sites in that area and that the particular report about the program for eastern Ontario has, in fact, been reprinted in Short Circuit, which is compiled by Hydro’s own communication services? Mythology indeed!
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I responded to the question, which was, had Hydro decided -- or I think the honourable member made it a fact rather than a question.
Mr. Warner: The minister is in trouble now.
Mr. Foulds: They’re drilling.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The fact is, and it’s as categorical this time as it was the last time, neither this government nor Ontario Hydro has made a decision to build these big generating plants or narrow it down to two sites or whatever. They have not done it.
Mr. MacDonald: Oh, of course not.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: There has been no decision made and we are a long way from reaching a decision.
Mr. Breithaupt: But they are looking.
Mr. MacDonald: They are drilling to prepare for it.
Mr. Cassidy: The government is spending millions of dollars to find a site.
Mr. Foulds: They are looking.
Mr. Stong: Supplementary: Now that the minister has conducted a study into the safe disposal of spent fuel has he also included in his study a program of safe transportation of this radioactive material through our communities from point of creation to point of disposal?
Mr. Foulds: No, they haven’t. They haven’t even done that.
Ms. Gigantes: They’ll transport it from eastern Ontario, right from eastern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, as we indicated in the statement, the vast responsibility for research and development and the management of nuclear energy remains with the federal government. However, in this joint agreement, it is noted that the question of transportation is the responsibility of the Ontario government, or more precisely its agency, Ontario Hydro, which certainly will continue its research on transportation methods.
Mr. Foulds: Table the agreement.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In 1973, a recommendation was made by the task force on industrial training that the Ministry of Colleges and Universities undertake an independent study of the costs of on-the-job apprentice training that are borne by employers and the benefits that accrue to employers from having apprentices. Can the minister tell the House whether any such study has been undertaken and, if so, what were the findings?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, such a study has been undertaken. The findings are rather extensive. I will be glad to supply the member with a copy of that report. I think the critics have a copy, but if there’s any doubt, we will make sure the member gets a copy of that report. It was completed only a matter of a month or six weeks ago.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: If the minister is referring to the study of the machinists’ trade by Carrie, Coopers and Lybrand which came down about four months ago, has the minister information which relates to other trades and the costs and benefits of apprenticeship training in those industries? If so, will he table that information tomorrow when he makes his announcement about apprenticeship training?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We are certainly prepared to table as much information as we have on the cost of apprenticeship training. It’s fairly extensive.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: The minister now has left me in doubt. If he doesn’t have very much information, can the minister explain how the government can launch a major initiative in the absence of comprehensive information over just what are the costs of apprenticeship training to employers and the benefits to employers as well as to the province at large?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I suggested that the information is rather extensive and not the contrary. We will supply that for him tomorrow.
Mr. J. Reed: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Further to the area which he has skated around today and avoided, he promised an answer the day he first made a statement saying he would make a major statement today regarding radioactive waste. I had asked him to what extent Ontario Hydro was involved with AECL in reprocessing. I asked him how many bundles of spent fuel had been shipped to AECL for experimental work during the time the moratorium was on.
Mr. Speaker: What are you going to ask today?
Mr. J. Reed: I would like to ask him today if these rock-bound repositories are to be of the non-retrievable type, why is AECL contemplating reprocessing by the year 2000 and why did it tell me so?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I have the answers to the questions which the honourable member opposite raised. I will be quite pleased to read them to the House, at this point, if that is your wish, Mr. Speaker.
An hon. member: No, don’t waste time.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Do you wish, Mr. Speaker, that I read the question? It was a multidimensional question.
Mr. Speaker: How long will it take?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It’s a long question. It will take five minutes, I guess. Is the member prepared to listen to this?
Mr. J. Reed: Yes.
Mr. Martel: Don’t torture us.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can send it to the member by mail also.
Mr. Conway: You will get a holiday in Madoc for this.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The first question was: Is Ontario Hydro participating with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in the experimental reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at least to the extent of supplying spent fuel bundles to AECL?
The answer given to me by Ontario Hydro is that small quantities of irradiated fuel owned by Ontario Hydro are sent to the research and development laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada on an ongoing basis for examination as part of a joint fuel development program. This is aimed at refining fuel performance and assessing fuel storage, transportation and disposal methods.
In addition, arrangements were made in 1975 to sell 72 irradiated Pickering fuel bundles to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. AECL subsequently shipped this material from Chalk River to Italy for experimental reprocessing by CNEN, Comitato Nazionale per L’Energia Nucleare.
Mr. Cassidy: You’d bomb in west Toronto with that accent.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: This is the only transfer by Hydro, the only irradiated fuel to AECL, that is ultimately involved in reprocessing studies.
In reply to the second question on how much material has been shipped and how much is planned to be shipped in the near future, the total shipment of irradiated fuel from Ontario Hydro-owned generating stations to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is summarized as follows: Pickering generating station, 78 bundles plus 60 elements; Bruce generating station, six bundles plus nine elements.
With the exception of the 72 Pickering bundles sold to AECL, included in the above total, the fuel was sent for examination purposes only. Current plans consist of the shipment of 14 irradiated fuel bundles in 1978 and 11 in 1979. These will be employed in research investigation on fuel storage, transportation and fuel encasement prior to disposal.
On the third part of the member’s question, as to just what degree of magnitude is reprocessing being carried out in the province now; to our knowledge no fuel reprocessing of any kind is being carried on in Ontario at this time, nor has there been in the recent past. The question should be addressed to the government of Canada and its nuclear research and development agency, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
Finally: What safeguards are undertaken with this unprecedented kind of transportation to ensure that there is going to be no spillage? Regular shipments of irradiated fuel have been made from the nuclear-powered demonstration reactor at Rolphton, Ontario, to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited at Chalk River, Ontario, for storage purposes for more than 15 years. Additional shipments have been less regularly made from the Douglas Point, Pickering and Bruce generating stations as part of the ongoing fuel development program.
All shipments are approved by the Atomic Energy Control Board and made in massive shipping containers. There has never been an adverse consequence to the public of Ontario from these shipments by Ontario Hydro. The containers are designed to withstand accident conditions with no significant release to their contents.
Mr. Cassidy: Has there ever been an accident?
Hon. Mr., Baetz: The reference test conditions of the International Atomic Energy Agency include a nine-metre drop onto an unyielding surface, a one-metre drop penetration test on a 15-centimetre diameter steel post, and a 30-minute exposure in an enveloping petroleum fire at 800 degrees centigrade, all carried out in sequence. An additional immersion test in 15 metres of water is also required.
Recent mechanical tests in the United States have included drops from helicopters, rocket-driven through impact into concrete abutments, and collision with high-speed locomotives. In spite of all this, no containers have failed.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: Since we are on the subject of nuclear waste, I would like to know what the minister is doing about the other half of the problem, which many scientists consider far more significant even than the one to which he has addressed his mind today. That is the problem of tailings in the mines.
What is the government policy on that? What is the ministry doing? What studies is it undertaking at this time?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: This joint agreement deals only with the matter of spent fuels --
Mr. Peterson: That was my premise, with which the minister will agree.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The question of the mine tailings and so forth is a subject which is not the responsibility of this government or my ministry, but rather of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague), working with Atomic Energy and Environment Canada. I cannot answer that particular question.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, is it possible to redirect the question?
Mr. Speaker: I don’t think it was supplementary to begin with.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister, since he won’t give us the information, if he has it, about where drillings are going to take place for fuel waste disposal, can he give us the information about where AECL has been doing its drilling over the last two years? Also, can he tell us how, in this plan that lies before us, he is going to see any pattern emerging with the development of fuel reprocessing and waste disposal? I am asking him to relate to the kind of experiments that have been going on at Chalk River -- to tell us that Ontario Hydro doesn’t know about this, he doesn’t know about it, and we are not well down the path to reprocessing here in Ontario right now. Isn’t this all going to happen in eastern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will try to recall the many dimensions of that question.
First of all, on the reprocessing of fuel, which is in itself an extremely important question and one which I am sure will be discussed here for many years to come, this joint program does not deal with the question of reprocessing. It is not a sneaky way to introduce reprocessing, and I would like to assure the House of that.
The member has implied that I knew where the drilling was taking place --
Ms. Gigantes: Shouldn’t you know?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- or is about to take place. I do not know where the drilling is taking place. That’s the whole purpose of this exercise.
Ms. Gigantes: Shouldn’t you know?
Mr. Kerrio: We’ve never accused him of knowing anything.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s been going on for two years.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Before Atomic Energy of Canada or even Ontario Hydro, before any of our agencies go out and do the kind of thing that was done at Madoc, before that happens again, this government here and the government of Canada are going to have to approve this thing step by step. This is one reason why we felt the responsible, elected government at Ottawa, here, and even locally, are much more involved in the question of experimental drilling or anything else of the sort.
WOMEN’S HEALTH SERVICES
Mr. Breaugh: I’d like to pursue with the Minister of Health the matter that was raised by my colleague from Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) concerning statistics used in the Ontario Status of Women Council publication, About Face.
Is the minister in agreement with the statistics quoted in here that one in five hysterectomies are unnecessary and that women are prescribed tranquilizing drugs at double the rate of men? Are those statistics reasonably accurate for Ontario this year?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have yet to see the report. It hasn’t reached me yet. It’s been released, but it hasn’t got through the system to me.
As the member knows and this has been discussed in our estimates several times, and as I mentioned to his colleague on Friday -- we are looking at the question of trends in surgery as they pertain to all in the population, not just the female sex. I would have difficulty attacking or substantiating those figures at this point.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could take the time to table in this House what he considers to be the relevant statistics on those two matters in this province.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think that until the study we have under way is completed, I’d have some difficulty in being able to say in a definitive manner what is an appropriate number of hysterectomies, appendectomies or tonsillectomies. It’s very much a matter for individual judgement and argument, as the member knows.
We’re hoping this particular study will help us get a better fix on what is appropriate so that we can then take the appropriate action.
Mrs. Campbell: My question is to the Attorney General. I would ask him if at this time he is prepared to report to the House as to the tabling of the Praxis report.
He may recall that this was discussed before. My understanding was that he had undertaken to table what he termed the “relevant portions” of that report. Could we now know when or what we are going to have tabled?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To the best of my knowledge, I’ve related the relevant portions in the various statements I’ve made with respect to this matter.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that the member for St. George has suggested that I would table the police report as such because, obviously, these police reports contain a lot of information that has to be treated as confidential, largely because they often contain hearsay statements, for example, allegations that have been made that have not been proven, or proven to be well-founded, at least, and it would be very unfair to individual citizens to have these reports tabled in their entirety.
It would be helpful to me if the honourable member would direct my attention to any specific aspect of the matter with which she is not satisfied, insofar as my responses in the Legislature are concerned, and I would attempt to assist her and other members of the House who are interested. I’ve attempted to the best of my ability, to relate what I consider to be the relevant matters to this House, as this whole matter has unfolded.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Are we to take it then that at this point in time the minister feels that he has relayed to the House all of the relevant matters? For instance, I raised the question of the lack of participation in the questioning of John Hladun. The Attorney General didn’t seem to know anything about this and yet this is the person who was interviewed by the CBC and was able, according to that story, to shed a great deal of light on this. None of this, apparently, was used by the commission or anybody else in trying to investigate this total matter.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I recall the honourable member mentioned that name. I’ve asked my office to obtain particulars as to the identity of this gentleman. I don’t know what has been done at this point in time. It may be that the honourable member can provide us with the correct spelling of the name, if my office does not already have it.
Mrs. Campbell: Ask Hansard.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know whether Hansard has the correct spelling or if there’s been any problem in locating him. In view of the honourable member’s statement the other day I think this gentleman should be interviewed. I will undertake to see that that happens.
When I say I’ve related all relevant information, I want to make it clear, to the best of my ability I’ve given the House any relevant information in the context of the public interest. There is other information that obviously would be considered relevant in its broadest sense, but it would not be in the public interest to reveal some of the confidential information. Insofar as that particular individual is concerned, I will ensure that he is interviewed, because I don’t treat the matter as a closed book. We will certainly pursue that aspect of it.
Mr. Lawlor: Supplementary question: Would the Attorney General reveal to this House who the original informant or purloiner of the documents in question was? If he’s not prepared to do that, how on earth did the editor of the Toronto Sun come into possession of a number of documents in question?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not prepared to reveal the extent to which I am aware, or believe I’m aware, of the identity of that individual. Secondly, I’m not aware at this point in time what information the editor of the Toronto Sun has. I’m sorry, that’s something that has escaped my attention.
FOOD LAND PRESERVATION
Mr. Swart: A question to the Minister of Housing: I want to pursue with him the matter of the proposed October Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Niagara region urban development boundaries and about which I gave him a little additional information three or four weeks ago. Will he tell us now that there is no truth to the stated conjecture by officials of his ministry and TEIGA that the government may not permit those hearings to be held; or if he does he may restrict it to dealing with minor variations of the boundaries which have been set and not let it deal with the whole principle of preservation of the fruit and grape lands?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I’m not sure what the honourable member means about no truth in the fact. There’s been no statement by my ministry or by anybody from the Ontario Municipal Board or others to the best of my knowledge.
As for the hearing, I’m not sure whether the hearing will proceed in October or not. It depends on some of the surrounding circumstances relating to another hearing in the Barrie region as to whether this hearing will proceed or not. I cannot add anything further to that answer.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary: Subsequent to that, will he assure this House that the hearing will proceed at some time, whether it is in October or not, and that there will not be any direction from the government that it shall not be held or that there will be a restriction? Will there be a letter go from the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), as there was in the Barrie case, in which he affected the hearings which took place?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I give the member and the House the assurance that the hearing will eventually be held. As to the second part of the question, I am not going to give the House the assurance that there will not be some direction from my ministry or from the government to the Ontario Municipal Board, since we have already established the boundaries as far as urban development is concerned in that particular regional plan.
An hon. member: You are not going to let the full hearing proceed.
Mr. Eakins: To the Minister of Industry and Tourism: Is the minister aware of the forecast for the national travel deficit for 1978 in that one source predicts that it will be reduced by $100 million, but most other sources are forecasting that it will further deteriorate to about $2 billion? Given that Ontario tourism figures generally range from one third to one half of the nation’s total, is the minister aware of this and is he prepared to accept such a deficit this year?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am aware of varying forecasts that have been made relating to the potential deficit in Canada. Certainly I don’t accept and I don’t think anyone wants to accept such a deficit as some are forecasting. From what we can gather within Ontario and from contacts with other provinces, we really aren’t looking at it that pessimistically. We do think there is going to be an improvement in the tourism business this year. We do feel we will make a substantial reduction in the deficit.
Mr. Peterson: Is the Treasurer making the forecast?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We are not going to get back to an even-Stephen basis because we are running close to $2 billion in deficit, but we feel that we will make some impact on reducing that.
Mr. Eakins: I would rather accept the optimistic forecast, but would the minister not feel that there is still time to initiate further stimulative measures such as a tax credit for holidaying at home in Canada?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I have read that very interesting observation in the report that was prepared by the honourable member and his colleagues. Quite frankly, when one starts getting into the tax credit situation, it isn’t something I would want to comment on until I would find out whether or not it is going to be done on a national basis with all of the provinces being involved. I am sure, as the honourable member knows, there are some difficulties if we try to do it as the province of Ontario as opposed to other provinces not joining in. That is a matter that can be discussed, I would think, at the tourism ministers’ conference that will be held this coming fall.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Could the minister indicate if what he hopes will turn the situation around is mainly his advertising program, or is he and the ministry attempting to get more travel agencies and tourist outfitters involved in package programs to encourage more Canadian and American travel in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think it is a combination of all these things. I certainly wouldn’t think we are going to turn around the very large deficit we are experiencing in a short period of time simply with advertising.
In the ministry, we do have a number of people who are working in conjunction with travel agencies, with airlines and with individual tourist resort operators. Package deals are being put together, one of which is operating very successfully at the present time in northwestern Ontario involving North Central Airlines. North Central Airlines is also working right at this very time with resort operators in northeastern Ontario to establish a similar type of program. They have been very successful in bringing people in.
Mr. Wildman: What about Europe?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The honourable member mentioned Europe. Yes, we are doing some work in Europe as well. There are package tours being put together over there again involving some of the airlines. I would mention not only Europe, but also North Central Airlines, for example, who are bringing people over from Japan to be in resorts in northwestern Ontario this year.
Mr. Peterson: When is the Minister of Housing coming back?
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Is the minister concerned that the deficit might be adversely affected by the fish war with the United States which is now going to involve sports fishing?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am glad the honourable member asked that because we would be concerned if there was going to be the ridiculous situation of having sports fishermen involved in this area.
Mr. Ashe: Another blunder by those Liberals in Ottawa.
Mr. Bradley: It is nice to have you back.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Perhaps I might be given the opportunity to explain to the House, because I am sure there would be some interest, that we had expected a statement in the House today by the federal Minister of Fisheries, Mr. LeBlanc.
Mr. Nixon: Our minister wasn’t even here.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: However, he did not make such a statement. The understanding we have is that in answer to a question in the House, Mr. LeBlanc said that Canadian waters are to remain open to sports fishing.
Mr. Jamieson said in the House as well today that he feels the situation will be completely clarified within a few hours.
Mr. Nixon: In American waters only.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: So my understanding is that apparently regardless of what is happening as far as the American waters are concerned, the Canadian government does not intend to impose its ban on sports fishing.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, since today is World Environment Day it seems appropriate to ask the Minister of the Environment what he is doing to discharge his responsibility to protect the environment of Ontario? I have questions specifically in two areas.
Mr. Bradley: Yes or no.
Ms. Bryden: First, when is he going to extend the application of the Environmental Assessment Act to the whole of the private sector and not just to designated industries as at present?
Second, what is he doing about a very specific environmental problem which has just been reported to me? I refer to a large fuel oil spill in Lake Superior, perhaps amounting to several thousands of gallons, which occurred last week at the Kimberly-Clark plant near Terrace Bay. Has the minister received a report from the company on this spill? Has he sent officials to check on the accuracy of the report? What have they found? What steps is he taking to clean up this spill? What effects does he think the spill may have on the aquatic and bird life in the area?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, no, yes, yes, and maybe.
Mr. Nixon: This will be good.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, those short questions are very easy to answer. On the first matter, I think the honourable member knows that the Environmental Assessment Act has not yet been extended to cover municipal projects -- that is the second step. The third step will be the private projects.
Mr. Wildman: When?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I will be going to the municipal liaison committee in September with the proposal for municipal projects. I want to discuss it with them. I want to have some time for some input from them, and I am not prepared to make any statement at this time as to when and if the private projects will come under the act.
As far as the spill that the honourable member is referring to, I do not have a report on that yet.
SERVICES FOR THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health: In view of the minister’s commitment in the early spring of 1977 to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) that he would do a complete review of the present situation regarding comments made by the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped regarding unnecessary delays in the disabled being released from hospitals and other programs of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, which provided assistive devices which, of course, come from the Ministry of Health, would the minister now make known to this House what his findings are and what actions he will take?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I missed the very first part of the question -- whether it was a statement attributed to me or a letter, or whatever. The provincial secretary and I have recently discussed this matter following a visit to a rehabilitation hospital, and it is a matter which is under consideration. In the past year I have also had a report prepared by my staff, which is still in the works, on the question of prosthetics and orthotics, and that is still very much under consideration. Of course, in a time of restraint it is questionable whether we would be able to add any new benefits on a very large scale. But certainly we are considering it.
Mr. Blundy: In view of another newspaper story today about physically handicapped people near Pickering who cannot leave a very expensive and emotionally debilitating chronic care unit because of this need, would the minister have some comment on what immediate action he is going to take to get these people back into community life and out of the expensive institutions in which they are living?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The social workers in the particular hospitals, and from time to time some of my own staff in the ministry, do get involved in trying to assist in the placement of individuals back into the community wherever possible. It’s not an easy problem to resolve. The ultimate resolution will be a very expensive one.
I’m not trying to use finances as a scapegoat by any manner or means. The fact of the matter is that it will be a very expensive one, but we are not going to shy away from it. We will try to arrive at a meaningful resolution and then, within the availability of funds and our ability to fund any new program, try to get at it.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Does the minister not agree that it is completely inappropriate that the disabled have to obtain essential prosthetics either from charity or from general welfare assistance, and that the time has come to include the provision of prosthetics under prescription in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the honourable member is saying that there should never ever again be a role for the private sector volunteer agency to assist, then I wouldn’t agree with that at all.
Mr. McClellan: I never said that.
Mr. Warner: What nonsense.
Mr. McClellan: That’s too stupid to comment on.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is a matter which we are looking at, but again I remind the honourable member that we are in difficult financial times and anything we might do would have to be tempered by those fiscal realities.
Mr. Havrot: The fairy godmother brings the money down for them.
Mr. Nixon: Just a paltry $14 million.
INCO SAFETY COMPLAINT
Mr. Martel: A question to the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that on February 28, Cathy Duhaime of the United Steelworkers was sent home by a supervisor, Mr. Brickett, of Inco for refusing to work on what she considered an unsafe operation? Is the minister further aware that the supervisor failed to provide an opportunity to the employee to have her complaint investigated by first-line supervision in attendance with a union representative, as defined by the Employees’ Health and Safety Act?
Is the minister further aware that her ministry made the following recommendation through Mr. Susil, who did the investigation:
“Your complaint in respect of being denied to have your initial complaint investigated by the shift boss in the presence of an OSHE committee member is legitimate. Charges against D. Brickett are considered.”? Why then did the ministry not lay charges as prescribed under the act when this official violated the act?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I do not have the specific details of this case with me at the moment. I shall be glad to develop them in detail for the honourable member and present them to the House.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Martel: I will continue tomorrow.
Mr. Nixon: I really wanted to know what his supplementary was.
Mr. Speaker: On Thursday last, the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner), both raised what they considered to be a matter of privilege with respect to the Premier’s press release concerning Bill 89, An Act respecting French Language Services in Ontario. As both members raised the same matter, I will deal with both their allegations together.
Members of the House may well have a grievance in that what they consider to be an announcement of important government policy was made outside of this House. As regrettable as that may be, it does not breach the recognized privileges of this House.
Mr. Nixon: That’s that.
Mr. Pope: Now go back and learn the rules.
An hon. member: A little slap.
Mr. MacDonald: Calculated deception.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the obvious need in the light of the minister’s statement today to have a legislative committee consider the matters of nuclear waste disposal, and in view of the minister’s refusal to give the House an assurance that that consideration would go forward in the select committee on Hydro affairs, I wish to file with the House a petition, pursuant to provisional order 7 of the Legislative Assembly --
Mr. Breithaupt: You finally found out how to use that.
Mr. Cassidy: -- in which more than 20 members of my party have petitioned that the annual report of the Minister of Energy for the fiscal year ending last March be referred to the select committee on Hydro affairs for such consideration and report as the committee may determine.
Mr. Kerrio: Put on a night shift, Mike.
Mr. Foulds: Good petition.
Hon. B. Stephenson, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Baetz, presented certain documents.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I present a copy of the Hare report on The Management of Canada’s Nuclear Wastes; a copy of a brief submitted by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to the standing committee on national resources and public works entitled, The AECL Program on the Safe Immobilization and Disposal of Radioactive Material from Canadian Nuclear Reactors; a copy of the conceptual drawing of a radioactive waste disposal mine; and a copy of a map which designates the location of 1,500 potential geological formations in Ontario for the safe disposal of waste.
Mr. MacDonald: Where is the Wyatt report?
Mr. Cassidy: Where is the Uffen report?
Mr. Warner: Table your resignation.
Mr. Cassidy: You are using every means possible to delay, aren’t you?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I’m not.
Mr. Cassidy: It means you won’t act before the summer.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, it doesn’t mean that.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS (CONCLUDED)
On vote 903, regional priorities and development program; item 5, rail and ferry services:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would like to point out that there is one hour and 24 minutes left in the committee of supply for this item.
We’re dealing with vote 903, item 5. The member for Rainy River.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh -- does the minister have a statement?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. I have a bit of information which the members might be interested in.
You will recall, last winter we indicated to the CNR that we had to make certain changes in the Northlander’s service to North Bay because of the excessive costs both in regard to the subsidy and the mileage charge placed on it by the CNR. We indicated in that statement to the Legislature that we were prepared to negotiate with the CNR for the use of our excellent European Northlander equipment on their weekend services. They wanted to replace their conventional equipment with our Northlander equipment and we said we would be only too pleased to sit down and negotiate some reasonable terms with them. Those negotiations have been proceeding and I think I can report to the members that at this point in time they are encouraging; however, they’re not totally finalized.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can the minister give me a breakdown on the costs of operating the Northlander, the revenues and expenditures, and the extent of the subsidy in operating it?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think I mentioned the Polar Bear Express, as an example, in the discussions we had last Friday. Our revenues were $296,000. Our expenditures were $400,000 and we had an operating loss of $104,000.
The main line service revenues were $1,174,000 and expenditures were $3,914,000. To the 100 per cent operating subsidy there was a further revision of 9.5 per cent, $552,000, so the total subsidy was $3,292,000.
On the Moosonee branch revenues were $1,385,000; expenditures were $3,921,000; and the operating loss, $2,536,000. With adjustments of $889,000 the total Moosonee branch subsidy was $3,529,000.
For the Northlander, which I believe the honourable member was inquiring about, the revenues -- this is one train -- were $1,177,500 and the expenditures were $4,235,300, for an operating loss of $3,057,800; the dining car service had a loss of $245,200, for a total Northlander subsidy of $3,303,000. The total rail service subsidy amounts to $10,124,000, less the Tobermory ferry profit of $104,000.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can the minister give me an indication of whether these figures are up or down substantially from the past years? Are these subsidies growing ever larger every year?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member will recall that supplementary estimates were introduced in the Legislature about a year ago covering the extra cost of the Northlander service. We had hoped that we would have worked out an improved subsidy and rail charge rate from the CNR; this did not materialize. I believe our additional request in the supplementary estimates last year was about $2.5 million; so the extra service we are putting on is obviously putting on extra costs and has to be subsidized at a little higher rate.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the minister could indicate to us whether or not he feels the reason that the Northlander was so expensive and perhaps the cost benefit was not what it should have been, as well as the lack of use, might have been related to the fact that there wasn’t enough co-ordination between the Northlander service between Timmins and Toronto and the mainline service between Timmins and North Bay?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I think the public acceptance of the Northlander operation is nothing less than phenomenal. I can’t recall one adverse criticism of the service or the quality of the equipment we are using on that Northlander. It’s exciting, it’s pleasant, it’s comfortable -- it has all the things you would want in rail travel; so that is not a problem. If there is any criticism, it has to be about the startup of getting a new service into place. There should have been more publicity here in southern Ontario. I think the honourable member would agree that there is sufficient publicity, maybe an oversaturation, in northeastern Ontario with regard to the Northlander. We are turning that around so that there is more publicity here in the populated areas such as Metropolitan Toronto.
I think there always will be and will always have to be a subsidy to train service. There are many other modes of travel that the train service has to compete against. In fact, we have a very intensive study going on now with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and the action group, which as the member knows is made up of all the mayors and reeves of the northeastern Ontario corridor. They are looking at all modes of transportation in their corridor -- rail service, air service and bus service -- to see if some rationalization can take place. Maybe there’s an oversupply of one type of service vis-à-vis another. Maybe some changes in scheduling, as the member correctly points out, could be done to improve the services in the northeastern Ontario corridor. It’s going on right now, and I think that report is scheduled to be down early this summer.
Mr. Wildman: That’s good. I have had some correspondence and reaction from people in the Timmins-Cochrane area, indicating they felt one of the problems might have been that there just wasn’t enough co-ordination between the two schedules and that there might have been more use of the service there had been more co-ordination. If the minister has any details on that, I would appreciate it if he could give them to us.
Also, I wonder if the minister can tell us if, in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and the private sector as well, is the ministry intending to or is it about to embark upon a package travel tour of the northeast involving the Polar Bear Express, plus perhaps the CN, CP, and the ACR; that is, a tour that would be a sort of round trip of northeastern Ontario? I don’t know how long such a trip would take, but I know this has been rumoured and talked about in the northeast, and I wonder what the ministry is doing on it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I may go back just a moment and indicate to the member for Rainy River that our discussions are going on now with the federal government in our desire to gain a cost-sharing on the Northlander operation. While the negotiations are encouraging, they are not finalized as yet. However, we would expect a reduction in that subsidy of anywhere from $1 million to $ 1½ million if we are successful, and we are putting as much pressure on as we can.
In answer to the member for Algoma yes, the co-operation between Industry and Tourism and ONTC in our own ministry has been going on for several months. We are getting ready to kick off momentarily, really. The first emphasis will be on the Polar Bear Express. We are using the expertise within the Ministry of Industry and Tourism for the promotion aspect of it. The actual copy and material will be vetted closely by the ONTC. We have that advertising package in place.
Improvements will occur to the Polar Bear Express itself. I think I indicated earlier in my discussions here that the actual services on the train itself will be improved with a number of guides who will be fully trained and made cognizant of the historic items in the Moosonee and James Bay area to give the Polar Bear Express customers a real thrill in going into the sub-arctic areas. That’s well along the road, as are the plans to improve certain facilities at the Moosonee end. We are going to see a decided improvement on that end of the service.
In connection with a circle tour, you are quite right; those rumours are accurate. The program has been under discussion for several months with three railways. The package should get under way late this summer or early this fall. The trip will take five or seven days, and the package will use the services of the CNR, the ONR right up to Timmins and to Hearst; then from Hearst right across, and the ACE down to Sault Ste. Marie, and then by CPR to Sudbury.
It is a very exciting package. The plans have been finalized to the extent that already we have bookings from Germany for 300 people on one of the package tours that is going to be pulled together. It is, as I have said, exciting, and one that I think will have a tremendous amount of appeal. It lends itself, with my colleagues’ efforts, to bringing more people into northern Ontario and, first and foremost, to keep them here in Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: That’s good to hear. I wonder if, since we have the Polar Bear Express, this might be called “the black fly junket.”
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, no; we’ll get a more appropriate name than that.
Mr. Wildman: I wonder if the ministry in conjunction with Industry and Tourism and the ACE has looked at the necessity for upgrading and improving tourist facilities in Hearst. It would seem to me that this could be a real boon for Hearst if this package does well. It certainly might lead to attracting a number of people from southern Ontario and from the United States as well as other parts of the world into a lumbering town, a French-Canadian town, which many of them, especially from the United States, might not have experienced before. If we could improve some of the facilities in Hearst that might even add to that proposal.
Also, one other question on that: Can the minister indicate, if we’re going to be using the ONR or the CN, ACR and CP track, if it’s going to be all ONR equipment? If it is, will it be manned by ONR crews? If that’s the case, have there been any difficulties in regard to union situations and so on?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The equipment will all be ONR equipment. We have been dealing with the railways and with the unions. The actual train, as I understand it, will be operated by the ONR staff, but each union will have personnel in the proper places when it’s going over their section of the whole network. All unions have been contacted and we’re working very closely with them. They’re co-operating 100 per cent.
Mr. Wildman: Maybe the minister is still in the process of finalizing this, but could he indicate if he’s going to be leasing track, or is he going to be paying so much to each of CN, AC and CP for the use of their track?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We won’t be leasing it. What we do is pay a service charge which is worked out between all levels of the railway system. It’s all added in as part and parcel of the whole cost of the package tour.
Mr. Wildman: I’ve one other question in relation to ferry service: Is the ministry involved at all with the negotiations with the state of Michigan in regard to the proposal for a ferry from Manitoulin to the UP?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: While we’re not directly involved, we’ve been monitoring very closely those discussions and the progress being made by the American firm that’s anxious to put on the ferry service. If that were to be finalized and come to fruition it would mean that additional funds would have had to be provided for the road access -- is it to Meldrum Bay?
Mr. Wildman: It would have to be federal funds.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, there was some responsibility with the feds for the wharfing facilities which had to be built. Our latest ferry itself has broken down and the service will not be in place for this year.
We will be doing a minimal amount of day labour work on that road -- it’s an ongoing effort -- in the hope that they will be successful and we can see that service installed in the not-too-distant future.
Item 5 agreed to.
On item 6, air services:
Mr. T. P. Reid: There’s a couple of things in this regard. I think the norOntair service is one of the better programs the Ontario government has ever got into. I remember recommending it about 10 years ago. But I do have a complaint. I spoke to somebody from Ontario Northland about it last week when we were doing these estimates. It’s a parochial complaint about the changes in scheduling that took place at the end of April.
The people in my area were quite happy with the afternoon flight. They could catch the Air Canada flight out of Toronto at 4:50 p.m. and be home in Fort Frances, Atikokan, or Kenora for dinner. Now, for some reason, that schedule is changed, which means that you have to leave Toronto at 1:50 in the afternoon. The complaint, strangely enough, comes mostly from civil servants who wish to come to Toronto and do their work and put in a full day’s work here and then return home that evening.
My real complaint is that the schedules seem to be changed at the whim of somebody either who’s running norOntair or at the whim of Transair, I’m not sure which. I want to register a protest with the minister about that.
The other thing I’d like to ask is that in looking at the money expended and the subsidy of $1.13 million -- that’s down considerably from last year when the estimate was $1.82 million. Something that also intrigues me is that in 1976-77 your actual expenditures were almost triple what your estimate was. Can the minister explain, first, why the estimate is down this year by something in the neighbourhood of $700,000 -- where you’re saving that money or why you don’t need it this year? Second, can you explain how things got so out of hand in 1976-77 that you were about $2.5 million out on your budget?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, with regard to the scheduling, it’s quite difficult trying to tie in with the main carriers like Transair and Air Canada, with their constant changes, and with the limited number of aircraft we have and the large number of communities we’re trying to service. To have those aircraft at the right spot at the right time and to cover the distance is sometimes a little difficult.
The difference back in 1976 was a capital cost allowance, the purchase of aircraft. I’m sure the member will recall that vividly. This is not reflected in this year’s estimates, in that no new aircraft have been purchased or will be purchased in this coming year. We will be taking delivery of an aircraft, the seventh aircraft for the northwest region, to replace one that was burned some time ago in Sault Ste. Marie. I think acceptance of that aircraft is planned for the next week or two.
The increase in the growth in the revenues is what is offsetting it. In fact, this year we expect our revenues to go up to about $2.5 million from $2.35 million in 1977. Our actual expenditures are forecast to decline slightly from about $3.7 million to about $3.6 million. Our net loss will be reduced.
I might say as a matter of interest in 1972 the subsidy per passenger was about $25.78, and in 1977 that was reduced to $9.29 per passenger. Growth in passenger traffic is allowing us to reduce the losses. I might say that with the norOntair service, in my opinion and I know in the opinions of a lot of people -- and I’m sure the member for Rainy River agrees with me -- we get the biggest bang for our buck from this particular service. It’s an excellent service. The quality of the equipment is excellent. The reliability of flights is, I guess, one of the highest for a small airline across Canada. In fact, we’ve had a number of other provinces and people from other countries come to look at the norOntair operation and the service it’s providing for those far-flung communities, 17 communities in total, across northern Ontario. It’s one service that we’re indeed proud of. It’s doing a great job.
Of course, I would like to see it expanded further. We hope to add a number of communities to the program in the near future.
Mr. Haggerty: Like the Niagara Peninsula, Leo.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m sorry, there are areas in northern Ontario that have to be looked after yet. I’m thinking of Hornepayne, Terrace Bay and Geraldton.
Mr. Haggerty: Just give us some of that service down in that area, in St. Catharines too.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We have enjoyed the excellent service and our distances are much greater than yours down here in southern Ontario.
Mr. Haggerty: Gore Bay down to Owen Sound, Douglas Point and the Niagara Peninsula.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As northerners we’re indeed grateful for the excellent service it’s providing. I may say to the member for Rainy River I’m sure he’s aware that we’ve added Red Lake recently to the norOntair service -- one community that several years ago told us to pack our bag and not even come near them. That attitude has changed, I am most pleased to report. They are now enjoying the excellent service of norOntair.
We have gone another step further, as I am sure the member for Rainy River will appreciate, in that we now have a member on the ONTC from northwestern Ontario. He is a gentleman who hails from Dryden, Peter Barns, who is very knowledgeable in the aviation field, having been very much involved with the PWA-Transair deal. I don’t know if you would call it a fiasco or what you would call it. The decision hasn’t come down yet; so it must be something along those lines. Nevertheless, he will represent northwestern Ontario. I have personally asked him to take a real interest in the norOntair facilities. If something does come up, I would encourage the honourable member to get in touch with Mr. Burns who will take his complaint directly to the board. I think he will be a real asset to those of us who live in northwestern Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: I would like to know if the minister has passenger figures available. If he does, can he specifically give me some information regarding the increase in passengers between Sault Ste. Marie and Elliot Lake and Sudbury and Elliot Lake this year over last?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don’t have specific figures on each leg of the operation. We can get that and put it in correspondence to you. I do have the growth of passenger travel in which I am sure you will be interested. I would like to put it in the record.
In 1972, we had 10,472 passengers and in 1973 there was a real increase to 14,725. In 1974, we saw that pretty nearly double to 27,401. Then we took a really big jump in 1975 to 62,808 passengers. In 1976, there was an increase to 20,000, which brought it up to 82,072 for that year. There was a further increase in 1977 to 90,161. In 1978, we have forecast a total traffic service of 96,000 passengers. We think that in that short period of six years to grow from 10,000 to 96,000 is a success story indeed. There is no question about it.
Mr. Wildman: I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that. The reason I asked that specific question was in view of the tremendous growth in Elliot Lake and the expansion there and the number of people, a lot of them business and union and government people, travelling into Elliot Lake. My interest was whether or not most of those people who are coming from southern Ontario tend to be coming through Sudbury or through the Sault.
I know the total passengers on that route to Elliot Lake has increased substantially. I wondered whether or not it might mean some changes in the schedule or not in terms of a second flight into Elliot Lake from either the Sault or Sudbury to serve the needs of those passengers. If the minister has some response, I have one other question.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have some figures just for the month of November 1977. On the leg between Sault Ste. Marie and Elliot Lake, we averaged six passenger per flight. On the leg from Sudbury to Elliot Lake, we averaged 10 passengers per flight in the month of November. I might say further to this that we are monitoring the needs of Elliot Lake very closely because of the tremendous mining potential that exists there and the boom we know is going to occur.
When you think that in the mid-1980s the population of Elliot Lake could soar to 35,000, it is obvious to us that air traffic and air service will have to be upgraded considerably. I don’t think it is any secret that we have looked at and are looking at those traffic patterns. At the present time, Kapuskasing is our heaviest load out of the northeast. We would like to tie Elliot Lake in with Sudbury and the Sault. There is a desire for the mining public to have some direct connection between Elliot Lake and Toronto. We have looked at all those configurations and possibilities and our examinations will continue.
I think it is fair to say we would like at some time, if the service warrants it and we can support a larger aircraft -- or increased Twin Otter flights may be the answer -- but it may be somewhere well down the road that we could put a Dash 7 on. That aircraft is made in Ontario by Ontario workmen, and if at all possible, somewhere down the road, I think the province would like to have a Dash 7 in the northern part of Ontario if there are the passengers and the support for that size of aircraft, because it holds something like 50 passengers, and the Twin Otter holds only 19. So we are monitoring it very closely.
Mr. Wildman: As the minister is aware, the federal government is doing some expansion work at the airport in Elliot Lake so it will be able to take larger aircraft. It would probably be useful some time in the future for more direct flights from southern Ontario into that area.
For the benefit of the member for Erie, if we are looking at direct flights, and since the minister indicated that Hornepayne is on the list, I am sure the people of Hornepayne would like to have direct flights into the Niagara Peninsula if that is possible.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, on that point: Hornepayne is an interesting one. The member might be able to enlighten me as to where the traffic pattern would go out of Hornepayne. Does he think the pattern would be oriented to Kapuskasing, to Sault Ste. Marie, or to Thunder Bay? I am just wondering what his opinion is on that.
Mr. Wildman: Certainly the highway traffic pattern is more oriented towards Kapuskasing than the other way. Obviously I haven’t done any studies on it, but it would seem to me that people who are travelling by air do tend to head towards Timmins. However, if there were a link between Hornepayne and Wawa, I suppose they could go through the Sault. I really don’t have any more information than that. It is certainly true that Hornepayne is oriented more towards Kapuskasing and, the other way, to Thunder Bay than it is to Sault Ste. Marie, but I think that has to do with the fact that there wasn’t a highway link until the last few years with the southern part of Algoma.
I have one question relating to a matter I raised in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications estimates last year, I believe; it has to do with safety and how it relates to the air services in the north.
One of the officials in charge of the air service for ONTC had made a statement in the press which I quoted at that time. He was saying that he was very unhappy about the fact that there were more modern radar facilities available than we now have which would make it possible to land and take off in worse weather conditions if they were installed at more airports in the north. He wasn’t just relating to provincial and municipal airports and so on.
I raised it at that time in the standing committee considering the Ministry of Transportation and Communications estimates, and that ONTC official did respond. He did say yes, he had said that and he hoped that those kinds of facilities would be installed in the near future at some of the airports that have heavier traffic than others and eventually at all airports in northern Ontario.
Mr. Haggerty: They’re not that expensive, Leo -- about $60,000.
Mr. Wildman: Yes, about $60,000. Unfortunately, at that time the Minister of Transportation and Communications indicated that they did not have plans to go ahead with that at that time or in the foreseeable future because of restraints. When you consider the fact that it isn’t an overwhelming cost we are talking about, I wonder what plans there are now for the installation of this kind of equipment in the northwest and the northeast; and if there are any plans, what specific airports is the ministry looking at?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, if I might respond to the member’s earlier questions concerning traffic on the Sault-Elliot Lake run: in 1976 our passengers numbered about 1,050; in 1977 the number went up to 4,400. So the volume has increased fourfold; it is very encouraging.
I am personally very much involved and concerned with the question of air safety. And that relates to the days when I did a little bush flying across northern Ontario. Quite frankly, I guess at that time we were flying by the seat of our pants. In many instances, they are still doing that.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Some would say that’s how you operate this ministry. I wouldn’t, but some would.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know you wouldn’t say that. No, I’m sure of that.
Nevertheless, we managed to do the job we were supposed to do and that’s the most important thing.
The question of safety causes those of us living in northern Ontario a lot of concern. Following the Fraserdale disaster, a terrible aircraft accident which involved a number of civil servants and other people -- something like 12 deaths -- I called for a public inquiry and personally contacted the federal minister, as did my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
There was a response which I believe has assisted some of the operators. And let’s not be too quick to condemn the operators, there are a lot of good operators in northern Ontario. I think inspection and surveillance of services by the federal government was indeed weak, and they recognized this. They have since beefed up their inspection system right across the north, at both the local and regional levels, and that is having an impact now.
From recent press comments I also understand the federal government is thinking about setting up a public body to examine aircraft accidents across Canada. I think this may satisfy some of our needs.
The cost and efficiency of navigational aids is something the Minister of Transportation and Communications is very much interested in because of the minister’s flair for flying. As you know, he is quite a pilot himself and he has been pressing the federal government to get on with the job of improving the navigational aids across northern Ontario. In most places directional beacons and this type of thing are a federal responsibility, because they operate the airways.
The installation of microwave landing systems is relatively expensive, I have to say to you.
Mr. Haggerty: Not that expensive for the safety it provides.
Hon. Mr. Bender: Well, $250,000 for a microwave landing system. Maybe what you’re referring to are directional beacons, which are around $50,000 or $60,000. But they don’t have the range you would need.
The microwave landing system is a sophisticated ILS system, which is the latest thing. In fact, they’re using them in many parts of western Canada now. They’re the most sophisticated landing system available to date.
But you’re quite correct; the directional beacons are relatively cheap. MTC and MNA are co-operating in putting those directional beacons in the remote airstrips of northern Ontario, like Sandy Lake and Big Trout Lake, the ones that the province is totally responsible for. I don’t have a list of those specific ones, but we are making sure they are being installed.
Mr. Haggerty: In our crossfire of interjections this afternoon, I did mention extending the services to the southern part of Ontario. The ministry is doing an excellent job in northern Ontario with the air services there. If I can recall, there was a study done a couple of years ago related to STOL aircraft by Bradley Air Services, that was to include areas around Elliot Lake to Gore Bay to Owen Sound and down to Toronto, and which covered the Niagara Peninsula.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has indicated it is going to open up the north by selling cottage lots. I would suggest to the minister that many of the highways heading to the north country will not handle the traffic. I would suggest if it is to be a successful program of selling these lots to people, perhaps many of them to purchasers in southern Ontario, a quick way to get to northern Ontario and to the cottage area would be by aircraft.
I would suggest to the minister that he should be looking at that study report which was done here about four years ago by Bradley Air Services, because I believe that it would encourage people from southern Ontario to buy lots further north. I’m talking of the Cochrane area and throughout that area, which is quite a drive from southern Ontario. It may eventually open up northern Ontario for the people of southern Ontario.
They would then perhaps have a better understanding of the climate and the atmosphere in northwestern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have the information now for the member for Algoma with regard to directional beacons. They are to be installed at Fort Hope, Lansdowne House, Kashechewan, Webequie, Bearskin, Sachigo, Deer Lake, Kasabonika, Kingfisher and Wunnumin Lake. We’re moving ahead on that program quite rapidly.
In response to the member for Erie, I appreciate his interest and his comments with regard to our services in northern Ontario and his desire to have them spread into southern Ontario. I think it’s unusual that somebody from southern Ontario would envy something that is going on in northern Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: Northern Affairs handles everything north of Bloor.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I recognize his desire to use our pilot program and extend it to the south and also, to make use of the cottage lot program. That’s something that we on this side of the House are encouraging. We like your thrust.
Mr. Haggerty: Even the tourists.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly the idea is a good one. We’ll dust it off and look at it. I would just remind the honourable member that we have something like 250,000 natural landing strips in northern Ontario. Those who will fit their aircraft with a good set of pontoons will have the use of one of those at very little cost and they’ll enjoy the wilderness aspect that those of us in northern Ontario cherish so much. There isn’t that urgent need to build airstrips all over and to get that air service. If they have an aircraft, one that will carry a good set of floats, then 90 per cent of the province of Ontario is at their command.
Mr. Haggerty: Like a Dash 7?
Item 6 agreed to.
Vote 903 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: This concludes the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the committee of supply reported progress.
STANDING MEMBERS’ SERVICES COMMITTEE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for the adoption of the May 4 report of the standing members’ services committee.
Mr. Speaker: Does any member wish to address himself to this report?
Mr. Warner: I understand also that the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) wishes to make some comments.
The members’ services committee has met several times to deal with the matter. Some people weren’t anticipating this coming up. I don’t know if there is any indication that the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Henderson) will be present this afternoon or not, because it does affect him.
We have been trying, as you know, to have some co-operation among all the members. The members’ services committee has tried to deal with the jurisdiction of the building for one thing and the movement of the secretariats out of the building for another. The assembly office is another matter.
We have been trying to deal with it in as good a working relationship as one could imagine. We have tried to deal with this in what I think is a very reasonable way as members of the assembly, in part removed from the political arena -- if you can ever do that in this setting, which I don’t think you can do entirely -- but we have tried to deal with it in a very amiable fashion. We have tried to be reasonable about it.
What we discovered first was that there was a commitment that the secretariats would move out and therefore the space would become available. We assumed it would become available under the direction of the Speaker for the use of the members and whatever services they require, but that move would take place.
We then were informed that it was going to be a bit longer than we had anticipated. Then the Minister of Government Services informed us that because of the new budget restrictions resulting from the OHIP decision his budget would be cut by $2 million. Therefore he could not guarantee that the secretariats would move out, because there were moneys involved in the moving.
Mr. Deans: It’s hard to believe that he’s really a lightweight in cabinet.
Mr. Warner: It is difficult to believe that that particular minister doesn’t have any influence in the cabinet, nor that he wouldn’t understand the recommendation of the members’ services committee or why it was made so strongly, about the movement of the secretariats -- that it must be effected as quickly as possible. We assumed it would be done during the summer.
One thing posed to the minister was, “You tell us that you are short $2 million now because of the new budget, but you have indicated that if the members were willing to move into the Whitney Block, you would put in a supplementary estimate.” Mr. Henderson agreed. Yes, he would be willing to do that.
I thought it was rather strange that if the members agreed to move into the Whitney Block, he could find money to do that by supplementary estimate. However, if we insisted on the secretariats moving out of the building he couldn’t guarantee the money -- there wouldn’t be any way of finding the money.
It seemed to be inconsistent to me, so we pressed on a bit further and I got the distinct impression that the minister was very reluctant to have the space freed up -- perhaps not so much because of the space being freed up but because it might then automatically come under Mr. Speaker and be removed --
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order if I may, the importance of this debate to all of the members is self evident. I would not want to have the debate proceed at this time given that there doesn’t appear to be a quorum since I am sure the reason for that is the members may not be fully aware of the fact that the debate is currently under way. I wonder if you would check, sir, to see if there is in fact a quorum.
Mr. Speaker called for the quorum bells.
Mr. Warner: I fully realize that members were not aware that this was going to take place right now; we were operating under the assumption that the estimates for Northern Affairs would continue for a bit longer. That is the reason why some of us weren’t here, including the Minister of Government Services, who has had an interest in this matter.
Someone commented to me, “What more can you say about the matter? We have dealt with it 50 million times.” If it has to be 50 million plus one, then it has to be said. The environs of this place are surely for the members as they try to go about their duties as legislators. That first consideration means that, in the view of the members’ services committee, the secretariats should move out of the building and free up the space.
It seems to me pretty straightforward that there are two or three things involved. Firstly, the government should clearly state its intention to adhere to the principle that this building is for the members and their services first and foremost, and that the building will be put to that use. That’s the first thing.
Secondly, the government should tell us when that’s going to happen. When is it that it is going to move the secretariats out? I think those are pretty clear items.
Thirdly, which follows pretty directly, in order for us to carry on in an orderly fashion from there on, all of the building should come under Mr. Speaker. That just follows reasonably and rationally.
Perhaps if we’re able to accomplish that, then we will know that each member of the assembly is going to get equal treatment with respect to the allotment of space and the kinds of services that are available so that each member of the assembly can try to carry out his or her duties in as straightforward and precise a manner as is possible. That’s not going to happen until we get a statement of principle from the government that the secretariats will move out; further, that the building will come under Mr. Speaker, and that that’s going to happen pretty quickly.
Now that the minister is here, perhaps he would care to comment on what seems to be a contradiction on his part when he said earlier that he could find the money by way of supplementary estimates if the members were willing to move into the Whitney Block but, because the Treasurer has cut $2 million out of his budget, it might be a problem for him to accomplish the move of the secretariats out of this building by a specific date. It might happen some time in the future, but he couldn’t make a commitment because the Treasurer has taken $2 million off his budget. That contradiction, I think, needs some explanation from the Minister of Government Services.
Perhaps today, in this debate on our committee recommendation, we could have an indication from the government as to precisely when those secretariats and the assembly office will move out of the building so we can then begin the task of being able to allocate space to members through Mr. Speaker, since the actual allocation of space to members belongs with the Speaker of the assembly. We can also then carry on with our work to make sure that all of the building comes under Mr. Speaker and that we don’t have any further difficulties.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, we spent some time trying to figure out how to get some permanent committee rooms so that when important committee work is going on we don’t have to scrounge around for a room. Our caucus has donated its caucus room on the last two or three occasions for one of the committees. The committee has come down, Hansard has set up its equipment and so on. That’s fine; we’re quite willing to do that. But it’s not exactly the most suitable location. It does make it difficult for people trying to find the committee, for example. It certainly makes it difficult for the government staff who have to transport the equipment around and set it up, and for the Hansard people. There are a lot of important matters that have to be discussed.
Quite frankly, I don’t think that the members’ services committee can do much more useful work until we have solved this particular problem about the secretariats moving out, and secondly the principle of the building coming under Mr. Speaker. Until we have resolved those matters, it really doesn’t make much sense for the committee to continue to sit. That’s why you’ve got a report in front of you. That’s why the members’ services committee reported back to the assembly, because we’re anxious to have this matter resolved. Unless it’s resolved, there isn’t much point in our getting together every Thursday morning. It just frustrates our work, quite frankly.
I’m not sure exactly what other members are going to have to say on this subject, but I do know that some members, the member for St. George in particular and the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall), have been quite concerned and have put forward reasonable arguments to try to convince the government. I think we’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to put forward reasonable arguments.
Maybe we’ve reached a stone wall. I don’t know, but if we have, today is the opportunity for the government to break down the stone wall and explain whether or not they are willing to accept the principle, and secondly, when they’re going to actually make it happen.
I await comments from the Minister of Government Services and any other government members who wish to be involved, as well as the comments from my legislative colleague from St. George and any other members.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I must first apologize. I had thought that the estimates would continue longer than they did, and I ought certainly to have been in the House when this matter was called. From time to time I have felt that I really was going to have to couch my concerns on a matter of privilege, because we have a committee which has been set up by this assembly and it has been frustrated for I would say two years or more in trying to get on with its work.
As my friend from Scarborough-Ellesmere has said, it is useless for this committee to continue to sit when everything we suggest seems to be a matter of concern to somebody else. As you know, we have tried very patiently to get on with this very small segment of our responsibility, which we view as a first step in trying to come to grips with this building.
We understand that the secretariats, by the commitment of the previous Minister of Government Services, would commence leaving this building in February of this year. What the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere said about the attitude of the present Minister of Government Services certainly filled us with a great deal of concern, because the minister seemed to indicate that he was not able to find the money, or might not be able to find the money, to honour the commitment of his predecessor.
I have been informed via the grapevine that perhaps he is going to move these secretariats, but we need to have it now in a stated position in Hansard so we know how to address ourselves to other problems.
There is no question that we need more committee rooms. Mr. Speaker has sat in this House longer than I have, but I would say that since 1973 the momentum of committee work has stepped up considerably and yet we really don’t have any more committee-room space than we had then. It is wrong that we should be trying to bumble along to get space for us to meet. Certainly one of the small committees could use the space of the offices of the Legislative Assembly. Surely the moving of that function cannot be a matter of significant cost to the ministry.
The question of the secretariats and the question of the offices of the Legislative Assembly are really only the tip of the iceberg of the problems of this building. May I say that coming to you and to the minister will be some recommendations with reference to the use of the east door and the north door. Our committee sat and wondered if we should send out a circular “to whom it may concern,” to try to find who bas the jurisdiction.
One of the government members on the committee was concerned about the lack of lighting at the east door, which is, of course, the door which most members have to use if they are sitting in committee after the dinner hour and the House is not sitting. We have been concerned about the fact that the north door is not available to us on Wednesday nights when we have been sitting, and sitting until late hours. We recognize that this may be a matter of concern from the point of view of establishing security and we are prepared to have an answer to that; but at the moment, it is pretty ridiculous to sit in that committee and try to determine to whom we should address our requests.
As Mr. Speaker knows, we have had a concern about the matters of the dining room. That seems to be before the Board of Internal Economy. We have made suggestions, but it is not satisfying to discuss topics and yet feel that we are not a part of the ongoing consideration of these matters, since they do come within our purview. I don’t know what has to be done to make the work of this committee more useful to this House. We come to the point where we have people writing expressing their concerns that some people have been asked to move from the building. I would like to be corrected on this if I am wrong, but as I see it if this is the legislative building, in our view it should come within the purview and the prerogative of Mr. Speaker.
It is disturbing that Government Services is going ahead planning the rest of this building and acting in a vacuum as far as our committee is concerned. We feel this is something we ought to have a share in, since we were established to have input into the matter of members’ services, as the name of the committee implies. It seems to me a little ludicrous that we have to proceed with the point by point reports out of this committee. We start now with the secretariats and the office of the Legislative Assembly. If, as and when that problem is resolved, I suppose then there will have to be a debate and a committee report with reference to room 228, for example. I really do not think it is useful for a committee to have to go piecemeal, a room at a time almost, to bring matters before this assembly.
It seems to me that the principle should somehow be established so that then there may be some orderly progress to enable us to provide the facilities that we see as important. Certainly we cannot do anything about the setting up of permanent committee rooms really until we have the committee rooms; otherwise we are going to find that there will be no committees able to sit. We have to carry on with this very awkward arrangement of committee rooms where there are microphones that fall over and are not permanently fixed. We have to wonder from day to day where we are going to sit.
I say to you, Mr. Speaker, this is a most inefficient way in my view to run a peanut stand. Yet this is the way we are running the assembly in the legislative building in the capital of this province of Ontario. I would have thought that we might have had a little more pride in ensuring that we have committee rooms which are capable of having public debates. As you know, we have had to use the NDP caucus room for some of our landlord and tenant meetings. It is estimated we had 300 people attend in one night, and there was standing room only. This is not the way we should be functioning.
I too want to hear from the Minister of Government Services. I would like to have an answer to our question as to when the secretariats will vacate this building and when the offices of the Legislative Assembly will vacate so that at least we can add one more permanent committee room. Maybe I am wrong and maybe we always did have so many committees, but I don’t think so. It must be an awful lot of work for the Clerk to try to shuffle this deck to find the room and the space for these committees to sit. I am sure he has more important things to do than that with his time.
I too am anxious to hear from the Minister of Government Services and trust that he will at this time be precise in his answers at least to the specifics of this report.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Could I ask the last honourable member, as I heard her say in her last few words the office of the Legislative Assembly, what was she referring to there? That is the way I took her remarks.
Mrs. Campbell: I guess I should have said administration office, but I thought the minister, having sat in, knew what I was talking about, I’m sorry.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I just wanted to clear that up.
First, may I make it quite clear to the House that as previously announced the three policy field secretariats are planning to move in August. That is our plan.
Mrs. Campbell: What date?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I won’t give you a date. I’m saying the month of August.
Mr. Worton: In 1978 or 1979?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: August 1978. That is the present plan if nothing gets in the way. The move is scheduled to be completed at the end of August and work on the Whitney Block is proceeding on schedule. Money has been provided in the Ministry of Government Services budget for this work and we estimate that it will be completed within the budget. Almost the entire ground floor of the Whitney Block will be occupied by the three policy field secretariats. Some space is being retained by the Ministry of Natural Resources for their map and publication services and some space has been provided for the committee of the Legislature chaired by Mr. Breaugh.
There are three or four rooms which are now in reserve and which can be used if there is an urgent need, although it might be appropriate to keep them for some future expansion of a policy field secretariat. Let me clear that up. If there is an urgent need, like we ran into with Mr. Breaugh -- he needed a room for his committee and we put them over there.
With the exception of the policy field secretariats, all of the functions presently contained in the building are closely connected with the operation of government. These include the office of the Premier, the cabinet office, the offices of the Speaker and the Clerk of the House, the office of the Legislative Assembly, the Hansard office, the press gallery, the legislative counsel and the Ministry of Government Services legislative services office.
The space vacated by the policy field secretariats will be made available for the members of the Legislature. When these areas are added to the area presently occupied by the members, it will be possible to provide each member with more space than he presently occupies.
The Ministry of Government Services designers are working on an appropriate way of utilizing space allocated to the members in the best possible way. It is hoped that the proposed changes will be approved by all parties so that work can commence when the various areas are vacated by the policy field secretariats.
A major reallocation of space during the time the building continues to be occupied creates a problem of timing. When certain changes have to be made prior to other changes, the work tends to become drawn out. No funds have been allocated or budgeted for these major alterations in the legislative building. No estimate of cost has been prepared since the design work has not advanced to a point where it can be used for the estimating purpose.
The question of the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere was whether it was possible to have all the responsibility for the building under the Speaker. He also asked when the policy secretariats were moving out. Both he and the member for St. George asked that.
Have I answered that clearly? The present plans call for the policy secretariats to move out in August of this year and over to the first floor of the Whitney Block.
The next point concerned the Wednesday night meetings of the committee. How many Wednesday nights does the committee meet? One, two, three a year? I’m sure that special arrangements can be worked out if that’s a problem. But I don’t think any member of this House would request that the north door be left open every Wednesday night of the year because of the two or three nights a year a committee is going to sit. I don’t think we would want to be that extravagant with the money of the people of Ontario. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that when there is a committee meeting on Wednesday nights your office or the office of whoever is accountable for it at that time could certainly make arrangements to see that the north door is open, if that’s a must.
Both members made some comments with respect to the complete building coming under the Speaker. At this time, I would reject that proposal. The Minister of Government Services is looking at office space for 125 members. The Minister of Government Services is convinced that all members elected to this Legislature are entitled to an office in this building. As I brought to the attention of the members’ services committee a few weeks ago -- it’s too bad the chairman of the committee was not there that morning; we did have a very good debate.
Mrs. Campbell: I’ve read it.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I regret she was not there because we did. I brought out the point about the problems we are faced with in this building. I did have the opportunity to view a map that was presented to the committee a week or two previous to that. That map did not leave sufficient space for the operation of the assembly.
As I mentioned, I am convinced that the press, Hansard, and the legislative counsel are part of the operation of this assembly. I repeat that I want all members to be accommodated in this building. As it stands now, there are not 125 offices available in this building to give the members the size of an office that was recommended or that I believe members are entitled to.
I suggest that the government doesn’t plan on turning over the complete building to the Speaker. The government doesn’t plan on turning over any of the offices held by the government or the government staff. We are certainly ready to continue with shared accommodation, with the Speaker taking care of the necessary staff for the operation of this assembly and being in charge of the offices of the opposition members. At this point, that is as far as I’m ready to commit the government.
I don’t believe it’s completely in order in debating a report like this, but I would be glad to answer one or two questions with the Speaker’s consent. Before I do that, I have a report here on all of the other provinces in Canada. I find there are two of them in which Mr. Speaker has control of the legislative buildings. There are others where Mr. Speaker has control of the legislature and the corridors leading to it. But, all in all of the 10 provinces, there are two where Mr. Speaker has complete control.
Mr. Warner: What about the federal government in Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks at this time, we as the government don’t plan on turning over the offices that we or our staff have, to you.
Mr. Young: Could I ask a question for clarification?
The minister mentioned that he wants space in this building for the 125 members, but it doesn’t seem to me that space is needed for the 125 members. We’re not expecting to move the cabinet ministers of this province out of their luxurious apartments. They’re there and they’re established. They have quarters which are adequate for them and would be adequate for three or four other ordinary members. We don’t need 125 accommodations here but just for the members who are not in the cabinet. That cuts down the requirement quite considerably.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to cause a dialogue but with your consent I would answer the question. I’m sure the honourable member has been around exactly the same length of time as I have been. Over those years, I am sure that he has met with --
Mr. Deans: He has worn so much better.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, I would have to admit to that. He has worn very well.
Mr. Deans: So much better.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: He has worn very well, in fact, excellently. The political party with which he has been associated really hasn’t damaged his looks one particle. In fact, they’ve improved with age, the same as the minister’s. We would be in agreement with that.
Mr. Deans: That’s true. You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. I’m surprised you do not have more weight in the cabinet.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m not too concerned about that. That really isn’t a concern of the minister.
Mr. Deans: You should concern yourself with it.
Mr. Warner: He’s got the honour.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Didn’t you hear the Minister of Northern Affairs and his comments?
Mr. Warner: He’s got power.
Mr. Deans: He’s got a heck of a lot more weight than you’ve got.
Mr. Warner: Anybody that can drive fire engines around from one place to another --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There’s a bit of a challenge there, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is so small I can’t even see him.
Mr. Deans: He’s just the right size to get the minister off the track,
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Is he there?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Deans: Address yourself to the Speaker, please.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I have been trying to do that, but some of the other members are not addressing themselves to you. I have been watching all the time.
Mr. Speaker, I am responding to the member for Yorkview.
Mr. Deans: Why are you delaying your answer so long? Why don’t you get on with it?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I am trying to respond to the complete assembly. We are in the Ontario Legislature, and there are other members --
Mr. Deans: I know what you are doing.
You are waiting for someone to write the answer for you.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Wentworth doesn’t have the floor.
Mr. Deans: I don’t even want it.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We, as the government, once again believe that all members are entitled to an office in this building; it’s as simple as that.
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, does that mean then that the minister is thinking in terms of cutting down office space as far as the cabinet ministers are concerned? I can’t see how they can transfer the space they now occupy into this building and still leave space for others. I agree it might be desirable, and if the minister would give a cabinet minister a space such as I occupy, Godspeed to him, that would be wonderful, but I hardly think that would suit the dignity of a cabinet minister. This minister should give them a bit more space, because one of these days we are going to be in that cabinet and we will want a bit more space than I am talking about now.
An hon. member: Don’t hold your breath for that.
Mr. Young: For a Tory member, perhaps it’s enough; but New Democratic cabinet ministers of the future are going to need more space than I occupy now at least. Perhaps the minister could tell us something of the plans in this regard. Does this mean he is going to squeeze down the square footage which present cabinet ministers occupy in order to get them into this building and still leave space for the rest of us?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member’s question, there is no intention of cutting down the size of the office for the private members.
Mr. Warner: We didn’t ask you that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I know, but I want to go on to that. The ministers may have to take a smaller office to have an office here in this building. They may have to. My staff have not got far enough. I don’t mind telling you, Mr. Speaker, and the member for St. George, that I did arrange this morning with Mr. Callfas, the clerk of the committee, to be available at 10 o’clock on Thursday morning, June 22.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s the day before we wind up.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: At that time I would hope to be able to present a proposal that my staff have put together. I have got certain information from the leaders of the opposition parties as to the needs and more information is coming. At that time I hope to have plans to present to the legislative committee.
I might say, Mr. Speaker, that I have a letter from you requesting certain information. As I told you, I am preparing a personal reply to you; it’s not a reply from the staff. The Speaker is as interested in this building as any of the rest of the members opposite. He has certainly contacted my predecessor and he has contacted me by letter. I haven’t responded, but I have told Mr. Speaker that I will be responding to him.
It is not easy to find out what we need --
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, yes! To find out what the government needs.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, there are slightly more than 100 offices in this building for 125 members. There are not 125 offices. Mr. Speaker is aware of that and anybody who wants to look at the plans will be well aware of it.
My concern is that the private members should have the appropriate accommodation.
Mr. Speaker: We are getting away off track here. There is a motion for the adoption of a report of the standing members’ services committee. Normally, any member who wishes to speak will have an opportunity to do so and the minister can wind up. We have given a little more latitude in this instance. I think if any member still wishes to speak who has not already spoken, I will recognize him.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, before proceeding, if I might say one more word: I have no objection to the resolution before us. It is right down the line with what we are planning. You suggest moving out the three policy secretariats, I have made it clear today that it is our plan to do that during the month of August.
Mrs. Campbell: On a point of order, I don’t understand your position. If I may have clarification -- the minister has raised in his response a series of questions -- at least in my mind -- and I would suspect in the minds of other members of the committee. Is Mr. Speaker not going to permit us to address ourselves to the questions which the minister raised in his own statement? Otherwise, we are just spinning our wheels again.
Mr. Speaker: This isn’t really a committee. We are sitting here in the House, where the motion before the House is for the adoption of a report submitted to the House by a committee, in this case the standing members’ services committee. The normal procedure is that you allow every member who wishes to speak to the motion to do so --
Mrs. Campbell: I am not trying to cut it off.
Mr. Speaker: -- and if you want to give yourselves unanimous consent to have a free-wheeling debate on this, it may establish a very dangerous precedent.
Mr. Warner: Could I speak to the point of order? I appreciate your remarks.
The report from the committee has been brought in, it has been dealt with and the minister has stated his position rather clearly on both positions. When the committee sits again as a committee it can deal with the remarks made by the minister and try to carry on from there.
Perhaps we can deal with the matter of principle that the minister has raised. I think that’s why my colleague from St. George rose; because the minister raised a matter of principle where there seems to be a division between this side and the other side of the House. Perhaps when the members’ services committee sits again we can deal with that matter of principle and attempt to resolve the basic problem of the building coming under Mr. Speaker.
I would be quite happy to have that happen on Thursday of this week.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Before you decide, on Thursday of this week I will be 300 miles from here.
Mr. Warner: That’s not far enough.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister has already spoken.
Mr. Martel: I just arrived from yet another committee and I want to rap a little bit with the minister and with the Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: You are not going to rap with the minister, the minister has risen twice now.
Mr. Martel: Well I said and with the Speaker, I hope I will be allowed to discuss this motion that is before the House.
Mr. Speaker: Feel free to do so.
Mr. Martel: I said I was going to rap with the minister and with you about this building for a few moments.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’d like to rap you a couple.
Mr. Martel: And the Minister of Industry and Tourism as well. Is it tourism and information now, or has it changed again?
Mr. Speaker: Are you going to talk about the report that is before us?
Mr. Martel: I sure hope so, I have been speaking on it for about three years now. I well recall a debate which occurred in this Legislature not more than five or six weeks ago when we were discussing this very matter, and the member for London South (Mr. Walker) said on that occasion that a private member’s bill dealing with the control of the Legislature and who would have adequate space was being presented too soon. He said it was premature for such a private member’s bill dealing with the Legislature to come here.
I challenged the member for London South at that time to surrender his palatial suite to other members of the Legislature, and, of course the member chose not to respond. After he had his say about it being premature, he disappeared.
I’m not sure, but I think on that day I recall that the member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth) also spoke. He said with such a bill and a motion as we have before us -- I think he said we had been served well. I guess from the lofty heights of -- where is it, Grosvenor Street? -- which he occupied for some time, and his palatial suite up on the fourth floor, one can well make those comments.
It’s one of the reasons we on this side of the House have had to take the type of position we’ve taken in the last six to eight months about the whole of this Legislature. The point is that until the Speaker is in firm control the opposition members always get short shrift.
I agree the present minister might try to alter things, but with the conditions we’re faced with today -- and I say this to my friend, the minister -- the situation wouldn’t be so disastrous if things had been different. If the fairness he speaks about had applied over the years, the situation wouldn’t be so obviously distorted as is presently the case. For that reason, we, in the last six to eight months, have started to try to pressure the government into a sense of fairness.
This will never occur until Mr. Speaker is in charge of the building. With the greatest respect to my friend, the minister who occupies that ministry now, that ministry is like musical chairs. We go through ministers there almost a dime a dozen.
He wants to hang on to that --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There’s not that many.
Mr. Martel: Not that many -- but close.
Mr. Warner: That’s an inflated price.
Mr. Martel: Some of the decisions out of that ministry which apply to the rest of us have not been very fair at all. In fact, they just don’t take into consideration the opposition parties. As one of your officials said, “We always look after our own members first.” That’s a true civil servant, mind you.
I suggest to you that unless the Speaker gets control of the building, nothing will change. This minister might try to influence change but, by golly, one’s not sure that come August he might not have moved off to another portfolio and the government might put the member for London South in.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not over there.
Mr. Martel: You might put Gordon Walker in.
Mr. Warner: Can you imagine?
Mr. Martel: But Gordon Walker says it’s premature. Could you imagine what would happen to the plan of the present minister if someone like the member for London South were ever to occupy the Ministry of Government Services?
Mr. Warner: Can you imagine?
Mr. Martel: My God.
Mr. Warner: What a disaster.
Mr. Martel: He’d put us in the basement -- because anything else is premature.
Mr. MacBeth: Hear, hear.
Mr. Martel: My friend who’s just spoken had his day and he didn’t alter it for us either. I wish you had, John. You had some clout in those days.
But fairness just isn’t here, and my friend, the Speaker, knows that. I believe on the last vote, he declined from voting. In fact, he was going to oppose the bill that was presented because he didn’t rise in his place as the rest of them did on being summoned to rise. Five or six of the Conservative members did rise on that occasion -- to their credit.
We’re lucky this afternoon. We have three cabinet ministers here. If they were to use some influence we might get out of this problem. We might see something called fairness develop. I presume with the present minister that could occur, but I suspect with some pressure they might want to oust him because he’s going to make it somewhat better.
Removing the three ministries and, talking about the other section of the motion, the administration office, will really not completely resolve the situation or get us out of the problems in this building.
Mrs. Campbell: Especially when he says he won’t get money to relocate people within the building when the secretariats move out.
Mr. Martel: We will still be at loggerheads. Maybe the Tories would like to change caucus rooms with us?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You will never have our caucus room.
Mr. Martel: Not for that reason, but we’re tired of the pillars because we can’t see around them. Maybe you Tories can see around corners.
Mr. M. Davidson: They can see through them.
Mr. Martel: Getting rid of those three offices and getting rid of the people who work under the Legislative Assembly Act and the offices they hold now will really not resolve the problems confronting this Legislature.
Mrs. Campbell: But they will be a start.
Mr. Martel: It’s just the beginning. If my friend, the minister, had been around a week and a half ago, the afternoon we had one Mr. Jackson with his famous report in committee, he would have seen that members were standing. They couldn’t find room. There was insufficient room for the members of the Legislature to get in to the committee. There was insufficient room for the press. There was insufficient room for any of the citizens of Ontario who wanted to come in to watch that.
The same applied during the Health debate. There was simply no room. We have more room up here. There was no room during the Health mess that went on for members of the press and for members of the Legislature to get in. There was insufficient room for the members of the Legislature to sit down there.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Bring them up here.
Mr. Martel: We might have, but this place was also occupied. It’s a case of having the funding to renovate the committee rooms as well so that we can have adequate committee rooms which to this date we don’t have. Can you imagine in 1978 in Ontario, Mr. Speaker, having committees of this Legislature, who, when witnesses come before them have insufficient room for the witnesses and the members of the Legislature to go to the committee room? What’s that saying about the goings on in the state of Denmark? It’s just totally ludicrous.
As I say, while my friends, the member for Humber or the member for London South might agree that this grand old building has served us, she’s not serving us well now. If he was at one of those exchanges within the past three or four weeks, I say to my friend from Humber he would know that what I said in the last debate on this was that the existing committee rooms are not large enough. They don’t meet the needs.
They’re crazy from the point of view if he were also there -- and there were great numbers there -- that the microphones continued to fall on the floor. As somebody kicked a wire that was taped to the floor, a mike would fall off. People had their books on the floor beside them as they tried to look at material pertaining to what was going on in those discussions. There was no place for witnesses or members of the civil service to have their material before them. Some of it was on the floor.
We should have put the minister on the floor maybe for openers. That wouldn’t last very long. I suspect if my friend, the minister, had on occasion to sit on the floor with his books beside him and put a mike down there with him, then we would see the committee rooms improved.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will be on the floor.
Mr. Martel: Yes, but you’re not on the floor yet.
Mr. Gregory: He was up on the scaffolding a minute ago.
Mr. Martel: I could tell you about the scaffolding last week too. I thought they’d have the Minister of Labour in here because of the way that thing was erected. Be that as it may, until the jurisdiction for committee rooms comes under the Speaker, we will have that intolerable situation, which surely isn’t just demeaning to members of the opposition parties. It must also be demeaning to the government to have committee rooms that are not large enough, to have microphones falling over, to have people standing around or sitting on the floor or trying to follow debates with material on their knees. It is a disgrace that this can prevail.
The same can be said with respect to caucus rooms. My friend the minister says we will never get to that caucus room. I don’t want that particular caucus room, but I think we are entitled to a caucus room that is adequate to meet our needs as is obviously being satisfied by the space that has been allocated to the Tory party.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You won’t need nearly as much space after the next election.
Mr. Martel: Why doesn’t the government call it? Then we’ll find out. Either that or the minister is moving after the next election.
It has been downhill. The minister will recall that when I came in here there were only seven of us. That was in the days when the Tories had 78 and 80 members. Oh, for the good old days. But they ain’t there.
Mr. Worton: They’re praying like hell that they’ll come back.
Mr. Martel: They’re going to have to pray a lot harder.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We will return.
Mr. Martel: MacArthur said he was going to return after he was ousted from his great --
Mr. Nixon: The Tories had more in 1943 than they have now.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Great days!
Mr. Martel: Seriously, Mr. Speaker, I say to my Tory friends, why is it that their caucus should -- that is where the unfairness comes in. If the Tories had their way, and they were short of caucus space now, this minister would find it. He sure as hell would -- and in a hurry.
Mr. Nixon: Aren’t you in that beautiful big air-conditioned caucus room downstairs? The one we had for a while?
Mr. Martel: Yes, the one the Liberals had for a while. The one with all the pillars in it.
Mr. Nixon: Well, we’ll remove them sometime.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You can’t see through them?
Mr. Martel: Could we remove the pillars?
Mr. Nixon: I used to find those pillars were handy when we were down there.
Mr. Martel: For sleeping?
Mr. Nixon: We could sit behind them.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: One could have a little snooze. They might be handy for that purpose or the morning after the night before --
Mr. Nixon: I wouldn’t know about that.
Mr. Martel: -- but when we have a delegation in, or if only the caucus and the staff are all there, there is simply insufficient room. If the Tories want to change, the minister might say, “We’ve had it for a long time, and we’re always fair-minded.” But, as the member for London South says “we are premature in wanting an adequate facility. The committee rooms are lousy, the caucus rooms are lousy, and there was a provisional order which said the minister would make an announcement and indicate what the government is going to do with respect to the Speaker having charge of the building. The minister hasn’t done that yet.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Oh yes, I did. You are behind the times, Elie.
Mr. Worton: Where is your caucus room, Lorne?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order. Only the member for Sudbury East has the floor. He may continue.
Mr. Martel: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: We’re just trying to improve the quality of the debate.
Mr. Martel: If that were the case, I would suggest that my friend refrain.
Mr. Nixon: Tell us about your office.
Mr. Martel: I don’t want to talk about my office; it’s a palatial suite.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Do you have an office up in your riding?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Yes, the office in my riding is a little bigger than the one I have here. It doesn’t compare to the minister’s, mind you. But I want to talk about the office space that I am told -- in fact, we saw it; the member for St. George will recall that we were down in the Premier’s end. It’s crazy; he had people working in an old vault. That says something, doesn’t it? People working in an old vault.
Mr. Nixon: They have Kelly in there.
Mr. Martel: Kelly? He’s counting the money. I exclude Kelly; he is only in there when the new supply comes in. He tabulates it carefully and then he leaves. It is the secretaries who have to have work there that I’m thinking about. Imagine having to work under those conditions. It says something again about the government, and even about the Premier, that he would allow people to work under those conditions. The member for Mississauga East was with us on that great tour when we went to see him. On both sides, we saw people working in vaults.
They had brightened it up and painted it a nice yellow. But can you imagine people working without proper lighting and without proper air conditioning, day in and day out under those conditions? That says something about this government and the people who work for the members of this Legislature that we would even tolerate such conditions.
One has to go back to the Camp report which said that although the government continues to cry poor mouth, it nonetheless was able to find money for Ontario Place and for the Hydro building; yet for the building housing the members of the Legislature it was able to find nothing.
Mr. Worton: Put the Lieutenant Governor down in the Hydro building.
Mr. Martel: Yes, we could send govie down there. We could hearken back to the old days. Who was it sold the Lieutenant Governor’s residence?
Mr. Nixon: Harry Walker.
Mr. Worton: Chorley Park.
Mr. Nixon: A very wise move it was. They sold all the limousines at the same time.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: We had a facility for the Lieutenant Governor but the Liberals were found wanting once more and sold it.
Mr. Nixon: I am sure you would have supported it, being a well-known royalist.
Mr. Martel: Yes. Don’t insult me. There is another space -- 7,000 square feet. That is 4,000 square feet less than either the Liberals or the New Democrats have that she has. It houses the Lieutenant Governor once in a while.
Mr. Nixon: Very proper.
Mr. Martel: There must be close to 80 members and assistants and what not in the Liberal caucus. If you take the total ballpark figures, there are roughly the same in ours. We have 4,000 square feet less than the Lieutenant Governor has.
It says something that moneys can be found for everything else except to fix up this building to make it adequate for members, not only, as I say, in respect to caucus rooms, but particularly in view of the members’ offices. Can you imagine a secretary or an assistant or a researcher sitting in the middle, back in the north wing where we have had to purchase lamps because the testing done in this Legislature by people who are in the know indicates that the lighting is harmful to the eyes, particularly of the assistants and research people who work back there constantly?
Mr. Worton: Back in and back out.
Mr. Martel: There is something wrong. We can joke about it, but there is something wrong when we have to do that sort of thing. Yet we are being forced to do it because the conditions are so deplorable. Nothing ever changes.
The thing that is strange is that it never happens to those people in the civil service. I have found in my 10 years plus here that the members of the Legislature take a back seat to everything, except cabinet ministers who come first. I am not even sure about that. Maybe it is the deputy ministers who come first, then the cabinet ministers, then all the civil servants and, finally, the back-benchers.
I guess the reason the Conservative back-benchers don’t say anything is that they always have hope they will have the laying-on-of-hands ceremony by the Premier. Therefore, they don’t want to rock the boat for fear that they might jeopardize their position.
Mr. Gregory: You will never have that worry.
Mr. Martel: I said before you came that I recall the days when there were seven of us around here. I think you should count them now.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You were not here then.
Mr. Martel: I came in after that election. We changed things.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You were not here.
Mr. Martel: I well recall that there were seven. That is vastly different. I remember 1971 too when you had 78 members.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Great days.
Mr. Martel: That’s right. You long for them.
Mr. Samis: You’ll never see them again, Lorne.
Mr. Warner: Those days are gone.
Mr. Martel: The Tory back-benchers really don’t complain as much as we do because, although substandard compared to the minister --
Mr. Warner: They get a little better treatment.
Mrs. Campbell: They get pretty good-sized offices.
Mr. Martel: -- they’re a great deal better off than the opposition members, of course. That’s why, when we come to vote on this, I suppose that as they did four or five weeks ago when they opposed the private member’s bill -- I’m not sure, they might vote against this as well. It’s premature to expect all members to be treated equally around this place. It depends on how you measure it.
Mr. Gregory: Some are more equal than others.
Mr. Martel: There are some members who are more equal than others, Bud.
Mr. Gregory: Correct.
Mr. Martel: And they all sit on that side of the House. That’s why we have to take that piece of legislation and we’ve got to put the whole of the Legislature under the Speaker. I suspect that’s the only time we’re going to see any equality around here. That’s why the Tories resist it. I don’t think the Speaker has any intention of reducing the services the Tories have. He might just bring everyone else up to that standard. If the Tories are opposed to that, they should tell us.
Mr. Grande: The Tories are philosophically opposed to that.
Mr. Warner: The minister is opposed.
Mr. Martel: I don’t think the situation can go on and I don’t really think it will change -- I say this in all seriousness -- until there’s an order in council which comes from the Premier which says that the entire building will come under the jurisdiction of the Speaker.
How do we handle the services? Certainly there should be no duplication of staff. We just hire those people who are presently doing it to look after the buildings, to make sure it stands up, to make sure it’s clean, to make sure all of what goes on in maintenance is done without duplication. The Speaker would become responsible for the improvements that are necessary in (a) office allocation, (b) the quality of the committee rooms themselves, and (c) this Legislature.
Something that has bothered me for some time is those television cameras. It was my understanding, having sat on that committee which brought in the first bill, the cameras up there were just supposed to be a temporary arrangement -- we were supposed to put in something more permanent and of better quality. All we’re doing is adding to the cameras. We started with four; I think we now have seven. I’m sure it’s really of no value to most of us that they’re there. It’s a problem.
This room itself needs improvement -- that’s one of the first areas -- with different lighting that will not be as harmful to everyone’s eyes. I don’t know if it’s harmful, but certainly when they’re on for the one hour all of us find the glare a bit offensive. If the Speaker had the total control and the budget to do the type of job he would do, probably with assistance from the members’ services committee -- and maybe the wisdom of the Board of Internal Economy could be sought in these matters -- we could have a Legislature which would serve the needs in 1978.
As long as it remains under Government Services, that will not occur. That’s no reflection on this minister because I believe he wants the changes. The building has reached this point because Government Services has not given it the priority it needs.
I hearken back again to Camp who wrote his initial report in 1971 or 1972. He made the point then that although people will scream about money, in those years they were in fact building Hydro, they were building Ontario Place, they were renovating Osgoode Hall and the St. Lawrence Market area.
Funds could be found by the civil service for all of that, but never have there been funds found for this building. They were insufficient then -- that was the excuse given to Camp. From then to now we’re still short of funds. It will always be short. The place that gets short shrift all the time is this building, and that’s what is nuts about it. This is supposed to be the centre of the government of Ontario and it’s supposed to be for the members who serve in this Legislature. Why it is that the government can find money for everything else except improvements for this building is beyond me. These aren’t the days of Leslie Frost when the House used to sit for 10 weeks and that was it.
Mr. Nixon: He spent a million dollars digging out the cellar.
Mr. Martel: When Leslie Frost was here.
Mr. Nixon: No, no.
An hon. member: To build a restaurant.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Oh, yes, sure. We had to have a restaurant that was big enough to serve us. They’ve expanded and now we need some catering in it; some decent service. A little decent food would help.
But the minister found money for everything else so, surely, he’s got to find money for this. There are decent rooms across the way for committee hearings. Why aren’t there decent facilities in here which are adequate for committee hearings?
As I was saying, this isn’t a 10-week operation any more. Members work in this building almost year-round now. We already have four select committees coming before us this summer. I understand there could well be three standing committees sitting too. It’s just nuts that we would provide adequate facilities somewhere else but in this, the building for the government of Ontario, it should be allowed to go this route.
I say to you that the time has come, Mr. Speaker, when you get control of the building.
Mr. Worton: It has been a long time.
Mr. Martel: It’s been a long time coming and I guess it will take another couple of private member’s bills because the government still doesn’t want to say, although it’s in rule 43, I believe, of the provisional orders, where it indicated over a year ago it would announce its intentions with respect to this building. I say with the greatest of respect to my friend the minister, that he should be encouraging the Premier.
Mr. Warner: He’s not. He’s against it.
Mr. Martel: I realize that and I can’t understand why. He should be encouraging the Premier to turn this building over to the Speaker and get out from underneath. He shouldn’t have to worry about this building. He’s got enough to worry about.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I am worrying about your room.
Mr. Martel: It has been the people before the minister who have kept us there.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, they didn’t keep you there.
Mr. Martel: And I say to the minister that the chances of that occurring under the Speaker or his assistants would change rather dramatically because they are fair men and they would change it to make it equal.
So I say to the minister he should be saying: “I don’t need the hassle of this building. I’ve got enough to look after in the rest of the province and I want this building to be turned over to Mr. Speaker. Let him accept the responsibility. Let him provide the space. We’ll just move all the civil servants out and we’ll turn the building over to the Speaker and we’ll provide the services as the Speaker requests them.”
Maybe that way then we’d see this building brought up to the standard it should be where we, in fact, have the seat of government.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Are there any other members who wish to speak to this motion?
Mrs. Campbell has moved the adoption of the report of the standing members’ services committee. Shall the motion carry?
All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “ayes” have it.
Motion agreed to.
Mrs. Campbell: The “ayes” have it?
Mr. Martel: My God, it’s so unusual.
Mr. J. Reed: It could not have been that critical.
Mr. Martel: Do you realize what just happened to you, Lorne?
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Consideration of the fourth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The members of the select committee on the Ombudsman worked very hard in putting together this report which we consider to be a rather important document in the course of events.
It was, in my opinion and in the opinion of members of the committee, unfortunate that at the time the Legislature passed the Ombudsman Act, there was no clear and definitive statement or explanation of what role the Ombudsman was to play in the system of government that we have in Ontario. I think that in many ways we can trace back to that point any of the growing pains that the institution has suffered in this province in the past two and a half years.
One of the most important elements arising out of the select committee’s report that I would like to underline for this Legislature’s attention is the committee’s stated intention during its next round of meetings to undertake the formulation of rules for the guidance of the Ombudsman in the performance of his function. The committee intends that these rules will include definitions and interpretations and that they will provide an explanation as to how the Ombudsman’s institution should function, fit into and relate to our system of government in the province of Ontario.
The committee, when it enters this process this summer, will be involved in an open process. The rules will be formulated in a very open fashion, Mr. Speaker, and it is the intention of the committee to invite and encourage the participation of members of this Legislature and the Ombudsman in the formulation of those rules, and I would trust that a large number of my colleagues in the Legislature who have some interest in the Ombudsman’s institution will come before the committee and help us in formulating those rules.
The only other matter I wanted to reference today is one dealing with one of the two recommendations that the committee has put before the House in this report. The committee’s second recommendation is as follows: “It therefore again recommends that its order of reference be amended to provide that it receive and consider the estimates of the Ombudsman and report thereon to the Legislature with such recommendations as the committee deems appropriate.”
The words “therefore again” are included in that recommendation because this is the third time the select committee has brought this recommendation to the Legislature. This recommendation will be found in the second, third and fourth reports of the select committee on the Ombudsman, and frankly, I would hope that it will not be found in the fifth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman. It’s unfortunate that the government House leader is not in the chamber to respond to this recommendation, as it is a very important recommendation and I would hope that someone on the benches opposite would be in a position to make some comment today on it.
It is to me, as a private member of this Legislature, both an undesirable and to some extent offensive process that the Ombudsman’s budget should be determined by a board that is dominated by cabinet ministers behind closed doors. I think it’s terribly important for the Ombudsman’s institution that that budgetary procedure be done in a public and open format, and I think that therefore this is an extremely important recommendation and we cannot continue to allow the budget of the Ombudsman to be determined in the way it’s determined today.
There are a number of reasons other than the one I have just mentioned for holding that position, and those are arguments we have gone through a number of times both in the Legislature and in committees, and I don’t intend to take any further time today discussing those because the argument has been well made.
The final thing I would like to say to the government House leader if he were here is that if some effort is not made by the government House leader, by the government or by the Board of Internal Economy, to explain to this committee of the Legislature why it is so terribly inappropriate to accept this recommendation or why it is so terribly necessary to continue ignoring this recommendation, the committee will again have to deal with this matter when it sits during the summer.
Without wanting to predetermine the matter, I would think it might well be the committee’s opinion and it would certainly be my opinion that the select committee should then make a special report to this Legislature making reference to no matter other than this particular recommendation; and that at the time of that report, that recommendation will come to a vote in the Legislature. I think it would indeed be unfortunate if the select committee were put in a position where it had to go, as it were, above the head of the government House leader, the government, or the Board of Internal Economy to the Legislature to demand that this situation, which at least I think is incorrect, should be rectified.
Mr. Lawlor: I wanted to say a few words today on this report, which is a pivotal and central report in the ongoing functioning and role of the Ombudsman in this province. I think it will be generally agreed that it is a fairly crucial office which has had to date certain thorny features, so much so that it was requisite that a select committee give a further canvassing of this particular field and seek to gain some particular insights into how it may perhaps more harmoniously function.
I have been very disappointed indeed in the reception by the press of our report. I think it has been just about wholly misconstrued. Sometimes I wonder if those who write can read -- I also wonder whether those who read can write. But in any event, the whole tenor of the comments from the press, thus far at least, has been saying almost diametrically opposite what we intended. Surely that is something that cannot be allowed to go by either unnoticed or not cried out against. That is why I am standing here.
As we put in our report, our intention was to seek some kind of intelligent reconciliation, an ongoing understanding between the two offices. Because nowhere else in the world have such rubs and frictions developed, and the problem is how did it come to pass? The first answer was because we didn’t know what we were doing initially. We all sprinkled a little baptismal water on the head of the newborn infant, sanctimoniously raised our hands to heaven and said, “Aren’t we fine fellows and aren’t we all doing excellent things on behalf of the people”? without having a thorough survey of what the whole matter was about. In that way, there was a certain blindness present.
Secondly, out of that has developed a number of alterations, misunderstandings, stupid frictions, as many of these things often are; gratings against one another which neither party I suppose intended, but to which both managed to add their little bit of unction. So the office had come into a condition where a report of this kind appears to be necessary.
We say in the report that on both sides there are faults, blindnesses, inadequacies, unwillingness to respond, a lack of the appreciation of the problems of the other guy -- all the silly things that can cause great institutions to break down. We said on our side, mea culpa, we have failed; first of all because we didn’t give it a proper surveyance to start with and, secondly, because we carry over into our relationships with this transcendent authority the very sort of antagonism that we either really or artificially from time to time engender in this body.
Parliaments are bodies based upon adversarial relationships where a pretended or real hostility actually exists with respect to the ongoing debate. This is generated, this is affirmed, this is recognized and this is sanctioned. But that’s not the position of the Ombudsman. It can’t be if it’s to function at all. Some of us get a certain amount of gratification out of the sheer aggression that constantly ensues. It relieves nerves and tensions. You can go out and talk to your family in an almost half-human fashion. Otherwise, all this repressed violence wouldn’t possibly be good. But there’s no role for repressed violence vis-à-vis the Ombudsman’s office.
There’s this habitual state of mind that we have in terms of antagonisms and stirring up difficulties and we carry that over. This is particularly vehement and particularly harmful in terms of cabinet ministers who, in jealousy of their own prerogatives and office, take an offensive, a defensive, a contestation stance over against any criticism from any quarter, including this fairly neutral body of gentlemen and surrounding individuals vis-à-vis his office. That has been exacerbated to the point where it has become almost childish. It has to cease.
This report says our deportment, our attitude, our appreciation and that of cabinet ministers have to alter because they don’t recognize the tenor, direction and meaning of this particular office. On the other side of the fence, so too should the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman follows the general capitalistic ethos of the Globe and Mail editorial I saw recently, where everything under the world is a warfare, where knives are out constantly, where we war not only in the night, but in the noontime, where everyone fights everyone else because if we fight one another hard enough and the blood flows in sufficient abundance, somehow truth will emerge at the end of the rivulet.
What bloody nonsense! And I mean bloody. Nothing in this particular context, at least of any benefit to anybody concerned, will emerge out of that particular attitude of adversarial relationship. I haven’t got the editorial in front of me today, but the Globe says that if an Ombudsman just happened to do anything to win our affections, he would be inadmissible. He cannot help but be an outsider and at logger-heads with this assembly. That’s his function, they say.
I say to them they wholly misunderstand the function. That is not the way the Ombudsman operates in Sweden. Since 1809, that office has developed and it has had a slow, testing evolution. The greatest care and delicacy are exercised on both sides. That is the only way, which they think and which they have tested, that the Ombudsman can adequately function in any jurisdiction, through a circumspection, a conservation and a real care for the various functions performed and the interrelationships of the two offices. No one in authority in Sweden would dream of going out of his way to castigate or to call in question or, simply for the heightened blood pressure, to oppose the Ombudsman’s position, as seems to be commonplace in this assembly.
The Ombudsman on his side -- and in Denmark and in every other jurisdiction -- goes about his job with tact, diplomacy and a sense of the rather thin-skinned, if you will, position of people in elected office. We are highly sensitive and thick-skinned, for all the thickness of our epidermae. Sometimes you don’t think you could ever get through it, not with a Bowie knife, but despite all that the sensitivities are a very curious thing. Ought those sensitivities to be respected? I would think so. We are not children of darkness. We’ll accept in the case of the Ombudsman an enormous independence. We consider the body autonomous but beholden -- and they’re not contradictory terms. We have failed in that ongoing relationship on this side of the House in so far as we have not had an ongoing formal or informal, off-the-cuff or ritualized colloquy, an ongoing dialogue in a way that applies to no other office.
Some damn fool sitting on that particular select committee has written in a section here that has been reported and quoted in all the editorials. They talk of perfumed prose. They seem to think that in order to make a point, if the rhetoric is perhaps a little heightened in order to precisely make that point, this is questionable in the otherwise terribly commonplace and unutterably prosaic precincts of this particularly halting and inarticulate assembly.
I’ll read this section first: “As possible with no other office, however independent by statute, the relationship between the Ombudsman and Parliament is perforce and necessarily trusting. It is a unique and delicate flower in any democratic system and its preservation and growth requires almost infinite and endless care.” That’s a pretty good paragraph except for the “delicate flower” business. If I had anything to do with it I would have said that it may be the “rank ailanthus in the April dooryard.” That’s a quotation from T. S. Eliot.
I would simply and without rhetoric let the thing go at that, without pushing the issue. Stereotyped as it may be, delicate flowers are delicate. This particular function we tried to impress upon this assembly -- and it is contained in our report -- is a unique one, totally different from anything else that we have got. It exercises independence, and yet it must work in very close co-operation with the members of the House who, all of us, perform more or less the same function as the Ombudsman’s office.
Incidental to that, my feeling is that we as members don’t half often enough refer cases to the Ombudsman. We tend backwardly to retain, to the last squeezing ounce, the case in our own hands, just in case we miraculously might solve it; whereas at an earlier date, the Ombudsman, who has these very wide investigatory powers, who has access to government files and to the government itself in a way, without a Freedom of Information Act which we do not have and we will not have, he might be brought in at an earlier time in a completely open and trusting way. I am sure the Ombudsman on his side of the fence would welcome that more open approach to the thing.
There is a fundamental trust lacking. That may be papered over. That may even be receding. I hope, as a result of our report, it will wholly disappear. We cannot function on that basis with this particular office, whatever one may do with any other government agency that exists. So apportioning the blame on both sides, although I hate to use that word, we say, “All right. Let that be the case. Let the river run. But we will seek to build bridges and we will recognize the necessity therefrom.” We would ask the Ombudsman’s office to meet us at least halfway, although we are prepared to go further, and set up an ongoing accommodation between the two offices which will not bring about a great expense of public moneys in terms of any number of committees that are still sitting and still debating -- the whole thing is in a hazardous condition with respect to the Pickering situation and what not.
I want to go on record as saying that I have no objection whatsoever -- as a matter of fact, I go the opposite direction and say, “Bless the Ombudsman with respect to these across-the-board investigations.” There is nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t think there would be too many of them. I think he would use the very greatest prudence before he launched on one. The investigation in Correctional Services will bear fruit and has borne fruit. Whether or not, according the Minister of Correctional Services, it has saved the province all the money he says he has, nevertheless Mr. Maloney enjoys a good friend in the minister on that particular point.
Many of us in this House give a basic accord to that particular type of approach, because it eliminates a multitude of evils. It does what other jurisdictions, particularly the Scandinavian jurisdictions, do in terms of not placing the emphasis on the individual case as being central but on the elimination of the injury at the root so that a hundred cases can be solved in a single instance. That, and the kind of preventive medicine operating against the possibilities of any number of cases arising out of similar or the same type of incidents, is all to the good and within the ambit of the Ombudsman’s functions.
I don’t think we should take issue with that, although I think people around here have been too blatantly taking issue with that and with everything else under the sun. It is not helpful. It is quite detrimental to the operation of this office and again, as this report says, it must cease. Otherwise the office won’t function; it will break down. Maybe someone will say hurrah, that this should be the case. I would think that any sensible member would regret that in the extreme.
I think we all have some kind of vague or more or less definite image of what that office should consist of. I think that what I am saying today, and what this report says, would meet the accord of the overwhelming number of members in this body, but the type of goodwill and the type of approach to the office to bring that about has not yet been set afoot.
There are a couple of areas I would like to mention. Again, in parenthesis, I say that if anyone thinks that a visitation to Stockholm in the dead of winter is a particularly gratifying experience, I would ask him to do so the next time the weather closes in.
Israel, of course, was much more to the point in the sense at least of some comfort. The Israeli situation is curious. Members who read the report will see that a man by the name of Dr. Nebenzahl performs two functions -- a function of a state controller, which means that he has investigatory powers over the whole field of government from defence to garbage cans, the whole thing. He has a staff of about 450 people. Like a controller general or an auditor general in this province, he looks into the spending, looks into the purchasing policies, looks into the legal justification, in all departments.
That was set up many years ago in Israel and of course we have nothing quite like it. Our power here in the auditor is very much delimited over against the range of his power. Out of that function -- finding faults with the civil service in overspending, in exercising their powers improperly here and there, with respect to the whole fiscal picture -- he gradually evolved into an Ombudsman’s office. So that office is directly related to and works in quite close co-ordination with the office of the state controller.
It was suggested during our trip and might have been contained in the report, just might have been, that we would set up a similar institution here. I don’t think we make direct remarks about that in the sense of whether or not that would be feasible, but I think the general consensus in the committee was that it would not be, that institutions are endemic to the country or the geographical region in which they are found; they grow out of traditions, out of habits of life that are peculiar to that area and trying to alter them to adopt a foreign mode of procedure to our own requires a great deal of care and the application is not immediately forthcoming.
In this particular regard, to bring those two offices together could possibly be, in all democratic jurisdictions, brought into being in the future. Maybe Israel would give some guidance and some leadership in this respect. On the other hand, for the nonce, for the foreseeable future and I would think pretty far foreseeable too, that would not be feasible as I see it in our jurisdiction.
Again the press comments on the report seem to me, from the quotations and from the tenor and from the misunderstanding, to have involved them reading the first chapter. Maybe it is too much to ask that maybe they read the second one too. It spells out the insights that we gained on these visitations.
Again in parentheses, as to these trips that are taken by committees, sometimes individuals say that if we had stayed at home we could have got just as much information by an invitation to certain key people from abroad. I would argue sincerely that is not possible. Every time we get on a streetcar or take a taxi or go into a restaurant in these places we visit, we tend to ask the waitress or ask the conductor or whoever what they think about their Ombudsman. That is a good source of basic information which gives one a feeling in that population of how this particular office is regarded, what approaches are made to it, what safeguards are necessary and how secure with the office the average citizen on the street would be. That can’t be obtained in any other way.
Second to that are the informal conversations. We saw over 60 governmental people in the course of this thing. The cost of having even a large portion of those people come to our jurisdiction would exceed anything that could be spent the other way. How are we going to learn about these things unless under the conditions that we observed in the course of garnering the basic information and the impressions which are the most important thing? The facts are okay. We can get them in books. The sensibility of the thing can only be gained on the spot, such as through our select committee.
Each of these Parliaments has something very similar to what we have with respect to delegated authority from the Legislature to the committee in its relationships with the Ombudsman’s office. Sometimes the sole approach that can be made to the Parliament is through the committee. The sole way that the Parliament can get to the Ombudsman or have conversation with him or deal with his function at all is through their committees, whatever they may be called, and the sense of those committees and the respect that each of these committees have for that office.
In these various jurisdictions, almost invariably the Ombudsman’s functions end at the end of a Parliament. He’s either reappointed or a new man comes in. Secondly, invariably if it were felt that the confidence of the House or the Legislature or the Parliament involved was in question with respect to the office, workings and deportment of the Ombudsman, then such are the niceties of the situation as they exist abroad that the Ombudsman would resign. He would quit.
The Ombudsman’s office is such an office that it cannot withstand criticism. Not only would he not put up with it on one side of the fence, he can’t afford to. To retain the general sense of respect -- and I’ll even go this far -- and say even of reverence, blast it, that we ran into abroad with respect to this office would involve his saying: “If you don’t trust me, if you think I’ve offended in some serious way, then there’s nothing for me to do but withdraw.” That was the tenor. That’s what we heard over and over again. I think we have to bear this in mind.
If that is the case and if it is as delicate as that, than we have to be terribly careful what criticisms we level so as not to infringe upon or call him into question unnecessarily. As a matter of fact, both parties bend over backwards in this particular office in order to keep a working relation and accommodation going. That is the tenor we find abroad.
These things are not presently being said in the press or in the public, and it’s a shame, because otherwise I suspect the office will disintegrate. The sooner we come to a basic understanding, as this report gives us the basis for doing, or what this thing is all about, then the sooner the good ongoing relationship and the fullest possibilities of the working of that office will be given an opportunity to develop. Otherwise we’ll continue to blunder and snarl and no one will be either the happier or the wiser.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know whether it’s profitable for me to start at this point. I am in your hands. If you wish me to proceed I will, but it may be a very disjointed statement with about five minutes to go. I wonder if it would not, therefore, be appropriate for me at this time to move the adjournment of the debate so that we can have a more lucid presentation later.
On motion by Mrs. Campbell, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the House adjourned at 5:56 p.m.