The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS INQUIRY
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am today tabling the report of the royal commission appointed to inquire into Waste Management Incorporated and related companies and individuals in dealings with this government.
Members will recall that this inquiry, conducted by Mr. Justice S. H. S. Hughes of the Supreme Court of Ontario, was established in May 1977. This followed a newspaper report and questions in the Legislature regarding a political contribution in 1974 by one of the relevant companies and the activities of the Ministry of the Environment in relation to landfill sites north of Metropolitan Toronto.
The investigation and hearings of the commission found no wrongdoing or improper conduct. The report of Mr. Justice Hughes says: “I have to say categorically that I am unable to find that there was any wrongdoing or impropriety or any improper influence brought to bear on members of the Ontario government or its public service on the part of officials of Waste Management Incorporated, Disposal Services Limited and affiliated companies in respect of applications for landfill sites by them from 1971 to the present day.”
At another point in his report, Mr. Justice Hughes states: “I recommend no criminal prosecution or punitive action of any kind against any person arising out of this inquiry.” In the final chapter he adds: “I am happy to have presided over a searching inquiry in a case of some notoriety and to have found no evidence of corruption.”
In connection with the contribution to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the report points out: “There was in 1974 nothing improper in making large contributions to political parties and there was nothing unlawful about what was done.”
Mr. Justice Hughes found no connection between the contribution and the activities of the Ministry of the Environment in this regard. He says: “All the evidence is to the effect that no one at the Ministry of the Environment, from the minister down, knew anything about the donation until three years later; or that what was done was not as consistent with absence of knowledge or of influence as with their presence, and of the latter there is not a shred.”
Mr. Justice Hughes has made two recommendations arising out of the evidence relating to the Ministry of the Environment. The government is now considering these recommendations.
Finally, in his concluding chapter, entitled Reflections, Mr. Justice Hughes makes observations about the registration of political parties and the limits on fund raising established in the Election Finances Reform Act, 1975, which members may wish to note.
Mr. Nixon: It’s harmless.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I’ll direct my first question to the Attorney General. Can the Attorney General respond to the request, which he somewhat avoided last Friday, to table the internal or external legal opinions which prompted the Ontario government to launch the suit against the Dow Chemical Company? Since this government has, from time to time, tabled internal opinions -- and it’s a good practice, in our view -- would he table that for two purposes: first, so that the public can be guaranteed that this was not some type of public relations exercise from the beginning; and second, so that we can have those opinions around which to help construct new and better environmental legislation with teeth in it?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge there is nothing internally in any of the files that is inconsistent with Mr. Robinette’s opinion. I haven’t had an opportunity to peruse these files as far back as 1971 and with respect to any legal opinions that may have been circulated at that time. Certainly as of this time, I am confident that there is nothing contrary to what was clearly indicated by Mr. Robinette in his opinion to me, namely, that there was an arguable case. The major issue seemed to turn on the issue of damages. But I will be happy to review this matter and to advise the Leader of the Opposition and the members of the Legislature further.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: If the opinion of Mr. Robinette was basically that the arguable case, as the minister puts it, could at best be argued for perhaps $1 million in damages -- if that is really the only opinion that was in the possession of the ministry at any time, would the minister care to --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s not what I said, and you know that.
Mr. S. Smith: I’m sorry. Apparently I have misunderstood the minister.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There are two issues: liability and damages.
Mr. S. Smith: I understood the minister to say that all the opinions within the ministry are somewhat similar to those of Mr. Robinette. That’s what I heard the minister to say. If that is the case, if all the opinions felt as Mr. Robinette did, that the best the government could do was $1 million, would the minister care to explain why the government sued for $35 million and made a big show of it?
On the other hand, if the minister had other opinions which could legitimately have led him to believe that a $35-million suit at that time was a reasonable legal course to follow, then would the minister be so kind as to table those opinions, for two reasons: first, so that we could see them and believe them and, secondly, so that we could construct better environmental legislation?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, as I think the Leader of the Opposition appreciates, there are two issues in any lawsuit of this kind: the issue as to liability and the issue as to damages. These are two quite distinct issues, I don’t think it’s in the public interest for the Leader of the Opposition to --
Mr. Kerrio: To ask questions.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- to seek, inadvertently or otherwise, to confuse these issues. With respect to the issue of liability, the legal opinions throughout have been with respect to the fact that the government had an arguable case. The issues as to liability were dealt with by Mr. Robinette in the opinion that I have tabled. I will review that in relation to the issue of liability.
What I tried to make clear to the members of the Legislature is that the issue as to damages is a distinct and very different issue. As I said on Friday, at the outset it was feared that these commercial fisheries had been destroyed forever, or for at least 50 years. That was a very vital issue in relation to damages, It now turns out that, with the benefit of the passage of time, these fisheries may be opened as early as 1980 as opposed to being irretrievably lost. That obviously has an enormous impact on the quantum of damages that would be awarded by a court, even assuming that the action was successful.
Mr. Cassidy: What a bunch you are! That is only 10 years out of some people’s lives.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The second major issue with respect to the issue of damages was the issue of whether or not it would be necessary or appropriate to dredge the bed of the St. Clair River. The wisdom, the best scientific advice as of the early 1970s, was that this would have had to be done. That was estimated at a cost of $10 million.
With the ongoing scientific assessment of the situation there, the wisdom and the advice from the scientists is that this is not necessary, but would cause more harm than good by reason of the settlement of the sediment. This was established by the fact that these fisheries are likely to come on stream by 1980 or the early 1980s. Those are the two major issues in relation to damages. It was only with the passage of time that it was possible to ascertain what a likely quantum of damages would be. There is nothing unusual in that because in many lawsuits one determines whether there is an issue in liability and commences the action on the issue of liability, claiming a global amount for damages but not knowing because only the passage of time will determine what the likely damages are going to be.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, no. The government said that for political reasons. It never intended to carry it through.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In this particular case, it’s quite clear that the passage of time has indicated that the global amount for damages was, fortunately, what would have been awarded or assessed regardless of liability; because the court when called upon to assess the damages, regardless of any finding of liability, was only going to assess a small fraction of what was feared. Fortunately, the passage of time demonstrated that the worst fears of the government in relation to the damages were not as pessimistic as was reasonably believed to be the situation at that particular time.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I don’t think the Attorney General’s revisionist reinterpretation of history will stand up, because I think that $35 million suit was originally picked for political purposes, but without the intention to carry it through.
I’d like to ask the minister, in view of the apparent inadequacies of the law which have been revealed during the course of the ministry’s rather dilatory conduct of this particular suit, has the government been studying revisions to the law of Ontario in order to ensure that in future in such circumstances the polluter will pay, and will be liable for the damages which the government has been ineffective in collecting in the Dow case?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously, the law and regulations in relation to environmental concerns of this nature or other areas of concern are under constant and continuing review by the government. It’s quite clear, in my view, that they’re quite adequate.
Mr. Cassidy: In other words, no; that means no. In other words, the Attorney General hasn’t looked at it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: One could assume in the context of partisan politics not to admit, or find it difficult to admit, that the government ever does anything right. I’ve only been a member of this government for something under three years but I find it ironical that hardly a month goes by where we don’t receive a brief from some segment of the industry in this province complaining about how tough we are in relation to our environmental regulations.
Members opposite support these concerns when it suits them. As the Premier previously pointed out, when it comes to cans and bottles where are their environmental concerns?
Hon. Mr. Davis: They are great environmentalists over there.
Mr. Cassidy: The government is not reviewing the law at all.
Mr. S. Smith: If I may ask a final supplementary, since the matter of liability and the matter of damages, as the Attorney General said, could be considered separately, and accepting that Dow did not admit liability -- it seems a part of the deal was that it didn’t have to admit liability to settle these damages -- and so we can focus on damages.
For the sake of allowing the public of Ontario to understand what really went on in this instance, could the Attorney General provide to this House more detailed information concerning the makeup of that $35 million? Apparently $10 million was for dredging, which is now not necessary. The other $25 million was for the fishery, I presume, which now turns out was only lost for maybe 10 or 15 years. It still seems to me there is a lot more money than the $250,000 involved. Gould the minister table with this House how the $25 million, apart from the other $10 million for dredging, was arrived at and how he feels that the fishermen have been damaged over the 10 years? Could he table what the government damages have been and whether the $250,000 has really paid for that?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I will assist as much as I can by tabling a memorandum as to why it was felt advisable at that time to make a global claim for the $35 million.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, would the Attorney General not be prepared to concede that the law at the present time is deficient with respect to those causal sequences in tort law and that this government’s environmental law needs a fairly thorough revision?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Attorney General has indicated that we have had an arguable case throughout, and that a good deal of the delay, as I understand it, was occasioned by the fact that we could not determine the parties, would he table the legal opinion which was given to establish against whom we had an arguable case to begin with?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t understand the question, Mr. Speaker. I think it was quite clear that the lawsuit was commenced against the defendants who were believed to be the appropriate defendants in the case. I don’t know, specifically, what more the member is seeking in the way of information in that respect.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, if I could be helpful --
Mr. Speaker: In the interest of fairness, we will listen to the member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a supplementary for the Attorney General. In the negotiations for the settlement, did the government specifically ask for reimbursement of the $400,000 given to the fishermen to tide them over their period of unemployment as the result of the close- down of commercial fishing?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That was not a provable part of the government’s claim.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, is it not a fact that the parties were not originally ascertained -- that it did take some time to ascertain the parties against whom the action would be taken? That being the case, could we know what the opinion was originally as to who the appropriate parties were against whom we had an arguable case?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Again, I would review the matter with respect to any problems that did occur, certainly with respect to matters of environmental pollution. The determination as to who is responsible, I concede, is always a very difficult task. I am quite prepared to share with this House the process with which the law officers of the crown and the very knowledgeable counsel who were retained went through in order to make that determination.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker: Now that we have seen the end, at least for some considerable time, of the property tax reform idea, could the Treasurer share with this House what the future is going to be for some of the groups that were waiting for property tax reform? Sarnia and Windsor have been mentioned, and I would like to hear about them. But I specifically want to quote from the budget which says that, according to the Charter for Ontario, to reduce the municipal tax burden there would be “a basic tax credit to senior citizens enriched from $290 to $510” and this would be “in conjunction with the implementation of property tax reform.” What happens to the seniors?
Mr. Conway: He is raising the rent.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that’s a two-part question and if I knew the answer to either one I would be glad to share it with the House. I honestly don’t know the answer at this moment to either one of them.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since the budget statement itself states very clearly that “we propose to build on this proven system to meet our commitment in A Charter for Ontario,” and since it’s outlined very clearly that the enrichment of the property tax credit for seniors will go from $290 to $510, albeit that it was supposed to be with the implementation of reform, is the Treasurer, in fact, prepared to stand behind this commitment from the charter, a commitment repeated in his budget, or have the seniors lost out completely as part of this lack of willingness on the part of the Treasurer to proceed with this package?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I stand completely behind the charter, which is one of the finest documents to have been produced in a long time.
Mr. Peterson: No one is behind you.
Mr. Warner: Don’t stand behind it. Why don’t you stand on it? It’s the only thing it is good for.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Whether that section of the charter will be implemented in the fall of 1978 for taxation year 1979 or somewhat after that, is a decision which has not yet been taken.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that assessment equalization factors in the province have been frozen since 1970 because of the delays of the government in making decisions about market value assessment in general, and in view of the fact that the equalization factors are, in fact, a separate question and that that’s what’s hurting in western Ontario, is the Treasurer prepared to bring in legislation now in order to unfreeze the equalization factor, as this party has already recommended, and ensure that those municipalities that have been hurt by these delays can get a reasonable kind of arrangement in equalization from Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that’s a question that should be put to the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck).
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I will redirect the question, but I can’t conceive how the Minister of Revenue has taken over the Treasurer’s role of responsibility for equalization in municipal grant policy.
Mr. Speaker: Does the Minister of Revenue have a response to that?
Mr. McClellan: It is the boss’s job.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to respond to the honourable member. We don’t have the equalization factors frozen in the province of Ontario, we have the assessment frozen; equalization factors are not frozen.
Mr. Blundy: A supplementary question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker: Given the Treasurer’s previous statement that he could not provide transitional grants to certain municipalities which were seriously affected by the present transfer system, now that property tax reform has been shelved, is the Treasurer prepared to meet with the mayors of Sarnia, Windsor, St. Catharines and other municipalities so unfavourably affected to work out some future course to provide an equitable distribution for these municipalities?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cooke: When?
Mr. Laughren: Before the Treasurer decided to shelve property tax reform, did he have consultation with the Minister of Revenue to discuss the problems in the assessment review courts in view of the fact that they are clogged with appeals and, in fact, are going to cause a shift to the residential sections as those appeals are won by the large corporate taxpayers?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: How does the Treasurer plan on accommodating cities such as have been mentioned by the member for Sarnia -- Windsor, Sarnia, St. Catharines -- in the way of alleviating some of the iniquitous tax burdens that the citizens have had to pay over the last three or four years?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me that the most appropriate thing to do would be to have the meetings suggested by his colleague from Sarnia.
Mr. Cooke: When are you going to tell us something? We’ve been waiting for years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He’s being polite.
Mr. M. Davidson: Supplementary: Given that the council of the city of Cambridge has been meeting with the Treasurer over the past two years, how long do these municipalities have to wait before he decides to take some action and give some relief to the people who are paying these taxes?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No one is more aware of some of the problems in some of the municipalities and of some of the home owners and/or tenants in some of the municipalities in this province. I think the statement speaks for itself. There is not a sufficient degree of consensus at this moment to proceed. How soon we will be able to proceed, I don’t know. Nor is the provincial well so bottomless that we can simply say we’ll solve some problems and not worry about creating others.
Mr. Bounsall: Just be equitable.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre with his first question.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s the second question, Mr. Speaker; but I’ll take a third one if you wish.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You’ve never been known to be greedy.
NUCLEAR PLANT SAFETY
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question to the Minister of Energy, arising out of the letter which was sent on Friday by the chairman of the royal commission on the future of Hydro in Ontario to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle), of which I assume the Minister of Energy is also aware.
In that letter, Dr. Porter raises questions and says he has serious concerns with respect to the safety of existing nuclear power stations in Ontario -- information which had come to his attention during the course of the past week. He continues: “We are further concerned that information relevant to this vital subject may not have been brought to the commission’s attention by the responsible organizations.”
My question to the minister is: Is he aware of any information relating to the safety of existing nuclear power stations in Ontario which could and should have been brought to the attention of Dr. Porter’s commission either by Hydro or by the Ministry of Energy but which was not brought to their attention?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: No, I am not, Mr. Speaker. I was just recently made aware of this letter. I will look into it and report back.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the minister advise the House as to what steps he has taken to investigate the safety of our existing nuclear facilities, and will he undertake an immediate investigation of the responsibility of Ontario Hydro, in order that the safety of existing nuclear power stations is ensured?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can certainly assure the House that I will advise the House of any appropriate information that we happen to have or that we can find out about. I will report back to the House.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware of the other study referred to in Dr. Porter’s letter, a study commissioned by the Canadian Nuclear Association, which indicates some doubt about the viability of the nuclear option as an option? If he is aware of that study, could be table it in this House?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am not altogether familiar with that study, but since I am addressing the Canadian Nuclear Association tomorrow night in Ottawa, I am I sure I will be able to get a copy of it at that time.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: in view of the fact that the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs will be looking into a number of these areas over the course of the summer, will the minister undertake that the information he does file with the House will be made available to the select committee so that it does not have to wait to look into the question of nuclear safety until after the publication of Dr. Porter’s interim report, which has been delayed from June until some time in September?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can only assure the member opposite that we will table in this House all the information that we feel is relevant on this particular subject. As I indicated a few days ago, the whole philosophy underlying safety in nuclear energy is for full publication of this information.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister, since the tone of this letter conveys the clear feeling by Dr. Porter that there is information available to what he calls other responsible bodies which was not made available to the Porter commission, will he give an explanation to this House how such a matter can occur and whether the same kind of lack of information has been the case in this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can again promise that I will pass on to this House any information we have that might be relevant to this subject.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Does the minister not find it worrisome in the extreme that a royal commission set up by this House has had information withheld from it; and does the minister not feel that he should do more than merely pass on information that is available, but move heaven and earth to get the information that was withheld from a royal commission of this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If my investigations confirm that this is true, yes, I will be as indignant as I suspect the member opposite will be. We will take some steps to do something about it.
Mr. Warner: Check with the chairman of Hydro.
Mr. Conway: My question is to the Premier. Has the Premier received from ACFO a request to arrange an emergency meeting to discuss relationships between the Premier and ACFO as a result of his intervention in the matter of Bill 89? If so, is the Premier prepared to entertain ACFO’s request for an emergency meeting to discuss the matter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can’t say whether I have received a request. It’s possible I may have. I told the representatives of ACFO not too many weeks ago, if memory serves me correctly, that I was quite prepared to meet with them early in September, prior to their annual meeting here in Toronto in the latter part of that month.
If ACFO wishes to meet prior to the September meeting that had been suggested, subject to other responsibilities I’ve never been reluctant to meet almost any group and I certainly have never been reluctant to meet with ACFO.
Mr. Conway: Supplementary: As ACFO indicated over the weekend that one of its continuing concerns is knowing what the government’s position is going to be with respect to that part of the Mayo commission report which recommended a French-language school board for Ottawa-Carleton, can the Premier indicate in the House now to ACFO, and to members of the Assembly, whether or not a decision on that very important matter has been reached and if it has been reached, what the result is?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can tell the honourable member that no decision has been reached. If this is really what ACFO wishes to meet us about, both myself and the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) would be delighted to meet with them. However, I’m not sure we would be in a position to give them any decision on this particular recommendation.
I also sense from the way the member has phrased his question that he obviously is in support of another school board in Ottawa for French education. I take that to note as representing the policy of the Liberal Party of Ontario.
FEDERAL HOUSING PROPOSALS
Mr. Cassidy: Could I bow to your judgement, Mr. Speaker, about the number of questions, because I had asked supplementaries prior to my first question?
Mr. Speaker: That’s right.
Mr. Nixon: You can have a third if you want.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question to the Premier arising out of questions which I asked in this House about a month ago to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), relating to the increase in the rent-to-income scale for public housing tenants and for senior citizens in the province of Ontario.
Could the Premier say, rather than acting in due course, as we were told at that time, Ontario is now intending to go ahead at full speed on the increase in rent-to-income scales? Can the Premier say how the government justifies a 20 per cent increase in the rent scale for senior citizens who are getting the guaranteed income supplement and a 32 per cent increase for a single-parent with two children who is earning the minimum wage in the province of Ontario? How does the government justify those very sharp increases in the rent-to-income scales?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The ministers of housing are meeting at this precise moment on a number of issues. I sense this is one of them. I think the honourable member opposite is assuming something that really has not happened. There has been no decision made. There won’t be any decision made until after the meetings today. When a decision, if any, is made on the subject we will inform the House. I think the honourable member is not only being premature, he may be erroneous as to the outcome.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the Premier aware, regardless of what he’s just said now, that a month ago in this House the Minister of Housing stated Ontario had agreed with Mr. Ouellet that the rent-geared-to-income levels should rise to 25 per cent, but at that time he said it should rise in due course? Does that not appear to the Premier like a decision in principle which has already been taken on behalf of Ontario by his Ministry of Housing; and can he explain why the “in due course” is apparently turning into a decision that those increases should also take effect at a very early date?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there has been no decision that any increases should take place at an early date. There has been no final determination of this by the government. As I said to the member, this is one of the issues that the ministers of housing from across the country are discussing, at this moment, I think, if they didn’t do it this morning.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Would the Premier assure the House that should the rent review program continue and should there in fact be an agreement among the ministers of housing to settle at 25 per cent the rent-geared-to-income rents, that the way in which those increases would occur and be phased in, if they did, would at no time, in any way, be beyond those increases that would be permitted under the rent review guidelines such as may exist at the time?
In other words will the rent review, in effect and in spirit and action, apply to those houses as well as all others?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think any discussion of this nature is premature until the Minister of Housing for this province, after consultation with the other ministers and the federal minister, suggests what may or may not become a national sort of approach to this situation. I think it is premature to have any discussion as to how any rent control program will work, even the program being advocated by that great free-enterprise Liberal Party of the province of Ontario, which is advocating its continuation for another two years, even knowing it will prejudice the tenants and the development of new accommodation in the province of Ontario I think.
Mr. Cunningham: You are against it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly you’re prejudicing the tenants; you’re prejudicing the whole program.
Mr. S. Smith: Make clear your position on the matter.
Mr. Dukszta: Supplementary: Is the Premier aware that the informants at the Ministry of Housing have suggested that the memorandum of agreement has already been signed and that the minister himself has stated that the minimum for rents may be as much as 25 per cent -- minimum, not a maximum?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll say once more, there has been no final determination by the government of this province on this issue. It is being discussed at this moment.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since it is reported in the press that the Minister of Housing is meeting with the provincial counterparts in this position in order to present Ontario’s position at the provincial level, first to achieve some consensus and then go to the federal scene; if the Premier is familiar with that would he tell this House exactly what position the Minister of Housing is presenting to his counterparts from other provinces on our behalf? What position is Ontario taking in this regard?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m delighted to hear the Leader of the Opposition say the Minister of Housing is presenting a position on everybody’s behalf.
Mr. Foulds: Maybe on your behalf, not on ours.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m delighted to hear that you’ve finally accepted that principle; that you finally have accepted that principle.
Mr. Conway: The question is, does Claude know what it is?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I may be quite wrong, Mr. Speaker, but I was under the impression -- I could be wrong in this -- that actually Mr. Ouellet was at the discussion or is at the discussions today; I may be wrong in that. If he is there and I am right, then perhaps it will be discussed with the federal minister of housing once again today.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the Premier aware that in addition to jacking up the rent-geared-to-income scale to a fiat 25 per cent or beyond, that the ministers of housing are also agreeing to increases in the income on which those rents are based from an adjusted basis to a gross basis? Would the Premier give this House a commitment that rather than putting the balance sheet first in the provision of housing, the housing in the province, provided through Ontario Housing, be based on people’s needs?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The needs of people have always been the paramount concern of this government. It is very easy to give that commitment. Not only has it been the case, it will continue to be the case.
Mr. Warner: Tougher to follow it up.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would question whether the member can find a jurisdiction where they’ve had the same measure of success with respect to senior citizens’ housing -- or any other form of housing, for that matter -- or where the people have been dealt with more equitably than in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: New question. The member for St. George.
Mrs. Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Excuse me. They got out of turn there. I think the next should go to the New Democratic Party. The member for Oshawa.
Mrs. Campbell: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker. I think the leader confused you.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The leader of the New Democratic Party thought he had put two original questions when in effect he had put only one. Then we went to the Liberal Party for a new question. The next sequence goes to the member for Oshawa.
Mr. Breaugh: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Health. I would like to ask the minister if he has an explanation as to how confidential medical records from Wellesley Hospital were found blowing around a parking lot at Sherbourne and Richmond this morning?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, but I will check into it.
Mr. Breaugh: In the course of this investigation and in reporting back to the House, could the minister report on the procedures used at Wellesley that would allow this to happen to these records, which contain people’s names, addresses and the precise nature of whatever surgery had taken place? Certainly, some of the records are not ones you would like to have spread around to the public. In addition, could the minister provide us with whatever guidelines his ministry might have sent out to hospitals that would allow such a thing to happen?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I would be glad to. If the honourable member would send me copies of whatever he is waving about, it would assist us in making a speedier investigation.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General. Has he prepared any position on behalf of his ministry in response to the recent recommendations of the Law Reform Commission with reference to 1. the elimination of rape as a criminal offence, 2. the elimination of incest as between consenting adults and 3. the reduction of the age of consent?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, Mr. Speaker. There is a provincial Attorneys General meeting at the end of this month in Edmonton, and we have been actively working on a response to the amendments to the Criminal Code that were recently introduced in the federal Parliament.
As regards the recent paper published by the federal Law Reform Commission, we certainly will be reviewing that over the summer, once we get by this particular meeting. But I can’t say at this particular point in time whether we will have a formal response or not. As the honourable member knows, the working paper of the federal Law Reform Commission is not a product of the federal government. We normally don’t consider a formal response until the federal government itself determines that it may be interested in moving in that direction. Certainly we are going to review those proposals very carefully. It may be an interesting subject for discussion during consideration of our estimates in the fall.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Will the minister assure this House, even if the yet-to-be-tabled Wyatt report on the financing of the Workmen’s Compensation Board contains various alternatives and options which the minister and the government may not be able to choose amongst and legislate immediately, that the minister will introduce legislation to be enacted this month, even if those long-overdue increases for injured workmen must he based upon the present act?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have already made that commitment to this House. Indeed, I have said that will be introduced before the end of this session. Specifically, the increases to the benefits will be the area which we will be concentrating upon.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: When may we expect the Wyatt report to be tabled and may we expect the legislation to be introduced that very same day?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, in answer to the second question, and as soon as we can have it ready.
Mr. McClellan: May I ask the minister whether she will give us the same commitment that the increase she grants will take into account the full increase in the cost of living since the last WCB benefit increase, and adjust the rates accordingly?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it most certainly takes that factor into account along with some other factors -- yes.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. I am sure he is aware of the seven week long strike that was held between the Essex county separate school teachers and their board. In view of the fact that this strike had to be settled by final selector, how could it be that only a few days after his selection was made, the board saw fit to lay off 19 teachers and cut many programs? Could the minister inform the House if these selectors take into account the board’s ability to pay? If this is so, how could such drastic action follow his decision?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the teachers are presently going to grieve under the contract concerning this matter, and that there may be legal action involved.
I have met with the teachers’ association. They have presented the situation to me and I think that the remedies for them are there in the contract and perhaps in a legal sense.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary question:
Mr. Speaker: Could the minister inform the House if Bill 100 has been contravened?
Hon. Mr. Wells: The contravention of Bill 100 could easily be one of the legal matters that would have to be considered. I am not a lawyer and I wouldn’t venture to give an opinion on that.
Mr. Mancini: One more supplementary, Mr. Speaker: just to get some added information, could the minister inform the House in answer to part of my first question if these selectors take into account the board’s ability to pay before they make their final selection?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would have to ask the selector if he did or if he didn’t.
Mr. Mancini: Isn’t it standard policy?
Hon. Mr. Wells: There is no standard policy. If my friend will read Bill 100 I think the financial situation that pertains in the community is a matter that could be put before the selector. However, in a final offer selection he may not have taken this into account. I couldn’t comment on that. We would have to ask the selector whether he did.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister make a recommendation to the cabinet that in cases like this the cost of the pension benefits that result from contracts, which the province has to guarantee, be part of a requirement that the selectors take into consideration when they arrive at their decisions?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I wouldn’t do that.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism.
The minister, no doubt has received a communication from the chairman of the governors of Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology, Dr. Sturgeon, concerning reports that the Ministry of Industry and Tourism plans to establish an institute for the training of hotel and restaurant personnel at an estimated cost of $17 million or $20 million. Will this new program be included as part of the existing training program that is now available in community colleges, such as Niagara College? Or should I assume that it will be a duplicating program within the two ministries?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct: I have received that communication along with communications from other community colleges across the province since I have made it known that we were considering the possibility of establishing a hostelry institute.
The studies have been completed, and discussions are now being held between officials of my ministry and officials of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities who have the responsibility for the community colleges and the programs. As well there will be discussion with the board of regents of the community colleges.
It is not intended that there be a duplication of services whatsoever. It is simply an interest on the ministry’s part to be able to provide sufficient training facilities to provide an adequate number of skilled people who are required in that industry at the present time.
Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary: Can we take it then that those responsibilities will be left with the different community colleges across the province?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I wouldn’t want to say they will be left with them. If it can be worked out that they can, and I will be in a position to provide the necessary training -- if they have the necessary facilities -- then there is no point in having a duplication of services. However, if it is found that they are not able to carry out that particular part of the program as efficiently as we would like to have it, then I’m sure the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott) and myself will be able to discuss in some detail how we can reach that final point.
Mr. Laughren: He has already made up his mind.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Does the minister understand at this point in time that the reason why the separate institute was requested was that the hotel and restaurant people were dissatisfied with the program that’s presently ‘being offered? If that’s the case, does he understand that the present programs will be upgraded?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That is not correct and is certainly not my understanding. The hotel and restaurant people have indicated that the programs that are now being carried out in the community colleges are very efficient and that they do their job to the best of their ability. Something like 92 per cent of those persons who take the courses in the community colleges find employment.
Mr. Laughren: That is only eight per cent unemployment. That is lower than the average for the age group.
Hon Mr. Rhodes: The difference here is that they are not meeting the needs.
Mr. McClellan: Is eight per cent the new target?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It has been identified that there are around 5,000 unfilled jobs. Therefore, the programs themselves are just not able to meet the demand. That’s what we are working towards. We’re trying to meet that demand.
Mr. Warner: It sounds like your unemployment target.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Why not use the facilities you have?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It’s very difficult to hear the honourable member because he’s filtering it through that thing under his nose. I don’t know what he is saying.
Mr. Breaugh: That’s a good one, but don’t use it again. It’s not that good.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: If he has any comment to make, I’d say he should stand and ask an intelligent question for a change. I would simply state that we are not intending to duplicate any programs.
Mr. MacDonald: Are you criticizing the Minister of Health?
Mr. Cooke: You never give intelligent answers.
Mr. Breaugh: You never made that remark to the Minister of Labour.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We want to make sure that the needs are being met. If they can be met through Colleges and Universities, all well and good, because then the program will meet its goal, that is, to fill the vacancies.
Mr. Cassidy: Why do you keep fighting all the other ministers?
Mr. Grande: My question is to the Minister of Education. Given the fact that there is some interest by some area boards in Metro Toronto regarding instituting full-day kindergarten, could the Minister of Education share with the House what is his ministry’s policy regarding full-day kindergarten?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Under the present policy of the ministry, as my friend knows, compulsory attendance at school begins at age six. Therefore, kindergarten programs are offered but no one is forced to attend those programs. The Education Act, however, does allow school boards to offer senior kindergarten programs and junior kindergarten programs. There are presently many half-day programs and some full-day programs. A number of the full-day programs in northern Ontario are on an alternative day basis. There are a number of them in areas like Ottawa-Carleton where they are a part of the immersion program.
Our policy at the present time, as I think I reiterated in our estimates a short while ago, is that what a board does about kindergarten, be it half day or full day, is its business. As far as grant regulations are concerned, they will only pay for half-day kindergartens, beginning next year.
Mr. Grande: Supplementary: Could the minister tell us then on what basis does his ministry fund full-day kindergartens to some boards for approximately, I understand, 7,500 kids around this province and deny equal access to funds to other boards that may wish to institute full-day kindergartens? How does this inconsistent application of the policy of his government square with his understanding of the principle of equal education opportunity?
Hon. Mr. Wells: It squares in this way in that if all boards in this province were to institute full-day kindergartens, we would have to find another $65 million in grants. That $65 million would not come in extra money, but would come from the regular program. In fact, boards would have to get less money for the total programs they are offering. That would not be a consistent thing to do at this time. Therefore, we have suggested that there is no extra money available for full-day kindergartens at this point in time. However, we would not take away anything that anyone has. Therefore, while it may be inconsistent, and I would certainly agree with that, the 7,500 or so pupils who are now in full-day kindergartens would certainly not have their programs jeopardized by removing any of that grant.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Health has an answer to a question previously asked.
OHIP FRAUD CHARGES
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On May 30 the members for London North (Mr. Van Horne) and London Centre (Mr. Peterson) asked about the circumstances surrounding fraud charges laid by the police against Dr. Anthony Corrigan of London.
The question from the member for London North dealt with why it took, in his words, the Toronto office of OHIP “nearly three months to provide the claims in question” to the police.
On September 16, 1977, the London city police contacted the OHIP office in London and discussed the charges laid three days earlier against Dr. Anthony Corrigan by the London city police.
As the investigation proceeded, I am told that in December 1977, at the request of the London city police, the Ontario Provincial Police asked the professional services monitoring branch for the claims submitted during the year 1976 by Dr. Anthony Corrigan.
In January 1978 the OPP again contacted our professional services monitoring branch, this time requesting Dr. Anthony Corrigan’s claims for the first part of the calendar year 1977.
Later that month, the OPP asked for the claims up to the summer of 1977.
It is worth noting that when a physician sends in medical claims, they are filed under the patient’s OHIP subscriber number, not by physician.
Since physicians have six months after service to send in claims, and since after that six months’ more time is required to file claims by individual physicians in the computer, up to nine months can elapse before an individual physician profile is available on computer.
So, in January 1978, only the claims from Dr. Anthony Corrigan for the 1977 months of January, February and March were available from the computer.
It was then necessary for the four clerks in the OHIP professional services monitoring branch to pull together all of Dr. Anthony Corrigan’s claims for the subsequent months. This meant searching through, by hand, thousands and thousands of claims received during that period, filed by patient number, to pull out the more than 6,000 claims which had been made by Dr. Anthony Corrigan.
This task took the four people several weeks to accomplish, and the record was turned over to the OPP late in February 1978.
Considering these facts, three months does not seem an unreasonable length of time to supply the information.
The second question from the member for London North was about “any ... peculiar circumstances around this case which would demand that it be delayed for eight months before it was, in fact, dropped.”
I know of no peculiar circumstances. I am advised that Dr. Anthony Corrigan left Canada on September 12, returning some two months later, in November 1977. There is no doubt this delayed the police investigations, and I have already explained the time required to draw the necessary information from the computer and from our records.
Finally, the member for London Centre asked who laid the original charges. Dr. Anthony Corrigan’s case was referred for review to the medical review committee of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons by the OHIP professional services monitoring branch on March 9, 1977.
OHIP requested the review because of what appeared to them to be an unusual billing pattern in this particular doctor’s claims.
After an investigation by an inspector of the medical review committee -- a doctor -- the London city police were informed and laid charges against Dr. Anthony Corrigan -- charges which, as the honourable members have already stated, have subsequently been dropped.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Doesn’t the minister think there was something untoward when the amount in dispute was some $120, which I gather was normal with that number of billings and that number of pieces of paper? Does the minister not think he wants to be more precise on exactly who laid the charges and with what information in hand before that information was laid?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I said, in the first instance, it was referred by the professional services monitoring branch in March 1977 because of some concerns about the billing patterns and in particular about the volume of visits being paid to residents in a particular home for the aged.
The inspector from the college, Dr. Milton, I believe, was brought into the review, since it had been referred to the MRC and, on her advice to the police, the charges were laid by them.
Mr. Van Horne: Because of the unusual nature, I would like to pursue this and ask the question: if this isn’t an emergency -- that is, someone’s reputation being put in considerable jeopardy through the laying of the fraud charge -- then what kind of emergency would lead the OHIP people to come up with the information in a shorter period of time? In other words, is this three-month period of time not disconcerting to the minister, that a person’s time to wait would be at least that plus the other time taken up through the legal process, so that in fact we have a person charged in September and the charge dropped in May? That’s a pretty long time and I am very curious about the slowness of this particular operation.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Well, the member will recognize, I am sure, that this is a rather peculiar aspect of this, inasmuch as the three doctors Corrigan left the country in early September which delayed things considerably. It wasn’t until November --
Mr. Van Horne: One was charged.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes.
Mr. Van Horne: Just one was charged.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, charges are pending against one of the others. But the point is that they wanted exact information and in order to give exact information we take it off computer. But that, as far as being exactly correct, is six months behind. In order to give it right up to the point which they wanted, it meant they hand searched, which obviously takes a great deal of time. It was done, I can assure the member, as quickly as possible, recognizing the gravity of the situation.
Mr. Peterson: The minister said in his answer that the investigation was delayed because Corrigan left the country. Now, surely that isn’t necessarily the case because he would not have to be in the country in order for the minister to continue with his investigation. The minister also said that there were perhaps some irregularities in the billing procedure or at least that there were some irregularities in the number of bills submitted and the way they were submitted. But clearly that is not evidence of criminal culpability and indeed a charge --
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a question either.
Mr. Peterson: Yes, it is -- it’s going to be -- would you not agree?
Clearly a charge was laid and then withdrawn with all the subsequent embarrassment when in fact there was only about $120 in dispute. Doesn’t it speak more to the inefficiency of the billing system and the potential abuse inherently built into it than it does to any criminal culpability? Doesn’t the minister think that particular example speaks very strongly to the need for a better and more efficient system of billing?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, I don’t agree. I think if the member will again check my answer he will find out that when our people were contacted for information, they did, given the nature of the system, react really very quickly to assist.
Mrs. Campbell: Given the nature of the system.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: This was a peculiar situation in that the family, as it were, did leave and it was only a few months afterwards when they had returned that the OPP did then contact them and asked for further information. When they asked, they got the information as quickly as possible.
Mr. Stong: I have a question for the Minister of Energy: Now that the people in the southern communities of the region of York have had an insight into what is in store for them in terms of the construction of the massive maze of hydro transmission lines through their area and more particularly at the entrance of the town of Richmond Hill, is ‘the minister prepared at this time to consider alternative placements, including the burying of a mile and a quarter of those hydro lines through that corridor?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am not ready to respond in any specific way to that question but certainly I will take it under advisement.
Mr. Mancini: Don’t be too specific, Reuben.
PAPER MILL CONTROL ORDERS
Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment: Now that the Dow Chemical sellout settlement has proved that the court route for protecting our environment and making polluters pay is useless under our weak environment laws, is the minister prepared to step up the use and enforcement of control orders? In particular can he tell us what he is doing about one of the worst polluters on the Ottawa River, the Canadian International Paper Company at Hawkesbury, which I understand has met only the first two provisions of a 1974 order against it and has not met the December 31, 1977, deadline, and yet has been discharging BOD in 1977 at four times the 1965 guidelines and discharging suspended solids at almost twice the guidelines? Can he tell us what he is doing and whether he is considering allowing that company to extend its deadlines?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, would I be allowed to dissociate myself from that statement?
Mr. McClellan: Answer the question.
Mr. Speaker: It was in the form of a question. I listened very carefully.
Mr. McClellan: That’s environment protection, is it?
Mr. Speaker: If the minister has a brief response I will allow him to make it; otherwise the time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. McClellan: That’s very reassuring.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to bring the attention of honourable members to a guest in our gallery: Mr. John Gogo is the MLA for Lethbridge West constituency in the province of Alberta. Would you welcome him to our gallery, please?
HEAVY WATER PRODUCTION
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am tabling this afternoon a copy of the document entitled, The AECL-Hydro Heavy Water Pool Agreement as requested by the Leader of the Opposition in the House on June 8, 1978. This document is already in the public domain, as indicated to honourable members on June 9. It was filed by Ontario Hydro with the Ontario Energy Board on March 6, 1974, as docket number HR1, exhibit 202.
Mr. Speaker: Point of privilege, the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. S. Smith: The Minister of Energy has just attributed to me the request simply for that document. I would draw his attention to Hansard of June 8 which says, “Will you table in writing not only the agreement but any of the reasons why the pool agreement has been terminated and any documents and correspondence related to that agreement and to that termination?”
Will the minister be tabling that information, the reasons and all documents and correspondence related to that agreement as he was requested to do in this House?
Mr. Speaker: I doubt that it is a point of privilege; it is probably seeking additional information. If the honourable Minister of Energy would care to respond?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would agree to provide any reasonable information; yes, of course.
Mr. S. Smith: You mean you have information that is not reasonable?
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
On behalf of Mr. Philip, Mr. Lawlor from the standing administration of justice committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill Pr26. The City of Thunder Bay.
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill Pr13, The City of London.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Ms. Bryden: Under section 27g I would like to register dissatisfaction with the answer from the Minister of the Environment to my question --
Mr. Warner: A non-answer from the non-minister.
Ms. Bryden: Yes, a non-answer, really -- and ask that the question be debated tomorrow night at 10:30.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Before calling the orders of the day, just to share with the House, while most of us are here, the order of business for today as set out on the sheet which we have on our desk, I want to indicate one change that has been agreed upon.
Following second reading of Bills 96 and 108 we go into committee of the whole. The order of calling legislation in committee of the whole has been changed somewhat. We will start with Bill 86, then Bill 96, Bill 91, Bill 85 and Bill 180, if necessary.
It is also my understanding that once we get into committee of the whole House, any recorded votes that are required will be stacked for 5:45.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
LIQUOR LICENCE AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 96, An Act to amend the Liquor Licence Act, 1975.
Mr. Young: I rise this afternoon to support Bill 96 in principle, although being a bit unhappy with some of the provisions of that bill.
I was one of those who some years ago introduced a private member’s hill in this House, on at least two occasions, to lower the age of majority to 18. It was debated in this House, although at that time it was not allowed under the rules of the House to come to a vote. My feeling on this was rather pronounced. I felt we should lower the age of majority and with it all the benefits that go therewith.
When the actual age was lowered in 1971, I think none of us realized the thing that was going to happen and that did, in effect, happen following that action. The 18-year-olds were given the vote and they were given all the privileges of citizenship. At that time and just before it, the industry moved in with its powerful lifestyle advertising to capture that group of 18 to 21-year olds and younger in order to make the profit they saw out of that group becoming consumers of their product.
The result was that we saw a tremendous upsurge in the drinking patterns of the younger group as a result of, in large measure, the lifestyle advertising and the feeling that was spread abroad that in order to assert adulthood, to find happiness and satisfaction in life all this had to be achieved through the haze of alcohol.
At the same time, governments right across the board, not only here in Ontario but everywhere, did not take this into sufficient account and they did not embark upon any kind of educational program to mitigate the results of the lifestyle advertising. We might have done a great deal if we had realized what we ought to do, but nobody seems to have taken that course.
I know it has been pointed out here time after time that some of the teenagers, before that time up to 21, always drank. Some did; but not the majority. And always, not drinking in large numbers, that drinking was a bit furtive and it was rather seldom done. It was not a thing which was engaged in by the majority of young people under 21.
They were not, in large measure, in the beer parlours and the taverns during those years. They were not allowed there by law and they did not find their way into those places except perhaps on a few occasions where a young person was able to borrow somebody else’s birth certificate or in the cases where the young people looked much older than they were.
But with the law and with the advertising, young people came flooding into the drinking spots and along with that, drinking became more or less common -- as we heard time after time in this House -- in the high schools. It entered that particular phase of life and spread from the 18-year-olds down to the 17 and 16-year olds and below that.
The results are apparent today. I’m not going to dwell on them. We’ve heard a great deal about them.
The one thing that’s rather interesting. The detoxification centres and the ARF clinics are finding that while they got less than two per cent of their patients from that younger age group prior to 1971, today they’re getting about four per cent -- double the number of young people -- as clients.
We find today that about 40 per cent of boating accidents are related to alcohol, and the vast majority of those involve young people. We find that in fatal traffic accidents 43 per cent of the 14-to 64-year-old age group has been drinking, but 68 per cent of the 18- and 19-year-olds have been drinking -- a very high proportion. We also know that there has been a marked increase in snowmobile accidents. Snowmobiling became popular about this time, and a great number of those people who are killed in alcohol-related accidents on snowmobiles are, of course, the younger people.
At the time when we began to see what was happening, this government commissioned a group to look into the whole drinking-driving problem. They reported in August 1974. I just want to read a couple of excerpts from that report, commissioned by the government of Ontario at that time. The report says this:
“The dilemma facing government is that two separate activities [that is, drinking and driving, both okay by themselves], which it is seen to sanction and profit from, combine to form a hybrid activity that is a criminal offence and has damaging consequences. The government therefore has the responsibility to establish a public awareness of the drinking-driving problem and to become actively engaged in effective countermeasures. Protection from antisocial behaviour is one of the primary responsibilities that a government owes to its citizens.”
The report goes on to say:
“It is possible to identify three distinct groups of drinking-driving offenders. These three groups are: 1. young drivers, 16-24 years. This group is worthy of special attention in that they are inexperienced at drinking, inexperienced at driving, inexperienced at drinking-driving. In 1973, the proportion of young drivers in alcohol-involved collisions was higher than that of all older age groups. [This was two years after the law was passed.] While the proportion of drivers in alcohol-involved collisions is remaining constant for the older age groups, the proportion of young drivers in alcohol-involved collisions is increasing.” That was 1973.
The report of the Addiction Research Foundation, which came at a little later time, in 1974, using the 1973 figures, says this:
“Prior to the change in the drinking age, young drivers had low incidence of alcohol-related collisions compared to older drivers. Further, the proportion of total collisions where alcohol was involved ranged from about two per cent among 16-to-17-year-olds to about five per cent among 20-year-olds. [This was prior to the law being changed.] With the change in the drinking age, the incidence of alcohol-related collisions increased dramatically. In comparing the period prior to the change in the age of majority (January 1968 to July 1971) to the two years after the change in the drinking age (August 1971 to August 1973) alcohol-related collisions increased 162 per cent among 16- and 17- year-olds, 339 per cent among 18-year-olds, 346 per cent among 19-year-olds, and 156 per cent among 20-year-olds. These increases are in marked contrast to the increases of only 20 per cent experienced by 24-year-olds, a category of people not affected by the change in the drinking age.”
Bringing the figures up to 1975, we have this report by Paul C. Whitehead, PhD, University of Western Ontario, who was commissioned by and his report published by the Department of National Health and Welfare in Ottawa. He says this: “Large numerical increases in alcohol-related collisions occurred among 18- and 20-year-olds during the first year after the legal change. Such increases are not manifest among drivers aged 16 and 17 [It didn’t happen the first year among that lower group.] or by those aged 24. In subsequent years, collisions involving alcohol continue to increase among 16 to 20-year-olds, but do not increase among 24-year-olds until the third year after the change. Total collisions involving 18 to 20-year-olds increased abruptly in the first year after the change and again during the third year.”
These are the figures which he gives for the years surveyed, from 1968 to 1971 and from 1971 to 1975, the years before and after the change. He goes on to say: “Alcohol-related collisions increased by 469 per cent among the 18-year-old drivers and 445 per cent among the 19-year-olds, while their rate of total collision increased 66 per cent and 61 per cent respectively. Sixteen and 17-year-olds experienced a 304 per cent increase in alcohol-related collisions and a 50 per cent rise in total collisions.” In the first year after the change, an increase was not apparent, but within two years it started to rise sip very steeply.
Twenty-year-olds show a somewhat lower rate of increase, namely, 180 per cent for alcohol-related collisions and 37 per cent for total collisions. Twenty-four-year-olds at this time register much lower increases for both types of collisions. When we compare all young drivers with a 24-year-old comparison group, we find that the younger age categories demonstrate an increase in alcohol- related collisions that is six times as great as the 24-year-olds and an increase in total collisions that is almost twice as great as the 24-year-olds. Nevertheless, the standardized increase in the total number of collisions among younger drivers exceeds the increased number of alcohol-related collisions by a ratio of almost five to one.
More than that, Dr. Whitehead points out, the data clearly indicates that alcohol-related collisions are associated with a greater degree of damage than those that do not involve alcohol. The result of all this is seen in the figures, part of which was quoted the other day in this House. In 1967, the 16 to 20-year-old group had 5.5 per cent of all alcohol-related collisions. We changed the law in 1971. In 1973, the figure for 16 to 20-year-olds in alcohol-related collisions was 15 per cent, three times what it was in 1967. By 1975, that same group showed a 37.2 per cent of all alcohol-related collisions.
It is still rising. Following the decrease in the voting age, many of us had hoped that the increase in drinking-driving and the increase in the number of collisions in which that younger group was involved would perhaps steady and then decrease. Instead of that, we have seen a steady increase of that proportion from 5.5 per cent back in 1967 to 37.2 per cent in 1975 and it is still rising.
Then the starling figures also show that the 18 to 19-year-olds are 70 times more likely to die in an alcohol-related accident than are the average non-drinking drivers. The 16 to 17-year-olds are 165 times more apt to be involved in alcohol related collisions than the average non-alcohol-related driver in this province.
These are the figures that startled those of us on the select committee on highway safety. While I point out that I was one of those in the early days of my membership in this august assembly to introduce bills to lower the age of majority, I faced these facts --
Mr. Nixon: Including the drinking age?
Mr. Young: At that time, I don’t think many of us thought very much about the involvement of drinking in that whole process --
An hon. member: We were looking at the voters.
Mr. Young: We just didn’t think about it too much and didn’t consider what might happen. We felt the young people would handle alcohol as well as the vote, I think as well as anything. But these figures certainly have brought some of us to realize that something should be done. So the suggestion was made that the drinking age should be raised from 18 to various figures. Actually many of the jurisdictions that have faced this wanted to raise beyond the age of 18 to 19, 20, 21, but politically it was rather a difficult thing to raise it more than one year.
One thing that emerged in our select committee findings was that those years from 16 to 19 are the crucial years in a driver’s history if he starts at 16. In the first three years, his accident record drops rather dramatically, and by the end of five years he is down to about the average for the rest of his life. But those first three years are crucial. The first two years the drop is not that much but by the end of the third year, when he is 19, the drop is more dramatic -- he has overcome some of the bad habits that he built up during those early years of driving.
We felt, and I think all those who have looked into this carefully feel, that if a young person begins to drive at 16 and then doesn’t drink until he is 19, he at least has a tremendous advantage in that he has formed better driving habits than he will have by 18. His chances of survival and his chances of not killing someone else, and his chances of being able to handle both the alcohol and the driving are also much improved.
So we came to these conclusions because of this evidence. Certainly I was impressed and I believe that today this legislation which is before us is important legislation in the total package. Let me stress that fact: that it is a total package which our committee recommended. We must not think that simply lowering or raising the drinking age will have a magic effect. If we push it from 18 to 19, that’s part of it. If we could push it to 20 politically, it would be better still according to the records. But we are not asking that because likely that may be very difficult for them to do.
Along with raising the drinking age, we recommended the probationary licence which the ministry has already accepted. However, I am not happy that our recommendation for a full two years of probationary licence has not yet been fully adopted by the ministry. It is a matter of regulation and we wait with bated breath to see what is going to happen when the minister makes his announcement in this regard.
Then, of course, another thing which we recommended was that the lifestyle advertising on TV be banned and the minister has already announced that this is going to take place. How far the banning will occur, we don’t know yet. We are waiting again to see what is going to happen there, but we have the minister’s word that that kind of persuasion of young people -- linking alcohol with the good life -- will be cut out in Ontario advertising.
Then there is a program of education which must be undertaken, and again the minister has indicated that this is going forward.
There is the matter of the alert device: the person who has 0.05 to 0.08 on his breath, as shown by the alert device, will be ruled off the road for 24 hours. The whole emphasis here is to prevent an accident which might well happen. All research shows that once a person passes the 0.04 mark, he becomes pretty dangerous, and by the time he has reached 0.08 he is beyond the place where he is safe on the highway in any way we might define that phrase.
Then, of course, the other thing was the frequent recommendation which we made for both the social drinker and the person who is an incorrigible drinker, who just can’t overcome his own habit and needs a very great deal of help. These together, we think, will help tremendously in changing the pattern of drinking-driving. But let’s not be under any illusion that simply by raising the age to 19 we are going to solve that problem at all.
What our committee did, of course, was to recommend these matters. We have not the power of legislation; it is up to this Legislature to balance cost, balance the civil rights involved in some of these recommendations -- some people are disturbed in that regard -- and balance what their program might be and then bring forward the legislation. But we would hope that all the legislation we have recommended would come in and perhaps as something more which we had no time to look into.
I think also we have to recognize that the public is ready for this change. It is interesting; I had, as all the members had, a letter from the --
Mr. Nixon: Except the public directly affected.
Mr. Young: Yes. Many of the 18- and 19-year-olds are not too happy.
But the Ontario Interfaith Liquor Legislation Committee, representing the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, and United Churches, has recommended to us that we should immediately create legislation which would prohibit the legal sale of alcoholic beverages to people who are under 20 years of age, and subsequently for people under 21 years of age. In other words, they want to get it right back to 21, which, of course, as I pointed out, would likely be a difficult proposition to carry out.
Then we had a survey carried forward by the ARF people that says this -- and the survey is a pretty extensive one across the province: 68.3 per cent favoured raising the drinking age to 19 or over, while 26.5 per cent favoured the present drinking age of 18, and only 1.8 per cent wanted it under 18.
The interesting thing here is those aged 18 to 29 expressed a 36 per cent opinion in favour of leaving the drinking age at 18, while 57 per cent wanted it raised to 19 or over. Of the people aged 30 to 49 years of age, 73.1 per cent wanted it raised to 19 years of age or over, as did 73.8 per cent of the people aged 50 or over. Those aged 18 to 20 years of age, in the additional sample interviewed, were 61 per tent in favour of the present drinking age, as my friend has just pointed out, but 34 per cent wanted it raised to 19 or over. So over one third of even the young people themselves did want the change made.
An interesting thing happened. This survey showed that 26.5 per cent favoured the present drinking age of 18. In the questionnaire which I sent out in my latest report, I asked the question: “Shall the drinking age be 18, 19, 20 or 21?” This is what I got; exactly the same proportion, 26.5 per cent right on, said it should stay at 18. Nineteen, only 9.2 per cent; 20, 19.3 per cent; and 21 -- 45 per cent said it should be back up to 21. So the vast majority did want the drinking age raised, although the majority of the young people concerned wanted it to remain the way it was.
So by and large, according to the surveys we had, and certainly by the surveys which this government has already taken, there is no question that the people of Ontario are ready for this legislation.
I think the thing which more than anything else makes us realize the importance of this legislation, is not only this tremendous increase of drinking-driving, death and injury on the part of the young people who are drinking, but also the fact that they are killing others than themselves in these accidents. And this spells tragedy for themselves, for their families and for others and their families who may be perfectly innocent. We’re dealing in human life. While I know there’s no way we can balance things and say we can prove so many people will die next year because of the 18 age level and less will die because of the 19 year level, the fact remains that all statistics do show that a significant number of young people will live, because of the action which is being taken here today, who otherwise would not have lived if the law had remained as it was.
Young people will still drink. I don’t think any of us are under illusions that this will stop drinking among young people. But over a period of several years, I think that younger group will gradually be weaned away from their dependence, which they seem to have today, upon alcohol as the factor which gives them a happy, carefree life, and wealth and prosperity in the future, particularly if the education program is carried out the way it ought to be done. The cutoff will be at 19 and, from that point on, alcohol will become a factor in their lives. But, by that time, as I pointed out, at least those who start driving at 16 will have established good driving habits.
The records show that at that point they’re much safer drivers and they will be safer drivers from that point on. Perhaps their own ideas of what constitute health and happiness will have been a bit more carefully formulated. While I say that I’m not too happy with some of the clauses of this bill, on this main part of the bill I stand today to support the raising of the drinking age to 19, and in principle to support Bill 96.
Mr. Nixon: I was very interested in the remarks of the member who just spoke, since I served on the committee on highway safety with the honourable gentleman as chairman. Certainly I recall being very much impressed by the statistics that were presented to us and particularly by the views expressed by the Addiction Research Foundation. I had the feeling that sometimes they were expressing an opinion rather than a view that was backed up exclusively by the statistics associated with their research. In this instance having to do with the drinking age, they certainly took a strong stand before our committee, one that was so strong that we really felt compelled to include this recommendation in our report.
One of the interesting aspects was their feeling that young people, particularly young men, have difficulty coping with learning to drink and learning to drive at the same time. We don’t really mean the action of raising the glass to the lips or turning the key in the ignition, but all of the things associated with it. The other thing that stuck in my mind was the fact that young women are not unnecessarily troubled by the combination of these two learning experiences.
With regard to the advertising which we have criticized so strongly, the quality of life-type advertising, I feel that the essential criticism should be directed to the macho-lifestyle advertising. Nobody finds a young girl drinking too much as anything but an offensive situation; yet a young man drinking too much is usually associated with all the virility of a young man and a two-fisted experience in life as it really is. The peer pressure on young men to drink is far, far greater than on young women. There is still the attitude in the community, which, and I hope is strengthened and not weakened, that applies a lot more social pressure against young women drinking. Maybe they object to this but that is certainly the way I perceive it.
Mr. Grande: Don’t be a sexist.
Mr. Nixon: Accident statistics show clearly that the young women are not a threat on the road and that accidents associated with alcohol do not involve them statistically in any way that should really be brought to our attention. They’re sort of the innocent bystanders in this part of the legislation because it’s the young men who clearly are responsible for the statistics which we have.
Mr. Grande: Why do you make it a double standard?
Mr. Nixon: The honourable gentleman who is interjecting, whose name I can never remember, has obviously missed the point. This is not an observation of mine, other than it is an observation of the statistics that are present and available for any interested member to peruse.
It happens to be a difference in our social customs in this jurisdiction; and it is an interesting aspect, particularly when the member is considering, as he should and must, some more control on the thrust of advertising in this jurisdiction. The concept is of a bunch of the boys getting together to throw around a football, and have a few Blues, or whatever, or a bunch of the boys getting together to have a few hands of rummy or something, or getting together to fix the boat. It is not the girls hanging around to file their nails or to go shopping, or something like that --
Mr. Warner: Or to fix the boat.
Mr. Nixon: The concept of a bunch of the boys getting together to have a few brews is really -- I wouldn’t say it was as a menace, because I find the concept particularly attractive sometimes on these boring afternoons right here. There have been a number of members from this very House -- maybe some of the ones who are not in their seats right now are having a few brews somewhere.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Speaker won’t even allow coffee in here.
Mr. Nixon: Frankly, I hope so. I would hate to think they are all spending their time in irrelevant pursuits.
Mr. Hall: Would you mind naming those of us who are here?
Mr. Nixon: The member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall) is in his place.
Mr. Warner: How unusual.
Mr. Nixon: It is a matter of concern that a lot of the control legislation, in this jurisdiction anyway, obviously has to be directed towards the protection of young men, or the protection of the community against young men, because the community expects young men to be two-fisted, hard-drinking people. I believe that is regrettable.
There are other aspects in this legislation which concern me. I am glad we are pulling the act together so that it is not legal for people to be walking down the main street or in a public place with an open bottle, or even with a glass of liquor in their hands. It seems ridiculous that, after the last series of amendments, that became legal. There have been instances, which the minister is probably aware of, where the police have been mocked by the inadequacies of the legislation.
On the other hand, the minister no doubt saw a few days ago at the opening of the Stratford Festival the pictures in the newspapers showing some of his very high-class friends, no doubt from Toronto, with their lace cloths spread on the tables at Stratford and theft ringed fingers around icy goblets in which there was wine. They were what you call alfresco. I think, under our laws, you are not supposed to do that on the grass. It worries me that our laws are so strange that we can permit these people -- and I would include myself with them if I had the time and the wherewithal -- to have a picnic on the grass at Stratford, to watch the swans stream by on the beautiful Avon, and to have some ice-cold champagne. You just can’t drink ice-cold champagne out of a brown paper bag. I am sure the honourable minister would agree.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ve never tried it.
Mr. Nixon: It seems to me the only place that strange little aspect of the law is enforced -- and my honourable friend the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) should concern himself with this -- is when perhaps some Italian families take some of the wine they made in their own basement, over to Centre Island and want to have a picnic there. That is when the constabulary seem to be a little concerned about it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s in my riding.
Mr. Nixon: Okay, then, the minister should be concerned about it. I wish we could somehow use our collective wisdom to pass some sort of a law which will permit the drinking of wine at a picnic. It is ridiculous that we cannot have a statute that will permit that. I can’t see anything wrong with that. Why do we continue to keep calling that illegal?
Certainly the minister’s friends from Rosedale, when they go out to see Shakespeare, are not bothered by that, and I would expect that the cops in Stratford are not instructed to poke around to see who is messing around with an open wine bottle down there by the swans and the River Avon. Even in Niagara-on-the-Lake there is quite a nice spot, they tell me, overlooking Lake Ontario just where the Niagara River comes out on a park. The place is littered with those expensive corks that pop all over the place, they tell me. I think we ought to legalize that sort of thing.
There is one other matter that concerns me that is not dealt with specifically by the amendments in this bill, but it is dealt with by the --
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member can’t continue to talk about something that isn’t in the bill.
Mr. Nixon: It should be in the bill. Actually maybe it is -- there is some fine print in the bill I still haven’t read -- but it has to do with our local option methods. I don’t want to spend a lot of rime on this but the chief electoral officer is here and he’s the expert on local option in these matters; he knows all of the instances where the voters’ list has been very small indeed, as a matter of fact vanishingly small. I believe the smallest was two on the voters’ list in a referendum held recently.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Did they get 60 per cent?
Mr. Nixon: The arithmetic would get complex if the man and wife didn’t agree, but it’s not my argument. It’s that where a municipality is presented with the various alternatives in a liquor vote, there should be an alternative added whereby the municipality can vote in favour of the sale of alcoholic beverages in their jurisdiction without at the same time giving the liquor board the right to approve a licensed establishment. There are many areas where the community is probably not that keen to have an establishment open up either with or without food and serving liquor, but they find that the community customs, mores, do require the sale of alcoholic beverages at certain community functions such as hockey dances at the South Dumphries community arena.
Mr. Speaker, you may never have been to the St. George community arena but believe me it is a very fine establishment indeed, and there are a number of social events which are of the highest calibre. You, sir, coming from Schreiber, would feel right at home there. I would take this opportunity to invite you, sir, to some of these events. The minister as well, if he wants to come, but --
Hon, Mr. Grossman: I would feel right at home as well.
Mr. Nixon: -- but for a time we had a certain difficulty with the liquor licence board in approving what had become the custom of the community. I don’t want to go into that in detail but this has now been regularized by the passage of an affirmative resolution under the local option statute. I think the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous -- but that’s another speech which I have made before and undoubtedly will make again under other circumstances.
I do believe that the municipality should have had an opportunity to vote whether or not they could have liquor for sale at these public functions without at the same time approving the licensing of retail outlets. This may or may not be something that they would want to approve, but I feel if you are going to have local option the spectrum of alternatives is not sufficient.
The bill before us I intend to support. I have some concerns, as every member here must have, about the drinking age. It’s either too high or too low depending on where it is at the present time. I think it is judicious for us as members of the Legislature to raise it to 19, whatever 19 means when the statute is finally carried. I think that is probably something the force of public opinion -- if not our own good judgement -- is requiring at this time.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I am very very concerned about the amount of drinking and the degree of alcoholism that we have in our society. Therefore with that very heartfelt concern, it may seem a bit of an anomaly that I rise to speak in opposition to the increase in the drinking age.
We should never have decreased the drinking age from 21 to 18. I opposed that. I wasn’t here in the House, but I opposed that move at the time. Having done that, however, are we justified in increasing it? For what reason are we justified in increasing it? Will that increase have any effect whatsoever; or are we just kidding ourselves that we are doing something about the drinking problem by fiddling with the ages of when you may legally commence to drink rather than attacking the problems which cause people to drink, attacking the societal pressures, the stresses and boredom which give rise to that drinking? Or should we be attacking -- and I am sure we should be -- the peer pressure which occurs with the 15-, 16-, 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds in our province? Should we be attacking the causes of that peer group pressure which creates the feeling they should be drinking?
That, I feel, is where we should be addressing our efforts. I am very much concerned that on the passage of this bill, by lust increasing the drinking age from 18 to 19, many people in our society will tend to say, “There, we’ve done that” and will sit back and relax. Yet we are even further away from the type of educational program, the very sensitive stuff that should be going on in our public schools and in our schools --
An hon. member: And in our homes.
Mr. Bounsall: -- to educate young persons about the seriousness of drinking; why it is people drink; and that so many people use drinking as a crutch -- not a security blanket, which has a positive connotation to it, but as a crutch to solve the problems of their life, instead of looking at themselves and their problems and trying to remove or solve those problems.
One may have problems such as a very boring work place, which one can’t get out of very easily. The solution for that person is not to drink before they go to work because they can’t face it, or to drink after work because they have just gone through one of the most boring experiences of their life -- and unfortunately it occurs day after day. Those persons should find some other outlet for the abilities which are the basis for their boredom in a particular work place, one that does not offer a challenge.
I am afraid that by fiddling with the drinking age, raising it from 18 to 19, we are going to feel we have accomplished something in Ontario, and further remove the sensitive, sane discussion which should be taking place with our young people, and with the adults in our society, about why it is we drink; look individually at why we drink; and to see if some other solution can he found when we how about the dangers to our health from drinking, and that the resulting alcohol problems are among the major problems of our society at this time.
Having surveyed my constituents a couple of years ago, I am very well aware that the majority of them would be appalled, if I wasn’t explaining in words and concepts that they will understand, if they thought I am taking the position that the drinking age should not be raised. Of the people replying to my questionnaire 75 per cent wanted the age raised, no question about it.
Interestingly enough, most of the other 25 per cent who said “no” gave the comment, “Enforce the current drinking age,” implying, as we know the case to be, very widespread under-age drinking -- undetected perhaps because of laws that are unenforceable. Those are the ones who said “no.”
We are recognizing that problem. If there is widespread under-age drinking at the moment, let’s not kid ourselves that increasing the drinking age by one year is going to affect that fact one iota. All that will occur when we have increased it by a year is that more illegal drinking will take place.
If there is enforcement, as these people would wish, on those who are drinking illegally, what is going to happen is that there will be more hassling and harassment of 18-year-olds in our province, a hassle they do not get now, by the forces of authority in our province, the police. We have enough problems in certain areas, not in all areas, in retaining respect for the police. Why would we add a further opportunity for a loss of respect for police in our society by increasing the drinking age and providing a further hassle point between the police, who are invariably in a different age group than the youth they will be hassling. I see more problems that way in our youth understanding our society and being able to get along in it because of the enforcement of an increased drinking age. I don’t want to see any increase in that cynicism about the authorities in our province or any increase in the hassling of that particular age group in our province.
Alcoholism, if it results, and it seems to in too many cases -- a surprising number of cases -- is a social problem, not an age group problem. The problem just isn’t going to go away by increasing the age. It’s a social attitude and a reflection of the social environment in which one lives or the pressures which a person has exerted upon him.
One week ago today, last Monday morning at 10 o’clock, I had a question hour period with two grade eight classes in Oakwood School in Windsor. The drinking age was one of the questions that they wanted to deal with in depth. They were quite interested in what my stand would be if I participated in the debate and if a vote should take place. I covered with them some of the things I’m mentioning here today.
The consensus of that class -- these were children aged 12 to 14 -- was that the drinking age should not be increased. They weren’t drinkers yet and none of them is necessarily planning to be a drinker or to become an alcoholic or to become a drinking problem in our society. All that will happen is a forced increase of illegal drinking in our province.
Their question to me was why would we have an act come into force that is inevitably going to be more breached than what it is at the moment? I must admit for grade eight students they had a pretty fair logic in that argument which they were presenting.
Responsible drinking and drinkers occur at any age -- at 18 as well as at 30, 45, 55 and 80. Responsibility is not tied to an age. We do insult to the youth of our province, those 18 year-olds, when we say in this bill: “You are not responsible. You are not capable of looking at the drinking problem and deciding what to do about it. You’re not responsible enough to decide whether you should have a drink and how much.” We do insult to that group in our province, that age group in our province. We should never have lowered it, but having lowered it you don’t do insult to the integrity, the responsibility and the thought processes of that age in our province.
If any real progress is to be made about drinking and alcoholism we need to attack the problem and what causes it, deal with the cause and remove the cause. For some people, it’s stress. What in heck is wrong with our society that we put so much stress on people that they must escape in this way? What is it about our work places -- boredom in so many instances -- that causes people to feel they must drink to face it or to get rid of the thought of it once they get away from it?
We should be attacking our whole work place concept and what is required of people to perform a useful job in our society; involve people in the decisions around their jobs and involve people as far as possible in that job; not only in the decisions but how best to create the end product which should be resulting.
Let’s attack the problem, let’s not attack the results of having the problem. I fear the whole program of attacking the problem is being set back by thinking that we have done something -- taken a step forward by increasing the drinking age.
I’ve been aware of some of the arguments made, that increasing the drinking age by and large gets the drinking out of the high schools. It may. Statistics show that only two per cent of the 19-year-olds are in our high schools in September, so there isn’t a very large group of them is on our high schools. But if the illegal drinking is as widespread in our society as we hear, I again don’t think we’ve solved the problem.
What are you going to have, Mr. Speaker, if the 18-year-olds in your grade 12 or grade 13 classes have endeavoured by some way to have a liquid lunch and are now back in the high schools in the afternoon? Do you think the teacher, who’s trying to fill their heads with something good, something positive and is talking to them and teaching them about society and how to relate to it though whatever particular course he or she is teaching, is going to turn those people in and blow the whistle on them? Of course they’re not. You’re not going to have enforcement at the teacher level in the high schools any more than you have now, Mr. Speaker.
It shouldn’t be happening there. Any teacher who has that reaction to it needs more help than the pupils in the class who are drinking under age, having endeavoured to acquire in whatever ways a liquid lunch. We’re not going to get it out of the high schools. There’s going to be no real enforcement there.
If we have pictures on the drivers’ licences -- which are coming, I gather -- and the bar and tavern owners say you either have to show that or the age of majority card, which is available through our liquor stores, if all that happens and if it’s enforced by the tavern and liquor owners more so than it is now, then we will have less drinking by that 18-year-old group in our formalized drinking places in the province.
Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to be personal because I don’t know, of course, between you and myself, but I would say to the members in this House, when most of us, by and large, were at that age, the drinking age for most of us at that time was 21. I ask the members of this House, can anyone honestly stand up and say in this House that they did not take a drink before age 21?
Mr. Bradley: I can’t believe the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) did.
Mr. Bounsall: Hansard might note that the Speaker half rose. Maybe he wasn’t sure what he was drinking prior to age 21, whether it was alcoholic or not. Maybe it was only --
Mr. Bradley: Freshie, right?
Mr. Bounsall: Yes. How many of us can stand and say in this House that before the age of 21, when we were legally able to drink, “I never went into a pub or a beer parlour or what have you in this province and bluffed my way through as being age 21”?
Mr. Nixon: We’ve got to include the press gallery.
Mr. Warner: I couldn’t get away with it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Premier can.
Mr. Bounsall: The Premier can, eh?
Mr. Foulds: The member for Port Arthur can.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Port Arthur, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick.
Mr. Bounsall: Oh, come on. I see the grins over there when all this is rolling out.
Mr. Foulds: He couldn’t. He’s too short.
Mr. Bounsall: We all drank illegally.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can’t do it now.
Mr. Warner: You were just too short.
Mr. Bounsall: I would say there are very few persons in this House who have not drunk illegally, so what do we think increasing the age by one year is doing?
Mr. M. N. Davison: Criminalizing it.
Mr. Bounsall: I agree with those grade eight students; there is just going to be a bit more of illegal drinking, as we all did -- perhaps not very regularly, but from time to time we did.
Mr. Bradley: Speak for yourself.
Mr. Bounsall: There are so many -- I see the big grin from the last interjector. I’m not here for the purpose of comparing how many times we did this, but it occurred.
To those who say, “It will get the problem out of our schools,” I don’t think the problem is solved in that way. It’s still going to be there. Those who say, “The high school dances have disappeared. The things which we remember in the past, that we all toddled up to on a Friday night and enjoyed so much, have all disappeared.” No one wants to come to a high school dance because he can’t purchase alcoholic beverages at a bar in the school. Therefore, the older ones in the school go out and drink somewhere else and wouldn’t be caught dead at a high school dance. Therefore, that has finished high school dances.
Do they honestly think that increasing the drinking age to 19 is going to bring all that back -- those high school dances that we remember nostalgically? No, in those areas and communities where those have disappeared, they are not going to return. The social milieu, what 18- and 19-year-olds do with their time has changed. What we think of nostalgically in the past is gone. It has been lost and will not return. Anybody who thinks it will is just kidding himself.
But at those high school dances on the Friday nights that we look back to with so much nostalgia -- although the school didn’t have a bar anymore than they do now -- there was one heck of a lot of alcohol consumed around the corner of the school and behind the bushes, no less than what is being consumed now.
The point that I am making to those who look at it nostalgically and think this will make it come back, is that the high school dances have disappeared -- and there was drinking at them anyway. There was drinking at them when the drinking age was 21.
Mr. Haggerty: Even at the beach parties.
Mr. Bounsall: Let’s look at the other side of the coin. Let’s say we have scrubbed drinking from our schools by this change. There is still a fair proportion of our young people in colleges and universities who are there at age 17. They are the more academically adept -- I won’t say bright -- among our young population. These are the people who have indicated, either by hard work or by more finely-tuned thought processes than their peers, they are able to be in that position at a younger age. Are we saying to those people who are now at college and university, you are going to have to wait a year and a half, maybe two before you can legally take a drink? Are we going to say to them your thought processes are good enough to have you in that situation at age 17 but you are not responsible about making a decision on whether to drink and how much to drink until you have reached age 19?
There are also many 18-year-olds at both of those institutions I mentioned. What you have done is moved a problem from the high school to the college and university level where it is assumed that people have a bit more responsibility. I don’t know why that assumption is necessarily made but it is there in our society. We are saying there is going to be a portion of our colleges and university students not able to have a drink and not responsible to decide whether or not they should and how much. That is a real insult to the youth of our province who are in colleges and universities.
What are the authorities going to do about it? Are they going to enforce that strict separation on college and university campuses and pubs; that strict 19-year-old line which is going to result from passing of this legislation? Because I am so very concerned about drinking and the alcoholism which so often results, I hope that there is enforcement at whatever age it is. But I can see the problems that will occur in those locations, in picking and choosing among bright people -- on the basis of age for heaven’s sake -- which one of them can drink and which one of them can’t drink; it makes no sense whatsoever.
Mr. Nixon: Do you think it should be on the basis of IQ?
Mr. Bounsall: I might say in conclusion that I sat on the highway safety committee, as did the previous two speakers. One of the recommendations in that report was to increase the drinking age. I must say I had a most uncomfortable time from time to time in that committee in deciding whether or not I could sign the report or whether or not I should make a dissent at that point. I want to share with the assembly why I did not make a dissent at that point and why I felt I could sign the report with that in it. There are basically two reasons why I was able to sign that report or not make a dissent at that point.
From the very narrow viewpoint of highway safety, with all the facts and figures we were presented about the drinking-driving problem, I felt that a committee charged with looking at one whole sector of its work, the drinking-driving problem, could make no other recommendation. But it was a very narrow mandate we had. When one placed the drinking-driving problem in the context of the whole society -- again, I could not recommend it in terms of the whole of society. If there was one committee and if it was being responsible, being faced with the facts and having to comment on the drinking age, the highway safety committee could not do other, in the narrowness of its mandate and the narrowness of its view, than find that drinking is detrimental to our young people as they are driving.
It was finally quite clear to me that, faced with the facts, that was what I had to recommend on that committee. The member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) has certainly outlined quite capably in his remarks the problems that we learned on that committee about drinking and driving. There is no question, for our young people, that the more we separate the drinking age from the learning-to-drive age, the more society will benefit in having fewer crashes and fewer injuries and deaths. Without question, that was the conclusion we had to draw. As members of that highway safety committee, saying “What can we do for highway safety?” and having already decreased the speed limits and caused safety belts to be mandatory in the province, with drinking-driving as the major problem left in this province, we could not do other than to recommend as much of a separation as possible. But that assumed, of course, that from age 16, when most people start to learn to drive, to age 19, when the bill before us would allow them to start drinking, that no one was going to drink illegally in that prior period. We thought about that on the committee as well and we instituted various other suggestions in that committee. Anyone drinking under the legal drinking age, whatever it is, whether impaired or not -- just found drinking -- whatever else might happen to him because of being found in that situation, would have his probationary licence be reinstated.
I had real difficulties on that point in that committee. The probationary licence is an early intervention system only, to have the bad habits of the early driver brought to the attention of that early driver as soon as possible. If we were interested, as we were, in separating the drinking age and the driving age, surely for most people that same three-year period should have been the length of the probationary period. I almost dissented in the report on the drinking age for that reason alone. I could have done it there, or under the probationary licence period. If one is going to have an effect, the period between the starting-to-drink age, which will be 19 if this bill passes and as was our recommendation in the report, and the learning-to-drive age, which is 16 for most drivers, should be identical with the probationary period.
Mr. Samis: Except Wednesday nights.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Depends on how he behaves tonight.
Mr. Bounsall: The current situation before the ministry is that we have a two-year period, and the minister is trying to decide whether or not to make it one or two years, which I gather is the situation. It really should be three years to have the proper effect, because that is a three-year period if we are going to bring it up to drinking age 19.
Mr. Bradley: The member for Cornwall is not listening.
Mr. Samis: I’m listening very carefully.
Mr. Bounsall: We did a lot of other nice things in that highway safety report which spoke to the drinking-driving problem: The Alert system, which just gets people off the road, if they are over 0.05. There are ways in which people can be tested to see whether they are just social drinkers or problem drinkers as they turn up on our highways. There are ways we know in which they can not only be separated, but also dealt with. That whole thing as a package would be useful in Ontario, of which increasing the drinking age to 19 is only one part and basically the most unimportant part. It is the rest of the package that makes those recommendations useful.
I have gone on for longer than I intended. I would end up by saying that if real progress is to be made about alcoholism we have to attack alcoholism and the drinking problem, the whys and the wherefores. We have to remove the causes and talk sensitively and meaningfully to all people in our society, not just our young people, about the crutch that alcohol is; what it is they are doing when they drink; do they really feel that insecure about themselves and do they really feel that bad about themselves that they have to resort to the use of that type of crutch?
That is what we should be doing. I fear that progress in that area is being set back or delayed because of what people think to be progress in fiddling with the age, rather than dealing with the problem and helping to remove the problems which cause the drinking.
Mr. Haggerty: I want to add my comments on Bill 96. I listened with interest the other night to the member for York Centre. I concur with his views that he expressed last Thursday evening. I am deeply concerned about the matter of raising the age of majority for drinking purposes only from 18 to 19. I am not convinced that it is going to solve the problem by moving it ahead one year. I think next year we will be introducing further amendments to the bill. It will be age 20, and the following year it will be 21.
We are holding many of our young adults on a shoe-string, dangling them up and down. We don’t know what direction we should follow.
The matter of drinking and alcoholism is a serious problem in the province of Ontario. I have listened to other members discussing the problems and quoting statistics and facts which do relate to the number of fatal accidents that happened on our highways, not only in Ontario but across Canada. Other health problems are related to alcoholism and there is no doubt this adds a costly item to our health bills in Ontario.
As to the carnage on our highways, Canadian studies have shown that alcohol is involved in approximately 40 per cent of the highway fatalities and about 25 per cent to 40 per cent of cases of non-fatal highway injuries across Canada, which is rather alarming. It is also noted in statistics and evidence has indicated that over 75 per cent of the fatally injured drinking drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 or greater, that is, in excess of the 0.08 level which is legally defined as impairment.
We have seen that alcohol, as indicated by previous speakers, is related to crime in Ontario and medical problems. Alcohol was involved in more than 40 per cent of all murders in Canada between 1961 and 1974. That is alarming. Alcohol is also frequently involved in suicide and suicide attempts. Studies indicate that about 25 per cent of attempted suicides are related to a drinking problem. It can be included in this particular area; alcohol is one of the problems here. Alcohol is also related to people committing suicide in the “whole general population across Canada. One of the major reasons that would encourage people to move in that direction is if they were under the influence of alcohol. It adds to the violent criminal behaviour in Canada.
Other studies relate to a recent roadside survey conducted by the federal government which disclosed that in the late evening one out of five drivers was under the influence of alcohol and one in 20 was legally impaired.
When you look at the bill it doesn’t actually get down to the root of the problem that is facing society. We as legislators, and the law enforcement agencies, have concentrated more effort on drunk driving or persons who have been legally charged for impairment. There is nothing in the bill, Mr. Speaker, An Act to amend the Liquor Licence Act, 1975, to change the person’s ways of thinking or living to suit the code of moral ethics, but as legislators we are compelled to change the law to suit the person. I find that this relates more to this bill than any other bill that is before the Legislature.
I do not believe that the raising of the drinking age to 19 is the solution to the problems of the consumption of alcohol. I think the matter of the consumption of alcohol and its related problems lies directly within the family and the parents. I have enough confidence in our 18-year-olds today. They are better educated; they are mature, but when I use the word “mature” I am suggesting that they follow the principles that are set down by parents and other members of our society that drinking is the answer to all our problems.
I can see that the bill before us doesn’t cover every area relating to the enforcement of the Liquor Control Act. Perhaps in the near future almost every person entering industry for work each day will have to have a breathalyser test because, again, studies have indicated the influence of alcohol as it relates to the driving of an automobile also relates to the number of accidents in industry. Industry is deeply concerned about the matter of drinking by persons entering into their plants daily and it is causing a serious problem.
I can recall making an appeal to the Workmen’s Compensation Board with regard to a gentleman who had a serious accident. His prognosis wasn’t that promising. But every response that I received from the Workmen’s Compensation Board was that his problem wasn’t related to the accident but was related to drinking. After reviewing the medical information and consulting with the family physician and arriving at some of the problems with the gentleman. I appeared before the board to appeal his case.
I remember one of the board members throwing out the interjection that his problem was drinking. I said to them, “What is causing that problem? What is the cause of it?” Too often our society doesn’t look at the root of the problem. What is driving people to drink?
I thought that I had better be prepared for the appeal that day. When the board member threw the interjection I said, “I like to quote from the good book.” So I threw this quote to him: “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish and wine unto those that be of heavy beast,” and I based my argument upon that.
The board member was not quite satisfied; he kept throwing in the interjection about drinking. I said, “What is the cause of it? If you lose your job and have no source of income, I suppose that drinking is the easiest route to take and to dissolve yourself on that matter -- to perish.”
Then I threw him another quote from the good book and I will read it: “Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more.” The more I look at society today, the more I am concerned about this.
Mr. Nixon: How about “Take a little wine for your stomach’s sake”?
Mr. Haggerty: That is a good quote too; with a little honey.
I am concerned about this particular matter of the problems of alcoholism in Ontario. I don’t have to quote the huge profits of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario; last year alone they had about $395 million in gross sales. You find very little of that spent in rehabilitation, Mr. Speaker. I think about $10.69 million goes to the Addiction Research Foundation. The detoxification centres receive a little over $3 million.
We don’t go to the root of the problem: What is causing the drinking problem in the province?
I have some strong reservations about drinking, but then again I suppose it is based upon the person’s choice whether he wants to drink or not. I think many of the problems that are caused by heavy drinking in Ontario are caused by those persons perhaps living in poverty, who have no hope of being elevated to some other level in our society. Then we have those at the other end, at the top level, who are being pressured with the stress involved in day-by-day business. In this particular area it’s a matter of a few drinks a day, but I suppose it all adds up at the end of the year although if you have a certain tolerance level you can live with it. Beyond that level it is going to cause other problems in our society. I don’t have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, about the problems and the costs in Ontario’s social and community services or those related to health. It is an enormous cost.
I suggest to the minister that the bill doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t deal with the issues themselves. There is nothing in there to indicate some form of education program in our schools -- and I am talking about grade levels and secondary schools. I think we are lacking a program in this area to teach a respect for alcohol; there is nothing in this area.
The minister hasn’t gone far enough. I suppose there are other areas we could get into but other members have spoken on the bill. I am not convinced that raising the age of majority for drinking purposes to 19 is going to solve the problem. The problem, again, relates to the family and that is where discipline has to take place, within that family.
Again, I suggest the minister must provide enough facts, enough information to the schools to warn future adults of the possibilities of the hazardous problems that may exist in heavy drinking. When you buy a package of cigarettes today it has a warning that they are hazardous to your health. We see nothing of that related to the problems of alcoholic beverages.
I suggest to the minister that this is one direction he should be moving into, better informing the public of the serious effects over-indulgence in alcohol can cause to the individual.
I am not too happy with the bill, but as a number of my constituents have informed me they think that raising the drinking age to 19 is going to solve the problem I will support the bill, but honestly I don’t think that is the answer.
Ms. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill, Bill 96, An Act to amend the Liquor Licence Act, 1975, and my particular feeling on this bill is that I will be voting against it.
I am not going to be very long. As a matter of fact I am going to be rather brief because a lot has been said. It appears to me that the two reasons that have been mentioned over and over again as to why there is a need for this kind of bill, particularly the clause which raises the drinking age from 18 to 19, are, first, that it would take liquor, booze, out of the high schools and, second, that because of the fact that there are so many accidents involving young people who apparently have been drinking.
Those are the emotional reasons which cause the minister to draw the conclusion that in order to stop young people from either killing themselves on the road or from drinking in the high schools what we should be doing is bringing in the punishment technique and saying, “We are going to control your behaviour because we are going to raise the drinking age so you will not be able to do it until you are 19.”
I happen to think that the negative principle embodied in this bill -- and, by the way, it happens to be embodied in every law; law is punitive by its very nature. I happen to think that it’s not the correct approach at all. I happen to think, Mr. Speaker, that if we were really interested in getting liquor out of the schools, if we were really interested in stopping 18-year-olds from drinking, then perhaps the logical step to take is to ask ourselves the question, “Do we force our young people to stay too long in the school system to begin with?” We should ask ourselves the question, “When does the age of maturity really come about? Is it some magic number, at a magic age of 18, or 21, or 19, whatever it is?”
Mr. Lawlor: It’s 183.
Mr. Grande: Is there something magic about a particular period in our lives where somehow we will be considered to be adult? I don’t think that that magic number exists. I have known people in their so-called middle age who are not mature. I have known students of 14 and 15 who are very mature and very much capable of making their own decisions and acting in a responsible way.
Therefore, for this legislation to be coming before us and for us to be saying to our young people in this province that we really do not trust them, that we really do not think that they are responsible enough for their actions and so therefore we are going to curtail their actions, I think that is indeed the wrong tactic.
The only big reason is that so many young people drink and then drive and so therefore they get into accidents, accidents that will destroy the individual, accidents that kill. That’s the emotionalism -- the human life there. Who on earth would get up in this House and say, “Well, I am for killing people.” No one, of course.
However, I don’t suffer from the perspective of having been on the select committee -- of having been fed a tremendous amount of information so from that information I would lose the perspective of the whole society within the province of Ontario. I happen to think that, once again, if we are serious about curtailing the drinking driver, and the drinking driver who is 18 years of age or under, then it would seem to me that rather than stopping that particular individual from having a drink what one does is increase the age at which a young person can drive on the road. You don’t give a 4,000- or 5,000-pound weapon to a young person who is not responsible, who is not yet mature. There is where the real problem lies.
As my colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) was suggesting, we have to be tackling basic causes here. I truly have had enough with just tackling the surface symptoms.
It is a fact that within the educational system, when students are in grade eight and go on to the high school system at 13 or 14 years of age, we ask them to make a monumental decision. That decision is, “What am I going to do with my life in terms of my educational goal, my educational pursuit?” Somehow, we believe that students at that age are capable of making such a decision.
When students go to the high schools, we tell them, “You can choose the courses you think you may want to take; the courses for which you have a particular aptitude; those you are best in.” Those courses will determine the vocation of that young person. In other words, in the educational system we can say to students, “You are capable of making decisions that will affect your life,” and yet we are saying to them at age 18, “You’re not able to decide in a responsible way” -- thousands upon thousands of them do act in very responsible ways -- “whether you do indeed want to have a glass of wine.”
I talk about a glass of wine because that happens to be part and parcel of my culture. I grew up at age six, seven, eight, with my father encouraging me to have a glass of wine and at this particular point in my life I certainly do not abuse the stuff. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think about it. It’s part of the attitudes that we have, which somehow indicate to us that prior to a particular age you cannot touch the stuff and after that particular age you can get bombed, as the expression goes.
I really do not think that that’s the way things ought to be. There is a progression; there is a decision-making process; and every step of the way counts. There is no magic age of 18 or 19 or 21, at which that maturity comes about.
The other evening the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) was trying to suggest, to me at least on this side of the House, that 90 per cent of the inmates of Ontario correctional institutions have a problem with drinking. He left it at that.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I didn’t say that; you know it. Get it right.
Mr. Grande: Of course, the emotionalism that is raised, the implication, is that the reason why 90 per cent are there is because they have a drinking problem?
Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s not right.
Mr. Warner: That’s what you said.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I said alcohol-related. I specifically said it wasn’t a problem. Now get it right.
An hon. member: Pay attention.
Mr. Warner: Look who’s talking. You missed the message on coffee.
Hon. Mr. Drea: If you are going to use me to bolster your case, get it right.
Mr. Grande: The minister then ended his comments by saying that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations displayed courage in bringing about this bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You got that right.
Mr. Foulds: One out of two isn’t bad.
Mr. Samis: That’s not what he showed the day he read it to us.
Mr. Grande: Well, if he displayed courage in bringing about this bill, then I say that that courage is rare indeed. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and all the people on the other side of the House and at the other end of this side of the House, decided that this legislation was going to be brought in three years ago. It was coming.
Even though I do realize there are concerns across this province about drinking, about the abuses of alcohol, I really, truly, do not think that by singling out the youth in the province it’s going to have any effect whatsoever. It is an attitudinal problem. It is a problem of the whole society. It is an educational problem, Mr. Speaker, and you do not encourage maturity in an individual, you do not encourage individuals to be able to make good decisions, by punitive approaches.
Mr. Bradley: I rise in support of the bill and many of the provisions within the bill.
Speakers to this point have dwelled on the raising of the drinking age as being the most controversial and perhaps the most important or contentious aspect of the bill. I think if we examine it carefully we find that it is only one aspect of the bill and that the minister has attempted to incorporate in the bill many positive steps that he hopes -- and I think members of this House hope -- will serve to alleviate at least part of the problem with drinking in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Lawlor: And certain negative ones too.
Mr. Bradley: Those of us who support the raising of the drinking age to 19 recognize that it isn’t the entire solution by any means, that it’s only one small part of the solution. If we look back 10 or 12 years, I cannot agree with those speakers who would suggest that the drinking problem among young people was as great as it is today, particularly among the very young group.
When I began teaching school I can recall that students in the 12-, 13- and 14-year-old age group spoke little about drinking, discussed it very little and did very little drinking. There were very few problems with drinking among those students within elementary schools and junior portions of high schools. It was something that was confined, at least by law, to those who were over the age of 20. Therefore, those who tended to break that law were those who would be one, or two, or perhaps even three years under the age of 21, if there was a breaking of that law.
At the present time, we see a trend towards younger and younger people developing alcoholic habits. As a teacher until 1977 I could see this trend coming about. Students now in the elementary grades, or in the junior high school grades are more and more drinking at dances and other social activities; more and more are smuggling alcoholic beverages into school premises for whatever reason, consumption and spreading them about. The entire problem seems to have reached almost a crisis, at least according to many of the parents and teachers and others who are observers of our society.
Raising the age to 19 does not remove these possibilities. However, it does alleviate part of that problem -- particularly looking at the high school level and the habit that some have of going out in the lunch hour, consuming certain quantities of alcohol and returning to the classroom.
The member for Oakwood, or perhaps it was the member for Windsor-Sandwich, made a rather interesting point. One of them indicated that it is very difficult to assume that secondary school teachers are going to want to assume responsibility for enforcing the liquor legislation in the province of Ontario by drawing to the attention of the principal, or ultimately to the police authorities, the fact someone has consumed alcohol under the age of 19 and is at that time in a classroom.
Nevertheless, there are those within the teaching profession who are prepared to assume responsibility for ensuring that the laws of the province are upheld, indirectly or directly, and will find this a benefit in terms of the other students in the classroom who do not choose to partake of alcoholic beverages before coming to that particular classroom. It may have some effect at least in making the teaching of lessons just a little easier and the discipline problem within the secondary schools a little better than it has been in the past.
I recognize this as not only my experience in the teaching profession for a number of years, but also from my experience as a coach in hockey and baseball. It used to be that we took our midget age players, who are 15, 16 and 17, to tournaments out of town. When the age was 21, there was very little discussion of the potential for drinking or there was very little danger of that happening, of them getting into premises where they would be served alcoholic beverages or being able to procure alcoholic beverages at this time.
At the present time, it’s very difficult to take different teams of that age, 15, 16 and 17, to tournaments without the knowledge that somehow they’re going to be able to obtain alcoholic beverages. The focus will be on something other than the sport they are involved in and much more on the kind of rowdyism that might take place when they are out of town. This presents a real problem. Despite the onerous activities and duties that are part of being a member of the Legislature, I still have managed to find some time to coach a team again this year. I find that I simply am not in the position of being able to look forward to taking that team out of town for any overnight tournaments, simply because there is no real insurance that they are not able to procure alcoholic beverages somehow because they are very close to that legal age of 18.
The argument can be made, I suppose, that 19 does not improve the situation that much. It does, however, improve it a little bit. The chance of a person 19 supplying liquor to someone under age is Just a little less than it would be in the case of a person 18. Most people who are of the age of 19 are either out in the work world or have graduated and are participating in activities in post-secondary education facilities. Therefore, it does diminish that possibility, even a little bit.
The minister has suggested as well the problem of drinking and driving, as have various committees, particularly the committee on highway safety. I think we recognize with more and more young people of the age of 16 now having their own vehicles, or with access to vehicles than was the case in the past and with the drinking age presently at 18 and the ability to procure alcoholic beverages fairly easily under that age, there is a tremendous increase in accidents. The death toll is appalling and the number of accidents, including personal injury, is appalling in this particular age group. It is reflected in the amount of money they have to pay in terms of premiums on the problem of drinking and driving among the young people in this province.
An interesting observation as well in terms of the physical fitness of young people is the age at which the waistline begins to expand since the drinking age has been reduced from 21 to 18. When the age was 21, one often noticed people about the age of 23 or 24 beginning to accumulate a good deal of excess weight around the waist, often due to excess consumption of alcoholic beverages. We find now that the fitness of young people has diminished to a certain extent when one sees a pot belly on a person who is 19 and 20 years old from consumption at the younger age. Whether that is sufficient in itself to ensure support of this bill is questionable, but it is a sad observation nevertheless.
It is a sad commentary -- the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) discussed that -- that when members of the Legislature go to elementary schools or secondary schools to discuss issues of a provincial nature, one of the issues asked about the most is drinking. I can recall having members of the Legislature visiting when I went to Grantham High School in St. Catharines. As a matter of fact the member for Windsor-Walkerville was a guest speaker at one time. He was on one of the committees on youth at that time. We have had several committees on youth activities. At that time I cannot recall any questions which were directed to him concerning drinking ages and the problem of drinking. It simply was not the issue that it is at the present time.
I think it is rather a sad commentary that so many of our young people now are concerned about when they can start drinking legally. Perhaps this is partially because of the kind of advertising we see -- the lifestyle advertising that the minister has now suggested will be reviewed very carefully. Perhaps there are other factors -- the drinking age being one of them. Nevertheless, it seems to me to be a rather sad commentary that this is the case.
I pay tribute to my friend, the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) who brought forward a bill in the fall which initiated action. Also the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones), who was given credit by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in his release. When I produced a little article for a newspaper that I produce each week, I substituted the name of Terry Jones with Remo Mancini to ensure that the proper credit was given for initiating the action in this House.
Mr. Warner: More fair than the Tories, they wouldn’t do that.
Mr. Bradley: The minister now has been compelled as a result of the member for Essex South’s initiative to bring forward this kind of legislation under the pressure of the people of this province.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is called the de-Stalinization of Remo Mancini.
Mr. Bradley: The minister, in fairness, does not look exclusively at raising the drinking age as being the final solution to this problem. I do support a provision he has made which I think is a commonsense provision. That is, allowing those who are the age of 18 and who must work in premises where alcoholic beverages are sold to continue to so --
Mr. Warner: If they can get a job.
Mr. Bradley: -- in order to earn more funds for various reasons.
I think the provision that we must have a card with a photograph on it or a licence with a photograph on it is going to make it easier for those who own premises, or those who retail liquor, beer and spirits, to determine those who can legally purchase these. No longer will they have the excuse that some kind of proof was provided but they did not have the photograph on it. I think this is a positive step which will have some results in enforcing this legislation as it presently exists, as well as when the age is raised to 19, as the member for Windsor-Sandwich suggested was necessary.
I also strongly support the stronger penalties which will be imposed on those who own these premises for serving those who are under age. I think anybody strolling into many of the licensed beverage rooms in this province would find that they are serving people under age. Although I don’t find occasion to do this often, I have been told by other members of the Legislature who find time for this activity that the number of people under age who are presently being served --
Mr. Warner: Next time we will wake you up and ask you to join us.
Mr. Bradley: -- in these premises is rather startling. I am told there are 15-, 16- and 11-year-olds being served at the present time. Only through more meaningful penalties and stronger enforcement are you going to find any improvement in this regard. The minister has provided for this in his bill and should be commended for that, even though it was done at the prompting of the members of the opposition.
I know the police authorities have had another problem involving the abuse of alcohol, and it is a genuine problem in terms of enforcing it in parks, and that is determining whether the container is open or closed.
Unless the police officer or someone in charge of enforcing the liquor law were to see a person actually consuming the alcohol, there was very little he could do about it. As soon as the police officer turned his back the alcohol would continue to be consumed. There has been open taunting of police officers in this regard. We have overcome this problem for people who wish to use these facilities without being bothered by large groups of people who have consumed alcoholic beverages in excess and are not interested in any constructive activity. I think it was necessary, so that the police were able to enforce this to provide for those who could responsibly consume alcoholic beverages and those who choose not to do so at all.
As a member of a municipal council, I can recall that municipalities often had problems in their own recreational facilities with those who might choose to consume alcoholic beverages and as a result of consuming them in excess caused many problems for the other customers who are there. By providing enabling legislation for various municipalities to prohibit alcohol in specific parks except under licensed conditions or arenas or other recreational facilities we are at last giving them the chance to be able to enforce a law which they felt was very important to again allow the responsible majority to enjoy these facilities in some kind of peace and quiet.
Also the provision to bar those who are well-known troublemakers in a community from licensed premises gives a break to those who wish to drink in moderation and in some kind of peace and quiet, even though sometimes these facilities have music which is certainly not defined as allowing you to enjoy peace and quiet. At least it allows the owner to prohibit those people from entering the premises or allows him to eject these people from those premises on a legal basis.
The bill itself does not solve the problem of alcoholism or of near-alcoholism in Ontario. It will not eliminate cirrhosis of the liver or other diseases which are associated with alcoholism or the consumption of alcohol in excess, but it does provide us with a step in the right direction. With the rest of the package the minister has announced it will have some effect, I believe, in alleviating this problem.
Education is necessary and the minister has indicated in his statement that he feels that much more education is necessary, and not only in the secondary and elementary schools. Time and again we keep saying the schools should be doing this or doing that. But there is also the kind of education that can take place in the home and in clubs or other organizations to which people belong. Of course there is also the setting of example by the adult population for those who are young, and by people in the family to assist in alleviating this problem.
I support this bill. I see no real problems with it. In committee we may find certain provisions that have to be adjusted slightly, but I see no real problems with this specific bill. It is a step in the right direction and I commend the minister and the government for accepting the advice of the opposition.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the members will be disappointed to learn that the pressures of this place necessitate that my three-hour speech be limited to 10 minutes. However, we will try --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s usually the reverse. Your 10-minute speeches take three hours.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Resign.
Mr. Warner: I knew the members would be disappointed.
Mr. Samis: Don’t provoke him.
Mr. Warner: The minister, who perhaps now is trying to persuade his friends from Rosedale to attend the Blue Jay games in addition to the Stratford Festival and by so doing help to get us beer in the ballpark -- I know he is working hard on that. Perhaps some of his cabinet colleagues will contribute along that line too, since there is a bit of a split in the cabinet, I believe, over that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Unanimous, no split. Nothing like your party is going to be on this vote.
Mr. Warner: I am very pleased to take part in the debate. I am also pleased to know, as I have sat through almost every speech that has been made on this bill, that all the members who have spoken have shown their concern over the issue. I think it’s safe to say that every member of the assembly is concerned about the issue, although each member may define the issue a bit differently and may have a different solution to the problem.
I’m extremely disappointed with what the government has brought forward. I think it is making a mistake. I think it’s one of two things: Either they don’t understand the problem well enough or they’re simply taking the easy way out.
As you recall, Mr. Speaker, there was a bill a while back -- I don’t remember the date of it -- from the member for Essex South which received a great deal of publicity at the time. It proposed raising the drinking age to 19. His bill dealt solely with that matter. It created a great deal of interest in the public. Like other members of the assembly, I received telephone calls and letters from people interested in the issue. Some were in support and some were against.
I would have to say honestly it was a 50-50 split between those opposing and supporting the private member’s bill of the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini). So it was easy for the government, over the kind of reaction they got, to simply mirror that bill instead of addressing the problem. I think that’s the key to it: they’re not addressing the problem.
I will be opposing the bill on the basis that the government is simply tinkering. That’s all it’s doing. In fact, it may be playing political games with it instead of looking at all the problems that are involved and trying to deal with them in a very straightforward way and trying to get at the root of it all.
The root of it is lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that we may not be able to easily identify in all of its forms, but it’s a lifestyle. Just for a moment or two I think it’s noteworthy to take a look at some of the lifestyle problems that we have foisted upon ourselves.
The good member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) mentioned earlier Canada’s national magazine, Maclean’s, and what it does towards the advertising of alcoholic beverages. It’s not just that so many pages are taken up with ads, but it’s the nature of those ads.
We have one manufacturer, Premium, saying: “The reward of achieving There’s something significant about that. We achieve if we’re allowed to drink. It’s a sign of achievement. It’s also a reward. It’s out of their ad on the second last page of the June 12, 1978, edition.
In the same magazine, on page 63, it says: “The only thing more rewarding than giving it is sharing it -- Seagram’s Crown Royal.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Say that again?
Mr. Warner: “The only thing more rewarding than giving it is sharing it -- Seagram’s Crown Royal.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It sounds like socialism.
Mr. Warner: Socialism is so much deeper, I wouldn’t expect the minister to understand it.
On page 39, Dewar’s Scotch Whisky advertises: “You deserve a Dewar’s.” Again, the concept of reward.
The one that really grabs me is the one that’s placed on page 11 by the minister’s good friends; it talks about mixing: “You just add water and mix.” The ad goes on, and what it’s trying to do, of course, is to promote the company. It’s not a liquor ad. It’s an ad placed by Imperial Oil. It shows a cocktail glass with a stir stick in it, and it’s talking about oil. That’s how far we’ve gone in this society that we not only try to get classy, slick ads on drinking, but we try to get that associated with all other products because drinking is such a highly prized ability in our society.
Mr. Samis: We used to settle for a tiger in the tank. Now we are up to this.
Mr. Warner: I think that is pretty sad.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I suppose that is the government’s fault.
Mr. Warner: As my friend said, it was a tiger in the tank and now we want scotch in the tank. That is the movement that has taken place, even to the front of the magazine and its covering article, which I gather is the single’s myth. There is a stow here about the myth of being single.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you want us to censor that?
Mr. Warner: The picture on the front is of a young woman resplendent with a glass of wine and a cigarette in her hand.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you think we should censor that?
Mr. Grande: It would be more useful than some other things you have censored.
Mr. Warner: Again, the connection that has to be made is between the story on the singles and the drinking. It is obviously in a bar because one can see in the background the bar table, bottles of beer and other drinks.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you favour censorship?
Mr. Samis: The minister is bringing out green herrings.
Mr. Warner: Why I bring it to the minister’s attention --
Mr. Grande: The minister is not listening.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: After two hours?
Mr. Warner: When the minister is ready to listen, what I am trying to bring to his attention is the fact that this kind of lifestyle advertising not only promotes drinking in our society, but says it is something we should work towards, something we deserve, drinking is a reward for us. I am really quite offended by that. What we seem to have got away from is the fact that drinking --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Did you write Maclean’s about their cover?
Mr. Warner: They are not the only culprit and the minister knows it, but he probably is not going to do anything about this.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not going to censor it.
Mr. Samis: He can’t anyway and he knows he can’t.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Are you going to write a letter to the editor? I will look for your letter to the editor about this.
Mr. Warner: He is not going to do anything about the lifestyle advertising.
Mr. Foulds: Would the minister stop heckling? Does he want this bill through?
Mr. Warner: Surely the kind of thing the government should be taking a look at and this Legislature should be taking a look at is all of the ingredients that go into our attitudes about drinking in our society, starting from the very beginning.
I will recall to the Speaker and the minister what has been related to me from my children, both of whom are pre-schoolers. They have had, I would say, an excellent reaction to those ads on television by the cancer society about the problems related to smoking cigarettes because of the statements they will say to me: “I am glad you don’t smoke cigarettes. Smoking is bad for you. Smoking is bad for your health, isn’t it, Dad?”
Obviously, their exposure to television and those ads, coupled with the fact that they took the cigarette ads off television, has been a very positive thing in the life of my children. I don’t understand why we can’t parallel that kind of approach with alcoholic beverages.
The minister has put nothing in the bill to deal with that. He has never made a statement to deal with that, and that is part of the roots of it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What section of the bill?
Mr. Samis: He wouldn’t know.
Mr. Warner: If he really wants to get serious about the problem, that is one of the things he should take a look at. He should take a look at what he is going to do in the schools. How serious is he about the problem in the schools? I would think if the government was really serious about what it perceives to be a drinking problem in the schools, it would treat it the same way it says it is going to treat drinking while driving.
When one drinks while he drives, presumably the government is now going to get tough. They haven’t been in the past but they are going to be in the future. Those drivers who are out on the roads and have been drinking while driving are going to get clobbered by the law before they clobber someone else in their car, according to the government. We have yet to see any evidence or much evidence of it.
Mr. Cunningham: On the Don Valley Parkway.
Mr. Warner: But that is going to happen. We also know if he is drinking while working -- unless he is an executive, in which case it is excused as part of the job -- the worker on the assembly line who has a problem with drinking is sent home. There are often repercussions for him. I don’t understand why we don’t take the same approach to those who are supposedly learning.
If they are in the classroom and have been drinking, do something about it. Get them out of the classrooms and find some suitable way to punish them for what they have done. But don’t use it as an excuse to single out the 18-year-olds as a class, as a group, and say to them, “You’re responsible for the problems in our society. You’re responsible for all the drinking problems and we are going to punish you for it.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We didn’t say that.
An hon. member: But the legislation says so.
Mr. Warner: That’s precisely what the minister is doing in this bill. He is not addressing the problem.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don’t be silly.
An hon. member: You are not even addressing the bill.
Mr. Warner: I have said to the minister before -- I said it back in the fall of 1975; it wasn’t the present minister -- “Get tough with the drinking drivers. Get them off the road. Impose a jail sentence if you feel it’s warranted.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You will support our other legislation?
Mr. Warner: “But don’t allow those people driving around on the roads after they have been drinking too much.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You will support our legislation in the fall?
Mr. Warner: The government didn’t see fit to do that but it did see fit to bring in a seatbelt law, and after the seatbelt law had been in for a year -- I applauded; I supported the legislation --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Progressive government.
Mr. Warner: -- and after the seatbelt law had been in and the speed limits had been lowered, the Minister of Transportation and Communications was able to stand in this House and present a report which said that the accident rate and serious death rate had declined, because --
An hon. member: Serious death?
Mr. Warner: -- of the seatbelt law and lowered speed limits.
Mr. Bradley: The former member for St. Catharines doesn’t agree with that.
Mr. Warner: The government was willing to take a tough stand on that one and intermittently they actually enforced the law on seatbelts. I wish they would do it more thoroughly.
Mr. Speaker: Meanwhile, back to Bill 96.
Mr. Warner: Well the relationship, I am sure --
An hon. member: We are getting there.
Mr. Warner: I don’t want to say that the Speaker wasn’t listening, but the relationship is if the government is willing to be tough on that, then why can’t it be tough on the drinking and driving?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In the fall.
Mr. Warner: In the fall! It’s always in the fall. But a year ago or more than a year ago we had the seatbelt legislation and it has been quite good.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Will your caucus be split on that too?
Mr. M. N. Davison: Yours is split also.
Mr. Warner: If the minister has a problem in the bars with minors --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Another free vote?
An hon. member: You are never split over there?
An hon. member: Beer in the ballpark, Larry.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, this isn’t the time to discuss the minister’s split personality. If there is a problem in the bars with minors being served, then he should solve that problem by dealing with those who are breaking the law. Don’t solve it by moving the age up a year. The minister knows as well as I do that almost every teenager in this city can give you a list of the bars to go to where you will be served.
Mr. Bradley: That’s right.
Mr. Warner: They know it; they know which ones will serve them and which ones won’t. Crack down on those bars that are serving minors. Do something about the establishments instead of taking it out on the 18-year-olds. That’s the place. The minister should deal with the problem he has at hand, but he is not doing that. It’s far easier to simply raise the age by a year.
Let him do something about the educational system. How is he going to handle the dissemination of material that’s necessary so people have a little different perspective about drinking and don’t view it as a reward, don’t view it as something to achieve the moment they turn 18 or 19 or whatever age the minister decides on? There has to be a different approach to alcoholic beverages than what we have now.
I wonder if the minister’s aware -- I would imagine he is -- of the pub system in England where a couple of things operate. For the most part it’s cheaper to buy beer and alcoholic beverages in a pub than it is to get it at the retail store, the liquor outlet.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Is it 10 minutes yet?
Mr. Bradley: It was up at 5:09.
Mr. Warner: The minister is interested in the time more than my speech obviously, so I --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Right! Carried, carried.
Mr. Warner: -- will address my remarks through the chair to the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) who always listens to everything I have to say.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He didn’t even hear you say that.
Mr. Warner: In England what they attempt to do, Mr. Speaker, is to say that the alcoholic beverages are going to be a little cheaper in the pubs than they are in the retail stores and then control the hours that the pubs would be open, so the pub closes at supper time and workers when they finish their job go home; they may come back to the pub in the evening but they go home; they are not going straight to the local pub to sit there and drink.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Are you in favour of that? Is that your party’s position?
Mr. Warner: And secondly, while at the pub, rather than being waited on at the tables, if they require a beer they go to the bartender and ask to have a beer. They don’t have the situation we have in some of these places that are nothing more than watering holes, where they come around and put two, three or four beers at a time on your table. I understand that’s illegal, but it’s done. Even if the person’s head is resting on the table they will still plant two, three or four beers on the table in front of the person. Totally illegal though I imagine it is, they still do it. There’s no law against it.
The approach in England has always been quite different. You want the beer, you go up to bar and ask the chap to serve you one. Also, the pubs are usually within walking distance from the person’s home, people don’t have to get in their cars.
Mr. Cunningham: That would take a lot of rezoning.
Mr. Warner: What does that involve? It involves a different approach to planning, obviously.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you agree with that? Are you in favour of that?
Mr. Warner: You can’t do all of that unless you are willing to tackle the entire problem, which the government isn’t willing to do. The government simply is not willing to do it.
Mr. Warner: The government would rather single out the 18-year-old and say that he or she must be 19. Raise the drinking age and then say the problem has gone away, we have solved the problem. That’s a lot of baloney.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We didn’t say that.
Mr. Warner: Quite frankly, it really is.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And in conclusion; to sum it up.
An hon. member: Have you been in an English pub?
Mr. Warner: The minister probably won’t want to comment on this, but I think the government has got to take a look at the hours of service, the hours that the bars and pubs are open. They are willing to adjust it for the airlines now, to accommodate the businessmen so they can have a drink while in the air between cities.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Only businessmen fly, right?
Mr. Warner: -- but is the government willing to take a look at the hours of service in the bars here in the city and throughout the province and think about cutting them back during the week, Monday to Friday? I doubt it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What’s your position?
Mr. Bradley: You’re the government.
Mr. Warner: The system here is we ask questions, the minister answers them, remember that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What’s your position?
Mr. Warner: My position, to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is that the minister should table in here --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s a position.
Mr. Warner: -- every single aspect of this drinking problem we have in Ontario and how he intends to deal with them. I would certainly be quite happy to challenge the minister, I’m able to do that and I am willing to do that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What are the hours?
Mr. Warner: I am willing to draft a list of all of the components of this drinking problem that we’ve got in Ontario and suggest how we approach it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I look forward to it.
Mr. Warner: I will have to do it because the government won’t do it.
Mr. Bradley: The minister can’t even control the liquor board.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: When will I have it?
Mr. Warner: That’s the whole difference here. This bill is going to be debated some more; it’s going to be passed, because the majority of members in the Assembly will pass it. The government will proclaim it, and the government will say: “There; we wash our hands of it. The problem is solved. Now that we have moved it from 18 to 19 the problems are going to dissipate somehow and we don’t have to do anything more.”
Mr. Bradley: We won’t let them do that.
Mr. Warner: I say the government is wrong. I will oppose this bill because it is short-sighted; because it is piecemeal; because it does not address the real problem. It is tinkering with the system, nothing more.
I will welcome the day when the government or a committee of this Legislature deals with the problem in depth; deals with it thoroughly and can recommend a procedure, not just to the Legislature but to the people of Ontario, whereby we can alter our lifestyle over a period of a couple of generations, we can alter our lifestyle and by so doing help solve the problem of alcoholism instead of singling out 18-year-olds and attacking them as being irresponsible.
Mr. Bradley: Bernie, I mentioned you in an earlier speech.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you don’t have to speak, Bernie.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t intend to be at all lengthy. Practically everything that one could possibly think about has been said, not once, twice, but a half a dozen times. Some of the things I will bring up will I think be new because they are the results of a questionnaire that I sent out in my own constituency. I’ll try to show members the thinking of different age groups -- the high school student, the community college and university student and the general public.
I don’t care how many laws we pass in this province concerning alcohol and its control, we’re not going to resolve the problem of alcoholism. I can recall that I grew up in the days when practically every second house in certain sections of the city was a blind pig. They sold their own brew, their own alcohol. I can recall aircraft landing at the airport in the city of Windsor, flying it over to Detroit at some remote airport, unloading their cargo and coming back to the Windsor area for a second load.
Mr. Haggerty: That’s free trade.
Mr. B. Newman: I can recall when they used to smuggle alcohol into the United States by means of boats in the La Salle area and other areas of the Detroit River. We were dry then, we had an alcohol problem. We introduced two per cent beer, we still had a drinking problem. Even though there was two per cent beer, there was always the stronger beer available in certain establishments.
We didn’t have the sale of alcoholic beverages -- I shouldn’t say alcoholic beverages, we didn’t have whisky and the exotic names for liquor and whisky available to the public, but they got it. There was no problem getting the thing after some fashion. It’s a problem that only you yourself can start trying to resolve. If the will isn’t there and if you can’t leave that temptation to get involved in the better life as advertised in television, you’re not going to resolve your own problems.
I happen to be fortunate -- or unfortunate, take it as you will -- as one who doesn’t have that problem because as a youth I was involved deeply in physical education. As a result, I found better ways of burning up my energy and spending my spare time. But I don’t think others should live the way I live. If they want to live and enjoy the good life by consuming any type of alcohol-containing beverage, that’s entirely up to them.
I was on the select committee on youth that looked into this problem. Even that committee at that time was split as to whether we should lower the drinking age or leave it at 21. We did make recommendations. I happened to be one at that time who didn’t want the drinking age lowered. I thought it was good enough at 21.
Mr. Bradley: A man of foresight.
Mr. B. Newman: As I say, I don’t think that because I don’t want it that others shouldn’t have it at the age they wish. When the Mancini bill was first introduced, everyone was all hepped up with the raising of the drinking age from 18 to 19. Then all of a sudden some political bodies in the county thought that since we’ve taken 19 -- how about taking 20 instead, we’ll go half-way between 19 and 21. Several of the councils in the county of Essex suggested that the drinking age be raised to 20. Sandwich South was one, Kingsville another, and also Essex county separate school board. All passed resolutions suggesting that the drinking age be raised to 20.
I sent out a questionnaire, and I identified the questionnaire in sending it to high school students, to get their reaction as to whether the drinking age should be raised or lowered; to community college and university students or post-secondary students; and to the community generally. I don’t think this is indicative of the thinking of all the secondary school students, but this is the sampling I sent out and here are the results of the questionnaire sent out.
I sent out the questionnaire to 472 secondary school students. The question read: “Should the drinking age remain at 18 or should it be raised?” In reply, 54 per cent of the high school students said that it should remain at 18 and 46 per cent said it should be raised. When I asked how high it should be raised, naturally the 54 per cent that said it should remain at 18 said that it should be 18. The others were split between 19, 20 and 21.
When the same question was asked of post-secondary school students -- that is, students at the community college and the university in the city of Windsor -- “Should the drinking age remain at 18 or should it be raised?” 27 per cent of the post-secondary students said it should remain at 18, while 73 per cent said it should be raised. Asking them to what extent it should be raised, 22 per cent said the age should be 19, 10 per cent said it should be 20, and 41 per cent said it should be 21.
We can see that the high school kids didn’t want the drinking age raised, but the community college kids and university students -- I shouldn’t call them kids -- wanted it not at 19 or 20 but up at the top of the figures I’ve indicated; that is, 21.
Mr. Samis: They wanted to keep those kids out of the bars.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Of course, those kids are all 25.
Mr. B. Newman: When I asked that of the community in general --
Mr. M. N. Davison: Based on 12 responses.
Mr. B. Newman: -- I received 4,098 re-returns, or 16.3 per cent of the questionnaires that were sent out were responded to by the citizens in Windsor-Walkerville. Asked “Should the drinking age remain at 18 or should it be raised?” 22 per cent of the residents in Windsor-Walkerville said it should remain at 18, and 78 per cent -- 3,212 out of 4,098 -- said it should be raised. To what age? Twenty-two per cent of the residents said to keep it at 18, three per cent said to raise it to 19, 14 per cent said to raise it to 20, and 61 per cent said to raise it to 21. I didn’t indicate any other figures other than 18, 19, 20 and 21, but 10 people indicated they wanted it at 25. But the majority wanted it raised to 21. The high school students said to keep it at 18, the community college and university students said to raise it to 21, as did the general public. I don’t think any of these types of figures were provided in the debates up to now; so I thought I would let the members of the Legislature know how one riding reacted to it.
I will vote for the bill raising it to 19. I don’t think it is the resolution to the problem. I think we’ll have it regardless of what age we raise it to or to what age we lower it. I would prefer to have the age raised, because at least with 19 it will be out of the high schools to a greater degree than it is today. We hope it will lessen the number of accidents on our highways as a result of making it maybe a little more difficult. Mind you, if you want to get an alcoholic beverage, there is no way of stopping the individual from getting the beverage. He’ll find a way of getting it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I have listened now to three days, I guess, of some of the members opposite suggesting -- quite inaccurately, I might add -- that this government has come to the conclusion that young people are irresponsible and can’t handle liquor, and that we’re taking all the sins of the population out on the 18-year-olds.
However, I noted that those persons who had given more study to the history of the development of this legislation, who had read the Jones report, or who had sat on or read the report of the highway safety committee, did not deal with it on that basis.
Indeed, they dealt with it much on the basis that the Premier dealt with it last November 10, when subsequent to the private members’ vote he said as follows: “The rationale” -- and this is what I think has to be explained to young people -- “is that when you are 18 years of age, you are in a school environment where those ages run from 13 to 18. The bulk of their social life is within that same peer group. The influence of the senior members of that group, their habits and their lifestyles, have an impact on those who are a year or two or three younger.”
That is exactly what we have been saying throughout this dialogue. We have not been saying, at least on this side of the House, that young people have failed any sort of test. We know the figures and the figures indicate all the things that some members have referred to. The member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) and others have quite properly read out those figures. They obviously show some increase in alcohol-related accidents by young people and obviously an increase in the use of alcohol by young people.
Mr. Grande: Isn’t that the test the minister is talking about?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: However, what we are talking about is to what extent the alcohol involvement in high schools in creating those figures. To what extent are the 15, 16 and 17-year-olds being unduly influenced in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise be influenced by those 10 or 11 per cent of the people in high schools who are able to drink lawfully.
As we said many times, we are not entirely sure that this will cure all of those problems. We have been very clear in saying that this is not being held out as a cure-all and an end-all. That simply isn’t the ease. I want to quote again from the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) statement of last fall.
Mr. M. N. Davison: He doesn’t do too good on statements after private members’ bills.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He said, “I want to make it clear that I don’t believe raising the age itself is going to resolve what is a significant social problem.”
Mr. Samis: What about the Brampton charter?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: “I was impressed by the discussions I heard this morning. I heard people, who felt as I did in 1971, that with the age of majority should go the legal right to consume alcoholic beverages.” The Premier went on interestingly to ruminate on the wider and larger problems, as some other members have this afternoon. I believe the member for Windsor-Sandwich, who is not supporting this legislation, expressed some of these same views.
The Premier went on: “But I want the public to also understand that, as parents, if we feel that we can really pass off some of our responsibility for leadership and direction by legislating away the situation, then we really are fooling ourselves. Parents and those of greater experience in terms of age have a responsibility not just in terms of the guidance they give or the leadership, but also in terms of the examples they set.”
That is precisely true. At no stage in this dialogue have we been suggesting we can turn things around, take an onus which is properly on the shoulders of parents and lies in the homes and in the schools and solve all those problems by this piece of legislation.
We have through the debate been critical, quite frankly and openly. My colleague, the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) has appeared in untold numbers of schools and has told those schools directly that if they have problems with youngsters drinking on the front lawn, if they have problems with students coming back after having had too many drinks or even a single drink for lunch, then it is within the power of those schools to solve that problem.
Government is now again faced with the problem that, in spite of our repeated efforts, some schools have not reacted sufficiently strongly. It is an age-old problem as the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) indicated. Alcoholism is a problem that is with us and will likely be with us for a long time to come. There are no easy answers to it.
If there are answers, those answers are obviously going to lie in the homes and in the families and, to some extent, in the schools. As long as we blindly ignore what the figures show us with regard to the presence of some alcohol in high schools, then I think we are derelict in our responsibilities if we do not act.
It is clear that raising the age to 19 may have somewhat less effectiveness than going to 21, but at the same time we think we should look closely and move carefully in this area.
Mr. M. Davidson: It will have no effect at all. Why don’t you be honest about it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If it isn’t working five or six years from today, then it is time to look again. We either abandon the 19 trial or experiment, or we go higher, up to 20; that’s the time when you assess it.
Mr. Warner: You won’t run a trial of beer in the ballpark.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Lest anyone think that we think the problems will go away this November or, I guess quite properly, next March or April, we do not think that. But we do have the opportunity now to reflect back and say that 10 years ago, before the drinking age was lowered from 21 to 18, there appeared to have been a heck of a lot less alcohol in the high schools than there is today. Now we feel it is time that we moved the age up one year and see whether reducing the amount of lawful drinking in high schools to two per cent of the high school population --
Mr. M. N. Davison: In September.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In December -- may begin to move us back to that situation 10 years ago, when there was a heck of a lot less alcohol present in the high schools.
Mr. M. Davidson: You have no figures to substantiate that.
Mr. M. N. Davison: There are more drugs in the high schools.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We hope it will work. But to do nothing in the face of that situation would, I suggest, be an abrogation of our responsibilities. It is peer pressure, it is there --
Mr. Makarchuk: There’s a little bit of advertising involved too. Don’t forget that.
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you take on the ads?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- it is giving access to a lot of alcohol to a lot of young people who might, at drinking age 19, not have that access or availability.
Mr. Makarchuk: There’s a good profit motive there too.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to emphasize once again: No one on this side of the House has suggested that young people have failed any test, that they have not been able to handle their liquor responsibility --
Mr. Grande: You just did.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- because those problems go throughout the length and breadth of age groups in our society.
Mr. Warner: Nonsense. That’s what the bill says.
Mr. Samis: That’s why you brought the bill in.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But we do think that a longer-term solution is the type of introduction to alcohol, if you are going to have any at all, that my friend the member for Oakwood had and indeed that I had in my home and so many people have had. That is likely a better way to have alcohol introduced and handled and dealt with than the current fashion where, quite frankly, our perception is that it is very prevalent in high schools where it was not 10 years ago.
Mr. Warner: Promoted by the ad agencies.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It has been pointed out that most of the arguments have been covered on all sides of this issue, and I might say that one of the ones I did want to deal with in wrapping up was the argument that we should have a single age of majority. In looking for some guidance, I looked back to what is, for me at least, a rather unusual source and came upon the remarks made in this august assembly by Mr. Singer, the then member for Wilson Heights, I think it was then. I quote Mr. Singer; this is June 24, 1971, page 3203:
“What real relationship lowering the drinking age to coincide with the age of majority has, I do not know. Does it make any particular sense that a person should not be able to drink until he has the right to make a contract? Does that make any sense?”
He goes on to say further:
“Why does the minister take refuge in the thought, and why do his colleagues take refuge in the thought, that all of these things have to be done together? If you are old enough to fight a war, surely you can be old enough to vote? If you are old enough to do a variety of things, surely you might be old enough at 18 to have a drink?” That’s interrogative, I might say. In any case, the member at that time certainly rejected all of those arguments.
Mr. Samis: Some authority, Larry.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might say that quite apart from those who accept the argument of Mr. Singer, I also want to say that I think the public of Ontario is entitled to a little bit more leadership from any government --
Mr. Warner: We aren’t getting much from you.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- than to have that government say, “Listen, we think it is nice and consistent and easy to have one single age.” I don’t think those persons who agree with us that there is a high degree of alcohol involvement in the high schools would be satisfied with an answer that said: “We think if you can vote and make contracts and fight for your country, you should be able to drink. We want it consistent. We are not prepared to raise the others; so we are going to stand pat on that.”
I think they are entitled to have the leadership from this government that says: “Yes, we understand that there will be some persons who have some difficulty with this concept, with the breaking up of this consistent age, but we do acknowledge a problem, and a specific one: alcohol in high schools.”
Mr. M. Davidson: An overall problem.
Mr. M. N. Davison: This is an exercise in fear.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: “Therefore, we will proceed and not fob off our responsibility on something called a nice consistent age of majority and we will act. We will have the courage to move in there and act.”
That is precisely what we’ve done. We acknowledge this is a difficult area and I think the difference in feeling --
Mr. Grande: Ah, you are inconsistent in one speech.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- that many people have gone through is reflected by society at large.
I referred back to the debate on lowering the age of majority in 1971. I was astonished to find out it was passed on July 27. Lord knows what they were doing sitting on July 27.
Mr. Bounsall: It was just prior to the election. There was a whole backlog of legislation.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That was before the election. But I wanted to quote Mr. Singer again.
Mr. Warner: Why do you quote people who are not here?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He said: “As my leader indicated, we will be offering an amendment that will bring into effect the act and probably the sections relating to voting age and drinking age immediately.”
Mr. Singer further stated: “While this is going on and we say hurrah for the government, this is long overdue. The government is no more ready for this now than it could have been two years ago.”
Mr. M. N. Davison: Boy, do you love the year 1971. Weren’t those the good old days?
Mr. Samis: Why don’t you quote seatbelt legislation?
Mr. Foulds: Why do you quote the deceased like that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Such was the temperament in 1971.
The member for what was then Essex- Kent, now called Essex North (Mr. Ruston), went on to point out in the same debate, and I quote: “In a survey that I have had done in my own riding, there was some reluctance to approve this although as far as the adult population is concerned it is almost 50-50 -- a little lower for drinking.”
Mr. Foulds: No legislator should be held responsible for statements he makes on July 27.
Mr. Bradley: Very selective.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So it would be safe to say that there was a fair amount of sympathy. It was the tenor of the times and indeed, the bill passed in under two hours. It could have been on account of the date, July 27, but the entire age of majority bill affecting drinking, contracts and so on, passed in two hours.
Mr. Warner: Only because you weren’t here to be provocative.
Mr. Haggerty: You weren’t here making a speech then.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I wanted to quote some of the remarks made by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) in that debate. However, as is always the case with the member for Lakeshore, he had three pages in this Hansard, 1971. I understood none of it. But he apparently supported the bill then and I was happy to find his support for the change we’re making today.
I have a couple of quick comments with regard to the comments made by some of the members who have spoken earlier.
Mr. Samis: That’s your fault, Larry.
Mr. Warner: That’s your responsibility.
Mr. Samis: That’s your deficiency.
Mr. Dukszta: I’m glad to see you admit your inadequacies.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) pointed out the problem with the age-of-majority cards. I want to assure him that when the photo-drivers’ cards come into effect we will be using those cards and for those persons who do not hold drivers’ licences, those same cards will be adapted to serve the dual purpose. I would point out his remarks that he has confidence in the ability of the local police forces to act responsibly and effectively --
Mr. Cunningham: Especially in Kitchener.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). He pointed out quite reasonably earlier today the problem in some public parks as opposed to the stadia where some members of this assembly and others have been noted imbibing in Stratford in a public setting. I suppose, at the present time, all we can do is one of two things: --
Mr. B. Newman: Use soft drinks.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- rely upon the good judgement of the officers involved and --
Mr. Foulds: It certainly wasn’t at the Shaw Festival.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s a part of the problem.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- secondly that we understand --
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s known as a cultural experience.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It will be a cultural experience.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and I know the members of this House will understand, the problems in drafting some legislation which will work to cover all of the instances that we’re talking about. The legislation should permit those persons who are consuming alcohol in a public park, Centre Island being one, to do so in certain circumstances. We would, quite seriously, be pleased to entertain any suggested drafts to the regulations --
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you do it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- which would be able to take in all the instances while not permitting that consumption in public parks which would create difficulty -- for example, what we’ve seen in the provincial parks. Yet the legislation should permit the consumption of alcohol in those settings which are very appropriate in those same parks.
Mr. Warner: What a flimsy excuse.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We have tried and have not been able to come up with it. If any members have any comments or suggestions with regard to how by regulation we may deal with that, we would be very happy to accommodate that.
The member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. M. N. Davison) and other members have pointed out the need for education and wider steps to solve the problem in society at large. I would refer him just for a moment to page eight of my statement on introduction of this legislation. I said as follows: “We also think that education is important in the attitudes of young people toward drinking. The Canadian distilling industry has agreed to finance a conference next year to explore ways to improve curriculum guidelines on alcohol education in our schools.”
Mr. Bounsall: Abdicate to the liquor companies.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: “And I am pleased to announce this conference will be jointly sponsored with the Ontario Association of Curriculum Development. In addition, my colleague, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), will be proposing the allocation of funds to reinstitute a television advertising campaign on alcohol moderation -- the ‘Be your own liquor control board’ ads.”
Mr. M. N. Davison: You can’t leave education to the liquor companies.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: “It is our hope that between the government and industry we can provide the public with more information on the dangers of alcohol abuse for the whole population, not just minors.”
The point I wish to make quite clearly is that we now have an initiative in development of some teaching resources on a wider basis and a better-funded basis and curriculum guidelines for the schools.
Mr. Warner: You won’t take on the ad agencies.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Secondly, the Minister of Health is stepping up the “Be your own liquor control board” advertising campaign -- evidence, I suggest to you, of our intention to solve and deal with the wider problems.
Mr. Warner: You won’t confront them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) complained as did some others, about the lack of policing of our current regulations. I have in front of me a list of just some of the hotels and taverns that have had their licences suspended in the past year for sewing minors; The Wallaceburg Hotel in Wallaceburg, 10 days; Elmhurst Hotel, Newcastle, 10 days; Rivalda Tavern, Toronto, 15 days; Kingsway Hotel, Chatham, 21 days; Colborne Hotel, Sarnia, 21 days; Cornwallis Hotel, Cornwall -- the member for Cornwall has left -- 30 days.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No he hasn’t.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He has just moved, sorry. And on and on. It is a rather lengthy list.
Mr. M. N. Davison: How many in Metro?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The final point I would like to deal with --
Mr. M. N. Davison: How many on the list?
Mr. Warner: What is the total on your list?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With regard to the remarks of the member for York Centre and the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) -- do you want to sit and listen to them all?
Mr. M. N. Davison: Give us the number.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for London North complained that liquor control board outlets and brewers’ retail outlets do not ask for identification and that licence holders under the Liquor Licence Act do not ask for identification.
I would like to point out to the House that we did a survey of licensees. A total of 2,860 replied, an outstanding return. By the way, 54 per cent of the licensees who responded were in favour of increasing the age.
Mr. Warner: What were the bars?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Seventy per cent of the licensees said that they already used the age-of-majority cards.
With regard to liquor control board stores and brewers’ retail, the brewers’ retail, for one, keep a record of the number of people that they ask for identification and the number of people it turned away. Last year the brewers’ retail alone in 1977 challenged 203,339 persons who were trying to buy beer.
Mr. Foulds: Were there any repeats?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There were 73,927 turned away for being under age or for lack of suitable identification. So of those charged with the responsibility of selling those beverages, 70 per cent of the licensees who responded are age-of-majority card premises, while on behalf of the Brewers’ Retail, and the Liquor Control Board stores, I can assure members that they are watching carefully. The figures have been presented to you and they are there for your information and advice.
Finally, I can only reaffirm to the House that I would hope most people would read carefully, before we get to committee stage, the Jones report, the highway safety report and the debates that have gone on in the last few days in this Assembly and last November 10. I would ask members to reflect upon the problem and to really understand that this government believes this small step -- indeed it is a small step --
Mr. Warner: I was right. You won’t take on the ad agencies. Not a single word about them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- can have some effect in the high schools. We believe it can. This small step is simply pointed towards that peer pressure in high schools. We will be dealing with the wider problem in other sections of the act, other than the drinking age section, in other legislation and in the guidelines for advertising.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Thousands of 18-year-olds are out working and not in the high schools.
Mr. Warner: You make marshmallows look like cement.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In closing, I want to disabuse anyone of the understanding or belief that we think the minors have failed any tests or that we are picking on them. We simply think this is one small step worth trying at this time.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of second reading of Bill 96 will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole.
MUSKOKA AND PARRY SOUND TELEPHONE COMPANY LIMITED ACQUISITION ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 108, An Act to acquire the Assets of the Muskoka and Parry Sound Telephone Company Limited.
Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have a statement?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Very little, Mr. Speaker. When I introduced the bill about two weeks ago, I made a statement to the House at that time explaining the necessity for this bill, which is somewhat unusual, to take over the assets of a private telephone company. I believe that statement and the compendium of information and background that were tabled with the bill pretty well set forward the reasons and the total situation of the company at this time. It is unfortunate that this company is unable to maintain anything close to a satisfactory level of service to the 800 square mile area and the 1,500 or so subscribers that the company has. It is with regret that I find we have to take the action this bill brings about.
Mr. Cunningham: I sense that the minister and the ministry may have been reluctant to involve themselves in this particular activity, and I do sympathize with them. They are concerned about the people in that area who have not been receiving proper or adequate services. I know they have made an effort in the past to try to negotiate with the owners of the company. It’s regrettable that this legislation has to come forward, but I believe it’s a necessity if the people in the area are to obtain the services they require.
Certainly I don’t think there’s anybody in the House who would argue that the telephone today is not a necessity. I would like to ask the minister -- and this may eliminate any necessity on our part to see the bill go to committee -- to indicate to us what his intentions are after acquisition, whether it’s the intention of the government eventually to dispose of the company to Bell Canada, or failing that to try to operate it at a profit or to keep the costs comparable to that of Bell.
The only other concern I have -- and possibly I don’t understand it -- is with section 6 of the bill. I am somewhat concerned about the ministry’s commitment to spend $50,000, that that amount of money will have a priority as opposed to other debts that might have been incurred prior to the expenditures of those moneys by the province of Ontario. If that’s the case, that may be somewhat unfair. I am unclear on that and I seek the minister’s guidance. Above and beyond that, we are supportive of the bill.
Mr. Foulds: I rise in enthusiastic support of the bill. In fact, I suspect that my enthusiasm for the bill is far greater in ideological terms --
Mr. Makarchuk: At a government takeover?
Mr. Foulds: -- than either the minister who is moving the bill or the critic, because we have to recognize that the bill is no more and no less than a nationalization bill, even though it is one small area of nationalization.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Inco’s next. If we get this one through, we are going to try Inco.
Mr. Foulds: Is that a commitment?
Mr. Laughren: They’re privileged.
Mr. Foulds: I would have liked to have seen us include Bell Canada within the geographic boundaries of Ontario.
Mr. Makarchuk: We are moving that amendment.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Let Hansard note that the minister had a smile on his face.
Mr. Foulds: Even if that were not necessary -- and I am speaking rapidly so we can get the bill passed -- I certainly would have liked to have had the Capital Telephone Company Limited, which has the telephone system in Maberly, directly north of Kingston, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell, brought under public ownership. This small telephone company, operating in Ontario, has assets that include two executive aircraft, as well as five fishing trawlers that it leases to the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation; it is obviously a very profitable operation. Once in a while, I would like to see the Tory provincial government, and the Liberal federal government, nationalize a profitable corporation for the benefit of the people of Ontario, as well as the losing ones.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Then it would no longer be profitable.
Mr. Foulds: Ironically, the government has found circumstances where this process, nationalization, is not so repugnant to them as it likes to indicate in its dogmatic rigidity when it attacks the New Democratic Party.
There are four clear statements in the minister’s statement of June 2, which I won’t repeat because of lack of time, that indicates those reasons. One of them is very clear: Where the public good is greater than their commitment to private enterprise, because private enterprise, unfortunately in this case --
Mr. Laughren: There goes Inco.
Mr. Foulds: -- is inefficient and unworkable, they will move. I commend them for that, because there are circumstances, no matter the good intentions of the private individual owning the company, where no service has been inadequate.
We in this caucus have talked to some the people in the region. I have talked to the member who ably represents the riding.
Mr. Laughren: Name one.
Mr. Foulds: The Minister of Revenue represents Parry Sound. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, my good colleague from Nickel Belt is one of the fans of the Minister of Revenue.
In a sense it is a pity that the private individual couldn’t have made a go of it.
Mr. Bradley: He could make a go of it for what he has paid for his licence plates.
Mr. Foulds: What worries me, frankly, is that we are going to take it over, through the Ontario Telephone Development Corporation, which has extensive powers that we should use more frequently, and then sell it back to private enterprise once we have upgraded the system and made it profitable. I would hope, even when the Conservative government does that with the collusion of the Liberal Party, that they do that not to Bell Canada but to another independent or consortium of independents --
Mr. Bradley: It must be nice to be perfect over there.
Mr. Makarchuk: We are not apologizing for being perfect.
Mr. Foulds: -- because a number of the private companies, such as the City of Thunder Bay Telephone Department, make a very good job of their operations.
But there are arguments when safety, health, emergency and fire calls are necessary, and they are necessary in this area, are not getting though in this system. It’s not just public convenience, it is public safety and health that are at stake in this case, and we enthusiastically support the government in this action.
It is a pity that section 2(2), with its extensive powers, is necessary in the act. I wouldn’t have thought that section was necessary. It would never have struck the socialist hordes to include such a section in the bill, even when taking over Inco. But obviously it is necessary, and we thank you for giving us the model for when we come to power.
Mr. Laughren: It’s a bit too confiscatory for us, but we will live with it.
Mr. Foulds: We would like to see, as I said, the Ontario Development Corporation used more, not just as a holding company but, as it was originally intended back in 1955 and 1960, as a development corporation for the development of good telephone service throughout the province where that is not now happening.
On motion by Mr. Sweeney, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 6 p.m.