The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll just take a moment to collect my thoughts. The Solicitor General, Attorney General, Minister of the Environment -- I’ll return to my place in the question period in a few moments if the other ministers show up, failing which I will direct my questions to the Premier. In the meantime, I will yield to the questioner from the third party.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a question to ask one of my colleagues, just to fill in a little bit here.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I feel as if I’ve come off my horse and come into the House here. I have a question of the Premier but I will reserve the right to withhold a second question if the relevant minister is not here.
Mr. Cassidy: My question to the Premier is as follows: Can the Premier confirm that the province of Ontario’s submission to the federal government is relation to GATT took essentially the same line as the report issued this week by the Science Council of Canada which stated, “The very foundations of industrial Canada are threatened,” and which argued that this country is technologically backward and proposed a series of measures to provide a positive role for government in the restructuring of the Ontario and Canadian economies. In that case, and if the Ontario submission did take that line, can the Premier explain how that squares with the ultraconservative direction in policy which has been announced on behalf of the government by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in his statement on Tuesday?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that I’m intrigued by the question. I didn’t sense anything ultra-conservative in the observations made by the Treasurer. I didn’t sense anything in that which would conflict with the general position of the province with respect to GATT. I’m not sure, although I haven’t read the Science Council of Canada’s observations, there is a lot of similarity between its observations and our representations to GATT.
If the leader of the New Democratic Party would be somewhat more specific in what he wants to learn from me, I would be delighted to be of assistance. But I think the general proposition that Ontario has put to the negotiators for the government of Canada who are dealing with GATT has already been stated in this House, going back several months. Perhaps the leader of the New Democratic Party has referred to it. There may be some specific things on which I can get the information for him, I’m not sure, but Ontario’s position to the negotiators for GATT has already been stated in this House.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the readings of the Premier to be forthcoming in relation to Ontario’s position about GATT, will he agree to table Ontario’s submission to the federal government in relation to GATT, in view of the fact that the submissions of the western provinces to the federal government now have been tabled, and the submission of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association on that subject now has been tabled, and in view of the fact that the GATT negotiations now have reached such a point that I am sure any hesitation that might have existed a year ago about having the province’s submission tabled should surely have disappeared by now?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not sure they have disappeared by now. It’s to be hoped the GATT negotiations are coming to some sort of conclusion. While the western provinces may have felt it wise to table their positions, which probably would be somewhat different from our own -- while I haven’t seen the exact position of the province of British Columbia, my guess is that for understandable reasons it would be somewhat different from the province of Ontario’s -- I’m not sure it would be in our best interests, or in the interests of those negotiating for Canada at GATT, to table this documentation at this present time.
I have no reluctance, if there is a specific area, to determine whether it would be proper to discuss it here, or if the leader of the New Democratic Party would like this information on a confidential basis.
I think it’s fair to assume that the position we put to the negotiators for this country was relatively simple. We are very concerned about the manufacturing base here in Ontario; we are very concerned that that base be protected in the proper sense of the word. I think it’s fair to state that in general terms, once again without getting into specifics of our representations to the federal negotiators, we were concerned about tariffs specifically. We were also very concerned about the question of non-tariff barriers.
Part of our representation -- and I think I can get into this without perhaps causing some difficulty for the negotiators -- is based on our sense that there are some countries which are quite prepared to talk about specifics in terms of tariffs, what percentages there should be, et cetera, but have a certain reluctance to get into the area of non-tariff barriers; that is, the question of government preferential purchasing policy, or policies within an existing country whereby the tariff may be X per cent but the purchasing policy of governments or major organizations could be such that no matter what the tariff is the policy internally is such that the tariff situation is defeated.
Part of our representation -- I say this in general terms -- to the federal negotiators is then to put on the table the question of non-tariff barriers. I think this applies even with the great trading partner to the south of us. While one can say that the tariffs are not inhibitive to trade, it is also fair to state there are certain policies in existence that give preference to, shall we say, domestically produced products whether they happen to be in the agricultural field or the manufacturing field.
I can give the honourable member one example. I can’t document this, but I know there is some understanding in the field of recreational equipment, as an example, which is a very major dollar industry in the United States. There is a small organization known as the NCAA and that organization has some slight influence on the vast majority of colleges and universities in that country. I am sure the leader of the New Democratic Party understands how much recreational and athletic equipment might be purchased by that overall organization. As I say, I am not sure I can document this, but we feel there is a policy that the universities and colleges are given some encouragement to buy American-manufactured equipment.
So even if we could alter tariffs between our countries on that one specific item, as an example, by internal policy, preferential treatment, not by the government but by dictates or policy of that rather significant organization, could have a very major impact in that one particular field. That is only a small part of the total, but we face this in terms of dealing with a lot of other countries. Without getting into names, once again, of other nations. I think we all sense that there are certain preferential internal policies.
I am not going to kid anyone. There is some of this existing in this country. We are embarked upon a shop Canadian policy. There is no question that this government and Ontario Hydro has a certain preferential treatment in terms of Canadian manufactured goods, whether that figure might be a five per cent figure or, on occasion, a 10 per cent figure, that is there. But we sense that our policies in this regard are probably less restrictive than some other nations of the world. That is one aspect of our representation that I can disclose to the leader of the New Democratic Party, but I cannot get into specific sectors or specific industries. I think this would be improper. When I say improper, I think it could be prejudicial to the position of the federal negotiators.
We have put our position very strongly to them. Hopefully, it is an objective sort of position, recognizing our responsibilities to the manufacturing sector in this province where our point of view could be different from that of the western provinces. I don’t argue that for a moment.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, would the Premier elaborate on exactly what he has just put in terms of more reality rather than theory?
Is he aware, for instance, that in the pulp and paper industry in Ontario, it is the intention of the industry to spend between $300 million and $400 million on new and repaired equipment? Is he aware that across the country the cost of that intention in that industry is approximately $1 billion just for the coming year? This machinery, 47 or 48 per cent of it, will apparently be bought outside Canada and that means a loss to Ontario where we have the capacity to make some of this equipment.
Would the Premier put into practice what he has been speaking about in terms of preferential purchasing and encouragement to non-tariff considerations, bring the newsprint industry together with the machinery industry and see what can be done to direct or to assist a larger proportion of these purchases to be made in Canada, particularly since most of those industries that make the machinery are Ontario based?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really don’t think that is a supplementary question. I think it is a different issue. What the Leader of the Opposition is saying is, is there some way of encouraging the pulp and paper industry in Canada, to the extent they will be making capital reinvestment or even, hopefully, in some instances, expansion, so that more of the equipment be purchased in this country.
I think that’s very valid and I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that this has already been suggested. I don’t say it has been suggested to the industry nationally, but certainly those in this province know that we are very anxious to have either import replacement or the purchasing of as much equipment as makes sense in this country. I would only say to the Leader of the Opposition that I hope he doesn’t misunderstand me. I was not suggesting that preferential or non-tariff barriers were a good thing. All I was saying to the leader of the New Democratic Party is that I sense that in this country we have been somewhat more naive --
Mr. S. Smith: We’ve been babes in the woods.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- as it relates to some other nations of the world. When I hear some of them saying: “Here are the specific tariffs and maybe these should move,” I also have some slight insight into some of their internal policies that somehow on some occasions defeat the tariff situation.
Mr. Breithaupt: Like our trading partner to the west.
Mr. S. Smith: We are doing it ourselves.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect to the Leader of the Opposition, hopefully part of the rationale for the GATT discussions is to see whether or not if there are to be some changes in the formal tariff arrangements before the Canadian negotiators move into that area, they can get some pretty firm commitments on the non-tariff side. If the Leader of the Opposition is saying we shouldn’t be moving at all and that we should all move to set up policies of non-tariff barriers, I would only say to him that too could be self-defeating in terms of what I think has to be a greater export and trade posture on the part of industry in this country. I just say that I hope he is not suggesting to me that the answer to the problem is for us to move in a far more comprehensive way in terms of the non-tariff barrier policy.
Mr. S. Smith: Oh, yes, I am. That is precisely what I’m saying.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say with respect that could be damaging, if not handled very carefully, to Canadian manufacturing because we want to export more. What we are saying to the negotiators for this country is to tell these other nations we are prepared to do business. We want to know the figures. We want everything stated, and let’s start abandoning or questioning some of their non-tariff-barrier policies.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I want to return to the interchange that the Premier and I were having a minute ago. I want to decline with thanks his offer of copy of the brief or the submission on a confidential basis.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t say “the brief” and I didn’t say “the submission.”
Mr. Cassidy: In that case, it wasn’t an offer and there’s nothing to decline.
Mr. Foulds: It was an offer that’s easy to refuse.
Hon. Mr. Davis: On a point of order, I said if there was a particular question or a particular thing, I would see whether or not I could give this to him on a confidential basis. Our submission to the federal negotiators, as has already been stated here in the House, was given to them on a confidential basis.
Mr. Cassidy: I do want to say that I think it’s the general analysis in the brief which is of particular importance right now, not just to me as the leader of the New Democratic Party but to hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents who are in business or who are involved working in the economy of this province.
I would like the Premier to confirm if it is the position, as that brief states, that the economy of the province is in a state of fundamental structural disequilibrium, if it’s the position, as that brief states, that we are witnessing a process of deindustrialization and a declining manufacturing sector, if it’s the position, as that brief states, that research and development in the industry of Ontario is grossly deficient by international standards and if it’s the position, as that brief apparently states, that Ontario is paying an enormous price for the degree of foreign ownership in our economy.
Mr. S. Smith: Are you just discovering this?
Mr. Cassidy: If so, then does the Premier not agree that this is sufficiently critical --
Mr. Eakins: Come on, put the question.
Mr. Cassidy: -- that these judgements should be made available to the public so that government, opposition parties, business, the public, trade unions --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and all of Ontario can be involved to discuss the problem and to get down to the job of resolving these problems and rebuilding a strong economy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know what the leader of the New Democratic Party is quoting from, but I am relatively sure that he is not quoting from the submission that Ontario has made to the negotiators in the GATT discussion.
Mr. S. Smith: It would have been better to have tabled it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have no intention of tabling it. I can only say to him --
Mr. Foulds: What have you got to hide?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that, thank heavens, it is this government which is making the submission to the GATT negotiators, because if one were to follow his particular policy, manufacturing in this province and the resource industry would be in total chaos. They would be totally frustrated and wasting their time completely if one were to adopt the economic policies and philosophies of the party the member happens to head.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
HEAVY WATER PRODUCTION
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question to the Minister of Energy regarding heavy water plant D at Bruce, which has been the subject of a good deal of recommendations and study over the course of the last few months. In view of the recommendations for mothballing by the select committee on Hydro affairs, which was tabled yesterday; and in view of the clear recommendations by the interim report of the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning that Bruce D appears to be superfluous to Ontario Hydro’s probable requirements; and in view of the fact that Hydro itself is still awaiting a judgement on this because of its very real concern that there is simply not the market for the output from Bruce D, can the minister explain why he has come out so strongly in support of the completion of that particular heavy water plant, which seems destined to be a white elephant in terms of lack of market for its output?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, we had some discussion about this last night in the Energy estimates. I won’t repeat it all, but in summary what I said in Hanover, which is where I made a statement about this, was that the select committee in its recommendations was talking about the Ontario needs. I thought that before any final decision was made we should be looking at the outside market, in the light of the negotiations being undertaken by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in Romania, Korea, and two or three other countries.
We are meeting with the federal people next week, I believe, to discuss what their long-term plans are and what appears likely to happen at La Prade, where the feds have announced -- I have forgotten how they put it, but they were going to renegotiate their agreement, perhaps, with Quebec and mothball the La Prade plant.
I said last night that it seemed to me it was important to consider that the cost of heavy water at Bruce would be something in the order of half that estimated at La Prade, and that that was an important consideration. I did not say, nor have I said since, that at this moment I think Hydro should continue. What I said, in essence, was that we need a little more information before, in my view, we can make a sound judgement.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the federal government has determined that it can more economically assure export heavy water by means of the expansion of the plants in Nova Scotia, can the minister say what export sales prospects from the Romanian sale, or something else to which he may be privy which others may not be, have led him to the feeling that Bruce D completed could be the linchpin -- what are the words the minister used -- “the linchpin in meeting Canada’s heavy water needs, and the international needs that would follow,” and in decrying those who take any opposite view as the “Jeremiahs of this world who would cast gloom and doom on every situation”? What is it that has led the minister to view the situation through such rose-coloured glasses?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Exactly what I just said: that until we know a little more, I think we should pause and not make fast decisions.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Without getting into any speculation as to what the offshore prospects are for the marketing of heavy water, is the minister not aware that the stated policy of AECL on behalf of the government is that in view of envisaged sales now they have enough heavy water in production, that if they need more they will expand Glace Bay, and if they need more beyond that they will take the mothballs off La Prade; in other words, that they do not anticipate, under any circumstances, the need for heavy water from Ontario? Is the minister aware of that or does he have to have another meeting with them to have it rammed down his throat again?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Certainly we’re going to have another meeting.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s their policy. You know it now, so what are you dragging your feet on?
Mr. McClellan: You’ll learn sooner or later.
Hon. Mr. Auld: The information that I have is that it is still not firm as to how successful the Glace Bay plant is and what rate of production is going to be achieved.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that what he seems to be saying is that there is a dramatic change in the role of Ontario Hydro? In the past it has been to produce power and what is necessary to produce that power for Ontario needs, and now it seems to be engaging on a policy of producing excess capacity for speculative export.
Hon. Mr. Auld: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: He said no.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since the minister appears to be pinning the case for completing Bruce D on export markets, can the minister tell the House how much heavy water Romania is likely to require from Ontario? Can the minister also say how many Candu export sales will be needed and how soon to absorb the projected output of heavy water plant D at the Bruce?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Again, I would refer the leader of the third party to the transcript of last night’s discussions. My recollection is that Mr. Morison indicated that the B unit at Bruce is the one that is closest to maximum production, and that something on the order of one year’s production from a plant at the A rate would be required for fuelling a 600-megawatt nuclear plant -- the type apparently planned in Romania -- when it was running at something on the order of 70 per cent capacity. I haven’t the technical details in front of me, but that’s roughly it.
HOTEL FIRE SAFETY
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll ask a question of the Solicitor General. This has to do with the matter of hotel fires, particularly the question of whether or not the Solicitor General and the fire marshal’s office have some plan for how to deal with those hotels that are in breach of the fire safety regulations. In particular, has the Solicitor General familiarized himself with the coroner’s jury recommendations after the Wentworth Arms hotel fire? Could the Solicitor General comment on whether he will agree that there will still be penalties, including jail terms, for those who ignore the request to clean up their hotels and improve their safety precautions? Where loss of life then occurs is the Solicitor General prepared to get tough with those hotels that are risking lives in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think there is a little confusion in the public’s mind with respect to the role of the fire marshal’s office. As I understand it at least, the fire marshal’s office only has jurisdiction with respect to unlicensed hotels. The Liquor Licence Board of Ontario has jurisdiction over licensed hotels. As you know, the tragic fire in Hamilton involved a licensed hotel.
I’ve discussed this matter -- not at great length -- with Mr. Bateman, the fire marshal, and he has indicated to me that there are prosecutions pending. They certainly intend to carry out their responsibilities in a vigorous manner. I think it’s just under two years since the fire marshal’s office was given this responsibility in relation to unlicensed hotels and there’s no question but that some period of time has been required to build up their expertise in this respect. I am assured that it has been done, that prosecutions are pending, and I can assure members of the Legislature that I will be discussing this matter further with the chief fire marshal in the near future.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Can the Solicitor General explain why, apparently, there have never been any charges for these breaches; and is he prepared to bring in jail terms and very stiff fines and other stiff penalties for those who continue to imperil lives, and particularly jail terms for those who have imperiled lives knowingly by avoiding improvement in their safety situation and where loss of life actually resulted?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There’s no question that stiff penalties are appropriate for anyone who does flout the law in this area. I haven’t had an opportunity of reviewing all the relevant legislation or of reviewing the Hotel Fire Safety Act in detail, but I will be doing that to see whether the present penalty provisions are sufficient. If they’re not, we will be proposing amendments. I repeat that the responsibility of the fire marshal’s office, as far as licensing and regulation are concerned to unlicensed hotel and not to licensed hotels. But I want to assure the Leader of the Opposition that it’s obviously a matter that must be taken very seriously.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, wouldn’t the Solicitor General agree that one of the major difficulties is the split jurisdiction and, with many large municipalities having full-time firefighting operations, including inspection, with the fire marshal being involved only marginally and, in fact, in licensed establishments only after the fact for investigative purposes, and with the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario inspectors being more interested in the control of the consumption of alcohol than in the ongoing inspection for safety purposes, wouldn’t he agree that it would be better if this all were to be put under the aegis of the fire marshal’s office, that he be given the staff to do the job and that he be given full responsibility, not only for inspecting unlicensed premises but for inspecting all premises, and the right to inspect premises of any kind in the province at any time, with the possible exception of private homes, in order to guarantee that the standards we establish are lived up to?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To my knowledge, the inspectors who are responsible for the inspection provisions under the liquor licence legislation are extremely well trained in this area --
Mr. Deans: I didn’t say they weren’t. But it is a split jurisdiction; it makes it very difficult.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t see any problem at the present time with the split jurisdiction, but I am quite prepared to discuss it with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea); and I will talk to the fire marshal about whether or not there is a problem. I’m not at all satisfied at the moment that there is a problem. But I think the point the member raises is a very valid one, and I will pursue it to assure myself that there isn’t a difficulty that has been caused by this split responsibility.
Mr. Deans: Does the minister not recognize that, since the investigation of the fire is conducted by the fire marshal’s office, the fire marshal’s office then has to look into situations over which it has had no jurisdiction, although it has had the expertise to deal with them all along?
Surely it would make more sense, since they are going to have to investigate and make recommendations with regard to any changes, and since they are going to have to produce the evidence in court with regard to the source of and the reasons for the fire, that they should also be the people who are doing the inspection on an ongoing basis in order to attempt to avoid the fire?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: My information at the present time is that the fire marshal’s office is quite satisfied with the present situation; inspections carried out by inspectors representing the liquor licence board are quite satisfactory for their purpose. But I repeat, I will pursue this matter with the fire marshal in order to assure myself again that that is the case. The point raised is a valid one and I will pursue it.
DEATH OF FORMER MEMBER FOR SARNIA
Mr. S. Smith: I rise on a point of privilege, regrettably to inform the House of news which was just handed to me by the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy). The former member for Sarnia, Jim Bullbrook, passed away suddenly this morning. I do not have the details to give the House. I know only that it was a sudden matter and presumably a heart attack. I think all the members know he made a great contribution to this House during the years he was here. He leaves a young family -- his wife and children.
We’ve had too many reminders of our mortality recently, too many losses of good friends and capable public servants. The loss of Jim Bullbrook is a shattering blow. He served the Legislature well for many years. He was one of the outstanding debaters, a man with a rapier-like wit and yet a deep humanity at the same time. He was chairman of our caucus and actually served to bring together a caucus, which is after all part of the functioning of our democracy.
He spared no effort in his dedication to the citizens of Sarnia and to the people of Ontario. He was well loved, even by those who met him in pretty fierce debate. For all of us, it’s a terrible blow and one that I’m very sad to have to report to the members of this House.
We certainly want to send our most sincere condolences at the shocking and tragic loss to Mr. Bullbrook’s entire family. I know everyone joins me in that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would like to add our very sincere regrets from the many members on the government side of the House who really were more than acquaintances, but friends of Jim Bullbrook. I guess I had known the former member for Sarnia as long as any member of the House with the exception of the present member for Sarnia, having shared certain experiences during our academic career, if one can describe learning to be a lawyer as an academic pursuit. Not only did we share some experiences, we really were friends, and partially because of geography and tradition, he determined his particular political philosophy and I determined mine. Yet we maintained over the years, mutual respect and friendship in spite of the fact that in this chamber Jim Bullbrook was never reluctant to give the benefit of his wisdom and constructive advice in language that could not be misunderstood.
It is a very sad day, and I too, along with the Leader of the Opposition, would like to convey to his family our very sincere regrets and our sympathies. While there is no established practice or procedure when events of this kind happen while the House is sitting, I would suggest after the leader of the New Democratic Party expresses a few words, we might have a moment’s silence out of respect for our former colleague in this House. Hopefully, this sentiment can be conveyed to the members of his family at the appropriate time.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to join and say a few words on behalf of myself and of my party in tribute to Jim Bullbrook, a man that I grew to know as a friend. He was respected for his warmth, charm, his partisanship in the best sense, and the contribution that he made to his party, to the Legislature and to Ontario during the many years that he was here in this House. I think the death of James Bullbrook, following so quickly on the deaths of other members who have also served this Legislature long and well, is a blow to us all. It is a sign of the kinds of demands of political life which should give us great pause because of the demands that we put upon ourselves and perhaps what the public expects of its politicians.
I am particularly saddened because I know that when Jim decided that he would not stand again, it was because he felt that he had made his contribution and that he would like to have some years which he could spend with his family and with his friends carrying out his legal practice and just enjoying himself in his native area of Sarnia. That has been cruelly and untimely brought to an end.
All of us will wish to send our condolences and our sympathy at his tragic loss to his family, his friends, the people of Sarnia and the people of the province.
Mr. Blundy: It is very difficult for me to speak about my friend Jim Bullbrook and to tell you how much the people of Sarnia will be missing Jim.
Jim had been in the Sarnia area for a number of years. He was my deskmate in city council when we both were aldermen some years ago. He had been active in many ventures in the Sarnia area. He had been working very closely in recent months with the mayor and the council of Sarnia in the downtown revitalization project which is so important to our city and which is also, of course, being assisted by the government of Ontario.
I really am at a loss to know what to say, but I will be going home and I will express to Joyce Bullbrook the very appropriate remarks that have been made by the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, and the leader of the NDP this morning.
I will inform the Legislature of any arrangements for the funeral as quickly as I am able to find those out, so that if any members are able to attend, they will have some notice of it.
On behalf of the people of Sarnia, I want to thank the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the New Democratic Party for their very generous and kind remarks about my friend Jim Bullbrook.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Under these tragic circumstances, I would ask all members of the Legislature to rise and join with me in a moment’s silence for the late James Bullbrook, QC.
Mr. S. Smith: I confess that I don’t really feel like attacking the ministers at this point. I perhaps will just ask a reflective question if I might of the Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Has the minister looked at the enrolment data for this year, and also the data for those who are seeking student assistance? From her analysis of the data has she concluded whether there has been some trend, not only towards a lower application for enrolment, but also towards a lower application from those who are in the lower socio-economic classes? In other words, has the mix of people applying and being accepted into university been creeping upward in terms of the family’s level of wealth? If so, is this not a very disturbing matter?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not at all sure that I could conclude the suggested result from the information which is at the present time available in terms of enrolment, and the applications for student assistance.
It would appear from the early information we have that the bulk of the applications for student assistance, and the bulk of those which have been granted, are directed towards those who are eligible for grants. On the basis of the income information which is required, it is obvious that those are primarily from less well-to-do families.
We will be making an in-depth examination of the information which is flowing in now -- a little more freely than it was earlier -- and be comparing it with the final enrolment data which we should have by the end of October or early November. I think perhaps after that we may be able to come to some conclusions. But it is obvious that there is a reduction in enrolment figures in many of the post-secondary institutions, primarily the universities, although there are three universities with an increased enrolment this year.
There is an increase in enrolment at almost all community colleges. In some instances it is very small, in some instances quite dramatic. But it would appear that the enthusiasm for post-secondary education has not waned in the province. It seems to have changed direction a little, and I suppose this is one of the phases which one must anticipate as a result of the economic situation at the present time.
If we look back at the information which is available about enrolment at post-secondary institutions of any kind in the great depression of the 1930s we find that exactly the same kinds of shifts were taking place for those students, who by hook or by crook or any other means could attempt to pursue a post-secondary educational program. They were directing themselves more specifically into job-related or profession-related programs, than they were into the humanities, the arts and sciences.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Sure that is the shift, and I think that could be anticipated. I hope the minister will move to bring about an increase in the facilities available for those who are moving in that direction -- more polytechnics, for instance. But the real question I am worried about, and I would ask her to consider: Is she sure that there has not been a shift towards the higher socio-economic groups in terms of those who are now seeking post-secondary education? Until she is sure of that, wouldn’t it be wise not to make any further changes in the impediments to higher education, such as further changes in either the student aid plan or the tuition fees? Is it not very important to clarify that there hasn’t been some financial barrier suddenly set up in these difficult economic times? Shouldn’t we have that clearly in our minds before we make any further changes in what might be an impediment to post-secondary education?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am not absolutely certain, because the total information is not as yet available. It would be difficult to extrapolate from the somewhat superficial studies that have been done in one or two areas of the province, that indeed there is any such shift. It is my impression, from speaking to faculty members, to deans and to university presidents, and to students -- including some members of the OFS -- that there is an increasing number of students from the lower socio-economic strata attending university than perhaps was general in years gone by, but I don’t have that as factual information. It’s a strong impression. When that impression is supported or is destroyed then other activities, of course, will have to follow.
There is no intention at this time, of course, of making any dramatic changes to the student aid program. The changes in the student aid program that were introduced this year have been designed specifically to help those young people who did not have the kind of family wherewithal to support the first four years of university education. The grants program has been so structured as to give preferential treatment to that group and that is precisely the direction in which we intend to go, because it seems to me it’s the accessibility to the first four years of university education which is so important in terms of the eventual career choice of the individual graduate of our secondary schools.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the information the minister has given us this morning is based on impressions and not necessarily fact, and in view of the fact that we do have a new OSAP program this year, yet ministry staff from the student awards branch have told me that they don’t have the staff or the money to do an in-depth evaluation of the new OSAP program, would the minister reconsider that and initiate a total evaluation of the new OSAP program to find out who benefited, who was cut off and whether, in fact, the program was of any benefit to low-income families?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, of course it is our intention to examine the validity of the changes which were made in the program this year, because they were made with a specific intention and it is essential that we ensure that that intention has been achieved as a result of the changes.
The ministry staff are saying that right at the moment they don’t have the time to do any evaluation of the program because they are busy trying to solve the problems of the program.
Mr. Cooke: They are saying the awards officers have to do it, and the awards officers say they can’t do it.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: There have been some discussions, I am aware, and I can assure the honourable member that indeed an examination will be made.
Mr. S. Smith: Just by way of brief supplementary, since it would appear that not only is enrolment down but that the proportion of those enrolled seeking assistance seems also to be down, there is some reason to believe that despite the good intentions of the plan, and it had excellent intentions, conceivably it may actually have turned out to be more of a barrier than a help. I don’t know that, but it is possible. If that is not the barrier, it is possible the tuition fee increase might have been. I don’t know that either.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: There wasn’t one.
Mr. S. Smith: There was one two years ago. It’s also conceivable that there are other factors that neither the minister nor I understands. Under these circumstances I would merely ask -- and the question is really this -- that she not make any further changes in tuition fees or the aid program until she has an explanation for this phenomenon of lowered seeking of assistance. Does she agree?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that is a very worthwhile suggestion which I shall consider seriously, yes.
RULES OF THE HOUSE
Mr. Martel: A point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am going to ask for some guidance from the Speaker with respect to the practice that started yesterday and which I think contravenes the rules of the House. If one turns to rule 27(2), page 17 of the standing orders, it says: “The question period shall be extended to one hour; opposition party leaders each having two questions plus supplementaries; and further questions be by rotation among all parties.”
I don’t know anywhere in that rule where it allows the Leader of the Opposition to determine that he will relinquish his place and then come back in whenever he wants, or that, in fact, he will get three questions in a row. If the House wants to change the rules, that’s fine.
Mr. S. Smith: Your leader didn’t object to it.
Mr. Martel: Be that as it may, it’s the practice that was started yesterday.
Mr. S. Smith: Discuss that at a House leaders’ meeting, Elie.
Mr. Martel: I asked the Speaker. I am not talking to the Leader of the Opposition, I am talking to the Speaker. I am asking the Speaker to look at this, because nowhere in the rules can I see the practice which was established yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition and I think the Speaker has to rule on it as to how the order will proceed. Is the question period at the whims of the leader or the rules of the House? I would ask either that the Speaker rule on it or that it be sent to the procedural affairs committee to be straightened out as quickly as possible.
Mr. Speaker: I appreciate the point of order raised by the member for Sudbury East. I will reserve the right to look at it and I will look at it very carefully.
BODY SEARCHES BY POLICE
Mr. Van Horne: The question is for the Solicitor General: Can he say whether or not he has inquired into an incident concerning three London, Ontario, youths on the evening of August 22, 1978? They were pulled over by the Pinery Park detachment of the OPP, ordered to get out of their vehicle and made to strip on the side of a public highway in order that a body search could be carried out to determine whether these youths were in possession of marijuana.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I had no knowledge of this incident. I will certainly inquire into it and report back to the member.
Mr. Van Horne: By way of supplementary -- that was a specific -- I wonder if I could shift it into a general question, and ask the minister if this is normal procedure for body searches to be carried out in this manner? If so, does he approve of this procedure?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I don’t think it is normal procedure and I would hope that it would not be regarded as normal procedure by police officers. My own view is that it would be very unusual circumstances that would warrant such a search and I certainly intend to look into the matter.
Mr. Van Horne: If I may, a final supplementary: Correspondence was forwarded to the Solicitor General in the early part of September from the parents of the youths concerned, so he should have the beginning at least of the information he needs for his search.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Maybe so.
CROWN LAND SALES
Mr. Foulds: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Can the minister indicate to the House what steps his ministry is taking to plug the apparent loophole in the rules and regulations governing the sale of cottage lots? It has come to light in, I guess it is the northwestern region, mainly the Kenora district, where apparently some lots are being bought by Ontario residents and almost immediately transferred to residents outside of the province.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I think there is some misconception as to just what the policy is. If the honourable member will permit me I’ll just give the salient details. The plan allows only residents of Ontario to purchase or lease during the first year the lots are available, as we all know. Residents of Canada become eligible to buy or lease during the second year. If after two years a lot has not been taken up by a resident of Canada, that lot may be leased, only leased, by a non-resident.
Since the introduction of the program some 470 lots have been offered for sale or lease in districts through northern Ontario. All but 54 have been taken up by residents of Ontario -- because only they are eligible during the first year.
There has been some talk of Ontario residents acquiring crown cottage lots and then immediately transferring them to non-residents. This isn’t quite as easy as it sounds because if the lot is held under a lease the lease cannot be transferred without the consent of the crown. This consent is not given if the transferee is ineligible under the regulations -- in other words, from outside Ontario or outside Canada.
If the lot is held under sale, one must remember that sale is really a conditional one. One of the conditions for getting the deed is that within two years the purchaser must build a cottage with a construction of not less than 600 square feet of floor space valued at not less than $7,500. Then when that has been done there is a patent, a freehold, granted.
Reverting back to those 54 lots that haven’t been taken up as yet, we might conclude that the resident market for cottage lots has been fully satisfied. I doubt that, because in certain areas -- for instance right now these are fly-in locations and there wouldn’t be very many people flying in to look at them, I don’t think they would look quite as attractive at the end of October as they would in the beginning of June.
We’re closely monitoring the whole situation, but I don’t know why anybody would want to try to purchase it. Supposing an Ontario resident had purchased a lot earlier this year, has been able to get the cottage built and is now turning around to sell it, I don’t know why somebody would want to buy it at an inflated price if they know that all they had to do was wait until next year when they can start from scratch themselves.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Can the minister check and report to the House if there have been any so-called pass-throughs this year? Is there any way he can check and give that information to the House?
Secondly, can he explain the remarks, apparently made, I think by the director of the program in northwestern Ontario, as reported in the first edition of the Globe and Mail the other night, although not in the morning edition, in which he indicated that he felt this “loophole should he plugged”?
Finally, wouldn’t it be better, as a matter of policy, if a purchaser who erected a cottage --
Mr. Kerrio: Let’s have a select committee.
Mr. Foulds: No, let’s not -- a cottage of adequate requirements wished to give that up within, say a 10-year period, for the cottage and the land to revert to the crown at fair market value and for the crown find a purchaser who was a Canadian?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I will attempt to get what information is available about any transfers or sales. I shouldn’t have any problem getting any transfers of leases, because we would have to approve that. But as far as us getting into the real estate business, my own opinion would be that we have enough to do and that we should stay out of that.
Mr. Foulds: One of your former ministers didn’t do that.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Can I ask the minister how the policy he announced can be reconciled with the resolution of the House which was passed, standing in the name of the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot)? It seems to be rather contradictory; and the vote was unanimously in opposition to the policy the minister just announced.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I would want to look at that. It seems to me that when this policy was announced by my predecessor, the question of trying to control ownership was gone into pretty thoroughly and the conclusion was that it was virtually impossible to do that.
Mr. Martel: You had control before.
Mr. G. Taylor: I want to put a question to the Minister of Correctional Services. In view of the abnormal sentencing procedure and probation for a stellar individual by the name of Keith Richards, who I believe plays with some group called the Rolling Stones, how does the minister intend to monitor and supervise that more than abnormal probation procedure for that individual, considering all those individuals who seem to want to get in on the probation rehabilitation program?
Mr. Cassidy: He will send his teenagers to the concert.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Perhaps we can get free tickets for all members of the Legislature to attend.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: No way.
Mr. Foulds: Thank you, but no thanks.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Richards was placed on probation through one of the ministry’s parole officers for a period of one year. The terms of the probation were that he was to report to a probation officer within 24 hours, which he did; that he was to give a rock concert for young people in the CNIB auditorium within six months; and that he would report to a probation officer during one week in May 1979 and during the month of September 1979, bringing along medical reports.
I think the question that the member might be inquiring about involves the offer by Mr. Ballard to make Maple Leaf Gardens available. There have been a number of questions posed relative to that. I would have to say that whether or not the order of the court can be varied beyond the probation terms of the CNIB auditorium -- in other words to something somewhat larger -- is something to be worked out between the officials of the CNIB and presumably Mr. Richards as well as the court itself, of course, because they would have to be consulted on varying the order for parole.
It’s not up to our probation officer. Our probation officer will co-operate, of course, and he will obviously supervise. I suppose we might even take tickets.
Mr. MacDonald: Ballard and Richards now share a common past.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Now that the United States has implemented some very major reforms to its custom laws -- and I make particular reference to the reform that will triple the value of goods that Americans may buy duty-free in Canada -- does the minister have any intention to bring to light a very little-known and little-used regulation that actually exempts tourists from paying retail sales tax on items that are purchased in Ontario and consumed outside of the province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It must be very little known and little used, Mr. Speaker. There are ones that are better known and better used that I’m not aware of. In any case, I will chat with my colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) about this. I must say that the information I have with me indicates that the American bill to which my friend is referring didn’t quite make it all the way. That is -- if we are talking about the same bill -- it didn’t quite make it before the Congress died. I think it died on the floor.
In any case, I’ll chat with my colleagues and see if that is the case because, if it died, it might well come back next year with the new Congress. I’ll speak with my colleagues and get back to the honourable member on that.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that the significance of the regulation which is already in effect, now is much greater and would warrant promotion by his ministry to retailers across the province? Anyone who purchases goods in Canada and consumes them within 30 days can take them outside of the province duty-free. Would the minister not agree that this warrants much wider publication and notification than it has received to date?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ll check that out. If those facts are accurate, I would agree that it should be widely publicized.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES
Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. And maybe her colleague on her left could listen; it’s in his jurisdiction as well.
My question is in reference to a memo dated September 1, 1978, entitled Professional Development -- Winter Programs. There are 56 different courses listed in this memo, only one of which is in northern Ontario. How does the minister justify that out of 56 courses available, only one of these can be brought to the northern part of the province, and that being in the city of Sudbury?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the honourable member is aware that the universities in northern Ontario are also capable of mounting the kinds of courses which teachers require to improve their professional skills and to maintain their professional competence.
I am aware that there is discrepancy in the proportion of courses being offered in northern Ontario. I had been made aware of this earlier, and this is a matter which I have been examining to see whether we can provide some degree of equitableness in that program.
CHILDREN’S BOARDING HOMES ACT
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Bill 118, An Act to revise the Children’s Boarding Homes Act, be recommitted to the committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Welch: By way of explanation, the minister has an additional amendment he wants to propose to Bill 118; since it is now at third reading stage, we have to get it back to the committee of the whole House for the House to consider that.
Motion agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Perhaps while I’m on my feet I may be allowed to indicate that in indicating the order of business for next week we avoided to mention, of course, that we want to attempt to finish up this package of legislation standing in the name of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). Perhaps we could serve notice now that at the appropriate time we would complete the work of Bill 114 in committee of the whole House and handle this amendment in Bill 118 as well.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Before the Orders of Day, I’d like to advise the House that last evening Mr. Speaker neglected to inform the House of a royal assent. The Honourable the Administrator of the Province of Ontario was pleased to give royal assent to a certain bill in his chambers last evening. The royal assent has been recorded in the Votes and Proceedings on the correct date.
Clerk Assistant: The following is the title of the bill to which the Honourable the Administrator has assented:
Bill Pr40 An Act respecting the composition of the Lincoln County Board of Education.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF HOUSING (CONTINUED)
On vote 2101, ministry administration program:
Mr. Dukszta: I read with some interest -- that five-day stoppage gave me the opportunity -- the minister’s opening remarks on the estimates of the Ministry of Housing. I was struck by the minister’s remarks on a number of points. Before I continue with what I myself was prepared to say, I would like to comment on the new method the minister has introduced in putting forward the estimates of the Ministry of Housing, specifically his new method of dealing with the housing targets and his approach to estimating the new housing needs of the Ontario population.
I am certain the minister has been told by his colleagues and by the Premier (Mr. Davis), and by the whole government, that on ideological grounds and due to pressure from various vested interests in the land-use industry especially, and, I suspect from foreign banking interests, to withdraw from providing social housing. The need for budget constraint, as expressed by him so repeatedly, at the provincial, municipal and federal level has led to abandonment by the government of the moral and political duty of providing social housing. Since, of course, he cannot really explain why he has abandoned it, he now has to discover some kind of basis to support his abandoning of the government’s role in providing social housing.
It is interesting that he quotes from the Barnard study, because the Barnard study, called Ontario Housing Requirements, 1976-2001, forecast the housing needs of Ontario for the next 25 years. It states quite clearly that Ontario will fall short of producing housing, not only for this year, but that in time it will need to make a major effort to increase housing for the next 25 years, in spite of a number of statements from the minister which suggest that we will not need any more social housing and that we already have excellent housing provision for the population of Ontario.
The long-term needs of Ontario demand continuous government involvement in the production of housing for Ontario. The long-term forecasting says that there will be a continued need for accelerated housing production for the next 25 years, and the short-term needs in housing are obvious. There are thousands of people who are on a waiting list for Ontario Housing at the moment. So clearly, when you look at the two things, the need for housing on an immediate basis, with the people who are waiting to get into Ontario Housing; and the Barnard forecast and other forecasts which suggest we will need continuous housing production for the next 25 years; the minister is stuck with those two concepts, which he obviously cannot avoid. He has invented a completely new system of looking at it, what he calls an intermediate system which is for five years.
With that new methodological approach of his, he simply ignores the factual evidence that we have a need for new housing right now and will continue to have a need for it in 25 years. But he says for the next five years we don’t really need it. On a short term basis like that, the minister decides there should be no further involvement, or as little involvement as possible, of the ministry and the government in the whole question of housing.
In terms of the Ontario Mortgage Corporation, I can be very brief in my comments. The minister made it clear in the House on April 6, 1978, that he is a good free enterpriser. He understands no moral obligation. He only understands the legal, binding power of a contract. He induced many people into home purchases by giving reduced interest rates on mortgages. He is now selling mortgages at a discount to the private sector.
The government acts wrongly when it deceives home buyers. It acts deceitfully when it capitalizes mortgages at a discounted rate to disguise the size of the provincial debt.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: You fellows really have a twist on things.
Mr. Dukszta: Low income home purchasers joined hospital patients, students, social service recipients and countless others on the list of people who have to suffer because this government is incapable of managing the economy. Our party supports reduced interest on mortgages for low income people. The government clearly does not.
State intervention in the economy is a fact. Government intervention imposes direct government handouts. Whether it involves direct government handouts to industries, such as the $28 million public subsidy to the giant Ford Motor Company, or postponing ad infinitum court and legislative orders to require industry to comply with costly but necessary pollution control; or a more complete state control, like over the banking system in capitalist France or a virtual state oil monopoly like in capitalist Italy, it is an actuality. State intervention is an actuality all over the western world.
While the existence of state intervention has been accepted, what has not been settled is the degree of state intervention. Should state intervention benefit all citizens or should it limit itself, as in Ontario under the Conservative government, to providing tangible benefit to the capitalist class without providing any but the most peripheral benefits for the citizens at large?
In Ontario land-use developers and the construction industry, the vested interests, have accepted there is a need for some state intervention, largely to produce a new image of responsible and community-conscious corporate capitalism. More important is the fact that state intervention regularizes the field so that orderly development can occur and regular, predictable profits can be made.
In the 1960s the present Conservative government embarked on the course of regularizing the market in light of newfangled technocratic action and the need for rationalizing the capitalist structure and making the world once more safe for capitalism, all based under the new, regular, predictable, progressive mantle.
The Ministry of Housing was thus created in Ontario. The rationale for such a ministry, and a similar trend was paralleled across Canada, was in response to the growing need for public subsidized housing and partially to provide a framework in which the conflicting capital interests could develop without danger of internecine warfare erupting between the various financial interests in the land use and construction industries.
The regulation worked well for the propertied classes. During the real estate boom of 1972 to 1975, in 25 urban areas across the country, lot prices increased on an average at a rate of over 40 per cent greater than the general rate of inflation.
Greenspan, in his Federal-Provincial Task Force on the Supply and Price of Serviced Residential Land report, comments drily: “Lot prices exploded relative to the prices of other goods.” But who benefited from this real estate boom? Not the average young couple, who found that, although their older siblings could afford to buy homes, they could no longer afford to buy, although their incomes appeared to be the same or even greater. And not the average apartment dweller, who found that in the same period his rent increased by about 40 per cent more than the general inflation rate.
It is not being fanciful to say that the people who largely benefited and made a killing were the large propertied and financial interests, as enormous fortunes were made during that famous boom. The real estate boom of 1966 to 1975 was indeed a major boom for the monopoly developers. It was a capital gains tax in reverse: the community was taxed to create fortunes for a few.
In Toronto this real estate boom led to explosions of office buildings and luxury apartments, and placed a major demand on the municipalities to provide services. This is yet another instance of the process of collectivization whereby the costs of development are passed from the owners of capital to the municipal governments.
The real estate boom now is over. Concurrently, the general economic boom is over and the income growth is down. But the higher prices for housing have remained. The municipalities, the planners, the ratepayers and the community at large have become more aware that it is the municipalities and the taxpayers who have paid for this growth. They began talking of social housing, of housing as a right, of people- and community-oriented planning, of the need for better control over land use, of the need for rationality in the development and construction industries. This would on the one hand create employment and on the other produce socially needed housing.
It is a combination of these factors, which are pushing the government towards more socially conscious intervention, which has led to counter-pressure from real estate interests who now want to move away from government intervention.
The inane concept of abolishing the Ministry of Housing is part of this move to deflect the growing questioning of monopolistic land interests and to short-circuit the demand for decent, affordable housing as a right of every Ontarian.
As a party, we reject this trend and believe that the state, when controlled by the Conservative Party, which reflects the basic powers of vested interests, can only work potentially but not naturally on the side of the workers. Yet state intervention could be used as a tool to redress social inequalities and to redistribute wealth. Land-use planning, public and government involvement in development, housing and construction industries are a good start to accomplish these goals.
The NDP has detailed land-use and housing policy. I am not going to attempt to delineate in detail the major points of our policy but merely, in summary, to sketch the basic themes of that policy.
The experience of the city of Amsterdam reflects in some sense what is do-able in a western capitalist society. About 70 per cent of the land in Amsterdam is under municipal or community control. Forty per cent of the population of Amsterdam, whose incomes are in the lower or middle end of the scale, live in community- or government-built, government-subsidized or rent-assisted housing.
Those are startling figures for a twin city of Toronto when compared with our own lack of public subsidized housing or government or community control over general development land in and outside the city of Toronto.
The historical situation of Amsterdam, Toronto’s twin city, is different from our own, but the principle remains the same.
Let me restate, as a way of ending my preliminary remarks on the Ministry of Housing’s estimates, two key principles that are the operational basis of any sound progressive housing policy.
One, housing is a social right like health, and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing. Two, land is a natural resource which belongs to all of us, and steps must be taken to return the control over land-use planning and the land to the community.
Also, I again want to stress what an important role land planning and the construction industry play in the overall planning and management of Ontario’s economy. As a part of future necessary and forceful intervention by the present government or the future government in Ontario’s economy, the present minister needs to recognize that his ministry must play its role in that necessary intervention in Ontario’s economy.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, in my remarks I would like to thank the critics of the Liberal Party and the NDP for their views. I hope we can all agree that the tempo of the discussion seems to have been kept on a fairly high plane.
I do appreciate, particularly for the critic of the Liberal Party who has only recently been appointed to that position, that it leaves him in a rather difficult situation to interpret the estimates of this ministry. I do appreciate the comments that have been made, and I shall attempt in the next few minutes to respond to some of the remarks and some of the questions posed to me.
I think the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) misinterpreted my remarks of last Monday when we were referring to the amount of ownership versus rental in the province of Ontario. The member quoted me as saying 54 per cent would be ownership and 46 per cent rental. If the member reviews the situation, I think he will see that that was a prediction given by the Bernard report and it is the conclusion we would likely reach about the year 2001.
I did go on to indicate that the short-range forecast between now and 1981 indicates to us that 26 per cent of the accommodation in the province of Ontario will be rental and 74 per cent ownership. I think the member for Waterloo North would agree that that is moving in the right direction. Just so there is no misunderstanding, the current division of housing in our province is 35 per cent rental and 65 per cent home ownership.
The member for Waterloo North then asked about present eligibility for public housing. He asked if we could provide him with details of eligibility and rules for application by those wishing for geared-to-income housing in our province. Obviously, over the years the housing program has been established for families and for seniors. Rating relates to health and other aspects, including present income and living conditions of the applicant. For seniors the main thing is that they be 60 years of age or older. We also have provisions for the physically disabled who are permanently unemployable.
The member for Waterloo North suggested that priority be given to other than those families with children. Again, I indicate that it was basically designed for families which include children. I think you will agree at this moment that if we are to broaden out to the extent that the member for Waterloo North has indicated there would have to be a great deal more funding coming from various levels of government.
The member then touched on the rent supplement program and the fact that I said that in some communities there was a shortage of rental accommodation. I was asked if such programs were being put in place. I think I indicated at the time that, as a result of a number of things that have happened over the last several years, there have not been the persuasive tools put in place to get people into the rental market by constructing units for the rental market. There have been some changes of attitude in Ottawa whereby certain tax benefits have been reinstated to encourage developers.
One of the items giving us some concern at the moment is whether the MURB program, which has been in place for a number of years, is likely to come to a conclusion at the end of the current year.
I said at the time the land transfer tax was to discourage investment in rental building and it has discouraged it. There were other things we felt had been of some discouragement. The programs put into place two or three years ago by the federal government and piggy-backed by the Ontario government -- ARP for one, the assisted rental program -- proved to be very effective and efficient in this province. We believe it helped to produce some 12,000 rental units last year. We’re sincere in saying to you we were able to overcome what could have been shortages in the marketplace as a result of that program.
That program has been terminated by the federal government. I would like to call on my colleague from Waterloo North, to intercede, if possible, and persuade some of his Liberal friends in Ottawa to see the value of this program being retained. As I said on Monday, I would once again be able to extend some credit to Central Mortgage and Housing to have that program in place since it continues to produce rental accommodation in those communities where it’s most essential. I offer the member for Waterloo North that challenge. Maybe he would like to speak with one of his friends in Ottawa and maybe we can have that program reinstated.
On Wednesday of this week, staff of the ministries of housing from the various provinces, staff from Urban Affairs in Ottawa and CMHC met in Winnipeg to explore further avenues to reinstate some of the programs and make sure the new programs that have been announced on several occasions are truly put into place.
The member for Waterloo North also asked a question with regard to land holdings by the province, more specifically about the 3,000 acres that happen to be in the area which he represents. OHC assembled the 3,000 acres in 1968. It attracted a great deal of attention because of the size of the purchase. I want to inform the member for Waterloo North very correctly that while the planning of this acreage has not taken place at any rapid pace, planning, development and the disposal of land that’s going on is in conjunction with advice and guidance from the regional municipality of Waterloo. We are doing the planning, servicing and so on, in conjunction with the program as they feel it should be placed in their community.
I should note that we put some 200 lots for modest cost housing on the Kitchener market earlier this year from that particular land holding.
The member for Waterloo North also asked me about the situation in Oshawa. He said, “We have learned that the Industrial Disposal Limited landfill site for Oshawa is due to be phased out in the near future, in fact I guess about December 1979.” I would like to quote directly to the member that the Industrial Disposal Limited landfill site in Oshawa made an application to me some months ago and I referred the matter to the Ontario Durham region and Oshawa refused to designate the land for residential purposes.
To the best of my knowledge, the Ontario Municipal Board has not yet set a date for that particular hearing. The site was designated agricultural in the former East Whitby official plan. The area is now under Oshawa’s jurisdiction and in its new secondary official plan the land has been designated as major open space. Oshawa has deferred a decision on the firm’s application for rezoning until the official plan matter has been settled by the Ontario Municipal Board.
The critic from the NDP party referred to situations that develop with some of our staff when they’re asked to be interviewed by various people in the media. He inferred that the position of the government, the policy of the government was so indefensible that the staff demanded to know what the questions were prior to the taping or interview.
Mr. Ziemba: On a point of order, I’ve heard the minister refer to the NDP party on three occasions now, Mr. Chairman. It’s either the New Democratic Party or the NDP.
Mr. Haggerty: The third party.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I was referring to the socialist representative, the critic in this House indicating to me --
Mr. Ziemba: That’s fine.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Is that fair enough?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- about our stuff who at times --
Mr. Cassidy: We assume that means you’re the capitalist representative, is that right?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Listen, Michael, I have never once backed away from that position, either before I came to this House or since I’ve been in this House.
Mr. Ziemba: Monopoly capitalist.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: They’ve at least produced something that keeps this province moving forward, not in the spirit that you’d have it, moving backward or some of the policies and philosophies that you and your party extol in this House and in other places.
Mr. Dukszta: For one per cent of the population you produce extreme wealth.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’m afraid your calculations are about as correct on that as they are on most things you deal with.
Mr. Ziemba: They are the minority, the rich.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It’s very easy for the members of the third party to be very critical of the civil servants, saying that they have to know what the questions are going to be before they appear at some of our news media interviews. I think all of us in this House would have to agree that civil servants don’t have quite the same freedom that politicians have to express their views and concerns.
Mr. Dukszta: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I did not criticize the civil service. I very specifically criticized the direction of the ministry as it puts pressure on civil servants. I criticized the minister and the ministry, not the civil service.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: What is the point of order?
Mr. Dukszta: That you are misquoting me, or misunderstanding me or not understanding me at all. That was the point of order, and I object to that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Try to manoeuvre out of it, Jan. You’re sorry you said it already, aren’t you?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I come back to the fact that the third party critic indicated clearly that our people found themselves in an indefensible situation on government policy --
Mr. Ziemba: Because of you.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- and therefore wanted all the questions ahead of time. I think if we want to be realistic, our civil servants are also asked questions where a great deal of facts and figures and statistics have to be produced. The most logical thing to do as a civil servant is to find out exactly what the information is they want.
I’ll defend the civil servants of my Ministry of Housing and in the other ministries I’ve served in in this government, not only to defend government policy but to give correct answers to the people who want that particular interview. We want to fight on equal grounds when we’re in those interviews. Sometimes I have some doubt in my mind as to whether that is always true.
The member of the third party got into land-banking by the public sector. The member for Parkdale interpreted the Greenspan statements on Manitoba and Saskatchewan land-banking programs to mean they were superior to Ontario’s. I would think the comment likely refers to the Greenspan observation that OHC bought at above market prices in Ottawa and Milton, while Manitoba bought at market and Saskatchewan at or below market prices in the cases studied. The last two or three words are very important -- “in the cases studied.”
The Greenspan report conceded the number of sites studied was limited and in the case of Ontario it ignored a number of very successful land development projects. I would draw your attention to one known as Malvern.
It also pointed out that heavy purchasing by Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation and a private firm was a major factor in the increase of raw land prices in that area. Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation bought heavily -- and it’s interesting how you missed this particular clause in the Greenspan report -- bought heavily at precisely the wrong time. Further, that Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation did not put a single lot serviced on the market.
OHC during the same boom did market lots from its earlier assemblies of land. It’s in those assemblies that I think we were very successful. The honourable member may have overlooked the Greenspan table which showed that during the study period resale house prices in Saskatoon increased by more than 101 per cent while prices for NHA-financed homes increased by nearly 72 per cent. In Winnipeg, the resale price increased by 71.5 per cent while the new housing increase was 81.6 per cent. I would therefore suggest that the Greenspan report does not provide the endorsement for socialistic land-banking projects, as the honourable member has suggested.
I might just add that in Toronto in the same period of time, in the MLS listings land values went up 70.7 per cent and resale NHA in Toronto went up 78.2 per cent. In both cases, they were lower than in the province he was using as an example.
We’re not going to deny, nor would any member of this House deny, that the construction industry makes an important direct contribution to Ontario’s economy and to the economy of Canada. It is an important purchaser of materials and services from other sectors. The member for Parkdale indicated that about 4.4 man-years of work create a single-family detached home, and that is correct. However, the realities of today’s market must be considered.
I want to touch on the next point, which is so important, that is, that the market presently in Ontario and in most major Canadian cities has an oversupply of new accommodation sitting idle and waiting for purchasers. Before you get your pens out and start saying that it’s all in too high a range, better than 30 per cent of it happens to be in the AHOP price range, which is at the low end of the scale.
The inference was left that we should continue to use the housing industry as one of the major, if not the major, economic development tools in Canada and that we should continue to build regardless of what market conditions happen to be or whether there is anybody there to purchase. That falls into about the same line of thinking that baby food manufacturers should continue to produce a great deal of baby food in the same volumes that it produced in the baby boom years despite the declining position in the birth rate. One sure thing we would produce would be construction firms going bankrupt and, I suppose, baby food manufacturers going in the same direction. When the declining market is there from an economic point of view, we’d better observe it and adjust accordingly.
Mr. Warner: Explain that to the 10,000 who are on the waiting list of housing.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: That’s where you’re so inaccurate again. You fellows have the great ability to be able to double everything.
Mr. Warner: Tell me how many thousand it is then.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I will come to that.
Mr. Warner: There are 10,000 in Metro Toronto waiting for housing.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Who is on the waiting list and who is justifiably on the waiting list might be two different things, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference to you fellows.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, boy!
Mr. Warner: You’re completely abrogating your responsibilities. You want to do away with the Ministry of Housing.
Mr. Cassidy: Just put the words on the record. Let’s know what the Minister of Housing thinks about housing for people on modest incomes.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: At least we think about it. That’s something more than I can say for you.
Mr. Cassidy: What are you doing about it?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. Will the minister please continue and ignore the interjections?
Mr. Cassidy: You’re a disgrace as the Minister of Housing.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The other afternoon we got very lightly into things doing with rent review. Since my colleague, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, shortly will be discussing at full length that particular act, I do not intend to use up the time of these estimates in discussing it further.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s a fine act.
Mr. Warner: Rent review has nothing to do with housing.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I don’t agree with the need to integrate rent review into the long-term housing policies and programs.
Mr. Warner: There never will be any long-term housing programs.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I view it as a serious detriment to the production of housing in our province. I think that for too long a period government intervention into this market has distorted it to a great extent. I would also say that there is a lot more to government than just financing the housing industry.
I’ll come back to the point I made a few moments ago; it’s a matter of looking at reality. It’s a matter of trying to assess where the needs are and the type of housing and the programs will provide those needs, it’s not just an open-ended program. This province, along with assistance from Central Mortgage and Housing, has a solid track record in providing socially assisted housing in Ontario, something in the range of 93,000 units, likely one of the largest portfolios of social housing anywhere in this hemisphere, well controlled and managed --
Mr. Warner: Which you want to get rid of.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- and to the great extent, very acceptable to the tenants who are in those particular accommodations.
Mr. Warner: You’re trying to get rid of it, you’re trying to erode it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Central Mortgage and Housing happens to be a federal agency. I did say that it was with their co-operation that we were able to produce 93,000 units in this province.
The member for Parkdale referred to land-use planning. As we get on with the Planning Act review, I hope we will become more specific in the areas of land-use planning. I hope at that time we will have a fairly open and detailed discussion on that position in Ontario.
I come to a point raised not only in the estimates but also on two or three other occasions since this House came back into session on Monday of this week. A hearing officer, and I am referring to the Niagara Escarpment hearing officer, does not make a decision. The member said in the House that I reversed his decision. He does not make a decision. He makes a recommendation. The officer makes a recommendation to the ministry just as civil servants make recommendations to a ministry.
Mr. Dukszta: Don’t quibble, you make the decisions.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is the minister in both cases who makes the ultimate decision, with his colleagues in cabinet.
Mr. Dukszta: That’s the most spectacular defence.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I have said on other occasions, the Caledon Ratepayers Association --
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of information, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: With respect, there is no point of information.
Mr. Cassidy: A point of information. The minister stated that the minister makes the decision with colleagues in cabinet. Could he confirm that those were his words?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Could I confirm what, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Cassidy: The minister stated that the minister makes the decision on the hearing officer’s recommendation with his colleagues in cabinet. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The minister makes the decision with the authority vested in him through the acts of this Legislature. In some cases they go to cabinet and in other cases they’re made entirely by the minister.
Mr. Haggerty: A man of decisions.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It’s about time some people in the governments of this country were making decisions
Mr. Cassidy: Changed your position, didn’t you?
Mr. Dukszta: That’s what you are saying.
Mr. Warner: No, we get a different answer today.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: On October 12, I was served with a notice of application under the judicial review procedure, for a judicial review of my August decision by the Supreme Court of Ontario. The Attorney General’s office is acting on my behalf and the matter is clearly sub judice.
As my decision on the Cantrakon application is sub judice, I am not prepared at this time to discuss the merits of it. However, the member for Parkdale made a most unfortunate implication in his comments when he stated that the site was sold to a friend of the minister’s. I trust the member’s statement was a slip of the tongue and not a serious suggestion that my decision was made to accommodate a person the member has described as my friend.
I want to relate to another point in the third party critic’s position. I quote him: “It must be recognized that land-use planning decisions are intensely political in nature. Just as war is too terrible a matter to be left only to the generals and health too essential to be left to the doctors, so planning is too important to be left to the professionals.” The member made the remark and by further expanding his personal philosophy, went on to show government is too important to be left to the politicians. Those words are true, at least regarding those in his particular corner of this Legislature.
Seriously, the member makes a rather good point. Civil servants in the planning area make recommendations, but land-use planning decisions -- to borrow his words -- are intensely political in nature, and should be made by elected officials. That is the position into which I put both of the last two comments I made.
The member for Waterloo North asked if we would produce for this House the total administrative budget for the Niagara Escarpment Commission. It amounts to $163,700; and this total includes $128,200 for salaries, wages and employee benefits, which includes a staff of six; $6,200 for transportation and communications; $20,800 for services; and $8,500 for supplies and equipment. For the members’ benefit these are included in vote 2101, item 1, of the estimates of the Ministry of Housing.
The third party critic indicated the OMB must be changed so that it is no longer a costly delaying body which intervenes in nearly every land-use decision. A review of the Ontario Municipal Board and the reduction of unnecessary delays is a matter that my ministry, and the chairman of the Ontario Municipal Board, Mr. Shub, have been working on for some time, indeed with the Attorney General as well. I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that at times there are items before the Ontario Municipal Board that we really believe are not requiring of that board’s time. Unfortunately at the moment there is no other recourse for entertaining the actions necessary on those applications.
The board’s role, I would say very openly, was well defended in the majority of the 300-odd submissions that we had on the Planning Review Act in this province, the Comay report. People who for years had criticized the Ontario Municipal Board as being the wrong place to send things, all of a sudden became very defensive of the municipal board. They felt that was the ultimate place of decision, at least in recommendations to cabinet. I think as we go through the review of the Planning Act, I am sure there will be many other views expressed in this House and by other organizations when the white paper and the draft legislation is presented, as to how they believe we should further try to streamline the municipal board in its efforts to make planning a more instant operation in Ontario than it at present happens to be.
To come back to the fact that we talk about housing, and the number of units that are being produced in Ontario at this time, the third party critic this morning again indicates that we have a new program to indicate housing needs.
I said in my opening statement on Monday that the short-range program, along with the long-range programs of predicting house requirements or unit requirements in Ontario are both very essential for guidance, not only to the private sector but to the government where public funds are being invested in the housing market.
The Barnard report covered from 1976 to the year 2001. It was based on some information that was current at the time; but obviously things change and change rather rapidly, particularly in the migration area into this province, and into this country.
Also there have been some changes in the rate of live births in Ontario and Canada, which have had a very noticeable effect on a long-range forecast. Barnard said we would likely need something in the range of 88,000 units in this first five-year period. That was based on the fact that he thought the migration policy to Ontario would be about 50,000 people per year. That migration position is now at about 25,000 per year. That in itself reduces the requirement of about 8,000 units in this province in any given year; a very substantial number of units.
I explained in my opening remarks that we thought the average requirement for housing in the period between now and 1981 would likely average out at about 78,000 -- about 10,000 fewer than had originally been forecast.
I must say if you read the Barnard report you will notice that his predictions over the next four five-year terms even vary to a greater extent than what I am saying this morning, with a very low position being hit in productions in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
I draw attention to the fact that, even using the federal government’s forecasts on migration and so on -- the figures that are current today -- the reports that we have produced show very clearly that we’re right on course in the volume of production that’s necessary in Ontario.
The member for Parkdale also referred to the Greenspan report and the fact that it says that existing planning processes have a great number of restrictions which have contributed to the high price of land in the future; it also recognizes the need for planning restrictions and offers some advice and views on servicing. I suppose it is only reasonable and logical that we must balance adequate planning with adequate protection, as Greenspan indicates in his report. I think we would probably agree that planning is a compromise between competing interests and that we have to ensure that we have enough planning to protect valid concerns, but not so much that the process becomes self-defeating, which I think is the expression we hear quite often by municipalities and others across Ontario.
Greenspan refers to maximum limits on urban development standards. I am sure members of this House are aware of the fact that the Ministry of Housing issued guidelines on urban development standards just about a year or a year and half ago. Those standards will be taken into further consideration at the time we’ll be reviewing the Planning Act, as to whether they should be incorporated in that particular act and, if so, to what extent.
Over the last year and a half several municipalities have already accepted the minimum or new development standards in their communities, with zero lot lines, dual servicing, smaller lots, less width in roads and so on. In most cases they have been able to prove without doubt that they were able to reduce the cost of the housing units they put on the market.
I know that some would say that the minister should take the position with an iron hand and force municipalities into accepting the minimum standards. The fact remains that the municipalities should be convinced that the minimum or new standards would be economically to the value and credit of the people living in their particular communities.
In the area of overall land-use planning, I would conclude by saying that the Ministry of Housing strongly supports the activities of my colleague the Minister of Treasury and Economics, who as the member knows has the responsibility for overall strategic planning for Ontario. I believe that a most useful contribution to this process by the ministry is to assist local municipalities in preparing an appropriate municipal land-use framework within which to plan by encouraging and assisting in the preparation of official plans at the regional, municipal and county levels. The forthcoming white paper on the Planning Act will elaborate upon the strengthening of the local ability to plan effectively without undue provincial intervention.
I might say as well that the government, through the Ministry of Housing, has given a number of grants to municipalities to get on with their official plans, to assist them in hiring consultants to put those official plans in place so that they have some land-use controls in those communities and recognized.
I want to quote the critic from the third party. He says an NDP government could save a fortune in administrative expenses by introducing substantial self management into all Ontario Housing Corporation projects. The ministry and the Ontario Housing Corporation are in the process of evaluating programs where tenants’ groups currently are involved in the management of their own development.
For example, at Regent Park and Alexandra Park, which are both here in the city of Toronto, tenant-management agreements have been in operation for a period of years. Under these contracts the local tenant association assumes responsibility for specific project activities and management functions. At this very time, I inform the members of this House, the results of these trials are under study to determine the viability and cost effectiveness of the very programs that were put in place back a few years ago.
Further, there is provision for funding of tenant groups to assist them in the formation of tenant associations throughout the province, and I must say that that was brought forward by my colleague the Hon. Mr. Grossman’s father when he was sitting as a minister in this government.
The both existing and newly-formed tenant groups and associations enjoy good rapport with the housing management staff, and included in the duties of the community relations workers whom we employ within the Ontario Housing Corporation is the need to work closely with and to assist such tenant groups in trying to better manage their particular projects.
The member for Parkdale goes on beyond this and contends: “An NDP government could save a fortune in administrative expenses in introducing substantial self management into all Ontario Housing Corporation projects.” This very point was raised by the present leader on two occasions. I personally adopt the position taken by the former Minister of Housing, who said, “We have a collective agreement with the employees to do this work,” and he was sure that the member’s party, the NDP, would not want us to break that collective agreement.
On May 21, 1976, Mr. Cassidy replied to this observation, and I’m quoting directly from Hansard. He said: “What I would like to see is this -- I made a note to myself. I haven’t had the chance to sit down with the CUPE people to talk with them, but I think there are some problems emerging in the conflict between a collective agreement designed to give fair working conditions to the people who work for OHC on the one hand, and the desirability of having tenants more involved in management and running of their own lives. I would like to sit down with my friends in CUPE and talk with them to see how far they have come to grips with those particular problems, because I think there are some very real problems.”
Perhaps the leader of the third party could advise this House how he is making out in his discussions with CUPE in relationship to that type of a working relationship in the various housing projects.
The critic of the third party wanted to know why the ministry needed medical evidence to justify a transfer from one public housing unit to another. Very clearly, the requirement of a medical certificate for evidence is not the only thing that might be required. We’d like to know, if one wants a transfer, the reason for his transfer. Obviously, sometimes it’s because of things that are surrounding him, a health problem, a transportation problem, or other areas, but a medical certificate is one of those that we ask for some certification as to the need.
I’d think we’d all agree that to move people without any reason, the justification being only because one wants to move, does put a fair burden of expense back on to the public housing sector. It does create a problem in trying to redecorate and also accounts for a vacancy period of time for that unit being out of service. Obviously, to the member for Parkdale, medical certificates are required so there is some clear indication of need, but I want to be very careful in informing this House that there are many other reasons that people seek transfers and are granted those transfers upon validation of the particular case.
He talked about the federal provision of capital for land banking and said it was cut in half in the year 1978. I would have to say to the member for Parkdale he’s correct. Ontario was originally assigned $28.6 million for land development funds from Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. During the course of the year we were advised that our share would be $15.9 million, just about half. I might say to you that $15.9 million, half of that, was given, or came to the metropolitan Toronto area.
Certainly there are some projects that have been ill-affected by the cuts. I’m glad to say that last week in my discussion with Mr. Ouellet and people at Central Mortgage and Housing we were able to reinstate $1.2 million in federal funds to enable Toronto to proceed with the servicing in the Frankel-Lambert housing site, which I think some will say is a very necessary requirement in the community today.
I might say this is another one of the projects that came under some very intense review in Winnipeg this week where the staff of the housing ministries across Canada and the federal government met. It’s one that we think should be retained. I suppose reinstated is a word that would be more appropriate at this time. We hope that will come about.
One of the final questions I would like to deal with is the one relating to co-op housing. It is said that we have an embarrassing history for this government. As the member for Parkdale has done before, I think he is trying to mix some of the situations that are out in the marketplace. I suppose the description of mixing apples with oranges and thinking they’re all the same would be very apropos.
In the spirit of being helpful, I’ll go through this in some detail. First of all, when the member complains about the co-operatives not being funded he confuses these building societies with CROP sector support groups, the latter being an organization established to advise co-operative building groups on how they should form and run their operation.
Although the idea of putting together sector support groups was discussed in 1974, the program was not set up provincially until late 1976. So it is wrong to suggest, as the member did, that it was established in the spring of 1974 with a $500,000-budget which was not spent for some four years.
After the sector support was approved at the provincial level, negotiations were started, obviously and of course, with Central Mortgage and Housing to tie in with their program. It was not until October 1977 that we were able to reach an agreement with CMHC. The province approved the minister’s advisory committee on non-profit housing, which includes members from the Labour Council Development Corporation, whom I have met with on more than one occasion, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto, Home Starts, Lodgepole and many others. We support the concept whereby the province would fund five or six regional-based resource groups. The regional breakdown was to be determined as one in eastern Ontario, two in central and one in western, with another one or two in the northern part of our province.
The provincial government’s Ministry of Housing has now funded the Labour Council Development Corporation and the Cooperative Housing Federation of Toronto. We’re processing an application just received from Lodgepole, based in northwestern Ontario. CMHC is providing total funding for two additional groups in central Ontario because the province is already funding the two Toronto-based groups at this time. Our indication is that $200,000 will be taken up this year.
The member asked about rent supplement units in co-operative and non-profit projects. For new non-profit projects, rent supplement will be in place, but for co-operatives only until December 31 of the current year. I’m sure the member will recall that on May 5, 1978, CMHC terminated the non-profit program which was of 1973 vintage. As of July 31, 1978, they also terminated the private and municipal non-profit groups. Obviously when those programs fall by the wayside the piggybacking of support programs provided by the provincial government also is terminated at the same time.
Again I want to indicate clearly that we have continually been negotiating with the federal government on the future role of the co-ops and non-profits in Ontario. I would hope that within a reasonable period of time we will come to some final conclusion from the federal government where we can as 10 provinces agree. When we have made that agreement, obviously it would be my responsibility to take it to cabinet, have it accepted and the funds provided for it.
There is one other area I should just touch on for a moment. I think the member for Parkdale indicated that maybe this was the place where the Ontario Mortgage Corporation lending funds could come into place. While over a period of a short time the mortgage corporation put out over $1 billion, it is now terminating its lending program, basically because there is an adequate supply of mortgage funding in the private sector which was not the case at the time the Ontario Mortgage Corporation came into being. At that time, we could not find private sector sources because there were so many demands being made upon them. That is not the case today. We will be phasing out the Ontario Mortgage Corporation and, as I have said to this House, we will be selling off some of the mortgages that we have held and do hold for a lengthy period of time.
As we go through the estimates, I’m sure there will be members who will want to discuss the graduated payment mortgage plan, the write-down on interests and so on that will be affecting some of the proposed -- I use the word “proposed” because they’re not in place yet by CMHC -- funding of mortgages.
I want to conclude my statement this morning by referring to comments raised by both the critic for the Liberal Party and the critic for the third party about remarks I have made for a number of weeks in various places in the province of Ontario in relationship to the Ministry of Housing. I said very clearly what I think about the position of the Ministry of Housing. As has been suggested by some members of this House over a period of years, maybe there are too many ministries in the government, period, and government should be looking at trying to consolidate its position.
I was offering the advice and suggestion to the Premier of this province that the phasing-out of the Ministry of Housing was being recommended by myself and that it should be incorporated more closely with the ministry of municipal affairs. I think the Planning Act and the Municipal Act have a great relationship. At no time, as the inference would be left by some in this House, did I say that the government should reduce its commitment to the provision of adequate housing in the province of Ontario and, more specifically, its social housing program.
I was convinced and I still happen to be convinced that taking the Ministry of Housing and joining it with the ministry of municipal affairs, or whatever it might be, to my way of thinking would be a more adequate and more appropriate place for it. It might also, which would shock some people, bring about some degree of saving in the administration and cost of running government in our province.
The Ministry of Housing has a very high profile across this province and sometimes, as a result of its profile, it is already interpreted that the Ministry of Housing is going to resolve whatever housing or land problems happen to be in a given community. That height of expectation, I sometimes believe, is very unrealistic. Those are some of the reasons I have given to the leader --
Mr. Warner: You can’t meet that responsibility, can you? That’s why you want to get rid of it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: You will never have any responsibility, so don’t really get yourself too concerned. I’m telling you exactly how I feel as a minister of some six or seven years in this government which is likely more than you had had in your particular position.
Mr. Warner: Housing is not important enough to you to make a ministry.
Mr. Ziemba: You couldn’t handle it anyway.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Now that we’ve got the socialists all talking to themselves, I will conclude my remarks by saying that this ministry has served the government well.
Mr. Warner: The only good thing about your suggestion is that you would be leaving.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Resign.
Mr. Warner: He’ll be resigning. He wants to get rid of the ministry. Get a job where you’ll be useful.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I think the civil servants have afforded complete briefing of both sides of this House. The critic from the NDP has been with us and the critic from the Liberal Party, though unfortunately not the new critic at the moment. They have sat with members of my staff and they have been informed or briefed as completely as they would want to be or they have asked to be. I compliment the staff of Ontario Housing Corporation, the Ontario Land Corporation, the Ontario Mortgage Corporation and the ministry staff.
Mr. Warner: They will all be looking for new jobs.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I want to conclude by saying it is not the easiest position to be in when you’re dealing with public housing problems. It’s easy for everyone to sit around and criticize, but I want to say to the staff that I understand the criticism they take and I recognize them for the effort and time they put into trying to make this a better province for all of us to live in. I think they’ve done an adequate job.
Mr. Warner: You just tried to put them out of work. When do you fire them?
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I thought you were going to call for us to have an opportunity now to speak on the various votes.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I was going to call for members to speak now on item 1 of vote 2101, where we are at the moment.
Mr. Cassidy: We wish to speak on the ministry vote rather than waiting for the specific votes. I would be happy to speak at this time.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would point out to the members of the committee that the procedure laid down in April of this year was that the critics and the ministers speak on vote 2101, item 1, on general policy and then we go on to the individual votes.
Mr. Cassidy: We intended to speak on vote 1, item 1, and to put some questions to the minister.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: We are now coming to vote 2101, item 1, and I would recognize first the member for Waterloo North.
On vote 2101, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:
Mr. Epp: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to join this debate again on the Housing estimates. I understand the hours for the Housing estimates have been decreased from 12 to nine. I hope we will be able to cover all the items in a relatively thorough way during that time.
I would like to thank the minister for the comments he has made in replying to some of my questions. I don’t think they were as detailed as I had hoped. Nevertheless, I may have an opportunity later to get back to some of them.
Just briefly, with respect to his suggestion about incorporating the Ministry of Housing with Municipal Affairs, I think he would find concurrence from this side of the House on such a measure. The problem is not whether he is going to get support from this side of the House, but whether he gets support from the Premier and from his cabinet colleagues on this measure. I wish him well in his endeavours.
Speaking directly to vote 2101 I want to zero in particularly on the Niagara Escarpment and the responsibilities as they are carried out by the ministry here and in other parts of the province.
We take exception to the decision that the minister has made with respect to permitting the Cantrakon project to develop. The minister has stated that he treats this as sub judice and therefore he feels that he won’t comment on it at great length. I would hope that he is going to liberalize his attitude on that. I would hope he would give us some answers or try to clarify the whole project. It is not only muddied in the minds of the members here, but in the general public out there, some six or seven million people.
The approach, which has been described as crude and insensitive, certainly ignores the wishes of a great number of people of Ontario who had hoped that the government would pay more attention to some of the environmental features and some of the very important geological and geographical locations in this province.
It is true that the $16 million project at the Forks of the Credit on the Niagara Escarpment will create about 140 full-time jobs. It would also create hundreds of seasonal jobs, I suppose -- temporary jobs in the form of construction work for electricians, for plumbers, for landscapers, for designers -- for all kinds of people. We don’t deny the fact that jobs should be created in this province.
Certainly the Minister of Housing, as the former Minister of Industry and Tourism -- and particularly in that former responsibility -- had a responsibility to try to create jobs. We don’t deny there would be some important features that would accrue favourably to this province.
Nevertheless, we question this decision.
It is true the facilities that would be offered at the Forks of the Credit are necessary in the province in some areas. It is true that we are now facing a deficit in balance of payments. If we could somehow entice people from outside Canada to come here and leave their money here, through a project of this nature, we certainly welcome that kind of investment, whether it’s a few dollars or whether it’s thousands of dollars.
It is true also that some people in Ontario support this decision, although I think that support is very sparsely distributed in the province. I submit, however, that the overwhelming majority of Ontarians are opposed to this project. In their opinion the decision is a wrong one, the decision is an unrealistic one and does not take into consideration all the evidence that was available. We only have to look at some of the recommendations that were made to the ministry.
Why, for instance, did the Niagara Escarpment Commission oppose this particular project? Why did the municipal planner of Caledon oppose this particular project? Why did the Ministry of Housing hearing officer, Mr. Jamieson, oppose this project? Why did the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment have serious reservations about it? I think these are questions that should be answered. Hopefully in the near future we are going to get answers as to why the decision was made. On the face of it, although this project does create jobs, it could very well have been located at some other place in the province.
In 1973, when the Niagara Escarpment Commission was created, the intent at that time was described as: “To provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity subsequently as a continuous natural environment and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with the natural environment.” Let me just read that last clause again: “to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with the natural environment.”
We on this side of the House do not believe this particular project is compatible with that environment. As a result of that, we oppose the decision the minister has made. This is a unique geological and geographical area. It is a 250-mile-long limestone ridge which stretches from Queenston Heights to Tobermory. Aesthetically, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of Ontario, indeed, of Canada.
A second point I would like to raise is that the province’s Niagara Escarpment Commission is charged with bringing in a master plan on the area by 1980. I feel very sincerely that the minister’s decision has somewhat compromised their position. Seriously, the credibility involved here is probably more to the detriment of the minister himself than of the escarpment commission. They were the ones who recommended against this project. When other people in the future might very well request similar projects in that escarpment area, I think the ministry, particularly the minister, is going to have a difficult time turning them down, because the precedent has now been set. I would respectfully submit that he reconsider his decision.
The hearing officer, Mr. Jamieson, felt that the site of the project is antagonistic to the preservation of the escarpment as a continuous natural environment. In fact he stated that “the land-use regulations of the municipality do not allow this land use,” so there was good reason to reject the particular request by the Cantrakon group. “This proposal would have an adverse effect on the program of the Niagara Escarpment Commission,” Mr. Jamieson felt -- “a program that the Ontario government has charged the commission with drawing up and implementing.”
The Premier of the province wrote a letter last August -- only a few months ago -- to the conservationists of Ontario. If you take the words “conserve” and “converse” -- and some people think there has been more conversation and rhetoric associated with justifying this particular project than there has been conservation or to conserve -- all you have to do is change two letters, the “s” and the “v,” and you get two completely different concepts.
The Premier specifically stated last August, in his letter to the conservationists: “The government has no intention of withdrawing its basic commitment to the conservation and intelligent use of the Niagara Escarpment, to preserve the unique natural characteristics of the escarpment.”
His intention in that letter -- and I suppose on other occasions he has voiced it equally well -- is that they want to conserve the escarpment. Yet in the face of that, this decision to permit Cantrakon to build the particular project has been made. It seems to me that the Cantrakon project is not consistent with either the hearing officer’s statements, with the government’s statement when the legislation was produced in 1973, or with the statement of the Premier to conservationists in August. As a result of this it is a very poor decision.
I don’t think the minister would agree with Mr. Clarke, the owner of Cantrakon, when he says that the project should not affect anyone other than “a few chipmunks.” I believe it will affect many more people in Ontario than just a few chipmunks.
I want to read into the record a letter which was received by the Premier not very long ago -- it was mailed on October 11 by Mr. Richard Haney, Tana Haney and Janet Sankey. It comes from the Forks of the Credit General Store, Forks of the Credit Road, RR 2, Caledon, Ontario. As I indicated, it is addressed to the Premier.
The letter reads:
“Dear Premier Davis:
“We are the owners of the Forks of the Credit General Store. Even though we would stand to gain a great deal financially by the location of the Cantrakon convention centre around the corner from us, we are against it being built at the present proposed site, because:
“1. We believe that the Forks of the Credit valley is a unique, aesthetic and historic geographic area which should be kept that way for future generations. The Cantrakon site would set a very bad precedent. Subdivisions next?
“2. For eight years now, when we get out of Toronto for a day or weekend, we head out to the Caledon hills and/or Hockley Valley for some reunion with the country and fresh air, et cetera. Where do you think we first stop the car, shut off the engine, roll open the windows and just ‘listen to the silence’ when we get out of the city? You guessed it. Right near the corner of the fifth sideroad and the second line west, the Cantrakon site.
“3. It is said that sewage is not a problem. Well, we have a mountain brook coming right out of the side of the Caledon mountain, and the water from it has been 100 per cent pure until recently, Now we are getting readings, when we test it, that indicate troubles are coming. The Cantrakon site is just below the site called Caledon Mountain Estates. This development was stopped largely because of its potential to befoul the water supplies of residents. Our place is directly below the last two houses built on the mountain.
“The Ministry of Health now assumes that all surface water is less than desirable for drinking. Is this the criteria by which the planners say that” -- this is kind of hazy here and I have difficulty in reading it -- “the Cantrakon site will pose no sewage problems?
“4. The studies we have seen indicate that large projects tend to reduce the burden on the local taxpayer only very briefly. In the long run the costs exceed the income because of traffic, roads, sewage, policing and other problems. Please investigate this matter and ask the Minister of Housing to reconsider his decision on this issue.”
I’m very disappointed, as I indicated earlier, in the minister’s decision to permit this particular project and why he ignored all the recommendations opposed to the project, such as from the Caledon planner and the guidelines that the government has laid down from time to time and other recommendations. There is no doubt in my mind, and indeed there is no doubt in the minds of my colleagues on this side of the House, that this project is a good one and that there is a need for this project. We are opposed to the site.
As the Leader of the Opposition indicated on one occasion, the Cantrakon project is an excellent idea but it is in the wrong place.
We support the project, but not on the face of the escarpment.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a number of things to say to the minister and perhaps I can raise them now. I’m pleased incidentally to hear the statements made by the Liberal critic, even if I find those statements a bit difficult to reconcile with the position that all but one member of his party took on the McKessock bill, which would have had the effect of basically undermining protection of the Niagara Escarpment without providing anything else in its place.
Mr. Warner: A crashing reversal.
Mr. Cassidy: I think the Cantrakon issue and the way it has been handled by the current Minister of Housing really symbolizes a great deal which is wrong with his management, not just of this aspect of his responsibilities, but of his responsibilities in general. This is obviously an area where the public interest should be asserted and could have been asserted in this case without the loss of a single potential job, either to that particular region of the province or to the province of Ontario in general.
I’m afraid that as our critic has been saying, that desire of the ministry to constantly give way to private interests whenever there’s profit involved has reasserted itself here and is having an impact which, I’m afraid, will create fundamental problems for the Niagara Escarpment Commission and for what was once a commitment by the government of Ontario to the preservation of the unique natural environment of the escarpment.
I’ve had a chance to look at some of the information about the escarpment, at some of the documents which I know were available to the minister and to the ministry and which we have been able to get from the file. I want to begin just by describing the actual site. It’s many years since I’ve been out to the Forks of the Credit. I’ve not had the chance to be out there myself, but the description speaks for itself and I want to read it, and put it in the record.
“The property sits directly on the brow of the escarpment and has a maximum elevation of 1,450 feet above sea level.” This is the site as described by the officials of the Niagara Escarpment Commission at the time the proposal was originally made.
“It is the most scenic and visually predominant portion of the escarpment within the town of Caledon” -- that is, the entire area around the Forks of the Credit. “The scarp is defined by a sudden drop in elevation towards the east and north. The property is clearly visible from the lower lands and particularly from the area of Highway 10 and can be seen as far east as Airport Road. The property is virtually clear of trees. Due to the open elevated nature of the site, the developments proposed would disrupt the continuous natural character of this portion of the escarpment.”
Then there’s a report by the landscape architect of the commission -- a civil servant, but an expert whose advice I think is certainly worth reading into the record and also considering. He writes in his report: “The severity of the potential impact of the project is only realized when one analyses its predictive effect. The centre, if built as proposed, will most predictably be perceived by everyone within an enormous visual envelope that will extend for miles to the east and southeast.” He points out that the view from the subject property extends as far as Toronto, 50 miles distant, when you look to the east and the southeast.
“Furthermore, it has been documented that when an element which is incongruous with the predicted expected view of the landscape exists, it is this very element that is perceived and remembered by the viewer. This prominent or incongruous element then becomes known and remembered as a landmark. The danger of this is that in the remembrance of this portion of the escarpment, one will simplify and distort the actual perceived view and remember only a prominent or landmark feature of that landscape. Therefore, the final result and visual impact of this centre would be the transformation of the existing natural, scenic, visual character into one only subordinate and secondary to this major centre.”
Subsequent to that report, the size of the proposed centre was increased from 100,000 square feet to about 160,000 square feet. It was put again to the test and there was a second report on it. This was in early 1978, just prior to the hearing officers being appointed. The judgement that was reached at that time by the Niagara Escarpment Commission was the same as the judgement of two years before, namely: “Because of its size and location, on and overlooking the escarpment, the proposal conflicts with the intent of the Niagara Escarpment Act which is to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with that natural environment.’”
They also said it just happened to conflict with “the scarp general role, general water resources, natural area, scenic resources and scarp protection policies of the commission’s preliminary proposals for the Niagara Escarpment plan.” In other words, this is no minor infraction of the planning for the area; this is absolutely major at the most scenic part of the town of Caledon which, because it includes the Forks of Credit, is universally acknowledged to be just about the most scenic part of the Niagara Escarpment for all of its length, from the Bruce Peninsula down to Niagara Falls.
On one or two occasions the minister has appeared to suggest that he has so many decisions coming before him that he couldn’t possibly really be expected to know all the ramifications of this particular project. I would like to suggest that he has in fact taken an intensive interest in this and an interest which occurred before the hearing officer’s having his hearings as well as afterwards.
On April 21 there was a meeting lasting at least an hour and a quarter with the Honourable Claude Bennett as chairman, which included the solicitor for Cantrakon, Mr. Jarvis; the president, Mr. Clarke, the fellow who had also contributed to the campaign funds of several ministers; and an architect and planner who were working with the proponent. They gave a detailed proposal to the minister, Mr. Bennett, in the form of a cardboard model, a traffic study, architectural renderings, engineering details and presentations from each of the Cantrakon consultants.
The record of the meeting goes on to state as follows: “The Honourable Mr. Bennett noted the merits of the proposal and stressed the need for such facilities in Ontario. However, he noted that the commission had been established by the government to carry out a significant task and their mandate had to be respected.” That was the minister’s position on April 21, 1978.
It was pointed out by ministry people and by escarpment people at that point that “the single greatest factor against the facility was its prominent location on the escarpment brow. For the commission to approve of this location would seem to be contrary to its mandate as established by the province and contrary to many of the decisions taken by the commission to protect the base, the brow and the face of the escarpment.”
It’s interesting in that light, Mr. Chairman --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: On a point of information; I would like the date the leader of the third party indicated I met with -- I’m not sure whether he said with Mr. Clarke or with Cantrakon or with their solicitors or architects or whomever.
Mr. Cassidy: On April 21, 1977, beginning at 5:15, there was a meeting with the Honourable Claude Bennett as chairman. Those participating included Mr. Robert E. Jarvis, solicitor for Cantrakon, Mr. Gary B. Clarke, president of Cantrakon, Mr. Eberhard Zeidler, an architect and Mr. Steven Staples, a planning consultant, both of whom were working for Cantrakon.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: May I ask that there be a correction in the minutes? The leader of the third party originally read that it was April 21, 1978, which made me the Minister of Housing and I had no meeting at that time. But if the date is April 21, 1977, I would check my records.
Mr. Cassidy: That is correct. The meeting was held in 1977 and the minister at that time was already taking a very substantial interest. Therefore, when he became Minister of Housing, he was well informed about this particular project.
It’s interesting that as Minister of Industry and Tourism, he felt the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s mandate had to be respected, but once he had the power himself his view changed.
It’s also interesting to read one of the decisions by the former minister, the late John Rhodes, which affected a proposed bungalow to be built a few miles north of the town of Caledon in the township of Mulmur, not far from Airport Road. The minister upheld an escarpment commission refusal at that time because the proposed development, and I quote: “would appear to form a significant visual intrusion into the countryside and establish a harmful precedent when proposals were under consideration. Such a development would conflict with the objectives of the Niagara Escarpment Commission listed in their notice of decision.”
One bungalow was enough to provoke that ruling from the former Minister of Housing, but a 160,000 square foot facility, a much more prominent facility, at the most scenic part of the town of Caledon, did not provoke that reaction from this new minister.
I’ll ask my questions in series, then maybe I’ll have to ask them of the minister individually. They are as follows:
I would like the minister to estimate how long it is going to take with the route he has chosen -- the confrontation with local residents in the town of Caledon -- to get the official plan amendment passed and approved and through all its stages, since that amendment obviously is required before Cantrakon can be issued its building permit?
The law, which I’ve been consulting while I’ve been waiting for this moment to speak, states very clearly that while the development permit overrides local zoning, it does not override the local official plan. The local official plan in the area of the town of Caledon provides for a general agricultural zoning, which clearly would not permit the construction of this conference centre.
One of the reasons I suggested that the minister and the Premier sit down with Cantrakon, with the Caledon people, with the ratepayers and with the escarpment commission was that given the developers have 2,000 acres at their disposal; given that what they were seeking was a pleasant, natural environment having cloister-like surroundings but within 60 minutes to 90 minutes’ travelling time from a major metropolitan area; given that they were not looking for unique natural features but for a secluded, pleasant, natural area, it should surely be possible to find an appropriate site on which approvals and official plan amendments, if necessary, could be proceeded with quickly in order to ensure that development begins soon as possible.
Back in 1977 the developers were clearly anxious to proceed quickly. They’ve been held up now for more than a year. The minister knows that given the state of the OMB these days, and given the virtual certainty that there will be appeals to the OMB of any official plan amendments should the town of Caledon be prepared to make those planned amendments, we’re talking of another year, year and a half, maybe two years or more before the first shovel can go into the ground for the Cantrakon project. Given that kind of result of the policy that he is pursuing now, it seems to us to make a great deal more sense to seek a route of co-operation rather than of confrontation.
I would like the minister to give an estimate of how long the ministry anticipates it will take before the official plan amendment will both be approved and have gone through all of the possible routes of appeal which are provided for in the law. I would also like to know what is the current situation as regards the Ministry of Natural Resources approval, which is one of the conditions that are not yet met.
I would like to know what economic benefit was gained by overturning the Niagara Escarpment Commission officer’s decision and allowing Cantrakon to build at this particular site as opposed to getting Cantrakon to build at some other site within the general area.
I would like to know what information the minister has as to whether or not pleasant, natural surroundings that are appropriate for the development were available in the vicinity, because we believe that they certainly were available.
I would like the minister to give a clear answer -- we have been looking for this from the Premier as well -- as to whether or not be believes that his actions in allowing the Cantrakon project to go forward, despite the opposition by every authority before whom the project went before coming up to his desk and despite the fact that it was both elected people and people on the escarpment commission, many of whom are elected and who were there to represent the general interest as opposed to being experts -- despite all of that, the minister has approved this project -- I would like to know whether that approval is compatible with section 2 of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, which says, and I quote:
“The purpose of this act is to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with that natural environment.”
Finally, I would also like the minister to state whether or not his decision is compatible with the commitment which the government has made through the Premier himself to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and to many other people who have written expressing their concern about government policies for the escarpment.
The Premier said, and I quote:
“I assure that the Ontario government has no intention of withdrawing its basic commitment to the conservation and intelligent use of the Niagara Escarpment. We remain committed to our original objective in establishing the Niagara Escarpment Commission, which was to preserve the unique natural characteristics of the escarpment for the enjoyment of future generations of Ontarians.”
We do not see how the approval of the Cantrakon project in this particular site is compatible with that commitment. We therefore think that the government is abandoning its commitment to the preservation of the unique natural characteristics of the escarpment. That is something which, in our opinion, the majority of people in Ontario are not prepared to accept, particularly when it is obvious that other alternatives were and are available for the Cantrakon project, and those other alternatives could be proceeded with; that is, the construction could begin sooner than the project as currently proposed will be able to proceed because of the need for official plans amendments over the opposition of local people. In other words, the government could have its jobs, and it could have protected the environment as well, but to do so the government has to change the policy that is advanced right now of the approval of the Cantrakon project in this particular vital and enormously sensitive site.
Mr. Johnson: I would like to make a few comments on this. Caledon happens to be my area. For the benefit of a lot of the members from many other areas who haven’t the slightest idea where Cantrakon is proposed to be built and what effect it is going to have, we hear all kinds of talk that it’s going to destroy the escarpment; that is a bunch of malarkey. It is my understanding that the Cantrakon decision was one based on reality. It took a lot of guts -- for lack of a better word -- for the minister to make the decision without going through all the formality that some of the members on the opposite side would have us go through.
Mr. Breithaupt: Especially since he was the only one on that side of the line.
Mr. Haggerty: He’s a man of decision, right or wrong.
Mr. Johnson: I’m fed up with decisions being held back by the Ontario Municipal Board for, it seems to me, years. We sit around complaining because we haven’t jobs in Ontario, and we let things go by the wayside. This project could just as easily end up in Wisconsin, New Hampshire or Vermont, or one of the northern states. It is a type of project that we vitally need here. It is a project that will create jobs. It is my understanding there will be 150 to 160 new jobs, with about half of this in students. I also understand that it costs approximately $25,000 to create a job in Ontario. This works out to over $3 million in the job creation program.
The NDP pretend they are interested in jobs, but I don’t know where in the hell they want them.
Mr. Gregory: They pretend interest in a lot of things.
Mr. Johnson: It says in a column by Claire Hoy yesterday, which I thought was extremely relevant and interesting, that “both Smith and Cassidy seemed to have adopted the misguided viewpoint that the commission was set up to guarantee nothing, absolutely nothing, would ever again be built on the Niagara Escarpment.” And that is absolutely ridiculous.
Mr. Warner: If you start listening to Claire Hoy you are in trouble Jack. Today you listen to him, the other day you were going to punch him in the mouth.
Mr. Johnson: The commission was set up to protect the escarpment. Have you ever seen a study of the Cantrakon project? For your information, I have one here. I don’t intend to send it to you, but possibly you can pick one up some place. It would blend in beautifully with the escarpment.
Mr. Warner: Why wouldn’t you send it, Jack?
Mr. Dukszta: Have you got some secrets there?
Mr. Johnson: You mention that it would be visible from Airport Road. It is miles from Airport Road.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s why it is wrong -- because it is visible from Airport Road.
Mr. Johnson: If you are flying, yes. If you can see it from Airport Road, from the highway, you really have good eyesight Here is the map; it is visible from Highway 10, but that is a long way from Ottawa.
Mr. Deans: What has that got to do with anything?
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman, I thought that all members of the Legislature were appointed to represent the people of Ontario, not just the people of their own bailiwick. Certainly that is the way I see my responsibilities; both as the member for Ottawa Centre and also as leader of my party.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What point is this?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: What’s the point of privilege?
Mr. Gregory: Can a man not speak on behalf of his own riding?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Will the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel please continue.
Mr. Cassidy: If he wants to pillage his riding that’s up to him.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Worry about your own, Michael.
Mr. Johnson: You are complaining about the number of people who are sending letters to you who live in the area and they complain about the problems that exist. I have had a petition from the people in the area; these are my people and I feel I have a right to stand up and speak on their behalf.
I’ll grant you there are many in close proximity to the Cantrakon development who are concerned, and are concerned for several reasons. One is the water plateau -- whether it is going to affect the water or not; another is sewage; another is roads; and another is employment. These are four issues that I raised with the minister, and I was assured they would all be looked after. I am satisfied the minister will keep his word on that. You are not, but I don’t --
Mr. Cassidy: Does no one speak for the future of the escarpment anymore?
Mr. Gregory: Come off your pedestal.
Mr. Johnson: I would like to speak on the escarpment for a minute. I would like to speak about the meeting in Orangeville that was called on behalf of the Liberal Party, and two of their members who raised hell at that meeting aren’t even here today to talk either for it or against it.
Mr. Breithaupt: Neither are 40 of your members here; so what?
Mr. Johnson: A question was asked of the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock) as to whether he was in favour of the Niagara Escarpment Commission or not. He said we will view it in two lights: one, we will abolish it, and he received a tremendous ovation; or second, we will refer it to a select committee, or a royal commission. He agreed with the members at that meeting that it should be abolished.
Mr. Gregory: You wouldn’t know that, Michael. You don’t listen to the people.
Mr. Johnson: The member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) who introduced the bill in this Legislature, and was supported by the majority of the Liberals --
Mr. Breithaupt: What has this to do with Cantrakon?
Mr. Johnson: Because it is on the Niagara Escarpment, if you have any idea where it is in the first place.
Mr. Breithaupt: You are mixing apples and oranges.
Mr. Johnson: How can you, as the Liberal Party, propose that the escarpment be cut to nothing, or abolished -- as many of your members do -- and then stand up and criticize?
Mr. Breithaupt: You are being illogical, but go ahead.
Mr. Johnson: Read Hansard, read the reports. I have pages and pages of reports from Orangeville and Shelburne and the people who were involved at the meetings.
Mr. Johnson: There wasn’t one Liberal member who stood up and defended the Niagara Escarpment Commission, not one.
Mr. Breithaupt: What’s that got to do with Cantrakon?
Mr. Johnson: And for the benefit of the NDP, there was one member.
Mr. Cassidy: You are as bad as your minister.
Mr. Warner: The wind blows a little differently today for the Liberals.
Mr. Epp: You mean it’s even better today. Mr. Warner: Oh, you can reverse yourselves. Just see how the wind is changing.
Mr. Johnson: We’re talking about a $16-million development. The town of Caledon badly needs some assessment. We can get the assessment from companies like this. It’s not going to destroy the escarpment. It’s going to be built of wood and stone and blend in with the atmosphere there.
Mr. Cassidy: You would sell Niagara Falls if it would help keep the assessment down on the peninsula.
Mr. Johnson: I was out in Banff not long ago, up at Lake Louise, and there is a beautiful hotel built beside Lake Louise. If we had listened to people like we have here the hotel would never have been built and millions of people would never have had the opportunity to see Lake Louise and see Banff because you’d have nothing but woods.
Mr. Warner: Are you guys going to take over Lake Louise now? Are you annexing?
Mr. Haggerty: You should have seen what happened at Saltfleet township. There is hardly an acre of undeveloped land there today.
Mr. Havrot: You are a bunch of born losers over there.
Mr. Johnson: You mentioned the fact that the official town planner of the town of Caledon is in opposition to this. I have a letter from John Stevens, the town planner of the town of Caledon. He states: “ ... that the Niagara Escarpment development permit application, Cantrakon Canada Limited, be approved in principle, subject to the following provisions,” and he lists the provisions that the minister has taken under advisement.
Mr. Havrot: That comes as a surprise?
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not true.
Mr. Johnson: I’ll tell you another thing. The councillors in Caledon maybe in your opinion have no right, because you don’t respect local autonomy, but I do. I believe that the town of Caledon councillors have as much right to make a decision in this as anyone and the vast majority of them are in favour of it.
Mr. Gregory: You sure missed a lot, didn’t you?
Mr. Deans: How about the council in Smithville?
Mr. Gregory: You count it as a mistake when they don’t agree with you.
Mr. Deans: No, I’m talking about Smithville.
Mr. Johnson: I resent the accusation of the leader of the third party that I speak for a small group. I haven’t the knowledge that he has to speak for the whole Ontario, but I do feel I have a knowledge about the area I represent, and I feel I have a right to express my opinion and the opinion of the people I represent.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, this might be a good point, an excellent point indeed, for the committee to rise and report.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, will the minister be responding to the points that have been raised by the opposition members?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: This debate will resume on Monday afternoon.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the committee of supply reported progress.
DEATH OF FORMER MEMBER FOR SARNIA
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the information that has now been received indicates that the funeral for our late friend, Jim Bullbrook, will be on Monday morning next at 11 o’clock in Sarnia. That being the case, and in an attempt to accommodate as many members as possible who wish to pay their last respects to Mr. Bullbrook, perhaps I might have leave of the House to introduce a motion which would adjust the hours for sitting on Monday. Do I have the leave of the House?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. Mr. Grossman moves that on Monday next the House will meet at 3 p.m.
Mr. Breithaupt: If I might, Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly to the motion in order to advise the members of the House of some further details.
First of all, I thank the acting government leader for the convenience which he has made in having the House stand over to not sit until 3 p.m. on Monday.
The funeral will be at the Sacred Heart Church in Sarnia at 11 a.m. Monday. An aircraft has been arranged and will leave at 9 am, from the Worldways office, Skyport Hangar, on Derry Road at the Malton airport. Notices with respect to this flight will be given to the members, and any who are planning to attend are asked to contact Mr. Jim Novak in the Leader of the Opposition’s office to ensure that sufficient accommodation is reserved for those members who wish to attend.
Motion agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the House adjourned at 1:02 p.m.