The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, October 20, I toured the Barrie Jail, accompanied by my deputy minister and the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor), to apprise myself of the physical conditions there and to discuss recent problems at that institution. The fact that I went to this facility as my first official act as Minister of Correctional Services indicates my concern and desire to overcome the problems of this outdated facility.
As honourable members will be aware, there have been a number of incidents at this jail. Allegations by inmates that they have been assaulted by other inmates have been investigated and charges laid, and these cases now are before the courts. Two incidents in which it was alleged that four staff members acted in an inappropriate manner have been the subject of internal hearings. Since the hearings into the behaviour of one of these correctional officers has been postponed at the request of his lawyer, I do not intend to comment on any of these hearings until the one which is outstanding is completed.
The Ombudsman’s office has responded to complaints by inmates at the Barrie jail by conducting two investigations. The reports by the Ombudsman containing his findings and the resolution of problems relating to the complaints have been submitted to the deputy minister. These reports indicate that the problems which were the subject of the complaints have been satisfactorily resolved.
During my visit to the jail it was clear to me that one of the main problems is overcrowding, compounded by the age and physical limitations of the building. On that particular day there were 62 inmates being housed in the facility that was meant to house 39 inmates. Of the 62 inmates, 40 were on remand awaiting trial. The number of remands seems inordinately high when compared to other counties. It was obvious to me that steps have to be taken to provide adequate facilities at this jail. The ideal solution, of course, would be to replace this outdated facility with a new one but, as I indicated to the House recently, even if funds were available and approved it would take approximately three years to have a new building completed and ready for operation.
In the interim, in order to provide some relief it is the ministry’s intention to install relocatable maximum security units adjacent to the present facilities. These units will be in place in the spring of 1979 and will accommodate 16 inmates each. A wall will be erected around these units with the labour to be provided by inmate workers.
In order to study ways and means of providing immediate relief to the overcrowding problem I have, after consultation with my colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), established a committee whose first meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 1 in the ministry’s board room at Queen’s Park. That committee will be chaired by his honour, the their judge of the provincial court, criminal division in Simcoe county, Judge Norman Nadeau.
The other members of the committee are Crown Attorney John Murphy of Simcoe county, Barrie Police Chief Earl Snider, Mr. Richard Clarke, president of the county of Simcoe law association and Sheriff Ross Hughes.
Ministry personnel serving on the committee will include Mr. William Canning, senior probation and parole officer, Mr. Frank MacDonald, superintendent of the Barrie Jail, Mr. John Duggan, executive director of institutional programs, Deputy Minister Glenn Thompson, and myself.
The committee will be attempting to identify the reasons for the large number of remands and to resolve the overcrowding to a certain extent; and will be looking at the issuance of legal aid certificates, the setting of bail, and such new ideas as bail supervision and bail hostels.
I am delighted that his honour, Judge Frederick Hayes, chief judge of the provincial court, criminal division, will be attending the initial meetings and monitoring the situation closely. I am confident this committee will be able to examine the situation thoroughly and provide me with recommendations for improvements.
As members know, I do not believe committees should exist after they have completed their mandates; therefore, this particular committee will operate under a sunset provision and will be disbanded after they have finished their work.
Mr. Cassidy: Why doesn’t your government operate on a sunset provision?
Mr. Rotenberg: Because they keep getting re-elected.
An hon. member: Our work isn’t finished yet.
Mr. Swart: It never will be finished at the rate you are going.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I would like to thank the distinguished individuals who have agreed to serve on this important committee for taking time from their busy schedules to address themselves to this situation.
I would also like to thank and commend the member for Simcoe Centre for his continuing interest and advice in regard to the Barrie Jail and related matters in Simcoe county.
RULES OF THE HOUSE
Mr. S. Smith: I have questions for the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott), and I am told he will be in the House shortly. Meanwhile, I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, if you ruled on the matter raised by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Mattel) the other day about whether we can stand down these questions. If I am permitted to stand them down, I would appreciate that opportunity.
Failing that I would direct the same questions to the House leader, but I think that would be less than satisfactory, with respect.
Mr. Speaker: In my absence last Friday, the member for Sudbury East did rise on a point of order saying he was dissatisfied with the way the Leader of the Opposition’s questions were put off. While I don’t think it has worked any hardship, I want the guidance of the House.
The standing order is quite specific that question period will begin with two questions from the Leader of the Opposition with a sufficient number of supplementaries, followed by two questions from the leader of the New Democratic Party.
It worked quite well last Thursday. As you well know, a good many of the ministers are busy in Ottawa on legitimate business.
If the members generally want to proceed the way we did last Thursday, I am in the hands of the House. If there are any objections I would like to hear about them.
Mr. Nixon: Agreed.
Mr. Cassidy: Point of order: obviously the frustration we feel on this side is because of the fact the ministers have become accustomed to arriving in the House as much as 10 or 15 minutes past their time, if at all.
Mr. Eaton: You didn’t have anybody to start. You had one member there when the House started today.
Mr. Cassidy: What did you have?
Mr. Roy: We were all here for the prayer.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: The only point we were raising, Mr. Speaker, was should the rotation not continue once it has begun rather than going back to the beginning, as was suggested by the person standing in for you last Thursday. We think that once the order of rotation has begun, if the Leader of the Opposition has ceded his questions, it should not then be three official opposition questions in a row at the time that the Leader of the Opposition finally steps in.
Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition prefer to proceed?
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to address a question to the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware of the decision of the town council at Fort Erie to reject the application by Laidlaw to do the solidification process for liquid waste; and is he aware particularly of the recommendation to the town council from the town administrator? Has he had a chance to look at that? Is he at all concerned about the very poor reputation the ministry seems to enjoy as a consequence of its previous actions in northern Ontario and elsewhere? Given the importance of the solidification process to his plan, why was there nobody from the ministry at that meeting and why was no indemnification offered to the town if it was to go ahead with that process?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: First of all, I am aware of that situation in Fort Erie. I haven’t seen the recommendation of the clerk if that’s who the member is identifying. I think that all of us are pretty concerned about the various processes that are possible for the treatment of liquid waste. Had our ministry been invited to that meeting, I suspect we would have attended. I am not certain of that, I don’t know whether or not an invitation was issued.
I don’t know why they declined. I am prepared to find that out. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we are looking at the solidification processes that are possible, not only in Fort Erie but indeed in other areas of the province. They hold a lot of promise and I think it’s a possibility that we will see more of them and not fewer.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, given the fact that a lot of us believe the solidification process might be important to us, is the minister not concerned that the town administrator felt constrained to tell the town council as follows, quoting from page 4: “The recent lowering of air pollution control standards in northern Ontario, a reversal from a previous requirement, doesn’t exactly encourage citizens to rely on the assurance and protection implicit in any governmental approval”? May I quote also from page 8, and I will not go on at undue length. “The Ministry of the Environment would not assume any uncertainties or risks. Fort Erie is to assume them. Similarly, neither has the Minister of the Environment offered to safeguard and recompense the town’s environmental and financial interest in the event that operations prove unacceptable.”
Given the need to move ahead with processes of this kind, surely the minister can well understand that councils will be reluctant to take on these risks. Why is his ministry not in fact protecting its reputation, enhancing it and working with councils rather than basically disgracing itself and losing the confidence of town administrators across Ontario?
Mr. Deans: What reputation? It is living up to its reputation.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I certainly don’t agree with the leader of the Liberal Party in the last part of his comments, not at all; I just reject those out of hand. But notwithstanding that, I think, and I had thought, that his party had agreed that the responsibility for the treatment of these wastes rested with the private sector. I am rather surprised to know now that the Liberal Party is suggesting that it is the responsibility of the citizens of Ontario to guarantee these costs if any should be incurred. I thought that his party and our party believed that the responsibility for the treatment of these wastes rested with the industrial producers of those wastes and not with the citizens through taxation.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree that the rejection of liquid wastes and disposal facilities in Fort Erie, and the attempts to block the PCB storage transfer terminal in Smithville and similar actions by councils in other parts of the province are a reflection of their unease about the mishandling of the liquid waste disposal program by the ministry in the past? Can the minister now tell the House, since he was unable to tell the committee three weeks ago, what specific steps are to be taken as the facilities for the disposal of this liquid waste continue to contract while the problem continues to exist?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: As I think the member knows, we spent a whole week on that process in the committee. Seven specific points were put forward concerning how we are proposing to deal with the problem. I don’t think even the leader of the third party would expect that should have been accomplished in that short period of time.
Many of the proposals put forward are very legitimate proposals that will safeguard the health of the people wherever those facilities are located. But they are invariably rejected by the member and his party, not on the grounds of the technology but on the basis of whether or not they are socially acceptable or whether they are politically acceptable. They found it very expedient to reject them, not technically but politically. That makes a very difficult situation.
We continue to want to assess these projects technically, and will approve them on technical grounds. We will maintain the standards required here in Ontario. But I think it will require a spirit of co-operation, not only in this House but indeed throughout all of Ontario, so that those projects will be viewed on their technical merit and not just on their social acceptability.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: How can the minister continue to attempt to blame basically political opposition and opposition parties in this regard, when his own ministry was invited to the Fort Erie meeting and did not bother to send anyone, did not send the regional director or anyone in his place; and when it is obvious from the report of the town administrator that the ministry’s credibility is the reason this was turned down? And how can he say that the treatment of waste should be a matter for the private sector -- this we all agree with -- when the question is not the treatment of the waste but the risk to be assumed by the town in which this occurs? Surely the ministry can work with the private sector and indemnify the town against certain risks so that it might look more favourably upon some of these newer technologies.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is rather interesting, Mr. Speaker, that when we work with the private sector we are accused of being in bed with them. Then when we don’t attend a meeting we are accused of not cooperating --
An hon. member: You are not answering the question.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The opposition can’t have it both ways.
Mr. Warner: What a weak argument.
Mr. Breithaupt: That is called a copout.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Bryden: I would like to ask the minister if his ministry has a technical report, which is what he says he bases his decisions on, against the proposed solidification plant for Fort Erie? If so, would he table that report?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I don’t think I said that we had a technical report against solidification. I think if the member will check Hansard she will find I said that we were very interested and thought the process itself had a great deal of merit. If she wants more statistical information on the process of solidification we will be glad to supply it.
I think the member will recall that I offered in committee to take all the committee to see a solidification process as soon as they found it convenient to go. As yet I haven’t heard from the committee whether they even wish to avail themselves of that invitation.
TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
Mr. S. Smith: Another question for the Minister of the Environment, this time regarding the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site in the Hamilton area: Can the minister tell us whether he has investigated the matter of toxic wastes from outside Hamilton being dumped into that site? This has come about as a consequence of these wastes being trans-shipped -- being shipped from outside the area, stored for a little while in Hamilton, and subsequently hauled from that storage point to the dump site itself? Can the minister say whether he has looked into these allegations and what he has discovered?
Mr. Havrot: We are getting a lot of verbal waste on that one.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think the Leader of the Opposition knows that the policy of the community is not to have those wastes shipped into that community. He might also wish to consider that if we’re going to treat liquid industrial waste in the process which we think has a lot of merit, that policy may have to change.
Mr. Deans: What’s that got to do with that question?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I don’t think we would logically expect to have a solidification process in a dozen places in Ontario. I don’t think the volume is large enough to do so and I don’t think the risk of any hazards, real or imagined, is such that it is logical to have a lot of those places around Ontario. Therefore, the concept of shipping one waste into one community, in exchange, if you will, for another hazardous waste going to another community may have to be the way we go. I think there’s a lot of merit in that. We can’t always live in an isolated world and think that’s the way it’ll survive.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, recognizing that there may be a certain logic to this type of waste exchange and so on, is the ministry going to act aboveboard in this way and alter the certificate of approval which now stipulates that the site may only accept wastes that are generated in the Hamilton-Wentworth area? Why will the ministry not simply come clean with the citizens of Hamilton and with the civic government there, state what its intentions are and stop hiding behind its inadequate waybill system, which makes it very difficult to trace the origin of so many of these toxic wastes?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I’m rather disappointed that the leader of the Liberal Party has not taken the time, it appears, to read the seven-point proposal that we put forward in committee at the beginning of the committee hearings. It indeed addresses the waybill system.
Mr. S. Smith: What does that have to do with the fact they are smuggling wastes?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There will be changes made in the immediate future in the waybill system. We need a classification system, and that too was outlined. There are many things that must be done in treating our industrial wastes. I believe that this government has made a very positive, committed approach to that treatment of industrial wastes. Give us sufficient time, and it isn’t a great deal of time we’re asking for. Those proposals were put on the table only two weeks ago. I think they were very positive and we’ll proceed with them.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Given that the whole matter of the liquid industrial waste dumping that has for some time taken place in the Upper Ottawa Street dump was brought to the attention of the minister’s predecessor; given that not only are there suggestions that they are having to handle liquid industrial waste in whatever form from outside the community but they are also not handling the stuff from within the community adequately and that it is still leaking; and given that they’re going to close the dump in 12 months, that there is no alternative site in the area and that the minister said quite clearly that those liquid industrial wastes cannot be put in the Glanbrook dump even if it is approved, what is the minister going to do with this stuff; is he going to store it in his basement?
Mr. Turner: No, yours.
Mr. Deans: What is he going to do with it? There’s no place to put it.
Mr. Hennessy: I know what I would like to do with it.
Mr. Deans: At what point is he going to start to do something?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There are many ways we’re going to be able to treat liquid industrial wastes. There is no one simple answer to all of it. I think we have the possibility of deep well; I think we have the possibility of fixation; I think we have the possibility of incineration --
Mr. Deans: When will it happen?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- I think we have the possibility of temporary storage. I think there are all kinds of possibilities.
Mrs. Campbell: What year?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We have made the commitment not to allow those wastes to be dumped into landfill sites. Given that, we will find the sites and we will be working in conjunction --
Mr. Deans: When?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We’re in the process of doing it right now.
Mr. Deans: Give me some examples. What is the ministry going to do with the waste in Hamilton?
Hon. W. Newman: I know what we would like to do with the member.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There are all kinds of wastes being treated right now by the solidification process. There are all kinds of wastes being treated by other processes here in this province right now. The member is trying to cast it as though there is nothing being done at this moment; that is factually not correct.
Mr. Eaton: They have been trying to get rid of the waste there for some time and they keep re-electing the member.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: And he’s wrong.
Mr. Deans: They are dumping it in the dump.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the minister how he can reconcile his concern today about the transport of industrial waste when six months ago though Bill 21 he was prepared to reregulate that entire activity?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I hardly see the coordination between the supplementary question and the original. I’m having difficulty seeing the logic of the supplementary question,
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: In view of the concern the minister has iterated today, can he now say whether his ministry can tell this House what has happened to the 20 per cent of liquid wastes that were going into the Beare Road dump here in Toronto and which were not accounted for when they were surveyed in July? Has the minister followed up to find out whether those wastes are now being illegally and irresponsibly dumped?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I find this difficult to say, but we’re going through the same questions we spent a whole week in committee answering.
Mr. Deans: We were asking a year ago and a year before that.
Mr. S. Smith: In 1970 the then Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) said, “If the ministry doesn’t do it the government will take it over.
Mr. Deans: We’ve been asking the same question for 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We spent a good deal of time discussing those questions. If the member would like to go to the transcript of those committee hearings those questions, and specifically the last question asked, were answered in great detail at that time. If he wants a repeat of that answer, I’ll be glad to get the transcript, send it to him and answer it in great detail. It only took us about three hours to answer questions on that one subject in committee two weeks ago.
Mr. Gaunt: In view of this great concern revolving around the matter of liquid industrial waste, would the minister or some of his officials, or both, agree to meet with the Fort Erie council and supply them with some technical support, which they appear to be lacking, so that this process, at least in that part of the country, can get off the ground?
Mr. Nixon: That’s a reasonable suggestion.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: There’s no question we’d be more than pleased to meet with the council. The member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall) will tell members we met with a delegation last week for three-and-a-half hours, not too far removed from the same site. I can assure the member our door is always open to meet with delegations from municipalities.
I have done a great deal of that in the first two-and-a-half months and I’ll continue to do so. I can’t think of anything more informative or more helpful to the process than direct contact with the municipalities and their representatives.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of privilege: I do recall from those hearings to which the minister referred, since I was there personally, that the question I have just asked as a supplementary to the previous one was not replied to by the minister. The minister said that his officials said they’d only just received the report. In fact he was referring to a different report and specifically did not reply to our question about the waste unaccounted for at the Beare Road dump.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question I will put to the Minister of the Environment.
Can the minister say what progress has been made in investigating the number of questionable disposal practices referred to in the report by the Minister of the Environment on current liquid industrial waste disposal practices of Metropolitan Toronto companies, the report being dated September 28, 1978? Can he say what investigation there has now been into those questionable disposal practices, which the report said would bear investigation?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It was a pretty long question and I’d like to take that on notice. I either didn’t hear it well enough or I don’t have that information here. I’d like to have an opportunity to get back to the member on that point.
Mr. Cassidy: We had this problem in committee as well. If I can be very specific: has the ministry, in the last two weeks, taken the opportunity to investigate the disappearance of 114 scrapped transformers from a scrap yard in Brampton, which was raised at the committee hearings by Mr. Drew of D and D Disposal Services? The transformers presumably contained PCBs and have vanished completely from the minister’s control system.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I don’t have that information, but I’ll be glad to get it for the member.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the large number of questions which the minister refused to answer or was unable to answer during the course of those hearings, will the minister undertake within a week to table in the Legislature written responses to all the questions which were not adequately answered during the course of those hearings?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We made a commitment to answer all of the questions raised by the leader of the New Democratic Party through his critic because he was not able to attend much of the hearings.
Mr. Rotenberg: He was on camera.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: He was engaged otherwise, I guess.
Mr. Kennedy: Like in Chatham-Kent?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We made that commitment then and we still stand by it. We have no worries that way at all.
Ms. Gigantes: Stand by it forever.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: He asked for that information. As a matter of fact, one of the questions that I recall will take a great deal of time and effort to answer.
Mr. Makarchuk: Forget about that standby and get into action.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It was only a request to give the information over the last 20 years, I believe. It will take a little time to compile that information. We’ll do it as soon as we possibly can.
Mr. Kerrio: That seems reasonable.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I can’t say we can do that much work in a week; we’ll try.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Deputy Premier and House leader, who is also the member from a riding representing a part of the Niagara Escarpment. Is the government now prepared to table the letter from the chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, expressing disappointment at the Minister of Housing’s decision on the Cantrakon decision, in response to my request of last week to the Premier (Mr. Davis) to table the letter?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, that question should be directed to the Minister of Housing. This is in line with the series of questions this member has been directing on this issue.
Mr. Lewis: The minister is just ducking the question.
Mr. Speaker: Redirect.
Mr. Cassidy: With great reluctance.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I believe that question was asked by the leader of the third party last Thursday of the Premier. I think at that time the Premier said in due course he would table the letter from the Niagara Escarpment Commission, of which I have not had a copy. I believe the Premier also undertook a commitment, either last Thursday or Friday, that he would table his reply in due course.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: The Minister of Housing’s recollection does not jibe with that of other members of the House. Perhaps, in order to refresh his memory, I could send a copy of the letter over to the Minister of Housing. I had hoped it could have gone to the Deputy Premier.
Mr. Havrot: All heart.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a supplementary. Could the minister react to the concerns of the commission about “establishing precedents of this nature which are based on the belief that there exists in the vicinity of the escarpment substantial landholdings that were acquired with a view to further intensive development -- principally housing, subdivisions, or quarrying”? “It would not be difficult to establish economic benefits that would result if these developments were allowed to proceed. However, in many cases there are likely to be alternatives that would provide comparable economic benefits but which are not in the immediate area of the escarpment,” says the commission through its chairman.
Recognizing the rather convoluted phrases used by the escarpment commission chairman, who was acting at the direction of all of the escarpment commissioners, will the minister say whether it is now the intention of the government to allow housing subdivisions or quarrying on the escarpment and to violate the environmental aspects of the escarpment if landowners can show economic benefit? If that’s the position of the government, we are opposed to it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The leader of the third party during the debate on my estimates yesterday asked a very similar question, if not an identical question. I responded at that time, as I will respond today, by saying --
An Hon. member: Do you mean without an answer?
Mr. McClellan: Take another crack at it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- that the particular application with which the first question was connected was not the first time that Ministers of Housing have not accepted the recommendations of the hearing officer. I think I clearly indicated yesterday that there were 42 cases over the period of the time of the Niagara Escarpment Commission or its hearing officers being in place where the minister has not accepted their particular recommendation. I did hasten to remind the leader of the third party that of the 42 there were 19 cases in which the minister and the Niagara Escarpment Commission agreed.
I further went on to say that as each case comes before me after having been reviewed by the hearing officer, I will make the determination of the final position of that application on the advice and recommendations from the hearing officer, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and indeed the staff in the Ministry of Housing.
Mr. Swart: A further supplementary: Would the minister not agree, in view of the fact that the Niagara Escarpment Act only requires that people within 400 feet of the property that’s built on be notified, that the act should be amended so that public interest groups would be able to have input at these bearings, so that we get representation of the interests of people across this province?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: May I ask the minister what his reading is of the section of the escarpment act which says that after the hearing officer’s report and so on that the decision of the minister is final? I think it is section 8(1) that says that the decision of the minister is final. Is it the minister’s reading of that section that this simply means there is no further appeal, or is it his reading that it means the minister is not permitted to reconsider the matter once he has issued his initial decision? I have my own interpretation. What is the minister’s interpretation of that?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The interpretation that I have, and I think it’s concurred in by the legal advisers to the ministry and the Attorney General, is that the minister’s decision is final and it is not reversible and it is not appealable.
Mr. Foulds: Just call him one-way Bennett, wrong-way Bennett.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the decision of the Minister of Housing to overrule the decision of this Legislature which established the Niagara Escarpment Commission to preserve the unique natural features of the environment is it the intention of the minister to allow this Legislature to decide whether economic benefits should be allowed to have precedence in the way that the minister is proposing and to put that into the act? Or is he prepared to put an amendment forward in the Legislature so that the Legislature and not the minister alone can decide whether or not the escarpment should be preserved?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is rather interesting how the leader of the third party gets things twisted around to the effect that it was the minister who formed the legislation. It was this Legislature that passed it and gave it royal assent.
Mr. Foulds: With a huge majority government.
Mr. Deans: We warned you this would happen.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The minister acted within the framework of that legislation to make his decision and at this time I have no intention of bringing in an amendment to that act.
Mr. Deans: We told you that it would destroy that act.
Mr. Lewis: Those were the days of the juggernaut; now are the days of democracy.
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the government House leader in the absence of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), referring to the statement made yesterday on the Residential Tenancies Act, particularly with reference to exclusions of buildings of six units or less and those units renting for $500 a month or more. Would the minister table the statistics on which these two exclusions were based by number and percentage in each community, especially the boroughs within Metropolitan Toronto and the areas in Peel and Durham, so that we will know the number of units involved now and those projected for 1980?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I will be glad to take that question as notice and communicate with the minister to see whether or not it’s possible to provide that information.
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: inasmuch as Bill 70, the safety and health legislation, is of real importance to the workers in Ontario and we have been disappointed so far in the lack of action on this bill since it came out of committee, will the minister inform the House if he has completed the review he indicated he was undertaking on September 13; and when we can expect the bill back in the House?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I can give the member my assurance, as I have given it to him in the past, that this bill remains an item of high priority. The review has been completed and decisions about legislative introduction will be made shortly.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: I’m still not sure we’ve been told when it is to come in, but can the minister give an assurance that the bill will retain changes made in committee so that we don’t have to waste time restating arguments for the obvious?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I really can’t add any more to the information I have already given the member.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, given these words by a prominent minister of this government, and I put this question to the Minister of Labour --
Mr. Wildman: Mutual admiration society over there.
Mr. C. Taylor: “I see it as a responsibility and a duty of government to protect the right to work, the right to take up our tools or our briefcase, our skills or our talents and our strengths -- ”
Mr. Cunningham: Speech.
Mr. G. Taylor: “ -- and to go to the place where we earn our living, and to earn it without pressure or interference or fear, to earn it with self respect, optimism and hope.”
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. C. Taylor: After that statement made by a leading figure of this government, is the minister considering, or will he be considering in the future, so-called right-to-work legislation to protect the workers of this province?
Mr. Cassidy: Oh no, shame on you.
An hon. member: George, you’re going to have to start going to rehearsal.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would like to thank the member for Simcoe Centre for bringing this question to my attention.
Mr. Breaugh: You mean you didn’t get notice?
Mr. Deans: We can hardly wait for the answer.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: And I also want to thank him for giving me prior warning. I also wonder, Mr. Speaker, if you could arrange to have him moved back to his old seat; this one seems to bother him a bit.
An hon. member: Move him to the front row.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: In any event, I know that the question seemed to take a long time and I hope members will forgive me if I take a couple of minutes to try and answer it.
Mr. Breaugh: Do you mean to say you have a written response to this?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The members can have it any way they want.
I would like to respond, however, to the question from the member for Simcoe Centre regarding right-to-work legislation.
Mr. Bradley: A written answer.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Doesn’t the member want it? I think it is an important question; if he doesn’t then I won’t give the answer.
It is important to emphasize that right-to-work legislation has a much different meaning in Canada than it does in the United States. Right-to-work laws in the United States commonly refer to those statutes, enacted in the most part by southern and southwestern states, restricting various forms of union security arrangements, including what we know as the Rand formula.
In Canada, all jurisdictions recognize the existence and validity of union security provisions. The Rand formula in particular --
Mr. Lewis: Like Fleck.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- is widely regarded as an integral part of our collective bargaining system. Without dealing with all of the matters outlined, I think it is fair to say all this time the Minister of Labour has no intention of introducing right-to-work legislation.
Mr. Makarchuk: Why didn’t they applaud over there? Why no applause?
Mr. Lewis: What about a supplementary from the member for Simcoe-Mississippi?
Mr. Speaker: Order, the member for Quinte.
SAMUEL JOHNSTON CASE
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services, concerning the Huronia Regional Centre case involving Samuel Johnston.
Can the minister advise this House why the patient involved was kneeling in a punishment position at about noon of that particular day?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, that matter was raised and dealt with back in September of last year, as I recall, or shortly thereafter. I must say that was one of the very first questions I asked when I realized that was the position the patient had been in. It was the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), I believe, who first raised that question about a year ago.
Mr. Breaugh: It’s always us.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The resident in question was in that position as a punishment, absolutely without any approval and contrary to the guidelines of the ministry. The staff in charge at the time were severely reprimanded for taking that type of action by way of punishment of the resident. It was brought to their attention by way of a memorandum that went out at the time from my office -- or my deputy’s office I am not sure which -- to every facility in the province, reminding them that was a totally unacceptable method of attempting to influence the behaviour of a resident. The specific punishment at that time was in consequence, as I recall, of the individual woman having taken one sandwich more than she had been entitled to from a luncheon table. I can assure the members it is clear to the employees of my ministry that type of thing is totally unacceptable and should not occur again. If it should, I will take similar action in the future.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Recognizing the fact that the minister is sincerely concerned about this problem, just as he should recognize that some of us are sincerely concerned about his legislation, Bill 154, would the minister advise whether, in fact, he has been quoted correctly in saying that he has new evidence in this case; and, if that is so, has he checked with the Attorney General of this province to see if, rather than pass this type of legislation, he can have a new hearing on the new evidence?
Secondly, there’s repetition within the proceedings, even the tribunal’s decision, that there was some evidence of perjury even at the hearing before the criminal courts. If that is so, has the minister checked with the Attorney General to see whether perjury charges under the Criminal Code should not be laid and, hopefully, try to avoid bringing forward a bill as regressive as Bill 154, if he has alternatives?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, first of all, yes, there is further evidence that was not available to me or to the officials of my ministry at the time of the original incident and the subsequent hearing. We are exploring as an alternative the possibility of action on different fact situations. I must say that one must have some reservations about that as well, because it’s not our intention to harass an individual, but it is a matter of very grave concern, as the member has indicated, that a ministry would find itself in a position where it has two diametrically opposing responsibilities to discharge. I can assure members that all those avenues are being explored. In response to the question of perjury, that has, to the best of my knowledge, been brought to the attention of the Attorney General’s ministry.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: In view of the contentious nature of this bill and the difficulties involved, could the minister bring this House completely up to date on what has transpired, and the opinions of the various law officers of the crown that he has solicited, not only with respect to the perjury case but also with respect to a new hearing on the basis of new evidence? I think he has an obligation to bring us completely into his confidence on this very difficult matter.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I thought the action that has been taken to date indicated that information to the honourable members. If further specific information is required by them, I would be willing to share it with them. I would remind them though, that there are discussions ongoing and I would not in any way wish to jeopardize those by any undue discussion of that at this time.
Mr. M. N. Davison: In the absence of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), I have a question I would like to direct to the Provincial Secretary for Justice in the hope that he’ll act upon it rather than take it as notice. In view of the fact that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations issued an order to Bestline Products of Canada Limited last week to cease using its prospectus, which the minister alleged contained false, misleading and deceptive statements, and in view of the fact that Bestline is still continuing its recruiting program, at least in the city of Hamilton, which flies absolutely in the face of the minister’s order, will the provincial secretary confer as quickly as he can with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to make sure that the necessary steps are taken so that no further people can be brought into this rather dubious scheme before the appeal, which is scheduled for the next week or two?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
CROWN LAND SALES
Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources. With the impending sale of about 38 cottage lots in the city area of Thunder Bay on November 18, and with the rumour of lots being sold by residents in the Kenora area to non-residents, I’d like to know if the minister did look up the question asked the other day, that if this loophole is there, is he trying to plug that loophole, because it is not fair to have people in Ontario taking advantage and selling those lots to people who are not residents of the province of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Auld: The policy in relation to cottage lots changed in July of this year and the lots advertised for sale in the Thunder Bay area by lottery November 18 are under the new regulations. The prices have been established at market prices by searching the registry office. If I may, since I’ll be in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday, I will answer both the questions from the member for Thunder Bay and the one from the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), who asked me yesterday how many cottage lots have been transferred. None of the cottage lots which have been sold this year under the new regulations promulgated in July have been transferred. There are still some 50 unsold, as I recall, with about 400 sold or leased. None of the lots resulting from the 1971-78 leasing program were permitted to be sold to either residents or non-residents. I’m informed that --
Mr. Martel: What a hodge podge.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- 90 have been transferred so far this year to eligible transferees. Nineteen of those transfers took place in the north-western region, the rest in the other three northern regions. Five of those were transfers to residents of Manitoba and two were transfers to residents of the USA. As I say, they were eligible transferees; in other words, those leases must have been held by Canadians and Ontarians for at least two years prior to their transfer.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: is the minister assuring this House that in the first year of a clear sale to an Ontario resident, that new owner cannot then transfer to a non-resident? And secondly, can he assure this House that residents are not buying such cottage lots, erecting cottages and immediately leasing to non-residents, the terms of the lease to result in sale?
Hon. Mr. Auld: As I mentioned yesterday, the lessor cannot transfer a lease at any time without the approval of the ministry.
Mr. Foulds: That is not what I asked.
Hon. Mr. Auld: The purchaser does not receive the patent until he has completed the construction of a --
Mr. Breaugh: I hope Tom Coleman didn’t write this.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- cottage at least 600 square feet in size and of a value over $7,500. He does not receive the patent so he can’t do anything with it. He has to build that within two years, after which he receives the patent, and it is then his property.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: I’d like to get this perfectly clear. Is the minister telling us that a resident or a purchaser who completes a cottage within the first year does not receive the patent rights for two years, and therefore cannot transfer? The minister shakes his head negatively. Then I would like to ask the minister, have residents who purchased and built within the first year transferred lots and what is he doing to prohibit the building and leasing for eventual sale?
Hon. Mr. Auld: If I answer the question :the way the member asked it, I’m not going to give him the answer he wants to hear.
Mr. Foulds: I just want to hear the clear answer.
Mr. Lewis: You make every ministry unintelligible. Every single one you hold. It doesn’t matter where you are, it is incomprehensible.
Mr. J. Reed: It’s no wonder you were put in Energy, Jimmy.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I think what the honourable member wants to know is whether under the new program a person intending to purchase meets the requirement to build, and then gets the patent, he can sell to anyone he wants. That’s what the honourable member wants to know.
Mr. Wildman: I used to do this in university -- when I couldn’t answer the question I wrote my own.
Hon. Mr. Auld: As I mentioned yesterday, without repeating what was said by my predecessor at the time the new policy was announced, we came to the conclusion that there was really no effective way, if we were going to sell, to keep control of the future ownership.
FOSTER WHEELER STRIKE
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Although the alleged illegal strike of the Labourers’ Union at the $250 million Foster Wheeler construction site at Shell Canada was finally resolved yesterday, what does the minister have to say about this strike in the light of Bill 22 and its application in the construction trades which has kept 1,500 other tradesmen from working on that project over the last five or six days?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member knows, I’m sure, as I do that if there has been any lack of action at that site that is a matter to be dealt with by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. If he has any information to provide me that should go to that board I’d be pleased to receive it.
SAULT STE. MARIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Correctional Services. In the light of the fact that the minister’s predecessor made a statement in the Sault not long after he was appointed Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, that he was overturning his previous decision not to go ahead with the construction of a new provincial jail for Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma district, but that he was unsure of when in the next few years it would actually be built, can the new minister indicate whether or not he accepts his predecessor’s decision? And can he give us some timetable as to when the construction might begin?
An hon. member: After the by-election, Gordon.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Our belief at the moment, Mr. Speaker, is that within the next five years something should be done in Sault Ste. Marie with respect to replacing the facility.
Mr. Breithaupt: That would be a good election plank.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, we hope within the next five weeks something will be done, as well.
I wonder, could the minister also tell us what’s happening with the negotiations between his ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding the establishment of a forestry camp in the Algoma district to alleviate the overcrowding of the Sault jail, on an interim basis at least, until the new jail is built?
Hon. Mr. Walker: I have no information on that for the member, but I will endeavour to obtain that information and relay it to him.
ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAILWAY SERVICE
Mr. Pope: My question is to the Minister of Northern Affairs. Will the minister re-examine the decision of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to expand some of its facilities for the Northlander in their present location, including a review of the engineering and feasibility studies relating to that decision, with a view to determining if the best interests of northeastern Ontario could be better served by further decentralization of facilities along the ONR lines throughout northeastern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, if I may explain to the honourable member: It has been the policy of the ONR and continues to be their policy to diversify the operations of that facility along the entire route from North Bay to Kapuskasing, where it’s economically feasible.
I think the honourable member is referring to the repair facilities for the Northlander. The Northlander is a unit train. We did look at the possibility of expanding those services in the Timmins area. The cost would have been in excess of $12 million. We were able to develop a repair service, where the bulk of repair service for the ONR service is now at North Bay, at a cost of $1.3 million.
In addition to that, there are only 25 employees working on repair services for the trains in the Timmins shop. It would have meant a substantial increase in employees had we moved that service to the Timmins area.
I want to assure the honourable member we did examine very carefully the desire to diversify the operation of the Ontario Northland Railway north of North Bay, but after looking at the situation, it was economically more feasible to establish in the North Bay area to save those very valuable dollars.
Mr. Bradley: You have a good member in North Bay. That’s what he’s saying.
Mr. Pope: Supplementary: Will the minister review the decision of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission? Will he, himself, examine the engineering and feasibility studies related to that decision?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I’d be glad to do that and I’d certainly be glad to inform the honourable member of the results.
ONTARIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Mr. Peterson: A question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker: In view of the minister’s statement yesterday that he is cutting $161 million in government expenditures this year, how does he reconcile that with the fact his expenditures to the various policy fields have increased some $7 million? Where is he getting those cuts?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a breakdown of the pluses and minuses. I think what I told the honourable member yesterday is the total spending of the province was staying constant at $14.482 billion as stated. In fact, $161 million -- I believe his figure was --
Mr. Peterson: Your figure.
Hon. F. S. Miller: My figure -- of increases mid-year had been authorized. It includes things like, if I recall accurately, $28 million anticipated growth in the payments through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan to doctors over and above the original estimates, so many millions of dollars for Wintario -- I think it’s $34 million if I recall the figure correctly, and a whole series of lesser figures. Against that were two specific constraints imposed on the ministries to date. I think they total $137 million so far, which falls some $24 million short of the $161 million already approved for increase.
The fact remains the constraints and the increases balance exactly and $24 million of constraints still remain to be found as the year progresses. That’s not an abnormal situation because of course, the Management Board has the ability to monitor its spending in accounts right across government as the year progresses, and as the year wears on it will find those.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree with me that if one looked at the numbers very simply one would have to say that in fact the expenditures have increased in real terms some $7 million, and he is relying only on a contingency fund and “funds to be constrained at some time in the future”? In fact, if the minister looked at his numbers, his expenses are up and the $161 million worth of reductions he refers to are illusory?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The $161 million were increases. The reductions so far specified were $137 million with $24 million more to come. I don’t know which figure the member is referring to but I will be pleased to look at the $7 million figure and verify it for him and tell him whether it has been properly interpreted or not properly interpreted.
Mr. Peterson: It is properly interpreted.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, no. Don’t be too sure now. We corrected one figure for you.
BURNING OF PCBS
Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. In view of the report in the Globe and Mail of October 19 that unusually high levels of PCBs have been found in the air in Mississauga --
Mr. Havrot: That’s old hat.
Ms. Bryden: -- by the so-called “super sniffer” which is a highly sensitive air-monitoring machine, can the minister tell us what steps he has taken since that date to check these results? Secondly, when is he going to issue a statement to reassure the residents that he is, in fact, checking the results and to tell them how long it will take? Thirdly, if the results indicate any health hazard, what further steps will he take to eliminate this hazard?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I’ve already indicated that in our opinion and according to the best medical advice we could receive there is absolutely no health hazard in Mississauga whatsoever due to PCBs in the ambient air. I think the member knows we’re measuring in trillionths, and at the moment there is no one who has a comprehensive knowledge of what that infinitesimally small measurement means. I have tried to say consistently that until we have some understanding of what that means in the sense of the smallness of the measurement it would be wise not to make a comment.
Surely the member does recognize that we have not been trying to hide any information in this regard. We have simply said that we are buying at the cost of half a million dollars a very sophisticated piece of machinery that will measure air quality to a degree that perhaps no one really fully comprehends. We have an obligation to make those measurements but I think when we do put the measurements forward, we should all be very aware of the significance of those measurements.
Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have the answer to a question asked previously?
Mr. Foulds: About time.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would like to respond today to the question from the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk). I am reading here the Hansard of that question. He refers first of all, to construction of cesspools. I am rather amazed that he should use that term. I would hope that he would know that they are lagoons and that that is a pretty accepted method of treatment throughout Ontario.
Mr. Breaugh: There is a difference between a lagoon and a pool?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Many municipalities are quite happy with that method. I suggest the member wouldn’t want to imply that they are not receiving adequate treatment. He also says that raw untreated sewage will be discharged. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and the member for Brantford, that that is just not so. It is factually incorrect. There is no hazard. It is treated effluent that is being put into the stream.
It is true that Brantford is expanding its system, but we had no idea when those two systems would link up. Surely the member would not ask us to stand idly by and not insist on municipal waste to be treated. That is precisely what we did in that area and I think correctly so.
May I reply also to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk by suggesting that I am not in a position to make a comparative judgement on those two systems, but I am pleased to assure him that both effluents meet a very high standard and that I wouldn’t like to see any confrontation between my neighbours.
Mr. Gaunt: You can almost drink it.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would just like to inquire as to the time that I thought was remaining in the question period. Were you going by your own watch or were you going by the watch on the wall?
Mr. Nixon: By his conductor’s watch.
Mr. Gaunt: I had made a determination there was still one minute remaining.
Mr. Speaker: I want to assure the honourable member that the time that I use is accepted by people who care much more about time than people do in this place.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: In your defence I think you should point out to the honourable member that you use your trusty CPR watch.
Mr. Kerrio: You see, he is railroading us.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Makarchuk: Pursuant to standing order 27(g), I wish to notify you, Mr. Speaker, that I am dissatisfied with the answer given by the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) and wish to debate it tonight at 10:30.
Mr. Speaker: Before I recognize the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), I want to bring to the attention of the House that pursuant to standing order 27(g), the member for Brantford has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of the Environment concerning sewage lagoons in Brantford township. This matter will be debated at 10:30 tonight.
ONTARIO HIGHWAY TRANSPORT BOARD
Mr. Cunningham: Pursuant to provisional standing order 7, we the undersigned members of the assembly hereby petition that the annual report of the Ontario Highway Transport Board for 1977, tabled April 7, 1978, be referred to the standing committee on resources development for such consideration and report as the committee may determine.
STANDING PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented a report.
PRESENTATION OF NEW MEMBER
Mr. Speaker informed the House that the Clerk had received and laid upon the table a certificate of a by-election held in the electoral district of Chatham-Kent.
Province of Ontario
This is to certify that in view of a warrant issued by Mr. Speaker dated September 8, 1978, and the writ of election dated September 11, 1978, issued by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Ontario and addressed to Fred W. Briscoe, Esquire, returning officer for the electoral district of Chatham-Kent, for the election of a member to represent the said electoral district of Chatham-Kent in the Legislative Assembly of this province, in the room of William Darcy McKeough, Esquire, who since his election as representative of the said electoral district of Chatham-Kent, hath resigned his seat, Andy Watson, Esquire, has been returned as duly elected as appears by the return of the said writ of election, dated October 27, 1978, which is now lodged of record in my office.
(Signed) Roderick Lewis, Chief Election Officer; Toronto, October 31, 1978.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to you Mr. Andy Watson, member elect for the electoral district of Chatham-Kent, who has taken the oaths and signed the roll and now claims the right to take his seat.
Mr. Speaker: Let the honourable member take his seat.
Andy Watson, Esquire, member-elect for the electoral district of Chatham-Kent, having taken the oaths and subscribed the roll, took his seat
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have concurrence of the House to revert to “Motions” for just a brief motion?
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. Watson be substituted for Mr. Lane on the standing resources development committee.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
EXTENSION OF INTERIM SUPPLY
Hon. F. S. Miller moved resolution 18:
That the authority of the Treasurer of Ontario granted on March 28, 1978, to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing April 1, 1978, which authority was extended on June 22, 1978, be further extended to March 31, 1979, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a few remarks on this resolution.
Do I take it that the Treasurer does not have a statement accompanying this supply motion? That he will not be speaking on this motion? It seems to me that the Treasurer would want to make a statement --
Mr. Nixon: He’s asking for $9 billion.
Mr. Peterson: -- on this issue.
Very frankly I view with some alarm the debut of this new minister. I have looked very carefully at some of the figures he has provided us; I have looked very carefully at some of the changes in presenting the budgetary facts of this province. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, we view it with some alarm.
I deplore the fact that so little attention has been drawn to some of the fundamental and major changes that have been brought about in the brief tenure of this new Treasurer. The numbers of this province and the accounts of this province are presented with subtlety; they are presented in a below-the- line way that very few people understand. That is not a good thing; that in a sense is a tragedy. We should have more scrutiny of the kinds of ways the Treasurer is presenting the information to this province.
The interim quarterly statements were originally started to try to bring some more credibility to government financing. Governments have many ways of obfuscating the facts, of hiding the numbers, of changing their presentation of the facts. I am going to point out in a moment or so several ways, that I view with major alarm, in which this Treasurer has changed the presentation.
These may not be his numbers; I have no idea to what extent at this point he has control of that ministry, maybe he is just handing to us a document, a set of facts drawn up by the civil servants who inform him.
The new Treasurer is an honourable man, and I assume that had he full knowledge of some of the changes he has been presenting to this House I am sure that he would view it with some concern and with some alarm.
One always expects that the government --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I am sorry to interrupt the member; but there are a number of private conversation that make it difficult to hear the member for London Centre.
Mr. Peterson: Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: Carry on; give it to him, give it to him.
Mr. Peterson: I respect the right of a government to try to present figures in the best light possible. But when one analyses this very carefully and sees where he compares intended expenditure cuts with real expenditure cuts and the various methods he has used to obfuscate the facts, I think they have to be drawn to the attention of this House. I am happy to use the debate on this supply motion to bring those facts to the attention of the House.
Obviously we are going to be obliged to support this supply motion, or else we will have an election.
Mr. Nixon: Lord, is that the choice?
Mr. Peterson: I want, in any event, to point out some of the things that concern us very deeply.
Let me start with the statement of the Treasurer just yesterday to this House; there are several things in there that I think are more confusing than they should be. He says that net cash requirements for 1978-79 are up $106 million from the June 30 report, or $297 million higher than the post-budget target of $1,199 million. In fact, over the budget estimate the net cash requirements were to be about $1,055 million; we are now close to $1,500 million. He didn’t include all of the numbers there in order to make it look not as bad as it really is, but in fact we have a deviation of close to 50 per cent in the projected net cash requirements of the budget for this year. The Treasurer could have been a little more honest by including all the figures so one would be able to reasonably compare them.
On page 2 of his statement yesterday, the minister says: “This increase, which is entirely due to a drop in revenue, will be financed from internal sources with no net new public debenture borrowing this fiscal year.” I point out to the House that this is a major change from the budget of last March by the former Treasurer, Darcy MeKeough. He said at that point -- and it’s got to be read into the record -- on page 19: “Ontario will not need to borrow in the public capital markets.” I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, there is a very distinct difference between the public capital markets and the debenture markets. In fact, the Treasurer has gone to the public capital markets, through a treasury bill offering, for an additional $193 million this year. Any way you cut it, this is a public offering.
Mr. Speaker, he has violated a principle articulated by the former Treasurer on numerous occasions. He was very proud of the fact that he had not gone to the public market since 1975. In fact, by increasing his treasury bill offering, I believe in July of this year, from $10 million weekly to some $25 million weekly, he has generated about $195 million worth of revenue to make up the deficits of this particular province at this time.
One understands there are various ways to borrow. He hasn’t had the courage to say, “We must transfer this into long-term debt.” He has used a short-term option, just like taking a demand loan at the hank as opposed to a long-term loan. In fact, any way you cut it this is an infringement into the public market and violating a lot of the principles articulated by the previous Treasurer -- it is yet to be determined what this Treasurer thinks on the issue. In fact, governments have crowded out private enterprise. Governments are a highly inflationary contributing factor, because they are using that money which ordinarily would go to private enterprise to build a competitive economy for this province.
Mr. Speaker, I point out to you that is a major change. We had a little discussion about this over question period yesterday in the House. I don’t really know, from the answers given by this Treasurer, whether he fully understood the import of what he had done. He said, as I recall what he said yesterday in the House, that there was no difference between the two. In fact there is a great difference between the two. He has increased his short-term obligations by $195 million; and that’s money that’s going to have to be paid back. Granted, it will be rolled over every 91 days, but in fact he has increased the debt of this province to fund his deficits another $195 million, which is a major change in policy.
I want to just talk about a second paragraph on page 2. He said this --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I hope the honourable member will keep his remarks to the resolution, which is allowing the Treasurer to pay the bills.
Mr. Peterson: I think this is very important, because what we have at issue here is the credibility of a Treasurer. As an opposition, as a province, we are collectively forming judgements of the capability of this new Treasurer; his own integrity, what kind of numbers he is going to present to this House and to the province. When he comes with a budget next March, we’re going to have to say: “Can this man be trusted? Can he stand behind his figures? Or are we going to have a gradual deterioration as we have had for the last two-and-a-half years?”
Mr. Pope: Do it then, not now.
Mr. Peterson: That is a fundamental issue, because like it or not the character of the people involved in government -- their word, the commitments they give -- is very important to many aspects of the economic functioning of this province, including whether investors are happy here and whether they have credibility when they say something. That’s why I am taking this opportunity to point out to the Treasurer some of the things that we view with alarm.
I am not suggesting for one moment that he is purposely misleading this province. I am saying that either he doesn’t understand this or he has an obligation to present his facts and his comparisons more clearly so that everyone can understand what is happening.
We know that things aren’t all that good. We understand the problems that the Treasurer has run into. But, before he starts to solve these problems, he must realize that one has to clearly identify the problems before one can start to solve them. If one pretends there are no problems, if one continues on in a naive kind of optimism when things are not that good, then one will never come clearly to grips with solving the fundamental issues.
For example, in the second paragraph he says, “The government’s projected net cash requirements for this fiscal year are $266 million lower than last year.” Everyone knows the fiscal disaster in this province last year; and in the year previous, in 1975. The government always compares its own performance of 1975, admittedly one of the most disastrous budgetary years of this province, a year that they’ve been trying to live down ever since.
Mr. Nixon: They were trying to buy re-election that year.
Mr. Peterson: They bought that election, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: They found $600 million to spread around.
Mr. Peterson: They bought it with home owners’ grants and reduction in sales tax on automobiles and everything else. It is no justification to me to compare the performance to a dismal year or even last year, which was not very good, or the year before that, which was not very good --
Mr. Nixon: The great giveaway year.
Mr. Peterson: -- and say its improvement. When we measure it against the projected estimates for this year -- and that’s never addressed in this statement -- we will find they are much more disturbing than originally contemplated. This whole statement is presented in a self-serving and, frankly, not very realistic way.
Here’s another thing that bothers me about this statement: “Post-budget in-year increases of $161 million are being funded by savings in government operations. Already, $17 million of the savings has been identified. The balance of $24 million will be identified by year-end.” We had a little exchange on this issue today.
Look at this document that was filed in the House yesterday. Look at the budgetary expenditures. I want to review this in a little bit of detail with the Treasurer. In the policy fields and ministries, social development policy expenditures are up $13 million; resources development policy expenditures are down $7 million; justice policy up $11 million; other ministries down $10 million. That nets out to an actual increase in transfers to the various ministries -- an increase; not a decrease of $161 million but an increase of $7 million.
Interestingly enough, the interest expenses have gone up $22 million. He has heard us speak about that issue before. The interest on the public debt is now not $1,196 million a year; it’s now $1,218 million per year, an increase this year -- and granted interest rates have gone up -- of $22 million in additional expenditure for this government. That’s not addressed in this statement as far as I can see.
How is the Treasurer going to raise these moneys? If we look at the statement, in table three, he’s going to dip into his contingency fund for $36 million. Perhaps one can justify having a contingency fund of fairly large proportions when one is so inaccurate in one’s budgeting. But then we have a new category, funds to be constrained -- something he has instructed the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague) to try to find -- for $24 million, saying that he’s going to cut budgetary expenditures in total by $31 million when in fact the actual transfers to September 30 are up $7 million.
All he’s doing today is illusory. He has provided us with no specific information; we have no idea where the cuts are going to come from. I think we have a right, as an opposition party, as does the party to my left, to look at those specific expenditure cuts and at least express our opinion on them. Those have all been hidden There is nothing. In no way has the Treasurer come clean with us at this particular time.
There’s an interesting statement on page three. He says: “The forecast expenditure growth rate is 6.9 per cent for the government for this fiscal year, and we are continuing to live within our means.” It seems to me that living within one’s means means somehow coming to some kind of adjustment between expenditures and revenues. They have to be somewhat close together. They have gone from about $1 billion to $1.5 billion net cash requirements for this year. I say respectfully to the Treasurer that that is a pious statement, very similar to the economic statement he gave to this House about two weeks ago.
If the people of this province and the press of this province are naive enough to accept that without scrutiny, I say he is a more clever man than I am and, frankly, he doesn’t deserve to get away with it. He has not yet, as Treasurer, realistically addressed the problems in budgeting. He has not realistically set out the numbers for this province. He hasn’t yet come clean with all the people on this issue.
I want to talk about one or two more things that concern me. As I said earlier, the Treasurer has increased his short-term debt, albeit it is public money, for another $195 million, with his treasury bill introduction in July. Granted, it was done, I gather, before this Treasurer was appointed, but he is living with it.
He said piously yesterday, “We can cut our treasury bill offerings if we don’t require that kind of money.” He explained it in terms of cash flow. He said he needs that money to even out his cash flow in order to pay bills. In fact, that is true, some of that is needed. But what he has done is increase the capital he can borrow by $195 million, encroaching on the public market. That is not just an evening-out cash flow device; that is a borrowing device and I wish he would stand up like the man I know he is and admit that that is what has happened to the budgeting this year.
When we come to ask ourselves the question of how this massive deficit increase in the debt is going to be funded this year, we can only look to the decrease in liquid reserves. That, again, is a great concern.
I have the figures in front of me, and I want to state them again to this House, because I think it’s important. We have been consistently running down the liquid reserves of this province for the last two years. In 1976 the minister made a mistake so he decreased his liquid reserves $227 million. In 1977, he made a mistake and decreased his liquid reserves $116 million. In 1978, from originally forecasting an increase in liquid reserves of $362 million we are running down the liquid cash, the liquid reserves, the cash reserves of this province $74 million.
That’s like selling your furniture in order to buy food. You can do it once, you can do it twice, you can do it three times, but pretty soon you have no furniture left. The minister is not going to be able to support his current consumption, his current expenditures by selling off assets or depleting savings, which is exactly what he is doing. The government has depleted that in the area of $400 million over the past three years. The government is setting this province on a collision course, making an almost impossible budgetary problem for the Treasurer of this province starting in the ‘80s; whoever runs this province in the ‘80s is going to have to deal with a tremendous myriad of problems created by this government during the 1970s.
I won’t get into all the other problems that have been created. Suffice to say we are depleting our assets, we are selling off the furniture in order to fund these miscalculations in budgeting, in order to fund these current deficits.
Mr. Laughren: Unlike the federal Liberals.
Mr. Peterson: I know the Treasurer is going to stand up and blame it completely on the federal Liberals and then he’s going to try and pretend it’s our responsibility.
Mr. Martel: No, you are Ontario Liberals.
Mr. Peterson: That’s another thing that really concerns me. I understand partisan politics, and some day I’m going to stand up and ask the Treasurer about Joe Clark’s proposition to deduct mortgage interest rates, see what he thinks about that and try to hang it on him. I understand partisan politics, but if the Treasurer and his ministry do not believe the federal figures, they have no right using those federal figures.
I recall that last year Duncan Allan, senior fiscal policy adviser to this government, was before the estimates committee and when he was asked about the federal figures he said, we know that the federal government has been all screwed up since 1971.
Mr. Martel: Before that.
Mr. Peterson: Then the obvious question is, why does the minister use those figures? The provincial government does its own forecasting. The government’s own forecasts don’t agree with the federal forecasts but they use the federal forecasts. The minister is using the most optimistic numbers, using the most self-serving numbers in order to present a budget to suit his political purposes at the particular time.
Mr. Mackenzie: What you had was a Liberal minority.
Mr. Peterson: Let’s face it, the political purpose the minister had in March 1978 was to get the net cash requirements around a billion dollars. He did everything he could in order to do that. We pointed it out at the time; and I’m sure the Treasurer at the time, had he been honest in his heart, would have admitted the numbers he gave this House were unrealistic and impossible. Why did he do it? Because he had a commitment to balance the budget in 1981. He wanted to see the deficits decrease that is why he framed the numbers.
From a political point of view, it’s easier to get away with a whole bunch of little mistakes. It comes out every quarter that the fiscal position of this province has deteriorated more. I can prove that; not just in the past quarter but for the past 10 quarters, for the past two-and-a-half years. Constantly, we are seeing over-optimistic, unrealistic projections about revenues and expenditures.
I understand the difficulties of running this province. To that extent we’re all in it together, but a person who is always wearing rose-coloured glasses, who does not realistically state his facts and therefore determine his options, is not serving the people of the province well and is not serving his own government well.
Now I know this Treasurer has been here just since the middle of August; he’s coping with a massive portfolio and he is coping with a massive number of problems. But the advice my colleagues on this side of the House would give to him is to come clean with this House; approach it realistically and force his own officials to come clean with this province. Only then can we collectively come to some kind of a realistic solution to these problems that are going to face all of us for the next several years.
I say to the Treasurer that when one analyses with scrutiny the figures he presented to us, there have been major below- the-line changes. He hasn’t really done what he said he was going to do. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and I say this respectfully to the Treasurer, he runs a real risk with this House and with this caucus although I can’t speak for the caucus on my left, of running into major creditability problems unless these kinds of things are cleaned up -- such as when he runs into perpetual overestimates of every single number and when he runs into perpetual deviations which are not just legitimate errors in budgeting; or when he runs into perpetual over-forecast in order to serve his own cause. Such as growth rate; he’s always been out every year on growth rate, it’s always forecast too high. I’ve never seen a number that was forecast too low; very rarely does that happen.
I say he should come clean with this House so that we can collectively address the problems of trying to restore some health to the economy of this country.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have had this opportunity to lay some of our concerns before this House. These are just some of them. I am happy the supply motion came in the wake of the Treasurer’s statement yesterday and the tabling of the interim finances for September 30, 1978. I hope desperately that when the third quarter comes out we aren’t back making the same speech to the same Treasurer saying we told you so. We really hope he has addressed his mind to these questions. He has many contingencies up in the air. He’s going to cut -- funds will be constrained in the future, and he is cutting in the contingency fund.
Mr. Martel: More unemployment.
Mr. Peterson: He is raising more money through treasury bills. He is doing all sorts of below-the-line things to obfuscate the real errors in budgeting. You can get away with it once, particularly when you are a new Treasurer, but you can’t get away with it very often.
Mr. Martel: Unless you are Darcy McKeough.
Mr. Laughren: This supply motion comes at an appropriate time in view of the fact the minister has recently made a statement on the economy, and also in view of the documents that have come to light from within his government. It is appropriate we have an opportunity today to engage in a debate that by the rules is so broad in its application.
The time has passed when people in this country, Ontario specifically, are willing to blame the victims of our economic problems for those problems. I think that needs to be clearly understood by the minister.
The member for London Centre talks about the need for the government and the Treasurer to come clean with us. I endorse that heartily, because I don’t think the Treasurer has. The people in Ontario will no longer accept any kind of broad brush in terms of blaming segments, or in blaming people or individuals for our economic problems. That simply won’t wash any more. The Treasurer needs to come clean and I don’t think he has. There is all sorts of evidence that that’s the case.
When the minister made his statement a week ago today he referred to himself as an economic conservative. It was, quite frankly, refreshing to hear the Treasurer talk in such an ideological way because we on this side have felt for some time that part of the process of coming clean is to confess your ideology so we all know exactly where you stand.
I should point out to the Treasurer that in the 1978 budget which was tabled by his predecessor, the very first chapter in the budget has a heading, Developing an Economic Strategy for Canada and Ontario. So the former Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) certainly saw the need for the development of an economic strategy and certainly saw a place or role for the government to play in the development of such a strategy.
The former Treasurer saw that as we headed into the ‘80s. The present Treasurer seems to be backing away from that commitment. Some of the comments in his statement a week ago point that out in a very disturbing manner. There is a need for some kind of intervention on the part of the minister, and I’ll be more specific in a few moments. We need only look, as the former speaker did, at the budget predictions and compare them to the performance of the economy for the first six months.
We know that in the budget there was a prediction that we’d have a real growth rate of 4.3 per cent, and it looks as though that is going to be in the neighbourhood of 3.2 per cent only. A drop from 4.3 per cent to 3.2 per cent is a very significant drop in the real growth rate. When that is translated into jobs, capital investment and so forth, that is a very serious drop.
The budget predicted a very strong export performance. There are disturbing signs that in certain sections of the economy, which I will mention in a few moments, this is not the case; and the Treasurer doesn’t seem to be willing to deal with that. We know that the number of people unemployed in Ontario now, compared to a year ago, is significantly higher, and that is disturbing as well. The budget predictions were that the unemployment rate would decline. Well it simply hasn’t declined, so there is ample evidence that the economy is not measuring up to what the predictions of the budget were six months ago.
Also, the revenues are down substantially; and that is how we end up in a situation where our net cash requirements are almost half a billion dollars more than was predicted in the budget, from $1,055 million to $1,496 million. That is a pretty substantial increase in the net cash requirements.
Economic conservatives, such as the present Treasurer, are saying to us that --
Mr. Martel: Genghis Khan.
Mr. Laughren: -- there are problems and they think that more of the same will solve it; that more of what we have had in the past will solve the present predicament in which we find ourselves. It is hard to believe that in this day and age the Treasurer is still clinging to the idea that we are going through a cyclical problem; that the problem will pass; and that all government needs to do is to stand back and give the private sector room to move and the problem will be resolved. That is an implication that the problem is cyclical and it will pass.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The evidence is mounting almost daily that the problems are structural and are very serious. It is our great hope that the Treasurer will come to grips with that and will deal with it honestly.
When I look at the Treasurer’s statement of a week ago and compare it with the budget performance for the six months, and when I compare it with a document from his own government which we talked about yesterday, which was a representation made to the federal government during the GATT negotiations, I wonder where the Treasurer is getting his optimism from? What is he reading that gives him this kind of optimism?
Mr. Martel: Ann Landers.
Mr. Haggerty: He has a crystal ball over there.
Mr. Laughren: I detected two underlying themes in the Treasurer’s statement a week ago. I don’t mind telling the Treasurer we had hoped that as a new Treasurer he would strike out in some bold new directions, but rather than that he has simply struck out. Here was an opportunity for the Treasurer to flex his muscles and to say we are going to have a different kind of Treasury than we have had in the past.
Mr. Martel: Another give-away Treasurer.
Mr. Laughren: But when I look at that optimism in that statement and I look at his blind faith in the free enterprise system as expressed in that document, I really find it hard to cope with that. He says at one point: “I am an economic conservative, which means that I believe that government must work to reduce its role as a regulator and provider of so many facilities and services.”
Mr. Martel: Provide the money.
Mr. Laughren: Then he says: “In fundamental terms, governments don’t really create that much. They simply transfer things around. Far better to leave the real creation of goods, services and true wealth to the people of the private sector.” Isn’t that a wonderful quote, as though we hadn’t done that in the past, as though that isn’t what got us into the predicament we find ourselves in right now? It takes some kind of quantum leap in logic to follow the Treasurer’s arguments.
In support of that kind of statement and that kind of blind optimism, the Treasurer says further: “There are a number of encouraging developments on the economic front which suggest both that our economy is showing significant strength and that positive foundations for the future are in place.” Pretty optimistic. I can understand why the Treasurer would like to be optimistic but, for the same reasons that the former speaker gave, that’s not being honest with us. It’s maybe not being honest with himself, which is even more disturbing, if he’s misleading himself.
The document I referred to, which comes from the Ontario government -- and I suspect that the minister’s economists had a major role in the drafting of this document -- isn’t quite so optimistic. The quotation from the document, which was presented to the federal government, states: “Basic indices of industrial performance trace the relative decline of Canada’s manufacturing potential from the 1960s and generally serve to reflect a manufacturing sector that is not only weak but in a state of fundamental structural disequilibrium.”
I wonder if the Treasurer understands the enormity of that -- what that is really saying about the problems in our economy. For the minister to talk about optimism in the face of a document like this is really hard to understand.
The minister tonight, I presume, is going to be debating with us a bill that is going to establish his ministry, and that ministry gives him a pretty broad mandate to deal with the economy. I quote very briefly a section of the bill which states: “The Treasurer shall direct and control the” --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would suggest the member might discuss the bill at the appropriate time.
Mr. Laughren: All I am trying to do, Mr. Speaker, is point out to the Treasurer that he is going to have a mandate to deal with these kind of things.
“The Treasurer shall direct and control the Ministry of Treasury and Economics; recommend to the executive council finance, economic, accounting and taxation policy; supervise, direct and control all finance, economic, statistical and accounting functions; and manage the consolidated revenue fund and all public money.”
That is an extremely broad mandate, which I presume the Treasurer will have once that bill has been debated.
We in this party are opposed to the Treasurer’s economic conservatism. We look at his optimism and we don’t see any cause for it -- and I’ll go back to that again. The Treasurer said: “Indeed, Ontario industry has already begun to take advantage of its new opportunities. Manufacturing shipments are up 14 per cent this year.” And he said: “I am satisfied now the way has been cleared in the United States for the construction of the Alcan pipeline project” et cetera. The minister in his statement would just seem to be gushing optimism when in fact all the evidence is contrary to that.
When we look at the track record of this free-enterprise system about which the minister says he wants to stand back and give it room to move, we see a record of high unemployment, we see massive deficits, we see inflation, we see trade imbalances, we see industrial strife out there, we see diminishing resources, and just a few minutes ago we dealt with the cash requirements of this government as well.
The minister can talk all he wants about optimism and about how things are going to get better, but I would ask him: Is it not true that the only two things he suggested were that he was going to repeal the land speculation tax -- great hope that has of turning the economy around -- and he was going to provide incentives to the pulp and paper industry.
I want to tell him, we’re going to be watching very closely the minister’s incentives to the pulp and paper industry. We’re very concerned about what direction that’s going to take. We’re very concerned that any incentives provided to the pulp and paper industry be tied to jobs in this jurisdiction -- jobs here -- before any kind of incentives are given to the pulp and paper industry. We’ve seen the Treasurer’s broad-brush exemptions. With the exemption of tax on machinery, there was no requirement that that machinery be purchased in this jurisdiction or in Canada; and yet the exemption was very broad. We think that’s not good enough. There are very serious problems, and the Treasurer simply has got to get around to dealing with them.
The document that the Ontario government presented to the federal government recognizes the importance of Ontario in the scheme of things. On the very first page, the document states, “Ontario accounts for 50 per cent of Canadian manufacturing output in jobs; Ontario accounts for 63 per cent of Canadian employment in import-sensitive industries and over 50 per cent of the province’s manufacturing employment is concentrated in import-sensitive industries.” So we have a recognition by some people around the Treasurer, at least, that Ontario has a major stake in the economic health of this country. As a matter of fact, as Ontario turns around so will the country turn around because of the tremendously important role that we play. I’m worried that the Treasurer simply doesn’t understand that or doesn’t understand how serious it is.
The document that was presented to the federal government lays it out in very stark terms as to exactly what our problems are. I would have hoped the Treasurer today would have used the opportunity of the supply motion to talk a bit about it, in view of the fact that we had sent him a copy yesterday and raised it with him during the question period.
I mentioned earlier about the disequilibrium in the manufacturing sector; they talk about what has gone on as being “a process of deindustrialization, a decline in international competitiveness that has led to a deteriorating merchandise trade performance, the erosion of technological strength and capability in the manufacturing sector, and the persistence of a substantial productivity gap vis-à-vis the US.”
There was talk about while in 1955 Canada was second after the US in terms of value of manufactures per capita, by 1974 Canada had fallen behind Australia, Finland, France, Japan, West Germany, and Sweden. Also over that same period, other countries such as Austria, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway and Spain, had greatly narrowed the gap between themselves and Canada.
Mr. Wildman: A significant number of those are social democratic countries.
Mr. Laughren: As a matter of fact, the countries that are gaining are countries that don’t hesitate to intervene in the economy.
Canada has also consistently lagged behind most other developed nations in terms of the proportion of total exports accounted for by finished manufactures. Even during the relatively buoyant period between 1965 and 1970 finished manufactures share of total exports, excluding autos, increased by only 3.2 per cent. Since 1970 deterioration in the export performance of manufactured goods has become even more pronounced with manufactured exports as a percentage of total exports declining from over 21 per cent to about 12 per cent in 1976. That’s an extremely serious statistic.
I want to reinforce that with the Treasurer. We’re talking about deterioration in the export performance of manufactured goods. The proportion of manufactured goods that we export are declining and declining dramatically. The Treasurer doesn’t seem to be able to grasp that, and we worry about that.
The Ontario government document goes on to say: “The declining importance of manufacturing as a source of income and employment is often regarded as a sign of emerging post-industrialism. For Canada however, the increasing relative importance of the service sector is rather an indication of declining manufacturing activity.”
So what they’re saying is that it’s not simply that the service sector is growing, it’s that the manufacturing sector is declining and making the service sector look like it’s growing dramatically. It is growing dramatically, but in relation to the manufacturing sector, that’s so serious.
Not only does Canada devote a smaller share of total economic activity to manufacturing than almost any other major industrialized country, but the share of GNP accounted for by manufacturing has declined steadily from a relatively low base of 26 per cent to 21 per cent over the last decade. So not only is it had, it’s getting worse.
Parallelling this has been a decline in manufacturing’s share of employment from about 24 per cent in 1966 to about 20 per cent in 1976. The Ontario government’s own statistics show that that’s going to get even worse. Manufacturing’s share of employment in the years to come is going to decline even more. I believe there was a document dealing with youth employment several months ago which pointed that out as well.
Continuing with the problems of the manufacturing sector, since 1970 Canada has experienced growing deficits of 18 of 19 higher technology industrial product groups identified by the Science Council of Canada as vital to the maintenance of a viable industrial base. The overall deficit in these product classifications of $7.9 billion carries significant implications for Canada’s balance of payments.
Once again, the Treasurer cannot convince us, or simply has not convinced us, that he understands the seriousness of the problems of this economy. I reiterate that until the Treasurer at least recognizes or admits that the problem is there, how can we have any faith that he is serious about dealing with the problems?
When I see a document like this coming out of the Ontario government going to the federal government which lays out the problem, lays out the track record of our free-enterprise system, I wonder why then the minister insists on standing up in this House and giving ns a rather rose-coloured picture of the state of the economy. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Mr. Speaker, it’s not just the track record that’s so bad -- By the way, there’s also quite a section on research and development and how bad we are off in the whole research and development field, as well.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I’m sorry to interrupt the honourable member. I just wonder if he could zero in just a little closer on the resolution before the House, please.
Mr. Laughren: Okay, Mr. Speaker. It has always been my understanding that the interim supply motion was a motion which provided the government with permission to spend the funds in view of the fact that the estimates were not yet passed. If my interpretation is correct, it’s beyond me how you could restrict debate on the expenditure of funds and the direction of funds and the direction of the economy in the province of Ontario. I’m at a loss for words in terms of your ruling.
Mr. Sterling: That’s a first.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, if I might I’d like to ask the Treasurer if he’s aware of a very simple little document recently put out by Burns Fry, the investment people, called The Canadian Economy, and ask him if he’s aware of some of the figures. I’d like to read them to him because I think they’re devastating.
It’s necessary to say these things to the Treasurer because of the optimism he expressed in the face of serious problems.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Basically because I can’t read.
Mr. Laughren: No, it’s not because you can’t read. You said that, not me.
Mr. Wildman: You re blind.
Mr. Laughren: There are a number of very interesting tables. I think that if the minister is responsible for interim supply, surely he’s got to be made aware of these things and how serious they are.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have a copy of it.
Mr. Laughren: In 1977 the services deficit was about $6.9 billion. Burns Fry predicts that by 1978 it will be $8.6 billion and by 1981 -- that was the year, remember, that the government wanted to balance the budget -- there will be a $17 billion deficit on services. That’s from $6.9 billion in 1977 to $17 billion in 1981.
In another table they talk about a travel deficit. We’ve got a program in Ontario to treat our visitors royally and to encourage people to travel in this jurisdiction. The deficit in 1977 was about $1.6 billion; this year it’s going to be over $2 billion; and by 1981 Burns Fry predicts an over $5 billion deficit on the travel account in Canada.
They talk about merchandise trade. The merchandise trade is where we traditionally have our surplus that allows to pay for our deficits in services. It’s not going to increase. It’s staying relatively stable. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be lower in 1981 than it was in 1977. So in the foreseeable future there’s not a concurrent growth in the merchandise trade, where we require such a surplus in the years to come.
On the current account, which is the really important one, we’re going to go from a $4 billion deficit in 1977 to almost $16 billion in 1981.
Now those are pretty devastating figures. We’d very much like the Treasurer to start dealing with those kinds of projections and tell us how he intends to turn that around. The statements that he made last week, and indeed, the statement he made yesterday, were downright silly in terms of the kinds of problems that we’re facing. It’s a political charade. I find it strange that he would blame the federal government for its unduly optimistic figures when he does the very same thing himself.
The people around him, in his own government, are taking swipes at him, as well. I quote what his people are saying about the federal government: “The federal government has predicated its response on an unrealistic economic growth target for the 1980s and has ignored tackling the causes of Canada’s decline in international competitiveness, a decline which will be aggravated by a further liberalization of trade. Secondly, and more specifically, there is a notable lack of detailed programs for Ontario manufacturers.”
Those are his people talking to the federal government. Then he stands up and does the same thing to us in this chamber. That’s not acceptable. Sooner or later he is going to have to stop thinking that he can get up and smile and convince us that everything’s all right. We know better. There is an increasing number of people who are saying the same thing, “Level with us. Come clean. You’re not telling us the truth.”
Where are Ontario’s programs? We have yet to see them. We ask for a document to the Reisman commission and we’re told we can’t have it. Why not? It should be a public document and yet the Treasurer won’t give it to us. It doesn’t seem to sink in with the Treasurer that our problems are something he should share with us so that we can all take part in the decision as to what to do about them.
Every time I go back to the Treasurer’s statement of a week ago when he tried to tell us that everything was all right by saying that there are a number of encouraging developments on the economic front, I wish he’d be more specific. I wish he’d show us where the Burns Fry document is wrong and show us where his estimate is for a much more optimistic performance of the economy, not just in the near future but in the long run as well.
Mr. Speaker, this motion of supply is something that will pass, but I want to tell you it causes us grave reservations to approve it when the minister is not levelling with us. I looked at the Instant Hansard from yesterday’s exchange in this chamber. The minister was replying to the leader of the New Democratic Party about the condition of the economy and about the document that was sent to the federal government. This is what the Treasurer said about this document: “This paper deals with problems that our industry will face if, in fact, certain changes in the tariff and trade negotiations occur.” I can only conclude he hasn’t even read the paper. That’s not what this document deals with. The document deals with how serious the problems are in this economy.
Mr. Wildman: Right now.
Mr. Laughren: Right now. It deals with the track record of the system over which he presides. For the Treasurer to get up on his feet and say it “deals with problems that our industry will face if in fact certain changes in the tariff and trade negotiations occur,” I know I’m not allowed to say that he is misleading the House, so I won’t say it, but I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, he didn’t read the document or he didn’t understand the document or he was putting us on. It is one of the three. I don’t know which it is. I won’t prejudge him. That simply is not a fact.
He said also, “The fact that there are problems in the economy has never been denied. The fact that things are good is also -- in other words, are better than they were a year ago, is also correct.” Well, isn’t that wonderful? Things are better now than they were a year ago. In what way? In what way is the economic performance of Ontario better than it was a year ago? Is he going to pick out an isolated figure here and an isolated figure there?
Let him show me where the structural deficiencies in our economy are less today than they were a year ago. That’s really what we’re talking about, the structural imbalances, inequities and disequilibrium of the manufacturing sector. That’s where our problems lie. For the Treasurer to get up and say things are better now than they were a year ago when in fact they’re deteriorating, we need only look at the first six months of this year to see an increased deficit of manufactured goods and an increased deficit of auto parts. For the Treasurer to get up and state that things are better now than they were a year ago almost leaves us speechless.
The Treasurer is simply not dealing fairly with us. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know whether he doesn’t understand. I don’t know whether he can’t face up to the problems and doesn’t want to deal with them. I don’t know whether there are too many forces that work around him telling him not to level with us. I don’t know what it is, but something is wrong.
If the Treasurer thinks we are going to have any faith in his reign as Treasurer, then he is going to have to change his approach. Most of us were very disappointed with the statement the Treasurer made a week ago. It really didn’t tell us anything and certainly didn’t deal with it realistically.
Further, I asked the Treasurer about our economy and about a quote from the document. I asked him if he could tell us what specific plans the Ontario government had including those to impose compulsory investment, research and development, and value-added performance requirements on multinationals operating in the province of Ontario. He never answered the questions.
We know that is a very serious part of the problem -- the key to the problem. But the Treasurer gets up and rambles on and doesn’t answer the question. I think that is something which the Treasurer should have a grasp of by now.
I must say I don’t think we are being unduly harsh on the Treasurer. I think the Treasurer may not have a grasp of his ministry yet, but he had better get hold of it fast because the problems are getting worse.
I would be very interested to know, as specifically as possible, what it is that gives the Treasurer his great source of optimism. Why does he say that we are better off today than we were a year ago? I sure hope that he will be specific.
Now as you can tell by the tone of my remarks, Mr. Speaker, we are going to support this motion of interim supply but not without grave reservations and a request to the Treasurer to come clean; clean up his act; level with us and --
Mr. Foulds: Plant some trees.
Mr. Laughren: -- and quite frankly stop being frivolous about our problems. They are very serious. We don’t mind the Treasurer having the odd giggle, but on the other hand we don’t want it to permeate his thinking in economic matters.
We urge him as seriously as we know how, and as strongly as we know how, to level with us and &hare with us the documents that he is presenting to the federal government. I don’t know why we haven’t got the Reisman report by now. It has been presented. I don’t know why the Treasurer insist on telling us that everything is well when we know better. We know everything isn’t well. It is going to serve nobody any good purpose to deny that and to hide behind the odd statistic which he thinks he can roll out to give the illusion that everything is well.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to speak to this resolution?
Mr. Wildman: I am not going to go on at great length, but there are a couple of things I would like to have the Treasurer’s response on in relation to the voting of interim supply. It follows from the questions asked by my leader yesterday and late last week and also the comments of the member for Nickel Belt about the economic performance of this province and country and the role the provincial government should be playing in this economic crisis we face.
I must admit that I was somewhat surprised when we found that the provincial government, in making recommendations or representations to the federal government on the multilateral trade negotiations, had submitted a report to the federal authorities which largely parallelled the comments made by my leader in the budget speech debate over a year ago. The report also parallelled some comments I had made in the leadoff statements in the debate of the estimates in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
As they were referred to by the member for Nickel Belt, I won’t go into them at great length, but what concerns me, as it did him, was the Treasurer’s apparent acceptance of the idea that we are experiencing an unusually long cyclical downturn in the economy and that if the government can restrain its expenditures, if not balance the budget by 1981 as his predecessor had proposed, but at least continue to restrain expenditures that this would free up funds for the private sector, for private sector investment, and that those funds then would be invested in Canada and in Ontario which would lead to the creation of employment and the solution to our economic problems.
That is really alarming, because it’s this kind of argument that we have heard in the past that has just led to economic morass. Those kinds of comments from another Conservative in the early 1930s led to even more serious economic problems than we face today, and if we continue to try and restrain expenditures, especially in the social field, I wonder how we are going to alleviate some of those problems even in human terms.
Mr. Makarchuk: We have a Claude Bennett; we don’t need an R. B. Bennett in the House.
Mr. Wildman: In relation to the voting of interim supply, I wonder if the Treasurer can give us some idea of the measures that are going to be taken by this ministry and by the various ministries involved in industrial development -- whether it be the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Natural Resources and so on -- what they are going to do to try and turn around the economic situation we face. If the minister is unwilling to bring in a mini-budget or to give us some idea of what he intends to do, surely in this debate he can give us some idea of how the programs that are now under way and for which he’s asking additional funds can help to resolve the economic problems we face.
As has been mentioned, the Economic Council of Canada says that this country -- . and when we say this country, when we are talking about manufacturing, we are talking largely about Ontario -- that this country is becoming relatively deindustrialized and that we are now in eighth place in terms of manufacture per capita when 20 years ago we were in second place in the world. We are in danger of slipping even further. Our standard of living is slipping. We are now fifth when we used to crow about being second only to the United States.
I wonder what the minister is going to do, especially when we look at the future and we have the Ontario Economic Council predicting that employment in the goods-producing industries is going to slip even further, from about 36 per cent of the labour force to about 28 per cent by the mid-1980s.
To say that we are going to produce jobs in the service industries is not acceptable, especially when we take into account the comments made by the minister’s own economic advisers in this document that the member for Nickel Belt was referring to. I hope the minister can give us some idea of what he intends to do in some particular areas, and I am most concerned about research and development, since other countries which have relatively high wage scales are able to compete with the third world where the low wage scales are attractive for investment by bringing in technological innovation that makes productivity increase in terms of investment, in other words it is cheaper to produce the goods because we can do it through new techniques or we can produce new goods that are attractive and will produce more income for this country and for this nation.
When we look at the document that was produced by the government for the federal people they state: “Moreover, the development of manufacturing capability in many low-wage countries has given added impetus to the importance for high-cost economies such as Canada to develop an ability to compete on such non-cost bases as product design innovation and quality.”
I wonder what we are doing here when we all realize that we are spending in Canada about half of what other industrialized nations are spending in terms of research and development and when the government itself has finally come to realize, as we suggested, that the truncated, branch-plant economy we have today is largely responsible for the fact that we import our technology rather than developing it ourselves.
As long as we continue to borrow our research and development, unlike some of the countries of western Europe, the United States or Japan, we are going to face a situation where we are going to continue this process of deindustrialization and the inability to produce the jobs needed. It is true that we are producing more jobs; I don’t debate the argument when the Treasurer gets up and says, “We have produced more jobs.” We have produced more jobs. But the fact is that we have people coming into the labour force at a rate much higher than we are producing jobs.
I wonder if the minister can give us some indication of how private enterprise, which has led us to this situation which his own economic advisers have described as deindustrialization, is going to change. Or is he willing now to commit his ministry and the government to positive government action to reorganize and restructure this economy? That is what is called for in the document of programs proposed to the federal government. It says:
“Ontario would like to see an overall adjustment package that is capable of confronting the basic structural institutional problems which currently underlie the deteriorating international competitiveness in the manufacturing sector.”
It goes on to list a number of things which should be done, and then states:
“Ontario recognizes that the provincial government has a role to play in alerting its manufacturing industry to prepare for an increasingly competitive international trading environment.” This is not just in relation to GATT, but to the whole question of our lack of technological competitiveness.
I want to know if the minister can indicate how the programs we are supposedly voting funds for here are going to do something about this situation. Where is the positive government action that is actually going to do something about this situation and provide the jobs that the Minister of Industry and Tourism is going around saying he is going to create?
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I suppose the voting of interim supply is in some ways not too important, although on the other hand, when the government has the authority to spend the money as they see fit until all the supply is voted, as stated in the resolution, it is an opportunity to speak briefly on the operations of the Treasury and the reflection it has on our economy.
Over the past number of years, when one looks at the way money has been spent in our province, one questions whether there was much long-range planning regarding the route we were taking. A number of years ago it seemed to be the “in” thing to do, perhaps going back about 10 years. I can remember in 1967, centennial year, when money was so free. Having held office in a municipality at that time, we could hardly move fast enough to spend the money that the two senior levels of government were making available to us for what we thought were worthwhile projects in the community.
In later years, spending seemed to continue. Then over the past seven years here in Ontario, our budgetary spending was considerably more than what our revenue was. Of course one would have to think just how long one can do that. I suppose one can do it forever and a day, as long as there’s someone else to pick up the tab at a later time.
My understanding of governments and spending over a period of years and from talking to people I thought were well versed in the handling of money in all ways, whether it be government or business, was that government’s real purpose was to see that the economy moves along at kind of a steady pace and when the economy slowed up it was government’s responsibility to, as the fellow would say, “pump prime.”
I can recall a businessman in our area who ran for political office a number of years ago. After my first election, he called me the following morning and said, “I would hope, Dick, that you would carry a message that I think is very important to the Treasurer of Ontario -- that the place of government in spending is that when times are good we should balance our budget and maybe even put a little aside. Then when we have a slowing down of the economy it’s the time to get out and encourage, prod, whatever word you might want to use, to try to get the economy rolling through a certain amount of public spending.”
I can recall the former leader of our party speaking here in the House a number of years ago when the government at that time was doing a great deal of building, new public buildings and so forth, when the economy was rolling along at a pretty high pace. I think the unemployment situation was practically nil or probably between three and four per cent. I recall he asked at that time if it were necessary for the government to be in the building business at the time when things were in more or less of a rapid stage, a booming economy, more or less. Perhaps that was the time we should not be in it.
However, I suppose governments -- and governments really are ourselves -- are all more or less alike. Politicians, to some extent, like to think that they do what the people want and if they’re spending money pretty freely and if it’s coming in pretty freely then naturally you don’t hear any objections. If the economy is booming people see no objection to the government spending money, too. The problem is then when the economy slows down our revenues’ go down because of that, to some extent. Then, of course, as we can see the last couple of years, the Treasurer starts wringing his hands and wondering just what he’s going to do for money.
These are concerns that many of us have as to just where we’re going and in the six months so far in this year we have, according to the budgetary expenditures of 1978-79, table three, we have for the first six months a $505 million public debt in interest alone. One concerns oneself with that and is quite worried what’s going to happen to our future generations. Are they going to have to pay this off at some time or are they going to just continue at that pace and let it go, let happen whatever happens?
I’m very concerned about it. Yet on the other hand, when we’re at a time when there’s a higher rate of unemployment than should be acceptable where do you thaw the line? It’s very easy to see that the Treasurer can wring his hands and wonder what to do. No one has an easy solution for him, that’s for sure. I’m sure if there were an easy solution someone would put it into effect.
I think the real problem has been created over the past number of years and naturally that’s why it’s more difficult to solve the problem now. It was created over the past seven or eight years because of the free- spending attitude of government, not only here but at the federal level as well.
That’s about all I have to add. I think this is something that has to be passed; it is a resolution to allow the government to operate and we have no objection to that. I just wanted to bring to your attention the concerns we have about the Treasurer’s report
Mr. Mackenzie: The matter of interim supply is not an area that I can claim any expertise in, but I do have some nagging questions, some of which I discussed very briefly this morning over a bit of breakfast with the Treasurer of this province.
I really wonder how he’s going to continue to pay the bills to carry through with his financial policies in view of some of the disturbing information that’s starting to come to light and be outlined by more than just opponents of this government.
I noted with interest an editorial in the Globe and Mail that I think would cause most thinking people some serious second thoughts about the economy, regardless of their politics. Some of the figures in that article I think bear on the budget and the planning we’ve done in Ontario,
It pointed out that between 1970 and 1977 in Canada the labour force had increased by 2,220,000, while actual employment grew by only 1,835,000. The resulting increase of 385,000 in the number of unemployed is reflected in the current 8.4 or 8.5 per cent level of unemployment, which is unprecedented since the Depression in this country.
The article points out that of 475,000 school leavers each year between now and 1985, about 300,000 a year will be seeking jobs and the economy is currently only providing about 190,000 new jobs a year. Based on present trends, it means we could see an unemployment increase of as much as 110,000 a year.
It goes on to point out that we have a chronic deficit in balance of payments on current account ranging between $4 billion and $5 billion for 1975, 1976 and 1977 and in 1977 had reached the incredible figure of $11.1 billion. It talked also of another major factor, the rising deficit in service payments, including interest, dividends, royalties and technological payments.
When we have an economy where the merchandise imports are now $26 billion in 1977 and the deficit has grown from $3 billion in 1970 to $11 billion by 1977, with imports capturing 35 per cent of the domestic market, one begins to wonder how long we’re going to be in a position to collect the taxes and pay the bills.
It gives a number of answers to some of the conventional comments as to what the real problem is in terms of the economy in the province. It talks about the scale of production due to the small size of the domestic market, but goes on to point out that recent economic studies have shown that above a relatively low threshold figure, plant size has little influence on productivity levels, except in the process industries.
It talks about low labour productivity coupled with high wage levels and says while unit labour costs may have been marginally uncompetitive in the past it is doubtful whether this now constitutes a decisive factor, particularly with the devalued dollar.
It talks about the debilitating effects of high tariff protection on industrial efficiency when in reality, as a result of widespread duty exemptions, Canada has the lowest effective duty rate of manufactured goods of any of its trading partners. In 1976 some $14.4 billion worth of manufactured goods, more than 63 per cent of the total, entered Canada duty free. So that really can’t be the problem.
One item that I was interested to see in an article from a non union person was on low-wage competition from the less developed countries. In fact, imports from such countries account for only 6.6 per cent of all end product imports into Canada.
Of imports in 1977, the bulk, in fact, came from the United States, Europe and Japan. They are not necessarily the low wage countries.
The article goes on to say, and the point I want to make and the point I’m interested in -- and I’d be interested in the response from the Treasurer -- is that in this gentleman’s argument, “the conclusion seems inescapable that the primary cause of the trade and employment problem arises from the massive transfer of production activity from Canada to the US manufacturing plants. A major contributing factor in this regard is the preponderance of foreign-controlled branch plants in the manufacturing sector which has facilitated the rapid shift of component and material inputs from Canada to the US or other offshore sources of supply.”
I know very well when some of my colleagues in the negotiating field were trying to deal with the controls that were slopped on us with the AIB legislation that one of the things that became obvious to those who knew the plants they were dealing with was the way the price of the components we imported into this country went up, which had the effect of cutting the profit. There was no danger of the firm showing an excess profit. In some cases, the prices we were selling the products for went down when they went out of the country. Those decisions, I submit to you, weren’t made in this particular country.
It seems to me we’ve got a major problem here. We’re not going to be able to solve the question of budgets, the question of supply, and the economic problems we’re facing in this province unless we have a strategy that deals with the fact we’re not making the decisions, in terms of what we produce, the rate of the capacity of the production, and the use of the capacity we have to produce manufactured goods. If this trend continues we’re going to see more unemployment. We’re going to see a larger deficit in the balance of payments and we’re going to be in a position where we’re not going to be able to collect the revenues that are necessary to run this province and run this country.
It seems to me the budget is not enough for the Treasurer to proclaim its defence of the private enterprise system. I submit to him that whatever the strengths, there are an awful lot of obvious weaknesses as well and they have been taking us down the garden path that leads to the high unemployment, the high deficits and the very questionable outlook in the future, if we can’t turn this around. I think it’s an area the Treasurer should be dealing with.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have some concerns as they relate to this interim budget. I’d like to bring something into the discussion that could be of interest to the minister. I’d like to draw a little comparison with the province of Manitoba where they’ve certainly begun a kind of policy that is going to more relate to the ability to raise money in the form of revenue to the government. When I suggest we don’t have priorities on that other side, I’m suggesting the battle between ministries to keep up the increase based on former spending certainly should be reconsidered as a way of continuing the financing of this province.
I’ve raised this point many times during the estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation. I didn’t think there should be an entitlement of the same kind of increase in that ministry as it relates to other ministries. I thought there should be some priorities brought into the whole budget system. The province of Manitoba has proven it can be done.
They not only reduced the budgets in the particular ministry I’m interested in, but I talked with the minister there, and they not only reduced it as a percentage, but they in fact reduced it below the previous year’s budget. Now I’m going to suggest to the minister that unless he can convince those members representing the various other ministries to stop this kind of resistance to a priority setup to reduce the expenditures in direct proportion to the need, there is no possible way we will ever balance the budget. Unless our spending is more related to the income we can produce, we are never going to balance the budget. Unless we get the co-operation of management, labour and government, we will never balance the budget.
The people over there in the socialist party can talk all they want about productivity. Isn’t it strange when there’s talk about bringing new equipment into the post office, those in their union movement scream and holler and throw their arms in the air. Yet they are talking about new and better methods in other parts of industry. They just can’t have it both ways.
Unless the members get into this thing and support some kind of government that is going to produce a little better price, we’re not going to compete with the world. We all know it. There is no use for those members to talk out of both sides of their mouths because they are not going to get away with it. If we listened to them, they would increase the civil servants to the point where the budget would not only not be balanced for the next three or four years, it wouldn’t be balanced in 500 years.
Mr. Laughren: That way you are only losing, Vince.
Mr. Kerrio: The members of the NDP had better address themselves to the problems and take a fair share of the responsibility, wherever it may lie.
I would ask the minister to consider those aspects I have talked to him about as they relate to a real dedication to priorities from one ministry to the other. I could suggest something here that may not relate directly to this budget, but one would have to consider that it does. The Premier had the chance in the recent realignment of his new team to split the two ministries that have the greatest need for high profile ministers, creating a minister of tourism and a minister if industry.
Mr. Samis: More bureaucracy, Vince.
Mr. Kerrio: I do not suggest an increase in the number of people to do it. I’m suggesting there are priorities we could also instil interministerially. We start where the need is the greatest, addressing ourselves to putting in charge a person who has no other responsibilities.
Mr. Samis: The size of the cabinet, Vince.
Mr. Kerrio: In this present climate there is a real need to have a minister of industry who is solely dedicated to that particular aspect of our society. And we should have a minister who has no responsibility other than to see what can be done to balance the whole spectrum of tourism.
Mr. Samis: Do they do that in Manitoba?
Mr. Kerrio: The ministries over there would be well advised to take that sort of thing under advisement and get those two areas moving, injecting moneys from the one into small business, medium-size business --
Mr. Mackenzie: Where are you going to get the money, Vince?
Mr. Laughren: The public sector, Vince.
Mr. Samis: Where are you going to get the money from?
Mr. Kerrio: -- getting it back where it belongs, into the private sector, the people who built this great country of ours, and not opening all the socialist floodgates to those people who don’t how what they’re talking about.
One thing I have been able to do in the short time I have been here is completely ignore the socialists because they don’t know what they are talking about. In any event, I am very concerned --
Mr. Laughren: You sound like a Trudeau Liberal.
Mr. Kerrio: -- that we address ourselves to a very serious situation that exists here, as it relates to the borrowing we are doing, to the mistakes we’ve made in allowing too much latitude for some specific ministries to spend way beyond their means and as it relates to the borrowing of Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Laughren: Tell us where you would cut, Vince. Be specific.
Mr. Kerrio: Little wonder that we have a triple-A rating. Who wouldn’t lend money to big spenders like us?
Mr. Laughren: Be specific.
Mr. Kerrio: The fact of the matter is that the people of Ontario would be better served if they were not so highly rated, and it might be more difficult to raise funds, might lead us to placing much higher priorities on various things that we do, and in that way make it much more feasible to balance the budget in the shorter term.
Mr. Lane: You are getting confused.
Mr. Kerrio: You were just spending money, how are you going to balance it?
Mr. Kerrio: It is very important at this time, and I feel that I am close enough to it to be able to relate to the Treasurer a concern that I have on the ability of small business and medium-size business to borrow money at a reasonable rate of interest, at a time when we could really create jobs at reasonable kinds of investments.
I think that Ontario Development Corporation has moneys that cannot be borrowed by small business simply because the criteria is such that the moneys are not available to those people who would be in a little more speculative position.
Mr. Samis: What about private enterprise?
Mr. Laughren: Make up your mind. You are schizophrenic.
Mr. Kerrio: I have a plant closing in Niagara Falls because we have not helped those companies with financing.
Mr. Mackenzie: Consistently Neanderthal.
Mr. Laughren: Free enterprise for the poor, socialism for the rich.
Mr. Kerrio: I am very concerned that we are pricing ourselves right off the world market. I think it may be that the socialist parties have climbed up to their position on the backs of labour; they haven’t helped them nearly as much as they would like to act that they have. I think that between the top labour leaders and the socialist party they have somewhat convinced labour that they are their benefactors -- in fact their champions. I would suggest that maybe the reverse is true. Maybe some of the big international unions have taken advantage of those people to the point where they not only took them to parity --
Mr. Mackenzie: Big bad unions again!
Mr. Kerrio: But they took them I beyond and very conveniently eliminated them from the international picture. And I have to tell you that while many American corporations ran to these shores because we had good productive people at what could have been reasonable rates --
Mr. Ziemba: They are going to Brazil now.
Mr. Kerrio: -- we are no longer in that enviable position. I am going to suggest that half the problems exists with the kind of relationship where you take advantage of the worker by not telling him the truth, that on the short term he may have had a fair increase, but on the long term he is going to suffer for it. And the socialists are the authors of that.
Mr. Mackenzie: Better kick him in the guts.
Mr. Laughren: Can we quote you on that?
Mr. Kerrio: I think we have to reassess the whole picture. I think that unless we can convince the people of this great province of ours, and of this country, that we can, in fact, compete with other jurisdictions, but that it will only happen if we have complete co-operation --
Mr. Laughren: Socialism.
Mr. Kerrio: -- among people in government, in trade unions, in management; unless we have co-operation among the whole three and we don’t have those people stand up and defy legislation that might exist in the country --
Mr. Mackenzie: Sterling Lyon was a Conservative.
Mr. Kerrio: -- and act as though they are doing it in the best interests of some other group; unless we get that kind of protection, we are not going to be viable producers of goods and competitive on the world market.
Mr. Laughren: Horatio Alger is alive and living at General Motors.
Mr. Kerrio: It is a shame to say it, but it has happened. I know small parts manufacturers, who if they could pick their plants up and move them into the States right now could produce more cheaply, because their overall costs as they relate to taxes, and as they relate to wages, and as they relate to every other cost involved, have now become higher in the province of Ontario than they have across the way.
Mr. Laughren: The federal Liberals are making some of it. Aren’t you glad that you are an Ontario Liberal?
Mr. Kerrio: Now it is beyond any kind of reasonable person to think that a country the size of ours with 22 million people can have a higher standard of living, higher wages, than that great giant next door with 200 million odd. The NDP are not only kidding themselves, they are kidding the people they represent, and unless they are willing to see it the way it is, nothing is going to change.
The reason I’m attempting to bring some of these arguments into play is I think they’re real. I think they exist, and unless we’re willing to assess them for what they are, free enterprise as such cannot do it on its own.
Mr. Laughren: Who got us into this mess?
Mr. Kerrio: If we don’t get this co-operation it will not happen. The fact of the matter is, unless we turn around some of the thinking that exists, unless people are going to share the rewards in some kind of proportion to the effort they put forth, it becomes very unrealistic, at any time in the future, to balance our budget. Because in reality, balancing the budget is paying for what you get.
Now, are we faced with a dilemma, I think, in our education system, and in all the attitudes that our young people have. Some people stand up and let them think that it can be done and that they can get all these things without any effort. I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there’s a generation out there, half of them with the notion that someone else will provide for them. Well, that just isn’t going to happen. With all the jurisdictions in the world, suffering to the degree they are, because of that kind of attitude, I can’t believe we are ever going to persevere and do anything worth while.
Mr. Laughren: What are we going to do?
Mr. Kerrio: Conversely, if we can convince our young people, the Treasurer, and organized labour and management to pull together, to be willing to take in proportion to what they produce --
Mr. Laughren: A Liberal wishing well.
Mr. Kerrio: -- we can very well pull this society of ours back up into an economic viable economy. The world is telling us our dollar is worth something less than one dollar simply because when you add it all up, that’s the name of the game, that’s only the measure of what we produce.
I’m not too worried about what some of the people on the other side think about my comments. I think that down deep they know that it’s very true. While we can speculate about the unrealities of getting something for nothing, the day will finally come when we have to pick up the tab. The day now has come. We’ve come through the 10 or 15 years of spending money at any rate we wanted to. The time has come now when we could use moneys to inject into this society of ours. Lo and behold, we’re facing these huge deficits at a time when we really have some cash requirements to get this economy on the move.
I would like the Treasurer to consider a few of the particular comments I’ve made today, as they relate to priorities; to a reassessment of the situation as it exists today; and to the realism of attempting to balance a budget in an economy that is not conducive to balancing a budget, until such time as we really produce in direct proportion to the spending.
If that in fact is not done, if we don’t have priorities and start cutting back in some ministries that can’t really justify spending at the same rate they have, just because last year’s budget allowed them to do it; if we can’t get some real priorities in the system so we can direct moneys where they should go; if we can’t get ministries set up so we can direct ministers to have a sole responsibility to a given cause, then we can’t hope that some small move, typically with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism as it relates to our “we treat you royally” slogan, is really an in-depth kind of movement that will re-educate those people across this province of ours and really make people feel welcome and willing to come and spend their money and enjoy the great outdoors in search of things that we do have to offer them.
I say that sincerely to the minister. I hope that his government will consider particularly those two ministries in Industry and Tourism.
I hope that he will convince the Minister of Culture and Recreation that he should have a whole new thrust in that ministry, that we should put some of our lottery money to better use. I don’t quite understand how the lottery money becomes significant to the balancing of the budgetary money. I always thought that the only thing that had any effect on the budget at all was anything in excess of the expenditures in Wintario in relation to the income. I don’t quite understand how we can have so much difference in those sums that are put out here, but that may just be that I don’t understand that particular aspect of summing this up.
In conclusion, I’d like the Treasurer to consider those particular matters as they relate to those two ministries in particular. I hope the new Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) will show the people of Ontario that there are some priorities here, that he would consider cutting the expenditures there, and at least start a trend in those ministries that could very well lead the way in what might be a balanced budget in a shorter term.
Mr. Makarchuk: After listening to this cry for the balanced budget, I’ve come to the conclusion that the presentation was totally unbalanced.
I’d like to point out to the members of the House that it’s about time to stop looking for scapegoats to take care of our problems. And when the member stands up and says that part of our problem is with pricing ourselves, that our unit costs are going up and all these other things, look at the facts or talk to some of the people. And last Friday, as an example, the leader of our party and myself sat in the office of a manager of a firm that employs something like 4,300 people in Ontario, and he pointed out to us that --
Mr. Peterson: How could they possibly stand that?
Mr. Makarchuk: -- that his unit costs were in line with anything in the United States -- and they have firms in the United States -- that they were able to compete on the world market, that they have a plant that’s organized -- it has a union in it -- that they pay very high wages. It’s a matter that they put together the right combination of capital and management and labour to provide within that firm the kind of jobs and the whole setup of the firm that we need and what we could do in Canada. He wasn’t blaming anybody, and he wasn’t looking for any excuses. They felt very confident and they were quite able to operate and continue operating.
I would like to point out to the member when he gets carried away, he starts talking about these labour costs. It is a fact that labour does not operate the plants. The man working in the plant is sent in, he is led to a place and he is given a place and he is told, “This is the job you do, and this is the way you do it.” And in about 99 and 44 one-hundredths of the cases, that’s exactly what he does.
If higher productivity is wanted then one has to deal in terms of capital, one has to deal in terms of technology. And again as it was pointed out earlier by the other members of our party, the fact is that in this country our research and development spending, our development of new technology -- with the exception of a few limited cases -- is very small. The reason for it of course is that most of the development is taking place in other countries and that stems from the fact that we have foreign ownership, foreign control, and naturally the parent firms would do their development in their home plants.
Now there’s one of the things that the Treasurer should consider, and if he’s going to get this economy moving or going someplace, that is one of the long range strategies that he should be embarking on right now.
I’d like to also point out -- it’s puzzling to me -- if one looks at the province with a socialist economy, Saskatchewan, where the government believes there should be government involvement and government spending, it has, in effect, the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. It has one of the lowest per capita debts in Canada. And it operates with a surplus, not a deficit. We could attribute the surplus, perhaps, to the fact they feel the resources of the province should belong to the people, something this government hasn’t bought.
Mr. Kerrio: I don’t see you running out there. There is a lot of hockey out there.
Mr. Makarchuk: There used to be a time when both of the other parties would get up in the House and say, “Look at what the socialists have done in Britain. Look at what Labour has done to Britain.”
Mr. Kerrio: You’d better believe: “Look at what the socialists have done in Britain.”
Mr. Makarchuk: The thing about it is the socialists in Britain have managed to cut their unemployment rate to about five per cent --
Mr. Kerrio: Everybody works for the government over there. That’s no big deal.
Mr. Makarchuk: -- something this government would like to attain some time in the future.
Mr. Kerrio: If they are all working for the government how can they be out of work?
Mr. Mackenzie: Keep them working.
Mr. Makarchuk: You’ll also find out, Mr. Speaker, their currency --
Hon. F. S. Miller: The unemployment rate is 6.2 per cent.
Mr. Kerrio: How come you are not running that way?
Mr. Makarchuk: -- their currency is rather solid.
Mr. Eaton: Saskatchewan is the only province whose population has decreased.
Mr. Mackenzie: Better get your facts straight.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Makarchuk: If you continue examining the strong economies of the western world, Mr. Speaker, and this includes the economies of Germany, of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and France -- all those countries which have remarkable control under inflation, have managed to keep their sin- employment rate at three per cent or less, and have strong currency in comparison to the dollar, both American and Canadian -- you find out that in all those countries, in each and every one of them, including Japan, which I didn’t mention, there is strong government involvement in managing the economy.
They don’t throw around this stupid rhetoric from R. B. Bennett and the Depression days, “Leave it to private enterprise, we’ll do it.” That’s what they used to say in the ‘30s. It’s damn near time these guys realized that, read something about it and found out. They should move out of it. They should move out of there.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Go to West Germany and East Germany.
Mr. Makarchuk: If the Treasurer wants to talk about totalitarian economies he can go ahead. We’re dealing with democratic economies, okay?
Hon. F. 5. Miller: Most socialist economies become totalitarian.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s nonsense, Mr. Speaker. The point is the governments in those economies don’t own the industries, they haven’t nationalized the industries. In most cases you’ll find the industries 90 per cent or 97 per cent privately owned.
The point is they’re involved in directing those industries. They’re directing the economy. Look at the results. We have the myth of the private enterprisers -- that if they’re really involved, the private enterprisers will do it. The two western countries, Canada and the United States, both have increasing unemployment, increasing inflation, and a falling dollar. Doesn’t that tell the Treasurer something about who can manage the economy in this world? It’s about time he realized.
Mr. Kerrio: I still see the immigrants coming this way. I don’t see them going the other way.
Mr. Eaton: We still have the highest standards in the world too.
Mr. Kerrio: I don’t see anybody running over to those countries.
Mr. Makarchuk: I would suggest to the Treasurer that if he looks at the history of this country in the ‘30s when the same rhetoric, the same garbage and nonsense was being spewed out by the leaders in those days about cutbacks, and, “We haven’t got a dollar,” that when the time came to fight a war we managed to find the dollars and we managed to do a lot of things.
The major point out of that is at that time Canada had a socialist economy. There was a government involved in managing that economy, directing it, and trying to get things done. In that case there was a goal: to win a war. We also have a goal now, where the government can get involved. The goal right now is to get this economy moving, and to put people back to work. That’s something that’s within the hands of this government and certainly within the hands of the government in Ottawa. As I’ve said before, these things are not in the hands of gods or deities, they’re in the hands of people.
Mr. Germa: What do you expect from a used car salesman?
Mr. Makarchuk: If the Treasurer is not prepared to do it, he should get out of here because he is a menace to the country and a menace to the people of this country.
Mr. Germa: Go back to selling cars.
Mr. Makarchuk: Let me suggest something to the provincial Treasurer. Yesterday, in the estimates of the Ministry of Housing, we were discussing the home repair program. The government is going to put $20 million or something like that, $23 million, into that particular program. There is an example of the kind of pump-priming that can be done by this government which doesn’t involve hiring civil servants, it doesn’t involve any kind of large bureaucratic maze or the government being involved in business, which the Treasurer abhors to such a great extent. All it does in effect is give the private enterprise element out there -- and there are private enterprises as opposed to greed enterprises, let me tell him that -- an opportunity to operate a business.
Mr. M. Davidson: Small businesses.
Mr. Makarchuk: Small businesses. In the result what we have is higher employment, we have better housing and we have in fact really a “Buy Canadian” program, because most of the supplies, the goods, the furnaces, the wiring, the plumbing, the shingles, the lumber are things that are produced within the country. This is an example. It’s a small example but this is the kind of thing this government can and should be doing to stimulate the economy, to create jobs and, for gosh sakes, stop looking for scapegoats and stop going through that rhetoric.
At this time, when we are in a state -- shall we say unnerved? -- about where our economy is going, this is not the time to show weakness and vacillation and drift. This is a time when the government should show direction, should show involvement, and should start moving to ensure that this economy acts the way it could and the way it should.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if I came in a swelled-headed optimist, I certainly will go out a pin-headed pessimist after the last two hours.
Mr. Handleman: Oh, don’t let them affect you that way.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’ve listened carefully. I’ve absorbed a fair amount. I’ll be producing my own budget to be presented here for which I will feel truly accountable. I do feel there is a fair degree of understanding between ourselves and the Liberals as to what has to happen --
Mr. Mackenzie: There was never any doubt about that.
Mr. Germa: Tell us the difference.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- to retain a sense of responsible fiscal management in this province. I totally reject the interventionist approach of the socialist parties.
Mr. Samis: Tell us about Ford.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am proud to be a person who does not believe the government can plan the economy as well as the private enterprise system can, and I don’t intend to listen to arguments to the contrary.
Mr. M. Davidson: You’d give it away to Ford, wouldn’t you?
Mr. Makarchuk: You haven’t forgotten anything and you haven’t learned anything.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, the honourable member hasn’t learned anything. That, of course, is the key difference.
Experiments around this world carried out time after time after time have always ended up like the British type of experience where their major industries are either last or second-last in every category in the European free market -- last or second-last.
Mr. Samis: Baloney. The Tories have been in power half the time.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Only one of them doesn’t make the “last” category, and that’s because, of course, the state has tried to plan those things.
Mr. M. Davidson: Tell us about the Ford plant.
Mr. Makarchuk: Why don’t you talk about Germany?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Ideally, it should work; in fact, it doesn’t work.
Mr. Foulds: Talk about West Germany.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Let me talk about Germany, because I was just there, where they have a planned economy with the same basic people on one side of the border and a free-enterprise economy on the other side of the border -- far more free-enterprise than ours. They have had one of the most astounding recoveries in modern times.
Mr. Foulds: Under democratic socialism.
Mr. Makarchuk: Under social democratic governments.
Hon. F. S. Miller: They call it social democratic; it’s more right wing than any government I’ve seen for a long time.
Mr. Mackenzie: Look at your own though.
Mr. Foulds: That is libellous.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It is interesting to note that when in fact this government did take an action on behalf of the workers of the province of Ontario and did help a company to come to Ontario, rather than go to one of those competitive areas where the costs are lower --
Mr. Germa: Twenty-six million of my dollars.
Mr. Foulds: You bribed the company.
Mr. Germa: That is blackmail.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- in fact that party stood up and said it wasn’t interested in the 7,000 jobs Ontario provided for Ford and the members should remember it.
Mr. Samis: What did Darcy say?
Hon. F. S. Miller: And let me tell the members, the UAW workers in the unions around Windsor and Chatham were smart enough to know which side their bread was buttered on and who to vote for if they wanted continued assistance.
Mr. Eaton: Just watch those Windsor seats next time.
Hon. F. S. Miller: With that, Mr. Speaker, I let my case rest.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. F. S. Miller has moved government motion number 18.
Motion agreed to.
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT STABILIZATION ACT
Hon. Mr. Elgie moved second reading of Bill 136, An Act to stabilize Employment of Tradesmen in the Construction Industry.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the honourable minister have an opening statement?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Thank you. I am deeply troubled as I look across the House and see the member from London looking uncomfortable without his coat on.
Mr. J. Reed: Fire away, Bob.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As members will recall, the bill which was introduced on June 22 of this year seeks to afford employment protection for Ontario construction workers who may be adversely affected by economic conditions or by the legislation of other jurisdiction’s or, indeed, by a combination of these factors.
It is no secret that Ontario’s concern has been prompted by what this government regards as unfair and discriminatory features of Quebec’s regulation 3282 enacted under the Quebec Construction Relations Act.
We are particularly concerned about those provisions of the regulation which require a construction worker to be domiciled or resident in Quebec in order to qualify for a classification certificate of work to work in that province.
Ontario believes that qualified construction workers, wherever resident, should have free access to work on construction projects wherever situated in Canada.
Mr. Roy: I wish you fellows would be consistent. Either clap your hands or do this.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We further believe the requirement for Quebec domicile places an unfair and we believe perhaps illegal impediment to such free access.
The Quebec regulation became effective July 1, 1978. Before and after that date this government has made strenuous and repeated requests to the Minister of Labour for the province of Quebec in an attempt to resolve the problem.
I personally last met with Dr. Johnson on September 28, 1978, at which time the matter was thoroughly explored once again. Also the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) has been in contact on several occasions with his counterpart in the province of Quebec concerning the same issue. However, I am obliged to advise members that we have been unable to obtain any concessions from the Quebec government which would provide equity and reciprocity in employment opportunities for all construction workers, the mutual goal enunciated by Premier Davis and Premier Levesque at their meeting on May 23, 1978.
As members also know, Ontario has requested the federal government to refer the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada in order that the validity of provincial laws which restrict or deny access to employment on the basis of residence or domicile may be determined by the courts. That request was made in mid-June and repeated and I regret to say that despite numerous attempts to obtain a response from Ottawa, we still have not received a reply from the Prime Minister.
Accordingly, we have no alternative but to proceed with the legislation which, as you will recall, Mr. Speaker, entitles the minister to issue a code of employment practices applicable to the whole or any part of Ontario.
Mr. Deans: Do you think it is legal?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As section 2 of the bill states, “the code or codes which may be issued are to contain measures and procedures respecting the employment of tradesmen in construction; and may include provision that tradesmen permanently resident in Ontario, shall be given preference in employment over others.”
Mr. Deans: Do you think that’s legal?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Yes, I do, the way the bill is worded now; not as the member proposes to muck it up.
Mr. Deans: How does that differ from your doubts about Quebec’s position?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I might add that as a result of numerous discussions and deliberations since the bill was first introduced, I have decided to propose several amendments to clarify its intent and the scope of its operations. The amendments will, I hope, reassure those who have been apprehensive that the bill might be used either to impose unwarranted restriction on the operation of the construction industry, or more particularly, might deprive Ontario construction workers of existing rights in relation to hiring practices.
I have provided copies of the amendments to both opposition parties, and I shall expand upon the specific reasons for introducing them as the debate proceeds.
I would suggest that members consider the advisability of referring this bill to standing committee, so all interested parties, including unions and employers in the construction industry, will have full opportunity to express their views. However, I will be guided by the wishes of the House in this matter.
In recent days, certain representations have been made to me concerning the need to proceed with the legislation in view of the alleged broad interpretation being given to the regulation by the Office of Construction of Quebec, the agency responsible for its administration. In particular, it has been suggested to me that the OCQ is issuing special classification certificates to almost any Ontario employee desiring employment in the province of Quebec, regardless of the explicit restrictions in the regulation itself. I have not been able to determine that this is an accurate assertion --
Mr. Pope: It sure isn’t.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- but I assume that it is a matter that can be clarified when we get to the committee stage and hear representations from those who make these claims.
I do know, however, that if the OCQ regulation is applied, in accordance with its language under 307 of that regulation many or indeed most construction workers who have previously worked in Quebec would be denied employment opportunities for which they are fully qualified.
Accordingly, my view is that Bill 136 ought to proceed so that I have the power to issue the appropriate codes of employment practice as the circumstances may require. I remind members of the House that at first reading this bill had the full support of all parties. In the meantime, I want to assure members that we will continue to press the federal government to initiate the court reference.
At the same time, I assure the members and I assure the Honourable Pierre-Marc Johnson that we remain willing to resume discussions with the government of Quebec at any time.
Mr. Roy: I want to say that I am encouraged by the statement made by the minister in relation to the bill. I think the exercise we are performing this afternoon is an unhappy one for those of us who believe in free access by Canadians coast-to-coast in the area of employment, obtaining contracts and things of this nature.
We support this bill in principle because we have not been given much choice by what I consider to be the inflexible attitude taken by the present government in Quebec and, more specifically, by the present Minister of Labour in that province.
I must say I hope this is not evidence or the start of border criteria across the country, established from one province to the next.
For instance, there is heavy construction going on in Alberta in relation to the oil sands. And I have heard some comments at different times from various people from that province that they are concerned about the number of workers coming into that province to work.
As a result of the initiative taken by the province of Quebec in this area, we are establishing a very bad precedent in the sense that in Alberta or British Columbia, or some other province in the west where the economy is very good -- compared with the situation in both Quebec and Ontario, where the construction industry is very quiet at this time -- they may start imposing certain guidelines or preferences for Canadians who happen not to reside in their province. They may use this as a precedent.
It is with sadness, therefore, that my colleagues and I have to support this legislation in principle.
In the last while we have been discussing this legislation with the construction association in the Ottawa-Hull area and with members of the unions in that area. It’s our feeling, from what they have told us, that both the construction association and the unions are vehemently opposed to this bill.
I have had long discussions with members of the Ottawa Construction Association, including Mr. Bill Becker, the general manager of the association, and Mr. Lorenzo Caletti, the president of the association. They have expressed in no uncertain terms their opposition to the legislation as proposed and to the authority we are going to give the government on Bill 136. I am very pleased to hear the minister’s statement that he is going to refer this matter to a standing committee. At that time these people will have an opportunity to come forward and express their views on the legislation.
As a result of my discussions, I would like to give the minister some idea of what is involved in numbers of workers in the Ottawa-Hull area, because I think that’s the major area that’s going to be affected by this legislation. In the construction industry, according to Mr. Becker, there are some 25,000 people, and 300 or 400 of those are employers; and we are involved here with some 15 to 20 unions.
As one who has lived in the Ottawa-Hull area, it’s idiotic -- it’s ironic -- that we’re involved in this process at all. We have never felt in the Ottawa area that the Ottawa River was ever a border. People worked on one side or the other without thinking whether their residence was in Quebec or in Ontario. This has never been a problem. It just sounds ridiculous to us that we should be involved in something like this when there has been a modus operandi that has existed now for 100 years, where people coming and going across the bridge across the river never felt any impediments from one side to the next.
People like myself and, I’m sure, my colleagues are extremely frustrated to see the type of intimidation that is put forth by the present Quebec government and by the inflexibility of the present Minister of Labour not to understand or appreciate what the problem is with order in council 3282. I can understand the Minister of Labour when he goes to see Pierre-Marc Johnson and says to him, “Look, there is this problem,” and he turns around and says, “You’ve got a problem. I don’t have a problem.” This is the type of attitude we are facing.
I can understand when the Quebec minister says, “We’re trying to solve our internal problems,” but what we can’t get across to him is that indirectly, in solving his internal problems in the province, he is imposing barriers and criteria on Ontario workers which are not imposed by Ontario on Quebec workers coming into the province. He can’t see that. I suspect, after listening to the opening statement by the minister, that maybe that is one of the reasons that the people who are administering this regulation are so flexible at this time. They want to give some evidence that there is no problem and that Ontario in these circumstances is over-reacting. But with anybody who’s had some experience with the law, when you’re talking about rights and principles of the individual you want to talk about what is written, what is the regulation, what is the law; not the administration of the bureaucracy at that time. That can change without notice. That can change overnight.
The minister is right when he says there are certain principles imposed in regulation 3282 which talk about residency. This is a new criterion, a new barrier, that is set up for workers. It has never been one of the criteria imposed by any province. We find it extremely offensive, those of us who live in the Ottawa-Hull area, when we get workers who are now having a problem -- and, of course, they’re opposed to the legislation -- but potentially the problem is there.
Just to give the members some idea of what the split is in these unions relative to various workers -- right now there are some 15 or 20 unions involved: For instance, local 2441 of Acoustic Tile -- these people have some 320 members and 150 reside in Quebec. The bricklayers, local 7; out of 550 workers, 175 reside in Quebec. Carpenters; out of 800, 400 reside in Quebec. Electricians; out of 1,000 in total, 250 reside in Quebec. Elevator operators; out of 400, some 20 reside in Quebec. Operating engineers; out of 500, some 100 reside in Quebec. Iron workers; out of 271, 95 reside in Quebec. Labourers; out of 3,500, 2,400 reside in Quebec. Plumbers; out of 1,200, 600 reside in Quebec. Plasterers; out of some 400 in the union, 200 reside in the province of Quebec. Sheet metal workers; out of 600 in total, some 200 reside in the province of Quebec. Painters; out of a total of 550, some 300 reside in the province of Quebec.
That gives you an idea of the difficulty we’re embarking on with this type of legislation. Many of these contractors have valuable and long-term employees from the province of Quebec who have been working with their firm. I would think contractors who get contracts in Quebec have many valuable employees who reside in Ontario and who have been with them for years. These people say there’s no problem.
In my discussions with the construction association they say very simply there is no problem at this time. They give as an example that in July 1978 there were some 600 certificates issued for people who have employees who reside in Ontario. Some 600 certificates have been issued, which is a larger number than was the case back in 1977.
They say that from a practical point of view, the criterion of having six months’ work or 1,000 hours can be gained not only in the province of Quebec but elsewhere. So they say for their permanent workers there is no problem. But of course we’re into a situation where construction is very slow in the Ottawa-Hull area, so mainly the only people working are permanent employees. But there is the potential for a problem where you get workers who don’t have this experience and a residency requirement comes into it. In fact, that is not a requirement for Quebec workers coming into Ontario.
They say very clearly that they are opposed to the legislation. The minister said this in his opening statement. We should have them here before the standing committee and let them tell us why this type of legislation will not be necessary. Let them give us an opportunity to question them as to what might happen once the construction industry gets going. What happens when you’re talking about a new worker who’s coming from one side of the river to the other? Their concern is in relation to heavy equipment -- the mobile equipment contractors from the Ontario side who, for all intents and purposes, can’t get a contract in the province of Quebec.
I think my leader addressed a letter to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs some time ago where he expressed his concern about the barriers that are set up making it impossible for an Ontario contractor to obtain a contract in the province of Quebec.
Of course, one of the first problems is if it’s a government contract. The province says you’ve got to have your main business office in the province of Quebec. Many people have their offices on both sides but just because the office had existed for a longer period of time on the Ontario side they said they did not qualify and their office was in the wrong place. Of course, then you need a Quebec licence. Then you’ve got to pay the sales tax on that heavy equipment, and some of that heavy equipment is pretty expensive.
So, Mr. Speaker, these people are being denied access to contracts in the province of Quebec, something that a Quebec contractor doesn’t have to face when he comes into the province of Ontario. I would ask that possibly we look at that in committee because it’s part and parcel of the same problem that we’re having, and if there were a way that we could amend our legislation then we on this side will make every effort possible to amend the legislation to cover that situation.
The Construction Association of Ottawa-Hull has said to me: “It appears that the law for heavy equipment contractors” -- or what they call mobile equipment -- “is pretty well the same in Ontario and Quebec but what is happening is that Quebec is enforcing very stringently their laws or their regulations.” Possibly if the minister could get them, by the time we get into committee, we might have some comparisons of what the law is in that area in relation to the Ontario situation and the Quebec situation.
Maybe we could have some statement that it’s not required that we have laws, that we enforce our laws. According to them that is basically the problem.
Having said that we on this side are in favour of the bill in principle, it does not mean to say that we are prepared to give a carte blanche to the government.
Mr. Pope: Oh no.
Mr. Handleman: Here comes the bad news.
Mr. Roy: Did I wake up somebody back there?
Mr. Pope: Even though you were telling the government to go ahead in August.
Ms. Roy: I’ve not called anyone a jerk in this House, Mr. Speaker, and I don’t want any sort of retaliation from anyone.
Mr. Havrot: You don’t want to get punched out by Mickey.
Mr. Roy: Our concern, of course, was with section 2 of the bill and section 6 of the bill. As much as we think that the government should have wide authorization, we on this side are not prepared to say: “You get all the authorization you need under section 2 and section 6 and we’ll wait for the regulations.”
Mr. Pope: Send it back.
Mr. Roy: I want to make it very clear that I don’t want to prejudice what this Minister of Labour might do as far as regulations are concerned, but we as the responsible opposition like to have it spelled out in the legislation what the authority and what the power of the government is going to be. It’s never been our role as the responsible opposition in wanting to correct a specific situation to give you a carte blanche and say, “You can enact regulations in these various fields.”
I’m pleased to see that the minister is coming forward with certain amendments and, hopefully, we’ll have some amendments as well to section 2 and section 6 of this bill because we think that it is much too wide and the unions and contractors have serious reservations about the government being given such wide, sweeping powers, which powers they can use under regulations which do not receive the scrutiny and debate, reflection and representation not only from members in this House but across this province.
We’re not in favour, either, of supporting the NDP amendment as put forward by the leader of the NDP who, at this time, apparently wants to say that the bill not now be read and that it be shoved over. I think that our resolution is firm on this. We’ve got to get our point across and our concern on this side is that we want to reflect or respond to the needs and wishes of the people that we represent and, certainly, the needs and the wishes of the people who we represent will be the people of Ottawa-Carleton, or maybe the people of Cornwall. They should be given an opportunity to come forward to express their views on the bill.
I don’t think we are going to be solving anything. Our resolution in trying to bring this matter to an honourable settlement on both sides is not going to be solved one whit by hoisting this bill and not proceeding with the principle.
Our resolution must be firm and the methods must be very clear to those in the province of Quebec. I suspect, unfortunately, that that government and that minister in particular feel no political pressure. He says it is a Hull problem and that that is not a problem with them; that’s just a small part of the province. That’s in the western part of the province of Quebec and in the priority of things is similar to what eastern Ontario is considered here. It’s something down the line.
Mr. Handleman: You were on a high plane up until now.
Mr. Eakins: It’s changed now.
Mr. Roy: It’s not that high a priority, so I suspect that the minister does not feel the pressure. Once the point gets across to Quebec workers that there may be criteria imposed on them in coming on this side, then hopefully they will put pressure on those representing them on the Quebec side. They will put pressure on the minister to try to come to resolve this situation satisfactorily.
Frankly, I don’t think the approach taken by the NDP is all that responsible in view of the potential problems in this legislation.
Mr. Kerrio: Why does that surprise you?
Mr. Roy: Well, it surprised me frankly when I saw --
Mr. Kerrio: They wanted the Legislature called back four months ago.
Mr. Handleman: It shouldn’t surprise you.
Mr. Roy: That’s right. The leader of the NDP is the one who accelerated this situation. You don’t want me to antagonize them?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Don’t mention it.
Mr. Roy: I think it should be put on the record that it was the leader of the NDP, the member for Ottawa Centre, who kept pressuring the government to come forward with this type of legislation. In fact, did he not want the Legislature recalled early to deal specifically with this problem? To my surprise, I see an amendment, now that we have come forward with legislation, saying hoist the bill and send it away.
Mr. Handleman: What about the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes)?
Mr. Roy: What’s happened? I suspect McDermott and some of the people have got to him. We on this side are going to act responsibly and with consistency in this situation. Yes, we are.
Mr. Eakins: They’re flip-flopping.
Mr. Breaugh: Why are you so exercised? That’s not nice.
Mr. Roy: Our resolve continues to be firm.
Mr. Cassidy: That will be the first time.
Mr. Roy: For that reason, we feel we cannot support the NDP amendment. We agree with the minister that the bill should go before a standing committee so that people can come forward and make representations.
Mr. Kerrie: They read our mind.
Mr. Roy: May I make another suggestion to the minister?
Mr. Hennessy: By all means.
Mr. Roy: He appears to be one who is prepared to accept advice. He appears to be one certainly who sincerely hopes that we can resolve this situation. To resolve this situation without embarking on this ever more serious problem of who is going to legislate the most stringent legislation against whom and of establishing barriers from one province to the next, may I make a suggestion? Possibly we could organize a meeting between this minister and the Minister of Labour from the province of Quebec, involving members from both sides, from the Ottawa side and from the Hull side.
Mr. Hennessy: What side are yon on, Quebec or Ottawa?
Mr. Roy: Possibly we could sit down and say, “Look, no one is going to gain out of this particular situation. Get to your minister for God’s sake and stop us from imposing this type of legislation.” I can say that those of us in the Liberal Party would be prepared to co-operate in any way possible.
Mr. Handleman: He sounds like his leader.
Mr. Roy: I’m sure that colleagues on all sides would be prepared to participate in this last exercise, hopefully to get the point across. If we don’t at least get it across to the government, we will get it across to the people in the province of Quebec. If we have to go down there, we’ll go down and get the point across to them so that we don’t get involved in this legislation especially at a time when we are discussing a new constitution and a renewed unity in the country. Here we have the two major provinces legislating and setting up barriers against their workers.
What is sad about this whole process for those of us who observe the situation in the Ottawa-Hull area is that this type of approach is splitting families. You have families where one member might stay on one side of the river and another member stay on the other side, people who for all intents and purposes never even realize there was a border.
Now we have got ourselves into a situation where there will be barriers set up which will even split families; brothers and sisters; father, son and that sort of thing.
The other part that is sad is that by and large most of the workers involved are basically francophones. So you have francophones who happen to work on one side of the river or happen to reside on one side of the river, and francophones who reside on the other side of the river, strictly by accident. Sometimes the houses were cheaper on the Quebec side; the down payment was lower and they’d live there a while and then they would move to the other side. Here we have a situation, basically, where not only are we setting up barriers between the two major provinces, the leaders in Canadian unity and the two provinces which should encourage free access of workers and contractors across the border, but in fact we are splitting up a francophone community.
Mr. Handleman: They aren’t interested in unity. That’s what they want, that’s what Quebec wants.
Mr. Roy: It is sad, when I discuss this with people who have workers who have been with them a long time, they say: “What are we getting involved with in this whole process?”
It is a situation that really makes you wonder, apart from listening to what has been happening at the federal-provincial conference, why the two major provinces in this country are involved in this type of process.
What it requires, Mr. Speaker, is people of good will.
Mr. Sterling: They have shown they don’t have any goodwill.
Mr. Roy: It requires, Mr. Speaker, people who show largess -- “largesse d’esprit” if I may say it in French. That is why I am supporting this legislation.
But I want to make this point, Mr. Speaker, that in this whole process -- I say this especially to my English-speaking colleagues -- we mustn’t confuse some of the reactionary activities, or some of the instigations by the present government of Quebec whose option is to break up the country and mix that up with what the majority of the people of Quebec want, and with what the federal forces want in the province of Quebec.
We must keep this in mind, I think we have a duty, when doing something as unpleasant as it might be, that with some of these people we have no choice, we have to deal with them in that fashion. Somehow the message we are discussing here must get through to the majority of Quebeckers who still believe in this country and who don’t believe in barriers such as this. We must be able to get through to them so the federal forces in the province of Quebec -- people like Ryan -- will receive encouragement.
In fact, I have had discussion with Gratton, who happens to be the provincial member. He happens to be a Liberal and happens to be in the opposition in the National Assembly, and he is concerned, as we are, about this type of thing. But he is a minority there; he can’t seem to get them at the National Assembly.
So throughout this process, I think, Mr. Speaker, it is going to be important, and I am convinced that all members are in agreement on this, that we keep an open mind and we can resolve this problem without resorting to this legislation. We can remove all barriers. It is going to be to the benefit not only of people in the Ottawa-Hull or the Cornwall area, but of all Canadians.
Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I want to address my remarks to the minister.
The New Democratic Party has taken a responsible and a persistent line on this particular --
Mr. Kerrio: Persistent? Are you kidding? You don’t know what the word means; you flip-flop.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and very troubled problem of how to ensure a continuation of open borders for construction workers between Quebec and Ontario.
As a member from the area I have been concerned, and now as leader of the party for the last eight months I have been concerned as well, about the restrictions --
Mr. Kerrio: Strap on your parachute while you bail out.
Mr. Cassidy: -- which Quebec has been imposing, little by little over a period of many years but which became much more explicit with the publication of the regulations from the Office de Construction en Quebec in September of last year, more than a year ago, and to which the government finally was moved to respond in June, just before the end of the session.
I want to make it clear that our aim as far as New Democrats are concerned is for free movement of workers in both directions across the border. I believe that if free movement is assured it’s very likely there will continue to be more Quebec workers coming into Ontario than there are Ontario workers going into Quebec. I want to say that the workers in my riding and in eastern Ontario, and I think throughout the province, have always accepted that and welcomed that and will not change in that position. What they are upset about now is the unfairness in having open borders for people to come from Quebec into Ontario, while the borders are closed, or essentially closed, for workers from Ontario going into Quebec.
It is, I believe, our pressure which has contributed in large measure to the government’s decision to introduce the bill which we have before us today. I believe that when the government decided they would introduce the bill they saw it, as we do, as a means of increasing the leverage or ensuring that Ontario had greater negotiating power in coming to an acceptable settlement with the province of Quebec.
Our problem with the bill itself is that when you examine the bill in detail it turns out to have a lot of unnecessary baggage. In fact it contains intolerable attacks on the rights of workers, which bear absolutely no relation to the intended purpose of the bill which is to allow Ontario to counter the residential restrictions which Quebec is imposing for construction workers in that province.
If I can be specific, Mr. Speaker, section 2 of the bill provides for the creation of a code or codes of employment practices establishing measures and procedures respecting the employment of tradesmen in construction and then mentions that residency can be one of the areas covered. Subsection 4 of that section eliminates the requirements of the Regulations Act from this particular bill.
The section of the bill to which we have particular exemption is section 6 which says, and I quote: “A code of employment practices issued under this act applies notwithstanding the provisions of any other act of the Legislature or of any collective agreement or any rules, practices, bylaws or provisions of the constitution of a trade union.”
In other words, a code to be issued by regulation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour supersedes the constitution, the bylaws; and until the amendment that the minister has just suggested collective agreements. It will supersede such essential pieces of legislation as the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the Employment Standards Act, for the limitation of working weeks, the Construction Safety Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Human Rights Act.
Now, Mr. Speaker, a residency requirement is in fact a change on the general requirements of the Human Rights Act and therefore that degree of supremacy is obviously likely to be needed. But we do not see why it is necessary for the Minister of Labour, with the concurrence of cabinet, to have the right to take all of Ontario’s construction workers out of workmen’s compensation, out of construction safety provisions and the other items I have mentioned. The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), our labour critic will speak about that a bit longer, but that is a section to which we in the New Democratic Party could never agree and we are disturbed at the fact that the minister, who has been talked to at numerous occasions about the objectionable features of the bill, did not see fit, either in private or in his statements today, to indicate that he was prepared to accept the validity of those objections, which come not just from our party but which very obviously come from the construction trade unions both in eastern Ontario and in Ontario as a whole.
It is for that reason, Mr. Speaker, that we have moved our reasoned amendment, which is a positive alternative which specifically implements the commitments we sought from the government beginning a long time ago, continued in April when I wrote a letter to the Premier (Mr. Davis), drawing to his attention the fact that it was then only two- and-a-half months before the new Quebec regulations came into force and asked him for action; and continued further when I held a press conference in early July and asked that the Legislature be recalled, as I said then so we can get legislation protecting Ontario workers on the books.
The principle of the bill is to protect Ontario workers but the specifics of the bill of course go far beyond that. That’s why we have sought to boil down the principle of the bill in our reasoned amendment -- which I hope the Liberal Party and also the government can support -- by restricting the code of employment to the sole principle of giving preference and --
Mr. Kerrio: At least be honest about it.
Mr. Cassidy: -- employment to construction tradesmen permanently resident in Ontario; by deleting the sweeping and arbitrary --
Mr. Kerrio: You just don’t want to deal with the issue.
Mr. Cassidy: -- powers over other acts, trade union constitution bylaws and collective agreements, which is given in section 6; and by including a sunset provision which is reasonable -- we suggested 18 months -- in order that the minister not acquire powers that could be used for many years to come.
Obviously if this legislation was required for a longer period of time the minister could come back to the House, and I’m sure that the case would be one that would be --
Mr. Pope: You talk out of both sides of your mouth.
Mr. Cassidy: -- one that would be acceptable. But we’ve chosen to take that particular route because the minister has included these objectionable features and has not understood what we had to say when we told him that he was going too far and we couldn’t accept the bill as he was proposing it originally.
It’s been suggested that the minister might be prepared to amend section 2 of the act in order to limit, to some extent, the degree of application of codes of employment. Nevertheless, all of us as legislators must be aware of the fact that some future Minister of Labour might turn around and say: “Well code 6 is a nice way to undermine the rights of workers, and therefore I will simply ask for a slight broadening of the powers in section 2.” That’s why we thought that the minister should confine himself only to the degree of legislation necessary to negotiate reasonably with the province of Quebec.
The minister, or people from the ministry, have suggested to us that a bill restricted to the question of residency might be difficult to defend in the courts. I would suggest that any difficulties in defending the Ontario legislation in the courts would only arise if we were unable to negotiate with Quebec once we’ve strengthened our bargaining hand by passing this legislation.
Secondly, to confine this bill to residency would simply and specifically take our legislation only as far as the Quebec regulations under the OCQ. If there are problems in the courts with our bill, then surely Ontario can find a way, in Quebec if necessary, of challenging the validity of the Quebec regulations.
There was a point where the Prime Minister of Canada said that he was prepared to take Quebec to court if possible, to topple the new legislation. I appreciate the frustration that the ministry is showing over the fact that now, three months after the request to have a reference to the Supreme Court, nothing has been done. Three months after Ontario finally screwed up its courage to do something specific, the federal government has also not seen fit to find a test case within the province of Quebec where the discriminatory features of the new regulations could actually be put to the test.
I do want to go briefly over some of the background of this problem, Mr. Speaker. It’s a long-standing problem. For many years even before the election of the present member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), people in the Cornwall area in particular have been complaining about restrictions put upon them as far as working in the province of Quebec is concerned.
Mr. Sterling: Well don’t you think it’s about time you did something about it?
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Ottawa East (Mr Roy) has mentioned a number of other problems we have also raised on many occasions, which have been pinpricks that have created enormous resentment among people in the border areas. Such things as truck licences being required for people who wanted to take a panel truck or a light pickup truck, which they used for pleasure, to their cottage in the Gatineau. Such problems as small contractors being ruled out of business in the province of Quebec because they didn’t have a proper place of business in that province. Such problems as half of the heavy equipment --
Mr. Kerrio: You’re selling them out; you’re selling out the little guys.
Mr. Cassidy: -- which is being used by contractors in Ontario, in Ottawa, coming from the Quebec side, but Ontario lessors of heavy equipment find it almost impossible to have their equipment go over onto the Quebec side. A specific grievance that people in the border areas have against the provincial government, this present government, is that while Quebec, if anything, is over zealous and lacks generosity in being flexible in enforcing some of the more restrictive regulations they may happen to have, Ontario is overly flexible and fails to enforce legitimate regulations that could be used in order to ensure that Quebeckers coming into Ontario obey our rules and our regulations. So people see on the one hand the roof comes crashing in if an Ontario resident wants to work --
Mr. Pope: Oh come on, make up your mind.
Mr. Cassidy: -- to get a job, to take a truck over, to carry on a trade or something like that on the Quebec side; and they see on the other hand that Ontario almost never lifts a finger to ensure that reasonable regulations are enforced on Quebec residents coming to the Ontario side.
More recently, in the 1977 campaign, this question was issued. It was in September of 1977 that the Quebec regulations were published for the first time. It was in April that I wrote a letter to the Premier --
Mr. Pope: April 14.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and asked that he take cognizance of what was happening, and if necessary Ontario arm itself with legislation. Surely in early April there was time for this step to have been taken before the session ended. It was in May that the Premier of Ontario met here in Toronto with the Premier of Quebec. They agreed that it was necessary, as they said at the time in the communique, to achieve equity and reciprocity in the employment opportunities for construction workers in each other’s province. It was a brave declaration and we really hoped that would be implemented. Alas, that has not been the case.
Mr. Sterling: You can’t believe a socialist, you know that.
Mr. Breithaupt: Why did you tell him to put it off further?
Mr. Cassidy: One of the members says, “Why did we put it off further?” I would suggest that rather than turning his fire on the New Democratic Party he might turn his fire against the Conservative government which has ignored the problems we’ve had in the border areas, in the many areas that I’ve outlined, year after year after year.
Mr. Pope: Nonsense.
Mr. Handleman: Bargaining in good faith.
Mr. Ruston: You’re just extending it.
Mr. Cassidy: I don’t want to be too political about this, because I think that this is --
Mr. Kerrio: Biggest joke of the year, Mike.
Mr. Cassidy: I think this is an issue that should be treated as coolly and as sensibly as possible.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Why don’t you practise that? Why don’t you practise what you’re talking about?
Mr. Cassidy: I do believe the Minister of Labour intends to treat it in that way, unlike -- no, I won’t say any more; that would be our intention as well.
I want to say that I have regrets about the way the Quebec authorities have operated after Ontario began to object to the regulations. All of us understand that the new Quebec regulations were not intended to discriminate against Ontario workers, that was not their first and foremost purpose. Their purpose was that was a Quebec solution to problems which had been perceived in the Quebec construction industry by the commission of inquiry that was headed by a very distinguished jurist of the province, Robert Cliche, the former leader of the Quebec New Democratic Party.
Mr. Pope: Let’s not be political.
An Hon. member: How many seats do they have?
Mr. Roy: He started gaining stature when he left the party.
Mr. Cassidy: Contrary to the member for Ottawa East, Judge Cliche has always had enormous stature, and I’m very proud of the fact that he chose to be the leader of our party back in the middle of the 1960s. I think that was one of the finest hours for our party in that province.
The Quebec regulations say that any worker domiciled in Quebec who has worked 1,000 hours or more in the previous year is entitled to an A certificate. Any worker domiciled in that province who has worked for 500 hours or more is entitled to a B certificate. If a job becomes available in Hull a worker resident in the Hull district who has an A certificate has first claim on that job. If a worker with an A certificate from the Hull area is not available, then a worker with an A certificate from Montreal or Seven Islands has the second claim on that job. If a worker with an A certificate from another region in Quebec is not available, then a worker with a B certificate from Hull or some other part of the province of Quebec has third claim on the job.
An Ontario worker only has the right to work in the province of Quebec, under the new regulations, if he is an employee who has been regularly employed by an Ontario contractor who has the good fortune to get a job over there, or if he is an Ontario worker who was working under a contract that existed prior to June 29, 1978 --
Mr. Kerrio: Or he’s Levesque’s brother-in- law.
Mr. MacBeth: Do you think that’s fair?
Mr. Cassidy: -- which means that month after month, as the jobs that were going on in Quebec this spring come to an end, those workers will lose a chance to move on to other jobs in Quebec because they’re not domiciled in Quebec. Pierre-Marc Johnson says, and I’ve talked to him about this too --
Mr. Bradley: Friend of yours.
Mr. Handleman: Sure; birds of a socialist feather.
Mr. Cassidy: He says: “This regulation discriminates in similar ways both against Ontario workers and Quebec workers.” He says: “Most of the time it will be as difficult for workers domiciled in the Montreal or Quebec regions to find work in the Hull region as it will be for a worker domiciled in Ottawa,”
Mr. Handleman: They don’t control the Ottawa workers.
Mr. Cassidy: He says: “We believe that we have clearly shown here that this regulation is in no way discriminatory but that it simply sets out certain conditions of access to Quebec work sites.”
Mr. Handleman: It sure fits into their game plan though.
Mr. MacBeth: Especially if they’re domiciled in Ontario.
Mr. Cassidy: The fact is that statement by the Quebec Minister of Labour is wrong and grossly misleading. In fact a Montreal worker does have second right of priority in Hull, and the Ontario-based worker domiciled in Ottawa or some other part of the province has no access there at all.
I do have to say, though, that I am also critical of the Ontario government in terms of the dealings which Ministers of Labour have had with the Quebec government on this particular question.
Mr. Handleman: They believe in freedom to work.
Mr. Pope: Naturally.
Mr. Gregory: We must be doing something right.
Mr. Cassidy: I draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the statement made by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) that Ontario had rejected the neutral zone concept put forward by Quebec. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said on September 13: “That was not so, that is not true.” He says that the neutral zone idea was generated within this government as one of the ways this matter could he settled. There were denials from the Minister of Labour at the time (Miss Stephenson); and I put on the record at the time --
Mr. Pope: Where are your eastern Ontario members now?
Mr. Cassidy: -- the letter from the Minister of Labour of August 16 to Quebec in which she rejected quite specifically the neutral zone idea as an avenue for approach and a possible compromise settlement of this particular issue.
Not knowing exactly what it is that Quebec has proposed, and not knowing exactly what it is that Ontario at one point apparently proposed, it’s difficult for us to say whether that particular idea is a workable one or not. It’s clear from my discussions with the construction trades people in Ottawa that what they would like would be a situation where at the very least an Ottawa worker had the same rights in Hull as the Hull worker has to come and work in construction in Ottawa; that’s what they’re looking for.
However, it appears that having at one point proposed something along those lines, the then Minister of Labour, this minister’s predecessor, turned around on August 16 to say that she would be extremely reluctant to support any solution which restricted rights to any limited geographic areas along the boundary.
Mr. Handleman: We wanted free, unrestricted access to the boundary.
Mr. Cassidy: All I want to suggest is that not all of the avenues have been adequately explored. I want to suggest that it may be that the Ontario government was hard-lining it --
Mr. Pope: You didn’t want any avenues explored in July.
Mr. Handleman: It’s been over-explored.
Mr. Cassidy: -- along the lines of the Premier’s letter a couple of days before the Minister of Labour’s letter, the Premier’s letter of August 14 to Prime Minister Trudeau in which he says that Ontario’s basic concern is that there be no legislative impediment to the free access of any qualified Canadian worker to employment anywhere in Canada irrespective of his place of residence, domicile or origin.
What the Premier was saying in effect was that regardless of the zone system which restricted movement of workers within the province of Quebec, Ontario was going to say we wanted everything, unlimited access for every Ontario construction worker to any construction job in the province of Quebec.
Mr. Handleman: Keeping the country together, that’s right.
Mr. Rotenberg: Right, and vice versa.
Mr. Cassidy: That simply indicated that Ontario was not recognizing that Quebec had brought in a set of positions, with which we may agree or we may disagree, but that made it very difficult for them to accept that principle as far as Ontario was concerned.
Mr. Rotenberg: Why don’t you give last summer’s speech? It was a better one.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to say on behalf of this party that over all the period of this unhappy affair, we are not satisfied that Ontario either, has pursued other avenues it could have used in order to put some pressure on Quebec workers.
Mr. Sterling: You agree with their legislation, that’s why.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to point out that under the Apprenticeship and Tradesmen’s Qualification Act, for example, the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the cabinet, has powers to prescribe the maximum number of people apprenticed to an employer, to provide for interprovincial standards examinations, to regulate the granting of provisional certificates. That is an area where there are particular problems in eastern Ontario because of the fact the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will grant these provisional certificates overnight to workers coming into the province of Ontario, despite the fact it may take months to get that movement the other way in providing for the issuance of certificates of qualification to people who are actually qualified.
I understand, Mr. Speaker, that you wish me to bring my remarks to a close and I will in about 30 seconds. In the Employment Standards Act and other acts there were other means by which Ontario could also have put pressure on Quebec besides going this particular route.
Mr. Pope: Now you want us to negotiate again.
Mr. Cassidy: In closing, I want to say we welcome the fact that the bill will go to committee. We do agree with the sense of frustration which has been expressed by the minister and we do agree that legislation is necessary, however much we are uncomfortable with having to do this rather than just saying open the borders. But we do feel that legislation should confine itself to the narrowest of grounds, just to the specific area where Quebec is now discriminating against Ontario workers on the basis of residency.
I reiterate our concern about the situation which has been expressed by the Ontario construction workers and I want to move an amendment.
Mr. Speaker: It is two minutes past 6 o’clock. Why don’t you withhold the introduction of your reasoned amendment until 8 o’clock?
Mr. Cassidy: I have concluded my remarks and the bill will not be debated at 8 o’clock.
I move that the motion for second reading of Bill 136, An Act to stabilize the Employment of Tradesmen in the Construction Industry, be amended by deleting all the words after that and substituting therefor the words:
“Bill 136 be not now read a second time in order that it may be withdrawn for redrafting in order that:
“1. The code or codes of employment practices mentioned in the said act be restricted to the sole principle of giving preference in employment to construction tradesmen permanently resident in Ontario and that no other interference in employment practices respecting employment in the construction industry be undertaken by the authority of this legislation; and that
“2. The sweeping and arbitrary powers given to the minister as presently contained in sections 2(1) and 6 of the act be deleted because the provisions of these sections could be used to take away protections of the employees affected, not only as those protections are outlined in the constitutions, bylaws and collective agreements of the unions involved, but could also be used to take away protections embodied in legislation affecting workers, such as the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Standards Act, the Construction Safety Act and the Employees Health and Safety Act, and because none of these powers are necessary for the purpose of the present act; and
“3. The government adopt legislation more in keeping with the principles outlined in Bill 98, a bill entitled an Act to provide for Residence Requirements for Construction Workers in Ontario, as presented in the Legislature by the honourable and very able member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis).”
Mr. Pope: Where is he?
Mr. Foulds: He will be speaking.
Mr. Cassidy: And this is for the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) --
“4. The government include a sunset provision in the legislation so that it expire 18 months from the time it receives royal assent.”
This is what is required to resolve this situation.
Mr. Pope: Nonsense.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have a seconder? It is seconded by the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. Mackenzie).
On motion by Mr. Handleman, the debate was adjourned.
Hon. Mr. Welch: May I indicate as a matter of information that at 8 o’clock we will start with the 26th order.
The House recessed at 6:05 p.m.