The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
ONTARIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, these are my first words to you as Ontario’s Treasurer. They reflect my personal philosophy, my government’s policies, the realities of the economic marketplace and the future we can shape for ourselves. In many ways I am carrying forward the measures initiated by my predecessor, Darcy McKeough --
Mr. Breithaupt: Some of them don’t remember who he was.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- who brought to this province a renewed sense of fiscal determination in an age, and in a nation, where the words of restraint are far too rarely met by the actions of restraint.
I am an economic conservative, which means I believe this government must work to reduce its role as a regulator and provider of so many facilities and services. In fundamental terms, governments don’t really create that much. They simply transfer things around. Far better to leave the real creation of goods, services and true wealth to the people of the private sector.
I also believe we must look with new respect to the words “profit” and “free enterprise,” and recognize their value in creating new jobs and a higher standard of living for the workers in Ontario’s industries, farms and commerce.
I believe Ontario must re-examine its fiscal relations towards the federal government and to the provinces, and establish policies that benefit not only the people of Canada, but also the people of Ontario, who contribute so much to the well-being of their fellow Canadians.
In the weeks ahead, I will be announcing a number of new policies to ensure that Ontario’s economy follows its present pattern of more jobs, more productivity and less government growth. However, because the Hon. Jean Chrétien’s budget may possibly affect our own policies, I will wait until after mid-November and Mr. Chrétien’s budget’s appearance to present the majority of Ontario’s policies.
Today I will confine my remarks to an overview of Ontario’s present economic situation and to two new policies that bear particular attention at this time.
There are a number of encouraging developments on the economic front which suggest both that our economy is showing significant strength and that positive foundations for the future are in place.
The Ontario economy is growing at a rate of close to four per cent in real terms. New job opportunities are opening up at record rates. September employment was up by over 150,000 from a year earlier. Annual employment gains in the previous decade averaged about only half of that level. Most important, these have been private sector jobs. While public employment represented about 30 per cent of the job gains in Ontario in the decade prior to 1978, over 90 per cent -- in fact, statistics show 99 per cent -- of our job gains in Ontario this year have been outside the government sector. Nearly one third of these new jobs are in manufacturing.
Nonetheless, even this dramatic rate of increase in jobs has not enabled us to keep ahead of the rapid growth of people seeking work in Ontario. Among young people and women, labour force growth has been particularly rapid, and unemployment remains unacceptably high.
Inflation is still eating away at the economy’s real gains. The most recent indicator shows Canada’s September price index was up by 8.6 per cent from last year. Certainly part of this rise is caused by the depreciation of Canada’s dollar, which raises the price of goods brought into the country. Energy price increases are still being felt, and food price increases this year have generally been quite dramatic. All of us, governments included, must be prepared to absorb some of these unavoidable price increases.
On the other hand, the depreciated dollar will see Canadians buying more Canadian-made goods and, if we follow the advice of the European business leaders I visited earlier this month, we can profit from the relatively low prices for Canadian goods and services we can now offer to the European markets. Moreover, their tourists in much larger numbers will turn to Canada to take advantage of greatly increased purchasing power here.
Wage and salary gains have moderated throughout this year and unit labour costs, an important measure of change in our cost competitiveness, are growing at a modest 3.4 per cent this year, less than one half the rise experienced last year. When coupled with the improved competitive position of Canadian producers, and as a result of the depreciated dollar, there is considerable room for optimism for Canadian exports and for import replacement.
Indeed, Ontario industry has already begun to take advantage of its new opportunities. Manufacturing shipments are up 14 per cent this year, accompanied by signs of an accelerating export expansion. Most encouragingly for our long-run health, business investment at mid-year was beginning to rise rapidly. For the longer term, I am satisfied that now the way has been cleared in the United States for the construction of the Alcan pipeline project, substantial benefits will accrue to Canada and Ontario.
An hon. member: Do you want to take credit for that too?
Hon. F. S. Miller: In part, some of the credit for an improving economic performance must go to this government’s action -- in co-operation with the federal government and other provinces to cut retail sales taxes for a six-month period. Retail sales in Ontario have responded sharply to this stimulus, rising by some 12 per cent over the previous year in the period of the cut.
Mr. Mancini: Pretty tired group over there. Pretty tired.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You were certainly tired in Chatham-Kent. You were there, I understand.
Mr. Nixon: A little less levity over there.
Mr. Cunningham: What’s a million, eh?
Mr. S. Smith: Quite a shift in the vote. Ten per cent loss in the vote.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sorry, Mr. Treasurer, but he was interrupting you.
Hon. F. S. Miller: You will all stay after school for 30 minutes.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: What happened to you in New Brunswick?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the Leader of the Opposition should have seen what his predecessor did in by-elections. He made you look -- well, never mind.
Mr. Speaker: Meanwhile, back to the statement.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’ve been trying to get them back, Mr. Speaker. Can I hand out detentions?
Mr. Nixon: What does the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) think?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Moreover, consumer confidence has improved markedly with a sharp upturn of some 20 percentage points as measured by the Financial Post index of consumer confidence after the cuts were announced.
There are other reasons for these encouraging trends. Let me suggest that this government’s own policies have much to do with them. Our commitment to curb inflationary demands on capital markets and supplies and equipment has begun to reap dividends for everyone in Ontario.
The public sector in general is no longer filling thousands of new civil service jobs and competing with private business for the skills of the work force. In Ontario we have reduced the size of the civil service by 4,000 positions since 1975.
Mr. S. Smith: How many people? Most of those were empty positions and you know it.
Mr. Peterson: Are these people that Darcy McKeough hired? Is that what you are talking about?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The only empty positions around here are in the heads of the opposition.
Mr. Breaugh: I liked Darcy much better. At least we could hear him.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. If the Treasurer would stick to his script, it might be a lot easier for all of us.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The Ontario government in particular has reduced the growth in expenditures from 15.1 per cent in 1975-76 to 6.9 per cent in 1978-79. There has been no public debenture borrowing by Ontario for three consecutive years.
Mr. Deans: So what? Who did the borrowing in the first place?
Hon. F. S. Miller: With government growth under control, we have succeeded in restoring the confidence of investors, the business community and investors.
Mr. Warner: Who undermined it?
Mr. Deans: Who created the position we are trying to get resolved?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Compare this performance with Ottawa. Better yet, compare it with any jurisdiction on the continent.
An hon. member: Including Alberta?
Hon. F. S. Miller: However, we are equally concerned with the other side of the income statement, our revenues. It has been disappointing to see our deficit remain at high levels despite prudent management of our spending. Frankly, our growth in revenues is not up to expectations.
A lagging economy has reduced Ontario’s revenue from personal income tax and corporate income tax.
Mr. McClellan: Reread the first page.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Moreover, estimates used for the former are based on federal government calculations and in the past two years these have been overstated. Large reductions in Ontario’s revenue share have resulted. Revenue from Wintario has not reached estimates due largely to Loto Canada being continued aggressively in spite of assurances by Ottawa that it would vacate the lottery field.
In addition, much of the announced federal government budget reduction will be accomplished by reducing transfer payments and cost sharing programs. This effectively shifts taxation from Ottawa to Ontario.
Mr. Deans: Just as you have shifted it from the province to the municipalities.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We have not.
Mr. Deans: You did exactly the same thing.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We have not.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no, we have been generous.
Hon. F. S. Miller: In 1979-80 this could reduce Ontario’s revenue by something like $200 million. Ontario, however, remains committed to the basic objective of balancing its cash requirements. The reductions in revenues have made 1981 an unrealistic date.
Mr. Deans: Is that why he quit?
Mr. Sargent: That’s why he quit.
Mr. Roy: Let’s change the name on the charter.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Once the new federal budget is announced and the impact of it is assessed, we will be able to predict with more accuracy the realistic timing of this balance of cash needs. Ontario’s spending restraints must be coupled with initiatives designed to encourage the private sector to accelerate its own expansion. As a first step, I am announcing today two new actions to improve the investment climate in Ontario.
The members will remember that the land speculation tax was introduced at a time when rampant speculation in land was putting enormous pressure on land prices in Ontario.
Mr. Cassidy: John White would be turning in his grave right now.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He’s not dead.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It was an extraordinary time. It called for extraordinary action. Overnight, the land speculation tax began to bring order to the market. But like all extraordinary measures, its time of need has passed.
Mr. Deans: You should go and try to buy a house.
Mr. Makarchuk: Do you really believe that?
An hon. member: Friend of the speculators.
Mr. Breithaupt: Moving right along to 1984.
Mr. Roy: How much money are you going to lose with Joe Clark’s mortgage program?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Just ignore the interjections and continue with the statement.
Mr. Breithaupt: What about that mortgage interest reduction?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s very difficult, Mr. Speaker. Today the supply of housing is much more plentiful, and upward pressure on land prices has been controlled. The laws of the marketplace can function again.
Mr. Deans: The prices are out of sight.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s the law of the jungle which you are putting back.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: My friend, you think it is the law of the jungle. I believe it is the law that governs the marketplace and it does a very good job compared to socialist democracy.
An hon. member: Three hundred thousand people unemployed.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are going to vote for this bill.
Mr. Deans: I wouldn’t bet on it.
Mr. Breithaupt: I think you are both right
Mr. Warner: Join Darcy.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Because this government does not believe in governmental intervention as a guiding principle, --
Mr. S. Smith: My goodness, you could choke on that one.
An hon. member: That’s the problem.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- because we have confidence that the least regulation necessary is necessarily the best regulation, --
Mr. Breaugh: Better talk to Frank about that.
Mr. Cassidy: Are you taking your doctrine from Gordon Walker?
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- because many man-hours of time and effort, reflecting themselves in increased legal fees and taxes, have been needed to enforce this tax and because, above all, the need has passed, the land speculation tax will be rescinded. My colleague, the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck), will be introducing a bill to do so. The Land Transfer Tax Act, as it at present is written, will continue in place.
Mr. Warner: Handouts to the greedy corporates.
Mr. Deans: Is that retroactive?
Hon. F. S. Miller: For many years, the pulp and paper industries have been a mainstay of economic development in Ontario. They have fought hard for markets and have overcome immense competition from areas with faster-growing forests, lower wages, and less regulatory-minded governments.
The pulp and paper industry is vitally important to the well-being of the province, and thus this government is considering incentives to offset the industry’s economic disadvantages, to encourage its expansion, and to meet Ontario’s strict but necessary environmental standards.
Accordingly, the government is discussing, with management and labour, practical options which we hope will lead to a detailed program of assistance to the pulp and paper industries in meeting a stringent program of environmental standards, while providing clear incentives for modernization and growth.
Mr. T. P. Reid: How about the mining industry now?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s coming along very nicely with our help.
Mr. Foulds: What are you doing? You promised us six months ago, a year ago.
Hon. F. S. Miller: During my first visit to Europe, my eyes were opened by a number of opinions about Ontario, opinions that are valuable not simply because of the expertise of the persons giving that opinion, but because in the hurly-burly of our work in this House we often overlook these broader judgements.
I discovered that Ontario has an extraordinarily high reputation in financial circles.
Mr. S. Smith: That was in the Premier’s mind.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Listen, when the Swiss offer you 90-day money at zero per cent and beg you to take it, you know that you’re not a bad credit risk.
Mr. Makarchuk: How come Eddie doesn’t know about it?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I can say that all francs are worth more than their current value.
Mr. Sargent: You pay them back in Swiss francs; that’s what you do.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I don’t know what that means.
Mr. Breithaupt: You will see devaluation if not deflation.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Makarchuk: Which ones are you buying?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I discovered that Ontario has an extraordinarily high reputation in these financial circles. This reputation has been measurably enhanced by the success of our fiscal management program and our commitment to its continuation. I can assure the House that I will spare no effort to ensure that our habit of prudent spending will remain in good hands. That means we stay here.
Mr. Makarchuk: You and R. B. Bennett.
Hon. F. S. Miller: However, to meet our economic targets, we need now, more than ever, close co-operation between the provinces and Ottawa in developing economic policies that everyone can not only live with but benefit from.
Mr. Swart: You are on the same wavelength.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We need to selectively stimulate the economy to create more jobs. The meetings of ministers of economics and of first ministers during November will undoubtedly focus on this objective. We will strive to reach the economic targets set by the first ministers’ conference. However, I am concerned that we achieve them in an orderly rational way without submitting ourselves to inflationary booms followed by economic busts.
An hon. member: That’s Frank Drea’s department.
An hon. member: Are you keeping abreast of the situation?
Mr. Lawlor: That’s superficial and shallow. There’s not a thing in there.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That’s one I’m going to cover up. Above all else, what this country and its most productive province require is stability in our planning, fairness in our policies, effectiveness in our actions and economic policy co-operation between the provincial and federal governments. Only then will the country as a whole begin to restore its finances in a way that this government has shown to be the means of defeating both inflation and unemployment.
Mr. Deans: I can understand why you are having difficulty. Most people would choke on it.
Mr. Cassidy: You will regret that appointment.
MIND DEVELOPMENT GROUPS
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In recent months there have been extensive reports about what are called mind development techniques promoted by a variety of organizations. The organizations range from quasi-religious sects to new psychological therapies to schools of instruction.
Mr. Deans: To the Treasurer of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Many of these organizations are genuinely concerned with mental health or spiritual growth. However, there are an increasing number of allegations and some evidence that the activities of at least some of these organizations have resulted in serious physical and psychological damage to some persons, particularly young people.
The government has received concerns in relation to the following areas: the effects of mind development practices on the mental and physical health of group members, the recruitment methods used by mind development groups together with the business practices engaged in by them, and the practice of deprogramming which is reported often to involve physical violence. These concerns have been voiced by members of the Legislature on both sides of the House as well as by many other citizens of Ontario.
At the same time, very strong representations have been made to us that little in the activities of mind development groups is in itself necessarily damaging or harmful. Many group members testify sincerely to the benefits they have derived from membership.
It has also been suggested that there is seldom any accurate way of determining whether or not a particular group member who appears to have been psychologically damaged was not already vulnerable to mental disorder which could have been precipitated in any number of ways.
Lastly, it has been argued that any government action or concern in this area constitutes or may constitute an infringement on the civil liberties of individuals and groups to pursue whatever beliefs they choose.
In a highly charged atmosphere of accusation and counter-accusation, few facts are really clear. Because of the seriousness of questions involved, the government wishes to have an independent assessment of the information at present available. Therefore, after discussion with my cabinet colleagues, I have asked Dr. Daniel G. Hill, the distinguished former director and chairman of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, to conduct a study into this subject.
Dr. Hill will carry out a thorough and independent review of all available information pertaining to this matter. I want to stress that this is not an inquisition. The government of Ontario continues to be sensitive to all issues involving civil liberties and freedom of thought and belief.
After a thorough review of all available information, Dr. Hill will recommend whether it would be in the public interest to establish a further public inquiry in this area -- for example, under the Public Inquiries Act -- or to take any further action.
I would invite individuals and groups with involvement or concerns in this area to share their information and views with Dr. Hill in the public interest.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I would like to advise the House that today we issued a proposal to withdraw the certificate of acceptance held by Bestline Products of Canada, the only pyramid selling scheme registered under Ontario’s Pyramidic Sales Act. The proposal is subject to appeal by the company.
In addition, we have issued an order immediately compelling Bestline to cease using its prospectus which we allege contains false, misleading and deceptive statements.
The proposal and order follow an in-depth examination of the company’s operations which revealed a number of discrepancies. The most critical of these is the allegation that in excess of 20 per cent of the money paid by new investors went to participants in the scheme. The act stipulates that not more than 10 per cent of any new investment may be devoted to finders’ fees or other benefits to participants. We are also alleging that the Bestline prospectus grossly exaggerates the potential earnings of participants.
We are quite confident that this action on our part will not materially injure unwitting investors in what may prove to be an unethical scheme on the part of the promoters. Bestline currently has approximately $1.8 million in escrow and the act stipulates that investors are entitled to rescission within six months of joining a pyramidic scheme. Of course, there is nothing to prevent participants from continuing to retail products which they have purchased and for which they have paid.
The Pyramidic Sales Act was reluctantly brought in by this government in 1972, not because we wished to legitimize the concept but to give some measure of control in an area which is wide open to potential abuses. In 1976, the federal Combines Investigation Act outlawed pyramidic selling, except in those provinces where it was specifically permitted by an act of the Legislature of that province. This, of course, includes Ontario.
I want to assure the honourable members that we will not be registering any new schemes under the act and if our charges against Bestline are upheld, and we are going to do everything in our power to see that they are, then I am going to discuss repealing our legislation with our cabinet colleagues. Quite frankly, I would be happy to let the federal ban on this type of promotion apply in this province.
AUTO TRANSMISSION CHARGES
Hon. Mr. Drea: Since May of this year, 66 charges have been laid against transmission shops in Ontario. Today I wish to announce the first conviction arising from those charges.
Edward Ceranowicz, who runs a Mister Transmission shop in Oshawa, has been fined $300 or 60 days. His company was fined $2,000.
Eleven other transmission shop operators in Toronto, Oakville, London, Guelph and St. Catharines were charged under our Business Practices Act with using undue pressure and misleading statements to induce consumers into having major repairs made to their automobile transmissions.
AAMCO, Cottman Transmission and Mister Transmission outlets were involved. The other 65 charges are still before the courts.
Mr. Hennessy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Regarding the statement in this morning’s Sun by Claire Hoy, difference of opinion is accepted by anybody; but, if the members here disagree, we don’t go calling each other jerks. As far as I am concerned, I don’t go for the remarks by Mr. Hoy in his newspaper this morning, calling all members of this Legislature jerks. If Mr. Hoy will do me the favour of calling me that personally in front of my face outside of this House, I’ll punch him right in the mouth.
Mr. MacDonald: Go get him, Mickey.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The guy is going to sell tickets.
Mr. Deans: I want to be the matchmaker.
Mr. Hennessy: You have to realize, Mr. Hoy, that the pen sometimes is mightier than the sword but sometimes five knuckles are a little stronger.
Mr. Makarchuk: I’ll hold the bets.
Mr. Deans: I’ve got $100 on Hennessy.
Mr. S. Smith: I will gladly yield my place to the member for Fort William if he wishes to continue.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: How do you feel about the term “Cookie Monster”? You never said.
ONTARIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Treasurer pertaining to the statement that he has just made. It is apparent that he has now given up the aim of his government to balance the budget of this province even by the year 1981, and I would like to ask him this: Given the fact that the interest on our debt in this province -- and the Treasurer might just advise his colleague the Premier about this -- already is $3.3 million a day, and given the fact that future generations are going to be burdened with the debts of our living a little higher than perhaps we have earned the right to nowadays, how does the Treasurer justify continuing taking this province into debt at the rate that it’s presently going? And, if he does continue that, how does he expect to repay the debt which we now owe to pension funds, including the Canada Pension Plan fund, which debts come due in the early 1980s? At the present level of continuing our debt, how is the Treasurer possibly going to be able to start to repay those debts and still balance his budget, given the pattern he has established?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I suppose if we all look at the way we run our own personal income in life, we all take on debt to cover capital assets. Most people have a mortgage on their home. The question isn’t, do you have a mortgage? The question is, is your ability to pay the mortgage there or not?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Only three per cent of the budget is for that.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The Ontario Conservative government, for every dollar it takes in this year, will spend approximately $1.10 to $1.11. Therefore, it will have a requirement of about 11 cents for every dollar. The federal Liberal government will take about --
Hon. Mr. Davis: We know you’d like to separate.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I don’t know what secret the Leader of the Opposition has as a Liberal that Pierre Trudeau doesn’t have, but the Liberals are the Liberals. Let’s keep that in our minds.
Mr. Breithaupt: How about Joe Clark and his mortgages? How does that cut into your revenue? Is that a great idea?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The Liberal federal government is spending $1.35 for every dollar it takes in; it’s creating debt at three times the rate. But let me get back to a fundamental.
Mr. Breithaupt: It doesn’t wash any more, Frank.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It hurts, it hurts. That’s what wakes them all up.
Mr. Kerrio: Does that make you feel better, that they’re spending more than you are?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The key thing is this, my friend --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Do you want to listen?
Mr. Speaker: Do you want an answer to the question or don’t you?
Hon. F. S. Miller: All right --
Mr. Speaker: He can answer the question in any way he sees fit.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m comparing yardsticks.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The Liberals’ friends in Ottawa treat lots of things as cash income that we don’t. Let’s start going through the accounting procedures. My friend knows those systems. We take the most fiscally conservative possible approach we can to the income from pensions. We do not treat it as income. We treat it as a responsibility to pay back. When that money comes in, it is replaced by bonds upon which we pay interest and pay it into an account to cover that future debt. But, more important, there are future generations going to be paying some share of the taxes of Ontario but they’re going to profit in the billions and billions of dollars’ worth of capital works this province is creating today. In the past five years we have created $6.8 billion worth of capital assets and only had to borrow $5.4 billion against them. Those assets are going to carry on for many years and to some degree capital assets costs should be shared by future generations.
Be that as it may, and recognizing that pension fund surpluses will quite properly start to decline because the Canada Pension Plan has never been properly funded by the federal government in its design -- 3.6 per cent set aside; eight to 10 per cent is really needed. I think you’d agree with that.
Mr. Kerrio: Same as your teachers’ fund.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Eight to 10 per cent is really needed. Because of that we recognize --
Mr. Peterson: You went and borrowed all that money, and it’s the province’s constitutional responsibility. What have you done?
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We are doing quite a bit on that.
Mr. Peterson: You’re the chief culprit. You’re glad to spend it.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I can tell you that this culprit will not carry on that way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, and you people for years urged us to spend even more.
Mr. Peterson: You kept spending until there’s no more money left. Easy money has corrupted the government.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Easy money has corrupted our government?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Back over the years there’s not a ministry you didn’t say to spend more on.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I will remember this.
However, the fact remains I am committed, as I said today, to keep on reducing the cash requirements of this province. Once I have heard what Mr. Chrétien’s budget will be in mid-November -- because that budget dramatically affects my revenue -- I think you’d admit that -- and because I don’t know what he’s going to do in terms of job creation packages -- I have not talked about either matter with him -- I will then set a course of action for this province which will continue to diminish our cash requirements over a period of time. They will come to a zero point in the future. Whether that’s 1982, 1983, 1984 or 1985, I have to attend to Mr. Chrétien’s budget to decide, because following that I have to make certain decisions about Ontario’s spending and taxes that will be complementary to the federal government changes, not working against them.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary question with regard to the Treasurer’s statement: Can he explain what happened to the $60 million he told the press he will be cutting from his expenses because of shortfalls in revenues? The statement he has given us indicates a budgetary reduction of only $31 million. That compares with a first-quarter statement of a $40 million decrease. In a sense the position’s even worse. If the $60 million were cut that would be about $100 million. Is that not indicated here? If this statement is incomplete, can the Treasurer explain where is the complete Ontario finances second quarter as of September 30? That statement should have been presented to us, in keeping with the usual practice in the last couple of years, some weeks ago and we were promised it by today, but we still do not have it.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m told it will be printed by Monday. It was not delayed because of this. In fact, we had hoped it would be out before I made this statement.
Mr. S. Smith: Before the by-election in Chatham.
Hon. F. S. Miller: There’s been no requirement by me to restrain it. In fact, some of the statements in here are lifted from it because we needed them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Stuart, that’s not so.
Mr. S. Smith: What happened to the other $60 million? You didn’t answer that.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the minister is speaking to the effect that he does not think he can balance the budget by 1981, and in view of the fact that he’s had three successive budget deficits of $1.5 to $2 billion per year, is he telling us that we’re looking at another $1.5 billion deficit in our fiscal year now?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The latest figures I saw, and I think they’re still accurate, were $1.482 billion as the cash needs for the province for the year.
Mr. S. Smith: Where is the $60 million?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The $60 million accrued from actions taken at my request by Management Board of Cabinet to keep the cash requirements of the province constant at $ 1.482 billion. I think those were the figures the former Treasurer suggested following the refusal of this House to accept the initial OHIP changes.
Mr. S. Smith: But they are not here -- they are not here.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary to the Treasurer: Is he prepared to give us detailed statements of where that money is being cut and what his projected net cash requirements are? They are not in the figures he gave us today and in fact what he projects they will be over the next two or three or eight or 10 or 15 years, until he balances the budget. Would the minister share those targets with us as the previous Treasurer did, even though he was sadly out on almost every number he gave us?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on that last one, if the member looks at the compendium we attached to his leader’s copy of the statement, he will see that the shortfall in revenues across the past three years was $300 million in 1976-77, $884 million in 1977-78, and $503 million estimated in this current year. That is a shortfall below the figures originally given to us.
Those were explained as the result of a combination of factors, but last year alone, $528 million of it was related to personal income tax; the actual figures turned out to be lower than those originally estimated, and all our estimates in that field, as the honourable member knows, are prepared by the feds. We are not criticizing; we are simply saying that they did their best. They didn’t turn out well because income taxes and incomes weren’t as buoyant as they expected them to be. However, a number of our commitments are based on those.
The interesting thing is this: that while we had to absorb the cut in income, quite properly, we lived up to our expectations and our promises, our projections, to the municipalities -- just the opposite of what my friend from Hamilton-Wentworth says. We kept up our Edmonton commitment at the levels we projected, on the basis of estimated income. Currently they tell me it is almost $700 million of overpayment in that one account.
Mr. Laughren: Not what you had previously promised.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister is blaming the federal government, as I understand it, for the shortfalls in revenue projections because he adopted their numbers wholesale. Is the minister aware that his chief fiscal policy adviser, Mr. Duncan Allan, has said, number one, that the federal government has been all screwed up in its projections for the last several years --
Mr. Foulds: Did he say that?
Mr. Peterson: -- and that the provincial government does its independent forecasting? Why doesn’t the Treasurer use the figures he feels are the most realistic and not do what his predecessor did, in fact present figures to this House that he did not honestly believe were accurate?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m learning a great deal about economics.
Mr. Laughren: It doesn’t show, Frank, it doesn’t show.
Mr. Foulds: Do you use matchsticks like Lord Hume?
Hon. F. S. Miller: If in fact it has been the policy of the federal government in the last two or three years, maybe for very good reasons, to predict a healthier growth in the economy than they felt or were told would occur, and therefore to assume that as a result income taxes would be higher than they turned out to be, that is their business, but it had a fundamental effect on us. I have suggested to my staff --
Mr. Peterson: But they were wrong, and you knew it.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I don’t know that we knew they were wrong, any more than I know that future predictions are wrong. I get probably seven or eight forecasts per week on the economic future, and it is interesting to me how much those forecasts vary from source to source. One is out today. I think you will find the Conference Board is out with a report at noon hour today, which is more optimistic for next year than last month’s was. I’ll turn around and receive one from another economic group which will say, “This month we are more pessimistic than we were last month.”
Mr. Peterson: Then you take the responsibility for picking the wrong one.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I think the answer is that in the past, provinces across Canada, I am told, have seen fit to accept the federal government’s estimates of income taxes in which they share, because they do the overall forecasts for us and in effect give us a targeted figure for income from them.
I watched my predecessor be burned, and I have asked that question: Are we forced by requirement to stick with them? In fact, if we don’t believe them, I’m going to start making mental corrections even if the paper corrections aren’t there.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Given that there is very likely to be a general, if not unanimous, approval in this House to put an end to the exploitation of women employed as so-called topless waitresses, will the minister be introducing legislation to give the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario authority to do this, instead of proceeding by way of the method which he mentioned to the press after this House sat yesterday, which strikes me as being a method of intimidation and coercion -- to my mind, a gross misuse of the law?
If the minister has a purpose to achieve, why doesn’t he get the legislation he needs to achieve it properly?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I don’t think it’s a gross misuse of the law. As a matter of fact, it’s using a section of the Liquor Licence Act that, incidentally, has been used on a great many occasions, that is, section 10(1). I’m advised of that by the board.
Secondly, I assure the Leader of the Opposition that if that procedure does not bring about the desired effect, it won’t be legislation. I don’t need legislation.
Mr. Kerrio: You won’t get the support.
Hon. Mr. Drea: We could obviously just draft a regulation because there is general legislative authority.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, no.
Hon. Mr. Drea: At that time, rather than doing it that way, in conjunction with my friend and colleague, the Attorney General, we will be bringing some thing before the House.
Mr. S. Smith: If the Attorney General can recover from his shock, he might listen to the question. I would like to ask the minister, by way of supplementary, whether he understands that in 10(1) it says that the board may at any time review a licence, and so on, to attach further conditions as it considers proper to give effect to the purposes of this act. Since no purposes are listed for this act and judicial decisions already exist indicating that morality is not one of the purposes of that act, would the minister desist from having a liquor board chairman call people in for some form of intimidation or coercion and ask the Attorney General for an opinion about --
Mr. Breithaupt: Whose job it is.
Mr. S. Smith: -- the legal position the minister has taken? Has the minister asked for such an opinion and, if he has, will he please table it?
Mr. Makarchuk: Or better still, has he ever asked for an opinion?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, I have. First of all, there are purposes of this act, as I understand it, as mentioned in that section. The purposes of that act do not include morality. The question involved with the board is not a question of morality. It is a question of --
Mr. Nixon: Catching cold.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- dress standards involving the service of food, As a matter of fact, if the Leader of the Opposition were conversant with debates in this House, he would realize that some time ago the courts decided that the liquor licence board did not have any authority over morality.
Mr. Roy: That is right.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The MacLean and MacLean decision. However, that did not involve the standards of service; that involved entertainment. It is our position that this section allows us to get a voluntary compliance.
Mr. S. Smith: Did the Attorney General give the minister an opinion? Can we have it?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not have an opinion from my own legal services. I discussed this matter at some length with the chairman of the liquor licence board yesterday. The chairman of the liquor licence board indeed suggested --
Mr. Roy: Before you made your statement?
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- the present route that he is going. Bear in mind that it only concerns dining lounges. He said he would report back to me at the soonest reasonable time. When he does I will then discuss the matter with the Attorney General and report to the House. I want to remind members that I do not need legislative authority.
Mr. Kerrio: Why not?
Mr. Sargent: You are drunk with power.
Hon. Mr. Drea: There can be a regulation in there brought in very specifically. The reason I choose not to do that -- and I say this to the Leader of the Opposition -- is that it would be a rather arbitrary act without the consultation of the Legislature to bring in that specific regulation.
Mr. Breithaupt: We cannot have arbitrary acts.
Mr. Roy: That is exactly what you are doing now.
Hon. Mr. Drea: When the chairman of the liquor licence board reports back to me, I will discuss the matter with the Attorney General. The Attorney General and I have had discussions on the entire matter of nude service -- not nude entertainment. At that time, I will report back to the House.
Mr. Cassidy: Since this is a matter of human dignity, I would like the minister to say whether he’s had any consultations with the Minister of Labour about bringing in amendments to the Employment Standards Act of Ontario in order to make the position absolutely clear in law, and not just by some form of indirect and voluntary compliance, that no woman should be forced to strip in order to have a job as a waitress in the province of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, to be quite honest, I haven’t discussed it with the Minister of Labour, but I would say to the leader of the third party that was exactly what I was attempting to do within the authority that I still think I have.
Certainly if the forecasts of the Leader of the Opposition are true, I think we have to move on a great many fronts. One of them may be under the Employment Standards Act, one may be under some other statute.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer, and I have to express regret that neither the Treasurer nor the Leader of the Opposition concentrated on what to us is the number one economic problem in the province right now, which is the continuing very high rate of unemployment in this province.
I would like to ask the Treasurer, in view of the fact that there are still 317,000 people out of work in the province, in view of the fact that the number of unemployed has risen by 21,000 over the course of the past year, and in view of the fact that there are only 17,000 job vacancies in the province, can the minister say specifically what was omitted from his statement, what selective measures to stimulate the economy to create more jobs does the minister or the government have in mind, and when will those measures be introduced?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the untimely death of the former Minister of Industry and Tourism did, without question, slow down the progress we were making on that matter. Progress is being made, I should say.
Secondly, it would be, I think, a bit presumptuous of Ontario to come forward with a job package in advance of the federal government.
Mr. Deans: Oh, nonsense.
Mr. Foulds: Didn’t Bill Davis do that at a conference once?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Just a second. They have stated clearly that they are going to be announcing some measures in mid-November. I am not privy to those.
Mr. Deans: Tell us what they are.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I don’t know whether I will learn about them at the economic ministers’ conference on November 2 in Ottawa. I hope I will, because I hope the kind of dialogue that should go on between the provinces and the federal government will take place there, because we want to tailor the programs we are going to develop into theirs; I think that stands to reason.
We have very good ideas of what we would like to do. I have shared some of these thoughts with Mr. Chrétien. I have not yet received his response.
Mr. Deans: Tell us about them.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I will be talking to him about them I hope, and I can assure the members that we will take appropriate action once we know what areas remain for us to respond to.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the minister’s outright rejection of governmental intervention in the economy in his statement of philosophy, his credo, can he explain what measures he may have in mind in order to stimulate the economy, and give us some more elucidation than we have had right now? How can he not intervene and yet stimulate? How can he play both sides against the middle? Does the minister simply intend to wait and allow Ottawa to carry all of the burden of getting the economy of the province moving again?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I suppose one of the differences between the member’s party and mine is the dependence we have upon what government can and can’t do though economic stimulus. I would think even the most elementary student of science learned that the scientific method was to put forward a theory and observe the experiment and make some conclusions, but if there are any conclusions that have withstood many tests, it is that governments, through sheer dumping of money into the economy, do not create wealth.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s nonsense. That’s absolute nonsense.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That is not nonsense. As long as the member’s party believes it we will have the kind of difference that exists between West and East Germany.
Mr. Warner: Take a look at Saskatchewan, Frank.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh don’t talk about Saskatchewan.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Saskatchewan is very lucky at the present time to have a lot of resources it is sitting on.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Kerrio: Better learn to shout at them, Frank. They don’t listen unless you shout.
Hon. F. S. Miller: My friend, they don’t listen no matter what you do.
What we would aim at is a stimulation of private sector, investment-creating jobs.
Mr. Deans: How do you do it? Tell us.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We have lots of ideas on how to do it.
Mr. Deans: Tell us one.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: You will get them.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I am not going to be trapped into that, I am waiting to see what the federal government is going to do because I do not want to counter what they are doing. Right now if Mr. Chrétien came forward I would be ready to respond. We have done that much work.
Mr. Deans: Then tell us what you are going to do. This is Ontario, this is the Legislature. Tell us what you are going to propose.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for London Centre with a supplementary.
Mr. Peterson: Given the Treasurer’s theory of stimulating private enterprise, does he have any plan to liberate the several captive pension plan funds from which the government has been borrowing billions of dollars over the course of a number of years? Does he have any thought of accelerating that program to liberate those funds to invest in private enterprise, rather than consuming annually on current consumption and not producing any productive capital in this province?
Hon F. S. Miller: If the members of the other two parties, and my own too perhaps, would co-operate with us when we take measures to curb spending rather than simply say, “Curb it, but please spend it in my riding” --
Mr. Peterson: Just answer the question. Answer the question.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I intend, when I come forward with my economic forecast, to tell the members at what point in time we have zero cash requirements. Having zero cash requirements will free up the surplus moneys of OMERS, PSSF and TSF and so on. Those are the key moneys to which the member is referring.
Mr. Peterson: You have to start paying it back.
Hon. F. S. Miller: At least we’ve funded ours.
Mr. Laughren: I wonder if the Treasurer could tell us, in view of the fact that he stated quite explicitly that the depreciated Canadian dollar will increase export sales, if he is aware just how short-lived that kind of advantage is going to be? In view of the fact that a lot of our goods, component parts and materials are imported, which will raise prices to our manufacturing industry, and the increased interest rate will have the same effect, would the Treasurer mind telling us precisely how concerned he is about the decline in employment in the manufacturing industry in this province? Indeed, could the Treasurer tell us if he is aware just how serious the deficit on manufactured goods is this year, because it’s up substantially over last year, and whether or not he is going to leave the problem to the federal government which has proved its incompetence already?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Every so often we agree, and on the last note we probably do agree.
Mr. Deans: Why are you waiting for them to prove it again?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Because, my friend, whether I like it or not we believe in a strong federal government. Whether it’s strong or not, it is this province’s duty to work in co-operation with it.
Mr. Peterson: You have certainly been helping all you can.
Mr. Warner: You like to hide behind your incompetence.
Mr. Laughren: Would the minister answer the question please?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have lost track of the question. I think perhaps the member had better restate the key part.
An hon. member: The minister didn’t even understand it.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you could direct the Treasurer to answer a serious question in something other than a frivolous way. He has approached the whole debate this afternoon about the problems of the economy in a frivolous way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This is not a debate.
Mr. Laughren: Why doesn’t the Treasurer answer a question when he’s asked it?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: It’s about the decline in jobs.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The decline in jobs in the manufacturing industry. I had lost track of the question because of the interjections.
Mr. Wildman: You’ve lost track of the economy.
Mr. Germa: You’re a clod.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member has stated there is a decline in the manufacturing sector, yet in the last year, a good part of the growth in jobs I talked about has been in manufacturing. The decline of the Canadian dollar is an interesting phenomenon. I think the member is quite right when he says it is not to be counted on in its present degree for a long time. No one is sure of the true value, but most people are satisfied that currently it is undervalued.
Mr. Wildman: Don’t worry. It's just a rate of exchange.
Mr. di Santo: You should send him to university.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Perhaps it’s undervalued in the range of four or five cents. It would seem to be worth between 88 and 90 cents according to the advisers who look at our money from abroad. Internally, we suffer from the same inability to distinguish some of the problems as external observers do.
Mr. Wildman: The Chicago speculators understand it well.
Hon. F. S. Miller: However, a 10- to 12-cent difference in the Canadian dollar makes a very material difference in our ability to compete abroad. It’s true that a number of components for Canadian products are imported. They are imported as long as either the technology doesn’t exist here or the prices are cheaper an those components.
Ms. Gigantes: No, it’s because of foreign ownership.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The drop in the dollar cuts the latter. It makes them more expensive and gives an incentive for import replacement in the Canadian scene.
Mr. Wildman: Yes, but as long as you have a branch-plant economy that’s impossible.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I can only say to our Canadian manufacturers, if we need to recognize anything, it is that right now Canadian manufacturers have a great opportunity to replace imports and stimulate exports because they can count on a reasonably low Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the American for some long time to come,
Mr. Cassidy: A final question: Can the Treasurer tell the House how many more jobs will be lost in Ontario as a result of the most recent round of budget cutting he has undertaken -- at an expense of either $60 million or $73 million, depending on how you are counting? How many more jobs will be lost as a consequence?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I can’t estimate that. I guess that gets to one of the fundamental issues: Does government create jobs in a time of unemployment simply by putting people on its payroll, or does it stimulate the economy to create jobs? I choose the latter of the two courses. This government will continue to provide employment for as many civil servants and public employees as there is a need for -- no more, no less. We are not going to hire people just to stop unemployment, because we will increase our deficit, we will increase the troubles and we will tax our industry and our working people even more.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Housing arising out of the Cantrakon questions which we dealt with yesterday. In view of the fact that the Premier was prepared to answer questions about the Cantrakon project yesterday, I would like now to ask the Minister of Housing, can he tell the House what material he consulted about the feasibility of the project in reaching a judgement that it had to be located on the edge of the escarpment as opposed to some other suitable site within the more than 2,000 acres that was controlled by the companies making the Cantrakon proposal?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first of all, before we go into the whole question that the leader of the third party has asked, let me emphasize to this House that the decision I happened to render as the Minister of Housing was by no means precedent-setting. Since 1974, the time of the act coming into being, there have been a number of reversals of positions by the ministers.
Since I have been the minister, over the nine-month period we have handled 137 requests for review. Of the 137 requests, in 11 of them I have not agreed with the hearing officer. But, of the 11, in six of them I agreed with the Niagara Escarpment Commission. In other words, there were six of them where the hearing officer and the escarpment commission had a difference of opinion.
I want to make it very clear in this House that if the position is given to the minister, I will assume that position and render the decisions for this province.
Specifically, on the question that the leader of the third party has asked, my position was very clearly spelled out in my decision. The conditions under which I gave the rights for a development permit were spelled out in that public notice. As I said yesterday, the issue is before the courts and, on the advice of legal counsel, I will answer no further questions.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: The minister effectively has said therefore that there was no material which he examined as regards the feasibility of locating the site elsewhere within the Caledon area where it could have been located according to the criteria of the company itself, which said: “It was looking for a pleasant natural environment, with cloister-like surroundings but close to a major metropolitan area.” Since the company was not insisting on a site which was on the edge of the escarpment, I would like the minister to say whether, before making his decision, he in any way looked at alternative sites within the Caledon area on which that executive resort could have been located?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I think the answer is very obvious. The minister was asked to look at the specific site in question; that was the one that was heard by the hearing officer and by the Niagara Escarpment Commission. I do not know where the member got the figure of 2,000 acres, because at no time was 2,000 acres ever mentioned in any briefs or documents that I had the privilege of reading, either with the Niagara Escarpment Commission or the hearing officer himself.
The fact remains that I consulted the planners in my ministry and with others involved in the project. I had talks with people in the Niagara Escarpment Commission and, indeed, with people on the local council.
I make the point very clearly that I have rendered the decision. We have made available to the leader of the third party’s research officers, as of today, the full documentation that was in the files. I am sure that the information he has read into the House this afternoon came from those very files.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since there was no material added to the file after the hearing officer’s report to the minister -- from what we can gather from that material today -- can the minister say how his decision, which was opposed on environmental grounds and protection of the escarpment grounds by every authority and body that looked at it, from the Caledon township council through to the escarpment commission up to the hearing officer, until it got on his desk, how his decision squares with the commitment that the Premier gave yesterday and on many occasions before when he said that his government is committed to the environment which includes the Niagara Escarpment? How is the minister’s decision compatible with the government’s apparent or supposed commitment to the preservation of the escarpment?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have already touched on that question and I am not going into any further answering, other than to say this to the leader of the third party: I trust that he would not expect that there should be additional information added to the file -- correction factors -- after the hearing officer has made his report to the minister.
Mr. Roy: If the minister has nothing to hide and he feels that his decision was supported by the facts and the evidence before him, and that decision was a right and proper one, why doesn’t he come out and make a full statement to the House on this, rather than hiding behind a rule called sub judice? In fact, for the purposes of this proceeding -- and the Attorney General frowns -- it is a judicial review in which there is no evidence involved. It is a matter of law, if anything, and certainly his decision before or after will not affect one whit three judges of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Why doesn’t he come clean on this?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would expect the member for Ottawa East, who is supposed to be trained in the law --
Mr. Roy: You are hiding. You are abusing that rule and you know it.
Mr. Warner: I know your record, Roy.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would expect that the member for Ottawa East, who is supposed to be trained in the law, would know very well that when an issue is before the court, in due respect of that court, it should not be discussed in a public place or in the Legislature.
Mr. Roy: That’s bull and you know it. There is no evidence. It is not a jury trial.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yesterday I was asked about the notice of application for judicial review. I would like at this time to table with the House the copy of that notice of application as presented to the Attorney General and myself, the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the firm mentioned in it.
Mr. Foulds: This whole government should be in trusteeship.
Mr. Roy: That is a handy escape for you and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Not at all.
Mr. Roy: Bette, you don’t understand medicine, let alone the law.
Mr. J. Reed: If I can settle my caucus down I will ask a question of the new Minister of Energy, who is incidentally, the fourth Minister of Energy since I have had the privilege of being Energy critic. If we keep going I will go around the whole Tory caucus.
Mr. Foulds: Your question is going to be as long as his answer.
Mr. J. Reed: Last June there was a report expected from the commission on aluminum wiring. I wonder if the minister could tell us now why that report is almost five months late in coming and if he expects it in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I can’t tell the honourable member why it isn’t here yet, but I will inquire of the commissioner. The last I heard, which was about three or four weeks ago, it was expected fairly shortly, but there was no specific date. I will inquire and report to the honourable member.
Mr. Warner: I have a supplementary to that. Since I was told on June 22 by the then Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman) that the report would be available shortly, perhaps the new Minister of Energy could define for me what “shortly” means -- from June 22 on?
Mr. Speaker: The honourable minister has undertaken to look into it and find out where the report is.
Mr. Warner: I am not convinced that that kind of answer answers the questions that have been raised. Perhaps then the supplementary should --
Mr. Speaker: The member for Bellwoods with a new question.
Mr. Warner: Can I ask the supplementary?
Mr. McClellan: I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. Last August the federal government announced a $20-a-month increase in the federal guaranteed income supplement to the old age pension and inexplicably the ministry has failed to announce its intention with respect to complementary measures.
I want to ask the minister to assure the House today that he intends to adjust the provincial GAINS rate so that the GIS increase will in fact be passed on to the 260,000 pensioners in Ontario who are in receipt of the GAINS allowance.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: As usual, the Ministry of Revenue has passed on --
Mr. Kerrio: It has passed on.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: -- any amount of money that was forwarded to the senior citizens. It will again happen, but there are some problems with this particular program. We are working on it now. I expect to make an announcement before too long on the matter.
Mr. McClellan: May I ask when the minister gets around to passing on the increase whether he will take into account the fact that, even with the increase, single GAINS pensioners in Ontario will be living below the poverty line? Will he adjust the GAINS pension so that all pensioners in this province are assured of pensions on the basis of adequacy above the Statistics Canada poverty line and approaching the Social Planning Council’s standard of adequacy for the elderly?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: That is one of the things we are looking into.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Then why don’t you get working and do something?
PESTICIDES IN IMPORTS
Mr. G. Taylor: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. There appeared in the Globe and Mail in the October 19 edition an article concerning the regulations -- calling them inadequate -- for California fruits and vegetables, some of which are imported into Ontario. Are our regulations on pesticide control adequate, particularly for the Holland Marsh vegetables, and has the minister had a report on these vegetables that are being imported from California which have inadequate pesticide control growing procedures?
Mr. Bradley: Give him the same answer you gave him in caucus.
Hon. W. Newman: As far as pesticide control for products going out of the province is concerned, we monitor it very carefully with the federal government. I think there was one example this summer where there was a slightly high pesticide level in some celery which was stopped at the border. The importation of horticultural products into Ontario as far as pesticide residue is concerned is the responsibility of the government of Canada. I can’t at this moment give the member the details on it, but will get them for him.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
Mr. Cunningham: I have a one-part question for the Attorney General. Last September 6 I wrote to him with regard to my concern over an incident involving the Ontario Highway Transport Board where the chairman of the board had CPR lawyer Richard Zimmerman write the decision on the United Parcel case. Now that he can no longer hide behind the doctrine of sub judice, is the Attorney General prepared to see a public inquiry on this very serious matter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Nice fellow. The member is such a pleasant fellow.
Mr. Cunningham: Does the Premier condone that activity?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t think a question asked in that manner really deserves any sort of answer.
Mr. Cunningham: Do I take it then from the Attorney General’s non-answer here today that he condones the kind of activity at the highway transport board or any other administrative tribunal in this province where an opposition lawyer can write the decision on a case in which he has a vested interest?
Mr. Roy: Is that your sense of justice?
Mr. Cunningham: Is that his idea of justice in this province?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, it’s not.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, will the Attorney General tell us exactly what action he intends to take about the incident which is now no longer before the courts in which, it would appear, a lawyer for one of the sides actually wrote in whole or in part the very decision on the matter that was rendered eventually by the Ontario Highway Transport Board? Is it the intention of the Attorney General to sit back and do nothing? Is he intending to have charges pressed of any kind? Is there any investigation or will we have a proper public inquiry to deal with this entire matter?
Mr. Breithaupt: Or is it just a normal practice?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As the members know, the chairman of the highway transport board who rendered the decision and who sat in the hearing is now the former chairman. He is no longer a member of the board. As a result of the circumstances surrounding the writing of that judgement, obviously circumstances of which no member of the Legislature would approve, in inviting a litigant’s lawyer to assist with respect to the writing of the judgement, notwithstanding the fact that the individual involved, the chairman, had arrived at a decision in his own mind -- in view of the circumstances -- the very regrettable circumstances; circumstances not to be condoned -- the present chairman of the Ontario Highway Transport Board has exercised his authority under the relevant statute and has in effect ordered a rehearing of the matter.
That is where the matter stands. At this point in time, no, I don’t intend to pursue the matter in relation to the laying of any charges.
DE HAVILLAND DISPUTE
Mr. Young: A question of the Minister of Labour: In view of the situation where still another agency of the federal authority is refusing to bargain in good faith with the de Havilland workers of North York -- both before and during the present strike, which is now in its fourth month -- would the minister inform the House as to what steps his department is taking to see to it that the employer comes to the bargaining table and bargains in good faith with Local 112 of the United Auto Workers?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, if the member for Yorkview has information that there has been a charge of bargaining in bad faith laid before the Ontario Labour Relations Board I don’t know about it and I would be pleased to have that information.
The substance of the question really is, “What is going on?” I can tell the member that we are continuing to have discussions, and I have hopes that the parties will get back to negotiations in the near future. Beyond that, I can give no commitment at this moment
Mr. di Santo: Supplementary: In view of the fact that it is more than four weeks now during which there have been no contacts whatsoever with the Ministry of Labour; and in view of the fact that the company is not moving at all but is resorting to tactics like writing directly to the employees of de Havilland, doesn’t the minister think that at this point it might be useful for him to intervene directly in the dispute in order to bring the company back to the negotiating table? In absence of a commitment from the company, doesn’t he think that perhaps it would be useful to ask his federal counterpart to come down and persuade the company to solve the dispute?
Mr. Laughren: Here goes the minister’s wishing wand again.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As the member knows, I have had meetings with the parties from time to time, and many of my mediators have. I continue to be interested in it, and I continue to hope that negotiations will be resumed very shortly.
Mr. Van. Horne: A question of the Minister of Education: Can the minister outline for the House what measures she has taken in the area of special education to require that every board have some early identification program that would enable children with learning disabilities, or for that matter any atypical child, to be identified at an early age? Also, what steps has she taken to ensure that suitable education programs for all students who have a right to attend will be provided?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I cannot report in depth nor in breadth today, but very shortly the House will be aware of the initiatives that will be taken in this area.
Mr. Roy: Your honesty is very refreshing, Bette.
Mr. Van Horne: Supplementary: In the spring we were told by the minister’s predecessor that 47 of the approximately 180 boards in the province did in fact have some program on stream. Is the minister suggesting that there is no greater number, but that the boards that haven’t got a program on line will be told to have one next year? There is a gap of over 120 that don’t have a program right now for early identification.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am suggesting, I thought very clearly, that indeed the honourable members will be aware of the specific initiatives which will be taken in this direction in the very near future. I shall be pleased to report.
Mr. McClellan: We have been promised that for a long time, you know.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Health. There has been some contention about the estimates that he has made, and that the nursing home association has on record, of nursing homes closed because they were not up to standards of the ministry. I wonder if the minister could help clear up this question by telling us, not how many nursing homes have been closed since 1972, but how many nursing homes have been closed since 1973.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, I think 1972 is the relevant date --
Ms. Gigantes: No, it’s not.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- since that’s when the new act was brought in. The fact of the matter is that since that time, if memory serves me correctly, something in the order of 213 homes have closed --
Mr. Cooke: How many have been closed under the new act?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- 10 of them by order, and the balance have voluntarily surrendered their licences.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Aren’t those figures the homes that were closed when the new Nursing Homes Act was brought in and as a result of new regulations in the new act? Is it not true that the majority of those homes have converted to rest homes and lodging homes in municipalities across the province and are still providing inadequate service to many senior citizens?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Of course this relates to the introduction in 1972 of the new act and the new regulations. That’s what I have been saying, that in fact the introduction at that time and the enforcement of those regulations have resulted in the closing out of a considerable number of homes that could not meet that act and the regulations to it at that time.
Mr. Cooke: It has nothing to do with enforcement at all.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have no statistics whatsoever on the latter part of the honourable member’s question. Rest homes, of course, are subject, under the Municipal Act, to the supervision of municipal councils.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Taking into consideration the statement made by the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) yesterday about the freezing of assessment for yet another year, taking into consideration the fact that the government has announced that it will not proceed with property tax reform this year and we’ll have to see about next year, and taking into consideration the fact that the city of St. Catharines is not receiving $1.2 million per year in resource equalization grants to which it is entitled, is the minister prepared to consider favourably a transitional payment to St. Catharines, Sarnia and other cities that are adversely affected until such time as property tax reform is implemented and this problem is overcome?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would be prepared to sit down with any of those areas and talk to them about their problems in this regard to see if there were ways they could be assisted, but I would not be prepared to make any absolute commitments at this time. We will be talking shortly to the provincial-municipal liaison committee about the transfer of provincial funds to the municipalities. At that time I’m sure this matter and others will be discussed with them.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister if he shares the view of his colleague the Minister of Revenue that the freeze that has now been on for nine years with regard to the equalization factors, which very adversely affect the amount of money that many municipalities receive and the amount they pay between municipalities, should be continued. If he agrees with him, isn’t it going to perpetuate and make worse the tremendous unfairness that now exists between the municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think my friend knows that we’re looking at all these matters.
Mr. Laughren: Ten years.
Mr. M. Davidson: You’ve been looking since 1967.
Hon. Mr. Wells: The matter of property tax reform is one that is under continuing discussion with the municipalities of this province and we’ll be working towards some solutions; what they are, at this point I don’t know.
Mr. Swart: Keep the freeze.
Mr. Sargent: You’re going to wait till then, are you?
NORTH CHANNEL GENERATING STATION
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier, in the absence of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld), if he could explain the fact that the former Minister of Energy informed me last summer that the decision on the North Channel site for a proposed generating station of Ontario Hydro was held in abeyance pending the study of the long-term power generation problems of the province, but then the chairman of Hydro announced on October 12 that a 4,000-acre site between Thessalon and Blind River was being acquired, or was going to be acquired by Hydro, although the board of directors had not yet made the final decision. Can he explain the difference between those two statements; and also could he tell us if the government has been informed by Hydro if they’ve made a final decision to acquire that site?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really can’t answer the latter part of the question. As to the first part of the question, I’m sure the answer is self-evident. If the member wanted to make a useful contribution he might inform us whether he really supported the development of the site in that particular part of the province; I’m suspicious that his answer would be yes.
Mr. Samis: Cheap.
Mr. M. Davidson: The question is aimed the other way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: His next door neighbour wanted it.
LINDSAY DETENTION FACILITIES
Mr. Eakins: I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. When juveniles are apprehended and detained, especially in the Lindsay-Peterborough area, why is it necessary for them to be taken to Belleville, which is 90 miles away, to be detained overnight? Why should they have to travel such a distance?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I must confess I was not aware of the fact that children apprehended in the Lindsay area would be taken to Belleville. I will certainly look into that matter. It probably relates to the availability of observation and detention facilities in the Lindsay community. If that is the case, I will report to the member on it a little more fully.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Since the Kawartha Lakes School is now under his ministry, would the minister take a look at the possibility of using that facility? I believe he has space there and it would be a great saving in the cost of officers and others who must travel this great distance of 90 miles.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would like to say to the member at the outset I do not, in general, approve of using a training school as an observation and detention facility. In fact, where that was discovered to be happening in one part of the province, I expressly prohibited it from happening. It seems to me that when a child is apprehended, for whatever reason, if some brief period of confinement is necessary pending a disposition of his case, he ought not to be placed in a facility with children whose cases have already been disposed of and who have been placed there for reasons pursuant to a decision of the court. The two groups of children should be kept separate until the court has made such a disposition.
Having said that, I will look at the layout of the facility and see if there is any possibility of accommodating the children separate and apart from the training school operation. But I would not condone placing the children in the same specific facility or institution.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Does the minister agree that the results of the inquiry into grievance arbitration procedures in Ontario are disappointing, to say the least, and virtually useless, with serious inaccuracies in fact and interpretation? Would the minister tell the House what he intends to do now to resolve the very serious problems in terms of delays and costs in the field of grievance arbitration?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As the member knows, last week the Kelly commission report was released and copies of the report were forwarded to the two opposition critics for review.
At the present time I have asked members of the ministry to review the report for me and give me their comments, just as I am awaiting comments from those people to whom the report has been referred. When that information is before me I will make a decision about what route we should take and how we should deal with the matter.
Mr. Speaker: A brief supplementary.
Mr. Mackenzie: Could the minister tell the House why it took from July 19, when I gather the report was released, until now to get it out to various people? Further, I would like to know who has the report, which has effectively met another three months’ delay in getting any action in this very serious area?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Frankly, the first opinion, I gather, was that the report should be tabled in the House, but as discussions between the deputy and I went along, it was felt that it should be forwarded to those people that Mr. Justice Kelly had suggested it be forwarded to in the report. He listed several people he thought should receive it. I accordingly decided that I would take the liberty, rather than waiting for the House to convene, to release it ahead of time for opinions so that we could get on with consideration of it at an earlier date.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Kitchener with a final question of the day.
BREWERS RETAIL STORES
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Premier in the absence of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is the Premier aware of the letter received from the provincial board of the United Brewers Warehousing Workers announcing that the Brewers Retail stores apparently are to be open on Remembrance Day, November 11, according to a ruling of the liquor licence board? If such is the case, would the Premier or the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations review that apparent decision so that hopefully that can be changed?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually, the minister is here. I’m sure he’s not only ready but willing to answer.
Mr. Breithaupt: The minister has arrived. I would appreciate his answer.
Hon. Mr. Drea: In reply to question, it was drawn to my attention yesterday by the member for Wellington South (Mr. Warton). I directed the question to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario -- the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, I’m sorry -- late yesterday afternoon. They are reviewing the matter and I will report back to the House on it.
The only thing that I draw to the member’s attention is that the Brewers Retail establishments are not directly operated by the government and have a different contractual relationship with a different union --
Mr. Nixon: The minister can call them in and tell them what to do anyway.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- to that of the government employees.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Warner: I wish to file dissatisfaction with an answer given by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld). I would like to debate the matter this evening at 10:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order number 28, the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett). That was yesterday -- a judicial review of certain building projects on the Niagara Escarpment. This matter will be debated at 10:30 tonight, along with Mr. Warner’s.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Gaunt from the standing social development committee presented the committee’s report, which was read as follows, and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill 120, An Act to revise the Day Nurseries Act.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this report be adopted?
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the following substitutions be made: On the general government committee, Mr. Hennessy for Mr. Belanger, Mr. Lane for Mr. Walker; on the resources development committee, Mr. Belanger for Mr. Hennessy; on the administration of justice committee, Mr. Williams for Mr. Belanger; on the social development committee, Mr. Johnson for Hon. Mr. Elgie, Mr. Kerr for Mr. Rollins. On the public accounts committee, Mr. Kerr for Hon. Mr. Elgie; on the members services committee, Mr. Jones for Hon. Mr. Walker; and on the statutory instruments committee, Mr. Rollins for Mr. Hennessey, Mr. Rotenberg for Mr. Johnson.
Motion agreed to.
ORDER OF ESTIMATES
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that in the circumstances of the changes of appointments within the executive council of October 18, 1978, affecting the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the estimates of that ministry be considered following the estimates of the Attorney General; and that the procedural affairs committee hereby be requested to consider the appropriate changes, if any, required to provisional standing order 28 in order to allow the sequence of estimates in a policy field as previously adopted by the House to be altered in the case of the death, or retirement, or reassignment of a minister by way of resolution in the House.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the motion. I think, sir, it is necessary for you to make a ruling on the basis of the matter that was put to you yesterday, since the motion calls for a change in the order of the estimates that were established under the rules of the House. I have no doubt, sir, you are prepared to make that ruling, and this might be an appropriate time so to do.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, perhaps before you might choose to make the ruling, would you be kind enough to ask the government House leader as to whether the House could consider that motion as two separate matters? Then two motions could be before the House in case it was the wish of the House to approve one of those items and not the other.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I don’t mind responding to that: I think it is a package; certainly it is our attempt to respond to what I thought was a pretty reasonable discussion yesterday with respect to a resolution of the matter. I would rather leave it as a package.
Mr. Deans: If I may, speaking to the request of the House leader of the official opposition, it would seem to me that it might not be as appropriate for you to make your ruling at the moment, given that the matter in dispute is now to be handled by the procedural affairs committee for future references.
I think we all understand what the problem is and we needn’t go into the detail of it. I think we all understand that there has to be a method determined as to how one deals with circumstances as unfortunate as those that have faced us in the province in the last short while.
If the procedural affairs committee is to be able to deal with this matter, it would, in my opinion, be better that they deal with it without having to take into account your ruling at this time. I think they should be allowed to consider an appropriate method of dealing with such future circumstances, free from any direction from the House. I am worried that we don’t want to direct them right now; we understand there is a problem and we appreciate the complexity of the problem.
Mr. Breithaupt: That was the basis for my inquiry.
Mr. Deans: I understand that, and we understand that it is extremely difficult to deal with it. If we were now to make some judgement on a ruling made by the Speaker, then the referral to the procedural affairs committee would be somewhat redundant. What we are saying is that since the rules are the rules of the House, and since as a result of these unfortunate circumstances we have identified a problem area which up to this point we had not realized was likely ever to occur, the procedural affairs committee should, since it is an all-party committee, in its wisdom look at that problem and attempt to come forward with a recommendation to this House as to how in any future time we might go about dealing with it.
It may be that the procedural affairs committee will determine that procedures as they now stand require no change, that may be the case; but it would seem, as I look at it, to be more prudent for the Speaker to withhold making a ruling based on the present rules since they don’t appear to accommodate a problem such as the one we now have before us.
I would like to suggest, if I may sir, that you allow the motion to be dealt with, and that you withhold your ruling subject to the procedural affairs committee meeting and dealing with this matter and bringing forth its recommendation.
Mr. Speaker: It places the chair in somewhat of a dilemma because I was asked to rule on whether or not the motion placed by the government House leader yesterday was in order.
Mr. Nixon: And the same applies to this one.
Mr. Speaker: And the same thing applies to this one. I wonder whether the government House leader could indicate whether or not he wishes this motion he has just introduced to supplant the one he made yesterday? Does he want to withdraw the one he made yesterday? In that case anything I would have to say would be solely on the basis of this new motion. We have two motions before us right now, the one you moved yesterday and on which you adjourned the debate, and you have already introduced another motion to take care of the same situation.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I have one or two observations. Certainly I would hope that the matter could go to the procedural affairs committee unencumbered at the moment to allow for some objective review of the situation, a committee on which, of course, the combined opposition has a majority and which certainly would have some opportunity to reflect upon the implications of the present circumstance.
I don’t deny, as the House leader for the Liberal Party has pointed out, that the principle raised for your consideration in yesterday’s motion is certainly just as valid to be raised in connection with this one. I don’t think anyone is attempting to avoid that, but rather is recognizing that as a matter of practicality there is some wisdom in getting on with the business of the House and at the same time, recognizing that there is indeed some issue to be resolved, providing some mechanism for it and hopefully attempting to reflect the results of yesterday’s debate.
I could add further that in research there is nothing particularly unique in what we suggest there or what we suggested yesterday. In fact, I would remind the House that we did rearrange the scheduling of estimates yesterday by resolution, as we have done on several occasions, which Hansard would point out.
However, I’m in your hands, Mr. Speaker. Certainly having been asked for a ruling, unless you have got unanimous consent, I suppose you will have to proceed to give your ruling and it would be deemed to apply to this as well as to the other, if in fact we can’t persuade all members of the House to see this as a resolution. I would like to leave that resolution for consideration and, unless you have unanimous consent, I guess you will proceed to share with us the benefit of your opinion in so far as it concerns the principle that was involved yesterday, which no doubt the procedural affairs committee will have the benefit of also when they consider the matter.
Mr. Nixon: I simply point out, Mr. Speaker, that we in the Liberal Party request that you rule on the matter as to whether or not the order of the estimates can be changed by motion of the House or whether it can only be changed by unanimous consent, which is what we are saying.
Mr. Speaker: I want to make it quite clear that I am not ruling on the merits of the contents of the motion I yesterday; it’s whether or not it’s properly before the House that I’m addressing myself to, and that question alone.
Yesterday I reserved decision on the government House leader’s motion to alter the order for consideration of estimates by the standing administration of justice committee.
The question raised by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, as I understand it, was as to whether or not the motion was in fact in order; that is, could it be moved without unanimous consent? I must find that the government House leader, having the floor at the time to move a number of motions respecting the order of consideration of estimates, was in order in moving this motion. As stated, a number of similar motions had already been passed and, therefore, they themselves established to some extent precedence for the motion in question. However, I do recognize that they were passed without a dissenting voice or without a question being raised as to their admissibility and, therefore, unanimous consent may be inferred.
I think I should deal briefly with the confusion that existed in the discussion yesterday between changing a rule and waiving a rule. To actually change a rule it would be necessary to give notice of a substantive motion for that purpose which would be called at a proper time when there would be an opportunity for a full debate in the same way as any other resolution and majority for or against would rule when it came to the vote. I emphasize that this would be a substantive motion, not a routine motion such as the one we now have under consideration.
To waive a rule is a different matter. The House is not seeking to change the rule but simply to waive its application in a particular instance and, according to all the precedents I am aware of in this and other jurisdictions, such waiver has always required unanimous consent.
I have already stated that I find the minister had the right to move the motion yesterday. The question then comes down to whether or not the motion seeks to waive provisional standing order No. 28, which provides the machinery for determining the order for consideration of estimates. This is a very difficult question.
It might be argued that, as it seeks to alter the result of the provision of the standing order, it is asking for a waiver. However, after due consideration, it appears to me that the procedure provided by the standing order having already taken place, a motion to alter the result of that procedure does not entail a waiver of the standing order itself.
It is my opinion, therefore, that it must be left to the House itself to decide, by its vote, whether the motion shall carry or be defeated, I therefore rule that the motion was properly moved and must be allowed to go to a vote of the House.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that I must inform you I have been instructed by my caucus to challenge your ruling, which is on the basis that the motion put forward by the House leader yesterday to rearrange the order of estimates is in its present form in order.
The House divided on the Speaker’s ruling, which was upheld on the following vote:
Davison, M. N.
Miller, F. S.
Smith, G. E.
Ziemba -- 64.
Miller, G. I.
Reid, T. P.
Van Horne -- 25.
Ayes 64; nays 25.
Mr. Speaker: We have a motion before us. Hon. Mr. Welch has moved that in the circumstances of the changes of appointments within the executive council of October 18, 1978, affecting the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the estimates of that ministry be considered following the estimates of the Attorney General, and that the procedural affairs committee hereby be requested to consider the appropriate changes, if any, required to provisional standing order 28 in order to allow the sequence of estimates in a policy field as previously adopted by the House to be altered in the case of the death or retirement or reassignment of a minister by way of resolution in the House.
Mr. Roy: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations didn’t need extra time. He was shooting from the hip the whole time.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to you that the motion you put before us is identical with the one put forward yesterday with one important exception, that is, that the whole matter of the ordering of the estimates will now be sent to the standing committee for review by an all-party committee. I’m sure you understand the objections that were expressed by my colleague, the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and that were actually expressed yesterday by representatives of the NDP.
Mr. Deans: By me.
Mr. Nixon: We felt then, as we feel now, that a rearrangement of the estimates, once they are decided under the rules of this House, should not be adjusted simply by a majority vote since it means that the majority in the House can overrule a minority when the circumstances of the debate on the estimates could be much more critical and perhaps severe as far as the public interest is concerned than they are at this time.
I am very concerned at the precedent set by your ruling, which simply means that in the event that we return to a majority situation, whatever party commands that majority, the minority is simply powerless to maintain the order of estimates once it is established.
Mr. Deans: Speaking to the motion, I would assume that the referral to the procedural affairs committee deals with the matter raised by the House leader for the official opposition, that the procedural affairs committee has been asked by the House to look at a method that might be used to deal with circumstances which are not likely to occur frequently, that is that on occasions such as the one we had before us there simply have to be ways of allowing House business to proceed without unnecessary interruption.
While as a general practice and rule I would agree that it is imperative that unanimous consent be required to change rules, I would suggest that it is also of equal importance that understanding be shown by all members of the Legislature of legitimate problems which from time to time confront all of us.
It is unfortunate today, frankly, that we forced you to rule. You will recall that I asked prior to your making the ruling that you not be forced to rule because I didn’t want to establish a precedent. I wanted the procedural affairs committee to be able to deal with the matter in order that we could see whether or not there was a legitimate method that might be used to deal with matters such as this in the event we should be confronted with them at some future time.
I think it’s unfortunate the Liberal Party chose to force the ruling on us today, which may well have set a precedent. I hope the procedural affairs committee, under the chairmanship of my colleague, will be able to correct what the Liberals forced on us this afternoon.
Mr. Riddell: What a squirrely way to get out of it.
Mr. S. Smith: Until now I wondered how the member for Wentworth could possibly have lost the leadership. Now I am beginning to understand.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you cry a little more? Flexibility is the name of the game.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Every member has a right to be heard in this chamber.
Mr. Deans: No matter how wrong he is.
Mr. Riddell: I can’t hear, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Handleman: Tell him.
Mr. Peterson: Sidney Handleman, a voice in the wilderness.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker can you exert any control over the House, sir?
Mr. Speaker: If you just raise your voice a little, we will ignore the interjections.
Mr. S. Smith: It is quite clear, there are two basic issues involved. The first issue involved has to do with the question of whether or not the order of estimates constitutes a rule which ought to be changed only by unanimous consent. You have given a ruling on that today, a ruling on which, by voting against it, I indicated my profound disagreement, because I fear the day will come when even a Liberal majority government may be tempted --
Mr. Deans: You fear that too?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Some of you people don’t even know what a majority was.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is a fundamental rule and principle in this chamber that every member has an opportunity to be heard.
Mr. MacDonald: Even when they have nothing to say.
Mr. S. Smith: There may come a time, as I say, when a majority government, even of this party, might be tempted to use the ability thus gained to simply use its majority to keep changing the order of estimates in a way so as to avoid very important discussions of the day.
Mr. Kerrio: Right on.
Mr. Deans: You should have thought of that before you forced the vote.
Mr. S. Smith: It is, in fact, possible, and very probable to my way of thinking, that the reason the rule was introduced that estimates would in fact be ordered in the manner according to order 28, the reason it was introduced that way, I suspect, was because it was thought to introduce a certain element of fairness; that each party would have its say so that it would not be possible for a majority government to basically hide the estimates that it wished not to proceed with and that it would not be possible for them to delay inordinately the possibility of discussing those estimates.
Because we felt that rule was brought in for a purpose, the purpose to guarantee fairness, we feel that rule should have been upheld. It was not, and I think the day will come when that decision may well be regretted, but in any event, we have expressed ourselves on this.
If the New Democratic Party agrees that the rule is an important guarantee of fairness, an important guarantor of fairness, then in fact the NDP members should not have voted with your ruling, sir, with due respect to you, sir, to have set aside the need for something more than a majority to change that rule. We think they will live to regret that.
In any event, that was one issue. The second issue has to do with the desire of the government from time to time to change the order of estimates due to what they, and perhaps even a majority of this House may consider good and sufficient reason. In these circumstances the appropriate action, given the need for fairness, is for them to come before the House and ask for the possibility of changing that order.
If there are some who feel that standing order 28 is too stringent in this regard, they may wish to have this reviewed by the procedural affairs committee and, of course, I would have no objection to that matter being reviewed by the procedural affairs committee.
Mr. Foulds: That is big of you.
Mr. Deans: We should have thought this through, I think.
Mr. S. Smith: However, in the precise circumstances that we are now discussing, the question of this specific request on the part of the government to alter specifically the estimates that we are speaking of, in these instances we are not prepared to agree to have this change made.
Mr. Foulds: Why? Give us a reason.
Mr. S. Smith: We realize that that death of a colleague has in some part occasioned this. However, the government had a number of options. They could have, in fact, shifted a minister --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Tell us why.
Mr. Foulds: Give us your reasons.
Mr. S. Smith: I shall. I assure you you will hear why. The Premier will hear why if he will just be patient enough.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will. I am the most patient man.
Mr. S. Smith: It does the Premier little honour to be wrong in his figures and it does him less, in fact, to be asking me continually to tell him why. He will find out why if he will listen.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am just asking you.
Mr. S. Smith: I find that’s a very useful phrase that you use; I’ll be returning to it.
The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that it may well he looked at as a matter where the death of a colleague has resulted in a desire to change the estimates. But there were other options that the Premier had. For one thing, the Premier could have made his cabinet shift in such a time and in such a circumstance that it would not have left the minister responsible for the first estimates scheduled to be in fact in a position to be having to defend the estimates without very much time for study.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you really believe what you are saying?
Mr. S. Smith: I might also point out to the Premier that the particular minister involved apparently had no difficulty whatsoever deciding what the most important matter in his ministry was and grabbing headlines with it. He was also the parliamentary assistant in that particular ministry for some considerable time and in our view we could easily have had him defend those estimates. At the same time, if a little extra time were required we would have been willing to agree to a change so that Justice policy came forward before Consumer and Commercial Relations. We were willing to compromise on that.
But as far as we are concerned, Mr. Speaker, it was quite in order, if there had to be a shift in that ministry, to make that shift after the estimates or at some earlier time before the estimates. In any event, the minister is not totally ignorant of that particular ministry, since he was parliamentary assistant and since he demonstrated some special ability to go right to what he considered the heart of his ministry so early and with so much flag-waving.
In our view, we feel that in this particular instance we are not prepared to change the plans we have made. In this instance we would like to be accommodating, but we will not be accommodating in this particular situation. We think it unfortunate that the NDP has supported a ruling which in our view this House will come to regret some day.
With regard to the motion that the House leader of the government has put forward, the first we heard of it was when he put it forward, which is his right; he has a right to do that. But with regard to that particular motion, there are obviously two parts to it. One has to do with approving a change which we have already said we do not approve. The second part has to do with referring a standing order for the consideration of the procedural affairs committee, a matter which we do not oppose. Unless, however, the two matters are separated in the voting, it is impossible for us to state what we in fact do not believe, and we shall therefore have to vote against the motion, although we have no particular objection to this matter going to the procedural affairs committee, of course, Mr. Speaker.
We think that the ruling should have been defeated. We think from everything the NDP has said that basically they think so too, but for some reason best known to them, they decided to vote to sustain your ruling. That, I am afraid, is the situation which has arisen.
Mr. Deans: Yes. We think you have created an impossible situation and it is a ridiculous posture.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, for sheer gall they are in a class by themselves. I remind the Liberals that we had a House leaders’ meeting last Thursday at which they were represented.
Mr. Peterson: Any meeting with you is eminently forgettable.
Mr. Deans: How do you know? How often have you been there to find out?
Mr. Breithaupt: He had one once.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We are wasting valuable time here.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, we reached a consensus last Thursday, as a result of the death of our colleague and the shift in the cabinet. Those people responsible for trying to order the business of the House in an orderly fashion reached a consensus on the change that would come about and lead to the estimates of the ministry coming forward tomorrow. The Liberals were part of that decision. You should remember that because you did send a couple of people to those meetings.
Mr. Breithaupt: Just address the chair.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That was last week.
Mr. Eaton: But Stuart overruled that.
Mr. Martel: You do send a couple of people and surely once in a while you might keep your word; just once in a while you might try to honour an agreement.
Mr. Bradley: You got them off the hook, Elie.
Mr. Warner: Your word is so good.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I understand that this is a very emotional time, but I would caution the member to rephrase that last remark. It has connotations that are not acceptable in this House.
Mr. Renwick: Be consistent once in a while, he consistent.
Mr. Martel: Once in a while, my friends to my right should try to be consistent. There was a precedent set and they didn’t say a word. They didn’t say a word. Last spring we moved the estimates of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism from the resources development committee into the general government committee and brought it into the House.
Mr. Nixon: The order wasn’t changed.
Mr. Martel: Oh, yes, it was. MTC was first.
Mr. Nixon: Yesterday you were talking the other side of the argument.
Mr. Martel: No, no --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk --
Mr. Martel: I’m saying the order was changed.
Mr. Villeneuve: It is hard to take.
Mr. Martel: I’m saying that in fact those estimates were brought forward from one policy field to another policy field and brought from a committee outside the House into the Legislature and my friends to the right didn’t say a word.
Mr. S. Smith: Was it by majority vote or by consent?
An hon. member: Consent was not the problem.
Mr. S. Smith: If it was by consent there’s no problem.
Mr. Martel: You made the problem yesterday. We pointed that out at the Speaker’s luncheon with your House leader. We pointed out yesterday that we needed unanimous consent because of the circumstances. We agreed we wanted unanimous consent. You weren’t prepared to give it.
Mr. Bradley: You supported us yesterday.
Mr. S. Smith: And today you changed your mind.
Mr. Martel: Why?
Mr. S. Smith: You still need unanimous consent in our view.
Mr. Martel: No, we don’t. Oh, in your view.
Mr. Deans: Why won’t you give it?
Mr. Martel: You can’t on one occasion say, “We want unanimous consent,” and give it, and on the next occasion, if it doesn’t suit your critic --
Mr. S. Smith: But you can’t say on one occasion you need unanimous consent and on another that you don’t.
Mr. Martel: If it doesn’t happen to suit your critic on any given day, you throw consent out the window. You stop trying to work to make this place function.
Mr. S. Smith: It is unbelievable.
Mr. Martel: It would be nice when we do arrive at agreements, that they be honoured.
Mr. S. Smith: Can I list a few your leader changed on us every 20 minutes?
Mr. Martel: If anybody knows about change, it’s you.
Mr. Bradley: Lots of applause over there, Elie. Lots of applause over there.
Mr. Martel: What happened in the by-election? Did you --
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. This motion before the House has nothing to do with by-elections.
Mr. Martel: It’s obvious that we would have preferred to go the other route. That was discussed yesterday, as the Speaker knows. We tried to get the unanimous agreement so we wouldn’t have to go to this type of ruling which leads to the position we’re in now. We asked, out of consideration to what had transpired, over which none of us has control, that there be a sense of co-operation to make the place function. It was done under circumstances at which all of us are saddened, and we have to make a concession so the place can work. I want to tell you if you dig in on such an irrelevant issue --
Mr. M. Davidson: Obstructionists.
Mr. Martel: -- you’ll make the place grind to a halt, because if you can’t consent and you don’t take a vote, that’s exactly what you’re going to do.
Mr. Nixon: Finish your speech.
Mr. Martel: We’ll have no estimates for a week so that the new minister can learn the portfolio. Talk about nuts!
Mr. Deans: He’s got to learn more than that. He couldn’t learn it in a week.
Mr. S. Smith: We’ll waive our right to have --
Mr. Martel: Waive your right. I helped to rewrite those rules when you were still a boy back in school,
Mr. S. Smith: You didn’t know how to read them.
Mr. Martel: When you were still appearing on TV daily we were rewriting the rules that have made this the most advanced Legislature going, my friend, so don’t tell me about rewriting the rules.
Mr. Roy: You’re the genius behind it, are you?
Mr. Martel: Yes. It’s a disgrace that the Leader of the Opposition would put us in this position today where we have forced the Speaker to make a ruling that all of us know could be detrimental in the long run and allow those people to say no.
Mr. S. Smith: Why did you vote for it?
Mr. Pope: Why did you oppose it?
Mr. Martel: Why couldn’t you simply get up, make your point as you did yesterday, if that is what you were wanting to do, and then give the unanimity?
Mr. Breithaupt: Get on with it, Elie?
Mr. Nixon: You made the point yesterday and now you’re voting the other way today.
Mr. Martel: No, no. We made the point, but we know that the House has to work. The member can call it what he wants, but the House has to work. Despite all the protestations, the Liberal Party really has got itself and the whole Legislature into a bag.
Mr. S. Smith: Even if you disregard the rules, yesterday you said we needed unanimous consent and today you voted no.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, hopefully the procedural affairs committee can salvage this one because we know the position it has put you in. We know the position it has put the House in, just for a little more grandstanding. But I want to tell you, in the past six months they’ve been professionals at that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t normally get involved in these discussions.
Mr. Deans: It might be better if you didn’t this time too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m going to be very careful how I get involved in this one, other than to make just one or two points for the Leader of the Opposition so he will have some greater appreciation.
I’ve listened to the discussion since the vote, Mr. Speaker. I must confess I didn’t have my speaker on to hear the discussion leading up to the challenge of your ruling. I would only make this submission to the members opposite that unless my perceptions are totally erroneous -- I could be wrong and I may be proved wrong within a day or two or a week -- my assessment is the public feels, and it’s my own personal point of view, they expect this Legislature to function for some period of time.
Mr. Roy: That’s what we told you before the last election. We told you that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say with respect, Mr. Speaker, the only way it can function is by people demonstrating a little reasonableness, a little good judgement and some measure of understanding. I must say -- and I say this very kindly -- that I am totally confused by the logic of the Leader of the Opposition. I don’t quarrel at all with the involvement of House leaders in determining the order of business, although it is the government’s responsibility to establish the order of business. I think there are a number of occasions where we have endeavoured to accommodate, as members have accommodated the government, in terms of either legislation or of estimates. It’s not a unique or unusual situation.
I have to tell the Leader of the Opposition that in spite of what he may feel, while I did spend more than one sleepless night with respect to the passing of a very good friend and colleague of all of us, and while I do confess that I delayed somewhat the changes that were necessitated because of John Rhodes’s passing, out of respect to him I have to tell the Leader of the Opposition that I did not stay up late trying to determine just which ministry was next in terms of what estimates might be called. I may be derelict in my responsibility in that I confess to the Leader of the Opposition it wasn’t until yesterday, and perhaps even until today, that I realized that the minister who has been appointed to fill the vacancy that occurred when the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick was appointed to replace the minister who represented Sault Ste. Marie -- that that happened to interfere with what had been established as the order of estimates.
I confess this to him, Mr. Speaker; I didn’t know. For him to suggest by implication here in this House -- and I think it’s a very sad commentary -- that my decision as to who was to assume what responsibility in terms of the executive council of this province as it related to the calling of estimates, I think, Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member were a gentleman he would acknowledge --
Mr. S. Smith: That suggestion was never made.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That’s exactly what you said. That’s what you said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that that never took place, that was never part of my thinking in determination of who was appointed to cabinet and how that in any way related to the calling of estimates.
Mr. S. Smith: Nobody said it was.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it just didn’t happen.
Mr. S. Smith: Of course it didn’t.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that -- well, I don’t know whether you call it logic or not -- I am still totally mystified by his attempt to justify the position of his party. Why doesn’t he just get up and say he doesn’t want to proceed with the Attorney General’s estimates, because the member for St. George doesn’t want to proceed? That I would understand. Let’s put it on the table. As my children would say, let it all hang out. If she doesn’t want to hear the estimates, why doesn’t she proceed with it --
Mr. Breithaupt: That’s not true of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Deans: You be careful, Frank Drea is behind you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, some of my children.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Frank Drea doesn’t want that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That I’d understand and that I’d respect. But if the Leader of the Opposition is going to have one of his members dictate to him what he should say in trying to rationalize an argument for what I think is a very simple problem confronting the members of this House --
Mr. S. Smith: What is the debt of the province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: And he can talk about the debt of the province -- he can try and draw all of the red herrings across it. The truth of the matter is, the Leader of the Opposition is embarrassed, his colleagues are embarrassed for him, and it’s because --
Mr. S. Smith: You are dead wrong, as usual.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Why doesn’t he say that the member for St. George doesn’t want to move ahead with the Attorney General’s estimates, for whatever reason? That I understand. But, Mr. Speaker, I would hope, now you have made your ruling and we’ve all --
Mr. S. Smith: A complete distortion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I heard what the member said. He questioned why I appointed certain people to certain cabinet responsibilities. He raised that issue, I didn’t raise it. I just have to tell the Leader of the Opposition. Maybe I should have said, “Now who is next in estimates?” before I made the decision as to who was to assume what responsibility. I’ve got news for the member. I didn’t, and I think any Premier who took that into consideration really is abdicating his responsibility.
I hope I’ve cleared that up for the Leader of the Opposition and that it may make him feel somewhat better. If he’d just level with us and say the member for St. George doesn’t want to, for some reason, proceed, that I understand. I don’t understand the member for St. George, but that I would understand. Let’s just put it on the table.
I would just hope, Mr. Speaker, now that we’ve had this chance to sort of unburden ourselves, we’ll remember that business does have to proceed. Tomorrow is another day. Estimates do have to go ahead. I would like to be out of here before Christmas Eve; I assume the rest of the members would like to be out of here before Christmas Eve. I would hope that today’s debate wouldn’t raise the emotions to a point where we cannot continue, through the House leaders, what I think has been an excellent way of ordering the business of the House.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, it would seem perhaps that there should be some statement made by the member for St. George. Since I’ve been in this House there has been this occasion and another when the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) seemed to indicate that I had tremendous influence, and I appreciate the Premier’s acknowledgement of my great influence in this House.
The Premier is well aware of the problems of this particular timing of these estimates, but let me just put this to him. I say this sincerely, because I really have never known a person for whom I had a greater regard than the late Minister of Industry and Tourism. I am a little weary of trying to equate what is happening in the ordering of the business to that very sad occasion. It’s an extremely sad occasion for all of us. But that really isn’t the point. We have been prepared to go ahead with the estimates of the secretariat and the answer is, “We’re not ready.” No. That’s the reason we have this kind of situation.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Margaret, I am being very reasonable.
Mr. Roy: You have a staff of 50.
Mrs. Campbell: It’s interesting what is reasonable.
Mr. Ruston: Don’t point your finger like that, Bob.
Mrs. Campbell: Apart from any other considerations, one of the reasons for this ruling that we had was to give a fair opportunity to all House members to be prepared for estimates. It’s interesting that I have sat through -- Justice estimates could be handled very easily.
Hon. Mr. Welch: By whom?
Mrs. Campbell: By me. Oh yes.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Not due till December but not ready for the Attorney General. How can you be ready for something that comes after the Attorney General?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mrs. Campbell: You don’t want to hear, do you?
Mr. S. Smith: Because yours is such a nothing ministry, we can easily handle it.
Mr. Roy: You know that, Bob; you were a nothing minister --
Mrs. Campbell: I have been sitting consistently this summer in committee. We have dealt recently with three very important and highly controversial bills. On Friday, I received the message that the estimates of the Attorney General would be called for Wednesday. That was Friday afternoon.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: More notice than I got.
Mrs. Campbell: From the events of this year, it is important that these estimates be very carefully reviewed and the principles and philosophies upon which this ministry is based should be properly reviewed.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You are not ready.
Mrs. Campbell: I have my material prepared. I will be prepared if this is the will of the House.
Mr. S. Smith: Frank Drea is not ready and Bob Welch is not ready.
Mrs. Campbell: I want it understood that apparently there are rules for the government and rules for the rest of us.
If the Justice minister isn’t ready we cannot proceed with his estimates. If the new minister isn’t ready, we can’t proceed with his. It does seem to me that there are some very fundamental rights, some very fundamental commitments which have been made to the justice committee and to this House which in all probability will not be met by this reordering of events. I simply wish to put it in those terms. To find that no one over there understands what’s going on and no one down there understands what’s going on --
Mr. S. Smith: They never did.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Like the Liberals in Ottawa.
Mrs. Campbell: -- is a very sad situation. But I would like to warn the Attorney General and anyone else that we will be heard on the very vital issues that have to come before this House. We shall be heard.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, to join briefly into this debate, we in the New Democratic Party are always prepared for anything.
Mr. Breithaupt: You have to be.
Mr. T. P. Reid: With a leader like you’ve got, I don’t blame you.
Mr. Lawlor: Just to finish the sentence: at any time of the day or night.
Mr. Bradley: Especially supper.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And you shall be heard. Haven’t you got a poem, Patrick, that would cover the situation?
Mr. Lawlor: I wouldn’t dare say a word that might in any way reflect upon or denigrate the position of the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell). I have to live with her.
Mr. Lawlor: I never go into a committee of this House, however esoteric that committee may be, but she isn’t there -- and talking!
Who would be so timorous, or have such an open breast, so to speak -- pace, my friend Drea -- about these things in the face of such a formidable force? And who would tread on those toes? Not me!
Nevertheless, I have been as prepared, I suppose, as I ever will be to do the Attorney General’s estimates. As a matter of fact, I have lived all summer, thinking of nothing else, in anticipation of it.
Finally, the Attorney General’s ministry is such a mess that it is very easy to do estimates on this occasion. You can choose any number of monstrous and monumental points et cetera and dwell on them for days and hours.
The condition of the courts is just lamentable. He knows that; we all know that. Therefore, if he wants to go ahead in three minutes’ time on his estimates, we can take up the bulk of the time and fill in very nicely et cetera. I don’t object at all.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I was going to let this debate run its course and get back to serious business, But, as always, the remarks of the now-gone member for St. George stimulated me a little bit.
I just thought back to a few weeks ago when, in my former ministry, I invited my two opposition critics -- they accepted, to their credit -- to come into the ministry and spend as much time as they wanted -- I think they were in last Monday with my deputy and the senior officials of the ministry in the minister’s absence -- so that they might have an opportunity of better preparing themselves for the orderly conduct of business.
At that time the opposition critics were invited to try to define the issues better and let us know what more information they might need and have the senior people there in order that they might better prepare the opposition critics for an orderly, well prepared, well thought out series of estimates --
Mr. S. Smith: You should have prepared your parliamentary assistant.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and in order that the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations could go in a better organized fashion than the opposition was able to handle last year, since they got off track at an early stage and didn’t reach, for example, rent review, which I know we were all looking forward to last year.
We also sat down with the opposition critics and, to their credit again, we easily agreed upon a schedule so that all members of the House would know exactly on what day and at what hour the various votes of the ministry would be dealt with.
The reason I raise that point now is that all of that was specifically designed, obviously not to prepare me as minister but rather to prepare the opposition and to allow them full and complete access so I that the estimates might be handled in a fully prepared fashion.
Mr. Kerrio: Yes, you don’t need any help at all.
Mr. S. Smith: Good for you.
An hon. member: Is this relevant?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That experience came back to me when the member for St. George said a moment ago that apparently there is one rule for government and one rule for people who aren’t members of the government,
Mr. Sargent: You’d better believe it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Apparently the way she interprets it, the one rule is that the opposition is entitled to be prepared and fully briefed whereas a new minister is not entitled to be so prepared, fully briefed and well-organized in that fashion.
In fact, if the member for St. George really believes this time what she says about having one rule for all members of the House --
Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you sit down?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- surely she must agree that it is only fair that the new minister be given exactly the same treatment, advance opportunity to prepare, as we gave all members of the opposition.
Mr. S. Smith: How can you say she is not ready? She’s entitled to say it as well.
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Why do you hint that there is some great scheme involved? That wasn’t very kind.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, it has been suggested that the ruling which you were forced to make today has created a precedent that will come back to haunt us in the future. I want to suggest that is not likely to be the case.
Mr. Roy: That’s what Elie said.
Mr. MacDonald: It is not likely to be the case.
Mr. Bradley: Hear that, Elie?
Mr. MacDonald: The second part of the motion upon which we are about to vote refers this to the procedural affairs committee. It will be the responsibility of the procedural affairs committee to come up with a mechanism, a procedure, for coping with this kind of circumstance. That recommendation will come back as part of the provisional rules of the House. The rules of the House will be adopted and will be rules for the future. As a member of that committee, I look forward to an opportunity for creating a procedure, for devising a procedure, which will avoid this kind of circumstance in the future. I just wanted to make that point briefly.
Mr. Speaker: You have all heard the motion moved by Mr. Welch. Shall the motion carry?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of Mr. Welch’s motion will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Mr. Nixon: We’ll accept the previous vote.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 150, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, this bill contains several housekeeping amendments, but one substantial item is that it provides for the suspension of a driver’s licence for a three-year period on the third or subsequent conviction for impaired driving. That is perhaps the most substantive part of the bill. This was announced by my colleague, the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman), last June.
LAND SPECULATION TAX REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Maeck moved first reading of Bill 151, An Act to repeal the Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Warner: Shame.
Ms. Gigantes: Shame on you. What a feeble excuse for a bill.
Mr. Laughren: What are you doing with the spec tax, Lorne?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I am helping your constituent. You know the one. Mr. Speaker, this bill proposes a repeal of the land speculation tax as of October 24, 1978. The bill also provides that any special lien in existence under the act will be discharged on January 1, 1979, unless notice of a lien is registered in the appropriate land registry office.
Mr. Sargent moved first reading of Bill 152, An Act to provide for a basic Residential Power Rate Applicable to the Essential Energy Needs of Residential Households in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Sargent: This is a good one. It’s called the Lifeline Act, 1978. The purpose of this bill is to provide for the establishment of a basic residential rate for electrical power usage by residential households in Ontario. The basic residential rate is applied to the amount of electrical power required by a typical residential household to fulfil minimum essential energy needs.
The proposed amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act require the board to determine those functions that constitute the minimum essential energy needs of a residential household in Ontario. Each municipal corporation that distributes electrical power must establish a basic residential rate on the basis of the electrical power demand required in its service area to fulfil the minimum energy needs.
This bill sets a maximum level for the basic residential rate and stipulates that the basic residential rate must be the lowest rate for electrical power usage charged by the corporation.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 153, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act 1973.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip: The purpose of this bill is to alter the procedures relating to the preparation and implementation of the Niagara Escarpment planning area. The bill also contains amendments to the development control provisions contained under the act. One of the main effects of the bill will be to remove development permit appeals from the Minister of Housing and direct them to the OMB and through it to the cabinet
The second major effect will be to have only one official plan covering any area in the escarpment, the regional or county plan, but the official plan must incorporate the provisions of the overall escarpment plan.
MEETING OF COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Perhaps in view of the carriage of the motion dealing with the order of estimates we should indicate that by an earlier motion yesterday we agreed that the standing administration of justice committee could meet on Wednesday mornings. I assume that notices will now go out for that committee to meet tomorrow morning at 10 to start the consideration of the estimates of the Attorney General.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Speaker: Before we get to the discussion on second reading of this particular bill, I think I have a responsibility to appraise the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) of some events that happened a little earlier during the question period.
The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere gave notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question which he placed to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld). I have now had an opportunity to see Hansard and to refresh my memory. The question posed by the member was ruled out of order. He asked: “Will the minister define what shortly means?” Therefore, there was no answer given. The member is therefore not able to debate any dissatisfaction in a question that was ruled out of order.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, can I make one comment on your ruling on that?
Mr. Speaker: Normally it is not allowed in this House.
Mr. Roy: Can I rise then on a point of order?
Mr. Speaker: A legitimate point of order is heard any time.
Mr. Nixon: That’s the only kind he has.
Mr. Roy: Just as a matter of knowledge, my reading of the standing order -- and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to correct me if I am wrong -- was that a member can object to a question or an answer that was posed by another member. In other words, I could object to a question to the Minister of Housing that has been posed by another member and express my dissatisfaction with that answer.
On that basis, would it not be possible that it not be necessary that I even have a question in order to express dissatisfaction with an answer from a minister to a question that had been posed by another member? That is what I thought, after reading standing order 27G.
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to allow a prolonged debate on this, but now that I have refreshed my memory, as I look at Instant Hansard, the member for Halton-Burlington said: “Last June there was a report expected on aluminum wiring. I wonder if the minister could tell us now why that report is almost five months late in coming and if he expects it in the near future?”
The Minister of Energy said, and I quote: “I can’t tell the honourable member why it isn’t here yet, but I will inquire of the commissioner. The last I heard, which was about three or four weeks ago, it was expected fairly shortly but there was no specific date. I will inquire and report to the honourable member.”
That was, in my view, a commitment taken by the Minister of Energy to look into why the report was late in coming. Obviously there would be a report coming back to the House advising the honourable member and the House why it was late.
When the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere said, “Will the honourable minister define what ‘shortly’ means?”, I said: “The honourable minister has already taken it as notice and if members are not satisfied when he reports back, then there will be ample opportunity.” The minister simply did not know and he took the question as notice.
I think it was quite a legitimate thing for the chair to say the minister has served notice that he will look into the question and get back to the House.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, what you have explained is precisely what I was dissatisfied with -- the answer that the minister gave about looking into the matter and reporting back.
I don’t wish to complicate the whole procedure but the member who asked the question ahead of me should have asked the question to a different minister.
The minister, who responded -- the Minister of Energy -- is not the minister responsible; it is the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations who is responsible.
My question was identical to his and I --
Mr. Speaker: And also asked of the wrong minister, in your view?
Mr. Warner: Yes, it was asked of the wrong minister.
Mr. Speaker: That just fortifies my ruling.
Mr. Warner: I was up on a supplementary, but I was dissatisfied with the answer the minister gave and his explanation that he would report back, that is what I was dissatisfied with.
Mr. Speaker: In order to expedite the business of the House it would be appreciated, certainly by the Speaker, if you would await the answer from the Minster of Energy or at another time -- perhaps on Thursday or Friday -- direct the same question to whom you consider to be the appropriate minister.
However, I have had to make a ruling that you can’t be dissatisfied with the answer to a question that was ruled out of order.
The member for Waterloo North.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Welch: The next three orders -- that is, 16, 17 and 18 -- are those dealing with the municipal elections situation. I was hoping that we might have the unanimous consent of the House to proceed with these bills and do all stages, and subject to the House having considered them that way, we then might make some arrangements later this evening to have royal assent.
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 143. An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act.
Mr. Ashe: This bill has already received wide coverage in the press and knowledge within the municipal sector. There was a brief introductory statement made yesterday when the bill was introduced.
Basically, what it does is, effective for this particular municipal election period, legitimize the supplementary nomination day provisions, expanding upon the original provisions in the bill. Secondly, it clarifies the intent of where notices should be sent to resident and non-resident owners of property. That particular change is necessitated by a recent ruling which suggested that a clerk did not send notice to a proper location. This will make legitimate what has been the practice where notices have been sent.
The third particular amendment relates to the consideration of local time as being the time that is in effect during the nomination period, seeing as this year the nomination period falls within daylight saving time in most jurisdictions.
I will also be asking to go into committee of the whole House to consider an amendment to this amending legislation. We have heard by telephone yesterday of some municipalities -- and we have heard of others by the press today -- that followed the old time, or were concerned with daylight saving versus standard time, and accepted nominations until 6 p.m. last evening. To avoid any possible conflict and future complications within those municipal jurisdictions which decided to go that route, we did, I think, a very large scale notification procedure and seminar procedure to explain what was happening. There is no doubt that the legislation as of yesterday was not the legislation that we are proposing today, albeit retroactively.
In the amendment we suggest that those who have followed the procedure within the Municipal Elections Act as amended earlier this year will be legitimate in their actions for this particular election period.
Last but not least, in that same amendment the effective dates of the various parts of the bill will be changed.
Mr. Epp: It was indeed an extremely circuitous route from the member for Durham West to the member for Waterloo North and the Municipal Elections Act, 1977.
I find it somewhat incredible that only last fall we dealt with the Municipal Elections Act -- it was a somewhat comprehensive bill and we changed a number of sections in it; a great deal of work had been done on it, representations from municipalities and so forth -- and I thought the ministry, after discussing the bill for a number of years with the various municipalities had a chance to bring in the amendments.
Since that time we have had amendments to the 1977 bill that were brought in in the spring; and now in the fall for the second time. I find it somewhat disturbing that some of these matters hadn’t been included in the original bill. I would hope that this doesn’t occur very frequently.
From the standpoint of this party, supporting the bill in principle is no problem. We believe these amendments should have been included earlier. We obviously support the idea that if vacancies occur due to resignations, due to people withdrawing their nominations on the day after nomination day -- which was yesterday by the way, so that if they had up to 5 o’clock today to withdraw them, that was only 20 minutes ago -- at any rate if withdrawals occur they could have new nominations for tomorrow, rather than doing so only in cases where there is a shortage of nominations on nomination day. We obviously support that particular clause in the bill to amend the Municipal Elections Act of 1977.
Also, it makes a great deal of sense to mail notices only to non-resident electors. I wonder if the parliamentary assistant would, however, explain what he means by “mailing.” Does that mean merely dropping it into the mailbox, or having mailed it, will it actually be delivered? Maybe he could explain what the regulations are regarding that particular section in the act. I think it’s somewhat vague and it should be clarified for all those people concerned in the 835 municipalities and more across the province.
Mr. Haggerty: What is mail anyway?
Mr. Epp: If you ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) that question these days he might even get upset about it, Nevertheless, the other point brought into this bill is the aspect of having nominations during daylight saving time; having the time that’s operational in that municipality makes good common sense. As a result we will support all these sections as well as the amendment to which the parliamentary assistant from Durham West alluded earlier.
Mr. Swart: As has been pointed out by the member for Durham West and the member for Waterloo North, these amendments to the Municipal Elections Act are desirable. Therefore, we will be supporting them, including the amendment which is being proposed by the parliamentary assistant.
These amendments have become necessary because one or two things were overlooked and it has become desirable to improve the notification to the electors of where they vote. Because the changes all make good sense, we will be supporting them.
However, I have two general concerns around the circumstances surrounding this bill. First of all, this last minute introduction of legislation, much of which was known ahead of time would be needed, is a poor way to conduct public business. It may be something of an overstatement to say the House should be recalled earlier for this type of bill, but certainly if the government is not prepared to do that, they should think far enough ahead that these matters can he dealt with so as not to cause inconvenience and even some very legitimate concern to municipal people with regard to the legality of what they are doing. The very fact that the parliamentary assistant must introduce another amendment today, after having received the bill last week, shows that the bill was much later than it should have been and he must now correct what took place just yesterday.
I have had expressed to me concern on the part of municipal officials that they should, in fact, according to the instructions which were received from the ministry, disobey the law as it is at the present time. It would be corrected afterwards, but they should, in fact, disobey the law as it existed at that time. They were concerned about it. We have the amendment because some of them inadvertently kept the nominations open an hour longer than they should have yesterday, or else were concerned enough and said: “We’re going to go by the act as it is and the government afterwards can rectify the mistake which we have made if they go ahead with the amendment.”
So I have that very real concern about these last-minute introductions of bills on items which should have been dealt with at an earlier time.
I also have a concern about the statement of the minister yesterday, which I suggest is not wholly accurate. When a bill is coming in very late it seems to me there should he absolute accuracy. You will note in his statement be said: “At present, if there are no nominations for an office by the close of nomination day the clerk may receive nominations.” That is not, of course, the way the bill reads at the present time. It says, “in the afternoon of the day following nomination day, the number of candidates who have been nominated for an office and have not withdrawn under subsection 1 of section 39 is not sufficient to fill the number of vacancies” -- it’s not a case of having no nominations for an office but insufficient nominations.
I want to point that out. In fact, I’ll be pointing out in another bill, one of the other two bills, an even much greater discrepancy in the statement of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells). It seems to me there should be some accuracy there.
With those two perhaps minor criticisms, we will be supporting the bill. We will have no amendments to make to it and we will support the amendment by the parliamentary assistant.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I do want to bring to the attention of the member piloting the bill through the Legislature a concern of mine in relation to section 1(5). According to the bill itself, it refers to where the number of candidates nominated is insufficient. We are taking care of the situation by extending the nomination period for another 24 hours. My concern is that an individual can have himself nominated in a series of wards.
For example, my own community is on a ward system completely now, so an individual trying to jockey for position to find out in which ward he should be running can now have himself nominated in each of the five wards and then has 24 hours within which to decide his chances according to the number of contestants in each of the wards and in which of the five wards he is going to eventually run. He doesn’t have to reside in the ward in which he intends to run so he can have a fairly wide choice.
I think there should be something in the legislation that might require that where the individual is nominated in more than one different office he must make up his mind before the nomination deadline of that original date. Otherwise, I’m afraid that in the future if I were running for a municipal office I would have myself nominated to as many different wards in my own community as I could think of and then find out how many are running in one ward and in which of the five wards I would have the best opportunity.
I think you’ve got to prevent that section of the act from being taken advantage of by those who would follow the procedure of which I have made mention. Of that I’m concerned, Mr. Speaker, because I know that people get themselves nominated for two different positions -- in other words, say for a member of the municipal council and also for a reeve or deputy reeve -- and then have the opportunity of a 24-hour period before they make their selection. I don’t think there should be a 24-hour period. I think it should be by deadline, five o’clock of the nomination day. Thank you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other honourable member wishing to participate in the debate? If not, the member for Durham West.
Mr. Ashe: I would like to indicate that I appreciate the general support given by the two opposition critics in this particular regard to try to get speedy passage of this bill.
I would like to respond briefly to some of the points and concerns that were raised by the honourable members. First of all I would respond to the member for Waterloo North relative to the procedures that we have gone through in the past number of years that eventually brought about the Municipal Elections Act, 1977, and subsequently the amendments thereto. I think it just indicates very correctly that we’re all human, including members of the opposition and including those that operate within the municipal sector, both the elected as well as the appointed people. As he so ably indicated, there was a long process that ended up in the legislation that was passed last year. At no time did anybody indicate or think of -- and I include everybody that I just named -- the discrepancy, if you will, relative to time, namely that the procedures as so amended would under certain circumstances and most circumstances fall within daylight saving time. No one raised that particular issue. That’s why it was overlooked. It’s nice to see that everybody in that broad spectrum of people that I described is human, including the government.
Mr. Swart: I used the term “we overlooked.”
Mr. Ashe: That’s fine. The honourable member for Welland-Thorold missed it also.
Mr. Nixon: With all the amendments he put in he missed that one.
Mr. Ashe: As for the nomination day, again I think that’s an area where nobody brought that other issue forward, the extension in terms of supplementary nominations; of course that’s now taken care of with the amendment.
With regard to the notices, it was not possible to even anticipate this particular amendment before. In actual fact, as I indicated in my opening remarks, this particular amendment really does not change, I would suggest, for virtually all of the municipalities in this province, the procedure that they have been following in the past regarding notice of the polls. What necessitated this amendment to make it much more clear was a decision that was brought down earlier this year where the judge was very critical of the clerk of a municipality, as a matter of fact a municipality not too far away to the north. The clerk sent the notices, as this particular procedure suggests, not just to the particular property within the municipality but to the resident address of owners who were generally thought to be non-residents, summer owners.
Mr. Nixon: That was just one of the criticisms.
Mr. Ashe: It was just one of the criticisms but the only one that’s relative to this particular situation. We’re talking of the township of Georgina.
What the judge very well pointed out was that the legislation previously was very specific that the notice should be delivered to -- that’s the way it read as a matter of fact -- the particular spot right in the municipality. That is why this particular amendment is necessitated. We were not aware of that particular issue last year or even earlier this year when the amendments were brought in.
As for what is the mail, that’s a good question. I know when I have mailed a couple of things lately, I’ve added on a little note that with the grace of God, the grace of the new Pope and the grace of Mr. Trudeau’s post office department it may eventually get there.
Mr. Nixon: And Paul John Yakabuski.
Mr. Ashe: Just in case, I also added that I wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year because it might take a few months.
Mr. Laughren: Did you write those in order?
Mr. Nixon: Ye of little faith.
Mr. Ashe: That’s right. I have noticed that in that particular instance.
Mr. Epp: Did you use your franking privileges?
Mr. Ashe: Unfortunately, what the onus is on the clerk in this regard is rather clear in that it would appear, and I suppose it could be so interpreted, that it is the responsibility of the clerk to cause to be delivered for people who are a resident in the municipality the actual notice of the poll. That’s exactly what it does say. If you look at section 2 it says “in the case of a resident elector by mailing or causing to be delivered to the elector a notice of the location of such polling place and in the case of a non-resident elector by mailing to the elector a notice of the location of such polling place.” The “non-resident elector”; it is very specific. I think the particular obligation upon the clerk is strictly to mail the notice and once he has gone through that procedure, the onus is no longer there. As far as the resident elector is concerned, there is no doubt this could well be construed that he should go out of his way and cause a notice to be delivered in other ways besides the mail. I don’t think it is possible for me or right for me to give a legal opinion, if you will, but there’s no doubt what the words say.
The only thing that I can of course add to that is hopefully, in the next day or so, when another level of government sticks up their backbone, possibly the situation will be resolved and the problem therefore will be corrected. I hope for the sake of the many hundreds of municipalities within the province of Ontario that that takes place.
I think now I have covered the various remarks and comments of the member for Waterloo North. Speaking to the comments of the member for Welland-Thorold -- last-minute introduction -- I think I have covered a lot of that, why it could not be done before. I think we have made it very clear, not only to the critics on the other side to whom I spoke some considerable time ago during the summer on what we were proposing and would be doing on the very first opportunity this session, we also made that as clear as we could to the municipal jurisdictions throughout the province both by way of communication as well as by holding seminars.
There’s no doubt that some clerks chose to decide that they would go by the old act, or they were not aware of the new procedures that were being proposed. I don’t know what else we could have done but, recognizing that their decisions were made in all good faith, that’s why the amendment I will be introducing today is being proposed.
As far as the discrepancy, if you will, in the introductory statement of the minister yesterday is concerned, I would suggest that really that is just a word technicality and the members can read this any way they wish. I suppose in the strictest terms what the honourable member suggests is true, but I really don’t think it’s very relevant.
The concern brought up by the member for Windsor-Walkerville is, I suppose, a legitimate one. One thing I must point out to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House is that neither this bill nor its predecessor, the original bill, or the amendment since -- that is to say, the Municipal Elections Act, 1977 -- has in any way changed the procedures relative to nominations and multiple nominations being applicable. Mind you, that does not change his concern, but all I am saying is this bill did not create that procedure. The procedure was created and available before, where a person could be nominated for more than one position and had the opportunity until the next day to withdraw the nominations that he did not wish to proceed with.
Of course, the procedure was then, as it is now, that if the nominated person did not proceed to withdraw nominations of his choice there was a procedure that made it mandatory that the first filed nomination would be considered the office in which his nomination was valid. Now the point that he makes I don’t think has been a problem in the past. I have also only heard of the situation where multiple nominations were made in more than one category -- that is to say, councillor, deputy reeve and reeve, for example -- and not the situation he brought forward where somebody is being nominated for more than one position as councillor because of the ward system.
We would be happy to take that under review as to whether it is a valid concern to put the onus more on the nominated candidate to make his choice either immediately before the closing of the nominations or immediately thereafter, rather than giving him the 24 hours after. I would suggest that in practical terms it probably won’t happen too often, because any legitimate candidate is probably very busy within the particular constituency or portion of the constituency that he wishes to challenge rather than having to go around to five wards and complete, with the required signatures, the necessary endorsations to his nomination. But I appreciate that obviously it can happen, and it obviously has happened, and his concerns are justified. We would be happy to look into it and discuss the issue with the PMLC, and possibly they can get back to us as to their viewing of the issue.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
CITY OF HAZELDEAN-MARCH AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 144, An Act to amend the City of Hazeldean-March Act, 1978.
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, this particular bill again ties in with the election procedure, to get it done as quickly as possible. But when the City of Hazeldean-March Act was passed in June, there is no doubt it was introduced and passed with some haste. It was indicated at that time that amendments would be necessary, and generally these amendments could be considered, shall we say, in a housekeeping sort of way. We would hope that the bill could have expeditious handling by the House.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, you will no doubt recall that in June 1978, in a sudden and excitable rush, as is usual by the government opposite, we were faced with what I could call a form of blackmail. We were told, “You have to pass this legislation within the next day.” In fact, I think the bill dealing with the city of Hazeldean-March was passed in one day. We went through the whole procedure, I think, on the last day of the session in June 1978.
I think it is important to put on the record that, in spite of the fact that the government had access to what was called the Mayo report and had plenty of time to consider some of the recommendations of the Mayo report, a decision had been made two weeks earlier or so by the then Treasurer not to proceed with any of the recommendations of the Mayo report. And in the last-minute hustle, members such as the member for Carleton-Grenville and the member for Carleton got to the then Treasurer and said: “We need this. We have to pass this at the last minute. We will get it through.” We Ottawa representatives were bombarded with phone calls from local representatives, saying: “Don’t do anything to stall this bill. Let this bill go through. Please, we need it. There is a mess down here. We have to correct this situation before the next election. We have to pass this bill today.”
So we co-operated. We were told at that time -- I notice the member for Carleton smiling; I think he was quoted in the press as saying: “If the Liberals -- or the opposition -- dare bring forward any amendments to this legislation, my God, they are going to be the ones who kill this bill; we are going to withdraw it, and it is going to be on their heads.” It was that type of blackmail.
Mr. Bradley: Same old bag of tricks.
Mr. Roy: Here we are, just a few months later, with a whole number of amendments proposed by the government. I think it is well to note for the record that we told them at the time that this was not the way to govern this province; that they had plenty of time to consider the recommendations of the Mayo report; that there was a way of solving problems by way of legislation in an orderly fashion; that the legislation should have come forward some time earlier; and that we should have had an opportunity to consult with local representatives. In fact, local representatives should have had an opportunity to come down here and make representation about some of the flaws or some of the things that were necessary in this legislation. But that never happened.
It is typical of this government’s lack of leadership that they did not move until two days before the end of the session, and then there was panic to pass this legislation.
As one who participates in the process, I must say that I’m saddened that we prostitute the legislative process in this fashion, that we make knee-jerk reactions to solving very important problems.
I see the parliamentary assistant smiling. He has reason to smile, because he should be embarrassed. He should be embarrassed by a government which panics into legislation in the month of June, passes a piece of legislation without proper consultation and then comes back in panic again in the month of October with wholesale amendments to this legislation.
I think it’s important to put on the record that we on this side are always prepared to co-operate, but in that sense sometimes co-operation becomes exceedingly difficult when we see a government that basically doesn’t know what it’s doing and when it does move, it moves in a fashion which is in fact a contradiction to the democratic process in getting proper input from local people.
Mr. Sterling: How old is the Mayo report?
Mr. Roy: I think the minister and the parliamentary assistant should be ashamed of themselves for proceeding in this fashion, and they should, in fact, be apologizing to the people of Hazeldean-March for having treated them in that fashion. Even recently, again through some method that is only known within that ministry, they decided on a series of names for the municipality, three names I guess it was, and all at once the government comes along and suggests another name.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I wonder if the honourable member could return to the legislation.
Mr. Nixon: I like Hazeldean-March.
Mr. Roy: They wanted to add the name “March.” I thought I should add that, Mr. Speaker, because you should know what goes on with this government in Hazeldean-March.
Mr. Sterling: With public consultation.
Mr. Handleman: Public consultation. You should have come to the meeting.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s important that the chair be appraised of what is going on, and it is important to all my colleagues that it be on the record, for posterity’s sake anyway, that they know that the Tories of 1978 just didn’t know what they were doing.
Mr. Nixon: They messed up the Lakehead too.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have some comments to make on this bill too, and in some respects I suppose to echo some of the views expressed by the last speaker. I too think it’s inexcusable that we have a bill brought before us to create the city of Hazeldean-March and have no time to properly consider and debate it, and then major amendments are brought forward at a later date and we’re asked to deal with it --
Mr. Sterling: A year and a half.
Mr. Swart: -- when less than six months ago it was brought before us.
This particular bill was delivered to me last Thursday. I got the bill last Thursday and tried to do a bit of work on it over the weekend, and then today at 11 o’clock the printed bill is delivered to me and it is different to the draft bill which I received last Thursday. It has one substantial additional amendment to it. I suggest that this is not a good way of conducting the public business in this House.
Mr. Sterling: That was after consultation with the municipality.
Mr. Swart: However, because it is a bill which has a great deal of meaning to the people up there in that municipality and neighbouring municipalities and must be passed -- there is no question about that -- we will be going along with it with one amendment. We shouldn’t really endeavour to penalize or take action to penalize the people of Hazeldean-Marsh or Nepean or any other place because of the faults of this government, and it is a real fault on the part of this government to have this kind of procedure in dealing with a bill which is very important to many people.
Once again, I also find a very serious misstatement of fact in the statement of the minister which was tabled in this House yesterday. On page two of that statement, after outlining the provisions of this bill, he makes the statement: “Last week ministry staff met with the three municipal councils to iron out last-minute details. Certainly minor adjustments were made and all three councils are in agreement with the legislation as it stands.” I want to tell you that I have talked to two clerks in that area and the head of one municipality. There is substantial disagreement on one clause of this bill. To endeavour for whatever purpose -- I am sure it was inadvertent -- to tell us there was full agreement and therefore we should proceed with this bill quickly, I say is not the way it should be conducted.
I talked to Reeve Andrew Haydon of Nepean township. He tells me that he is quite unhappy with the lack of consultation which has taken place over this bill. In fact, he had talked to Darcy McKeough about making a change in the bill. McKeough said he would look into it. He wrote two letters to the new Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and he has had no reply to those. Yet that clause is put in this bill, which he feels adversely affects the municipality of Nepean. I know there has been a mail strike on, but on an issue of this consequence, it seems to me that there could at least have been a phone call back to the reeve of that township.
Ms. Gigantes: They don’t like the reeve of that township.
Mr. Swart: They may not like the reeve of that township; but within that township there are some 75,000 people. They have the right to have their elected representative consulted on these very important matters. I say it is a poor way on the part of the government to start off a new city of some 18,000 people.
The controversial issue that is in this bill is the matter of the Hope Sideroad being declared in section 2 of the bill not to be a boundary road. The disagreement is that the township of Nepean thinks that road should be in Hazeldean-March; it should be included within their boundaries. Hazeldean-March thinks that it should be in Nepean. Hazeldean-March apparently won out because it was put within the municipal boundaries of Nepean. To add a bit of insult to injury, after doing that, they declared that the Hope Sideroad shall be deemed not to be a boundary road. I am sure we all know what that means; it means it becomes the total and complete responsibility of Nepean township. If it is allowed to be a boundary road, section 410 of the act states: “The corporations of adjoining municipalities may enter into an agreement for the maintenance and repair of any highway forming the boundary between such municipalities.” They may, of course, not do that when this is declared by the legislation not to be a boundary road.
Section 419 of the act goes even a little further. It says: “Boundary lines between local municipalities, including those that also form county boundary lines, shall be maintained by the corporations of such municipalities, and they shall also erect and maintain all necessary bridges on such boundary lines.” Here we have taken away the right of the municipalities to even come to an agreement over the maintenance and the division of the costs for maintaining a boundary road.
I am told by both sides on this issue that this road does more to serve the new municipality of Hazeldean-March than it does to serve the municipality of Nepean. Therefore, I think this provision which declares it is not a boundary road is inappropriate. We will be moving an amendment to take out that.
Because I think it is a very reasonable suggestion that the same conditions should apply to a boundary road between Hazeldean-March and Nepean as apply to almost all other municipalities in Ontario, I am hoping the government may even reconsider this provision which does an injustice to the municipality of Nepean.
The other issues in the bill are ones which we think we can support. They are things which need doing and by the number that we have here, we realize that the original bill was a very hasty bill and didn’t cover a great many of the issues.
I am pleased generally with the provisions that provide that any of the employees of these former townships must be taken over as employees of the new municipality of Hazeldean-March. I just can’t understand, although it is a very minor factor, of course, the wording of section 7 which provides for such things as sick leaves and OMERS and holidays and then you have to get the last half of the section before it states that they are going to be taken over by those employees being employed by the new municipality of Hazeldean-March. It seems to me that in logical order that should have come first in the section, and then we deal with such things as OMERS and those other things afterwards.
The provisions for the subsidiary planning area, the continuation of bylaws, the proclamation as a township with regard to speed limits, the continuation of the supply of hydro by rural hydro to all areas of the new municipality, with the exception of the Bridlewood area, I think all make sense.
Also, there is the provision of the new section 6(h), which was not in the draft bill which I received last week, that the council there in Hazeldean-March will, for all purposes, be the recreation committee and therefore receive the normal grants. This is similar to what is in most other regional government acts and is a logical provision.
With the exception, therefore, of the one amendment, which I suggest is exceedingly important and warrants support, we will be supporting the bill.
Mr. Handleman: Just in the few minutes that are left, I have a few brief comments to make on the bill. I am going to leave to my colleague for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) the matter of the Hope Sideroad, which he will be able to deal with in his remarks after the dinner break.
I just wanted to point out to the parliamentary assistant that the act provides that the former portion of Nepean which will now be in the new city of Hazeldean-March will continue to obtain hydro service from the Nepean hydro-electric commission, which is an elected commission.
As I recall the original bill -- and I don’t have a copy of it before me -- it made provision for the election of hydro commissioners from that portion of Nepean which is now in the new city and which will continue to be served by Nepean Hydro.
I wonder if the parliamentary assistant could undertake with his law officers to prepare an amendment over the dinner hour which might be dealt with in the committee of the whole to restore the hydro franchise to those former residents of Nepean who will continue to be served by Nepean Hydro and, as far as I can see in the bill, and in the original bill, do not have a vote in the hydro commission election which will be taking place in November.
In so far as the fourth name on the ballot is concerned, I am sorry the member for Ottawa East left. There was a public meeting held. All members, of course, were invited to it. At that public meeting there were certain residents who were adamant on the historic name of March being included on the ballot and I am very satisfied and happy that the minister recognized the historic value of the name of March so that the people of the new city will have an opportunity to choose, not only the historic name of Hazeldean and the historic name of March, but the new name of Kanata and the made-up name of Cairnwood, which apparently provides recognition to all of the components of the new municipality.
With that I will conclude my remarks and look forward to any suggestions the parliamentary assistant might have to restore that hydro electric commission franchise to those people of Nepean.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other member wishing to participate in the debate?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, prior to the supper hour and as some explanation of the order of business, following the dinner break we will carry on with Bill 144 and then Bill 145, hopefully to complete 143, 144 and 145, and then go into committee of the whole with respect to the Community and Social Services bills that are set out in the business for today.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The chair will recognize the member for Carleton-Grenville at 8 p.m.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.